The 19 Most Exciting Theme Park Rides Opening This Summer
This is a big year for thrill-seekers.
Theme parks around the globe are using new technology to send their visitors to other worlds. Using virtual reality, advanced engineering and lots of creativity, this year’s new rides offer many new “world’s first” experiences.
“There really is something new for everyone this season,” Susan Storey, communications director of International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), said in a statement. “The industry is innovative and dynamic, and this year many destinations are debuting their own ‘spin’ on amusement park favorites, infusing speed and height with twists and turns and even unexpected ‘surprise’ elements.”
By this summer, theme park visitors will be able to ride a submarine through a real underwater world (complete with sharks) or shriek their way through a wooden roller coaster that sets on fire in England.
These are 19 of the most exciting coasters, rides and attractions coming to theme parks around the world for 2018.
The Incredicoaster — Disney California Adventure Park
With the return of “The Incredibles” franchise to theaters this summer, riders can board the high-speed Incredicoaster, starting June 23. The steel roller coaster, which has been completely revamped from its previous iteration, will be the fastest and longest at Disneyland Resort.
Lego City Deep Sea Adventure — Legoland California Resort
Take adventure underwater with this new submarine ride. Up to 12 guests can board the real submarines and then hunt for treasure in a sunken LEGO shipwreck. More than 2,000 real animals, including fish, stingrays and sharks, will swim around the tank as riders explore.
Harley Quinn Crazy Coaster — Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
Battle other riders as coasters face off Harley Quinn style. It’s the world’s first dueling looping coaster, with head-to-head fly-bys, loops at reverse rotations at 70 miles per hour.
Kung-Fu Panda: The Emperor’s Quest — Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal City, California
According to Universal Studios, this ride will be the first to use “interior projection mapping technology.” That means riders are in for a fully immersive experience. From 4K projectors to 360-degree surround sound to physical effects (like waves crashing and wind rushing), guests will feel fully embedded in the Kung-Fu Panda world.
The Great Lego Race — Legoland Florida Resort, Legoland Deutschland Resort, Legoland Malaysia Resort
Florida, Germany, and Malaysia
The “Project X” roller coaster is getting a digital makeover this summer. The kid-friendly VR roller coaster will allow riders to feel like they’re in a battle royale race to claim the title of champion in their brick-built cars.
Infinity Falls — SeaWorld Orlando
The world’s tallest river rapid ride will debut this summer at SeaWorld Orlando. The ride’s most unique feature is a vertical elevator which lifts the rafts above a 40-foot drop before they plummet into the water below.
Fast & Furious Supercharged — Universal Studios
Channel your inner Vin Diesel for a fully immersive ride featuring the “Fast & Furious” characters. Riders take part in a high-octane car chase while getting a close look at very real props from the movies.
Twisted Cyclone — Six Flags Over Georgia
This ride combines the best of both worlds: vintage cars and modern speeds. Thanks to a hybrid wood and steel track, riders speed 50 miles per hour through three inversions and one very intense 75-degree, 10-story drop in what looks like 1960s sports cars.
Mardi Gras Hangover — Six Flags Great America
The world’s largest loop coaster will stand over 100 feet tall. Riders face each other as they spin around and around the insanely tall loop, hoping the after effects feel slightly less than the ride’s namesake.
Delirious — Valleyfair
Valleyfair’s newest attraction spins riders around a 70-foot loop 10 times in less than one minute. Right before the nausea starts to set in, the ride will slow down and leave riders hanging upside down, for a chance to look at the park from a vertiginous and terrifying view.
Time Traveler — Silver Dollar City
The Time Traveler will make riders forget what dimension they’re in. The theme park says it is the “fastest, steepest and tallest spinning coaster” on the planet. Once buckled in, riders embark on a 50-mph spinning speed chase that includes a 10-story 90-degree drop.
Typhoon Twister — Six Flags St. Louis
St. Louis, Missouri
Roller coasters don’t get to have all the fun. This epic water slide includes the thrills of a steel ride with the exhilaration of a water park. Riders will experience zero-gravity moments and one heart-pounding 54-foot drop.
Steel Vengeance — Cedar Point
Cedar Point’s newest coaster is the first hybrid steel-on-wood hybrid coaster that stands more than 200 feet tall. It’s got a wild west theme with an even wilder list of tricks. The ride starts off with a 90-degree drop and then pulls a half-barrel roll, dangles riders upside down and comes back in the direction it came.
Wonder Woman Golden Lasso Coaster — Six Flags Fiesta Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Experience the power of Wonder Woman with the world’s first single rail coaster. Cars will lasso around one 15.5-inch-wide steel track for a thrilling non-stop journey of twists, turns and drops that will leave your stomach in the sky.
Harley Quinn Spinsanity — Six Flags New England
If one direction isn’t enough of an adventure, this Harley Quinn-themed roller coaster will launch riders through three separate axes. Those strapped in experience positive and negative gravitational forces as the ride flips, spins and twirls more than seven stories.
Twisted Timbers — Kings Dominion
This wooden-themed roller coaster has a heart of steel. The hybrid coaster doesn’t hold back any intensity. Riders plummet down a 109-foot barrel turn, twist through two inversions and feel weightless over 20 airtime hills.
Wicker Man — Alton Towers
This much anticipated English roller coaster is not for the faint of heart (or stomach). The 2,000-foot wooden roller coaster lurches precariously close to a roaring fire effigy, making it the world’s first coaster to combine wood and fire.
Valkyria — Liseberg
Norse mythology comes to life with this unique roller coaster. Valkyria is Europe’s longest dive coaster with one thrilling element: it goes underground. Just when it seems you’re about to crash into the earth, riders continue into an underground tunnel at 65 miles per hour.
Final Fantasy XR Ride — Universal Studios Japan
Ride into the world of the “Final Fantasy” video games with this VR roller coaster. Guests put on their headsets before launching into a high octane ride through the virtual world. Battle scenes accompany every single twist, turn and jump on the roller coaster track.