The Most Exciting Rides and Attractions Coming to Theme Parks in 2019
With every new year comes a new slate of high-stakes thrills landing at theme and amusement parks across the country, and 2019 is already proving it will not disappoint. Not only are themed experiences set to bring "Star Wars," "Jurassic Park" and "Harry Potter" to life in new ways, but plenty of high-stakes thrills on the horizon will keep your pulse quickening all year long. From your chance to walk through Sesame Street and "The LEGO Movie" to record-breaking launch coasters blasting off this summer, here’s what to get amped for in 2019:
Tigris, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
A death-defying steel launch coaster — soon to be Florida’s tallest — with sky-high barrel turns and steep drops that’ll provide thrills at 150 feet off the ground when it opens spring 2019. The almost unfathomable track, which is orange in honor of its Tiger conservation ethos, includes forward and reverse launches that’ll propel guests up to 60 miles per hour until they reach a purposefully (and particularly frightening) slow roll at the top.
Jurassic World Ride, Universal Studios Hollywood
A fresh take on the iconic Jurassic Park: The Ride will open next year, honoring the "Jurassic World" blockbuster films led by Chris Pratt. We’re still waiting on confirmation if the actor will be seen onboard the ride, but are promised state-of-the-art story elements, new dinosaurs and tech-savvy thrills only aided by that jaw-dropping flume drop in the new iteration debuting in 2019.
Kaleidoscape, Elitch Gardens
The first-ever ride from the colorful, creative artistic enclave Meow Wolf will land at the Denver, Colorado theme park in spring 2019. Similar to their 22,000 square foot Santa Fe attraction, guests should prepare for an exciting, interactive and dark ride filled with unexpected sights in unpredictable surroundings sure to be extremely memorable.
Copperhead Strike, Carowinds
With the most inversions of any double-launch coaster in North America, this quick-accelerating debut will set a new record when it opens in Spring 2019. The first launch, taking brave riders from 0 to 42 mph, and the second, from 35 to 50 mph, all but guarantee the ride won’t let up — if those five inversions didn’t seem intimidating enough.
Sesame Street, SeaWorld Orlando
Guests heading to Orlando can encounter Sesame Street characters up close for the very first time in an immersive land replicating the famed New York City neighborhood. Visit iconic locations like Mr. Hooper’s store, take photos with beloved characters, watch a daily parade with familiar furry faces and enjoy six kid-friendly attractions once it opens in 2019.
Star Wars Land, Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Walt Disney World) and Disneyland
At long last, the galactic franchise will put down roots when Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens on both coasts next year. With Disneyland Park’s version set to open in summer 2019 and Florida’s scheduled for late fall 2019, both will include two exciting themed attractions, dining, shopping and enough character interactions to satisfy every R2-D2-loving bone in the body.
Yukon Striker, Canada’s Wonderland
The Toronto amusement park will break three dive coaster records when Yukon Striker opens next year. Themed to the turn-of-the-century gold rush era, the new ride will be the longest, fastest and tallest dive coaster in the world, reaching up to 80 mph, thrilling even the purest of adrenaline junkies. If the 245-foot, 90-degree drop down into the earth and through an underwater tunnel doesn’t scare you, the four inversions and 360-degree loop — making this the only dive coaster to have one — at skyscraping heights surely will.
Wildwood Grove, Dollywood
An enchanting village with six new rides and eleven experiences in all will mark the largest investment made in the Pigeon Forge, Tennessee theme park to date. Colorfully themed to friendly fauna, attractions will include a suspended, soaring coaster called The Dragonflier, scenic rides atop friendly “bears” on Black Bear Trail and Treetop Tower, a 40-foot-high swing ride. The picaresque expansion will center upon a 55-foot Wildwood Tree, serving as a performance venue and colorful nighttime emblem with lanterns and firefly lights.
Maxx Force, Six Flags Great America
Launch coasters will reach new levels when this record breaker lands at the Chicagoland park in summer 2019. Hitting the tallest double-inversion in the world, Maxx Force will also hold the title for the fastest inversion of any coaster in the world and the fastest launch, reaching 78 mph in under two seconds.
The LEGO Movie World, Legoland Florida
The film-themed land, which opens in early Spring 2019, will include visits to Bricksburg and Cloud Cuckoo Land and includes three rides: Masters of Flight, a flying theater attraction taking guests on adventures on Emmet’s flying couch, a Unikitty drop ride through the rainbow portal and Battle of Bricksburg, an aquatic face-off against DUPLO aliens with water target shoot-outs. Character meet-and-greets, a Taco Tuesday Man-helmed restaurant and The Awesome Shop for top-level souvenirs will debut as well, with extra delights offered in The LEGO Movie World-themed hotel suites.
Harry Potter Coaster, Universal’s Islands of Adventure
Very few details about the new Harry Potter-themed ride have yet been revealed, but early artwork and fan photos of construction have revealed a curious building shrouded in mystery and artwork of Cornish pixies known for mischievous magic — a fitting duo, for a coaster just steps away from Hogwarts. Either way, the roller coaster, which replaces the Florida park’s Dragon Challenge ride, is set to be a themed immersive adventure that muggles and wizards alike won’t want to miss.
Firebird, Six Flags America
A 9-story drop and two inversions on a half-mile track — if that wasn’t enough to get your pulse racing, the new Baltimore-area debut intends to mimic flight with state-of-the-art floorless vehicles, letting guests’ feet dangle atop every curve and corkscrew of the treacherous track.
Tidal Twister, SeaWorld San Diego
This inventive and dynamic dual coaster features high design with a huge payoff, interweaving two figure-8 tracks with zero G-roll and tight banked curves for an experience that swerves more than it drops. In a unique twist, seats face both forward and backwards, offering a different perspective each time you ride starting May 2019.
Calico River Rapids, Knott’s Berry Farm
The California theme park’s Bigfoot Rapids ride will be wholly transformed into a new experience featuring first-hand encounters with the treacherous beast in summer 2019. Riders can expect to follow an unpredictable path past special effects, aquatic surprises, lifelike audio-animatronics and unforgettable creatures that are bound to delight.
Sea Swinger, SeaWorld San Antonio
The high-flying pendulum ride will open as part of the Texas park’s new Turtle Reef, which includes the exploration and education of endangered sea turtles (that are rescued and cannot be re-released) within a 126,000-gallon reef.
Reese’s Cupfusion, Hersheypark
Park guests can look forward to this family-friendly, dark ride touted as a multiple-sensory gaming experience centered around the beloved peanut butter treat. Enjoy game play alongside characters themed to the delightful candy and earn points while protecting a “Crystal Cup,” all under the instruction of a new character, Commander Cup, who will be introduced in conjunction with the ride.
Cutback Water Coaster, Water Country USA
There’s no need to choose between slides once Virginia’s newest ride debuts. This slide will pair the speeds and heights of a water coaster with exciting saucer bowls, bringing an extra level of thrill to the 856-foot long attraction opening Spring 2019.
West Coast Racers, Six Flags Magic Mountain
This California park’s new dueling coaster is set to reach speeds up to 55 miles per hour when it opens next year. Each twist, turn and hill across the first-ever racing launch coaster’s two laps will be aided by four magnetic launches and eye-catching vehicles designed by famed West Coast Customs, who will also lend their talents to an exciting mid-ride “pit stop.”