Every New Theme Park Attraction You’ll Need to Experience in 2018
From record-setting waterslides to mind-melding roller coasters, you won't believe the thrills coming to theme parks in 2018.
Vertical elevators on river raft rides, gravity-defying drops on hybrid coasters, and even virtual-reality experiences that'll put you directly into the world of “Star Wars” — it's all possible in 2018. Get your travel schedule ready, because these are the attractions that thrillseekers, waterslide lovers, and roller coaster fans will need to ride this year.
Hang Time at Knott's Berry Farm
As the first-ever dive coaster not just in California but on the entire West Coast, this latest addition to Knott's Berry Farm will provide enough twists and inversions to hype any theme park fan in summer 2018. At the start of all that drama, riders will undergo a 96-degree drop — beyond just straight down — as well as a negative g stall loop, just in case being 150 feet off the ground wasn't enough.
Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire at Downtown Disney
Wannabe rebels can go undercover as stormtroopers, fight on behalf of the Rebellion, and stand alongside K-2S0 within The VOID, a “hyper reality” VR experience arriving just outside the happiest place on earth in early January 2018. There is also a brand new VOID location at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World, but this Anaheim, California, addition helps revitalizes Disneyland Resort's shopping and dining district which has not yet received a remodel on par with Orlando's.
Steel Vengeance at Cedar Point
The Sandusky, Ohio, amusement park known for sky-high thrills will set new records when its Wild Wild West-themed ride debuts in Spring 2018. As the first-ever “hyper-hybrid” coaster — a steel track on a wooden frame that pushes boundaries — Steel Vengeance will also become the tallest, fastest, steepest and longest of its kind. At 205-feet tall with a 90-degree drop, it even boasts 27 seconds of airtime, setting another new record: the most airtime on any roller coaster in the world.
Fast & Furious — Supercharged at Universal Studios Florida
Come Spring 2018, Orlando visitors can go on a high-octane car chase alongside Dom Toretto, Letty and the rest of the “Fast” family at Universal Studios Florida at Universal Orlando Resort. With a thrilling journey and a queue featuring props from the film — including over a dozen of the famed cars from the blockbuster movie series — it's as close as franchise fans can get to the real thing. The attraction will also utilize Universal's Virtual Line technology, allowing guests to seamlessly hold their place in line without having to wait or purchase Universal Express passes.
World's Largest Loop Coaster at Six Flags Great America
The Midwestern amusement park located outside Chicago, Illinois, is unveiling a loop coaster in spring 2018 unlike anything thrillseekers have seen before. With the entirety of the ride hoisting guests a hundred feet off the ground in one continuous loop, the attraction promises six inversions and “record hang time” as it propels passengers forwards and backwards. Prepare for fear to look you in the eyes, too — the seats face one another.
LEGO City Deep Sea Adventure at Legoland California
When Legoland California introduces their new submarine ride in summer of 2018, guests will find themselves submerged in vehicles that come face-to-face with marine life, providing an experience well beyond simply visiting an aquarium. The Carlsbad, California park's forthcoming addition also has a game component, with passengers receiving points for correctly identifying underwater beings including sharks, stingrays and tropical fish — and will likely spot a few visits from familiar Lego characters, too.
Raja at Noah's Ark Waterpark
This “king cobra”-style slide is outfitted with a design that's built to scare. Riders will board two side-by-side slides at the Wisconsin Dells wonder and journey through loops and twists that culminate by shooting them straight into the fangs of a terror-inducing cobra. With a lengthy ride and a towering 37-foot plunge, it's set to become the world's largest of its kind, reaching speeds up to 32 miles per hour.
Slinky Dog Dash at Disney's Hollywood Studios
When it opens at Walt Disney World in summer 2018, this addition to Disney's roller coaster lineup will bring a family-favorite film to life. Serving as the centerpiece of Disney's forthcoming 11-acre Toy Story Land, the rollicking ride within one of Andy's favorite toys is sure to create plenty of incredible new memories.
Infinity Falls at SeaWorld Orlando
This addition to the Florida theme park is far from the ordinary raft ride. Themed to South American rainforests, Infinity Falls truly lives up to its name, featuring a towering vertical lift and the world's tallest drop on a river raft ride to date. It comes with a message, too — surrounded by tropical plants and lush vegetation, the ride emphasizes water conservation efforts and their importance along with high-stakes fun.
Whitecap Racer at The Boardwalk at Hersheypark
The famed Pennsylvania amusement park's aquatic counterpart will introduce the longest mat racing slide in the world in 2018. Six individual lanes mean nearly everyone can compete at once, while two looping tunnels ensure extra thrills. Add to it the ability to time your ride, and it practically ensures whoever reigns supreme will have ultimate bragging rights.
Valkyria at Liseberg
Setting records as Europe's longest dive coaster, Valkyria will feature a 164-foot drop, part of which burrows directly underground, all at a maximum speed of 65 miles per hour. With plenty of twists and turns beyond its historic dimensions, this addition to the Gothenburg, Sweden amusement park is going to be one not to miss.
Twisted Cyclone at Six Flags Over Georgia
When the Cobb County, Georgia Park unveils the hybrid wooden-and-steel roller coaster overtaking its former Georgia Cyclone in spring 2018, it'll prove an oldie remains a goodie. The ride's main drop will also be made longer and steeper, and with three inversions and nearly a dozen airtime hills, this souped-up ride is sure to be a doozy.
Battle for Eire at Busch Gardens Williamsburg
The Virginia theme park will welcome the world's first VR-assisted motion simulator attraction in spring 2018. With a customized VR headset making for a wholly immersive atmosphere that goes beyond the screen, visits from dragons, fairies and an evil dark lord rendered in 4K will feel that much more real — especially with the sights, sounds and smells happening throughout the journey.
DreamWorks Theatre featuring KungFu Panda at Universal Studios Hollywood
The film franchise's hero, Master Po, welcomes guests into a kung fu-filled adventure when DreamWorks theatre opens its doors in 2018. The exciting display will bring visual surprises and “multi-sensory” surprises to the experience, which will take the place of the former Shrek 4-D attraction.
Ray Rush at Aquatica Orlando
As a mashup of the best current waterslide features at the moment, this spring 2018 addition to the waterpark located at SeaWorld Orlando will have a little bit of everything. A quick-launch will blast riders into twisting spins that'll take them through tubes, up “manta wing” walls and around a snowglobe-like “water sphere,” making for an experience that's bound to make a splash.
Incredicoaster at Disney California Adventure
As part of the Anaheim park's transformation of its Paradise Pier land to an animation-infused stretch, Disney will host its first-ever Pixar-themed roller coaster in summer 2018. The ride itself won't be completely different — it is, after all, a retheming of the former California Screamin' — but imagineers are adding a new story, vehicles and character interactions to reinvent the coaster into an entirely new experience, just in time for the release of the film's sequel, “Incredibles 2.”
Eurosat 2.0 at Europa Park
With the mechanics of Space Mountain within a Spaceship Earth shell, the Eurosat roller coaster tucked inside a geodesic dome was reminiscent of two of Disney's best rides when it opened in 1989 — only at a theme park not owned by the company. The Rust, Germany amusement park attraction has since closed, but when the eye-catching ride re-opens in summer of 2018, it'll feature a completely reinvented coaster with updated tracks, small changes to its layout and an extra virtual reality component, finally busting those similarities apart.
Electric Eel at SeaWorld San Diego
Even with its “triple-launch” shooting riders in both directions, 150 foot ascent and explosive 60 miles-per-hour acceleration, the California park's jaw-dropping attraction is focused on teaching, too, offering a post-ride exhibit focused on eels. Still, the big draw here are the thrills, which can't be taken for granted. The coaster is so tall that it had to get special permission from the California Coastal Commission to build its sky-high track.