2016 is set to be another bumper year with new rides coming to Universal and Disney theme parks in Florida and California, SeaWorld Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa, Cedar Point, Dollywood, LEGOLAND California, Carowinds, California's Great America and the many Six Flags parks. Here's our pick of the best new rides coming to US theme parks.
The countdown continues until the Spring 2016 arrival of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood and the introduction of the land’s signature attraction, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey in hyper-realistic 3D-HD. Also within The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the enchanting family coaster, Flight of the Hippogriff will debut as Universal Studios Hollywood’s first outdoor coaster.
King Kong will return to Universal Orlando Resort in 2016 after a 14 year absence in the groundbreaking new attraction, Skull Island: Reign of Kong. The new attraction will open in the summer of 2016 at Universal’s Islands of Adventure – and will be an intense, all-new adventure brought to life in a dramatically themed environment. Skull Island: Reign of Kong will pull guests into a powerfully told story where they become part of the next generation of the Kong legend.
A brand new Frozen Ever After ride is coming to Epcot at Walt Disney World in Florida, the family attraction will be opening in 2016 at the Norway Pavilion in World Showcase. Epcot guests will be able to visit the kingdom of Arendelle when the highly anticipated attraction opens. The family adventure welcoming guests to the magical world of Frozen will feature the popular story of the royal sisters, hit songs and new technology for an icy trek that is sure to warm hearts.
Luigi's Flying Tyres departed from Disney California Adventure in 2015 but an all-new experience is coming in 2016 featuring a trackless ride system to replace the floating bumper cars. The new ride, called Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters, will feature a fleet of 1950s-era cars spinning and twisting in a choreographed musical number. Luigi's Casa Della Tires, located at the main intersection of Radiator Springs, won't be removed. The iconic Cars Land building from the films will continue to be used as a queue area for the new attraction.
Surfacing in 2016 at SeaWorld Orlando will be Mako, a 200-foot-tall hypercoaster that will reach 73 mph along 4,760 feet of steel track. Named for one of the ocean’s fastest known sharks, Mako will be Orlando’s tallest, fastest and longest roller coaster. It will be the centerpiece of the newly themed surrounding realm. The two-acre plaza now will be fully shark themed including Mako, Shark Encounter, Sharks Underwater Grill, shops, shark and shipwreck theming and educational experiences featuring sharks.
Busch Gardens Tampa puts a spin on family thrills in 2016 with a brand new family thrill ride from Mack – Cobra’s Curse. This spin coaster is the only one of its kind in the world, featuring a vertical lift and taking riders on a whirlwind adventure of exciting exploration. Cobra's Curse will be 70 feet high, more than 2,100 feet in length and reach speeds of over 40mph. There will be up to 8 trains at a time with 8 riders per train and giving a ride duration of three and a half minutes will provide capacity for over 1,000 people per hour. There will be a height requirement of 42 inches to ride.
Cedar Point will change the Lake Erie skyline once again with over 3,400 feet of thrill ride innovation when it introduces Valravn (val-rey-vuhn), the world’s tallest, fastest, longest dive coaster, in 2016. Riders on Valravn are carried more than 20 stories up to the top of the coaster’s 223-foot-tall first hill. Once there, the train is held perilously over the edge of the first drop for approximately four seconds, giving anxious guests unparalleled views of the park before free-falling a record 214 feet at a completely vertical, 90-degree angle, reaching a top speed of 75 mph!
Dollywood has announced the addition of Lightning Rod, both the world’s fastest wood coaster and the world’s first launching wood coaster. Set to roll to the starting line in March 2016, Lightning Rod adds another groundbreaking roller coaster to the park’s already impressive portfolio of world-class attractions. The thrilling $22 million ride also marks the single largest attraction investment in The Dollywood Company’s history.
LEGOLAND California has announced the addition of a brand new NINJAGO land in 2016 introducing, NINJAGO - The Ride. The new ride will feature technology never seen at any other theme park in the world when it opens. Through 3D imagery, high-tech sensors and the use of hand movements in a striking motion, up to four riders per car, representing the four main NINJAGO characters, can blast animated fireballs, lightning, shockwaves and ice as they travel through dojos to master their skills before heading into battle.
Six Flags Discovery Kingdom will open the most-anticipated new roller coaster in Northern California in over 10 years, The Joker. The villainous character’s personality is evident in this extreme hybrid coaster’s chaotic twists and turns throughout its 3,200 feet of dual-colored track. With a first ever “step-up under-flip inverted roll” that takes riders horizontal, The Joker ride will also feature the ultimate “fake-out” with a unique breaking wave turn, the only one of its kind on the west coast. Riders will experience a wild Zero G barrel roll plus 15 extreme airtime moments at maximum speeds of 53 mph.
Six Flags Great Adventure will dominate as the “king of chaos” in 2016 when the world’s largest theme park debuts its 14th coaster and the most unique scream machine in its history — also named The Joker. After being lifted straight up a 12-story, 90-degree hill, this 4D, free-fly coaster will wreak havoc as riders flip head-over-heels at least six times along the weightless journey. Thrill seekers will experience exhilarating leaps and dives along a horizontal plane, along with unexpected drops as they tumble from one level to the next.
Carowinds will open the world’s first intra-active 3D game experience, Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare, in spring 2016 – adding to the park’s family line-up of thrills for all ages. An intra-active experience means the game allows players to interact with the opposing team’s screen. Guests will step inside the state-of-the-art Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare complex decked with 3-D technology, massive screens, surround sound and motion-based seats, to enjoy outrageous and imaginative encounters with their competition.
California’s Great America and Electronic Arts (EA) are teaming up to create a first-of-its-kind guest experience at Great America. The dynamic new attraction will feature settings and characters from EA’scritically acclaimed Mass Effect videogame series developed by BioWare™ and will open next season in a newly renovated Action Theater. This exciting guest experience involves cutting edge technology customized for Great America and delivers 4D effects combined with a live performance and incredible special effects.