Throw your hands in the air and wave 'em like you're about to go over a 15-story drop!
Summer is just around the corner—here’s hoping—and with those lazy, hazy days come plenty of trips to amusement parks. Lucky for thrill seekers everywhere, there are 12 new coasters opening around the world in 2018. And according to the IAAPA Global Theme and Amusement Park Outlook Report (2017 to 2021), the estimated attendance for theme and amusement parks in 2018 is 398.5 million people. So buy those tickets ahead of time so you can spend more time enjoying the rides, and less time waiting in lines.
Top Picks for You
Steel Vengeance, Cedar Point
WHERE: Sandusky, Ohio
Known as the Roller Coaster Capital of the World, Cedar Point is home to 17 heart-stopping coasters. And, starting this spring, Steel Vengeance, the park’s 18th coaster, will open as the world’s tallest, fastest and longest hybrid roller coaster. At more than 200 feet tall, the new ride features the first-of-its-kind “twisted snake dive” as well as lots of airtime and some surprise maneuvers.
WONDER WOMAN Golden Lasso Coaster, Six Flags Fiesta Texas
WHERE: San Antonio, Texas
The world’s first Wonder Woman-themed roller coaster?! Yes, please! Located at Six Flags Fiesta Texas, the WONDER WOMAN Golden Lasso Coaster is also one of the world’s first single rail coasters, which means riders have unobstructed views as they fly along the track at 50 mph. There’s also two airtime hills, a 90-degree drop (gulp), and a zero-g roll (double gulp). Is your adrenaline pumping yet?
HangTime, Knott’s Berry Farm
WHERE: Buena Park, California
The 160-acre complex known as Knott’s Berry Farm, offers plenty of ways to entertain—dozens of restaurants and shops, arcade games, live shows, and loads of Americana. But, the park also has more than 40 rides, including HangTime, California’s steepest roller coaster, which opens this summer. Be prepared for a 15-story 96-degree drop that sends riders twisting and turning through five gravity-defying loops.
HARLEY QUINN Crazy Coaster, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
WHERE: Vallejo, California
If Six Flags Over Georgia is the Thrill Capital of the South, then Six Flags Discovery Kingdom is the Thrill Capital of Northern California. And this year Discovery Kingdom adds to that title with the introduction of the HARLEY QUINN Crazy Coaster. Riders crazy enough to experience the world’s first inverted looping coaster will also experience head-to-head flybys at speeds of 70 mph. Did we mention there are two trains on the track at once that race toward each other and when the cars meet riders get the impression that they can actually reach out and “high five” each other?
Slinky Dog Dash, Toy Story Land, Disney’s Hollywood Studios
WHERE: Bay Lake, Florida
This June Disney’s Hollywood Studios will open Toy Story Land, a brand new Toy Story-themed park that resembles Andy’s backyard. One of the featured rides will be the Slinky Dog Dash, a rollercoaster geared towards the whole family that features cars that seem to be part of Slinky Dog’s slinky coils! Woody and Buzz Lightyear also make an appearance.
Tantrum, Darien Lake
WHERE: Darien Center, New York
Darien Lake, a water and amusement park in Upstate New York, is home to coasters with names like Boomerang, Mind Eraser, and Predator. And now they can add Tantrum, its first coaster in 10 years, to the list. Reaching speeds of 52 mph, Tantrum takes riders to a 98-foot vertical lift before almost immediately dropping them into a 97-degree plummet and pretzel inversion. It ends with a tilted loop … because why not.
WHERE: Staffordshire, England
We’re not sure that wood and fire ever mix well, but we’re willing to give it a go for Alton Towers Resort’s newest thrill ride, Wicker Man. Standing at 57.57 feet (17.55 meters)—think six-story building—this will be the park’s first new coaster since 2013 and the U.K.’s first new wooden roller coaster since 1997. You’ll notice it immediately when you walk on the property as the structure appears to burst into flames as the wood-embellished cars fly around the track.
Funcoaster Tiki-waka, Walibi Belgium
WHERE: Wavre, Belgium
Walibi Belgium, home to roller coasters with names like Psyké Underground (you feel like you’re at a dance club), Vampire, and Cobra, debuts a more family-friendly roller coaster this spring. Named the Funcoaster Tiki-waka, this custom-built coaster has tight curves and short hills that will appeal to all ages.
WHERE: Gothenburg, Sweden
Liseberg amusement park is now home to Valkyria, Europe’s longest dive coaster. You see, just as the train is about to descend the 50-meter vertical drop, it pauses (with riders suspended in mid-air looking down), and then hurls one and all into an underground tunnel at a speed of 65 mph! Gulp. And yes, there is a Valkyria backstory to the coaster, so there’s that to add to the adrenaline. Apologies if the song is now stuck in your head as well.
Adrenaline Peak, Oaks Parks
WHERE: Portland, Oregon
Oaks Park debuts Adrenaline Peak, its first roller coaster ever this spring. The park’s newest thrill ride features a 72-foot vertical lift, a heartline roll, and a 97-degree loop, all taken at speeds of 45 mph. If that’s too much for you to handle, the Zoom Coaster might be more your speed.
Final Fantasy XR Ride, Universal Studios Japan
WHERE: Osaka, Japan
Universal Studios Japan debuts Final Fantasy XR Ride, a virtual reality roller coaster that’s based on the Final Fantasy video games. Riders put on virtual reality headsets before boarding airships to explore various Final Fantasy worlds like Monster Hunter and Detective Conan.
Icon, Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Blackpool
WHERE: Lancashire, England
It may only last two and a half minutes, but Icon, Blackpool Pleasure Beach’s newest coaster will also be the UK’s first ever double-launch roller coaster. What does that mean? It means that riders are thrust forward at high speeds at two different points in the ride, which reaches almost 90 feet at its tallest point and then plummets to about 80 feet. Our collective stomachs are churning at the thought.