2018 New Theme Park Attraction Guide
2017 was another successful year for the theme park industry. Even with rising prices, the parks are packed and emerging theme park markets in Asia and the Middle East continue to grow. The future looks bright for fans as companies continue to invest to keep up with demand.
As far as new additions for 2018, regional parks are taking the lead as Disney and Universal are offering smaller additions as they gear up for 2019 and beyond. The major players have lots of cranes on property as their new additions are in progress. Meanwhile players like Six Flags, Cedar Fair, and Sea World are all bulking up their lineups.
Disney and Universal
The 2017 D23 Expo saw a number of new exciting projects announced by Disney coming to parks around the world. Most of them however will not be completed for years. Perhaps the most anticipated land of all time is due to open in 2019 at Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge has promise to allow visitors to take part in the Star Wars universe at an unprecedented level. While we wait for Star Wars to take over the theme park universe, Disney is opening a couple of smaller scale lands in 2018 to tide us over.
- Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – The Florida park is almost entirely under construction with only a handful of rides and shows still operating. Toy Story land is the first of several new areas opening in the next few years. The land includes a slinky dog coaster and whip ride themed to Buzz Lightyear. However, most visitors will want to wait until late 2019 and beyond to visit as that is when Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is due to open.
- Pixar Pier at Disney California Adventure – Paradise Pier is being re-themed to Pixar Pier with many of your favorite Pixar characters taking over the land. A new spinner ride themed to the Incredibles along with a re-theming of California Screamin is expected to be open by summer of 2018.
Disney rival Universal Studios is also between large scale projects at the moment. In Florida, they are gearing up for construction to begin on a Nintendo themed land along with a new Harry Potter inspired attraction taking over the former plot where Dragon Challenge once stood. Universal Studios Hollywood recently saw the completion of a five year plan that included the successful opening of its first Harry Potter themed land and they are entering a second five year plan that will bring even more large scale expansion projects. 2018 is a fairly light year by recent Universal standards, but there are a couple of projects coming online.
- Fast and The Furious Supercharged at Universal Studios Florida – The incredibly successful Fast and the Furious film franchise opened a less than stellar ride in Hollywood. Hopes are they are improving the Hollywood version of the ride.
- DreamWorks Theater at Universal Studios Hollywood – Shrek 4D is gone and in its place will be an all new show featuring Kung Fu Panda. The new flex space is expected to be able to switch out shows very quickly with different DreamWorks productions.
Regional U.S. Parks
The regional parks in the U.S. have a lot of new attractions in store. In the crowded market, competition means parks must continue to add or fall behind. The resulting arms race is a win for fans as the U.S. remains the top dog in amusement parks, even with Asia gaining steam.
- Time Traveler at Silver Dollar City – A spinning dive coaster that sounds thrilling and terrifying. A 90 degree first drop and three inversions all while spinning is sure to leave riders disoriented.
- Hang Time at Knott’s Berry Farm – The dive coaster will take you on a 150 foot 96 degree first drop, the steepest in California. The 57 mph top speed coaster will go upside down 5 times and include as it name suggest plenty of hang time for riders.
- Sky Warp at Six Flags Discover Kingdom – The worlds first dueling looping coaster. Riders will be able to get get up close and personal with riders In the other car as the train come in close to each other.
- Infinity Falls at Sea World Orlando – The worlds tallest river raft ride comes to Sea World Orlando in 2018.
- Steel Vengeance at Cedar Point – The Hybrid Wooden roller coaster with steel track goes to new heights with the 200 foot tall coaster with 4 inversions, and a top speed of 74 mph.
- Lego City Deep Sea Adventure at Legoland, California – Explore the deep sea adventure in a submarine.
- Battle For Eire at Busch Gardens Williamsburg – VR has been a growing trend on roller coasters and this time Busch Gardens takes a stab at a VR motion simulator theater experience.
- Electric Eel at Sea World San Diego – The tallest and fastest roller coaster in the parks history opens in 2018. The multi launch thrill coaster has many twists, turns, and inversions.
- The World’s Largest Looping Coaster at Six Flags Great America – The unnamed coaster will feature the worlds largest loop at over 100 feet and promises plenty of hang time.
- Twisted Cyclone at Six Flags over Georgia – Another wooden steel hybrid featuring an opening drop at a 75 degree angle and multiple inversions.
- Wonder Woman Golden Lasso at Six Flags Fiesta Texas – A first of its kind single rail coaster includes a 90 degree drop and multiple inversions. The same ride will also open at California’s Great America under the name Rail Blazer.
Much like the United States, the Asian parks are in between large scale projects. Shanghai Disneyland opened to much fanfare in 2016. Theme parks in Japan have been fairly quiet the last few years, but are gearing up for large scale expansion projects in preparation of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Tokyo Disney Resort and Universal Studios Japan will have construction projects underway in 2018, but you won’t see the fruits of their labor until 2019 and beyond. Hong Kong Disneyland has unveiled some big plans to try and keep up with projects in Mainland China and Japan, but most of these projects will also not see guests until 2019 and beyond. Still there are a few projects that are opening in 2018.
- Toy Story Land at Shanghai Disneyland – After a successful opening 2016, Shanghai Disneyland will see its first expansion with Toy Story Land. Similar to lands at several other Disney parks, Shanghai’s Toy Story land will feature smaller scale flat rides and opens in April.
- Adventureland Show Place at Hong Kong Disneyland – A new theater being built is expected to hold a Moana themed show in Adventureland.
- Ant Man Attraction at Hong Kong Disneyland – Buzz Lightyear has closed and is being re-themed to an Ant Man shooter attraction. This is the first stage of a large scale Marvel integration into Tomorrowland.
- Universal Spectacle Night Parade at Universal Studios Japan – Universal Studios enters the night parade realm with this parade that also features Harry Potter characters for the first time.
Europe and The Middle East
The Middle East has invested heavily in theme parks and so far have yet to see positive results. Meanwhile most of Europe remains focused on adding roller coasters and leave the intricately themed lands on the continent to Disneyland Paris and Efteling. Here are some of the top parks and rides coming to Europe and the Middle East.
- Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi – The indoor new theme park opens in 2018 at a cost of more than $1 billion. The park will feature characters from DC Comics, Looney Toons, and Hannah Barbera. The six themed lands include Warner Bros Plaza, Gotham City, Metropolis, Cartoon Junction, Bedrock, and Dynamite Gulch.
- AnkaPark, Turkey – Thew new theme park opens with an impressive 17 roller coasters that range from thrill coasters to the family variety.
- Hyper Coaster at Land Of Legends in Turkey – The unnamed coaster will soar 200 feet tall and reach 71 mph.
- Unnamed Wooden Coaster at Alton Towers in the United Kingdom – So far details are scarce about the wooden coaster from the same manufacture as Mystic Timbers, but Alton Towers promises greatness.