Theme Parks

32 best new theme park additions of 2015

The 800-pound gorilla on the theme park horizon is the $4.4-billion Shanghai Disneyland resort

Looking ahead to 2015, theme parks around the world are planning to add a host of new attractions designed to thrill ride enthusiasts.

Consider this a tentative and fluid list of new attractions on tap across the globe. As is often the case, some projects may get delayed while new ones get announced.

Let's take a look at the 32 most anticipated additions planned for 2015 at theme parks close to home, across the United States and around the world.

1) Shanghai Disneyland – New park

The 800-pound gorilla on the theme park horizon is Shanghai Disneyland, the $4.4-billion resort expected to open in late 2015 or early 2016 with a Magic Kingdom-style theme park, two hotels and a Downtown Disney shopping center. The Chinese government wants Shanghai Disneyland to be sharply different from the other five Magic Kingdom theme parks around the globe, with several all-new attractions related to Chinese culture and myth woven into and around classic Disney attractions.

2) Six Flags Fiesta Texas Fourth-dimension coaster

The first-of-its-kind Batman: The Ride fourth-dimension wing coaster coming to Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio will feature an elevatorlike lift hill, forward and reverse inversions and beyond-vertical freefall drops.

3) Six Flags Magic Mountain – Wood-steel hybrid coaster  

Designed and built by Idaho-based Rocky Mountain Construction, Twisted Colossus will transform the 1978 Colossus wooden racer into a 4,990-foot-long wood-steel hybrid ride billed as the world’s longest hybrid coaster. In all, riders will experience 18 airtime hills, two lift hills, two 80-degree drops, two zero-G roll inversions and two passes through a distinctive “high five” element.

4) Carowinds – Giga coaster

The $30-million Fury 325 coming to Carowinds in 2015 will be among the fastest, tallest and longest roller coasters in the world. The 325-foot-tall giga coaster will fly over and under a new entrance plaza planned for the amusement park located on the North Carolina-South Carolina state line.

5) Six Flags New England – Wood-steel hybrid coaster

Rocky Mountain Construction will convert the Cyclone wooden coaster at Six Flags New England into the Wicked Cyclone wood-steel hybrid. Reaching a top speed of 55 mph, the 3,320-foot-long Wicked Cyclone will feature two zero-g roll inversions, a overbanked stall and double reversing banked airtime hill.

6) Hansa Park – Coaster-dark ride combo

Germany’s Hansa Park will introduce a first-of-a-kind attraction that features a 200-foot-tall high-speed hypercoaster built by German-based Gerstlauer sandwiched between a pair of themed dark ride experiences. Known as Karnan, the combo ride will employ a unique vertical lift followed by a vertical first drop.

7) Holiday World – Winged launch coaster

Holiday World’s new $22-million Thunderbird launched wing coaster will be located in the Thanksgiving section of the holiday-themed park. Following a pre-show featuring fog, sound and lighting effects simulating a thunderstorm, the new coaster will launch from zero to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds along a 3,000-foot-long track that winds through thickly wooded hilly terrain.

8) Fantawild – New wooden coasters

Ohio-based Gravity Group is working on several projects for the Fantawild chain of amusement parks, with wooden coasters planned in the Chinese cities of Zhuzhou, Jinan and Wuhu. All the rides are expected to be completed in late 2014 or early 2015, with one or more of the new coasters featuring looping inversions.

9) Efteling – Dive coaster

Efteling theme park in the Netherlands plans to add the $24-million Baron 1898 dive coaster with a steampunk theme. At the top of the lift hill, riders will dangle over the edge for a few seconds before the train descends into a 90-degree first drop.

10) Gardaland – Dive coaster

Another dive coaster is heading to Italy’s Gardaland in 2015, according to documents submitted to a local government agency. Code-named Operation Orange, the 138-foot-tall ride is expected to be similar to Heide Park’s Krake, a Bolliger & Mabillard Dive Machine built at Gardaland’s German sister park in 2011.

11) Busch Gardens Williamsburg – Vertical coaster

Busch Gardens Williamsburg has filed permits with a local government agency to build a 156-foot-tall attraction in the Festa Italia area of the Virginia park. Blueprints posted by BGW Fans indicate the new attraction will be similar to the Superman: Ultimate Flight vertical coaster built by Premier Rides at Northern California's Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. Parent company SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment filed a trademark for Tempesto, an Italian word that loosely translates to storm.

12) Tayto Park – Wooden coaster

Ireland’s Tayto Park will add a 105-foot-tall wooden coaster that reaches 65 mph over a 3,600-foot-long course with at least one looping inversion or overbanked element. The $11.5-million coaster will be built by Ohio-based Gravity Group, which upgraded Hades at Wisconsin’s Mt. Olympus to include a corkscrew. Owned by Tayto Crisps, the Irish park includes a factory tour of the potato chip company.

13) Six Flags Over Texas and Six Flags St. Louis – Themed dark rides

The sister parks will introduce DC Comics Justice League-themed 3-D interactive dark rides called Battle for Metropolis. Along the way, riders will help Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern face off against the Joker, Lex Luthor and other comic book villains.

14) Bosque Magico – Launch coaster

Mexico’s Bosque Magico plans to add a 150-foot-tall Premier Rides coaster with forward and backward launches. Reaching a top speed of 62 mph, the Zombie coaster will feature an inline twist and a non-inverting loop.

15) Wanda City – New park

Plans for the new Wanda City amusement park in China include a 5,100-foot-long wooden coaster and a 240-foot-tall launch coaster. The 160-foot-tall Viper wooden coaster from Pennsylvania-based Great Coasters International will feature a S-curve first drop and a long run through trees. The 4,900-foot-long steel megacoaster from Swiss-based Intamin will reach a top speed of 85 mph.

16) Lewa World – New park

Another new Chinese park is expected to open with as many as nine coasters, including a record-setting ride with the world’s tallest inversion. With a top speed of 75 mph, the 197-foot-tall looping coaster at Lewa Happy World will be built by German-based Mack Rides.

17) Universal Studios Hollywood – Motion-based simulator

Following on the success of King Kong 360 3-D, Universal Studios Hollywood will add another massive drive-through movie attraction to the backlot tram tour. Fast & Furious Supercharged will take riders inside a 50,000-square-foot attraction that combines a motion-based simulator platform and a 400-foot-long tunnel-like movie screen for a 3-D experience based on the street racing film franchise.

18) Knott’s Berry Farm – Interactive dark ride

The one-of-a-kind Voyage to the Iron Reef interactive dark ride coming to Knott's Berry Farm in 2015 will drop visitors into the middle of an underwater battle brimming with steampunk-inspired sea creatures.

19) Knoebels – Looping coaster

Pennsylvania’s Knoebels amusement park will add a steel coaster with a chain-driven vertical lift hill and four inversions, including a cobra roll and an inline twist. The new Impulse looping coaster from German-based Zierer will be similar to Wicked at Utah’s Lagoon park, which features an electro-magnetic vertical launch.

20) Lagoon – Vertical lift coaster

The Lagoon amusement park has already begun installing a one-of-a-kind coaster with a vertical lift hill and multiple inversions. The 200-foot-tall Cannibal will be designed by an in-house team, just like the Utah park's BomBora coaster.

21) ZDT’s – Wooden shuttle coaster

Designed by Ohio-based Gravity Group, the Famous Switchback Railway coming to ZDT’s amusement park in Texas will be the first new wooden shuttle coaster built anywhere in the world in more than a century.

22) Universal Studios Hollywood – Themed land

Universal Studios Hollywood will bring the fictional animated town of Springfield to life with a Krusty Burger, Moe’s Tavern and Duff Brewery next to the park’s existing Simpsons ride. A similar expansion at Florida’s Universal Orlando included a spinning ride themed to the long-running cartoon’s Kodos and Kang alien characters.

23) Hersheypark – Spinning coaster

Hersheypark plans to combine a glow-in-the-dark funhouse experience with an indoor roller coaster for a first-of-its-kind attraction in the United States. The $14-million Laff Trakk spinning coaster will pay tribute to the five funhouses that have called the Pennsylvania theme park home since the 1930s.

24) Miracle Strip Florida – Wooden coaster

The Starliner wooden coaster will return to its roots after several near-death experiences. Florida's first roller coaster was originally designed by renowned ride builder John Allen and built by Philadelphia Toboggan Co. in 1963. After the Miracle Strip amusement park closed in 2004, the Starliner was relocated to Cypress Gardens (which eventually became Legoland Florida and again shuttered the ride). The new Starliner will be reborn at the new Miracle Strip with an altered lift hill but the rest of the coaster’s out and back layout.

25) Kentucky Kingdom – Suspended looping coaster

In 2015, the recently reopened Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville will convert the standing-but-not-operating T2 inverted coaster into T3, or Terror to the Third Power. Back in 1995, T2 was the first suspended looping coaster built in the United States by Vekoma Rides.

26) Universal’s Islands of Adventure – Dark ride

Construction has already begun on a new ride at Universal’s Islands of Adventure in Florida known only as Project 340. Speculation has focused on a King Kong dark ride attraction that would take riders to Skull Island. Back in 2010, Universal Studios Hollywood opened the King Kong 360 3-D attraction on the backlot tram tour that combined 3-D technology with a massive drive-through movie experience.

27) Kidzania Singapore – Family entertainment center

The $90-million Kidzania coming to Sentosa Island near Universal Studios Singapore lets kids work at various jobs in a themed city environment. Kids make play money working as doctors, police officers, firefighters, bankers and journalists that can be spent on food and other items within Kidzania.

28) La Ronde – Haunted house

The Canadian amusement park will introduce a year-round haunted attraction called Maison Rouge: Labyrinth of Fear. The walk-through funhouse will be similar to the Fright Fest mazes featured at Six Flags parks every Halloween.

29) Silver Dollar City – New kiddie land

The new Fireman’s Landing themed land at Missouri's Silver Dollar City will add six kiddie rides and four play areas. A S&S Doubleshot tower from the former Celebration City amusement park will be surrounded by spinning rides with a vintage firefighting theme.

30) Legoland Windsor – Ghost: The Haunted House

England’s Legoland Windsor will build an indoor family drop ride called Ghost: The Haunted House, according to permit submitted to a local government agency. The Legoland in Germany is adding a similar attraction with a walk-through experience that includes a mirror maze with vampires, ghosts, monsters and a mad scientist.

31) Disneyland – Nighttime parade

A clone of the "Paint the Night" parade debuting this year at Hong Kong Disneyland may be part of Disneyland's 60th anniversary celebration in 2015, reports Disney and More. The Main Street USA nighttime parade would include floats from "Cars," "Toy Story," "Monsters Inc.," "Beauty and the Beast," "Little Mermaid" and "Peter Pan."

32) Romon World – New park

Yet another new another new Chinese park -- the indoor-outdoor Romon World -- is scheduled to open in late 2014 or early 2015 with two coasters. The double inversion Travel Through Europe indoor coaster built by Swiss-based Intamin is expected to be similar to Kanonen at Sweden’s Liseberg. The 62 mph Legendary Dragon launch coaster built by Germany-based Maurer Sohne will feature three inversions, including an inside top hat and a heartline roll.

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