Top 17 for 2017: Best new rides at theme parks around the world
It already seems as though 2017 is shaping up as a great year for ride enthusiasts around the world: New theme parks are planned for Asia and the Middle East, while several major attractions are in the works for Europe too.
Consider this a tentative and fluid list of new attractions on tap at parks outside the United States. As is often the case, some projects may get delayed while new ones are announced.
Since it is still early, I’ll update my top 17 over the coming months as new projects emerge. Until then, here’s my list of the most anticipated attractions for 2017:
1) Finding Dory simulator ride at Tokyo DisneySea
Tokyo DisneySea will replace the StormRider simulator in the Port Discovery section of the Japanese theme park with a new attraction themed to the movie sequel to “Finding Nemo.”
During the underwater journey, riders board a submarine that shrinks to the size of Dory, Nemo and other sea creatures from the animated films.
2) Symbolica dark ride at Efteling
The $39-million Symbolica trackless dark ride coming to Efteling theme park in the Netherlands will take riders on a magical journey through the secret corridors and hidden rooms of the Palace of Fantasy.
A six-passenger trackless vehicle from Netherlands-based ETF Ride Systems that tilts and spins will travel along one of three routes through the palace. Pardoes, the park’s court jester mascot, will serve as the ride’s host.
3) Flying theaters
The $11-million l'Extraordinaire Voyage (Extraordinary Voyage) flying theater attraction coming to the Futuroscope theme park in Poitiers, France, will take visitors on a Jules Verne-themed journey around the globe.
Similar to the Soarin’ attractions at Disney parks, the Futuroscope ride offers a modern-day take on Verne’s 1873 adventure novel “Around the World in 80 Days.”
Designed by Florida-based Dynamic Attractions, the hang-gliding flight simulator ride combines a mechanical lift system with rows of seats and a 5,000-square-foot concave domed movie screen. The ride is expected to open in December.
Similarly, Germany’s Europa Park plans to introduce the Project V flying theater, which will take passengers on a flight over European landmarks.
4) Ferrari Land at PortAventura
The new Ferrari Land will put race fans behind the wheel of the Italian automaker’s line of luxury sports cars when the new themed land debuts in 2017 at Spain’s PortAventura, about an hour north of Barcelona.
The 19-acre Ferrari Land will be about one-third the size of the original Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and about as big as a single themed land at PortAventura.
The new land will feature four rides: a launched roller coaster, a pair of drop towers, a miniature motorway and a race car simulator.
5) Star Trek coaster at Movie Park Germany
Movie Park Germany, about an hour north of Dusseldorf, will unveil the world’s first “Star Trek” roller coaster in 2017.
Star Trek: Operation Enterprise, a launched coaster with indoor segments, will be built by German-based Mack Rides.
6) SW8 coaster at Alton Towers
Alton Towers has announced plans to build the latest in a long line of “secret weapon” roller coasters.
Documents submitted to the local planning authority show a coaster layout with a pre-show building and tunnels along a wooded route, according to Theme Park UK.
Dubbed SW8, the “ground-breaking new ride” follows in the tradition at the Staffordshire, England, amusement park of teasing new coasters with the secret weapon moniker. Alton towers built Nemesis in 1994 (SW3), Oblivion in 1998 (SW4), Air in 2002 (SW5), Thirteen in 2010 (SW6) and the Smiler in 2013 (SW7).
7) 20th Century Fox World Malaysia
The upcoming debut of 20th Century Fox World in Malaysia marks the beginning of a global roll-out of theme parks for the Los Angeles film and television studio.
Set to open in 2017, the first Fox theme park will feature 25 rides and attractions based on films like “Ice Age,” “Alien vs. Predator,” “Night at the Museum,” “Rio” and “Planet of the Apes.”
An artist’s rendering of the park shows a re-creation of the “Titanic” ocean liner, a snow-covered “Ice Age” mountain and a crashed spaceship from “Alien vs. Predator” as well as hints at attractions based on “Babylon A.D.” and “Prometheus.”
A new amusement park in Turkey is set to debut in 2017 with an astonishing 16 roller coasters, according to Roller Coaster Database.
That would put Ankapark in Ankara, Turkey, in a three-way tie for second place with Cedar Point in Ohio and Canada’s Wonderland outside Toronto for the most roller coasters in the world, behind only Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia with 19.
Several of the Ankapark coasters are by lesser-known Chinese and Turkish ride makers. A few of the rides are made by well-known manufacturers, including a 10-inversion looping coaster and a jet-ski launch coaster by Switzerland-based Intamin as well as an airplane-theme air force suspended coaster and a Volare hang-gliding coaster by Italy-based Zamperla.
9) Legoland Japan
Merlin Entertainments plans to open a Legoland theme park in Japan in 2017.
Located in Nagoya, the $315-million Legoland Japan will feature an observation tower, Technics roller coaster, Aquazone water ride and a junior driving course.
10) SFX coaster at Ferrari World
Abu Dhabi’s Ferrari World will add an indoor-outdoor coaster with multiple launches and inversions in late 2016 or early 2017.
The Dynamic Attractions SFX coaster will feature drop- and tilt-track sections as well as 3D screens.
11) Two coasters at Happy Valley Chengdu
The Happy Valley Chengdu amusement park in southwestern China plans to add a Bolliger & Mabillard dive coaster and a Great Coasters International wooden coaster in 2017.
The 164-foot-tall dive coaster by Switzerland-based B&M will plummet down a 90-degree drop into a splashdown pool, according to Roller Coaster Database.
The 100-foot-tall wooden coaster by Pennsylvania-based GCI will travel along a 3,300-foot-long course.
12) Pegasus coaster at Parc Astérix
The new Pegasus coaster coming to France’s Parc Astérix will stop at the midpoint of the ride in the Temple of Medusa, where the train will then travel backward along the track to escape the petrifying powers of the Greek mythological monster.
The launched family coaster by German-based Gerstlauer will be similar to the forward- and backward-traveling FireChaser Express at Dollywood in Tennessee.
13) Mack coaster at Warner Bros. Movie World
Construction is underway near the front gate of Warner Bros. Movie World in Australia on an extreme roller coaster by Germany-based Mack Rides.
While the Gold Coast park has not yet released details about the ride, fan websites like Parkz are hoping for a launched mega coaster like Blue Fire at Germany’s Europa Park or a 200-foot-tall hyper coaster like Flash at China’s Lewa Adventure.
14) Ghostbusters 5D dark ride at Heide Park
Germany’s Heide Park has announced plans for a Ghostbusters 5D dark ride that will put riders behind the wheel of the movie’s Ecto-1 ghost hunting vehicle.
Armed with a hand-held particle accelerator wand, riders in the shoot-em-up dark ride will fire at laser targets that trigger special effects and paranormal apparitions as they travel through a mysterious warehouse.
15) Three coasters at Energylandia
The biggest of the new additions will be an Intamin water coaster called Speed with a vertical lift hill and a racing boat theme. The park will also introduce a Vekoma Boomerang Rebound family coaster and a dragon-themed kiddie coaster.
16) Ikaros drop tower at Grona Lund
Riders will descend face first down the new 300-foot-tall Ikaros drop tower coming in April to the Grona Lund theme park in Stockholm, Sweden.
Ikaros will be similar to Falcon Fury at Busch Gardens Tampa. Once the gondola reaches the top of the tower, the seats will rotate 90 degrees to position riders face-down for a five-second drop at 50 mph.
The new Sky Jump ride by Switzerland-based Intamin will be themed to the Greek mythological story of Icarus, who flew too close to the sun and burned his wings.
17) Heidi wooden coaster at Plopsaland de Panne
The 72-foot-tall Heidi out-and-back wooden coaster coming in April to Plopsaland de Panne in Belgium will reach a top speed of 45 mph over a 2,000-foot-long track.
Built by Pennsylvania-based Great Coasters International, Heidi will be similar to White Lightning at Fun Spot America in Orlando, Fla.
The new ride will be themed to “Heidi,” a Studio Plopsa show about an orphan girl who goes to live with her grandfather in the Swiss Alps.
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