2019 is over and a new decade is upon us. It’s time for us to take a step back and review the new attractions that we covered this past year. Yes, there were indeed a lot of them! Without more introduction, here’s a brief rundown of what we got a chance to experience this past year.
Copperhead Strike at Carowinds
Copperhead Strike is a Mack launched coaster that is the first of its kind to arrive in the US, following up Time Traveler (Silver Dollar City) and Mako (Sea World San Diego). The ride is clearly influenced by Icon (Blackpool Pleasure Beach). The ride is non-stop fun starting with a roll out of the station, to a themed pre-launch building, to two launches and 5 inversions through its custom layout. The ride sets itself apart being a trendsetter for featuring a launched airtime hill. Check out more photos of Copperhead Strike here. Copperhead Strike is a Mack launched coaster that is the first of its kind to arrive in the US, following up Time Traveler (Silver Dollar City) and Mako (Sea World San Diego). The ride is clearly influenced by Icon (Blackpool Pleasure Beach). The ride is non-stop fun starting with a roll out of the station, to a themed pre-launch building, to two launches and 5 inversions through its custom layout. The ride sets itself apart being a trendsetter for featuring a launched airtime hill. Check out more photos of Copperhead Strike here.
Wildwood Grove at Dollywood
With many thanks to the wonderful people at Dollywood, we were able to document Wildwood Grove from its construction phase, through grand opening, to visiting at night during Smoky Mountain Christmas. This new area of the park won the Golden Ticket Award for Best Kid’s Area, but it truly is much more than that. We also believe, looking at the large cleared out area behind the currently developed land, that what we see is just phase one, and that there is even more greatness to come. Check out more photos of Wildwood Grove here.
Yukon Striker at Canada’s Wonderland
Yukon Striker is a ride that has been many years in the making. Originally slated to open ahead of Valravn (Cedar Point), the ride finally made its grand debut this year taking the throne of the tallest and fastest Dive coaster. While Yukon Striker was the main attraction, Canada’s Wonderland rethemed the area around the ride to Frontier Canada fulfilling a plan developed for the park at its inception. Yukon Striker sets itself apart by featuring a large tunnel into a lake as part of its first drop. That and its innovative loose articles system. Check out more photos of Yukon Striker here.
Steel Curtain at Kennywood
Steel Curtain is one of the most truly unique rollercoasters that opened this past year. From a new train style, to taking the North American inversion crown, this ride is truly one not to be missed. Kennywood graciously allowed us to document the ride from its construction phase, through grand opening. Steel Curtain quickly found fans as the ride won the Golden Ticket award for Best New Ride. Check out more photos of Steel Curtain here.
Kentucky Flyer at Kentucky Kingdom
Kentucky Kingdom surprised us this year with a brand new Gravity Group family-sized wooden coaster. Don’t let the term family fool you. This ride is truly excellent and provides great thrills and an uncharacteristically smooth wooden coaster ride. Many thanks to the folks at Kentucky Kingdom for allowing us to document the construction and opening of Kentucky Flyer. In a time when most parks are staying away from adding new wooden coasters, we are absolutely thrilled to see Kentucky Kingdom add such a great one to their coaster lineup. Check out more photos of Kentucky Flyer here.
Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure at Universal’s Islands of Adventure
Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, or HagRide as it has been dubbed by fans, is located in the location previously occupied by Dragon Challenge / Dueling Dragons. This ride is an immersive family coaster taking the tricks first employed by Verbolten (Busch Gardens Williamsburg) and amping them up to the extreme. Check out more photos of Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure here.
Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disneyland
Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge is without a doubt the most impressive new addition of the year. You just can’t compete with the budget that this project had in order to meet even larger expectations. Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge met these expectations. Carbon copy lands opened in California and later Florida. Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run opened first, but it was Rise of the Resistance that made the land truly complete. Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge is reason enough to return to the Disney park nearest you. Check out photos of Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge here and here.
Forbidden Frontier on Adventure Island at Cedar Point
After seeing the success of Ghost Town Alive (Knott’s Berry Farm), Cedar Point created their own version of the attraction on Adventure Island. Instead of attempting to pull off the feat in an established area such as Frontiertown or the Frontier Trail, a whole new section of the park was created. It was refreshing to see a live entertainment driven attraction make it to the park. Cedar Point is following up the feat next year with the return of a boat ride around the island. Check out photos of Forbidden Frontier on Adventure Island here.
Tigris at Busch Gardens Tampa
SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment added a third Premier Rides Sky Rocket II coaster in 2019. This last one went to Busch Gardens Tampa in the place of Tanganyika Tidal Wave. Tigris has been a hit with park guests sporting consistently one of the longest rides in the park. The ride marks the start of a large investment in thrill attractions across the entire SEAS chain of parks. Check out photos of Tigris here.
Reese’s Cupfusion at Hersheypark
Hersheypark has started a trend of adding larger and larger attractions yearly leading up to the opening of Chocolatetown next year. This year they redid Reese’s Extreme Cup Challenge into a modern shooting dark ride. Reese’s Cupfusion seamlessly intertwines physical and projected targets and links players scores to a wristband system compatible with other attractions in the park. Check out photos of Reese’s Cupfusion here.
Taiga at Linnanmäki
Our favorite new roller coaster that opened this year is actually in Finland. Taiga caught us completely off guard. This terrain blitz coaster by Intamin takes lessons learned from Maverick (Cedar Point) and Taron (Phantasialand) and perfects them. The ride is just so much fun. Helsinki is a long ways in the area, but if you are in the neighborhood, seriously, make a stop at at Linnanmäki. Check out photos of Taiga here.
Nickelodeon Universe at American Dream
Towards the end of the year, a brand new theme park opened in the United States. This is something that doesn’t happen that often anymore. Nickelodeon Universe is part of the American Dream mall complex. The whole area is still being developed and the park is still struggling to operate its attractions consistently. We hope the park works out these issues as the ride assortment at the park certainly does look promising. Check out photos of Nickelodeon Universe here.
Meow Wolf Kaleidoscape at Elitch Gardens
In Denver, there have been rumors that Elitch Gardens time, at least in its current location, are limited. A new lifestyle center is supposed to be developed where the park currently sits. That did not stop the park from churning out a new and innovative attraction in the face of this situation. Meow Wolf Kaleidoscape is the best lower budget dark ride we rode this year. We had to ride it several times to try and grasp what it was we were seeing. An excellent improvement to the dated Ghost Blasters theming originally present. Check out photos of Meow Wolf Kaleidoscape here.
Believe it or not, there are even more new for 2019 rides and attractions that we experienced that we have not yet published updates for. These include:
- Fury at Bobbejaanland
- Maxx Force at Six Flags Great America
- Untamed at Walibi Holland
- Firebird at Six Flags America
Perhaps this will serve as a good teaser to keep following the site as there is plenty more to come in the winter months! 2019 was a heck of a year. Not just for us, but for the amusement industry. As we look to 2020, the future looks just as bright!