2020 – Preview (North America Edition)

It’s about this time of year I start composing all sorts of lists of the places I’d like to visit. Plans are typically influenced by a variety of factors ranging from checking off things off a bucket list, to visiting old favorites all influenced by travel deals. One of the primary things that I look at is what are the new theme parks and attractions that are opening in the coming year. In this article, I go through that list with you.

Iron Gwazi Construction from November 2019

Things certainly are not slowing down in 2020 in the theme park world. This year there is so much happening in the US alone, that we’ll split our preview into multiple articles leaving the rest of the world for later. In no particular order, here’s what we have to look forward to next year:

LEGOLAND New York

The US is getting a brand new theme park in 2020!. Planned to open on the 4th of July, LEGOLAND New York will be the third park of its kind in North America. The park will be built on the largest plot of land for a LEGOLAND park ever, leading to nearly endless possibilities for future expansion. At opening, the park will be anchored by the unique LEGO Factory Adventure trackless dark ride as well as familiar LEGOLAND staples including the Dragon coaster, Ninjago: The Ride, Driving and Boating Schools as well as our personal favorite: Miniland.

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Top 10 Launched Roller Coasters

Roller coasters these days are not always propelled by a lift hill.  Launches can provide a more thrilling way to start a ride.  They provide differentiation for the parks that have them.  Launches come in all different methods from using magnets (LIM or LSM) to hydraulic launch, to more primitive methods such as a winch, weight drop, or tires.

These are the launched roller coasters that we believe are the best in the business today:


Honorable Mention: Incredible Hulk Coaster at Universal Islands of Adventure
Incredible Hulk Coaster starts with a very unique lift hill tire launch found nowhere else.  The launch ends in a barrel roll inversion that starts the ride on a very exciting note.  For 2016, Universal Studios is performing a full track replacement of this ride.


Honorable Mention: Verbolten at Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Verbolten is the successor to Busch Garden Williamsburg’s Big Bad Wolf coaster.  Verbolten is a very unique coaster including several launch segments, an indoor ride portion, and a finale consisting of a dive off a rickety bridge into the River Rhine valley.


 

10: Full Throttle at Six Flags Magic Mountain
Full Throttle, built by Premier Rides, is known for its unique backwards-then-forwards launch mid course as well as containing the world’s largest loop that you both go through and then over.


9 : Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
This is a wonderfully themed Vekoma launched coaster where you sit in a stretch limo and race through the streets of Hollywood to make it in time for an Aerosmith concert.


8: Revenge of the Mummy at Universal Studios Florida
The Florida version of Revenge of the Mummy is one of the most impressive indoor roller coaster experiences out there today.  This attraction features several launches and great fire effects.


7: California Screamin’ at Disney California Adventure
While not the most intense roller coaster, California Screamin’ does set itself apart based on its modern reinterpretation of a boardwalk wooden roller coaster.  Containing two launches, on-board audio, insane capacity, and a signature loop, this ride is loads of fun.


6: Thunderbird at Holiday World
In 2015, Holiday World surprised everyone when they successfully introduced the first magnetically launched B&M roller coaster.  Thunderbird sets itself apart with its unique layout that disappears into the woods.


5: Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure
If you are looking for the most intense launch experience, look no further than Kingda Ka.  This ride is one of the fastest and still the tallest roller coaster in the world.


4: Cheetah Hunt at Busch Gardens Tampa
Cheetah Hunt is one of the most scenic roller coasters out there.  The ride stays low to the ground and contains several launches allowing its riders to experience what it is like to prowl like a Cheetah.


3: Powder Keg at Silver Dollar City
Perhaps one of the more under-appreciated rides, this air launched coaster was reworked to remove its problematic water ride elements.  What resulted was an even more fun launched coaster diving in and out of the foothills of southern Missouri.


2: blue fire Megacoaster at Europa Park
Great theming, great pacing, and super smooth ride.  blue fire proves that Mack can make launched roller coasters too.


1: Maverick at Cedar Point
This seemingly unassuming roller coaster due to its height, makes it to the top of our list.  Maverick combines the best elements of other roller coasters into one package.  This includes a launched lift hill, quick transitions, air time hills, inversions and a second launch under the station.  Don’t miss this ride.