Last updated: 03:01 PM ET, Tue December 29 2015

Amusement Park Outlook 2016: Top Coasters and Attractions For The Year Ahead

Entertainment | Donald Wood | December 29, 2015

Amusement Park Outlook 2016: Top Coasters and Attractions For The Year Ahead

Last year was great for the amusement park industry, but the holiday season has people looking forward to 2016 and the top roller coasters and attractions expected to open next season.

For those theme park junkies already looking ahead to what promises to be an entertaining year in the business, here are the rides and attractions you have to add to your itinerary.

Skull Island: Reign of Kong - Universal Orlando

Coming in the summer of 2016, Universal Orlando will introduce the new Skull Island: Reign of Kong attraction in the Islands of Adventure portion of the park.

The 4-D ride takes passengers through Skull Island where they come face-to-face with dinosaurs, giant apes and even King Kong himself. The multi-sensory and multi-dimensional attraction will help amusement park fans enjoy the story of King Kong like never before.

Lightning Rod Roller Coaster - Dollywood

Making its debut in March 2016, the Lightning Rod roller coaster at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, will scale heights of 206 feet, roll down a 165-foot drop and reach 73 miles per hour, making it the fastest wooden coaster in the world.

Add in the fact that the new ride will be themed after a 1950s-era hot rod, and there is a genuine excitement surrounding the record-breaking roller coaster.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Universal Studios Hollywood

The theme park world is buzzing about the opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood, and officials announced the opening date will be April 7, 2016.

Visitors will be transported to the village of Hogsmeade where they will experience realistic homes and storefront shops. Add in that the “Harry Potter” themed facility will be the home of the first outdoor roller coaster at Universal Studios Hollywood, and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be a must-visit attraction.

Valravn Roller Coaster - Cedar Point

In September, Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio, announced it was building a record-breaking roller coaster called Valravn. When completed in 2016, it will become the world’s tallest, fastest and longest dive coaster.

Valravn will break 10 world records when it opens to the public, including the tallest dive coaster (223 feet), fastest dive coaster (75 miles per hour), longest dive coaster (3,415 feet), most inversions on a dive coaster (three), longest drop on a dive coaster (214 feet), highest inversion on a dive coaster (165 feet) and four others.

Frozen Ever After - Walt Disney World’s Epcot

For Disney fans, “Frozen” is one of the most popular movies in company history, and now it is becoming an attraction—dubbed Frozen Ever After—at Walt Disney World’s Epcot amusement park in 2016.

The ride will be built inside the former Maelstrom attraction at Epcot’s Norway pavilion. Frozen Ever After will transport passengers into the kingdom of Arendelle, the mythical location of “Frozen,” and will expose guests to familiar sights and sounds from the film.

Total Mayhem and The Joker Roller Coasters - Six Flags

The popular Six Flags chain of amusement parks announced that each of the company’s parks would receive new rides and attractions in 2016, including two of the most highly anticipated roller coasters.

The first is called The Joker and will be found at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, California. The hybrid coaster will feature 15 airtime moments, 3,200 feet of track and a maximum speed of 53 miles per hour.

On the other hand, Total Mayhem at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson Township, New Jersey, will be a 4-D, free-fly coaster that flips passengers head-over-heels at least six times during the weightless journey.


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