From Disney World to Star Trek: Operation Enterprise, discover 10 theme park rides opening around the world in 2017.
The sun is shining, school’s out, and it’s time to find something fun to do. A theme park vacation is a great idea, as they have something for everyone. Around the world, there are new, exciting rides and experiences to enjoy. So grab your passport (you’ll need it for some of these destinations) and Dramamine (a must-have), and embark on an adventure to one — or more — of these new theme park rides for 2017.
1. The Extraordinary Journey
When in France, see the Eiffel Tower and enjoy a baguette, then head to Futuroscope for The Extraordinary Journey. On the ride, you’ll be seated on a vertical platform and flipped 90 degrees. With your feet hanging free, a curved screen in front displays real and computer-generated images with on-board effects so you feel completely immersed in the action as you journey around the world. It’s based on Jules Verne’s journeys, such as Around the World in 80 Days (it just won’t take that long).
2. A Comedy-Filled Adventure with the Guardians of the Galaxy
Disneyland may not be the biggest theme park in the world, but it’s still the ultimate classic. As part of its California Adventure Park, Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: BREAKOUT! will provide visitors with a “comically high-energy, rocking new adventure” that puts them right “in the mix” with the characters from the film. It has a free-fall effect from the gantry lift you’ll be seated in, and plenty of audio and visual effects. And don’t fret: rockin’ music inspired by the film will be present.
3. For the Kids (and Those at Heart)
A trip to Japan is in itself exciting — the bright city lights, delicious food and unforgettable historical sights. There are also Disney theme parks, and Tokyo DisneySea has a new indoor simulator ride themed to the world of Pixar/Disney films Finding Nemo and Finding Dory. On Nemo & Friends SeaRider, guests go underwater in a submarine that shrinks to the size of Dory. The motion-based ride will have you experiencing life under the sea. It’s a perfect choice for the little ones in your life, and for that part of you that refuses (thankfully) to give up the wonder of youth.
4. A Fantasy World
When you’ve tired of Amsterdam in the Netherlands (if that’s possible), grab the train to Efteling and enjoy Symbolica: Palace of Fantasy. This family-friendly, track-free dark ride takes you into the King of Symbolica’s palace, through secret corridors and magical rooms. There are three different routes you can take in your carriage for multiple adventures with interactive elements. At a price tag of more than $36 million, this theme park attraction is sure to wow guests. Luckily, the price of admission isn’t that steep.
5. Ferrari Land
Have you been dreaming of driving a Ferrari at full speed down the Autobahn? You can’t do that at Ferrari Land — because it’s in Spain (not Germany) as part of PortAventura World — but you can experience what it’s like to tour the world inside a Ferrari GT in its virtual GT experience, Flying Dreams. Or for those who really want a rush of adrenaline, Red Force, the highest and fastest vertical accelerator in Europe, will have you experiencing the full range of F1 sensations while accelerating up to 180 km/h in just five seconds on an 880-meter route with a maximum height of 112 meters.
6. Time to Get Wet
When the temperature rises, water parks open their gates. In Ohio, Cedar Point Shores, formerly known as Soak City, will make a big splash with its grand opening. For the daredevils who aren’t afraid of heights, Point Plummet is perfect with its near-vertical free-fall slide from six stories up. There’s plenty for the whole family here, though, across 18 acres, including a lagoon, lazy river, Lily Pad Walk (just try to keep your balance), rapids and of course lots of waterslides. If you’d rather sit back and watch everyone else get soaked, book a cabana with table service, Wi-Fi, ceiling fans and charging stations.
7. Welcome to Pandora
The movie Avatar may seem like a distant memory, but the world it created — Pandora — is about to welcome guests at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida for a ride two-fer. This new land, Pandora — The World of Avatar, will be “visually stunning” and allow visitors to “wonder at floating mountains and bioluminescent plants.” You’ll have the option to go on an excursion on the Na’Vi River Journey boat ride that ventures through a bioluminescent rainforest, and with Avatar Flight of Passage you’ll experience Pandora atop a Banshee (no lifelong bond necessary) in a flight simulator.
8. Beam Me Up, Scotty
Believe it or not, until this year there was never a Star Trek roller coaster at any theme park in the world. That’s changing with Movie Park Germany’s Star Trek: Operation Enterprise. Focused on The Next Generation series, the “intergalactic triple-launch coaster” goes on a warp-speed adventure through numerous inversions and a 40-meter-high twisted halfpipe. As a launch coaster, the ride will accelerate three times forward and backward in catapult-like fashion. Taking this thrill ride is all in the name of heroics because your mission is to save the Enterprise from the Borg.
9. A Theme Park Coaster for All Ages
You may want to wait to enjoy Bigos, Poland’s national dish, until after you ride family-friendly coaster Boomerang at Energylandia. Boomerang goes up to 70 km/h, zipping around dynamic turns, with sudden inclines, before reversing and following the track backward, too — up to 25 meters high. Energylandia touts Boomerang as a universal attraction for all ages that “lets you experience some extreme screaming fun, but to a reasonable extent.” After the roller coaster thrills are done, the park’s new Jungle Adventure will be a nice way to relax (not really), with fast currents, giant waterfalls, large waves and wild swirls that guarantee you will get wet.
10. Europe Awaits
If you live in the U.S. but can’t travel to Europe, you’re in luck because Busch Gardens Williamsburg in Virginia brings the continent to you. Featuring themed lands based on European countries and one for Canada, it’s got a great lineup of roller coasters and family-friendly rides. New in 2017, the Vikings are invading the park with the InvadR roller coaster. As the park’s first-ever wooden coaster, it boasts a 74-foot plunge and “blazes through tunnels” up to speeds of nearly 80 km/h.
When the time comes to plan a vacation, make it one full of good fun and thrills at a theme park. To quote one of the greatest theme park vacation-seeking movie dads ever, Clark Griswold: “We’re all gonna have so much…fun, we’ll need plastic surgery to remove our…smiles!” Fingers crossed you do!