There’s a great deal of excitement in store at some of the country’s greatest amusement parks. From rides with features completely novel to the world of roller coasters to the highly anticipated Frozen the Movie attraction, these are the five new thrills we’re most looking forward to in 2016.
1. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Universal Studios Hollywood)
After the original opening in Orlando, Muggles are eagerly awaiting the opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood. The immersive area is slated to open in 2016, bringing Hogsmeade to life with themed shows, pints of butterbeer, and more. The most anticipated attraction is the Forbidden Journey, a high-tech adventure in a robotic arm vehicle along a track that reacts to the movements of Harry Potter and his friends. Expect ultra-high-resolution 3D screens and plenty of surprising twists as you enlist on a journey with Potter and friends.
2. Justice League: Battle for Metropolis (Six Flags Great America)
Chicago’s Six Flags Great America already has a roster of impressive rides, including Goliath, the fastest wooden coaster in the world, and the incredibly swift and stomach-churning X2. This upcoming season, Justice League: Battle for Metropolis will arrive with roving motion-base vehicles, along with 3D imagery, life-like animatronics, and interactive laser guns. The attraction is centered around Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and their clan as they battle all-mighty villains Lex Luthor and The Joker.
3. Frozen Ever After (Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort)
Taking over the gone-but-not-forgotten Maelstrom ride in Epcot, Frozen Ever After is opening this spring. The attraction will remain a boat ride, and guests will sail through Arendelle past audio-animatronic characters like Anna, Elsa, and Olaf during a Winter in Summer celebration. And you guessed it — the ever-popular song “Let It Go” will play a prominent role, too.
4. The Joker (Six Flags Discovery Kingdom)
Continuing the trend of intense hybrid coasters that the amusement park has been rolling out for the last few years, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom (in California Vallejo) has set a spring unveiling for The Joker — which will have a new steel track built on top of the wooden supports that once belonged to The Roar. The new 3,200-foot-long coaster will boast the world’s first “step-up under-flip inverted roll,” a feature that flips passengers horizontally, as well as 15 distinct moments of “extreme airtime.”
5. Skull Island: Reign of Kong (Universal Studios Orlando): There’s no doubt that Skull Island: Reign of Kong will be the park’s longest and most technologically complex attraction when it opens at Universal Studios Orlando this spring. The dark hybrid ride will incorporate animatronics and large-screen effects to transport riders into King Kong’s jungle. There are rumors, too, that animatronics might bring a towering Kong to life for a terrifying close encounter.