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Take the Rides of Your Life

No matter what thrills you — roller coasters, giant swings, carnival games, drop towers, carousels, log flumes — you’ll be squealing with joy (or fear!) all day at an amusement park. There’s plenty of fun to be found at big attractions, such as Disney, Universal and Six Flags, or at smaller parks close to home.

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Goliath
Goliath (Six Flags Great America - Gurnee, IL)

Goliath (Six Flags Great America - Gurnee, IL)

Following up Silver Dollar City's opening of Outlaw Run in 2013, Rocky Mountain Construction is building yet another world record-breaking, wooden roller coaster for Six Flags Great America. Goliath will be the world’s fastest, tallest and steepest wooden roller coaster, plunging 180 feet at 85 degrees and traveling at 72 mph. 960 1280

Six Flags Great America  

Banshee (Kings Island - Mason, OH)

Banshee (Kings Island - Mason, OH)

At just over 4,124 feet long, Banshee will be the world’s longest inverted roller coaster. Riders will hit 7 inversions, where the track will turn adrenaline junkies upside-down and then right-side up. This ride will reach top speeds of 68 mph. 960 1280

Kings Island  

Helix (Gothenburg, Sweden)

Helix (Gothenburg, Sweden)

Right in the heart of Gothenburg, Sweden, Liseberg amusement park will open the multi-launched roller coaster Helix in 2014. Riders will travel more than 4,530 feet of track and 7 different inversions. Mack Rides developed this coaster and built Blue Fire, featured on Insane Coaster Wars Season 2. 960 1280

Liseberg  

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (Magic Kingdom - Orlando, FL)

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (Magic Kingdom - Orlando, FL)

A new breed of family thrills opens at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom in 2014. The masterminds behind this homage to the 1937 flick Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will offer a new element never before seen at any Disney park. The mine cars on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will swing and rock back and forth as the cars navigate the track to simulate being in a real mine shaft. 960 1280

Disney  

Kentucky Kingdom Reopening (Louisville, KY)

Kentucky Kingdom Reopening (Louisville, KY)

After several attempts to revive Louisville's Kentucky Kingdom, Ed Hart, the former operator of the amusement park, and a group of investors will reopen Kentucky Kingdom in 2014. A $7 million steel roller coaster and expanded Hurricane Bay waterpark will be added to the remodeled tourist attraction. 960 1280

Kentucky Kingdom  

Falcon's Fury (Busch Gardens - Tampa Bay, FL)

Falcon's Fury (Busch Gardens - Tampa Bay, FL)

It might just be the most terrifying drop tower ever created! Falcon’s Fury will lift riders 300 feet into the air, tilt them 90 degrees, and give them a clear view of the ground before dropping them at 60 mph. This ride is going to be absolutely insane! 960 1280

Busch Gardens  

FireChaser Express (Dollywood - Pigeon Forge, TN)

FireChaser Express (Dollywood - Pigeon Forge, TN)

Dollywood’s tagline for this family-friendly coaster is "Heroes come in all sizes!” FireChaser Express climbs nearly 80 feet and launches riders back and forth. With a height restriction of 39 inches, this thrill ride is where the entire family can scream together. 960 1280

Dollywood  

Medusa Steel Coaster (Six Flags - Mexico City)

Medusa Steel Coaster (Six Flags - Mexico City)

With the success of Iron Rattler at Six Flags Fiesta Texas in 2013, Rocky Mountain Construction will work its magic again, transforming the wooden coaster Medusa at Six Flags Mexico. The remodeled coaster, Medusa Steel Coaster, will be one of the tallest, fastest hybrid roller coasters in the world, showcasing elements like an inverted first drop -- a feature never seen on any hybrid coaster. 960 1280

Six Flags  

Ratatouille (Disneyland Paris)

Ratatouille (Disneyland Paris)

Like Pooh's Hunny Hunt at Tokyo Disneyland and Mystic Manor at Hong Kong Disneyland, Ratatouille is a newer breed of ride, using modern trackless vehicle technology. You won't see any track on the ground, and the maneuvers this ride is capable of doing are unbelievable! If this attraction turns out anything like “Pooh” or “Manor,” Disneyland Paris Resort will have its own popular ride for Disney fans! 960 1280

Disneyland Paris  

Flug der Dämonen (Heide Park - Soltau, Germany)

Flug der Dämonen (Heide Park - Soltau, Germany)

This new coaster is sure to become one of Europe's best steel coasters in 2014. Built in the Transsilvanien-themed section of Heide Park, Flug der Dämonen is expected to be one of the most impressive wing coasters built to date. Similar to X-Flight featured on Insane Coaster Wars Season 2, the ride has passengers sit on the outside of the track, while the train barrels through some impressive twists and turns. 960 1280

Heide Park  

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Universal Studios - Osaka, Japan)

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Universal Studios - Osaka, Japan)

Universal is keeping the details about this amusement park attraction quiet, but rumors are that a new theme park will open in Japan similar to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure in Orlando, including Hogwarts Castle and the Forbidden Journey. 960 1280

Universal Studios  

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley (Universal Studios - Orlando)

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley (Universal Studios - Orlando)

In what could be the most expansive theme park attraction ever, the new Harry Potter expansion will link Hogwarts at Islands of Adventure to Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida via the Hogwarts Express. The new development will feature an attraction with a Gringotts Bank theme, accompanied by new shops, restaurants and nearly everything any Harry Potter fan would want in a multi-destination theme park experience. 960 1280

Universal Studios  

Zumanjaro - Drop of Doom (Six Flags Great Adventure - Jackson, NJ)

Zumanjaro - Drop of Doom (Six Flags Great Adventure - Jackson, NJ)

Don’t hop on this ride if you have a weak stomach. When Zumanjaro opens this year, it will be the world's tallest drop tower at a record-breaking 415 feet. Built on the side of the world's tallest roller coaster, Kingda Ka, this new ride has riders pause at the top for a few seconds before plummeting to the ground at 90 mph. 960 1280

Six Flags Great Adventure  

Cinecitta World (Rome)

Cinecitta World (Rome)

A fascinating new $700 million theme park is rising just outside of Rome. Cinecitta World will be a beautifully detailed park featuring roller coasters, thrill rides, family rides and movie sets based on the 3,000 movies and television shows that have been produced by Italy's Cinecitta Studios to date. 960 1280

Cinecitta  

EPCOT
EPCOT

EPCOT

Travel around the world without leaving Orlando in EPCOT Center's World Showcase. You can also take a ride through the future as imagined decades ago in the famous golf-ball shaped dome, Spaceship Earth. 960 1280

Courtesy of Disney.  

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

The purported happiest place on Earth, Disney's Magic Kingdom is sure to entertain the kids - whether with one of their parades or classic rides like Space Mountain. 960 1280

Courtest of Disney  

Holy Land Experience

Holy Land Experience

Orlando's Holy Land Experience is surely a unique Florida attraction: visitors can have the Last Supper with Jesus and disciples (actors, of course). 960 1280

Courtesy of Holy Land Experience  

Universal Studios Orlando

Universal Studios Orlando

Universal Studios Orlando, next door to its roller-coaster-laden cousin, Islands of Adventure, is a must for movie fans. Where else can you experience an attack from Jaws, save New York from aliens along with the Men in Black, or hang out with Beetlejuice? 960 1280

Courtesy of Universal Studios  

Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom

Disney's Animal Kingdom features more than 500 acres of grounds where animals can roam freely. Guests can roam in open safari vehicles, watching out for giraffes, hippos, lions, and more. 960 1280

Courtesy of Disney  

Islands of Adventure

Islands of Adventure

Universal's Islands of Adventure is the go-to place for those with a need for speed. Thrill seekers will especially enjoy Dr. Doom's Fearfall and the Incredible Hulk Coaster. 960 1280

Courtesy of Universal Studios  

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Of course, the newest and most popular attraction at Universal's Islands of Adventure is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Fans will be treated to plenty of performances, a dragon-themed roller coaster, and even (non-alcoholic) butterbeer. 960 1280

Universal Orlando Resort  

Silver Springs

Silver Springs

The glass bottom boats at Silver Springs allow you to get up close and personal with local wildlife, like alligators, turtles, and if you're lucky, a manatee or two. 960 1280

Courtesy of Silver Springs  

See all your favorite aquatic animals in one place ' SeaWorld Orlando. See interactive shows with killer whales and experience thrilling roller coasters and water rides. 960 1280

SeaWorld  

Located in Orlando and partnered with SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Discovery Cove is an all-inclusive getaway where visitors get up-close and personal with the park's animals. Take a day or 2 to swim with dolphins, experience an underwater tropical reef and visit Explorer's Aviary to see and hear tropical birds from all over the world. 960 1280

Discovery Cove  

Spend the day at one of the biggest water parks in Florida. Wet `n' Wild has over 30 acres of slides, flumes, surfing and more. Founded by Sea World creator George Millay in 1977, the park was honored by Aquatics International as being the first true water park in America. 960 1280

Wet 'n' Wild  

Also in Daytona, NASCAR fans can enjoy the Daytona International Speedway All Access Tour. Here, fans photograph the 2010 Daytona 500 winning car. 960 1280

Daytona International Speedway  

About a 2-hour drive from downtown Orlando, Tampa Bay is home to Bush Gardens. Featured here is SheiKra, a roller coaster with "floorless" cars giving the riders a unique view at 70 mph. 960 1280

Busch Gardens  

A boy plays in the fountain in the Rocket Garden at the John F. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, just outside of Cape Canaveral, FL. Visitors can stand under the massive rockets that first put NASA astronauts into space and much more. If you spend an entire day at the Kennedy Space Center and there happens to be a night launch, stick around ' it's a must-see. 960 1280

Reuters/Mark Wallheiser MW/DY  

Florida's Everglades are known to many as the place to see alligators and ride airboats. This National Park is home to thousands of species of birds, reptiles, mammals and, best of all, beautiful Florida sunsets. 960 1280

iStock  

The southern-most tip of the US main land, the Florida Keys are known for beautiful beaches, boating, fishing, Key Lime Pie and Margaritaville. The Keys were also the onetime home to Nobel Prize-winning author Ernest Hemmingway. Pictured here is Mallory Square, the center of Key West's historic waterfront. 960 1280

iStock  


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