15 Theme Park Rides to Get in Line for Now
Theme park fans, get ready for some fun this summer thanks to brand new rides and ever-popular favorites you'll want to get in line for now.
Photo By: Matt Stroshane
Photo By: OCTAVIAN CANTILLI
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Photo By: Matt Stroshane
Photo By: Universal Studios Hollywood
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Photo By: Universal Orlando
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Photo By: Paul Hiffmeyer
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Photo By: SeaWorld Orlando
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train may have opened in 2014, but this popular mine coaster ride that twists and turns through the Enchanted Forest continues to have one of the longest wait times of all the rides at Magic Kingdom. Make this the first FastPass+ you secure 30 days in advance (or 60 days if you’re staying on property). If you get shut out, keep checking back in since Disney staggers the release of FastPass+ tickets.
Incredible Hulk Coaster
The popular Incredible Hulk Coaster re-opened late last summer at Universal’s Islands of Adventure after being closed for nearly a year to give the ride new lighting effects and new vehicles. There’s even a new storyline and a new ride soundtrack composed by Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump. The 105-foot-tall coaster is smoother than before too, just right for coaster-lovers eager to ride this one again and again.
Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem
Who doesn’t love the Minions? As popular as ever, Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem continues to delight guests at both Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando. This 3-D motion simulator ride takes guests into Gru’s lab as he attempts to turn humans into minions. The lines may be long, but you’ll be treated to movie quizzes and behind-the-scenes clips as you wait for your turn to ride.
Frozen Ever After
Frozen fans will want to make a beeline for Frozen Ever After in the Norway Pavilion at Epcot, which made headlines for its five-hour line when it first opened in June. This new boat ride takes guests across Arendelle with Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and Olaf, each brought to life thanks to animatronics and special effects. Kids (and adults), get ready to sing along to "For the First Time in Forever" and "Let It Go."
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
The popular Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride, which opened in early 2016 at Universal Studios Hollywood, may be even more popular since dropping the 3-D effects at the end of last year. This dark ride uses a robotic arm to take guests high above the grounds of Hogwarts castle and through the Forbidden Forest, transporting them into some of the most well-known movie scenes. A must for true Potterheads.
Soarin' Around the World
Soarin’ Around the World (more popularly known as Soarin’) debuted at Epcot in 2005, but got a reboot in 2016 with a brand new high-resolution film that takes riders over popular worldwide landmarks, like the Great Wall of China and the Eiffel Tower. Even better, smells are piped into this hang glider simulator ride, giving riders a multi-sensory experience as they fly over beaches and savannas.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout
The much-anticipated Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout is set to open in late May as part of a “Summer of Heroes” campaign at Disney’s California Adventure. The free-fall ride, which replaced Tower of Terror, will take guests on a wild journey as they help Rocket Raccoon make a daring rescue at the Collector’s Fortress. As a bonus, just like Tower of Terror, no two rides are the same.
Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon
Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon is finally open at Universal Orlando. Guests will love the “world’s first-ever flying theater,” and not just the ride and laughs, but also the meet-and-greet with Hashtag the Panda and a history of The Tonight Show. Ride more than once just to hear all of Fallon’s jokes. A virtual line experience through Universal’s app notifies guests through their cell phones when it’s their turn.
Peter Pan's Flight
Peter Pan’s Flight may have opened in 1955 at Disneyland, later coming to other Disney parks, but this charming ride remains one of the top attractions across the parks. This suspended dark ride takes guests high above London to Never Land on, what else, a flying pirate ship. Reserve a FastPass+ well in advance (Magic Kingdom only) or be in line to get on right after the rope drop at the start of the day.
Radiator Springs Racers
For Cars fans, it’s a must to visit to Cars Land at Disney’s California Adventure. Head straight for Radiator Springs Racers, a race car ride that transports guests into the movie complete with encounters with characters, like Mater and Lighting McQueen. When the ride opened in 2012, wait times stretched up to six hours. The wait isn’t (quite) as long today, but the ride remains incredibly popular.
Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
On its own, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, Orlando’s tallest roller coaster at 167 feet tall, is a fantastic ride, but it gets even better when you can listen to your song of choice while your ride. Settle in to this ride at Universal Orlando, then choose a song from the playlist or enter a secret song code for a larger selection of tunes to rock out to while you ride along at speeds up to 65 miles per hour.
Hershey Triple Tower
The brand new Hershey Triple Tower not only offers panoramic views across Hersheypark, but it lets guests pick the height on this “choose your thrill” drop tower ride. Guests can pick from the Hershey’s Tower, Reese’s Tower or Hershey’s Kisses Tower. Each one offers not only varying heights, but also different thrill levels and speeds. After the ride, treat yourself to a king-size milkshake from Simply Chocolate.
Justice League: Battle for Metropolis
This interactive game play ride is opening up this year at three more Six Flags theme parks, including Six Flags Over Georgia. Justice League: Battle for Metropolis is so popular that it has even earned accolades from the theme park industry as the best new ride. This 4-D dark ride takes guests on a mission to save Metropolis, taking on the bad guys in an immersive shooting game experience.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg welcomes the InvadR this spring, its first-ever wooden roller coaster. Named by park fans, this new roller coaster drops riders 74 feet and takes them over nine hills. Even better, this coaster is family-friendly, a perfect ride for kids as young as five or six eager to take on their first roller coaster. Tamer than some of the park’s other coasters, the ride still hits speeds up to 48 miles per hour.
While the Kraken at SeaWorld Orlando isn’t new, virtual reality has been injected into this roller coaster, making it the first VR coaster in a Florida theme park. Riders don virtual reality goggles to give them the experience of a high-speed underwater adventure. Consider Quick Queue Unlimited, SeaWorld’s add-on skip-the-line program to avoid the wait at the Kraken (and on six other top rides).