Hottest Amusement Park Attractions 2015

Hold on to your seat! We’ve got a list of the best amusement park rides this year, courtesy of roller-coaster reviewer Robb Alvey. And make sure you check out Robb’s picks that made our coveted list, Travel’s Best Amusement and Water Parks 2015.

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Aquatica SeaWorld, IHU Breakaway Falls, water park, Orlando, Florida
Aquatica, SeaWorld's Waterpark, Orlando

Aquatica, SeaWorld's Waterpark, Orlando

Ihu's Breakaway Falls at SeaWorld's Aquatica is billed as the tallest and steepest waterslide in Orlando, sending thrill-seekers 40 feet straight down before they twist and turn their way through the colorful slides. Race headfirst against 7 other guests on Taumata Racer, a high-speed racing slide, or wind down at the park’s lazy river. The popular wave pool and the splash fortress with a 500-gallon dumping water bucket will please even the smallest park guests. 960 1280

SeaWorld Parks & Resorts Orlando  

Carowinds, Charlotte, NC

Carowinds, Charlotte, NC

Standing 325 feet high, the new Fury 325 roller coaster at Carowinds is among the 5 tallest coasters in the world. Taller than the Statue of Liberty (305 feet), it sends riders racing up, down and around turns at 95 miles per hour. If you want even more heart-pumping action, Carowinds has 9 other roller coasters that offer drops, loops, turns and spins — both forward and backward. 960 1280

Carowinds  

Disneyland, Anaheim, CA

Disneyland, Anaheim, CA

2015 marks the 60th anniversary of “the happiest place on Earth.” Disneyland will have its Diamond Celebration with a spectacular new nighttime parade and fireworks show. Along with mainstay attractions such as Pirates of the Caribbean and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (which was upgraded last year), they will deftly stir emotions with eye-popping technology and huge doses of nostalgia, where the Mouse House excels. 960 1280

Disney  

Knoebels Amusement Park, Elysburg, PA

Knoebels Amusement Park, Elysburg, PA

Plan to stay all day at Knoebels Amusement Resort, which is about 2 1/2 hours outside Philadelphia. Admission is free, and guests pay per ride. The newest attraction to grace the amusement park, Impulse, is a hair-raising roller coaster with a 90-degree vertical drop. There are also historic rides such as the 1948 classic wooden roller coaster Phoenix and a brass ring carousel, which is a rare find in the United States. And if you like camping, Knoebels features one of the largest campgrounds at any traditional amusement park. 960 1280

Joel Styer/Knoebels  

Knott’s Berry Farm, Buena Park, CA

Knott’s Berry Farm, Buena Park, CA

For small-town charm and fantastic roller coasters, pay a visit to Knott’s Berry Farm (and save $25 per ticket if you purchase online in advance). This year, Voyage to the Iron Reef, a new 4-D interactive experience, has riders battle against the Queen of the Kraken and her army to save the park’s iconic attractions before they become scrap metal. Knott’s other thrills include the speedy Montezooma’s Revenge and the looping Boomerang, as well as various offerings for small screamers and kids just getting started on coasters. 960 1280

Knott’s Berry Farm  

Schlitterbahn, New Braunfels, TX

Schlitterbahn, New Braunfels, TX

Stuffed to the gills with water fun, Schlitterbahn is an enormous, unique and innovative water park. Among its notable attractions are 2 of the world's firsts: the wavemaking Boogie Bahn Surfing Ride and the Master Blaster uphill water coaster, which sends passengers racing in the dark for a face-to-face encounter with a dragon. Thanks to the industry pioneers behind the circa-1979 Texas landmark, both attractions have become staples at many other parks. 960 1280

Schlitterbahn Waterparks & Resorts  

Six Flags Magic Mountain, Los Angeles

Six Flags Magic Mountain, Los Angeles

For a twisted new ride this summer, hop on the Twisted Colossus. According to Six Flags Magic Mountain, it has 5,000 feet of wood and steel track, making it the longest and most innovative hybrid coaster in the world. But Trip Flip host Bert Kreischer’s favorite ride in the world is Magic Mountain’s Superman: Escape From Krypton. “I spent the entire summer shooting a series for Travel Channel at this park, and every single day at sunset, the entire crew and I would meet at the 415-foot tower for 1 last ride before the park closed,” he says. 960 1280

Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg/Getty Images  

Six Flags White Water, Atlanta

Six Flags White Water, Atlanta

Six Flags White Water offers fun for all ages, with rapids, twisters, free falls and tube rides, plus 3 kid-friendly zones — Captain Kid’s Cove, Lilypad Crossing and Tree House Island — with the oh-so-fun water-dumping buckets and splash play areas. This summer, the park is unleashing Dive Bomber, which drops brave riders through a trapdoor for a zero-gravity, 10-story, heart-stopping fall. If guests prefer more chill than thrill, White Water offers cabanas for families to relax and escape from the sun. 960 1280

Six Flags  

Splashin’ Safari Water Park, Santa Claus, IN

Splashin’ Safari Water Park, Santa Claus, IN

After taking a ride on the new $22 million Thunderbird roller coaster, cool down at Splashin’ Safari Water Park, part of the Holiday World theme park. Splashin’ Safari features 2 of the largest hydromagnetic water coasters in the world — the Mammoth and the Wildebeest, which are consistently ranked among the best water-park rides in the country. There’s also a variety of fun family attractions, including Monsoon Lagoon, the Bahari Wave Pool and Hyena Falls. Other great guest perks include free parking, soda, Wi-Fi and sunscreen. There’s never a dull — or dry! — moment at Splashin' Safari. 960 1280

Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari  

Wet ’n’ Wild Hawaii, Kapolei, HI

Wet ’n’ Wild Hawaii, Kapolei, HI

A trip to Oahu must always be accompanied by a visit to what might be one of the best water parks in the country, Wet ’n’ Wild Hawaii. The new Waimea Whirl, set to open this summer, is among several water thrills packed into the 29-acre park, which competes with some of the world’s best beaches. Shaka — a favorite ride of Bert Kreischer, host of Travel Channel’s Trip Flip and Bert the Conqueror — has a 2-person inner tube plummeting down more than 4 stories, and the ride doesn’t end until gravity and inertia are done with you. 960 1280

Wet ’N’ Wild Hawaii  

Photos

Thunder Dolphin

Thunder Dolphin

Not only does this coaster — located at Tokyo Dome City — have a wacky name, but it features some very bizarre elements, including an interesting “thread the needle” move at the top of a building and a pass through the center of a giant Ferris wheel. The coaster tours the shopping mall area and then twists and dives around the midway before heading back to the station. 960 1280

Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images  

The Bullet

The Bullet

The Bullet at Selva Magica in Guadalajara, Mexico, is a shuttle loop folded in half to take up less space. This bizarre ride starts with a backward launch and hits speeds of over 50 mph, reaching the strongest G-forces in any vertical loop. There is almost no straight track in the entire ride — in fact, even the station is twisted! This coaster has traveled the world, having been in Germany, Austria, England and Florida, and has now found permanent residency in Mexico.  960 1280

Selvea Magica  

Gravity Max (The Tilt Coaster)

Gravity Max (The Tilt Coaster)

One of the wackiest roller coasters is located at Lihpao Land in Taiwan. The Gravity Max, also known as the Tilt Coaster, is the world’s first coaster to feature a true 90-degree drop and the world’s only tilt coaster. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Hundeprutterutchebane

Hundeprutterutchebane

When it comes to purely wacky coasters, this ride at Denmark's BonBon Land makes the top of the list. In English, Hundeprutterutchebane means “the dog fart coaster.” BonBon Land is a kid-friendly amusement park filled with fun, humorous rides. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Great Wall of China Toboggan Ride

Great Wall of China Toboggan Ride

Do you want to see the Great Wall by roller coaster? Well, you most certainly can! Ride enthusiasts can travel about an hour north of Beijing to Badaling, where they can board a (relatively slow) roller coaster that takes them to the top of the Great Wall. After visitors are done sightseeing, they can take another ride back down. This is the best way to see one of the great wonders of the world! 960 1280

Peter Charlesworth/LightRocket/Getty Images   

Driving Coaster: Vanish

Driving Coaster: Vanish

Located at Cosmoworld in Yokohama, Japan, Diving Coaster does just as its name implies. This coaster creates a splash as it dives underwater through a man-made lagoon. It's both visually awesome, and quite the fun ride! 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Ultra Twister

Ultra Twister

This bizarre ride was all the rage in Japan in the 1980s through 1990s. There was a similar coaster at the Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey, but it was moved to the Six Flags' Astroworld in Houston. This unique "pipeline" coaster shuttles riders back and forth. It also features a near 90-degree drop and a series of "heart line twists." This one pictured is at Nagashima Spaland about 45 minutes from Nagoya by train. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Tranan

Tranan

Tranan is a one-of-a-kind "free fly" coaster located at Skara Sommerland in Sweden. It’s billed as family friendly, but it’s also a strange, thrill ride. The seats are aligned on the outside of the vehicle, providing riders with a 360-degree, swinging experience throughout the ride. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Euro Mir

Euro Mir

Euro Mir is by far one of my favorite wacky rides, and it's also completely awesome! The coaster, located at Europa Park in Rust, Germany, is a mix of a Russian-inspired techno dance party, a weird mirrored-tower structure and all on a turning roller coaster. There isn't really any way to fully describe it other than to ride it yourself. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Dauling Dragons

Dauling Dragons

Dauling Dragon in China is a wooden roller coaster with coasters on duel tracks racing simultaneously up a 90-degree incline. At the top of the incline where the coasters meet, it appears to look like riders in the train are close enough to reach over for a “high-5.” 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Maximum RPM

Maximum RPM

Myrtle Beach’s Hard Rock Park is closed, but it had one of the wackiest coasters. Maximum RPM was the only ride in the world to feature a Ferris-wheel-lift design. Is it unique and wacky? Oh, yeah! The ride was a lot of fun, and it was an efficient way for the park to save space. The coaster is still standing at the closed park, but hopefully it will find a new home someday. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Olympia Looping

Olympia Looping

This is quite possibly one of the most majestic looking roller coasters ever. Olympia Looping is a 5-loop steel roller coaster -- the world's biggest, "portable" roller coaster. It travels the German fair circuit and is one of the stand-out attractions at Munich’s Oktoberfest. This roller coaster is not to be missed. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

The Smiler

The Smiler

Alton Towers may take the prize for some of the wackiest build-up to a roller coaster debut ever. Park marketers shaved Smiler coaster logos into sheep and sold a mouth guard that could give you an instant, forced smile. So what's all the hype for? The world's only 14-loop roller coaster! It's a crazy concept, but you will be smiling at end your ride. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Outer Space Flying Car

Outer Space Flying Car

Yes, Outer Space Flying Car is the Chinese translation of this roller coaster’s real name! Located in Fisherman's Warf outside of Shanghai, this coaster features some bizarre and wacky roller coaster elements, including a vertical lift hill inside a metal tube and drop into a 360-degree—all at an insane coaster speed. The ride is so rough and brutal that the park requires riders to wear headgear. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Insane

Insane

Just as the ride's name suggests, this coaster’s design is insane. Located at Grona Lund in Stockholm, Sweden, Insane’s track is in the middle and seats on the side that freely spin and rotate based on the weight distribution of the riders. Prepare to spin out of control if the car is unbalanced. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

The Lost Coaster

The Lost Coaster

At Indiana Beach Amusement Resort in Monticello, IN, Lost Coaster of Superstition Mountain will take riders on a strange wooden roller coaster journey they won't forget. The journey starts with a vertical lift up a hill system and enclosed in mine cars. Riders travel through the mountain making sharp turns and other off-track attractions including a bear. The park is located about 90 minutes from Indianapolis. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Tower of Terror

Tower of Terror

This coaster at Gold Reef City in Johannesburg, South Africa, is wacky and terrifying. Tower of Terror is built like an abandoned mine shaft. Riders plummet 164 feet down at a 90-degree angle. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Takabisha

Takabisha

Talk about strange and wacky -- just look at the angle of the decent on this roller coaster at Japan's Fuji-Q Highland! At 121-degree angle, this coasted is touted as the world's steepest coaster. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Wacky Worm

Wacky Worm

You just simply cannot talk about wacky coasters without mentioning the king of all of them, the Wacky Worm. This is one of the most popular family-friendly roller coasters found around the world. At the amusement park, the Wacky Worm is a great “starter” roller coaster for young riders. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Alpine Coaster

Alpine Coaster

Do you want to ride a roller coaster in the cold and snow? In Park City, UT, you can race along with skiers as you descend the side of Wasatch Mountain at Park City Mountain Resort. You’ll feel as though you’re flying on this toboggan-style coaster with 4,000 feet of curves, bends and loops. 960 1280

Yvette Cardozo/Photolibrary/Getty Images   

Veil of Dark

Veil of Dark

Located at Tokyo Joypolis in Japan, the Veil of Dark is an interactive video game and indoor roller coaster. Part of the ride allows passengers to shoot at screens in front of them, and then suddenly, they are launched into an indoor, looping roller coaster. It's a strange but very fun ride! 960 1280

Dunzl/ Ullstein Bild/Getty Images   

Aquatica, SeaWorld's Waterpark, Orlando

Aquatica, SeaWorld's Waterpark, Orlando

Ihu's Breakaway Falls at SeaWorld's Aquatica is billed as the tallest and steepest waterslide in Orlando, sending thrill-seekers 40 feet straight down before they twist and turn their way through the colorful slides. Race headfirst against 7 other guests on Taumata Racer, a high-speed racing slide, or wind down at the park’s lazy river. The popular wave pool and the splash fortress with a 500-gallon dumping water bucket will please even the smallest park guests. 960 1280

SeaWorld Parks & Resorts Orlando  

Carowinds, Charlotte, NC

Carowinds, Charlotte, NC

Standing 325 feet high, the new Fury 325 roller coaster at Carowinds is among the 5 tallest coasters in the world. Taller than the Statue of Liberty (305 feet), it sends riders racing up, down and around turns at 95 miles per hour. If you want even more heart-pumping action, Carowinds has 9 other roller coasters that offer drops, loops, turns and spins — both forward and backward. 960 1280

Carowinds  

Disneyland, Anaheim, CA

Disneyland, Anaheim, CA

2015 marks the 60th anniversary of “the happiest place on Earth.” Disneyland will have its Diamond Celebration with a spectacular new nighttime parade and fireworks show. Along with mainstay attractions such as Pirates of the Caribbean and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (which was upgraded last year), they will deftly stir emotions with eye-popping technology and huge doses of nostalgia, where the Mouse House excels. 960 1280

Disney  

Knoebels Amusement Park, Elysburg, PA

Knoebels Amusement Park, Elysburg, PA

Plan to stay all day at Knoebels Amusement Resort, which is about 2 1/2 hours outside Philadelphia. Admission is free, and guests pay per ride. The newest attraction to grace the amusement park, Impulse, is a hair-raising roller coaster with a 90-degree vertical drop. There are also historic rides such as the 1948 classic wooden roller coaster Phoenix and a brass ring carousel, which is a rare find in the United States. And if you like camping, Knoebels features one of the largest campgrounds at any traditional amusement park. 960 1280

Joel Styer/Knoebels  

Knott’s Berry Farm, Buena Park, CA

Knott’s Berry Farm, Buena Park, CA

For small-town charm and fantastic roller coasters, pay a visit to Knott’s Berry Farm (and save $25 per ticket if you purchase online in advance). This year, Voyage to the Iron Reef, a new 4-D interactive experience, has riders battle against the Queen of the Kraken and her army to save the park’s iconic attractions before they become scrap metal. Knott’s other thrills include the speedy Montezooma’s Revenge and the looping Boomerang, as well as various offerings for small screamers and kids just getting started on coasters. 960 1280

Knott’s Berry Farm  

Schlitterbahn, New Braunfels, TX

Schlitterbahn, New Braunfels, TX

Stuffed to the gills with water fun, Schlitterbahn is an enormous, unique and innovative water park. Among its notable attractions are 2 of the world's firsts: the wavemaking Boogie Bahn Surfing Ride and the Master Blaster uphill water coaster, which sends passengers racing in the dark for a face-to-face encounter with a dragon. Thanks to the industry pioneers behind the circa-1979 Texas landmark, both attractions have become staples at many other parks. 960 1280

Schlitterbahn Waterparks & Resorts  

Six Flags Magic Mountain, Los Angeles

Six Flags Magic Mountain, Los Angeles

For a twisted new ride this summer, hop on the Twisted Colossus. According to Six Flags Magic Mountain, it has 5,000 feet of wood and steel track, making it the longest and most innovative hybrid coaster in the world. But Trip Flip host Bert Kreischer’s favorite ride in the world is Magic Mountain’s Superman: Escape From Krypton. “I spent the entire summer shooting a series for Travel Channel at this park, and every single day at sunset, the entire crew and I would meet at the 415-foot tower for 1 last ride before the park closed,” he says. 960 1280

Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg/Getty Images  

Six Flags White Water, Atlanta

Six Flags White Water, Atlanta

Six Flags White Water offers fun for all ages, with rapids, twisters, free falls and tube rides, plus 3 kid-friendly zones — Captain Kid’s Cove, Lilypad Crossing and Tree House Island — with the oh-so-fun water-dumping buckets and splash play areas. This summer, the park is unleashing Dive Bomber, which drops brave riders through a trapdoor for a zero-gravity, 10-story, heart-stopping fall. If guests prefer more chill than thrill, White Water offers cabanas for families to relax and escape from the sun. 960 1280

Six Flags  

Splashin’ Safari Water Park, Santa Claus, IN

Splashin’ Safari Water Park, Santa Claus, IN

After taking a ride on the new $22 million Thunderbird roller coaster, cool down at Splashin’ Safari Water Park, part of the Holiday World theme park. Splashin’ Safari features 2 of the largest hydromagnetic water coasters in the world — the Mammoth and the Wildebeest, which are consistently ranked among the best water-park rides in the country. There’s also a variety of fun family attractions, including Monsoon Lagoon, the Bahari Wave Pool and Hyena Falls. Other great guest perks include free parking, soda, Wi-Fi and sunscreen. There’s never a dull — or dry! — moment at Splashin' Safari. 960 1280

Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari  

Wet ’n’ Wild Hawaii, Kapolei, HI

Wet ’n’ Wild Hawaii, Kapolei, HI

A trip to Oahu must always be accompanied by a visit to what might be one of the best water parks in the country, Wet ’n’ Wild Hawaii. The new Waimea Whirl, set to open this summer, is among several water thrills packed into the 29-acre park, which competes with some of the world’s best beaches. Shaka — a favorite ride of Bert Kreischer, host of Travel Channel’s Trip Flip and Bert the Conqueror — has a 2-person inner tube plummeting down more than 4 stories, and the ride doesn’t end until gravity and inertia are done with you. 960 1280

Wet ’N’ Wild Hawaii  

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