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12 Things Coming to Your Favorite Amusement Parks in 2019

Get ready for a new year filled with adrenaline-revving thrills, incredible entertainment, cutting-edge rides, and amazing new attractions at the country's most popular theme parks.

Star wars galaxys edgeCourtesy Disney

Galaxy’s Edge at Disney

Star Wars geeks are at the edge of their X-wings waiting for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to open in not just one Disney park in 2019, but two! Intergalactic adventures await at both Disneyland Resort in California (summer 2019) and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida (fall 2019). Both will feature two out-of-this-world attractions, one that gives guests the chance to pilot the Millennium Falcon on a customized secret mission and another that puts guests right in the middle of a battle between the First Order and the Resistance. Guests will also encounter characters, including BB-8, Chewbacca, and Kylo Ren. Since using the Force works up an appetite, you can grab a bite to eat at infamous Oga’s Cantina filled with other-worldly characters and fare.

Maxx Force at Six Flags Great America

Hold on to your hats (and your stomachs): Six Flags Great America, located near Chicago, is set to debut a new triple record-breaking roller coaster in 2019 called Maxx Force. It’s the fastest launch coaster in North America, accelerating to 78 mph in less than 2 seconds, boasting the fastest inversion in the world with a Zero-G roll at more than 60 mph, and featuring the highest double inversion of any roller coaster in the world at 175 feet high.

Jurassic WorldCourtesy Universal Studios Hollywood

Jurassic World at Universal Studio Hollywood

Colossal dinosaurs will roam the Earth and astound guests when Southern California’s Universal Studios Hollywood debuts an all-new Jurassic World ride, an epic adventure inspired by Universal Pictures’ blockbuster film. The ride features dinosaurs as big as five stories high including Stegosaurus, Parasaurolophus, Dilophosaurus, Velociraptor, and T Rex. Ride enthusiasts take note: The technologically cutting-edge attraction features new principles of hydraulic physics, mechanics, and robotics from a partnership of scientists, paleontologists, and aerospace engineers to elevate every facet of the roaring, prehistoric experience. These abandoned amusement parks will give you the creeps!

Lego movie worldCourtesy Legoland

LEGO Movie World at LEGOLAND Florida Resort

Everything will be awesome at LEGOLAND‘s new immersive LEGO Movie World opening in spring 2019. Three new rides will find a home in downtown Bricksburg. The LEGO Movie Masters of Flight lets you catch a ride on Emmet’s Triple Decker Flying Couch in this flying theater attraction. On Unikitty’s Disco Drop, families head through a rainbow portal with Unikitty, then ride to the top of Cloud Cuckoo Land before dropping, spinning, and bouncing back to earth. And at Battle of Bricksburgare, guests are challenged to stop DUPLO aliens from stealing Lego bricks by spraying water at targets. Find out the 12 coolest indoor water parks in America.

West coast racersCourtesy Six Flags

West Coast Racers at Six Flags Magic Mountain

West Coast Racers, the world’s first racing launch coaster, will start revving its engines in 2019. Unlike traditional coasters, this one-of-a-kind racing coaster will feature two side-by-side tracks with four individual high-speed launches. The race covers two complete laps, multiple airtime hills, extreme high-banked turns, and exhilarating over/under near misses. The ride will be the 20th roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Los Angeles, cementing its reputation as the “Thrill Capital of the World” and the park with the most roller coasters on the planet, according to the theme park news site IntraPark. If classic coasters are more your speed, you’ll want to visit the oldest amusement parks in the world. 

tigrisCourtesy Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Tigris at Busch Gardens Tampa

To celebrate Busch Gardens‘ 60th birthday in 2019, this Tampa Bay, Florida, park is launching a grand new coaster: Tigris. This triple-launch steel coaster features a 150-foot skyward surge (Florida’s tallest) with looping twists and drops roaring 60 miles per hour along more than 1,800 feet of steel track designed to mimic the agility of an actual tiger. Don’t miss the scariest roller coasters in America.

Tidal TwisterCourtesy SeaWorld San Diego

Tidal Twister at Sea World San Diego

The first of its kind anywhere in the world, Tidal Twister, an all-new dueling roller coaster, will make its debut at SeaWorld San Diego in May 2019. The double coaster accelerates to 30 mph, and riders will twist and bank as if riding the tide along a tight figure-8 track that includes a dynamic Zero-G roll at the center section. Good news for kids: A lower 48-inch height requirement makes this a perfect ride for families. Ready for more crazy thrill rides? Check out the world’s most mind-blowing water slides.

CupfusionCourtesy HersheyPark

Reese’s Cupfusion at Hershey Park

A sweet treat of a ride for everyone in the family, this 2019 ride debut lets you shoot virtual peanut butter and chocolate at candy villains as you protect Hershey’s chocolate factory. This new dark ride, gaming experience at Hershey Park in Hershey, Pennsylvania, is sure to be a cherry on top of an already sweet theme park experience. Warning: You’ll probably be craving peanut butter cups when you’re finished since this dark ride experience offers state-of-the-art, multi-level game player technology that engages multiple senses including sight, touch, sound, and smell (chocolate-scented ride for the win!).

DragonFlierCourtesy Dollywood

DragonFlier at Dollywood

Immerse yourself in the natural world of Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains at Dollywood‘s newest expansion, Wildwood Grove, and its newest coaster: The DragonFlier. The new ride is a thrilling suspended roller coaster that lets guests soar with a dragonfly as it dips and darts along the gushing geysers and lush landscape. Don’t miss these bizarre and cool theme parks you can actually visit.

sesame streetCourtesy SeaWorld Orlando

Sesame Street at SeaWorld Orlando

Good news, we CAN tell you how to get to Sesame Street! It’s as simple as heading to SeaWorld Orlando, where children can romp through re-created sets from the beloved television show. Visit Mr. Hooper’s store, Abby Cadaby’s garden, Big Bird’s nest, and the famous 123 stoop. There are also wet and dry play areas, a daily character-filled parade, and family-friendly rides such as Elmo’s Choo Choo Train, Cookie Drop, Abby’s Flower Tower, Super Grover’s Box Car Derby, Big Bird’s Twirl and Whirl, and Slimey’s Slider.

mickey minnie runawayCourtesy Disney

Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Walt Disney World Resort

Lovers of classic Disney characters will want to join Mickey and pals on this wacky adventure set to open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida in 2019. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, the first-ever ride-through attraction featuring Mickey and Minnie Mouse, will feature dazzling visual effects, a lovable theme song, and twists and turns ideal for the whole family. The indoor coaster takes place inside the Chinese Theater. Check out these 10 other exciting new things coming to Disney in 2019.

Harry Potter at Universal Studios HollywoodEric Charbonneau/REX/Shutterstock

Harry Potter Coaster at Universal’s Islands of Adventure

As mysterious as Severus Snape, Universal’s new Harry Potter-themed roller coaster at Islands of Adventure is currently hidden under a cloak of invisibility. What we do know: The coaster will replace the Dragon Challenge, which closed in 2017, and will launch sometime in mid-2019. According to Frommer’s Travel Guides, the ride at the Florida resort promises to be “a technologically advanced, thoroughly surprising, and lavishly themed roller coaster that repeatedly launches you around the grounds outside Hogwarts.” We can’t wait to take flight and check out all of Hogsmeade! Looking for more thrills? We’ve found the best amusement park in every state.

Melissa Klurman
Melissa Klurman is a freelance travel writer and editor with more than 27 years experience who reports on travel trends around the planet for Reader's Digest. Winner of a Lowell Thomas Gold Award for excellence in travel writing, she started her career as an editor at both Frommer’s and Fodor’s travel guides, then went on to write about travel for many publications including Family Traveller, Parents, and Working Mother magazines. More recently she has been a contributing editor at Saveur, Islands, and Caribbean Travel and Life and a senior contributor at Travelocity. A New Jersey native, ice cream addict, and a lifelong Bruce Springsteen fan, Klurman lives in Montclair, New Jersey, with her husband, son, and rescue dog.