SUMMER VACATION IDEAS
Best New Theme Park Rides
Welcome to the summer of the thrill ride! With a new crop of coasters, water rides, and family-friendly adventures debuting at theme parks across America, we promise you’ll find one that’s just right for you.
Whether you've always been a fan of the latest and greatest roller coasters or appreciate new spins on the familiar (like the chance to ride an old-fashioned wooden coaster backwards), we've rounded up this year's newest thrill rides, and there's something for everybody! Plus, we've included links to videos of the rides and important information about ticket prices and parking fees so you know exactly what you're getting into.
For Thrill-Seeking Adrenaline Junkies
Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio
Talk about a record-breaking roller coaster. Debuting at Cedar Point in May of this year, Gatekeeper has become the longest wing-style roller coaster at 4,164 feet with the largest vertical drop of any wing-style roller coaster—a whopping 164 feet! Reaching speeds of more than 65 miles per hour, this attraction takes riders through several spirals, twists, and rolling flyover maneuvers, including two that give the effect of a near-collision with new structures built just above the park's front gate. Cedar Point; adult tickets start at $44.99 when ordered online. Junior and Senior prices start at $29.99. Expect to pay $15 for parking.
TEXAS SKY SCREAMER
Six Flags Over Texas, Arlington, Texas
Imagine your typical swing ride. Now take that same idea and lift it 400-feet above the ground. The Texas Skyscreamer at Six Flags Over Texas does just that, making it the world's tallest swing ride, sending riders on a whirlwind 35 mph flight in a 124-foot-wide circle above the park. Visit the Skyscreamer at night for unparalleled views of the downtown Dallas and Fort Worth area, and see if you can spot nearby Cowboys Stadium or the Texas Rangers Ballpark—if you can keep your eyes open that is. Six Flags Over Texas; purchase park tickets at least three days in advance and pay only $44.99 per person—regular online prices start at $47.99 per person. Ages two and under get in free. Parking is $20 per vehicle.
Six Flags Magic Mountain, L.A. area, Calif.
If you like loops, this coaster has your name on it! Full Throttle debuted at Six Flags Magic Mountain in June, making it the world's tallest and fastest looping roller coaster. Those brave enough to try it can ride along the inside and outside of the record-breaking 160-foot loop and experience three zero-to-70 mph launches—two that propel you forward and one that shoots you backwards through an underground tunnel and halfway up the track before hurling you forward into the final stretch. Six Flags Magic Mountain; ticket prices start at $41.99 per person when purchased online at least three days in advance. Regular online prices start at $46.99 per person. Ages two and under get in free. Parking is $18 per vehicle.
For Fans of Classic Wooden Roller Coasters
Silver Dollar City, Branson, Mo.
Get ready to soar through the trees on Outlaw Run, Silver Dollar City's latest addition. This wooden coaster currently holds records for being the world's steepest, and for being the only wooden roller coaster in the world to actually twist upside down, with not one, but two barrel rolls, giving visitors a total of nine spots throughout the ride where they'll feel absolutely weightless. Silver Dollar City; adult ticket prices start at $58, tickets for children ages 4-11 are from $48, and tickets for seniors over the age of 62 are from $56. Preferred parking closest to the front gate costs $12 per vehicle, but all other parking for this theme park is free.
California's Great America, Santa Clara, Calif.