SUMMER VACATION IDEAS

Photos: 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.

  1. Debuting at Cedar Point in May of this year, Gatekeeper has become the longest wing-style roller coaster at 4,164 feet with the longest vertical drop of any wing-style roller coaster—a whopping 164 feet!

    (Courtesy Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio)
  2. Reaching speeds of more than 65 miles per hour, this attraction takes riders through several spirals, twists, and rolling flyover maneuvers.

    (Courtesy Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio)
  3. Now through August 26th, visitors to Six Flags Great America will have a rare chance to experience the beloved hills, twists, and turns of its best-known wooden roller coaster, Viper—backwards.

    (Courtesy Six Flags)
  4. Just imagine going on this entire ride—hills, twists, turns, and all—in reverse.

    (Courtesy Six Flags)
  5. Get ready to soar through the trees on Outlaw Run, Silver Dollar City's latest addition.

    (Courtesy Silver Dollar City)
  6. 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.

    (Courtesy Silver Dollar City)
  7. Experience Goldstriker at California's Great America in Santa Clara, Calif.

    (Courtesy California’s Great America )
  8. At 108.2 feet high, Goldstriker at California's Great Adventure whisks riders along 3,197 feet of track at a whopping 53.7 mph, making it the tallest and fastest wooden roller coaster in Northern California.

    (Courtesy California’s Great America )
  9. The Texas Skyscreamer at Six Flags Over Texas is the world's tallest swing ride, sending riders on a whirlwind 35 mph flight in a 124-foot-wide circle above the park.

    (Courtesy Six Flags)
  10. 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.

    (Courtesy Six Flags)
  11. If you're in the San Francisco Bay area, keep an eye out for Undertow, a new thrill ride opening in August at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, one of Budget Travel's favorite American Boardwalks.

    (Courtesy Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk)
  12. Riders board four-person cars with two people facing forward and two facing backward. The cars continue to rotate throughout the entire ride, guaranteeing that no two trips will be exactly the same, and making this the only spinning roller coaster in Northern California.

    (Courtesy Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk)
  13. Full Throttle debuted at Six Flags Magic Mountain in June, making it the world's tallest and fastest looping roller coaster.

    (Courtesy Six Flags)
  14. 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.

    (Courtesy Six Flags)
  15. Debuting in May of this year, River Rush officially became Tennessee's first-ever water roller coaster.

    (Courtesy Dollywood)
  16. You'll climb like a roller coaster and experience four drops, the largest being a 25-foot fall at a 45-degree angle.

    (Courtesy Dollywood)
  17. Join Steve Carell's infamous super-villian, Gru, and other characters from Despicable Me on an epic Minion-filled adventure—in 3-D.

    (Courtesy Universal Orlando)
  18. You'll feel like you're part of the action thanks to a nifty 3-D attraction based on the Despicable Me films.

    (Courtesy Universal Orlando)
  19. Available at both Universal Studios theme parks in Florida and California, Transformers 3D is being billed as "an immersive, next generation thrill ride blurring the line between fiction and reality."

    (Courtesy Universal Orlando)
  20. You'll fight alongside Optimus Prime and friends as the evil Decepticons wreak havoc on humanity in one of the park's latest 3-D attractions.

    (Courtesy Universal Orlando)
  21. The New Fantasyland in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom is now home to new attractions like The Enchanted Forest, an area inspired by Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid.

    (Courtesy Disney/Matt Stroshane)
  22. Classic Disney rides like Dumbo The Flying Elephant are now a part of the new section's Storybook Circus.

    (Courtesy Disney/David Roark)

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