These Are the New Rides Coming to Amusement Parks in 2022

The industry's recent IAAPA Expo had some exciting announcements

Computer rendering of the ArieForce coaster coming to Georgia

Courtesy of Fun Spot America Theme Parks

After canceling 2020's Expo, IAAPA, the attractions industry association, returned with its massive trade show and conference in November. Booths from nearly 900 companies, ranging from roller coaster manufacturers to animatronics designers to cotton candy machine vendors filled the cavernous Orange County Convention Center. Over 28,000 people roamed the scores of aisles filled with attraction prototypes, full-size, working rides, and hundreds of other displays.

In addition to pitching products and services at their booths, exhibitors use the annual gathering to reveal new rides, attractions, parks, and other developments. Let’s explore what’s on the way.

New Roller Coaster and Thrill Ride Announcements

Two major coasters were announced at the Expo. ArieForce One will be opening at Fun Spot America in Fayetteville, Georgia next year. The ride is named for the Arie family that owns the chain of amusement parks. It will climb a heady 154-foot hill, 83-degree first drop, and reach a top speed of 64 mph. ArieForce One will feature four inversions, including the country’s longest zero-G stall—an element that flips passengers upside down and leaves them hanging in the precarious position for a few hairy seconds as the train barrels forward. Built by RMC, the coaster will incorporate the attraction manufacturer’s patented steel iBox track, which should make for an incredibly smooth ride experience.

COTAland in Austin, Texas, meanwhile, will be debuting Palindrome in late 2022, Gerstlauer Rides and Ride Entertainment revealed at the Expo. Scaling a 95-foot hill, the steel coaster will hit 51 mph, navigate two inversions, climb a dead-end spike, and then roll backward and repeat the entire course in reverse. Defined as a word that reads the same backwards as forwards, “Palindrome” will be the first Infinity shuttle roller coaster built by Gerstlauer in the U.S.

Also on the way to COTAland in 2022 will be Skyblazer, a new adrenaline-packed attraction revealed at the IAAPA Expo by its developer, U.S. Thrill Rides. Up to 18 passengers will board a disc-shaped vehicle, ascend 200 feet into the air, pause momentarily, and then get dropped into a heart-stopping freefall that will send the vehicle swinging.

Among other new concepts and models that were announced, attractions manufacturer Zamperla unveiled the Zetta Swing. At nearly 200 feet, it would be the world’s tallest pendulum ride and deliver major G-forces (and thrills).

Finding Lost Island and Other New Parks

Volkanu ride character at 2021 IAAPA Expo

Arthur Levine

A new tropical oasis-themed theme park, Lost Island, is set to open next year in Waterloo, Iowa, and its signature attraction will be Volkanu–Quest for the Golden Idol. To be created by Sally Dark Rides, the sophisticated, interactive attraction will be located inside a smoke-spewing volcano and will feature trackless, six-degrees-of-freedom vehicles, animatronics, practical sets, 3D CGI media, and special effects. Passengers will be issued “thermal blasters” and will be charged with locating a sacred statue to keep the volcano dormant.

To be located adjacent to Legoland Florida in Winter Haven, the new Peppa Pig Theme Park will open in Feb. 2022, owner Merlin Entertainments announced at the Expo. Based on the popular British TV show that's geared to toddlers, the park will welcome themed play areas and rides such as Daddy Pig’s Roller Coaster and the Muddy Puddles Splash Pad,

Paradise Pier, a small amusement park that will debut in 2022 at the Margaritaville resort in Biloxi, Mississippi, will feature a number of rides from Zamperla, including a Galleon pirate ship, an interactive Pump & Jumpz tower ride, and a Mega Disk’O thrill ride. The park will also include a roller coaster.

It’s not a new park, but Mickey’s Toontown at Disneyland in Anaheim, California will be getting a major makeover. Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, spoke at the Expo and revealed that the revamped land will include a CenTOONial Park area and a Dream Tree that is based on a tree beloved by Walt Disney when he was a child.

CGI recreation of the Statue of Liberty with the feet of ride goers in silhouette

Courtesy of RiseNY

Other Attraction Announcements

There were a number of other attractions announced at the IAAPA Expo, including RiseNY. According to one of its developers, the flying theater-type ride (think Soarin’ at the Disney parks) will take passengers on a journey above many of New York City’s famous landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty and Times Square. Scheduled to open in December 2021, it will be located in Midtown Manhattan.

Sally Dark Rides also announced that its interactive attraction, Treasure Hunt: The Ride, will be opening in 2022 at Cannery Row in Monterey Bay, California. To be developed, owned, and operated in conjunction with Daniels Wood Land, the pirate-themed dark ride will feature onboard audio, interactive media, and projection mapping to transport passengers to underground caverns filled with sea monsters, a skeleton crew of buccaneers, and hidden treasure.

According to designer Triotech, another e-ticket attraction, Carnival Chaos Hyper Ride, will open next year at Clifton Hill in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. In addition to offering an interactive experience in which passengers will shoot at high-definition screens and rack up points video-game style, the ride vehicles will move and spin aggressively to deliver strong G-forces as they move through the show building.

Not everyone can afford a Ferrari. But attraction developers Simworx and Katapult hope that they can bring their Ferrari Experience to midways around the world. By using theme park trickery such as a flying theater and a motion simulator theater, visitors would be able to experience the famous Italian sports cars for themselves.