2016 Ride Guide

What's New at Theme Parks and Amusement Parks in 2016?

We enjoy visiting amusement parks and theme parks to revisit childhood memories and experience our favorite coasters and other rides. But we also love visiting parks to check out the latest, greatest attractions. In 2016, there will be lots to love at parks throughout North America.

The biggest news is from Universal Studios Hollywood, which will be capping off a massive five-year expansion with the West Coast premiere of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The original Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando has been generating huge crowds, buzz, and critical acclaim. Other California parks won't be able to match Universal's buzz, but many of them have some wonderful new attractions coming as well.

Universal's parks in Florida will be taking a break from new Harry rides in 2016, but Islands of Adventure will be bringing back an old, hairy ride with a King Kong reboot. Epcot will set sail for Arendelle with a Frozen-themed boat ride. Other Florida parks (as well...MORE as ones in California) have some wild, new coasters rolling out.

Speaking of coasters, 2016 will be another banner year for the thrill machines and the fans who love riding them. Perhaps the year's most anticipated coaster is on its way to Dollywood, which is building the world's fastest woodie -- and the world's first to use a magnetic launch system. Six Flags has new coasters coming in 2016 (along with other goodies). In early March 2016, the park chain announced a bold plan to roll out virtual reality coasters at nine of its parks. Many other parks will be unveiling their own shiny, new rails.

Do you want to ride? Let's explore what we can look forward to on the midways. California and Florida parks lead off the Ride Guide. After that, U.S. states are arranged alphabetically. Canadian and Mexican parks follow at the end.

  • 01 of 22
    ••• Universal Studios Hollywood

    After years of anticipation, Muggles will finally be able to quench their thirst with some frothy butterbeer when the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opens at Universal Studios Hollywood. There's also a Joker-themed hybrid wooden-steel coaster coming to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, a new Soarin' experience at Disney California Adventure, and plenty more on the way to the Golden State. California parks have their own 2016 Ride Guide page.

  • 02 of 22

    Universal's banished bad boy, King Kong, will make a triumphant return when Skull Island: Reign of Kong opens at Islands of Adventure. There will also be coasters coming to both Busch Gardens Tampa and SeaWorld Orlando, a Frozen ride opening in Epcot, a new 4D film debuting at Legoland Florida, and plenty of other goodies. Florida parks have their own 2016 Ride Guide page.

  • 03 of 22

    ALABAMA PARKS

    Preview of Drop Zone ride at Alabama Splash Adventure.
    ••• Alabama Splash Adventure

    Alabama Splash Adventure
    Bessemer
    Drop Zone and Tea Cups
    Under new ownership since 2015, the park continues to expand with a new drop tower ride and a spinning tea cups ride.

    Find more Alabama theme parks.

    ARIZONA: There are no new developments in 2016, but here is where you can find Arizona theme parks.

    ARKANSAS: There are no new rides coming in 2016, but here is where you can find Arkansas theme parks.

    COLORADO: There is nothing new for 2016, but here is where you can find Colorado theme parks.

  • 04 of 22

    CONNECTICUT PARKS

    Preview of Phobia coaster at Lake Compounce.
    ••• Lake Compounce

    Lake Compounce
    Bristol
    Phobia Phear Coaster
    The compact, triple-launch coaster will be the first of its kind in New England. 

    Quassy Amusement Park
    Middlebury
    Reverse Time and Slide City
    A new spinning thrill ride will open in the dry part of the park, and a new set of slides for younger guests will open in the water park.

    DELAWARE: There are no new developments planned for 2016, but here is where you can find Delaware theme parks.

    Continue to 5 of 22 below.
  • 05 of 22

    GEORGIA PARKS

    Six Flags Over Georgia Bugs Bunny Boomtown
    ••• Six Flags

    Six Flags Over Georgia
    Austell (near Atlanta), GA
    VR Coaster plus DC Super Friends and Bugs Bunny Boomtown
    Dare Devil Dive will be turned into a virtual reality coaster. Also, the park chain's first DC Comics-themed kids area is on the way along with an expanded Looney Tunes area. There will be a new drop tower, a mirror maze, spinning rides, and more.

    Find more Georgia theme parks.

  • 06 of 22

    IDAHO PARKS

    2016 water slide at Silverwood park.
    ••• Silverwood

    Silverwood
    Rossville, GA
    New mat racing water slide
    The water park will get a new attraction.

  • 07 of 22

    ILLINOIS PARKS

    ••• Six Flags

    Six Flags Great America
    Gurnee, IL
    Justice League: Battle for Metropolis
    Expect a Universal-quality interactive dark ride complete with immersive 4D media and roving motion base vehicles. The park chain opened similar rides at two locations in 2015. Read my review of Justice League: Battle for Metropolis.

    Find more Illinois theme parks.

    INDIANA: There are no new developments on tap for 2016, but here is where you can find Indiana theme parks.

  • 08 of 22

    IOWA PARKS

    Preview of The Monster coaster coming to Adventureland in 2016.
    ••• Adventureland

    Adventureland
    Altoona, IA
    The Monster
    A new, major steel roller coaster is coming to the small park. It will feature a vertical lift hill and a beyond-vertical first drop, followed by five inversions.

    Find more Iowa theme parks.

    Continue to 9 of 22 below.
  • 09 of 22

    KENTUCKY PARKS

    ••• Kentucky Kingdom. Used with permission.

    Ark Encounter
    Williamstown, KY
    New park
    The new biblical-themed attraction is billing itself as a "theme park." But, is it? You be the judge.

    Beech Bend
    Bowling Green, KY
    Spinning Out
    A small figure-8 coaster with spinning cars will open at the park.

    Kentucky Kingdom
    Louisville, KY
    Storm Chaser
    RMC, the wonderful ride manufacturer that has been giving old wooden coasters a new lease on life will be working its magic on the park's defunct Twisted Twins. Read more about the hybrid wooden-steel coaster, Storm Chaser.

    Find more Kentucky theme parks.

    LOUISIANA: There are no new rides planned for 2016, but here is where you can find Louisiana theme parks.

    MAINE: There is nothing new scheduled for 2016, but here is where you can find Maine theme parks.

  • 10 of 22

    MARYLAND PARKS

    Splashwater Falls water ride at Six Flags America.
    ••• Six Flags

    Six Flags America
    Mitchellville, MD
    VR Coaster plus Splashwater Falls
    Superman Ride of Steel will be turned into a virtual reality coaster. Also, get set to get wet when Hurricane Harbor opens a new interactive water play complex.

    Find more Maryland theme parks.

  • 11 of 22

    MASSACHUSETTS PARKS

    Six Flags Fireball ride
    ••• Six Flags

    Edaville USA
    Carver, MA
    Kersplash
    Edaville made big news and attracted huge crowds when it opened Thomas Land in 2015. For 2016, it will add Kersplash, a small water coaster, next to Thomas Land.

    Six Flags New England
    Agawam, MA
    Re-Themed Superman VR Coaster plus Fireball 
    The park's glorious Bizarro steel hypercoaster returns to its roots with its original colors and (a slight variation of) its original name, Superman the Ride. It will also be turned into a virtual reality coaster. Plus, the carnival-like ride, Fireball, will send passengers racing forwards, backwards, and upside down in a 70-foot loop. Also, 

    Find More Massachusetts theme parks

    MICHIGAN: There are no new rides on the way in 2016, but here is where you can find Michigan theme parks.

  • 12 of 22

    MINNESOTA PARKS

    Valleyfair 40th anniversary and Flying Eagles ride.
    ••• Valleyfair

    Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America
    Bloomington, MN
    FlyOver America
    Technically, this Soarin'-style attraction will be in the Mall of America, but not within the Nickelodeon Universe. Like the popular Disney parks ride, passengers will virtually fly above famous landmarks.

    Valleyfair
    Shakopee, MN
    40th Anniversary and New Flying Eagles
    To celebrate its big birthday, the park will open a new version of an old classic spinning ride, Flying Eagles.

    Find more Minnesota theme parks.

    Continue to 13 of 22 below.
  • 13 of 22

    MISSOURI PARKS

    Planet Snoopy at Worlds of Fun.
    ••• Worlds of Fun

    Six Flags St. Louis
    Eureka, MO
    VR Coaster plus Fireball
    Ninja will be turned into a virtual reality coaster. Also, another mega-looping ride is on the way. (See Six Flags New England, above.)

    Worlds of Fun
    Kansas City, MO
    Planet Snoopy Expansion
    Five new rides, including Flying Scooters and a small train, are coming to the park's land for young children.

    Find more Missouri theme parks.

    NEVADA: There isn't anything new planned for 2016, but here is where you can find Nevada theme parks.

    NEW HAMPSHIRE: There aren't any new rides on the way in 2016, but here is where you can find New Hampshire theme parks.

  • 14 of 22

    NEW JERSEY PARKS

    Gale Force coaster at Playland's Castaway Cove.
    ••• Playland's Castaway Cove

    Playland's Castaway Cove
    Ocean City, NJ
    Gale Force
    The triple-launched (it will launch forwards, stall out, launch backwards, stall out again, and finally launch forward to rev up to speed) steel coaster will feature a beyond-vertical drop, a 59 mph top speed, and a number of inversions.

    Six Flags Great Adventure
    Jackson, NJ
    Total Mayhem 4D
    Another "Free Spin" wing coaster is coming to a Six Flags park. To learn more about the unique ride experience, see my overview of Batman: The Ride at Fiesta Texas, which opened in 2015.

    Find more New Jersey theme parks.

    NEW MEXICO: Nothing new is coming in 2016, but here is where you can find New Mexico theme parks.

  • 15 of 22

    NEW YORK PARKS

    Greezed Lightnin' thrill ride at The Great Escape.
    ••• Six Flags

    The Great Escape
    Queensbury
    VR Coaster plus Greezed Lightnin'
    Steamin’ Demon will be turned into a virtual reality coaster. The Six Flags park is also getting a mega looping ride, like Six Flags New England in Massachusetts.

    Find more New York theme parks.

  • 16 of 22

    NORTH CAROLINA PARKS

    Rendering of Carolina Harbor water park at Carowinds.
    ••• Carowinds

    Carowinds
    Charlotte
    Carolina Harbor water park and Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare
    The water park will get a major expansion and a new name in 2016. New attractions include Pirate's Plank, a slide complex with launch pods, and the six-story tall slide tower, Blackbeard's Revenge.

    The dry side of the park will get a new 3D, interactive, video game-like experience designed by the folks from EA and PopCap Games. It will be based on the popular series, Plants vs Zombies.

    Find more North Carolina theme parks.

    Continue to 17 of 22 below.
  • 17 of 22

    OHIO PARKS

    Valravn - Preview of second drop on Cedar Point's 2016 Roller Coaster
    ••• Cedar Point. Used with permission.

    Cedar Point
    Sandusky, OH
    Valravn
    Coaster number 17 at "The Roller Coaster Capital of the World" will be an incredibly tall (223 feet) and fast (75 mph) dive coaster. Read my preview of the wild-sounding Valravn. The park is making lots of claims for its latest coaster. I deconstruct them in my article, "Will Cedar Point's Valravn Coaster Really Break 10 Records?"

    Kings Island
    Mason, OH
    Tropical Plunge
    The water park will get a new six-slide tower in 2016. Three of the slides will feature launch pods with trap doors.

    Find more Ohio theme parks.

    OKLAHOMA: There isn't anything new in the works for 2016, but here is where you can find Oklahoma theme parks.

    OREGON: There aren't any new attractions planned for 2016, but here is where you can find Oregon theme parks.

    PENNSYLVANIA: Although there are many parks in the state, nothing new is coming in 2016. But here is where you can find Pennsylvania theme parks.

    SOUTH CAROLINA: Nothing new is in the pipeline for 2016, but here...MORE is where you can find South Carolina theme parks.

  • 18 of 22

    TENNESSEE PARKS

    ••• Dollywood.

    Dollywood
    Pigeon Forge, TN
    Lightning Rod
    The world's fastest wooden coaster is on the way to Dolly's park. It will also be the world's first launched woodie. Read my preview of ​Lightning Rod at Dollywood -- and try not to get too excited!

    Find More Tennessee theme parks.

  • 19 of 22

    TEXAS PARKS

    Spinsanity ride at Six Flags.
    ••• Six Flags

    SeaWorld San Antonio
    San Antonio, TX
    Discovery Point
    The marine life park will debut a new area that will be dedicated to (extra-charge) animal encounters including swim-with-dolphins experiences.

    Six Flags Fiesta Texas
    San Antonio, TX
    VR Coaster plus Fireball, Hurricane Force 5, and Spinsanity
    Superman Krypton Coaster will be turned into a virtual reality coaster. Plus, three new rides are in the wings: The mega-looper, Fireball, the modern-day Tilt-A-Whirl, Spinsanity, and Hurricane Force 5, which will send passengers aboard a spinning platform racing back and forth on a U-shaped section of coaster track.

    Six Flags Over Texas
    Arlington (near Dallas), TX
    VR Coaster plus The Riddler Revenge, Catwoman Whip, and Harley Quinn Spinsanity
    Shockwave will be turned into a virtual reality coaster. Plus, another trio of new attractions is coming to this park: Two of them will be spinning rides, and one will be a huge pendulum ride.

    Find More Texas theme parks.

  • 20 of 22

    VIRGINIA PARKS

    Delirium, a pendulum ride coming to Kings Dominion.
    ••• Kings Dominion

    Kings Dominion
    Doswell, VA
    Delirium
    A huge pendulum-style thrill ride is coming to the park.

    Find More Virginia theme parks.

    WEST VIRGINIA: There isn't anything planned for 2016, but here is where you can find West Virginia theme parks.

    WISCONSIN: Nothing major is on the way for 2016, but here is where you can find Wisconsin theme parks.

    Continue to 21 of 22 below.
  • 21 of 22

    CANADA PARKS

    Skyhawk ride at Canada's Wonderland.
    ••• Canada's Wonderland

    Canada's Wonderland
    Maple, Ontario
    Skyhawk and Flying Eagles
    Rise 135 feet in the air and pilot your own ride vehicle (including inversions) on Skyhawk. Flying Eagles is a Flying Scooter-like ride.

    La Ronde
    Montreal
    VR Coaster plus Le Vampire Backwards and Phoenix and Graviton
    Goliath will be turned into a virtual reality coaster. Also, passengers will be able to brave the coaster, Le Vampire, as it races backwards. Riders will be sent spinning vertically 360 degrees forwards and backwards on Gravitor (which will be relocated from Six Flags St. Louis where it was known as Rush Street Flyer). And riders will be able to control their vehicles on Phoenix, another Flying Scooter-like ride (which sure is popular this year).

    Find More theme parks in Canada.

  • 22 of 22

    MEXICO PARKS

    Six Flags Mexico
    Mexico City
    Justice League: Battle for Metropolis
    See See Six Flags Great America in Illinois above for info about the 3D interactive ride coming to the park.