With another record-setting year winding down for many of the industry’s large parks and resorts, now is the perfect time to peek into the future and explore the exciting new roller coasters slated for 2020. In this issue, The Large Park Report highlights the innovative and thrilling new options arriving at the country’s large parks as we enter this century’s third decade.
Busch Gardens + SeaWorld
While the Central Florida theme park market continues to be ultra-competitive, sister parks Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and SeaWorld Orlando aren’t backing down from Disney and Universal. In fact, in September, the two parks convened a clever joint press event where they announced new details on their signature 2020 attractions.
The headliner is clearly Iron Gwazi—soon to become North America’s tallest and fastest hybrid coaster to date (think 200-plus feet!). Busch Garden’s newest coaster will propel guests through a line-up of thrills found few other places: 4,000-plus feet of track, nearly two minutes long, 12 instances of “airtime,” three separate inversions and one 180-degree upside down stall. And while technically not a coaster, next door at the Busch’s Adventure Island water park, they’ll also debut a “first ever “what the company is calling “America’s first dual tailspin water slide.” This thrill slide will lift guests over 50 feet into the air and will include the AquaLucent lighting features.
Meanwhile, travel down Interstate 4, where SeaWorld Orlando is counter-programing against the hot Florida weather by introducing the winter-themed Ice Breaker coaster. In addition to cold weather design elements, the coaster will thrill guests with multiple forward and backward launches along with an 80-foot drop and speeds in excess of 50 mph. Between the two theme parks, they’ll now offer 16 different roller coasters with Busch Gardens checking in at 10 alone—a Florida record. This further cements the park’s continued move away from live animal shows and into a thrill-focused line-up of fast-paced rides.
Not to be outdone, another sister park, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, is also upping the ante in the roller coaster game. They’ll be introducing the Roman god-themed Pantheon which will feature four separate launches throughout the ride experience. With speeds approaching 75mph, Pantheon will grab the title of fastest multi-launch coaster in the United States when it opens in 2020.
Six Flags Family of Parks
In October, theme park mega-chain Six Flags announced an impressive 2020 slate of new coasters. Among the most anticipated and unique is Aquaman: Power Wave at Six Flags Over Texas. The thrill elements of this launch coaster will include backward and forward movements that reach upwards of 140 feet tall while travelling at 60-plus mph. The most intriguing part of the ride, though, is the addition of a water feature that will soak guests as the coaster travels through a splash pool that will inundate the ride vehicle and everyone around with H20.
Meanwhile, New Jersey-based Six Flags Great Adventure will unveil the Jersey Devil Coaster in 2020 and the specs are outrageous. The single rail coaster will tempt fate with the following stats: 3,000 feet long, 13 stories tall, speeds over 55 mph, a zero-gravity roll and two inversions with one including a 180-degree stall. Needless to say, riders probably should say their prayers before riding the Jersey Devil next year.
Kings Island Introduces Orion
As one of the undisputed industry leaders in roller coasters, Kings Island has to exceed high standards whenever introducing a new coaster. Fortunately, the Ohio-based park’s new giga coaster appears to do just that. The Bolliger & Mabillard steel coaster specs out with some impressive measurements: a 300-foot drop making it one of the Top 10 longest drops in the world and speeds exceeding 90 mph making it one of the fastest in the United States. Add in a track length of 5,300-plus feet and Orion will instantly become one of the most thrilling coasters in the country.
Hersheypark’s Sweet New Thrill Ride
Hersheypark is already home to 14 roller coasters so it’s no surprise that another will debut in 2020. Known as Candymonium, the hyper coaster will reach 210 feet high into the sky with top speeds exceeding 70 mph and a track length of 4,636 feet. The Bolliger & Mabillard-designed coaster will instantly become the tallest, fastest and longest ride at Hersheypark and one of the top anywhere in the Northeast.
The coaster isn’t a one shot wonder, though, but instead serves as the feature attraction in Hersheypark’s new Chocolatetown park area, a $150 million expansion featuring new shopping and dining experiences as well.
As you can see, the 2020 vision for rollercoasters at the industry’s large parks and resorts is bold and exciting. Join us in the next issue as The Large Park Report surveys the exciting non-coaster attractions debuting throughout next year.