After 2023 saw some delayed pandemic-era theme park projects finally get finished, 2024’s biggest additions will be more about redos and family additions.
Theme Park Tribune’s annual list of the most anticipated new theme park rides opening in the coming year includes parks from across the country – even one entirely new park – and family coasters at parks more known for their thrill rides.
So here are Theme Park Tribune’s picks for the 10 most anticipated theme park attractions scheduled to open in 2024:
10. Catapult Falls
Opening: TBA 2024 at SeaWorld San Antonio
Remember when I mentioned delayed projects? Our list starts off with one from SeaWorld San Antonio.
Catapult Falls was featured on last year’s list, but isn’t the first time SeaWorld has missed an opening date in recent years. We can forgive the delay because Catapult Falls is such an interesting twist on a log flume, being the world’s first such ride with a launch.
That launch is only 20 mph, but along with a vertical loft and multiple drops, Catapult Falls may very well add some coaster-like thrill to the classic flume ride.
9. Mattel Adventure Park
Like Catapult Falls, Mattel Adventure Park was featured on our 2023 list, but ended up delayed until 2024.
That extra time gave the Glendale, Arizona park more time to hype its connection to the red-hot Barbie franchise in the wake of last summer’s hit Greta Gerwig film. While there’s no longer a mention of the Soarin-style flying theater ride, Barbie will be represented through a hologram-driven “Barbie Dream Closet Experience” and a rooftop bar and restaurant housed in what an August 2023 press release called a “full-scale Barbie Beach House.”
For coaster fans, there will be two Hot Wheels-themed coasters, including Hot Wheels Twin Mill Racer, a three-inversion Chance Hyper GTX model.
8. Spongebob’s Crazy Carnival Ride
Opening: First quarter of 2024 at Adventuredome
Las Vegas hasn’t had much in the way of new theme park attractions in recent years, but the indoor Adventuredome park at the Circus Circus Resort is changing that with a new interactive dark ride.
SpongeBob’s Crazy Carnival Ride is being built by Sally Dark Rides, the same firm behind interactive attractions such as Six Flags’ many Justice League rides.
The story behind its latest creation is that SpongeBob and Patrick have screwed up by bringing the wrong supplies to Mr. Krabs’ new carnival, and the villainous Plankton wants to capitalize on their mistake by stealing the secret Krabby Patty recipe.
The company said in a November press release that the ride will feature 15 scenes and a total of six animatronics, including a Mr. Krabs figure shown off at November’s IAAPA Expo.
7. Phoenix Rising
Opening: TBD 2024 at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Phoenix Rising will be the first U.S. installation of B&M’s family inverted coaster model. The 1,831-foot-long coaster will hit a top speed of 44 mph and be the first coaster in the park with onboard audio.
6. Penguin Trek
Opening: TBD 2024 at SeaWorld Orlando
Speaking of B&M family coasters in Florida, SeaWorld Orlando’s new-for-2024 ride will be a brand new model for the company.
Penguin Trek is a 3,020-foot-long family launch coaster taking the place of the defunct Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin dark ride. The ride will sport two launches, hit a top speed of 43 mph but stay family-friendly with a 42-inch height requirement.
It’s the second-straight year B&M has debuted a brand new coaster model at SeaWorld Orlando following 2023’s surprise hit, Pipeline.
5. Iron Menace
Opening: TBD 2024 at Dorney Park
Iron Menace is another B&M creation, and while it’s not a new coaster model, it’s the new ride that Allentown, Pennsylvania’s Dorney Park has been wanting for years.
This 160-foot-tall dive coaster will have a beyond-vertical, 95-degree first drop, reaching 64 mph through its four inversions. It’s the first new coaster Dorney Park has received since 2005 and the first dive coaster of any kind in the Northeastern U.S.
4. Fire in the Hole
Opening: Spring 2024 at Silver Dollar City
Fire in the Hole is not a brand new ride for Branson, Missouri’s Silver Dollar City, but when coaster darlings Rocky Mountain Construction are involved in a project said to cost $30 million, it’s worth taking notice.
RMC is venturing into unfamiliar territory here with an indoor, family-oriented coaster focused on special effects and onboard audio rather than their usual relentless airtime.
In an August press release, the new Fire in the Hole was described as having “three drops and a quick splash-landing” and 14 show scenes inside a five-story building.
3. Flash: Vertical Velocity
Opening: TBD at Six Flags Great Adventure
To mark its 50th anniversary in 2024, Six Flags Great Adventure is getting the first U.S. installation of Vekoma’s Super Boomerang model.
Appearing to be identical to the original Super Boomerang which opened at Fantawild Wonderland in China last year, Flash: Vertical Velocity is a shuttle coaster with a 59-mph top speed, a 180-degree twisted drop and a Zero-G roll.
Considering the ride’s compact layout, expect to see clones of this pop up elsewhere in the Six Flags chain should it prove to be popular at the Jackson, New Jersey, park.
2. Tiana’s Bayou Adventure
Opening: Late 2024 at Magic Kingdom and Disneyland
Replacing Splash Mountain at two Disney parks comes with high expectations for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.
The flume ride is being rethemed around 2009’s “The Princess and the Frog,” and will feature new dozens of new animatronic figures for many of the film’s biggest characters – along with new music produced by New Orleans musicians. All of the film’s original voice actors are reprising their roles, as well.
No opening date has been set for either version of the attraction, but expect the Disneyland ride to open later, as Magic Kingdom’s version closed several months ahead of its West Coast counterpart.
1. Top Thrill 2
Opening: April 30 at Cedar Point
After sitting dormant since a serious accident in August 2021, Top Thrill Dragster will be reborn in 2024 with a much different ride experience.
Instead of the original’s single 120-mph hydraulic launch, Top Thrill 2 will start with a 74 mph launch that sends riders partway up the original top hat — offering every ride a “rollback” which was once coveted by coaster enthusiasts. You’ll then be sent backwards with a second launch at 101 mph up a new 420-foot spike at a 90-degree angle. When you come back down, the third and final 120 mph launch will send you up and over the top hat and the 270-degree spiral on the other side.
The changes to the ride are being done Zamperla, the amusement firm behind Coney Island’s Luna Park and Cedar Point’s new-for-2023 Wild Mouse coaster.
Unlike the other rides on this list, we do have dates for when Top Thrill 2 will be available to riders. Cedar Point recently announced that it will be holding previews for passholders from April 30 through May 2, ahead of the park’s general opening date on May 4.