The ball is poised to drop in Times Square. Before we say so long to 2012, however, let's take a moment to reflect on just what an amazing year this has been. From super-duper E Ticket attractions to kick-ass coasters to major park overhauls, this final tween year has been one heck of a ride. Herewith, 12 of the most significant park developments for 2012:
- Cars Land opened at Disney California Adventure.
- Most of the Fantasyland expansion at Disney World's Magic Kingdom opened.
- The Spider-Man-like Transformers: The Ride-3D opened at Universal Studios Hollywood.
- Not to be outdone, Universal Studios Florida opened both the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride and Universal's Superstar Parade.
- Next door at Islands of Adventure, the groundbreaking The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man attraction broke even more ground with new footage and a reengineered projection system.
- Coasters winged it in 2012 with both X-Flight at Six Flags Great America and Wild Eagle at Dollywood, two "wing" rides, debuting.
- Speaking of new coaster concepts, the utterly unique Superman Ultimate Flight at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom opened at the California park.
- The hang-on-for-dear-life Lex Luthor: Drop of Doom opened at Six Flags Magic Mountain.
- In addition to Cars Land, the rest of the expansion at Disney California Adventure wrapped this year, including a revamped front of the park, which is now known as Buena Vista Street and Carthay Circle.
- SeaWorld Orlando opened an immersive new attraction, TurtleTrek.
- Busch Gardens Williamsburg opened a highly themed, launched coaster, Verbolten.
- It was quite a year for water parks. Among the highlights, SeaWorld San Antonio revamped ts park into Aquatica and Holiday World opened Mammoth, the world's longest water coaster.
And the booby prize for worst new theme park development of 2012 goes to Knoebels for once again not opening the long-delayed Flying Turns coaster. There's always next year.
Photo: Universal Studios 2008. Used with permission.