Highlights include Cars Land at Disney's California Adventure, a lavish ode to the popular Pixar films that is the highlight of the final phase of expansion at Disneyland's second park. There will be a whole lotta screaming going on at Canada's Wonderland, Hersheypark, Six Flags Great Adventure, and other parks that will be debuting diabolical, innovative, and otherwise face-melting new coasters. Universal Studios Hollywood will introduce an ultra-sophisticated ride based on the Transformers film and toy franchise, while its sister park in Orlando will welcome a move ride themed to Despicable Me.
I don't know about you, but my head is spinning from all the news, and we've yet to board one of the disorienting coasters rolling out in 2012. And those are just some of the highlights. Read on to discover what's on the way at your local park and what parks you might want to include in your vacation plans for 2012.
The Ride Guide is arranged alphabetically by US state. Canada follows at the end.
- This page includes what's new for the 2012 season at theme parks from Arkansas to Massachusetts.
- The next page includes what's new for the 2012 season at theme parks from Michigan to Wisconsin plus Canada.
ALABAMAFind Alabama Theme Parks
ARIZONAFind Arizona Theme Parks
ARKANSASFind Arkansas Theme Parks
CALIFORNIACalifornia Theme Parks 2012 Ride Guide
In addition to Cars Land at Disney California Adventure and the Transformers ride at Universal Studios Hollywood, there will be major new Golden State coasters at SeaWorld San Diego and Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, and things are looking up at Six Flags Magic Mountain with the world's tallest drop tower ride set to debut.
COLORADOFind Colorado Theme Parks
The Splash Harbor water park is set to expand with the opening of a new four-lane racing slide.
DELAWAREFind Delaware Theme Parks
FLORIDAFlorida Theme Parks 2012 Ride Guide
Most of the new attractions that are planned for the Fantasyland expansion at Disney World's Magic Kingdom won't open until 2013, but there will be some new goodies to discover in 2012 -- as well as the Let the Memories Begin and One More Disney Day events. In addition to the Despicable Me movie ride, Universal Orlando will also spiff up its groundbreaking Spider-Man attraction in 2012. Opened towards the end of 2011, Legoland Florida will augment its already-successful park with a separate-gate water park. SeaWorld Orlando has a new 3-D film and exhibit about turtles, while its second park, Discovery Cove will welcome a new interactive animal adventure. Get the lowdown in the Florida Ride Guide.
GEORGIASix Flags Over Georgia
Austell (near Atlanta), GA
At the time this was written, Six Flags was promising "new shows" without any further details. This is another park we might want to grant a pass in 2012 since it launched Dare Devil Dive, a new coaster, last year.
IDAHOFind Idaho Theme Parks
ILLINOISSix Flags Great America
X-Flight is one of two "wing coasters" debuting in 2012 (Dollywood in Tennessee will welcome the other one). Its innovative seating will offer a new ride experience. You can learn more about the new coaster at the X-Flight overview.
Santa Claus, Indiana
The little park that could will do it again in 2012. After building Wildebeest, the world's longest water coaster in 2010, Holiday World will break its own record with the new world's longest water coaster, Mammoth.
- Preview Photo Gallery of Mammoth
- General Preview Video of Mammoth
- Point-of-View Preview Video of Mammoth
Adventure Bay water park will get a new wave pool.
KANSASBoth of the state's parks, Joyland and Wild West World (which lasted less than one season), are closed.
KENTUCKYFind Kentucky Theme Parks
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
The Blue Bayou water park will get four new water slides that will deliver near vertical loops. Find More Louisiana Theme Parks
MAINEFuntown Splashtown U.S.A.
Six water slides
The Spalshtown water park will get six new water slides, one of which the park is calling a "flatline" loop.
MARYLANDSix Flags America
Mitchellville, MD (near Washington, D.C.)
The standup coaster coming to Maryland is a recycled ride from Six Flags' Illinois park.
MASSACHUSETTSSix Flags New England
Agawam, MA (near Springfield, MA and Hartford, CT)
Speaking of recycled Six Flags coasters (see above), the massive shuttle coaster making its way to Massachusetts originally thrilled riders at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Southern California.
Next Page: The 2012 Season Ride Guide continues with parks from Michigan to Wisconsin plus Canada.