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New at Theme Parks for 2012

Ride Guide 2012

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New at Theme Parks for 2012

Holiday World will welcome Mammoth, the world's longest water coaster.

Holiday World, 2011. Used with permission.
Whew! You'd better cinch up your safety belts. It's going to be a wild ride this year at North American theme parks and amusement parks. I've been covering the industry for a long time, and I can't recall a more exciting season of major new attractions, new roller coasters, new thrill rides, and other assorted new goodies. (And looking into the future, the deluge of incedible new rides is set to continue for the next few years. But we're getting ahead of ourselves; let's focus on this year's incredible new stuff.)

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.

ALABAMA

Find Alabama Theme Parks

ARIZONA

Find Arizona Theme Parks

ARKANSAS

Find Arkansas Theme Parks

CALIFORNIA

California 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.

COLORADO

Find Colorado Theme Parks

CONNECTICUT

Lake Compounce
Bristol, CT
Riptide Racer
The Splash Harbor water park is set to expand with the opening of a new four-lane racing slide.

Quassy Amusement Park
Middlebury, CT
Tea Cups
After rolling out the highly acclaimed roller coaster, Wooden Warrior, in 2011, the small park will introduce a new spinning tea cups ride in 2012.

Find More Connecticut Theme Parks

DELAWARE

Find Delaware Theme Parks

FLORIDA

Florida 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.

GEORGIA

Six Flags Over Georgia
Austell (near Atlanta), GA
New shows
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.

Find More Georgia Theme Parks

IDAHO

Find Idaho Theme Parks

ILLINOIS

Six Flags Great America
Gurnee, IL
X-Flight
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.

Find More Illinois Theme Parks

INDIANA

Holiday World
Santa Claus, Indiana
Mammoth
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.

Find More Indiana Theme Parks

IOWA

Adventureland
Altoona, Iowa
Breaker Beach
Adventure Bay water park will get a new wave pool.

Find More Iowa Theme Parks

KANSAS

Both of the state's parks, Joyland and Wild West World (which lasted less than one season), are closed.

KENTUCKY

Find Kentucky Theme Parks

LOUISIANA

Dixie Landin'
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Aqua Loop
The Blue Bayou water park will get four new water slides that will deliver near vertical loops. Find More Louisiana Theme Parks

MAINE

Funtown Splashtown U.S.A.
Saco, Maine
Six water slides
The Spalshtown water park will get six new water slides, one of which the park is calling a "flatline" loop.

Find More Maine Theme Parks

MARYLAND

Six Flags America
Mitchellville, MD (near Washington, D.C.)
Apocalypse
The standup coaster coming to Maryland is a recycled ride from Six Flags' Illinois park.

Find More Maryland Theme Parks

MASSACHUSETTS

Six Flags New England
Agawam, MA (near Springfield, MA and Hartford, CT)
Goliath
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.

Find More Massachusetts Theme Parks

Next Page: The 2012 Season Ride Guide continues with parks from Michigan to Wisconsin plus Canada.

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