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Roller Coaster Ride Guide 2014

Thunderbolt and Lightning Among the Very, Very Frightening Rides

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North American parks have plenty of new thrills on the way in the form of roller coasters for the 2014 season. There will be updates to old classics, new takes on tried and true concepts, some highly themed attractions that will incorporate coaster experiences, and a continuation of the trend to re-imagine wooden coasters.

There will be some records broken, but the really big news might have to wait until at least 2015. Height thresholds may be shattered by proposed Polercoasters, a new concept that combines observation towers and coasters. Developers are pitching projects in Georgia, Las Vegas, and Florida, among other places. You can read about Polercoasters in my article about the world's tallest coaster planned for Florida.

Some pretty wonderful rides will open in 2014, however. New roller coasters are listed by state. Canada and Mexico follow at the end. Get yourself revved up by learning about what's coming. I'll see you at the parks!

California: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland

Big Thunder Mountain
Disney

It's not new, but Disneyland's classic mine train ride will be getting a new track, new trains, and new scenery when it reopens in 2014. As has been the case recently with some other attractions at The Mouse, interactive elements will be introduced into the queue to make waiting in line less onerous.

California: New Kiddie Coaster and More at Six Flags Magic Mountain

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Six Flags.

As part of its Fright Fest Halloween event, Six Flags Magic Mountain has been running its wooden coaster, Colossus, backwards. In 2014, visitors to the park will be able to face the wrong direction on the dual-track coaster stating in the spring. The inverted Batman: The Ride coaster will also feature backwards-facing seating for a limited time during the season. A small kiddie coaster (which will raise the park's coaster count to an incredible 19) is also scheduled to open in a spruced-up Bugs Bunny World.

Florida: Gringotts Coaster at Universal Studios Florida

The details are sketchy now, but it's highly likely (if not officially confirmed to date) that Diagon Alley, the second phase of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando, will include an indoor, coaster-based attraction themed to Gringotts Wizarding Bank. When the wizards at Universal break their invisibility cloak and reveal more, I'll share the news.

Florida: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at the Magic Kingdom

The final phase of the New Fantasyland expansion at Disney World's Magic Kingdom will be completed in 2014 when its centerpiece attraction, The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Ride, opens. Passengers will heigh-ho along with the Snow White characters in unique coaster cars that will swing from side to side.

Illinois: Goliath at Six Flags Great America

Goliath-SFGA-Inversion.jpg

A new breed of hybrid wood-steel thrill machines, such as 2013's Iron Rattler, makes it possible for woodies to include features such as inversions. Goliath will continue that trend and will break the record for the world's fastest, tallest, and steepest wooden roller coaster. But is it really a wooden coaster?

Kentucky: Lightning Run at Kentucky Kingdom

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Kentucky Kingdom
After closing in 2010, Kentucky Kingdom will get a new lease on life in 2014 with new owners and a new roller coaster. Lightning Run will soar 100 feet and reach a top speed of 55 mph. With its middling thrills and lack of inversions, the family ride should appeal to a wide variety of visitors.

 

Maryland: Ragin' Cajun at Six Flags America

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Six Flags.

An off-the-shelf spinning Wild Mouse ride, Ragin' Cajun will be new to Six Flags America, but it is not a new coaster. The ride was previously at Six Flags Great America where it was also known as Ragin' Cajun.

Nevada: El Loco at Adventuredome

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Circus Circus is replacing the Rim Runner splashdown ride with the new El Loco roller coaster at its Adventuredome indoor theme park. The second ride of its kind in the U.S. (the other one is Steel Hawg at Indiana Beach), it will feature a greater-than-90-degree drop followed by an extreme moment of negative Gs. Using single-car, four-passenger trains, the compact vehicles will navigate very tight turns and other thrilling elements.

New Hampshire: Roar-O-Saurus at Story Land

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Story Land.

If you don't believe that good things come in small packages, you haven't ridden Wooden Warrior, an incredible, if compact, woodie in Connecticut. The same manufacturer will build a similar ride at the charming Story Land in New Hampshire's White Mountains. Boasting innovative Timberliner trains, this should be one heckuva coaster.

New York: Thunderbolt at Coney Island

It will pay homage (at least in name) to the circa-1925 wooden coaster that once graced the boardwalk at Coney Island, but the Thunderbolt that will open in 2014 at the seaside amusement shrine will be an entirely different ride. The newfangled coaster will include an intriguing vertical elevator lift tower. 

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