Vote of the week: Can 2013 top 2012 for theme parks?
My kids are getting ready to go back to school next week - we just took our high-school daughter to pick up her textbooks today. So as the beginning of a new school year approaches, another theme park season comes to a close.
Of course, the big parks in Orlando and Southern California will remain open (and crowded), and we'll keep covering them. But for them many theme park fans, whose attention turns away from parks for the next few weeks and months, this is a good time to take a look back at the past summer, while maybe beginning to think ahead to the next year.
Mickey Mouse welcomes us to the new Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure.
We had some huge debuts in 2012. In fact, this year saw two of the biggest ever - Cars Land, with its highlight, Radiator Springs Racers, at Disney California Adventure, and Transformers: The Ride 3D at Universal Studios Hollywood. Those attractions wowed so many fans this year that great new rides such as Leviathan at Canada's Wonderland and the new Manta at SeaWorld San Diego didn't get nearly the attention they would have in a "normal" year.
But as good as this year was, more's coming next year, too - as it always does. Perhaps by the end of 2013, we'll see a Transformers in Orlando at Universal Studios Florida. Silver Dollar City in Missouri is building what might be the world's most ambitious wooden roller coaster, Outlaw Run, which will feature 81-degree first drop, a 68-mph top speed and a double barrel roll inversion.
Cedar Point's finally getting a new coaster. The expansion at Hong Kong Disneyland will be complete. And SeaWorld Orlando will debut its massive new Antarctica pavilion, with what's promised to be an innovative major new dark ride, along with an up-close walk-through a penguin habitat.
So, what do you think? Will 2013 top 2012? Or was this summer a classic that next year won't be able to match?
Let's put it up for a vote.
What are your theme park vacation plans for the next 12-16 months? Will you be visiting parks more often, or less, than you have in the past year? Why? Tell us in the comments.
2012 was a pretty stellar year for theme parks, amusement parks, and coaster fans everywhere. Perhaps one in a million.
Outlaw Run and Mystic Manor look to be the big news for next year, and I have high hopes for them, but I don't think that Mystic Point will be be nearly as immersive an area as Cars Land, and Outlaw Run is a real unknown quantity due to the failure in the past of the equally ambitious woodie Son of Beast. That said, I voted for 2012 being the banner year for amusement parks, but I do think that 2013 could be a VERY close second...
2012 was (and still is) the year i decided that the Disney park for me is Disneyland and my florida destination will be UOR.
It's been a great year, but I don't think we'll know if 2013 will be better until the parks announce more of what they're doing for next year.
In hitting Six Flags great America on the last day of operations daily operations so trio report to come.
I don't think so. This year has a great lineup at many parks worldwide, while 2013 really doesn't.
@James, don't hold your breath on Avatar opening in 2015.
Oh man! I forgot Antarctica in my list! DUH!
28 days to go and il be in orlando for 2 weeks :)
Sean, Test Track opens this year and Pandora will be open by the end of 2015.
For the destination parks, I think 2013 will be a fairly dull year. As far as I'm aware, the only major attraction in Orlando next year will be Transformers, which is a cloned ride and not an original one. For Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood, I don't believe there are going to be any new attractions next year (unless Terminator gets replaced 2013 instead of 2014).
2012 was huge especially for SoCal. I visit the Disneyland Resort, USH, and Sea World SD often and this year alone three of those four parks debuted their best attraction yet.
I think 2012 was a great transformation for SoCal. Adding Transformers to Orlando is just an expansion from Hollywood (Been There, Done That). Went to CA last month and Cars Land is so amazingly themed, you think YOU are a cartoon.
Granted, there's no way 2013 will top 2012, but AJ, how can you write, "miscellaneous other rides such as Outlaw Run?" Miscellaneous other rides?!? Miscellaneous other rides?!? Outlaw Run is likely the most significant coaster addition happening next year! Climb on the bandwagon and get ready to ride!!!
^I can because Silver Dollar City is not a Six Flags or Cedar Fair park. While I do think Outlaw Run looks like a very unique and interesting ride, I have a feeling it will not be the best new ride of 2013. To me, it looks like a slightly above average wooden coaster with an 81 degree drop and three inversions thrown in. Remove those, and I doubt most enthusiasts would care too much about it. Of course, I look forward to riding it one day when I get the chance to visit Silver Dollar City, and I don't doubt that this will be a good ride, but I don't expect Outlaw Run to be a top ten wooden coaster (although I could be completely wrong). It does, however, win the WTF award of 2013, and I'm really interested to see which of the two Rocky Mountain Coasters (Outlaw Run or the new version of SFFT's Rattler) gets better reception.
If Seven Dwarfs Mone Train opens next year, that will probably be the best new attraction of 2013.
AJ, if you remove the best elements of any coaster it will be a diminished experience, so I am not sure I get your point. And based on what I am hearing about the Rattler, its changes won't even be as good as the Texas Giant let alone Outlaw Run!
"Seven Dwarfs Mone Train"
Dom, Test Track won't be open this year, and Avatar won't open in 2015. You can take that to the bank.
Disney has already announced Test Track will be back for the Christmas Season. Has there been a delay?
From what I understand, there has been a delay on Test Track, but a positive one. More stuff will be done to the ride than originally thought. Don't expect it until Spring, if what I've been told is true.
Sounds all good to me! Take the time to do it right!
Test Track is on schedule right now. A couples months ago it was behind schedule.
You're right. It's on schedule. The new schedule.
I don't think anything could top Carsland until The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opens in a few years.
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