What will be the Best New Attraction of the year?
We're less than two weeks away from the Fourth of July, which means we're less than two weeks away from announcing the winners of the 13th annual Theme Park Insider Awards
. Your ratings for the attractions, restaurants and hotels listed on the site will determine this year's winners, so we encourage you to visit our theme park
and hotel listing
pages and rate all the locations you've visited in the park year.
One contender for Best New Attraction: Disney's Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
We'd especially like to draw your attention to the major attractions that have opened since last July 1, as they are the candidates for this year's "Best New Attraction" award. Several of the leading contenders we expected to be in the mix for this year's award will not make the June 30 deadline to be eligible (we're looking at you, Gringotts, Hogwarts Express, Ratatouille, and Falcon's Fury), so the competition's wide open among those that did.
Another: Kings Island's Banshee
Here are 10 new attractions that have debuted since July 1, 2013. Remember, clones of previously opened attractions — rides that share the same name, theme and substantially same design as a previously eligible attraction — are not eligible. That's why Universal Studios Hollywood's Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem is not listed here. Also, basic carnival rides are not eligible, including spinners, swinging ships, etc.
One more: Six Flags' newest Goliath
Please follow the links to rate any of these attractions that you've actually experienced. Please do not rate attractions, restaurants, or hotels you've not experienced in person. This helps ensure the our ratings accurately reflect the personal experience of our readers.
- Angkor: Adventure in the Lost Kingdom, Port Aventura
- Banshee, Kings Island
- Creation of the Gold Coast, Dreamworld
- Explorer's Reef, SeaWorld San Diego
- Firechaser Express, Dollywood
- Goliath, Six Flags Great America
- London Rocks, Busch Gardens Williamsburg
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
- Storm Coaster, Sea World Gold Coast
- Wonder Mountain's Guardian, Canada's Wonderland
(If we've missed any openings from the past 12 months at the parks we cover, please let us know in the comments.)
We'd love to read your thoughtful analysis of these new attractions, in the comments. Please help get the conversation going about this year's new rides and shows, to help encourage people to rate and review not just these attractions, but all of the attractions and hotels we've listed on Theme Park Insider. Thank you, and we're looking forward to finding out this year's winners on July 4.
The only correct answer is Gringotts, of course. ;)
Sigh. The timing of the debuts this year really messed with us, I'm afraid. In years past, a June 30 deadline has provided plenty of time for the summer's new rides to open. But this year, we've got three potential winners opening within two weeks after the deadline. Oh well, makes for a stronger field in 2015, eh?
That said, I still like the idea of having the awards on July 4, the middle of the season when major media are paying attention to theme parks, instead of moving the awards to September or January, when no one outside of our community cares.
It's better that the newest ones aren't eligible because all the harry potter fans would vote that to the top without ever having ridden it, which isn't fair.
Having not yet ridden any of the attractions listed, and just judging by what I have seen online, I think Goliath is probably the best of the bunch. However, I'll pick Banshee, which I will be riding in August - to win. Apparently, it is among the best B&M inverts on the planet and certainly deserves its day in the sun.
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is the only one I've ridden. While it isn't exactly a full fledged thrill-ride. It is a superb family coaster with some strong innovation in the swinging seats. The superb animatronics and projections are what makes me want to go back. It's a ride I couldn't get enough of.
Since how there's no epic dark rides that made it this year, then my vote goes to Banshee. It is one heck of a ride. Another B&M classic. Mystic Manor won this column last year right?
Would Hogsmeade Express be eligible if it was on 'soft opens' prior to June 30th?
Looks like a pretty weak field, mostly just a coaster poll. 7 Dwarfs isn't really worthy of a best of the year but if there was a vote I'd vote for that since there's nothing really outstanding.
I also haven't ridden any of these. But when there are POVs available, I watch them. And I've seen the major attractions on this list and am going with Banshee. I love a good roller coaster, and being that I'm only about 2 hours from King's Island, I imagine there's a good chance I'll ride it this year.
@Rob Seriously? Have you looked at some of the video on Goliath and Banshee? They are both outstanding. Just cause an attraction doesn't have animatronics or 3D video screens doesn't mean it isn't outstanding. Sure, at the end of the day a coaster is still just a coaster, but these two are definitely OUTSTANDING in their own right.
James: Yes, they appear to be outstanding coasters. But, to me, a best theme park attraction needs great theming also, and only the 7 Dwarfs comes close, but the extreme shortness of the ride and only one major themed section causes it to fall short of a great attraction. Surely, there's no Mystic Manor, Transformers or Forbidden Journey experiences in this ho hum list.
I understand where you are coming from, Rob, but the title up for grabs is simply "BEST NEW ATTRACTION OF THE YEAR" - therefore, having a fully fleshed out narrative theme is not requisite.
James: I go way back on coasters, but as I get older some of them become a little too intense, and while I don't get motion sickness like on a fast spinner, I do sometimes get a bit queasy now when riding.Also, I used to go to King's Island, BGW & Cedar Point quite often and ride all the coasters, but after a while it got a bit old. The coaster rides started seeming about the same. Now, since I've become so enamored of visiting Universal & Disney, I need good theming to really enjoy an attraction. They've really spoiled me and upped my tastes. Plus the name of this site is Theme Park Insider and not Coaster World, so while I agree the list has some nice coasters on it, I don't think they're in a class where they should be named best ride of the year. Having July 1st as a cut off date is a bit problematic since it splits the calendar year. And this year it's eliminating four attractions that are probably going to be better than most everything on this list. If complete refurbs were eligible, I would consider Calico Mine as far above any of these offerings on this list. Just my opinion though.
Unless a coaster is groundbreaking (Goliath set some records) and brings something completely new to the table, it is definitely hard to pick them over something that is well themed, although it is an extremely short, ground hugging kids coaster.
I concur that a narrative experience is better than a plain, old coaster. But you have to look closely at the coasters in question. Neither of the two I am discussing are "plain old coasters". Banshee is arguably the best inverted coaster in the world (it holds the record as the longest, at least), and Goliath is a one of a kind, wholly unique, and ground breaking experience. More than anything else, though, both of these rides in and of themselves turn their respective parks into destination parks for many fans (speaking of which, I will be traveling to Kings Island to ride Banshee later this summer), and both are receiving glowing reviews across the board.
I know this is probably gonna be out of synch with the majority here, but whenever I hear people complain that regional parks get shafted due to California/Florida bias, I feel like it's unnecessary. Yes, they do get more attention and dedication, but it comes from built-up goodwill, not blind fanboyism. In the end, it all just comes down to personal taste, whether that's theme or thrill.
"And the time has come to take off our 3D glasses and give credit where it's due", great line James. You have presented a really good argument, but I agree with NB that this is a lackluster list. A lot of good there but nothing that is great.
The old adage comes to the forefront... we have to agree to disagree.
You should extend this contest by a month or two with results by Labor Day. Otherwise, it doesn't seem right to include the Dwarf's coaster and exclude the two new attractions at Diagon Alley.
One more thing to add, it actually won't matter that Potter or Ratatouille are missing the cut off this year. 2015 won't be as great of a year compared to 2014, so honoring the top rides next year is fine by me.
I don't see how someone can judge rides when they haven't ridden them all to compare. Which I understand is nearly impossible. Yes, the voting is only for rides you have ridden but if you haven't ridden the others how do you know how it compares?
David, that's where the crowdsourcing comes in. Whichever ride gets the most support from the people who have ridden it wins. That way we also avoid the ballot-stuffing that inevitably results in online polls. (Which is fine, if you recognize that's what you're soliciting. We have the tournament each spring for that, though.)
The best new attraction would be lower ticket prices. Failing in that (a given), Six Flags' Goliath.
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