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A Look at the Opening Dates for 2016's New Rides and Shows

February 23, 2016, 8:45 PM · We are less than a month away from the first debuts of the Theme Park Class of 2016. Within the next few weeks, we will be getting our first official look at the year's new theme park attractions, which will include an entire new park from Disney.

Here is the latest schedule of major attraction openings at top parks around the world. Many parks have yet to announce specific opening dates for their new rides and show, so we've gone with the most specific date that the parks have released, or ones that have been widely rumored from credible sources. (Updated based on comments.)

March 7Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters, Disney California Adventure
The revamp of Luigi's Flying Tires, with new ride vehicles and a new ride system.

March 18Jurassic Park: The Flying Dinosaur, Universal Studios Japan
This will be the world's longest Bolliger & Mabillard Flying Coaster.

March 24Galactica, Alton Towers
AIR becomes Galactica, a virtual reality outer-space adventure where visitors wear VR headsets as they ride.

March 26 Season passholders onlyThe New Revolution, Six Flags Magic Mountain
The California park is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the world's first looping steel coaster with new trains... and VR headsets.

April 7The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Studios Hollywood
The west coast version of Hogsmeade soft-opened earlier this month, and features a 3D version of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.

May 5Ninjago - The Ride, Legoland California
An interactive dark ride where your hands, not guns, are the weapons of choice.

May 7Valravn, Cedar Point
This will be Bolliger & Mabillard's tallest, fastest and longest dive coaster, with a 214-foot vertical drop and top speed of 75 miles per hour.

May 27 Frozen – Live at the Hyperion, Disney California Adventure
Aladdin's replacement takes over the Hyperion Theater stage.

June 10Mako, SeaWorld Orlando
The 200-foot, 73-mph Bolliger & Mabillard hyper coaster will be the fastest and tallest coaster in the Orlando area.

June 11GhostRider, Knott's Berry Farm
Knott's signature wooden coaster is getting a retrack from Great Coasters International and new Millennium Flyer trains.

June 13Lightning Rod, Dollywood
Built by Rocky Mountain Construction, Lightning Rod is the world's first launched wooden roller coaster.

June 16Shanghai Disneyland
Disney's 12th theme park might be its most ambitious to date. One of its attractions will be a new version of the Soarin' movie, which also will debut at Epcot and Disney California Adventure the next day.

June 17Cobra's Curse, Busch Gardens Tampa
This new Mack spinning family coaster will feature a vertical lift.

June 17Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular, Disney's Hollywood Studios
This new fireworks show will add projection mapping of scenes, characters and locations from the Star Wars films.

June 21Frozen Ever After, Epcot
The Norway pavilion's Maelstrom gets its Anna-and-Elsa-and-friends overlay.

June 23 (Media preview) — Skull Island: Reign of Kong, Universal's Islands of Adventure
Universal Orlando is plussing Hollywood's King Kong 360 3-D with an elaborate setting and an encounter with an animatronic Kong.

July 2Mickey and the Magician, Walt Disney Studios Park
This new musical production replaces Animagique.

July 9Out of the Shadow Land, Tokyo DisneySea
This original musical will play in a new theater in the Lost River Delta.

SummerIron Man Experience, Hong Kong Disneyland
Disney's first Marvel-themed ride will be a 3D simulator-driven adventure.

SummerIncredible Hulk Coaster, Universal's Islands of Adventure
Universal is rebuilding its iconic launch coaster.

Octobermotiongate Dubai
the flagship of the new Dubai Parks and Resorts, motiongate Dubai will be a movie-themed park with franchises from DreamWorks, Lionsgate, and Sony, including The Hunger Games, Underworld, Ghostbusters, Zombieland, The Green Hornet, Hotel Transylvania, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, The Smurfs, Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, and How to Train Your Dragon.

UnknownRivers of Light, Disney's Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom's new nighttime spectacular will play on the Discovery River, between Discovery Island and Expedition Everest.

Which new attractions are you most looking forward to experiencing in person?

Replies (28)

February 23, 2016 at 10:32 PM · I'll be visiting Valravn in July and potentially Lightning Rod in either June or August. But if I had to pick one ride for which I was most psyched, it would be Mako at SeaWorld. Orlando getting a big boy, hyper coaster from B&M is way overdue. Kudos to Joel Manby for not nixing the project!

Overall, this list is a good one, and for once I am far more excited about attractions being built by folks not named "Disney" or "Universal"! (Although, to be honest, Shanghai Disneyland really is the most exciting opening on this list, bar none - it is just too far away for me to consider it a realistic stopping point for the Rao family).

February 23, 2016 at 11:01 PM · Don't forget The Joker at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
February 23, 2016 at 11:20 PM · For me, I'm planning to do all the California additions in 2016 (except possibly Ninjago), plus I'm working on a trip that would include Dollywood for Lightning Rod. Having never visited Florida, I'm most excited for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and then after that Lightning Rod, GhostRider, and New Revolution (in that order). Outside of Shanghai, Disney's offerings do seem a little light in 2016, but I get it because of the new park and because of numerous major projects coming up in the next 5 years.

These dates are completely unofficial, but I've heard the following information from reliable sources about the regional So Cal projects:

New Revolution (Six Flags Magic Mountain): The park is shooting to have this ride open on May 9th, the actual 40th anniversary of the coaster. At the moment, they are on schedule, but if we got another bit of bad weather this could possibly be delayed.

GhostRider (Knott's Berry Farm): The ride is supposed to open by Memorial Day weekend, with the possibility of passholder previews earlier in May. The rest of the 2016 Knott's additions (Ghost Town Alive, the new shows, etc.) will all begin Memorial Day weekend as well. The Chicken Dinner Restaurant is supposed to reopen sometime in May.

February 24, 2016 at 12:03 AM · I don't think it's very accurate to say that Skull Island is merely a plussing of King Kong 360/3D. By all accounts, and the fact that it's taking two years to build, this is going to be a full fledged E Ticket, not just a plussed version of the brief (but fun) Kong experience at DHS.
February 24, 2016 at 4:55 AM · Since I am a Floridian, the attractions I am most looking forward to are Cobra's Curse, Skull Island, Mako and Rivers Of Light. Although, from an objective standpoint, the two that seem the most intriguing are Shanghai Disneyland and Ninjago. Shanghai Disneyland for obvious reasons, and Ninjago because it's probably the closest anyone'll ever get to using Force Lightning.;)

Also, let's hurry up and start betting money right now on how many complaints about Disney there will be on this thread.

February 24, 2016 at 5:42 AM · 100% likely:
Rivers of Light
Frozen Ever After
The Joker (SFGADV)
Star Wars Fireworks
Very Likely:
Lightning Rod
Maybe:
Valraven
February 24, 2016 at 5:57 AM · There is also Battle for Metropolis at SFGA


I am most excited for Rivers of Light. I assume it would be similar to World of Color. That would be great for Animal Kingdom

February 24, 2016 at 7:27 AM · Rivers of Light, Kong and Lightning Rod as those will be the ones I'll be fore sure visiting this year. We have a trip to WDW the first weekend of April and another the first weekend in May just in case we miss Rivers of Light in April.
February 24, 2016 at 8:08 AM · Cobras Curse is shooting for a Memorial Day opening with a potential two week soft opening before that.
February 24, 2016 at 8:15 AM · We will be opening a brand new Justice League, Battle for Metropolis, 4D in Six Flags Mexico City on March 3 and, one in Chicago Great America, by Memorial Day weekend.
February 24, 2016 at 8:29 AM · Great Wolf Lodge opened in Garden Grove, not too far from Disneyland. I made a reservation to go in the summer.
February 24, 2016 at 11:14 AM · Sylvain: I believe you are right on concerning Kong. Only two minutes of the attraction's six minute length will even be remotely similar to the Hollywood Kong. And even that two minutes, of somewhat similar experience, will be a different experience from Hollywood.
February 24, 2016 at 11:58 AM · I've seen the blueprints for Kong. Inside the show building, it's a 360 3-D tunnel, followed by the animatronic scene, and that's it. There's a set-up scene outside, and a dramatic drive through the gates to enter the building, but the heart of the ride is the 360 3-D tunnel, as in Hollywood. Plussed-up footage, though.

I am worried that expectations for Kong are wildly exceeding what the ride will deliver. It will be a great attraction, but it's not going to be a 10-minute-plus, Pirates-style ride.

February 24, 2016 at 1:27 PM · Funny you say that, Robert, as I saw a recent satellite photo of the Kong site with a pickup truck (construction contractor most likely) pictured on the outdoor ride portion of the attraction and put into perspective the size of the ride path with the size of the ride vehicle and overall the ride path is very short. It looks as though the show building will contain one straight path through the building with no room to maneuver even a single turn.
February 24, 2016 at 1:27 PM · Even though they are not brand new attractions, Sunset Safari will be debuting at Animal Kingdom in the Spring, and Soarin Over the World debuts at California Adventure and Epcot in the summer.
February 24, 2016 at 2:38 PM · There is one turn inside the building. It's a sweeping right-hand turn around the Kong animatronic. That comes after the video tunnel.
February 24, 2016 at 3:19 PM · I am tentatively psyched for Derren Brown's Ghost Train at Thorpe Park. It sounds like such a complex experience that even if it's a disaster, it's going to be a seriously compelling one.

Elsewhere in Europe, Phantasialand's new coaster Tarok looks ace. They've been on brilliant form of late with new attractions, and it looks like this one will be no different. And Hansa Park given a significant amount of time to theming up last year's new coaster Karnan, which will be interesting to see.

From the list above... I cannot wait for Rivers of Light. Delighted that it'll be running in time for my next visit.

February 24, 2016 at 3:45 PM · Agree with the possible let down on the Kong ride. I think it will be shorter than people think. It has been billed, (officially or not), as a new Island, which it is not. But i'm sure it will be very cool for most of us Floridians and east coasters, who have never seen the one out west.
February 24, 2016 at 4:00 PM · Universal has stated that Kong will be about six minutes duration. I think the 360 degree scene in Hollywood is about 2 minutes long.
February 24, 2016 at 6:41 PM · Since we are still on Kong, any idea on its rider capacity per hour?
February 24, 2016 at 6:42 PM · What about the new ride opening at MovieWorld on the Gold Coast Australia? Does it rate a mention?
February 25, 2016 at 8:45 AM · Insiders over at OU are guessing it'll be fairly large, 2,000 ish an hour.
February 25, 2016 at 6:47 AM · Robert - if that's true about Kong, a little disappointing. Doesn't bode well that FastN Furious will be anything different either.

Far too many screen based attractions now.

February 25, 2016 at 7:31 AM · It would also appear that one other attraction is still is not mentioned in your timeline but was commented above. It will be a different ride in some aspects. That is....Soaring Over The World. As we all know, a new 3rd theater is enclosed now and the connections are being made to the original 2 theaters as we speak, the film will become a 4K digital film ( I believe), also a completely new film with locations filmed across the world and I would have to believe that the ending will be specific to the theater in which the film is shown. California Adventure / Epcot / Shanghai Disneyland. I have heard that it would open on or close to the Shanghai opening date so I would likely put this in your June timeline.
February 25, 2016 at 9:24 AM · The official Universal Blog has just released new concept art and the official backstory of the Kong attraction, plus more details on the ride. One part: Once you enter through the gates your vehicle travels through winding caverns with surprises awaiting you, then it travels to the battle scene (probably 360 screen) and then the Kong confrontation. From Mike West, Creative Director for Kong: "You come upon a massive temple wall. Drum beats, flames arise,huge wooden doors swing open and you drive through. You now face a dark labyrinth of caves where danger lurks around every bend. You manage to escape the caves...but the jungle ahead holds yet another breathtaking challenge. Suddenly you find yourself in the midst of a raging struggle between creatures of incomprehensible size and ferocity. All seems lost until, from out of nowhere, a deafening roar cuts through the melee. The mighty Kong has arrived. But is he friend or foe?"
February 25, 2016 at 9:46 PM · This is what I would expect from Kong, a slow, suspenseful set up, the battle scene, and then the appearance of the animatronic. I think the animatronic only needs to appear once, any more would probably be anti-climactic. But it hinges on whether the animatronic is a fluid transition from the CGI ape, because CGI always has more realistic motion than an animatronic.
February 27, 2016 at 3:32 AM · Lightning Rod and Disney Shanhai - but it's most likely, that I never experance it because of http://www.themeparkinsider.com/discussion/thread.cfm?page=959
February 27, 2016 at 7:36 PM · The quality of the experience is what matters. I think Kong will be a high quality ride.

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