Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters, Disney California Adventure - 8
This replacement for the world's largest air hockey table (aka Luigi's Flying Tires) is Disney's first use of its next-gen trackless ride system in the United States, but wait times have plunged from its opening as fans recognize this a cute ride more like Mater's Junkyard Jamboree than the second coming of Radiator Springs Racers.
Jurassic Park The Flying Dinosaur, Universal Studios Japan - 9
USJ's B&M Flyer is... well, it's a B&M Flyer. That means an exhilarating ride that keeps fans coming back for more.
The New Revolution, Six Flags Magic Mountain - 9
We're torn on this one, frankly. We've long had a "no clones" rule for the Best New Attraction award (that's why Universal Studios Hollywood's Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey isn't listed), and we've never considered refurbs as new attractions, either. But the addition of virtual reality really does transform this into a different experience, so we're going to declare this and other new VR coasters eligible... unless someone talks us out of it.
Ninjago - The Ride, Legoland California - 8
If you skipped arm day at the gym you can make up for it on Legoland's first of its kind "weaponless" interactive ride. With relatively low attendance, Legoland attractions typically struggle to make the minimum vote threshold for our awards.
Valravn, Cedar Point - 8
B&M's biggest, tallest, fastest, longest, meanest, sexiest, messiest, adjective-ist dive coaster. Have we missed any of the other superlatives that Cedar Point's marketing crew has throw at this thing?
Frozen – Live at the Hyperion, Disney California Adventure - 9
Disney plussed the heck out of the Hyperion Theater to support Aladdin's replacement, which relies on visual effects and ambitious staging to try to make fans stop pining for the Genie's ever-changing pop culture gags. If you've priced Broadway tickets, you'll understand what an amazing bargain it is to get this hour-long show as part of even a Disney-high-season one-day theme park ticket.
Mako, SeaWorld Orlando - 9
Another Bolliger & Mabillard coaster that's winning high ratings from Theme Park Insider readers. This time, it's a 200-foot hyper — the tallest and fastest coaster in Orlando to date.
Lightning Rod, Dollywood - 8
The world's first launched wooden coaster got off to a rough start, with a delayed opening then a RMC parts recall that closed the coaster after it finally opened. But those who have gotten on have praised its swift, wild ride.
Pirates of the Caribbean Battle of the Sunken Treasure, Shanghai Disneyland - 9
The early favorite to win this thing, Disney's next-gen Pirates ride is amazing fans with its deft mix of screen, animatronics and project mapping to bring guests into the world of the Johnny Depp films. Whether you've seen it in person or only on YouTube, this new Pirates seems to be the ride people want to talk about this year.
TRON Lightcycle Power Run, Shanghai Disneyland - 9
Disney's first full attraction based on TRON set social media afire when the first POV video hit the Internet, though it's now lost some of its buzz to Pirates.
Roaring Rapids, Shanghai Disneyland - 7
Shanghai's third highly-anticipated new attraction has generated nearly the buzz as Pirates and TRON did.
Fans initially raved about Disney expanding its popular hang-glider travelogue beyond California, but, recently, a backlash is developing over the new Soarin's reliance on CGI over live videography in some of its scenes.
Cobra's Curse, Busch Gardens Tampa - 7
This Mack spinning coaster opened late but to generally solid — though not exactly award-winning — reviews.
Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular, Disney's Hollywood Studios - 7
Disney's new nighttime spectacular for Hollywood Studios wows fans close enough to get a clear view of the projection mappings, though its bouncing back and forth across the seven films denies it any clear narrative that could amplify its emotional punch.
Frozen Ever After, Epcot - 8
Pluses: Perhaps Disney's best use to date of face projection on animatronics to date. The characters are visually stunning and completely convincing. The ride also focuses where it should — on Frozen's amazing song score. Cons: Mediocre capacity (900 per hour, we've heard), and hit-or-miss uptime has led to ridiculous wait times. There's also not much scenery behind the characters in the ride to reward repeat visitors with additional visual detail. Not that it matters, because with these waits, it's gonna be a long time before many people come around to ride again.
Skull Island Reign of Kong, Universal's Islands of Adventure - 9
Perhaps the most divisive of the new attractions, Kong isn't officially open yet, so if it doesn't get into regular operation by June 30, it won't be eligible for this year's awards. We first leaked the plans for Kong two years ago, so the fact that this was a plussed-version of Universal Studios Hollywood's 360:3D Kong encounter, followed by a scene with a massive animatronic Kong, shouldn't have surprised any Theme Park Insider readers. However, some other sources online insisted that this Kong would deliver much more, including multiple animatronic scenes with live actors. Perhaps they confused what Universal planned for the Kong queue with the ride itself. No matter. Fans who get on Kong and judge it for what it is, instead of against the online hype, seem to be coming away wildly impressed by this trip, though the level of enthusiasm for the ride seems to be dependent upon just how lively the Kong animatronic was on their ride.
If you've been on any of these attractions, please follow the links above to submit your rating. You don't need to be registered with the site, but if you are, you can leave a short review, too.
We will honor the top-rated attraction receiving a minimum number of ratings with the Best New Attraction award. Then, depending upon what type of attraction the overall winner is, we also will honor the best new coaster, show, dark ride and/or family attraction, as well. Please follow us on Twitter and on Facebook to get first notice of when we post the award winners on July 4.Tweet
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