What are the most anticipated new theme park attractions for 2017?
September 27, 2016, 10:11 PM ·
So where should theme park fans be planning their 2017 vacations if they want to see the best new rides that will open next year?
To be honest, 2017 does not look to be an especially deep year for great new theme park attractions. There's one huge new project that supposed to debut next year, another major new world-class attraction, a couple of interesting new (or newly themed) rides that will capture the interest of Disney and Universal fans, and then...?
That leaves Disney and Universal to lead the way on what's shaping up as a top-heavy list of new attractions for 2017. So without further delay, here are the scheduled new attractions we most are looking forward to experiencing in 2017:
Pandora - The World of Avatar Disney's Animal Kingdom
Walt Disney World's richly detailed, wildly expensive and ridiculously ambitious new land, based on the James Cameron franchise, leads our 2017 must-see list. If the land opens as scheduled in 2017, that is. One of the other things this impressive new design has been is... delayed. Reportedly several months behind schedule several months ago, Disney is racing to get this new land ready in time to help boost its recently sagging attendance. But with multiple interactive elements and engaging bioluminescent design across multiple attractions, we think Pandora will be worth the wait.
Symbolica: Palace of Fantasy Efteling
If Avatar doesn't answer the bell, then it's Efteling's largest-ever dark ride project that moves to the top of our 2017 list. Visitors collectively will choose one of three different routes within the palace, each offering unique adventures and interactive elements, in this US$38 million attraction — the Dutch theme park's fourth major dark ride.
Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout Disney California Adventure
We've earned the scorn of a large section of the Disney theme parks fans base with our enthusiasm for this project — which replaces the Twilight Zone theme for the park's Tower of Terror drop ride with the narrative from the Tokyo DisneySea version, swapping Taneleer Tivan for Harrison Hightower and bringing the popular Marvel franchise to a Disney theme park attraction for the first time. We can't wait to see if we were right in suggesting that the change might actually prove a thematic upgrade for the ride... or if we were horribly, horribly wrong.
Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon Universal Studios Florida
Universal's gutted the old Twister/Ghostbusters show building and its filling it with a 3D motion base/simulator ride through New York City, featuring the host of corporate sibling NBC's The Tonight Show. Best case, this attraction could blend Fallon's widely appealing humor with Universal Creative's fondness for raucous filmed mayhem. Worst case, it's an awkward commercial for The Tonight Show with jokes that go stale before you're even through the ride. We're betting the first scenario, but won't know for certain until we ride.
Justice League Battle for Metropolis Six Flags Magic Mountain
Yes, Six Flags' 3D motion-base interactive ride first opened in 2015 at Six Flags Over Texas (and won our Theme Park Insider Award as the Best New Attraction of the year). But, as a Southern Californian, I'm excited to see the ride come to my hometown Six Flags park.
Volcano Bay Universal Orlando Resort
We typically don't pay as much attention to water parks as we do to theme parks — mostly because visitors don't either. The world's top water parks attract only about a tenth of the visitors as the top theme parks do. But Universal's new water park promises to blur the line between wet and dry attractions with a richly themed environment that it hopes will appeal to theme park fans. We're willing to give it go... and suspect many of you would like to see it in action, too.
Which new attractions are you most looking forward to in 2017?