The calendar says we have three more weeks of summer, but with the arrival of the Labor Day holiday, it's time to wrap another summer vacation season.
This might have seemed like the Summer of Star Wars for theme park fans, with Disney's twin Galaxy's Edge lans opening just after the Memorial Day weekend at Disneyland and just before Labor Day at Walt Disney World, providing bookends for the season. But Universal actually might have had the biggest story — and the best ride — of the summer. Six Flags made some news, too, as did a not-so-little late arrival called Dorian.
Let's start our summer recap with the rides that debuted at the nation's theme parks between the Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends in 2019.
Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure at Islands of Adventure — Universal Orlando's new Wizarding World of Harry Potter coaster wowed fans with a delightful ride and thrill elements, but a record seven launches led to technical difficulties that cut the ride's capacity all summer.
The Steel Curtain at Kennywood — This NFL-themed roller coaster offered a US record for inversions while pleasing even fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers' biggest rivals, proving that theme parks really can bring people together.
Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run at Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Studios — The first ride in Disney's twin Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge lans is pure wish fulfillment for Star Wars fans, plus an engaging adventure for those who are lucky enough to be assigned to the pilots' chairs. [See our complete guide to visiting Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge]
Jurassic World - The Ride at Universal Studios Hollywood — This retheme of the old Jurassic Park ride takes the intensity up a level with a spectacular new aquarium scene.
Wonder Woman Lasso of Truth at Six Flags Great Adventure — A fun pendulum ride that amplifies the park's already impressive thrill level.
Maxx Force at Six Flags Great America — This record-setting launch coaster impresses, but it's all over almost as fast as it starts.
Reese's Cupfusion at Hersheypark — Another ride retheme, this one installs a fun new storyline to a classic Sally shooter.
Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind at Disney California Adventure — And yet another retheme, but a solid example of plussing a ride with good decoration and placement.
Tidal Twister at SeaWorld San Diego — A novel concept and an improvement over previous vertical installations of the Skywarp, but downtime plagued the ride throughout the season.
While the new rides were fun, the summer of 2019 had many theme park fans looking ahead, as Universal finally confirmed the news many of us had known for quite some time — that it was building another theme park in Orlando. That kicks off our top stories of the summer.
Universal Orlando announces its fourth gate
Problems with Universal's new Hagrid coaster — Universal also caught our readers' attention with a story that it probably would have rather avoided.
Galaxy's Edge leads to a drop in Disney theme park attendance — Ad Disney definitely wasn't expecting the reaction it got after opening its biggest, most expensive theme park land ever.
Six Flags launches its hype train — Six Flags jumped into the spotlight at the end of the summer with an audacious plan for a theme park that some fans remain deeply skeptical will actually be built.
Hurricane Dorian threatens Florida — And as we wrap the summer vacation season, many theme park fans' eyes are on Florida, wondering what this powerful and potentially devastating storm will do next.
Finally, as we head into the fall (and Halloween season!), a reminder to check our links for discounts on tickets when planning your next theme park trip.Tweet
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