Reports that effective Covid-19 vaccines are on the way have many fans feeling optimistic about theme park vacations in the summer of 2021. So let's look at 21 new (or new-ish) attractions that many theme park fans will get to experience for the first time in 2021.
Our list of 21 for 2021 include attractions that many fans missed because they opened in late 2019 and 2020, as well as new the rides and shows we expect (or, at least, hope) to see opened by the end of next summer. And this is just our U.S. list — we have not counted great new attractions outside the United States, including Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan and the new Universal Studios Beijing.
Which of these attractions are you most looking forward to seeing next year?
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Walt Disney World's Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disneyland — These are the Star Wars rides you've been looking for. While fans have been snapping up all available virtual queue slots, millions more Disney and Star Wars fans have not yet had the chance to experience what we think is one of Walt Disney Imagineering's greatest recent creations.
West Coast Racers, Six Flags Magic Mountain — Six Flags' fun Premier Rides quad-launched, Mobius-track, street-racing coaster ran only for a couple of months before the park closed due to Covid-19, so it will be a new experience for most riders when the park eventually reopens.
Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway, Disney's Hollywood Studios — The first theme park ride devoted to Disney's First Couple provides a potent one-two punch with Rise of the Resistance, which is located just around the corner.
Magic Happens, Disneyland - The park's new parade only got a couple of weeks before the park closed in March. But it's a winner and we hope that it can return soon after the park reopens.
The Bourne Stuntacular, Universal Studios Florida — Universal's new stunt show replaces Terminator 2: 3D with next-generation tech.
Hershey's Chocolatetown & Candymonium, Hersheypark — Hersheypark got a new entrance this year, as well as its tallest, fastest, and longest coaster yet.
Orion, Kings Island — Meanwhile, Kings Island welcomed 2020 with a new Bolliger & Mabillard Giga.
Mystic River Falls, Silver Dollar City — The Missouri park took the record for the tallest drop on a rapids ride in North America.
150th Anniversary, Cedar Point — Moving on to what is coming in 2021, Cedar Point postpones its 150 anniversary celebrations to this summer, highlighted by the new Snake River Expedition boat ride and Celebrate 150 Spectacular parade.
Legoland New York — Legoland's new park opens this year north of New York City, highlighted by the Lego Factory Adventure trackless dark ride, on which riders will be turned into Lego Minifigs.
Iron Gwazi, Busch Gardens Tampa — SeaWorld pushed back four of its new-for-2020 coasters until next year, led by the Rocky Mountain Construction makeover of the former Gwazi into the tallest hybrid roller coaster.
Ice Breaker, SeaWorld Orlando — In Orlando, the new coaster is a Premier Rides Sky Rocket.
Pantheon, Busch Gardens Williamsburg — While Williamsburg is getting an Intamin Blitz.
Emperor, SeaWorld San Diego — And San Diego is getting California's first B&M dive.
The Lego Movie World, Legoland California — Up the road in Carlsbad, Legoland California was about to debut its installation of The Lego Movie World when the parks closed, including Emmet's Flying Adventure, known as The Lego Movie Masters of Flight in Florida.
Knott's Berry Tales — Return to the Fair, Knott's Berry Farm — Knott's is celebrating its 100th birthday with a Triotech reboot of its classic Knott's Berry Tales dark ride.
The Secret Life of Pets — Off the Leash!, Universal Studios Hollywood — The park closed the very day that this animatronic-driven dark ride was scheduled to open to annual passholders.
Avengers Campus, Disney California Adventure — Stark Industries sets up shop in the heart of DCA with an interactive new Spider-Man ride, Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure.
Remy's Ratatouille Adventure, Epcot — At Walt Disney World, Epcot expands its France pavilion with an installation of the Ratatouille trackless dark ride from Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris.
Harmonious, Epcot — And the World Showcase Lagoon gets a new nighttime spectacular. (Fingers crossed for this one in the summer 2021.)
Jurassic World Velocicoaster, Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure — Finally, we close our 21 for 2021 list with Universal's latest Intamin creation, a double-launched coaster with a Top Hat, a 360-degree barrel roll, and a zero-gravity inverted stall.
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