SUMMER VACATION IDEAS

You Won't BELIEVE These New Thrill Rides!

We've got theme parks on the brain, especially after hearing about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter's upcoming expansion—Diagon Alley, anyone? From coast to coast, here's our list of the best new thrill rides, roller coasters, and water rides you shouldn't miss this summer.

  1. Are you ready to ride the longest inverted roller coaster in the world? Don't miss Banshee at Kings Island, where you'll take on seven inversions at an incredible speed of 68 mph.

    (Courtesy Kings Island)
  2. Banshee is understandably one of the park's most popular rides. Kings Island's website says lines are usually much longer in the morning, so use this time to try out some of the other rides and come back for Banshee in the late-afternoon and evening for shorter lines.

    (Courtesy Kings Island)
  3. When ordered online, single day tickets for Kings Island start at $43.99 per adult and from $36.99 for children over the age of three (and under 48" tall) and seniors ages 62 and up. You'll save a little more during the week with tickets that start at $40.99 for admission Monday thru Thursday.

    (Courtesy Kings Island)
  4. Families and Snow White fans everywhere shouldn't miss the Seven Dwarfs Mine Ride at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kindgom, located inside the park's New Fantasyland section.

    (Courtesy Walt Disney World)
  5. Billed by Disney as an adventurous family coaster, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train offers hairpin turns and enough twists and turns to satisfy kids of all ages.

    (Courtesy Walt Disney World)
  6. Perhaps the ride itself isn't the scariest part: the price of a one-day admission ticket to Disney's Magic Kingdom just went up to $99 per adult and $93 per child ages 3 to 9—plus tax.

    (Courtesy Walt Disney World)
  7. Wooden roller coaster enthusiasts won't want to miss Goliath at Six Flags Great America. The ride opens today and breaks world records for being the fastest wooden coaster with the steepest and tallest drop.

    (Courtesy Six Flags Great America)
  8. Brace yourselves: Goliath takes visitors on a whirlwind ride at speeds of up to 72 mph, down a super-steep 180-foot drop at an almost-vertical tilt of 85 degrees, and through three over-banked turns, two inversions, and a 180-degree zero G-roll twist before the ride is over.

    (Courtesy Six Flags Great America)
  9. One day tickets to Six Flags Great America in Chicago start at $45.99 when purchased online. General admission at the gate is from $64.99 for adults, from $44.99 for children under 48". Children under the age of two get in free.

    (Courtesy Six Flags Great America)
  10. At long last, Universal Orlando has officially announced the opening date of July 8th for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter's new addition: Diagon Alley, Knockturn Alley, King's Cross Station, and a new thrill ride, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.

    (Courtesy Universal Orlando)
  11. After entering Gringotts bank, the new 3D adventure takes you on a ride through the infamous wizard bank, past trolls, dragons, and other magical creatures—you'll even encounter unforgettable characters like Bellatrix Lestrange and face the wrath of You-Know-Who himself.

    (Courtesy Universal Orlando )
  12. In order to start at Diagon Alley (in Universal Studios Florida) and take the Hogwarts Express to Hogsmeade and Hogwarts (in Universal's Islands of Adventure), you'll need to pay for the one-day admission ticket to both parks. Prices start at $136 per adult and $130 per child; admission to just one park starts at $96 for adults, $90 for kids.

    (Courtesy Universal Orlando)
  13. If you thought Sheikra was the craziest thrill ride at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, think again. Enter Falcon's Fury, a brand new face-down ride that plunges riders straight down towards the earth at speeds of up to 60 mph from 335 feet in the air!

    (Courtesy Busch Gardens Tampa Bay)
  14. Admission to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay starts at $65 per person for a weekday ticket when ordered online—for just $15 more, purchase an Any Day Ticket for $80 per person to get a second day at the park for free. Florida residents can pay $95 for a Fun Card and enjoy unlimited admission thru Dec. 31st.

    (Courtesy Busch Gardens Tampa Bay)
  15. Dollywood's FireChaser Express offers family-friendly thrills as the first dual-launch coaster in the U.S. In other words, it's able to propel riders forward and backward.

    (Courtesy Dollywood)
  16. One day tickets to Dollywood start at $58 for adults ages 12-59, $53 for seniors ages 60 and up, and $46 for children ages 4-11. The Splash & Play Multi-Park Multi-Day ticket gives you three days' worth of access to the park and Dollywood's Splash Country water park; from $92 for adults and $75 for children.

    (Courtesy Dollywood)
  17. Ragin’ Cajun recently became the ninth roller coaster at Six Flags America in Maryland, part of the park's brand new Mardi Gras section. The family-friendly coaster spins 360 degrees as it travels along the 1,378-foot-long track, ensuring a memorable and thrilling ride for kids of all ages.

    (Courtesy Six Flags America)
  18. Save a few bucks by ordering your tickets to Six Flags America online. General admission starts at $39.99 per person Monday thru Thursday, $42.99 on Friday, and $44.99 on weekends.

    (Courtesy Six Flags America)
  19. Hurricane Harbor, the water park at Six Flags Over Georgia, is home to Tsunami Surge, an intense water ride that sends riders down a five-story drop, through a 125-foot whirlpool, and into a 40-foot-wide bowl where you can experience a brief feeling of weightlessness before dropping into the pool below.

    (Courtesy Six Flags Over Georgia)
  20. Are you brave enough to take on Tsunami Surge at Hurricane Harbor?

    (Courtesy Six Flags Over Georgia)
  21. General admission to Hurricane Harbor starts at $41.99 per person when tickets are purchased online. Children ages two and under get in free.

    (Courtesy Six Flags Over Georgia)
  22. Named after the German word for "insane," Schlitterbahn Kansas City's latest endeavor, Verrückt, takes guests on a 65 mph ride down a 168-foot-tall water slide—recently deemed the tallest in the world by Guinness World Records—before momentum carries you up a five-story slope and and back down into a 50-foot drop.

    (Courtesy Schlitterbahn)
  23. Tickets to Schlitterbahn Kansas City start at $36.99 for adults ages 12-54, $28.99 for children ages 3-11 and seniors over the age of 55. Are you brave enough—or maybe we should say, Verrückt enough—to take on this epic water slide?

    (Courtesy Schlitterbahn)
  24. Last week, Luna Park welcomed Thunderbolt, a new 125-foot tall coaster featuring more than 2,000 feet of track, thrilling visitors to Coney Island with speeds of up to 65 mph.

    (Courtesy Luna Park)
  25. For the best deal on tickets, go with the $32 four-hour Unlimited Luna Park Ride Wristband or the $42 Ride and Play package, a four-hour unlimited ride wristband that comes with a $20 game card (both are valid daily before Memorial Day weekend and after Labor Day weekend, but only during weekdays between the two summer holidays).

    (Courtesy Luna Park)
  26. Expected to open later this summer, Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey will lift riders 415 feet into the air in roughly 30 seconds before dropping them back to earth in 10 seconds at speeds of up to 90 mph! The ride also shares space with the legendary Kingda Ka coaster, which passes you by at 128 mph as you fall. 

    (Courtesy Six Flags Great Adventure)
  27. General admission tickets to Six Flags Great Adventure start at $41.99 per person Monday thru Friday, and $46.99 per person on weekends, when ordered online.

    (Courtesy Six Flags Great Adventure)

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