5th Annual List of the Most Anticipated New Roller Coasters of the Year
Each year I rank the new roller coasters that are opening based on which of them I’d like to ride the most. Usually, I base my rankings on how unique or thrilling they look. This year’s list of new roller coasters isn’t quite as packed as 2012’s, but there are some very interesting additions. I’m keeping the list to the United States. Then, for all of you real coaster geeks, I’ll be adding a separate list with new coasters from the Europe and Asia.
8 White Lightning at Fun Spot Action Park (Orlando, Florida)
Orlando amusement park, Fun Spot Action Park, is undergoing a major expansion for 2013. The new developments will bring two roller coasters to the park. One is a family suspended coaster called Freedom Fighter. The other is a Great Coasters International wooden coaster dubbed White Lightning. At 2,000 feet in length, the woodie could be considered a family coaster, but with all of the intense thrills and dramatic theme park rides in the area, a good-old fashioned roller coaster might be just what’s needed. Fun Spot’s smaller amusement park feel boasts free admission and parking with rides like go-karts, a large Ferris wheel and a number of flat rides. Adding a few family coasters to the mix should take the park to a new level.
Why You Should Be Excited – Wooden roller coasters in Florida are pretty rare. So Fun Spot will add a more traditional crowd-pleasing family coaster in a sea of high tech, high thrill rides. Creators, Great Coasters International, almost never disappoint. The ride’s layout looks fun and the train-themed cars are some of the most memorable coaster vehicles I’ve ever seen. I’ll be sure to swing by Fun Spot on my next trip to Orlando for White Lightning. I’m glad to see the park expanding to add another offering to the thrillopolis of Central Florida.
Indoor theme park, Adventuredome is adding a compact and thrilling new roller coaster. The S&S-designed El Loco will take up a relatively small footprint, but will still have enough exciting moments to pack quite a punch. There aren’t a whole lot of details as of yet, but similar rides like Indiana Beach’s Steel Hawg treated riders to a beyond-vertical first drop, tight turns, and a few inversions. El Loco will also take things up a notch with on-board audio and more open seating previous models.
Why You Should Be Excited – With the kind of rare, thrilling elements that El Loco will provide, there’s plenty for Nevadans to be excited about. I’ll definitely swing by the Adventuredome when I make it out to Las Vegas. El Loco is currently scheduled for a December 2013 opening.
6 Gold Striker at California’s Great America (Santa Clara, California)
The drought is over. Fans of California’s Great America can rejoice as they’re about to receive their first new roller coaster in more than a decade! For a regional theme park that’s seen more notable removals than additions, I’d imagine that anything new would be welcomed. Thankfully, the park will get more than just something new with a Great Coasters International woodie in Gold Striker. The ride will have an interesting layout that’ll include a 103-foot first drop that’ll wrap around the park’s observation tower. And, it was recently announced that this first drop will be covered to the point of offering complete darkness.
Why You Should Be Excited – The West Coast is not known for its wooden roller coasters. In fact, while California can lay claim to the having the most roller coasters, it has fewer wooden coasters than states like Ohio and Pennsylvania. And, the state’s been home to some of the lowest rated woodies in coaster polls. So, a quality ride like this is good news for left coast. Gold Striker looks like a fun twister that should provide a smooth ride (at least for a while). Its course includes a station fly-by which is always a good element to keep the energy in the station up, with regular reminders of the excitement to come. Lastly, as I’ve said on many occasions, I’m a sucker for a tunnel. So, news of that covered first drop may have actually moved this ride up a on the list.
While Cedar Point’s been long considered the Coaster Capital, it has been uncharacteristically quiet since the addition of 2006’s Maverick. After a few removals (Wildcat & Disaster Transport) and no new mind-boggling record-breakers, the Point’s next big roller coaster is finally on the horizon.
GateKeeper will be the World’s largest wing roller coaster. On wing coasters, riders are positioned outside, to the left and right of the track, rather than above or below it. Built by world-renowned coaster designers Bolliger & Mabillard, fans can expect a smooth and thrilling experience akin to a flight on a fighter jet. Or, in this case, a mythical bird. If the riding position and loops weren’t enough, GateKeeper will bring the wow factor with a twisting maneuver that’ll take riders right through a two key-hole cutout structures right above the main gate.
Why You Should Be Excited – GateKeeper’s unusual riding position will be new to most riders. I was lucky enough to ride both Dollywood’s Wild Eagle and Six Flags Great America’s X-Flight last year and I can say from experience that riders will feel more exposed than usual with nothing above or below them. GateKeeper’s inversions look great starting with that dive drop just off of the lift hill. There, riders on one side will get lifted way up, while on the other side riders will get dipped downward. This difference exemplifies the need to re-ride wing coasters as experiences can differ depending on where you sit. GateKeeper’s going to be a very popular ride at Cedar Point for years to come.