Happily Ever After

The first half of 2023 has brought an array of new attractions and experiences, thrilling news, and sadly the end of several once-popular rides. From innovative coasters to announcements of what’s to come, we have seen much excitement these past six months!

In this mid-year review, we recap the most noteworthy news and highlights that have shaped the theme park landscape from January to June 2023.

Record-Breaking Coasters and New Attractions (including some re-opened attractions):

TRON Lightcycle Run, Disney
Image: Disney

TRON Lightcycle / Run opened at Magic Kingdom in April. This thrilling coaster allows guests to enter the GRID on their very own Lightcycle! Though the coaster was met with some criticism for the Lightcycle vehicles not being size inclusive.

Pipeline: The Surf Coaster opened at SeaWorld Orlando as the first new stand-up coaster in over two decades. It features innovative new ride vehicles that move with the curves of the coaster and give the sensation of riding the waves.

Pipeline The Surf Coaster
Image: SeaWorld

DarKoaster opened at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. It is an indoor family coaster that pays homage to the former Curse of DarKastle attraction. This multi-launching coaster is North America’s first all-indoor straddle coaster.

Wildcat’s Revenge opened at Hersheypark earlier this month. The Rocky Mountain Construction hybrid coaster is a redesign of the former Wildcat wooden coaster. It includes four inversions and an 82-degree drop.

Wildcat's Revenge, Hersheypark
Image: Hersheypark

Zambezi Zinger opened at Worlds of Fun. It is a hybrid coaster that is named after the former Zambezi Zinger that operated from 1973-1997. It is the first new coaster at Worlds of Fun in over a decade.

Arctic Rescue opened at SeaWorld San Diego earlier this month. It is the longest and fastest straddle coaster on the West Coast. This family coaster puts riders on snowmobiles as they launch multiple times and reach speeds of 40 miles per hour.

AireForce One opened at Fun Spot America Atlanta. This RMC steel coaster features a 146 ft drop, four inversions, and an 83-degree drop.

Aquaman: Power Wave opened in March at Six Flags Over Texas. This coaster launches riders both forward and backward ending in a massive splashdown.

Image: Six Flags

Big Bear Mountain opened at Dollywood in their Wildwood Grove section. This family-friendly coaster is the longest coaster at Dollywood. It looks to be a roaring good time!

Wild Mouse opened at Cedar Point as part of their new Boardwalk. This coaster pays homage to the former Wild Mouse coaster that used to call Cedar Point home, but with a twist, LITERALLY! This coaster features spinning mouse-theme cars that appear to chase a cheese-themed car.

Wild Mouse, Cedar Point
Image: Cedar Point

Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway opened at Disneyland. This installation is nearly identical to the version at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Riders are sent on a wild adventure with Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Donald, Daisy, and Conductor Goofy.

Serengeti Flyer opened at Busch Gardens Tampa as the tallest and fastest ride of its kind. This flat ride is a swinging-style ride where riders reach speeds of 68 miles per hour and a height of 135 feet!

Serengeti Flyer
Image: Busch Gardens

El-Toro reopened at Six Flags Great Adventure earlier this month. The massive wooden coaster had been closed since August of 2022 following an incident where 14 riders were injured.

El Toro, Six Flags Great Adventure
Image: Six Flags

Now let's explore the immersive lands and dining experiences which have opened already in 2023 and the attractions and Entertainment offerings we have sadly had to say goodbye to...


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