You may as well begin screaming now.
There will be lots of new thrill rides and other attractions opening at theme parks and water parks in the first year of the new decade. We’ve already run down the 10 most anticipated roller coasters. And there are so many new things debuting in 2020 at the Disney parks in Florida and California, we called them out in a separate article. There’s still a ton of other goodies to share that are on the way to parks throughout the U.S.
Legoland New York
There will be a whole new theme park on the block when Legoland New York opens its gates on July 4. Located in Goshen, about 60 miles outside of New York City, it will be geared to families with children and tweens and will include rides, attractions, and shows based on the popular toy brand.
Among the highlights at the 150-acre park, which will be the world’s largest Legoland, will be two (relatively tame) dragon-themed roller coasters, a 4D theater, and Miniland, a collection of dioramas depicting famous U.S. landmarks that will be fashioned entirely out of Lego bricks.
There will also be an interactive dark ride featuring Lego Ninjago characters that will be filled with techno-wizardry. Exclusive to the New York park, visitors will be transformed into Lego minifigures aboard a second dark ride, Lego Factory Adventure.
The existing Legoland California will welcome The Lego Movie World in the spring. Based on the sly, hilarious Lego movies, the new land will feature Emmet’s Flying Adventure, a flying theater attraction (think: Disney’s Soarin’) that will send passengers airborne for a giddy ride through a brick-filled alterna-verse. Also, the thrill ride, Unikitty’s Disco Drop, will send butterflies aflutter in riders’ tummies.
Universal Studios Hollywood
Have you ever wondered what your pets do when you’re not at home (other than drink out of the toilet)? That’s the central premise of “The Secret Life of Pets” animated movies. Visitors at Universal Studios Hollywood might be able to answer the question as they take on the roles of stray puppies hoping to be adopted in The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash opening later this year. The dark ride will merge actual sets and animatronic characters with projected media to transport passengers into the secreted world.
Universal Studios Orlando
On the other side of the country, audiences at Universal Studios Florida will thrill to The Bourne Stuntacular, a new show opening in the spring that promises to deliver the kind of amped-up action that is the hallmark of the “Bourne” films. It will be presented in the theater that housed the (now terminated) Terminator 2: 3D, and, like that attraction, will blend live actors, high-octane effects, and screened footage for a dumbfounding movie-live performance mashup.
Knott’s Berry Farm
As part of the 100th anniversary of Knott’s Berry Farm, the Southern California park will draw inspiration from one of its gone-but-not-forgotten attractions with the new 4-D interactive dark ride, Knott's Bear-y Tales: Return to the Fair. Set to open in the summer, passengers armed with “jelly blasters” will try to outscore one another as they travel through whimsical scenes such as a boysenberry pie factory.
American Dream Mall
American Dream in New Jersey will welcome DreamWorks Water Park, which is being billed as North America’s largest indoor water park. Packed with more than 40 water slides themed to animated films such as “Shrek” and “Kung Fu Panda,” the climate-controlled park will include a massive wave pool and a 142-foot-tall body slide that will be among the tallest in the world.
Also opening in 2020 at the mega-complex will be a 300-foot-tall observation wheel with views of the Manhattan skyline, a Sea Life Aquarium, a Legoland Discovery Center, and KidZania, a center that will invite children to role-play and learn about careers. They'll all join the Nickelodeon Universe theme park that opened in October 2019.
Silver Dollar City
You could also get wet at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri, when Mystic River Falls opens in the summer. It will include an 82-foot-tall elevator lift and the world’s tallest (and possibly wettest?) river raft ride drop. As part of its 60th-anniversary celebration, the park, which is renowned for its food, will also debut a new smokehouse restaurant.
Six Flags Great America
At 86 feet, Tsunami Surge at Six Flags Great America’s Hurricane Harbor water park in Illinois will be the world‘s tallest water coaster. It will use blasts of water to propel its rafts uphill and include five drops.
Passengers in side-by-side rafts will race against one another in Cheetah Chase at Splashin’ Safari, the water park that is included with admission to Indiana’s Holiday World in Santa Claus. Set to open this summer, it will be the park’s third water coaster and is being billed as the world's first launched water coaster.
One of the country’s oldest amusement parks, Sandusky, Ohio's Cedar Point, will celebrate its 150th anniversary with Snake River Expedition, a boat ride that will include live actors and special effects. It's set to open May 9. The park will also present Celebrate 150 Spectacular, a nighttime parade that will feature colorful floats, performers, and pyrotechnics.
Luna Park, located at another venerated amusement area, New York’s Coney Island, has a number of additions planned for 2020. A large log flume is planned that will intertwine with a new family roller coaster, both of which will be adjacent to the famed seaside boardwalk. Luna Park will also drop a Big Wavez drop tower.