News inspiration The world’s best new theme park rides

All articles

The world’s best new theme park rides

Seeking the ultimate adrenaline rush? You're in luck! This year, some of the world's top theme parks have created some seriously scream-inducing rides - and there's something for everyone, whether you're a fan of zombie-filled haunted houses or you want to see how virtual reality is changing the game for rollercoasters.

1. Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout, Disneyland, California, US

Disneyland’s newest ride (it opened at the start of summer) has proved a huge hit with thrill-seekers. Without ruining the surprise, it’s a drop ride – with a twist. Special effects and an ear-blasting soundtrack allow riders to experience it in six different ways, but the fun starts with the queue. Passengers snake past various Marvel props (2,200 in total) including weapons from the famous movies, and the ride’s back story is explained with the help of fan favourites Taneleer Tivan and Rocket Raccoon. Make sure you take our checklist to California if you’re thinking about taking a trip.

Best rides at Disneyland

2. Krakatau Aqua Coaster, Volcano Bay, Orlando, US

Universal’s first water park opened in Orlando this summer and the ride generating the most hype is this fantastic water coaster, which sees riders shoot uphill as well down, thanks to powerful jets of water which push the inflatable rafts along the slide. It’s unique because it’s incredibly hi-tech – Universal have used the same technology which they’ve applied to their most popular theme park attractions, but on a water slide, not a rollercoaster. In summary, it ticks all the boxes, with sharp turns, sudden drops and high speed, steep ascents, but the added bonus is the backdrop – the steaming volcano which forms the centre piece of the water park.

The Krakatau Aqua Coaster can be found at Volcano Bay, Orlando's best water park

3. Thor Thunder Spin, IMG Worlds of Adventure, Dubai

Dubai’s top theme park is showing Disney how it’s done – it only opened a few months ago but it’s already being touted as one of the world’s best theme parks. Our favourite attraction is Thor Thunder Spin. It’s a high speed, rotating ride, but if that’s not enough the action takes place high above the ground, so those with a fear of heights might want to think twice before boarding. In summary, it’s the ideal adrenaline fix for anyone who’s ever fancied experiencing what it feels like to be inside a washing machine, stuck on a spin cycle. Not everyone’s cup of tea, admittedly, but adrenaline junkies with a need for speed are unlikely to be disappointed. Whilst you’re here, make the most of your Dubai city break with the rest of these attractions.

4. Derren Brown’s Ghost Train: Rise of the Demon, Thorpe Park, UK

This ingenious attraction is proof that thrill rides don’t need to be fast and furious to scare people silly. The second version of Derren Brown’s ghost train ride launched earlier this year, and it’s a seriously scary affair – the fear factor’s been cranked up with the use of virtual reality and additional interactions with actors dressed as zombies. Without giving the game away, we can confirm the action takes place inside a 1870s American train carriage. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this is a million miles from your run-of-the-mill train journey and everything soon goes horribly wrong: think flesh-eating zombies, poisonous gasses and apocalyptic destruction. All in the heart of leafy Surrey.

Derren Brown's Ghost Train: Rise of the Demon is one of Thorpe Park's top rides

5. Red Force, Ferrari Land, Tarragona, Spain

Anyone with a need for speed will love this ride, which became Europe’s fastest rollercoaster when it opened this summer. The concept is simple (and designed to give riders the sensation of being in an F1 car). Riders strap themselves into the vehicles before being propelled from 0 to 110 mph in five seconds. Expect amazing views over the Spanish coastline and seriously high G forces. The downside? The rate of acceleration is so fast that riders have to wear rather unattractive goggles, in the unlikely event of a collision with a bird. This is probably one post-ride photo most people don’t bother purchasing. If you’re going with the kids, check out these 10 other Spanish cities that are great for breaks with the family.

6. Wave Breaker: The Rescue Coaster, SeaWorld Antonio, US

This ride is the next best thing for anyone who’s seen the new Baywatch film and fancies a career as a lifeguard (without having to squeeze themselves into a skin-tight swim suit). This brand new ride is a double-launch coaster, but the unique aspect is the jet ski-like cars. It’s a fantastically smooth ride, and the only restraint is a lap belt, which allows passengers to enjoy the stunning views – the majority of the rollercoaster dangles over the park’s lake. The ride is proof that Seaworld are turning away from their infamous whale and dolphin shows and filling their parks with thrill rides, instead. More of the same, please.

Wave Breaker is one of several new SeaWorld rides

7. Pegase Express, Parc Asterix, France

Rollercoaster fans don’t have to head across the pond to get their kicks. One of Europe’s best theme parks, Parc Asterix, has just opened its latest attraction: a rollercoaster inspired by the white, winged horse from Greek mythology. We won’t give the game away as there are plenty of surprises in store but this is certainly one of our favourite rollercoasters in Europe. Pegase Express passengers should expect ancient temples, corkscrew turns and some of the most beautiful special effects we’ve seen on a theme park ride.

8. The Great LEGO Race, LEGOLAND Germany

This is one to watch – the opening date of this next ride will be late 2017 or early 2018. It’s further proof that LEGO isn’t just for kids – this hi-tech ride is guaranteed to appeal to riders of all ages. The rollercoaster, which is being touted as LEGOLAND’s most adrenaline-charged offering, will be given added oomph with the help of virtual reality technology. Riders will compete against their favourite LEGO characters, including Trendsetter, Pharaoh, Surfer Girl, Wizard and Pirate Captain, while flying through a beautiful world constructed entirely from rainbow-hued bricks. Who said LEGO was for kids?

9. Electric Eel, SeaWorld San Diego, US

Another example of SeaWorld’s plans to introduce more white-knuckle rides, Electric Eel will open in early 2018 – and experts are predicting that it will be the park’s scariest ride. There will be loops, twists and a 150-foot-high ascent. It will be the park’s tallest and fastest rollercoaster, with multiple inversions. If that’s not enough, it’s also a launch coaster. Apparently, passengers will enjoy spectacular views over this coastal theme park, although we have a sneaking suspicion many will have their peepers squeezed firmly shut.

Electric Eel is one of several new SeaWorld rides

10. HangTime, Knott’s Berry Farm, California

The name of this next ride says it all. In summary, passengers braving this next rollercoaster, which opens early next year, should expect to spend a significant amount of time upside down. It’s the only dive coaster on America’s west coast (translation: the ride will use a negative G-force drop to create the sensation of free-falling) and it will have the steepest descent of any rollercoaster in California. Add 2,198 feet of steel track and five gravity-defying inversions to the mix, and you’ve got a white-knuckle ride guaranteed to satisfy the world’s fussiest thrill-seekers.

Rollercoasters in California

A ride on a rollercoaster is just one way to get that all-important adrenaline fix. Here are some other ways to get the blood pumping:

Five African adventures

Whether you fancy going for a dip on the edge of Victoria Falls or spotting the big Five, this beautiful content has something for everyone.

Where to take a walk on the wild side in Scotland

You don’t have to head to the world’s most remote corners for an adrenaline-fueled adventure.

The most haunted hotels in the UK

Fearsome hotels for a frightful weekend away.

Skyscanner is the world’s travel search engine, helping your money go further on flights, hotels and car hire.