Best New Amusement Park Attraction (2015)


Each new year brings new and exciting attractions to amusement parks across North America. 10Best teamed up with a panel of amusement park experts to nominate the 20 most highly-anticipated new attractions hitting parks in 2015.

  • Wicked Cyclone

    Wicked Cyclone
    Six Flags New England - Agawam, Mass.

    In May 2015, Six Flags New England launched the East Coast’s first hybrid roller coaster – a fusion of both wood and steel – and one of only a handful of such roller coasters in the world. The new Wicked Cyclone ride boasts 24 different features, including a 79-degree plunge downward. This coaster reaches speeds of 55 miles per hour.
    Photo courtesy of Six Flags New England

  • Impulse

    Knoebels - Elysburg, Penn.

    Get ready for summer 2015, when Knoebels in Pennsylvania will open up its newest steel roller coaster. Impulse will climb a 98-foot hill before plunging riders into an extreme 90-degree free fall. Add in all kinds of rolls, from a 360 to a cobra roll, and you’ll experience Knoebels from a totally different viewpoint. This is the first steel roller coaster Knoebels has had on site since 2004.
    Photo courtesy of Joel Styer - Knoebels

  • Thomas Land

    Thomas Land
    Edaville - Carver, Mass.

    Many kids are going to love this one, and okay, their parents might, too. Imagine a world where the popular children’s character, Thomas the Tank Engine, and his whole Island of Sodor and Tidmouth crew could come to life. At this Massachusetts attraction, set to open in August 2015, families can experience a new Thomas Land theme region, with 11 rides and all the favorite Thomas characters. Watch out for Cranky the Crane!
    Photo courtesy of Rim Grazuilis

  • Thunderbird

    Holiday World - Santa Claus, Ind.

    You’ve heard of a roller coaster, but what about a “wing coaster?” Thunderbird aims to be the first in the nation. That means no hill, no lift. Just a crazy launch from zero to 60 in 3.5 seconds, followed by plenty of loops and twists, zero-g and a barrel roll, all designed to feel like you’re about to collide with trees and ground of the wooded terrain. Thunderbird opened in April 2015 at Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari.
    Photo courtesy of Holiday World

  • JUSTICE LEAGUE: Battle for Metropolis

    JUSTICE LEAGUE: Battle for Metropolis
    Six Flags Over Texas & Six Flags St. Louis

    Six Flags Over Texas and Six Flags St. Louis just launched their newest, highly anticipated twin rides: a new 4D, interactive, dark Justice League attraction. When you step into this comic-inspired world and into your special six-person, motion-based vehicle, expect to be wowed with 3D images, virtual loops, real-time gaming and multi-sensory special effects, like explosions, all in time to the show on screen.
    Photo courtesy of Six Flags

  • Tempesto

    Busch Gardens Williamsburg - Williamsburg, Va.

    Virginia’s got a new launch coaster. Tempesto, named after the famous daredevil, opened at Busch Gardens Williamsburg in April 2015. It packs major action, hitting 63 miles per hour, complete with a crazy full inversion 154 feet in the air. You’ll feel like a daredevil yourself, after you experience Tempesto’s signature-style loops in the air.
    Photo courtesy of Busch Gardens Williamsburg

  • Laff Trakk

    Laff Trakk
    Hersheypark - Hershey, Penn.

    This may not be the fastest or highest coaster, but it’s a totally unique way to experience two long-time faves: a coaster and a carnival. Laff Trakk bills itself as an indoor, spinning, family-friendly “glow-coaster.” Imagine a new spin on a fun house, complete with bright colors, a hall of mirrors and sound effects. Laff Trakk opened in HersheyPark in Pennsylvania in May 2015.
    Photo courtesy of Hersheypark

  • Fireman's Landing

    Fireman's Landing
    Silver Dollar City - Branson, Mo.

    Silver Dollar City in Missouri kicked off a new theme park area in March 2015 called Fireman’s Landing. This $8-million area, complete with 10 different, family-friendly rides and attractions, is inspired by area firefighters in the 1880s.By guiding participants through a make-believe training and recruitment adventure, Fireman’s Landing teaches about history and also honors volunteer firefighters.
    Photo courtesy of Silver Dollar City

  • Switchback

    ZDT's Amusement Park - Seguin, Texas

    Switchback, slated to open during summer 2015, aims to be the world’s only wooden shuttle coaster. These unique locomotive-themed cars are inspired by the first coaster in the nation, the Switchback Railway of 1884. Switchback is a little more exciting than the original 6 miles per hour (with a 62-foot drop), but its cars are designed for a smooth and comfortable ride appropriate for a wide variety of ages, from kids to seniors. It wraps up by re-running the full track again, going the other direction.
    Photo courtesy of ZDT's Amusement Park

  • Cannibal

    Lagoon - Farmington, Utah

    This attraction has been a long time coming, but officials aren’t releasing much information about the unique, custom details. They want to keep it a surprise. He’s what we do know: Cannibal at Lagoon Park will mount a 208-foot tower, reach 70 miles per hour, feature an underground tunnel, boast three inversions and reach a whopping 4.2 gs. Oh, and a full helix over a waterfall! Look for the Cannibal this summer in Salt Lake City.
    Photo courtesy of Lagoon Park

Our readers have been voting on their favorites for the past four weeks, and now we have a winner. Earning the title of Best New Amusement Park Attraction is a wicked new coaster at Six Flags New England, Wicked Cyclone. The East Coast’s first hybrid roller coaster – a fusion of both wood and steel – boasts 24 different features, including a 79-degree plunge downward.

The top 10 winners in the category Best New Amusement Park Attraction are as follows:

  1. Wicked Cyclone - Six Flags New England
  2. Impulse - Knoebels
  3. Thomas Land - Edaville
  4. Thunderbird - Holiday World
  5. JUSTICE LEAGUE: Battle for Metropolis - Six Flags Over Texas & Six Flags St. Louis
  6. Tempesto - Busch Gardens Williamsburg
  7. Laff Trakk - Hersheypark
  8. Fireman's Landing - Silver Dollar City
  9. Switchback - ZDT's Amusement Park
  10. Cannibal - Lagoon

A panel of experts picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Joel Bullock (The Coaster Critic), Lance Hart (Screamscape), Steve Kalkofen (RollerCoasterPro), Arthur Levine ( Theme Park Expert) and Robert Niles (Theme Park Insider) were chosen based on their extensive knowledge of American amusement parks.

Additional nominees for Best New Amusement Park Attraction included BATMAN: The Ride at Six Flags Fiesta Texas, Fast & Furious – Supercharged at Universal Studios Hollywood, Fury 325 at Carowinds, Maison Rouge at La Ronde, Rougarou at Cedar Point, SpongeBob SubPants Adventure at Moody Gardens, Springfield at Universal Studios Hollywood, T3 at Kentucky Kingdom, Twisted Colossus at Six Flags Magic Mountain and Voyage to the Iron Reef at Knott's Berry Farm.

10Best and USA TODAY extend their congratulations to all the winners. The contest was promoted on 10Best and USA TODAY.

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AlertThe Experts

Joel Bullock

Joel Bullock

Joel Bullock

Lance Hart

Lance Hart

Lance Hart

Steve Kalkofen

Steve Kalkofen

Steve Kalkofen

Arthur Levine

Arthur Levine

Arthur Levine

Robert Niles

Robert Niles

Robert Niles