Buckle Up! America’s Best New Theme Park Rides
A 3-D dragon in Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. (Photo: courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort)
Some folks hit amusement parks for the thrill of scream-inducing scary coasters. Others look to commune with their favorite movie characters, be they dogs, dwarves, or wizards. And some of us crave old-fashioned family fun we can share with the kids. Here’s a look at new theme-park rides worth checking out this summer.
Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts at Universal Orlando Resort, Orlando, Fla.
The all-new Diagon Alley at Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter, set to open soon, will be an immersive experience complete with music, shows, and shopping. All that will set you up for the Escape from Gringotts ride, a 3-D adventure amid scenes and sounds from the Harry Potter world. You’ll see your favorite characters (and some not-so-favorite, including a certain dark lord) as you zoom underground through the goblin-staffed Gringotts Bank vaults.
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. (Photo: Ricky Brigante / Flickr)
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Can you name all seven of Snow White’s dwarfs? It’s likely you’ll remember them all by the time you climb off this “dark ride” through the little guys’ underground workplace. The mine train is getting raves for the quality of its animated characters, a hallmark of the Magic Kingdom’s recently opened New Fantasyland area. Fans also like the ride’s first-of-its-kind swinging car design, which has you going back and forth as well as up, down, and around. And you only need to be 38 inches tall to hop aboard.
Dollywood’s FireChaser Express celebrates firefighters. (Courtesy: Dollywood)