Get ready for next season’s top thrills
The 10 most anticipated 2024 North American coasters
Most folks may be dreaming of a white Christmas and gathering New year’s resolutions. But we park nerds are dreaming about the coasters that await us next season. What shiny new rides have parks placed under the tree for us? Let’s run down my picks for the top ten coasters that will be rolling out in 2024 at midways in the U.S. and Canada. In future articles, I’ll namecheck noteworthy new thrill machines beyond North America (hint: there are some doozies) as well as some additional honorable mention coasters in the U.S.
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The rumor mill went into overdrive about what might replace the legendary Top Thrill Dragster at Ohio’s Cedar Point. As we now know, the rechristened Top Thrill 2 will retain the ride’s original 420-foot top hat tower, but will reconfigure the course by adding a new 420-foot spike tower. Instead of a single hydraulic launch, it will feature a linear synchronous motor (LSM), multi-pass, swing launch system. It will blast trains forwards from 0 to 74 mph up the original tower where they will poop out near the top, and everybody will get to experience a coveted rollback. The LSM motor will then rev the backwards racing trains to 101 mph and send them soaring up the new spike tower. They will slow to a halt, freefall down, and hit the magnetic launch motor a third and final time for a 120-mph catapult up and over the top hat and back to the station.
The ride will represent Zamperla’s new Lightning line of launched coasters. The Italian ride company revealed the Top Thrill 2 lead car at the IAAPA Expo. Its massive, 21-inch-diameter, aluminum wheels, which are designed to help dissipate the copious heat that the coaster will generate, are mighty impressive.
It was supposed to open this year, but Circuit Breaker will be so wacky, the delayed debut should be worth the wait. Its train will rise 131 feet and roll onto a section of disconnected track that will appear to be sending passengers over the edge to their demise. To raise the dread quotient, the train will come to a halt, and the track will tilt down until the train and its passengers are facing the ground at about 90 degrees. Yikes! It will then link up with the rest of the track and release the train into an underground tunnel followed by four inversions. Circuit Breaker will be Vekoma’s first Tilt Coaster in North America and represent the next iteration of the model.
The entire COTALAND park has been delayed, which will include a second major coaster, the cleverly named Palindrome. Its train will rise 95 feet up a vertical lift hill, drop at a beyond-vertical angle, accelerate to 51 mph, and navigate two inversions before climbing a dead-end vertical spike. Passengers will then roll backwards through the course for a second go-around. (Like a palindrome, get it?)
The FLASH: Vertical Velocity at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey
For its 15th coaster, Six Flags Great Adventure will welcome a newfangled boomerang-style ride. The train will launch out of the station, stall on a hill, roll backwards through the loading station, and proceed up a spike. It will stall again before racing forward for a third launch that will propel it over the hill and into a 180-degree twisted drop. That will be followed by a zero-G roll that will send the train up the other side of the spike tower, where it will stall and retrace the entire course in reverse. The Flash-themed ride will be the first Vekoma Super Boomerang in the U.S. and the second to debut in the world after Cloud Shuttle at Fantawild Wonderland in China. Here is a video of that coaster, which is essentially identical to the one coming to Six Flags.
Dorney Park will debut a a B&M Dive Coaster that will rise 160 feet and hang passengers just over the precipice for a few agonizing seconds before finally releasing them into a hairy 95-degree drop. Reaching a top speed of 64 mph, the steel mill-themed Iron Menace will also feature four inversions including an Immelmann and a zero-G roll.
Part coaster, part water ride, the first-of-its-kind Intamin shuttle ride appears to be similar to Mack Rides PowerSplash rides such as Aquaman: Power Wave–with a few notable twists. As it navigates a U-shaped shuttle track, the surfboard-themed train will have outward-facing rings of seats that will freely spin. Each time they pass over a splash pool, passengers will be subjected to a different water effect including a water vortex tunnel. “Ultra Splash” is a working title; Six Flags conducted a poll to name the new ride, which it will announce later. This Intamin video gives a sense of the ride (minus the spinning seats):
Hot Wheels Twin Mill Racer and Hot Wheels Boneshaker: The Ultimate Ride at Mattel Adventure Park in Arizona
Another couple of delayed coasters should finally debut in 2024 when Mattel Adventure Park opens as part of VAI Resort. The details aren’t entirely clear for the two Hot Wheels-themed rides that Chance Rides is manufacturing, but it appears that Boneshaker will include a booster wheel lift hill and climb 84 feet, while Twin Mill Racer will be a launched coaster that will include inversions.
The long neglected Great Escape will finally get some coaster love in 2024 with the woodie, The Bobcat. The Gravity Group-designed and -built ride will climb 55 feet and reach 40 mph. Don’t let the modest stats fool you, however. Similar family coasters, such as Wooden Warrior at Quassy, punch way above their weight.
Passengers aboard snowmobile-styled cars will brave two launches on the new family coaster and accelerate to a top speed of 43 mph. For the finale, they will enter the park’s indoor penguin habitat and encounter the live animals.
ThunderVolt at Playland in Vancouver, Canada
Like Top Thrill 2, ThunderVolt is a repurposed, former Intamin Accelerator hydraulic launch coaster that Zamperla is converting into a Lightning LSM-launched ride. With a mere 1,247 feet of track and a height of 59 feet (its top speed is unknown), it won’t be nearly as thrilling as its Cedar Point counterpart, however.
Are you wondering why Fire in the Hole, the indoor coaster coming to Silver Dollar City next year, isn’t on the list? It will be a fairly modest family coaster. But it is a highly anticipated, $30 million, dark ride attraction. As with the original Fire in the Hole, the coaster will serve largely as ride vehicles, conveying passengers from scene to scene. I’ll be penning a separate article about the top new attractions (that aren’t coasters–or primarily coasters) opening in 2024, and the Silver Dollar City ride will be featured on that.
What new coaster(s) are you most anticipating? Why?