Mattel toys with new park
2023 attractions preview concludes with more fun experiences
Fasten your seatbelts park fans. With all the goodies coming our way this year, it’s going to be a glorious ride.
To review, I’ve already counted down my picks for the 10 most anticipated U.S. coasters rolling out in 2023. I followed that up with some highly anticipated international coasters as well as some honorable mention thrill machines coming to stateside parks. Then I ran down parkdom’s 10 most anticipated new attractions. But we’re not done yet.
There are still a bunch of exciting new developments to report, many of which don’t quite fit into the categories I’ve already shared. There are wild and wacky flat rides, cool rides and attractions coming to a cruise ship, entire new theme parks set to open, and perhaps the world’s most ambitious, attraction-packed, and outlandish water park.
Mattel Adventure Park in Arizona
Yes, I already included the Hot Wheels Twin Mill Racer among my list of new coasters meriting an honorable mention. But the ride will be part of a whole new Mattel Adventure Park that will be opening in Glendale, Arizona this year. Even though it’s scheduled to debut in the first quarter, it‘s been difficult to get details.
Apparently, most of the park will be indoors, which makes sense since it gets crazy-hot in Arizona. If you or your kids love the toy company’s classic, scale-model cars, take heart. And get ready for the 4D motion simulator attraction, Hot Wheels Unleashed, as well as Hot Wheels-themed go-karts and–get this–a second Hot Wheels coaster. You will also be able to visit a life-sized Barbie Beach House and go on a flying theater ride into the doll’s world. Then you can enter her Dream Closet and encounter a hologram representation of the ageless character. Other attractions will include Thomas Adventure Train: Treasure Hunt, featuring a ride aboard Thomas the Tank Engine, some Thomas-themed spinning rides, Master of the Universe laser tag, a climbing structure based on UNO (hopefully not built on a house of cards), and Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots mini-golf. Maybe sore losers get to knock their opponents’ blocks off?
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The eye-popping, 260-foot-tall Icon Tower that will be the centerpiece of the 40-acre Meryal water park will include 12 water slides, one of which will start at the tippy top and take intrepid passengers all the way to the ground. Yikes. But wait, there’s more. An uphill water coaster, for example, will blast riders on a course that will extend far out into the ocean. There will also be a SlideWheel, which is a crazy jumble of slides that rotate like a washing machine gone haywire. Meryal will offer a spinning roller coaster and a log flume ride as well.
SeaWorld Abu Dhabi
Elsewhere in the Middle East, Yas Island, home to Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, will continue to expand with the opening of SeaWorld Abu Dhabi. Unlike its stateside sister parks, the new marine life park will be entirely indoors in a vast, 183,000sqm (nearly 2 million sq. ft.), 5-level building that will feature the world’s largest aquarium. While it might be large enough to include a Shamu or two, there won’t be any orcas at this next-gen SeaWorld. There will, however, be more than 68,000 marine animals, as well as an immersive, 360-degree media experience and two roller coasters.
Canada’s Wonderland has developed a reputation for lining its midway with some of the most extreme, fear-inducing flat rides. But Tundra Twister may surpass them all. Known as an Avalanche, it will take passengers 47 meters, or 154 feet, up in the air and hit a top speed of 75 km/h, or about 47 mph, as it delivers crazy gyrations and inversions. If you’re thinking of braving this thing, you may want to bring an extra set of underwear.
Robotron aboard MSC Seascape
The trend to add high-profile rides and attractions aboard cruise ships continues with Robotron on the MSC Seascape. Technically, it debuted late last year when the new vessel sailed its maiden voyage, but I’m counting it as a 2023 attraction. Guests get tossed to and fro on the same kind of Kuka robotic arm vehicles used for the landmark Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride at Universal Orlando. Robotron, however, features high-speed, high-thrill maneuvers, including disorienting inversions–all the better to help passengers find their sea legs. MSC Seascape also offers a VR 360 Flight Simulator, VR Motorcycles, a Formula Racer simulator, and an interactive XD Cinema experience.
Serengeti Flyer at BuschGardens Tampa
Many parks offer pendulum rides known as “Screamin’ Swings” on their midways. Developed by S&S Worldwide, the contraptions use compressed air to launch two ride vehicles back and forth at successively higher heights and giddier speeds. The free-floating negative-G airtime moments they deliver, one after the other, are intoxicating for thrill ride fans. At 135 feet and 68 mph, the new Serengeti Flyer will be the world’s tallest and fastest swing ride–and likely the screamiest.
Okay ATPers, you know the drill: What’s your take on this batch of rides and parks opening this year? Are you planning on visiting any of them?