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Most Anticipated Theme Park Rides of 2012

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2012's Most Anticipated Rides

If you love theme park rides, especially roller coasters, get your travel bags packed, because 2012 looks to be a blockbuster year for thrill seekers in North America. From one of the tallest and fastest roller coasters in the world, to what is being dubbed as America’s first “winged” coaster, the offerings on tap are some of the most exciting in recent years.
Image: Mathew Imaging | FilmMagic | Getty Images

If you love theme park rides, especially roller coasters, get your travel bags packed, because 2012 looks to be a blockbuster year for thrill seekers in North America. From one of the tallest and fastest roller coasters in the world, to what is being dubbed as America’s first “winged” coaster, the offerings on tap are some of the most exciting in recent years.

Click ahead for details and animated videos, including some point-of-view experiences, for some of the most anticipated theme park rides of 2012.

By Constance Parten
Posted 22 November 2011

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Wild Eagle

DollywoodPigeon Forge, Tenn.Wild Eagle, which is being dubbed the country’s first “winged” coaster, offers seats outside the parameters of the track. It will begin with a 210-foot tall lift hill where guests will likely be treated to an amazing view of the park’s beautiful mountainous surroundings. Next, riders will dive 135 feet and then face four inversions including: large vertical loop, zero-g roll, inclined Immelmann turn, and a giant flat spin.Ride Manufacturer: Bollinger & MabillardTrack
Image Courtesy Dollywood

Dollywood
Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

Wild Eagle, which is being dubbed the country’s first “winged” coaster, offers seats outside the parameters of the track. It will begin with a 210-foot-tall lift hill where guests will likely be treated to an amazing view of the park’s beautiful mountainous surroundings. Next, riders will dive 135 feet and then face four inversions including: a large vertical loop, a zero-g roll, an inclined Immelmann turn, and a giant flat spin.

Ride Manufacturer: Bollinger & Mabillard
Track Length: 3,127 feet
Max Speed: 61 mph
Total Investment: $20 million
Opening: March 2012

Video: Wild Eagle Point-of-View Preview

Leviathan

Canada's WonderlandTorontoOne of the biggest and tallest roller coasters in the world, Leviathan will dominate the park’s landscape. Leviathan is Wonderland's 16th coaster.Ride Manufacturer: Bollinger & MabillardTrack Length: 5,486 feetLift Height: 306 feetAngle of Descent: 80 degreesFirst Drop Speed: 92 mphRide Duration: 3 minutes, 28 secondsTotal Investment: $28 millionOpening: May 2012
Image Courtesy Canada's Wonderland

Canada's Wonderland
Toronto

One of the biggest and tallest roller coasters in the world, Leviathan will dominate the park’s landscape. Leviathan is Wonderland's 16th coaster.

Ride Manufacturer: Bollinger & Mabillard
Track Length: 5,486 feet
Lift Height: 306 feet
Angle of Descent: 80 degrees
First Drop Speed: 92 mph
Ride Duration: 3 minutes, 28 seconds
Total Investment: $28 million
Opening: May 2012

Video: Leviathan Point-of-View Preview

Lex Luthor: Drop of Doom

Six Flags Magic MountainLos Angeles, CaliforniaInside a floorless gondola on one of two vertical tracks, riders will be pulled to the top of a 400-foot tower, experience a brief pause, and then drop at speeds of up to 85 mph.Ride Manufacturer: Intamin AGHeight: 400 feetTop Speed: 85 mphTotal Investment: Not disclosedOpening: Spring, 2012
Image Courtesy Six Flags Magic Mountain

Six Flags Magic Mountain
Los Angeles, Calif.

Inside a floorless gondola on one of two vertical tracks, riders will be pulled to the top of a 400-foot tower, experience a brief pause, and then drop at speeds of up to 85 mph.

Ride Manufacturer: Intamin AG
Height: 400 feet
Top Speed: 85 mph
Total Investment: Not disclosed
Opening: Spring 2012

Video: Drop of Doom Promotional Preview

Manta

Sea World San DiegoSan Diego, Calif.This head-first, face-down flying coaster is designed to give riders the experience of spinning, gliding, skimming, and flying like a giant ray. The attraction will feature underwater habitats, including thousands of tropical fish and rays in 10 different aquariums.Max Speed: 56 mphTotal Investment: Not disclosedOpening Date: May 2012
Image Courtesy Sea World San Diego

Sea World San Diego
San Diego, Calif.

This "flying" coaster is designed to give riders the experience of spinning, gliding, skimming, and flying like a giant ray. The attraction will feature underwater habitats, including thousands of tropical fish and rays in 10 different aquariums.

Max Speed: 56 mph
Total Investment: Not disclosed
Opening: May 2012

X-Flight

Six Flags Great AmericaChicago, IllinoisThis winged coaster will soar at speeds of 55 mph through 3,000 feet of drops and five inversions, including a barrel roll, a zero-g roll, and an extreme fly-through where the coaster speeds straight towards a structure, before making a last minute vertical flip to fit through a keyhole cut-out.Ride Manufacturer: Bollinger & MabillardHeight: 120 feetTrack Length: 3,000 feetMax Speed: 55 mphTotal Investment: Not disclosedOpening: Spring 2012
Image Courtesy Six Flags Great America

Six Flags Great America
Chicago, Ill.

This winged coaster will soar at speeds of 55 mph through 3,000 feet of drops and five inversions, including a barrel roll, a zero-g roll, and an extreme fly-through where the coaster speeds straight towards a structure, before making a last minute vertical flip to fit through a keyhole cut-out.

Ride Manufacturer: Bollinger & Mabillard
Height: 120 feet
Track Length: 3,000 feet
Max Speed: 55 mph
Total Investment: Not disclosed
Opening: Spring 2012

Video: X-Flight Concept Animation

Skyrush

HersheyparkHershey, Penn.Skyrush will be the 12 coaster at Hersheypark, and will also be the park's tallest and fastest. The coaster includes four high-speed turns, five zero-G airtime hills, and the highest drop in the park.Ride Manufacturer: Intamin AGTrack Length: Nearly 3,600 feetMax Height: 200 feetMax Speed: 75 mphRide Duration: 63 secondsTotal Investment: $25 million (estimated)Opening: May 2012
Image Courtesy Hersheypark

Hersheypark
Hershey, Penn.

Skyrush will be the 12th coaster at Hersheypark, and will also be the park's tallest and fastest. The coaster includes four high-speed turns, five zero-G airtime hills, and the highest drop in the park.

Ride Manufacturer: Intamin AG
Track Length: Nearly 3,600 feet
Max Height: 200 feet
Max Speed: 75 mph
Ride Duration: 63 seconds
Total Investment: $25 million (estimated)
Opening: May 2012

Video: Skyrush Promotional Preview

Verbolten

Busch Gardens WilliamsburgWilliamsburg, Va.A German tourist center will serve as the ride entrance for this autobahn-themed, multi-launch coaster that will take riders on an exciting trip through the forbidden Black Forest.Ride Manufacturer: ZiererTrack Length: 2,835 feetMax Speed: 53 mphRide Duration: 3 minutes, 25 secondsTotal Investment: Not disclosed Opening: 2012
Image Courtesy Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Williamsburg, Va.

A German tourist center will serve as the ride entrance for this autobahn-themed, multi-launch coaster that will take riders on an exciting trip through the forbidden Black Forest.

Ride Manufacturer: Zierer
Track Length: 2,835 feet
Max Speed: 53 mph
Ride Duration: 3 minutes, 25 seconds
Total Investment: Not disclosed
Opening: 2012

Video: Verboten Promotional Preview

Windseeker

King's DominionDoswell, Va.Windseeker will be a 30-story-tall swing ride that will soar high above the park's other attractions, rising almost as high as the parks iconic Eiffel Tower. Seated in two-person swings that will allow their feet to dangle, riders will slowly begin rotating in a circular motion as the swings ascend the tower. At the top, the swings will be reaching speeds between 25 to 30 mph, flaring out almost 45 degrees from the tower.Ride Manufacturer: MondialHeight: 301 feetMax Sp
Image Courtesy King's Dominion

King's Dominion
Doswell, Va.

Windseeker will be a 30-story-tall swing ride that will soar high above the park's other attractions, rising almost as high as the parks iconic Eiffel Tower. Seated in two-person swings that will allow their feet to dangle, riders will slowly begin rotating in a circular motion as the swings ascend the tower. At the top, the swings will be reaching speeds between 25 to 30 mph, flaring out almost 45 degrees from the tower.

Ride Manufacturer: Mondial
Height: 301 feet
Max Speed: 25 to 30 mph
Total Investment: $6.5 million (estimated)
Opening: 2012

Video: Windseeker Promotional Preview

Despicable Me

Universal Studios FloridaOrlando, Florida“Despicable Me” will become the first-ever Universal animated film to be transformed into a theme park experience. Using high-definition digital technology, the new 3-D motion-simulator attraction will allow guests to be turned into minions, visit the secret lab of Gru, and be swept into an interactive dance party to show off their best moves.Total Investment: Not disclosedOpening Date: 2012
Image Courtesy Universal Studios

Universal Studios Florida
Orlando, Fla.

“Despicable Me” will become the first-ever Universal animated film to be transformed into a theme park experience. Using high-definition digital technology, the new 3-D motion-simulator attraction will allow guests to be turned into minions, visit the secret lab of Gru, and be swept into an interactive dance party to show off their best moves.

Total Investment: Not disclosed
Opening: 2012