Best New Theme Park Rides and Attractions for 2019

I recently wrote an article for Family Vacation Critic, where I share a round-up of all the thrilling rides, immersive lands, and waterslides opening for the 2019 summer season. It got me thinking, what theme park attractions am I MOST excited about? Two words… Galaxy’s Edge.

Star Wars Galaxy's Edge

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland, image courtesy Disney Parks Blog

Ever since Disney shelled out $4 Billion for Lucasfilm, Star Wars fans like myself have waited to step into that galaxy far, far, away. 2019 Is our year when Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens at California’s Disneyland park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios park in Florida. At 14+ acres, Disney calls Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge the largest themed land addition for a Disney Park, and it will contain two signature attractions. On Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, family and friends team up to pilot the fastest ship in the galaxy on a secret, pirating mission. Whereas, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance immerses visitors in the middle of the epic struggle between the First Order and Resistance fighters. I cannot wait to step into Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge with my family and act out my childhood hero Skywalker fantasies. However, as excited as I am for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, that’s not the only major attraction coming to theme parks across the country. Besides Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, here are four other new additions I can’t wait to see.

Kennywood Steelers Country

Image courtesy Kennywood Park

Steel Curtain – Kennywood Park, Pittsburgh, PA

The amusement park where I grew up is adding a whole land celebrating the Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL. The highlight of Steelers Country is the Steel Curtain – a 220 foot tall roller coaster that reaches speeds of 75 mph as it flips riders through a record-breaking 9 inversions.

Kennywood Steelers Country

Image courtesy Kennywood Park

Reese’s Cupfusion – Hersheypark, PA

The theme of this family dark-ride interactive gaming adventure is to save the world from running out of Reese’s peanut butter cups, and it sounds like a blast. I love the gaming rides like Toy Story Midway Mania, Men In Black – Alien Attack, and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, and Reese’s Cupfusion should be a great addition to Hersheypark.

Reeses Cupfusion Hersheypark

Image courtesy Hersheypark

Wildwood Grove – Dollywood, TN

Dollywood’s latest addition contains a cooling spring, an illuminated tree, and six new rides including The Dragonflier, a suspended family coaster. Nestled in the Smoky Mountains, Dollywood is such a scenic park with fantastic food, and the new Wildwood Grove restaurant will surely give even more comfort food options.

Wildwood Grove

Image courtesy Dollywood Park

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure – Universal Orlando Resort

Islands of Adventure removed one of my favorite roller coasters, Dragon Challenge in 2017. We don’t know much about its replacement except for a promise that Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure will be their “most highly-themed coaster yet.”

Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

Image courtesy Universal Orlando Resort

Head over to Family Vacation Critic to learn more about all the rides and attractions perfect for toddlers, kids, and teens, and get ready for summer theme park fun in 2019. For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on instagramtwitter and “like” our facebook page too.

About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.