America's Best New Theme Park Rides and Attractions

Dare Devil Dive at Six Flags Over Georgia in Austell, Georgia. Courtesy Six Flags Over Georgia
By Carrie Havranek

Get your fill of summer thrills with these 11 best new theme park rides and attractions. From adrenaline-pumping roller coasters to kid-friendly rides, these new diversions are worth the lines at Six Flags, Busch Gardens, Disney theme parks, and more.

The listed prices are for one-day admission fees for each theme park; consider multi-park passes or multi-day passes if you want to make a road trip out of it.

Photo Caption: Dare Devil Dive at Six Flags Over Georgia in Austell, Georgia.
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In "The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventure," Ariel's story unfolds in colorful scenes filled with Audio-Animatronics characters and memorable music from the hit Disney animated motion picture, The Little Mermaid. Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort
Theme Park: Disney California Adventure Park
Where: Anaheim, California
The Details: Believe it or not, this is the first themed attraction named after Disney's animated film The Little Mermaid. You'll travel through this ride on pastel-colored clamshell seats as Ariel's story comes to life, complete with songs and special effects. More than 200 Audio-Animatronics figures (including 50 spinning starfish) liven up the catchy song "Under the Sea." It's a dark ride, which helps simulate the feeling of being -- yes -- under the sea.
Minimum Height Requirement: None; infants and toddlers can sit on their parents' laps.
Admission: $80 (ages 10 and up); $74 (ages 3-9)
Open:
Hours vary but the park is open year-round
More Info: tel. 714/781-4565; http://disneyland.disney.go.com

Photo Caption: Ariel's story unfolds in colorful scenes filled with Audio-Animatronics characters and music from the hit Disney flick,
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Star Tours at Disneyland, Anaheim. Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort
Theme Parks: Disneyland; Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World
Where:
Anaheim, California; Orlando, Florida
The Details: The newly-opened Star Tours is a reboot of the earlier attraction of the same name. Motion-simulating and Dolby 3D technology allows riders to take a seven-minute journey through the characters, sights, and sounds of the Star Wars films. What will happen? Where will you end up? With 50 randomized story combinations, riders get a different experience every time. Maybe Yoda doesn't even know. The new attraction is collaboration among Disney Imagineers, Lucasfilm Ltd., and Industrial Light & Magic.
Minimum Height Requirement: 40 inches
Hours: Open year-round, but hours vary at Disney World and Disneyland
Admission: Disney World ($85 ages 10 and up; $79 ages 3-9); Disneyland ($80 ages 10 and up; $74 ages 3-9)
More Info:
Disney World, tel. 407/939-6244 (http://disneyworld.disney.go.com); Disneyland, tel. 714/781-4565; (http://disneyland.disney.go.com)

Photo Caption: Star Tours at Disneyland, Anaheim
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Green Lantern: First Flight at Six Flags Magic Mountain. Courtesy Six Flags Magic Mountain
Theme Park: Six Flags Magic Mountain
Where: Valencia, California
The Details: The Green Lantern (named for the fearless DC Comics superhero) is the first spinning roller coaster in the country. The addition brings the total coaster count at this Six Flags location to 18 -- currently the most in the U.S. Expect a 107-foot lift hill, 825 feet of twisted vertical track as you move in a zigzag fashion, and 360-degree spins.
Minimum Height Requirement: 52 inches; up to 77 inches
Open: Daily through Sept. 5; weekends and some extended periods through Dec. 31
Admission: From $59.99 for adults; $34.99 for children under 48 inches
More Info: tel. 661/255-4100; www.sixflags.com/magicMountain

Photo Caption: Green Lantern: First Flight at Six Flags Magic Mountain, California
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Cheetah Hunt, Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay Florida. Busch Gardens/Matt Marriot
Theme Park: Busch Gardens
Where: Tampa, Florida
The Details: This new roller coaster's speeds (up to 60 mph) and surges (a 130-foot drop into an underground trench) are inspired by the behavior and habitat of its animal counterpart. Brace yourself -- the 4,429 feet of track make it the longest coaster at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. While you're there, try to spot one of the 14 cheetahs at the Cheetah Run attractions.
Minimum Height Requirement: 48 inches
Open:
Daily through Dec. 31
Admission: $79.99 for adults; $71.99 (ages 3-9)
More Info: tel. 888/800-5447; http://buschgardens.com/bgt

Photo Caption: Cheetah Hunt at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida
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Superman: Escape from Krypton Courtesy Six Flags Magic Mountain
Theme Park: Six Flags Magic Mountain
Where: Valencia, California
The Details: This ride, which opened in the spring, freefalls 415 feet from the L-shaped track. You'll go a record-breaking 100 miles per hour in seven seconds and then do the same thing -- backward. You'll also experience 6½ seconds of weightlessness à la Superman.
Minimum Height Requirement: 48 inches
Open: Daily through Sept. 5; weekends and some extended periods through Dec. 31
Admission: From $59.99 for adults; $34.99 for children under 48 inches
More Info: tel. 661/255-4100; www.sixflags.com/magicMountain

Photo Caption: The new Superman: Escape from Krypton ride at Six Flags Magic Mountain, California
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Dare Devil Dive at Six Flags Over Georgia in Austell, Georgia. Courtesy Six Flags Over Georgia
Theme Park: Six Flags Over Georgia
Where: Austell, Georgia
The Details: The Dare Devil euro fighter dive coaster that arrived in May at Six Flags Over Georgia takes riders up a 100-foot vertical lift before plunging down a 95-degree drop.
Minimum Height Requirement: 48 inches
Admission:
$52.99 for adults; $37.99 for children under 48 inches
Open: Daily through Aug. 7, weekends through Oct. 30
More info: tel. 661/255-4100; www.sixflags.com/overGeorgia

Photo Caption: Dare Devil Dive at Six Flags Over Georgia in Austell, Georgia.
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Star Wars Miniland at Legoland, Carlsbad, California Courtesy Legoland
Theme Park: LEGOLAND California Resort
Where: Carlsbad, California
The Details: Star Wars and LEGO form the perfect match for kids and geek adults alike. Scenes from the six Star Wars films and one from the animated Clone Wars movie are rendered in a 1:20 scale. It's not all mini, though -- there are some life-size LEGO models and interactive features that allow you to activate some animations. An astounding 1.5 million LEGO bricks were used in this new section of the park.
Minimum Height Requirement: None
Hours: Daily through Sept. 5; open five days (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays) through December with special holiday hours
Admission:
$69 for adults, $59 (ages 3-12, 60 and up)
More Info: tel. 760/918-LEGO; http://california.legoland.com

Photo Caption: Star Wars Miniland at Legoland in Carlsbad, California
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Goofy Sky School, Disneyland. Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort
Theme Park: Disney California Adventure Park
Where: Anaheim, California
The Details: As part of the refurbished and expanded Paradise Pier at Disneyland, this roller coaster takes you for a flying lesson with Goofy as your pilot instructor. You'll rise three stories high and zip along 1,200 feet of track with several switchback sections.
Minimum Height Requirements: 42 inches
Open: Hours vary but park is open year-round
Admission: $80 (ages 10 and up); $74 (ages 3-9)
More Info: tel. 714/781-4565; http://disneyland.disney.go.com

Photo Caption: Goofy Sky School at Disneyland in Anaheim, California
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Road Runner Express at Six Flags Magic Mountain. Courtesy Six Flags Magic Mountain
Theme Park: Six Flags Magic Mountain
Where: Valencia, California
The Details: This steel coaster is one that just about the whole family can enjoy. Sit two across while experiencing speeds up to 21 mph and a 28-foot lift hill.
Minimum Height Requirement: 36 inches
Open: Daily through Sept. 5; weekends and some extended periods through Dec. 31
Admission: From $59.99 for adults; $34.99 for kids under 48 inches
More Info: tel. 661/255-4100; www.sixflags.com/magicMountain

Photo Caption: Road Runner Express at Six Flags Magic Mountain.
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The Barnstormer at Dollywood, Pigeon Forge. Dollywood Publicity
Theme Park: Dollywood
Where: Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
The Details: The little kids can hang out and play in the barnyard-themed play area at Dolly Parton's family theme park; the big kids will enjoy the swings that travel progressively higher and higher over the barn's rooftop with views of the surrounding Great Smoky Mountains. The big-kid ride goes up to 45 mph with 230-degree rotations at a peak of 81 feet.
Minimum Height Requirement: 48 inches
Open: Daily through Aug. 22; most Friday-Mondays through mid-October; park closes for the season on Dec. 30
Admission:
$57 (ages 12-59); $45.80 (ages 4-11)
More Info: tel. 800/365-5996; www.dollywood.com

Photo Caption: The Barnstormer at Dollywood, Pigeon Forge.
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WindSeeker at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. Courtesy Cedar Point Amusement Park/Resort in Sandusky, Ohio
Theme Park: Cedar Point
Where: Sandusky, Ohio
The Details: Cedar Point isn't the only park that will thrill guests with this ride -- a handful of others will also receive this Dutch creation this summer, made by Mondial. Cedar Point, though, is the only one that can carry its riders, seated in swings, high up over Lake Erie's shoreline. The 301-foot-tall tower spins riders nearly 30 stories high, up to 30 mph, and at nearly a 45-degree angle from the tower.
Minimum Height Requirement: 52 inches
Open: Daily through Sept. 5; most weekends (Friday-Sunday) through Oct. 30
Admission: $47.99 for guests 48 inches and taller; $22 for guests under 48 inches or age 62 and up; ages 2 and under are free.
More Info: tel. 419/ 627-2350; www.cedarpoint.com

Photo Caption: WindSeeker at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio.
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