While the concept of amusement parks originated in Europe, the modern theme park was developed in the United States with iconic, world-famous places such as Coney Island, Disneyland and Universal Studios. Although Disneyland was revolutionary when it opened in 1955, theme parks have only gotten more mind-blowing, with bigger and better ones being built every year.
Though Americans aren't hurting for choice when it comes to theme parks, some companies have still found opportunities to build something new, including one tenuous plan for a park in Ohio that will be four times the size of Disneyland. The theme park business is quite dependent on the economy, and the booming growth of a new middle class in the Middle East and China means plenty of amazing new attractions are also being built overseas. With the latest and greatest technology, new parks are being built to entice thrill seekers and amusement park lovers from around the world. If you're a theme park connoisseur, check out these amazing parks that you can visit in the next few years.
The biggest Legoland in the world is opening in Upstate New York in 2020. The 150-acre park will be made of 30 million Lego bricks and cost $350 million. The park will feature more than 50 rides, shows and attractions, including Knights’ Kingdom, Pirate Shores, Lego Ninja World and an exclusive ride called the Great Lego Adventure. Legoland New York is the first major theme park to be built in the northeastern United States in years.
In 2019, Disney World and Disneyland will open matching 14-acre “lands” called Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Both versions will debut with recreations of the Outer Rim planet of Batuu and its Black Spire Outpost along with rides including "Millenium Falcon: Smugglers Run" and "Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance." Other attractions include Jedi School and costumed characters circulating through the park. Disney World is also planning an immersive Star Wars-themed hotel to go along with the new part of the park.
The developers behind Mall of America are building a massive entertainment complex in New Jersey that will cost more than $1 billion. It includes a Nickelodeon-themed amusement park that will be the largest indoor amusement park in the Western Hemisphere. There will also be a Dreamworks-themed water park, an aquarium, an indoor ski park and more. The amusement park is set to house two world-record roller coasters. The "Euro-Fighter" is touted as having the world's steepest roller coaster drop, while the other will be the world's tallest and longest free spinning coaster. Nickelodeon Universe is set to open in March 2019.
The upcoming Universal park in Beijing will combine the most popular attractions from the other Universal Studios locations around the world as well as add exclusive new attractions. The park is expected to cost around $6.5 billion, topping Shanghai Disney as the most expensive theme park at the time of opening. The 300-acre park will have attractions themed around "Harry Potter," "The Fast & the Furious, "Transformers," "Despicable Me" and "Kung Fu Panda."
The first Six Flags theme park in China will be located along the coast south of Shanghai in the county of Haiyan. The development of the park, which was announced in 2014 and is set to open in 2019, cost $4.6 billion. The children's area of the park will be themed around the Garfield comic strip characters, though no other information about the park's attractions has been released.
Plagued by significant delays, Malaysia's Twentieth Century Fox World is the studio’s first theme park, but its construction was halted by acquisition of the movie studio by Disney. Now slated to open in the first half of 2019 unless further delays arise, the park will include about 25 rides inspired by movies such as "Independence Day," "Ice Age," "Planet of the Apes" and "Night at the Museum," among others.
Set to open in the first half of 2019 in Zhuhai, China, the indoor Lionsgate Entertainment World is the movie studio's answer to Universal Studios. Based around Lionsgate movie properties, the park will include more than 30 attractions inspired by "The Hunger Games," "Divergent," "Twilight," "Now You See Me" and more, such as a werewolf-themed VR ride and shops such as Peeta’s Bakery and Capitol Couture.
In 2019, SeaWorld Orlando will unveil its recreation of the famed New York City neighborhood of beloved children's show "Sesame Street." Along with the show's storefronts, the land will include six kid-friendly rides, meet-and-greets with costumed characters and daily parades.
The largest investment in Dollywood since its opening will fund the 2019 expansion section called Wildwood Grove, a colorful, whimsical forest village with rides such as The Dragonflier and Treetop Tower. The 55-foot Wildwood Tree at the area's center will also serve as a venue for performances.
Located in central Florida, Legoland Florida is also getting a facelift with a new land that features three new rides set to open in spring of 2019. Lego Movie World recreates the streets of Bricksburg and includes a water attraction and rides inspired by Unikitty and Emmet’s Triple Decker Flying Couch.
Though America is getting fewer new theme parks, one proposed park with an initial planned opening of December 2019 would be four times larger than Disneyland in terms of acreage. Planet Oasis was announced as a planned $2 billion amusement park and entertainment complex set to be built outside of Columbus, Ohio, that would include roller coasters and a Ferris wheel as well as attractions like an indoor waterpark, a BMX track, skydiving, a beach along a salt-water lake and more. Though the development team split into two factions in late 2018, both sides insist the project is still moving forward, though with changes.
There are plenty of other future theme parks also in the pipeline that won't be completed until after 2020. Though plans were held up for seven years, Legoland recently got the green light to construct a location in South Korea estimated to open by 2021. A Twentieth Century Fox World in Dubai is also in works; initially meant to be completed by 2020, work has been paused due to fears of an oversupply of parks in the country.
Perhaps the most anticipated future park is the Studio Ghibli theme park based on the iconic films of the Japanese animation studio. Initially announced in 2017, the park will be located on the former site of the 2005 World EXPO Park in central Japan. Set to open in 2022, the park will feature rides, attractions and buildings inspired by the animated films "My Neighbor Totoro," "Spirited Away," "Howl's Moving Castle" and more, all of which are sure to make it a bucket list amusement park.
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