Guides

7 Theme Park Rides To Fuel Your Nerdiest Fantasies

It seems like barely a day goes by in 2020 without some breaking theme park news.

Our alerts are eagerly set for anything related to the new Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan. It’s expected to open before the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo this July.

We’re also keeping tabs on the incoming Avengers Campus from Marvel, the Frozen Land at Disneyland Paris (hurry up, 2023) and a possible Harry Potter theme park in Japan.

What do all these attractions have in common? Big-name IP. Theme parks now target their flashiest rides to our nerdiest movie and gaming interests. Honestly we’re here for all of it. In droves.

As we wait for the next phase of theme park domination, read on for seven rides that light up our inner adolescent.

1. Avatar Flight of Passage

Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Florida

This ride is one of the rare times when waiting in line for hours is so worth it. It’s pretty common for the queue to top three hours, but this 3D thrill ride is worth every second.

Even people who have never seen Avatar lose their minds when the massive screens in front of them flicker to life. Then the stationary bike you’re straddling starts moving as if it’s a Banshee taking flight.

Prepare to feel as if you’re gliding through a forest, taking a nosedive through the trees, battling another Banshee and barrelling through a massive wave.

Real wind and water hit your face to put you in the action, and you really do feel like you’re flying on a powerful beast as the bike moves beneath you in sync with the screen.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by TXDisney (@txdisney) on

2. Rise of the Resistance

Galaxy’s Edge, Walt Disney World, Florida & Disneyland, California

Gone are the days when theme park rides were simple rollercoasters. Rise of the Resistance is a 10-minute-plus epic combining different kinds of thrill rides, high-res simulations, gorgeous set pieces, costumes and 50 animatronic Stormtroopers.

Instead of a straight-up ride, it’s more like an interactive adventure that puts you in the middle of a battle between the Resistance and the First Order. You’ll be marched through a Star Destroyer hangar bay, interrogated by Kylo Ren, chased by First Order troops and come face-to-face with two towering AT-ATs.

Best of all, you’ll meet BB-8.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Hannah Faith (@magicallyhannahfaith) on

3. Mario Kart Course (Coming 2020) 

Super Nintendo World, Universal Studios Japan, Osaka 

Granted, this one hasn’t opened yet. We haven’t even seen plans, let alone pictures. But Japanese gaming giant Nintendo has answered the world’s pleas for a real-life Mario Kart course.

Super Nintendo World is set to open at Universal Studios Japan in a matter of months. (All things going to plan.) Nintendo confirmed its vision for the Osaka theme park with a super bright, super wholesome video. 

Everything in this park is designed to feel like you’re inside a game with Mario and Luigi. With wearable ‘Power Up’ wristbands for every guest, you can hit Question Blocks and collect coins IRL.

We remain 100-percent hyped to see the Super Mario Kart course in action.

 4. Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

Universal Orlando Resort, Florida 

You’ll find fierce online discussion about the best Harry Potter ride out there. But the one with the epic queues and rave reviews is Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. 

Located in The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort, this ride opened just last year.

Reportedly the most expensive rollercoaster ever built, its motorbikes and sidecars speed along an intricately designed (and genuinely thrilling) course. The ride takes you through a winding Harry Potter story, with a few unexpected jolts and twists. 

One thing to know: rain is common in Florida, so there can be ride delays, adding to those long wait times. But hey, that’s life as a Muggle.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

#universalstudios #hagridsmagicalcreaturesmotorbikeadventure

A post shared by Chelsie Cooper Banks (@getouterbanks) on

5. Tron Lightcycle Power Run

Disneyland Park, Shanghai

Enter the neon-lit simulation of Tron on this rollercoaster that puts you in your very own high-speed race against some of the Grid’s AI programs.

This rollercoaster plunges you through an indoor arena that would be pitch-black if it wasn’t for all the neon — it’s like the fan fave ride Space Mountain, but from the future.

It’s also one of the fastest indoor rollercoasters ever made in a Disney theme park.

The original ride in Shanghai is so popular that Disney is bringing it to Magic Kingdom in Florida. Soon you’ll be able to experience it with Avatar Flight of Passage and Rise of the Resistance, a triple-whammy trip of the best nerdy theme park rides.

6. Jurassic World: The Ride

Universal Studios Hollywood, California 

There can be no question that the original Jurassic Park movie far outclasses the new Jurassic World series. However, when it comes to theme park rides, the original was looking a little tired.

Jurassic Park: The Ride was built at Universal Studios Hollywood way back in 1996. It closed down in 2018, to be replaced by Jurassic World: The Ride.

The new boat ride starts in the Jurassic World aquarium (hello to the shark-chomping Mosasaurus) and tranquil herbivore enclosures, before building to a predator escape.

You dodge the OG T-Rex and raptors, plus the Indominus Rex and – eek! – Chris Pratt on a video feed. It all ends with a sudden water drop. This is no Steven Spielberg masterpiece, but there are worse ways to go boating.

(The ride is closed for maintenance from mid-February 2020, but should be back soon.)

7. Wonder Woman Golden Lasso Coaster

Six Flags Fiesta Texas, San Antonio, Texas  

This list is mostly high-tech rides full of easter eggs for super-fans. But sometimes you just want big, dumb thrills. Enter the Wonder Woman Golden Lasso coaster

You’ll have to trek to the Six Flags Fiesta park in San Antonio, Texas, to ride this one. It’s touted as the world’s first single rail coaster – and also the first with the Wonder Woman name.

With a design that really does look like a twisting lasso (in the character’s distinctive red and yellow), this is not for the faint-hearted. You’re going to spend a good amount of time hurtling along upside down, building to a sharp 90-degree drop.

With Wonder Woman 1984 hitting cinemas soon, there’s no better time to test your stomach. If, of course, you can get to Texas.

(Lead Image: Galaxy’s Edge / Six Flags Fiesta Texas)