Revisiting the Most Exciting New Roller Coasters Coming to the United States in 2022

Late last year, I wrote an article on the most exciting roller coasters set to open in the United States in 2022. Now that we’re more than half way through the year, I wanted to revisit this list, see what has opened, what hasn’t opened, and showcase what I have been able to experience.

American Dreier Looping – Indiana Beach

(Photo from Reddit)

  • STATUS: Unknown

Let’s start with a bit of a controversial addition, which is actually not a new coaster at all. Built in 1984 and most recently at a park in Mexico City, this coaster actually caused a fatal accident in 2019, due to poor maintenance. Indiana Beach amusement park has since purchased the coaster and are completely refurbishing it for a 2022 debut. The attraction has psychically been assembled for quite some time now, but I haven’t heard anything about a potential opening. However, Indiana Beach did open a smaller relocated coaster called Cyclone last month. So let’s hope when American Drier Looping finally opens, it has a less tumultuous life in Indiana.

Aquaman: Power Wave – Six Flags Over Texas

  • STATUS: Delayed to 2023

The first of its kind in North America, Aquaman: Power Wave was originally supposed to open at Six Flags Over Texas this past summer. Due to the pandemic, the opening ended up getting pushed back to 2022, and has now been delayed once again to 2023. This unique ride will start off as a shuttle coaster going up two vertical spikes, and during the course, a pool will fill up leading to a grand finale with a giant splash. This should be a unique addition to the original Six Flags park.

ArieForce One – Fun Spot Atlanta

  • STATUS: Coming Soon

One of the most left field additions coming to any park is this Rocky Mountain Construction (RMC) creation coming to probably the weakest Fun Spot park in Atlanta. Standing 155ft tall with an 83.0° drop at 64mph, this giant coaster (especially for a small park like Fun Spot Atlanta) will feature many unique elements such as the world’s first “Raven truss dive” and a quad-down finale; this could just be the sleeper hit of 2022 (or possibly 2023) and honestly makes me want to visit Atlanta.

Defiance – Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

  • STATUS: Now Open!

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park looks to be a true gem of a park. Located atop a mountain that requires a gondola ride to get to, this will be one of the highest up coasters in the country. Defiance is a Gerstlauer Euro-Fighter that itself is not extremely tall, but with a vertical lift hill and drops off the hillside, this coaster will definitely provide some incredible views of Colorado.

Dr. Diabolical’s Cliffhanger – Six Flags Fiesta Texas

  • STATUS: Opening July 30th!

Following on from Emperor at SeaWorld San Diego (mentioned below), Six Flags Fiesta Texas will be adding the year’s second 150ft tall Dive Machine from Bolliger & Mabillard. Usually, this type of coaster towers over 200ft tall, so the 150ft tall version will bring a new element to the experience. In a rare move for Six Flags, they’ve gone with a unique theme for this attraction, based around a steampunk character called Dr. Diabolical, who has created this monstrous dive machine. I’m excited to see what Fiesta Texas, one of the better themed Six Flags parks, does with this new coaster. Also, since writing my original article, I’ve actually now visited Fiesta Texas! Be sure to check out my “Ranked” from the park.

Emperor – SeaWorld San Diego

  • STATUS: Now Open!

Emperor is, without a doubt, the biggest coaster yet at the park, as part of the park’s transformation into more of a thrill park. This is a 150 ft tall Bolliger & Mabillard dive coaster, similar to SheiKra at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay or Griffon at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, only 50 ft shorter. The ride itself is excellent, first providing an absolutely stunning view of the park and nearby Mission Bay, before dangling you over the edge of that 150 ft tall drop. If you’ve never rode a dive coaster before, this can be a pretty terrifying moment. From there, the coaster continues through some smooth, swooping loops. Nothing too impressive, but definitely fun! The one major disappointment I have with Emperor is the lack of placemaking and landscaping around the attraction. The coaster itself looks great, but there are no trees, nor shade structures in the queue. In fact, even the station only has two very small tarps to provide shade. SeaWorld definitely should do something about this before things get hot for the summer. Aside from that, Emperor is a fantastic addition to the original SeaWorld park!

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind – EPCOT

  • STATUS: Now Open!

So far, I’ve had the opportunity to ride Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind three times, and my jaw was consistently on the floor. This whole experience makes a statement. From the grand exterior, to the equally as grand Wonders of Xandar exhibition as you enter the building, to a mind-blowing two-part pre-show, this attraction impresses before you even get to the ride itself. Just as important is the educational aspect, which has been worked in quite nicely during the queue, and to a lesser extent, the ride, referencing the Big Bang and other scientific discoveries we “Terrans” have made. Once you board the ride though, that’s where things truly get incredible. It is just pure fun and spectacle. I don’t want to get too far into spoiler territory this soon after opening, but just know that this ride does not disappoint. The visuals are incredible, the classic song choices are a blast, and the whole experience is smooth and thrilling.

Hot Wheels Roller Coaster – Mattel Adventure Park

  • STATUS: Delayed to 2023

A brand new theme park is coming to Glendale, Arizona, a state not really known for theme parks. The Mattel Adventure Park will feature branded experiences such as a Hot Wheels roller coaster, Barbie experiences, a Thomas & Friends indoor theme park and more. The Hot Wheels coaster looks to be a fun coaster somewhat similar to Lightning Run at Kentucky Kingdom, and it will be great to have a new park opening.

Ice Breaker – SeaWorld Orlando

  • STATUS: Now Open!

I only got the chance to ride this once, hampered by downtimes and only running one train. On the whole, I thought this was a very fun ride. Not quite as crazy as say Tigris at Busch Gardens Tampa, but still providing some fun moments and decent pops of airtime. Probably the best part of the ride is quad-launch at the beginning, that gets faster each time you pass through. By the end, you’re flying out of your seat as the train goes over the airtime hills. While I do enjoy the three Bolliger and Mabillard coasters in the park more, hopefully with some more rides it may go up in my ranking.

Iron Gwazi – Busch Gardens Tampa

  • STATUS: Now Open!

So I wasn’t disappointed with Iron Gwazi, but it definitely didn’t wow me exactly like I thought it would. Let me preface by saying that my one and only ride followed a 90 minute wait that was advertised as 15 minutes, and there was a downtime, so to say I was really antsy to get on the ride would be an understatement. I finally got put on the ride and was grouped into the front row, which provides some absolutely incredible views of the park. The thing about this type of coaster though, is that it really gives a more chaotic ride towards the back of the train. So my front row ride wasn’t quite as epic as I had hoped. Hopefully soon I will get the chance to ride it again in the back, and then I’m sure my opinion of it will go up.

Palindrome – COTALAND

  • STATUS: Opening Late 2022

Manufacturer Gerstlauer had been teasing a one-of-a-kind coaster prior to the IAAPA Expo in Orlando, and it ended up being North America’s first shuttle Infinity coaster. This new coaster will be opening at the end of 2022 in, of all places, COTALAND, a relatively new park located at the Circuit of the Americas race track complex in Austin, Texas. This incredibly unique ride will feature a first of its kind airtime hill on a spike that sends the train back through the track backwards. The coaster will also travel through an inversion while crossing over traffic, giving amazing views to both riders and passers-by. But that’s not all coming to this up-and-coming park, as they’ll be getting another large coaster in 2023!

Pantheon – Busch Gardens Williamsburg

  • STATUS: Now Open!

The final SeaWorld/Busch Gardens coaster delayed from 2020 is Pantheon, also the only one I have yet to ride. Fans of VelociCoaster at Universal’s Islands of Adventure should be excited for Pantheon. Designed by the same manufacturer, Intamin, Pantheon looks to have many similar elements to VelociCoaster, including a giant top hat, a multitude of airtime moments and launches. Being in a park known for its thrill coasters, there’s even a chance this could be the superior ride. Granted, it definitely doesn't have the theming and scenery of VelociCoaster, but it still looks like an enjoyable and thrilling coaster!

TRON Lightcycle Run – Magic Kingdom

  • STATUS: Unknown

We are still not even sure if TRON Lightcycle Run will open in 2022, after Disney took an extremely conservative post-pandemic construction schedule. But let’s for the moment assume it will be opening within the year. An almost identical clone to the Shanghai Disneyland version of the attraction, we already know what to expect with this, and that’s an incredibly well themed launch coaster that will take you directly into the Grid. Equally as exciting as the ride itself will be the impressive lighting scheme that is sure to liven up this corner of Tomorrowland.

Tumbili – Kings Dominion

  • STATUS: Now Open!

Surprisingly, the only new coaster coming to any of the Cedar Fair chain of parks in 2022, is Tumbili coming to Kings Dominion. An S&S free-spin coaster, usually reserved for Six Flags parks, will be Cedar Fair’s first. A modest ride that will differ depending on the weight of your coaster car and how many flips you get throughout the track. It should also be noted that the theming surrounding Tumbili and the entire new Jungle X-Pedition area is pretty incredible for a park not previously known for great detail such as this. You can get an example of the theming in the video from Coaster Studios below:

Wonder Woman: Flight of Courage – Six Flags Magic Mountain

  • STATUS: Opening July 16th!

Finally, the closest new coaster to me in Southern California will be Wonder Woman: Flight of Courage coming to Six Flags Magic Mountain. This RMC Raptor will be an almost exact clone to the Jersey Devil Coaster, which opened this past summer in New Jersey’s Six Flags Great Adventure. I’ve been on California’s other Raptor: RailBlazer, located at California’s Great America, and that coaster is a truly great experience, offering an absolute barrage of airtime. While Wonder Woman will have a taller and more drawn-out layout, I’m sure it will be an equally as exciting experience, which I plan to check out on opening day!

So as you can see, most of the new coasters for the year have either opened or are about today. There’s already some exciting attractions in development for 2023, so be sure to check back in a few months where I’ll go over what’s coming next year!

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Luke Manning
Luke is a fan of all things theme parks and self-proclaimed #1 fan of Joffrey’s Coffee, who lives in Kissimmee, FL