While COVID-19 has caused some projects to be paused or even shelved, there are still many exciting new themed attractions to look forward to in 2021.
Normally at this time of the year, we are busy looking forward to all the newly-announced attractions that are in the works for next season. But due to the pandemic, our early look ahead to the best themed attractions coming for the 2021 season may actually seem like a repeat of last year’s list. This is because, this season, many eagerly-anticipated attractions did not open at all.
In fact, taking a look at my list of the best new themed attractions for 2020, only around five of those did open this year, with the rest delayed to 2021, or even further ahead.
So for now, let’s take a look at the 18 best new themed attractions that we expect to open in 2021. But keep in mind even some of these could possibly be delayed even further.
18. Lotte’s Magic Forest, South Korea
Announced back in 2018, Lotte’s Magic Forest is now slated to open sometime in 2021 in Busan, South Korea. This is a spin-off of Lotte World’s famous indoor/outdoor theme park complex in Seoul.
The new theme park is expected to feature six different themed zones. It was designed with Legacy Entertainment with the goal to create the first European style theme park in Asia. The timetable they were shooting for was to have the park open by Summer 2021, so hopefully, things haven’t slid back too far.
17. Unnamed New Indoor/Outdoor Coaster at Lagoon, Utah
Very little is actually known about the unusual attraction under construction at the Lagoon theme park in Utah, except that based on the pace of the progress, it appears that the park could be ready to open it in 2021.
As with Lagoon’s previous coaster, 2015’s Cannibal, much of the design work for this project is by an in-house team. In this case, we already have a massive structure of concrete and steel that is roughly in the shape of a mountain or volcano, with roller coaster track running throughout most of the interior of the structure.
At one point the park trademarked the name Primordial for the attraction. However, it abandoned the registration for that name sometime in autumn 2020 and has yet to try and trademark anything else to give us a clue as to the ride’s theme. It matters not, as Lagoon now has our full attention with this unique new creation.
16. Lego Mythica at Legoland Windsor, UK
Legoland Windsor will soon be home to a new themed land that will be unique for the entire Legoland chain of parks, Lego Mythica.
Details are still very slim, but the overall premise is that it will be a land where every Lego Creature built by a child somewhere in the world, no matter how big or how small, will come to life within the parallel dimension that is Lego Mythica.
In 2021 the portal to travel from Legoland Windsor to the land of Mythica will open.
15. The World of David Walliams/Gangsta Granny at Alton Towers, UK
Alton Towers is adding a whole new themed land, based around the children’s books of David Walliams. The highlight attraction within the land will be a new dark ride themed to his popular book, Gangsta Granny.
Gangsta Granny: The Ride has been described as a new 4D Dark Ride experience. This will take over the spot of the former Wobble World attraction building. Riders will be taken along on a heist with Granny and Ben to steal jewels from the Tower of London.
The rest of the themed land will take over what used to be Cloud Cuckoo Land with many of the land’s former flat rides also being rethemed to fit.
14. Lego Movie World at Legoland California, USA & Legoland Billund, Denmark
Two new themed lands will open at Legoland parks on different sides of the Atlantic in 2021, both themed after the world of The Lego Movies.
The Lego Movie World coming to Legoland California was built with the intention of opening it in 2020. But as all theme parks in California were shut down in March 2020 and have yet to fully reopen, any possible opening has been delayed until 2021, along with the brand new build of a second land at Legoland’s Billund theme park.
13. Legoland New York, USA
Yet another huge Legoland project has made the list of the best new themed attractions for 2021. But what is greater than building an entire land? The construction of an entirely brand new Legoland theme park!
Legoland New York was actually hoping to open in 2020, but due to construction delays along with COVID-19 restrictions, Legoland quickly made the wise choice to simply delay the opening to 2021 and maintain their focus on building the best new Legoland park in the world.
Many of the classic Legoland theme park attractions from around the globe will be cloned for this latest Legoland theme park. Plus it will also feature a number of unique new attractions, including a Lego Factory Adventure dark ride attraction. This will use trackless vehicles from ETF Ride Systems. It will also feature new technology from Holovis that will transform each of the riders to look like Lego Minifigures on the screens within.
12. Underland at Liseberg, Sweden
This is another of the best new attractions for 2021 that was originally intended to open in 2020. Here, Liseberg has built a custom themed dark ride experience to take guests into the hidden world of its green rabbit mascots, called Underland.
Delayed by the various COVID-19 restrictions, I believe the debut of Underland is now awaiting park guests in 2021.
11. Knott’s Bear-y Tales: Return to the Fair at Knott’s Berry Farm, USA
When Knott’s Berry Farm announced that it would be building an all-new Knott’s Bear-y Tales dark ride experience, many longtime fans of the park were overjoyed.
The original Knott’s Bear-y Tales dark ride was open at the park from 1975 to 1986. During this time it achieved almost legendary status amongst the park’s biggest fans.
The new version of the dark ride will inhabit the same building as the original. However, this version will also take advantage of the interactive video screen systems installed for the previous dark ride, Voyage to the Iron Reef, to tell this latest Bear-y Tale.
10. Tornado Springs at Paultons Park, UK
The new land of Tornado Springs was originally intended to open at Paultons Park in 2020. However, when UK theme parks were shut down during the first wave of COVID-19 infections, Paultons Park made the difficult decision to delay the premiere of the new themed land and attractions until Spring 2021.
The mid-western American themed land will feature 8 new attractions. This includes Storm Chaser, a themed spinning roller coaster from Mack Rides. There will also be a driving school ride, a giant spinning pendulum ride and much more. Tornado Springs is now set to open on 19 March 2021.
9. Movie Park Studios at Movie Park Germany
Movie Park Germany will open a very unique new indoor coaster attraction in 2021, themed as a wild ride through a crazy movie studio.
The new multi-launch ride from Intamin has been described as a Multi Dimension Coaster experience. It will put guests into a variety of scenes and scenery from various Hollywood IPs, including some throwback elements from preview park attractions that have been long-gone for years. For instance, Gremlins Invasion and Cop Car Chase.
Featuring launches forward and backwards, the riders will pass through a total of 12 different themed scenes along the way.
8. Meow Wolf’s Omega Mart at AREA15, USA
The first Meow Wolf attraction is still taking the world by storm as a mind-expanding trip into alternate worlds and dimensions of reality. Tucked away in New Mexico the original Meow Wolf themed attraction is more of an all-encompassing art installation project than a theme park-style attraction.
Meow Wolf is now ready to go mainstream with the launch of its latest interactive experience in Las Vegas’s new AREA15 attraction. This will be named Omega Mart and appears to be poised to poke a big stick at modern consumerism trends in the US.
7. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure at Epcot, Walt Disney World, USA
The new Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure dark ride is coming to Walt Disney World’s Epcot theme park in 2021. This part of an overall expansion of the park’s France Pavilion and will actually be a clone of the Ratatouille: The Adventure dark ride that opened at the Walt Disney Studios Paris theme park in 2014.
It features trackless dark ride vehicles and a mix of super-sized scenery as well as projection screens. Guests will be shrunk down to the size of a rodent this for this latest Disney adventure ride.
6. Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash at Universal Studios Hollywood, USA
This is another entry that also featured on the list of the best new themed attractions for 2020. The latest dark ride at Universal Studios Hollywood will now open in 2021. It will be themed to the Secret Life of Pets animated film series.
In addition to going on a wild new dark ride adventure, the attraction will use new facial recognition technology. This will transform each of the riders into one of fifteen different kinds of puppies.
As newly lost puppies in the big city, riders will enlist the aid of Snowball the rabbit to help get to Adoption Day at the pet store. Unlike so many other Universal dark rides, this one is not full of projection screens. Instead, Universal has built a fully physical world for guests to experience.
5. Avengers Campus feat Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure at Disney California Adventure, Disneyland, USA
Yet another of the best new themed attractions delayed to 2021 from this year is Disney first Avengers Campus land.
A future phase will feature an actual Avengers-themed attraction. Meanwhile, this first phase will see a number of Marvel themed environments brought to life. There will also be unique retail and dining experiences.
The highlight of the land will be a new interactive dark ride experience called: Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure.
The premise looks similar in concept to Disney’s popular Toy Story Mania attractions. This is due to the fact that guests are tasked with shooting at interactive targets on screens. In this case, however, guests will be shooting their own Spider-Man style web-shooters. Riders will aim at an army of tiny Spider-Bots who have gotten loose and are causing havoc across town.
4. Genting SkyWorlds, Malaysia
This was formerly known at 20th Century Fox World before a lawsuit from Fox/Disney caused a name change to take place. The new Genting SkyWorlds theme park has been under construction since 2013. Now, it finally looks ready to open before the end of 2021.
Based on pictures of the construction site, the park is going to have an amazing collection of themed rides to experience. This includes what looks like some world’s firsts in the mix.
As part of a previous agreement with 20th Century Fox, long before Disney bought the studio, the Malaysian theme park will feature attractions themed to a number of Fox IPs. For example, Night at the Museum, Planet of the Apes, Rio, Ice Age and more.
3. Jurassic World VelociCoaster at Islands of Adventure, Universal Orlando Resort, USA
Just two years after Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure opened the fantastic Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, the park will open yet another wild multi-launch roller coaster from Intamin.
Unlike Hagrid’s, which kept the experience a bit more family-friendly, the new Jurassic World VelociCoaster will offer guests a much wilder adventure. It features launches up to 70mph, a 155-foot tall top hat element and a few inventions along the way.
Meanwhile, guests will also enjoy the Jurassic themed queue and world that surrounds the coaster experience. This is sure to be one of the best new themed attractions to open in 2021.
2. Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan
Yet another of the best new themed attractions that have been in limbo after missing a planned 2020 opening date, the world’s first Super Nintendo World themed land is now set to open in February 2021.
Nintendo fans will be able to wear a unique wristband that will sync up with an app on their own mobile device. The Power Up band will allow them to explore and interact with the video game themed landscape. During their visit, guests will be able to gather their own collection of gold coins and power-ups.
The land will feature two main attractions. There will be an indoor/outdoor omnimover ride experience themed to Nintendo’s Yoshi character. Then, the main highlight attraction will be themed to the Mario Kart game series. Here, guests will follow a queue set inside Bowser’s dark castle. After this, they will climb aboard Mario Kart themed race vehicles and put on AR headsets.
This promises to bring the video game action to life in the real world as we’ve never seen before.
1. Universal Studios Beijing, China
While a new themed land and attractions can be better than a single new ride, a whole brand new theme park full of themed lands and numerous new adventure attractions is going to be hard to top as the single best new addition to the world of themed entertainment in 2021.
The anticipated launch of the new Universal Studios Beijing theme park is said to be right on track for 2021. This will bring the first Universal Studios theme park to life in China. The park will feature a number of popular Universal attractions seen in other parks. Plus, there will be a mix of brand new attraction concepts never seen anywhere else before.
This is more than just the opening of a single theme park. It is also the opening of the entire Universal Beijing Resort. This will feature it’s own CityWalk retail/dining area outside of the theme park along with two on-site resort hotels. Plus, there will be plenty of room to expand for the future.