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New US theme park and water park thrills could push 2018 attendance to 400 million

Twisted timbers hybrid coaster at Kings Dominion designed by Rocky Mountain Construction

A new report published by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) predicts that the wealth of new attractions at US theme parks and waterparks could help boost 2018 attendance to 398.5 million.

The IAAPA Global Theme and Amusement Park Outlook Report (2017 to 2021) also predicts that guest spending will grow to around $23.58 billion.

New roller coasters, which continue to push boundaries across the country, will be a major factor in attracting the crowds. Not to mention an abundance of new rides and experiences – over 70 according to an early 2018 IAAPA compilation – including water slides, kiddie rides and new themed lands.

“There really is something new for everyone this season,” confirms Susan Storey, Communications Director at IAAPA.

“The industry is innovative and dynamic, and this year many destinations are debuting their own ‘spin’ on amusement park favourites, infusing speed and height with twists and turns and even unexpected ‘surprise’ elements. The best part is many of these experiences were created for the entire family—kids and adults—to enjoy together.”

IAAPA. Electric eel. Wicker Man. Rides. Attractions. Preview. Roller Coaster.
Electric Eel Coaster at Sea World

New rides include 12 roller coasters

According to Storey, roller coasters are still the biggest hitters in terms of generating interest among park guests. And, this year will see many new coasters deliver big thrills.

New additions for 2018 include 12 roller coasters, four giant swings and four towering rides. Family entertainment centres are also continuing to evolve, offering a wider choice of experiences than ever before. These include everything from adventure attractions such as ziplines, to trampolines, golf and go-karting.

Waterparks have also been busy developing new slides and aquatic play attractions for the new season, ensuring they offer plenty to keep the whole family entertained.

three girls at Epic Waters indoor waterpark texas
Epic Waters indoor waterpark in Texas

“Summer is synonymous with the attractions industry and our member facilities continue to create new and memorable experiences for their guests,” adds Storey. “This year is truly an exciting one for the business of fun.”

Main image shows Twisted Timbers coaster at Kings Dominion

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Charles Read

Charles is Managing Director at Blooloop. He attends numerous trade shows around the world and frequently speaks about trends and social media for the attractions industry at conferences. Outside of Blooloop his passions are diving, trees and cricket.

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