Expansions and additions to popular theme parks operated by Disney (DIS) and Comcast's (CMCSA) Universal Studios have been ongoing over the last dozen or so years as both companies have added new themed lands and rides to their parks.
Universal Orlando Resort started the theme park industry expansion in 2010 when it introduced the popular Wizarding World of Harry Potter land at Islands of Adventure in 2010 and added similar lands to Universal Studios Orlando in 2014 and Universal Hollywood in 2016.
Disney answered with the opening of Pandora – The World of Avatar land in Animal Kingdom at Disney World in Orlando in 2017 and Toy Story Land in Disney Hollywood Studios in Orlando in 2018. Disney later added the spectacular Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., in May 2019, and at Walt Disney World's Hollywood Studios in August 2019.
Universal will continue its expansion with the debut of Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Hollywood in early 2023 and is starting a massive project to open a third gate at Universal Orlando Resort with Epic Universe in 2025.
Disney opened Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at Disney World's Epcot in May. It also plans to open in Spring 2023 Tron Lightcycle Power Run at Disney World's Magic Kingdom in Orlando and Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway also next year in Toontown at Disneyland. It will reimagine the Splash Mountain “Song of the South” theme with a “Princess and the Frog” theme at both Disneyland and Disney World's Magic Kingdom in 2024.
Six Flags Entertainment's (SIX) amusement parks are keeping things up to date as Magic Mountain in Valencia, Calif., in July launched a new roller coaster, Wonder Woman: Flight of Courage at the Southern California park, and Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio, Texas, also in July opened Dr. Diabolical's Cliffhanger, touted as the steepest dive coaster.
SeaWorld Adding Rides to Its Theme Parks
SeaWorld Entertainment (SEAS) is ramping up its competition with Disney and Universal theme parks, as well as targeted regional amusement parks, with the addition of new rides and attractions at many of its 12 properties that include SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and Sesame Place parks.
“We are investing in rides, attractions, events and habitats to continue our strategy of having something new and compelling across our parks each year, and we have more one-of-a-kind world-class attractions that we are excited to unveil when the time is right,” SeaWorld's CFO Michele Adams said in the company's Q2 2022 earnings call transcript in August.
SeaWorld San Diego, which competes against the Disneyland Resort, Universal Studios Hollywood, Six Flags Magic Mountain and Cedar Fair's Knott's Berry Farm in Southern California, will try to keep up with its ever-evolving rivals with the launch of its newest roller coaster, Arctic Rescue, in spring 2023.
SeaWorld in a statement touted Arctic Rescue as the longest and fastest straddle coaster on the West Coast. The ride invites guests to hop into the ride's snowmobile cars that travel at 34, 38, and 40 miles per hour.
But SeaWorld isn't stopping with just one addition. The theme park operator is rolling out another new attraction, Serengeti Flyer, at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay in Florida in spring 2023.
Busch Gardens Adds a Thrilling Swing Ride
Busch Gardens, which hopes to draw some guests away from Disney and Universal theme parks in Orlando, claims the Serengeti Flyer is the world's tallest and fastest swing ride. It features twin dueling arms that progressively sway back-and-forth reaching speeds of 68 mph and heights up to 135 feet.
“Serengeti Flyer’s thrilling ride experience is bound to provide riders with a pulse-pounding encounter that can only be found at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay,” the park's president Neal Thurman said in a statement. “We believe that Serengeti Flyer will be the perfect high-thrill addition to our world-class portfolio of attractions including Iron Gwazi, the Golden Ticket Award Winner for the Best New Roller Coaster in 2022.”