Top 10 Non-Coaster Attractions of the 2010s Decade – Attraction Awards
Welcome back to the Attraction Awards of the 2010s — we’re highlighting the best roller coasters and attractions that opened (or closed) over the last decade. Last month, we asked readers to nominate their favorites in each of these five categories:
- Best Steel Coaster
- Best Wooden Coaster
- Most-Missed Coaster
- Best (Non-Coaster) Attraction
- Most Innovative Attraction
The Coaster101 team gathered the nominations, narrowed them down and ranked them in a list of 10 for each category. Through the end of the month, we’re revealing each of those five top-10 lists.
Up next, we’re counting down the top 10 non-coaster attractions that opened over the last decade. Ranging from breathtaking flat rides to immersive, innovative dark rides, these attractions offered park guests new and exciting experiences not often found on roller coasters.
10. SkyScreamer – TIE
Various Six Flags Parks
Six Flags built a total of 10 variations of the wildly popular SkyScreamer tower swing across North America. Ranging from 151 feet to 400 feet in height, these family-friendly rides offer spectacular views of their respective parks and surrounding areas while providing more of a thrill than a traditional observation tower. SkyScreamer is a “Star Flyer” model from Austrian ride manufacturer, Funtime.
10. Lego Ninjago: The Ride – TIE
Various Legoland Parks
Named after the popular Lego franchise, the Lego Ninjago rides and themed areas swept across Legoland parks in the latter half of the 2010s. The Legoland California version, opening in 2016, was the first 4D dark ride in North America to use riders’ hand gestures rather than physical “shooter” devices to earn points. The Triotech-manufactured rides also feature sensory effects such as simulated “Fireballs! Lightning! Shockwaves! Ice!,” as the Legoland California website states, allowing guests “to defeat the Great Devourer and earn ninja status.”
9. Star Wars: Millennium Falcon — Smuggler’s Run (2019)
Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Opening with the Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge lands at Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the interactive Smuggler’s Run puts guests in the cockpit of the iconic Millennium Falcon starship. Riders assume roles such as pilot, engineer and gunner — all of whom play an integral part in the mission. The ride combines movements and high-definition animation to create an immersive Star Wars experience.
8. Falcon’s Fury (2014)
Busch Gardens Tampa – Tampa, FL
The tallest freestanding drop tower in North America, Falcon’s Fury soars 335 feet above Busch Gardens Tampa. If that wasn’t terrifying enough, riders’ seats pivot 90 degrees once they reach the pinnacle of the tower so that they’re facing the ground. After an agonizingly prolonged pause at the top, the ring of seats plummets — face down — back to Earth at speeds of up to 60 mph.
Read our review of Falcon’s Fury here.
7. Mystic Manor (2013)
Hong Kong Disneyland – Hong Kong, China
One of the most complex attractions at Hong Kong Disneyland, Mystic Manor utilizes a trackless system to guide ride vehicles through a lighthearted, Haunted Mansion-esque dark ride with elaborate physical sets and high-definition projections. The attraction tells the story of Lord Henry Mystic and his monkey Albert who “explore a mystifying museum where exotic artifacts from around the globe come to life right before your eyes.”
6. Radiator Springs Racers (2012)
Disney California Adventure – Anaheim, CA
Using technology similar to Test Track at Epcot, Radiator Springs Racers anchors the massive Cars Land at Disney California Adventure. Guests board six-seat ride vehicles before touring Ornamental Valley where they encounter multiple characters from the Cars film franchise. Ride vehicles then race alongside each other in a high-octane finale featuring a top speed of 40 mph, small hills and banked turns. Costing over $200 million, Radiator Springs Racers is the single most expensive attraction at Disneyland Resort.
5. Justice League: Battle for Metropolis
Various Six Flags Parks
In the mid-2010s, Six Flags enlisted the skills of the Sally Corporation to create an interactive dark ride themed to the legendary Justice League. Riders join the crew of superheroes to fight the Joker and Lex Luther through the streets of Metropolis. The immersive, hi-tech dark rides were unexpected additions to Six Flags parks but quickly became fan favorites. First opening at the Six Flags Over Texas and Six Flags St. Louis parks in 2015, Justice League: Battle for Metropolis attractions now operate at seven Six Flags parks in the United States and Mexico.
4. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
Various Universal Parks
Images © Universal
First opening with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventure in 2010, Forbidden Journey uses the Kuka robocoaster technology, which allows the four-person ride vehicles to pivot while being held above the track by a robotic arm. The technology creates a new, immersive ride experience that allowed designers to turn riders in any direction at nearly any angle, pointing riders’ eyes wherever they choose. Matched with the wildly popular Harry Potter franchise, it’s no wonder that Forbidden Journey has become one of the most popular dark ride attractions of the 2010s — and is now located at three Universal parks with one more on the way.
3. Avatar Flight of Passage (2017)
Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Bay Lake, FL
Avatar Flight of Passage employed a state-of-the-art ride system to inject guests into Pandora while riding on the backs of the legendary Banshee creatures. The immersive attraction combines unique ride vehicles with high-definition video that immerses guests in the famous Avatar universe.
Learn more about Avatar Flight of Passage and why it’s so immersive.
2. Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure (2016)
Shanghai Disneyland – Shanghai, China
Not simply a copy of the beloved, original iteration of Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland, Disney Imagineers returned to the drawing boards to create an innovative ride system and a new take on the Pirates of the Caribbean story. Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure places guests in the midst of a swashbuckling battle in the pirate-ridden territory.
1. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (2019)
Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Bay Lake, FL
While its Disneyland counterpart isn’t scheduled to open until January 17, 2020, Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance attraction has already received critical acclaim in its first few weeks of operation.
Hailed as redefining the concept of a theme park attraction, Rise of the Resistance combines multiple ride systems and sensory effects to immerse riders in a mission to help the Resistance conquer the First Order:
When your transport is captured by an imposing First Order Star Destroyer filled with legions of stormtroopers—and even Kylo Ren!—you’re going to need all the help you can get. Fortunately, a covert team of Resistance fighters—including Rey and BB-8—is at the ready to give you a fighting chance to escape… and a chance for the Resistance to rise.
Rise of the Resistance has undoubtedly set a new precedent for both Disney Imagineers and other top-tier theme park designers for many years to come.
Don’t miss the other top-10 of the 2010s lists we’ve already posted:
Stay tuned as we reveal the final category next week:
- Most Innovative Attractions
What non-coaster attraction that opened in the 2010s do you think is best? Let us know in the comments below!