Jersey Devil - Six Flags Great Adventure New Jersey

Best New Roller Coasters in 2020: Make Your Bucket List!

We love roller coasters at The Anxious Travelers. While we might battle motion sickness and anxiety, we think it’s one of the best ways to blow off steam. Some research even supports the use of thrill rides as a form of therapy for anxiety, depression, and grief. Naturally, we’ve been keeping our eyes out for updates and have put together this list of the best new roller coasters in 2020. 

New roller coasters are opening in 2020. This post will look at the best ones. Plan your trip to one of these theme parks in the United States to enjoy these thrill rides. 

We put together our 2019 Roller Coaster Bucket List and we were pretty successful at crossing them off! Our travel plans are a little different this year, so we may not get to ride all of these, but it will be fun trying!


Emperor – SeaWorld San Diego

Let’s get any awkwardness out of the way right now. Ever since the movie, Blackfish, many have opted against visiting SeaWorld. Even the CEO stepped down amid attendance slides. I’ll admit that, while I went a few times as a kid, I’m not sure I would go today. I’m not going to get into the whole controversy, you’ll have to look into that and decide for yourself. 

emperor seaworld best roller coasters in 2020
Credit: SeaWorld San Diego

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about the park’s upcoming Emperor dive coaster. Here are some ride specs:

  • Manufacturer: Bolliger & Mabillard
  • Height: 153ft
  • Drop: 144 ft
  • Speed: 60mph
  • Inversions: 3
  • Max vertical angle: 90°

While Emperor will be the tallest, fastest, and longest dive coaster in California, the current world record holder is the Yukon Striker at Canada’s Wonderland. It beats Emperor in all areas — by a LOT. 

Of course, the first dive coaster is Sheikra at Busch Gardens Tampa, which is owned by SeaWorld. Oddly, despite how many times we’ve been to Florida together, we’ve never ridden it (although, this was my son’s first major roller coaster). We have, however, ridden Griffon at Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Valravn at Cedar Point as well as Yukon Striker. Dive coasters are fun, but definitely not for the faint of heart! 


Ice Breaker – SeaWorld Orlando

Down in Florida, SeaWorld Orlando is preparing to open Ice Breaker. It’s a multi-launch family thrill roller coaster, but don’t be too quick to compare it to Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

Credit: SeaWorld Orlando

There are some key differences, so let’s look at the ride specs:

  • Manufacturer: Premier Rides
  • Height: 93 ft
  • Speed: 52 mph
  • Launches: 4
  • Inversions: 0
  • Max vertical angle: 100°

Let’s just all take a moment to appreciate the fact that the spike on Ice Breaker is going to be at a 100-degree angle (the steepest drop in Florida). At 93 feet, I’m not sure how this is going up backwards, but we’ll definitely prepare for some motion sickness in case! 

While the two are similar in speed (52 vs 50 mph), the Hagrid ride at Universal’s Islands of Adventure has seven launches — more than any roller coaster in the world. Hagrid’s spike, however, climbs just 65 feet at a 70-degree angle. Ice Breaker definitely has that beat! 

With it’s multiple launches, spike, and tophat maneuver, people could say that Ice Breaker is a family-friendly version of Busch Gardens’ upcoming Pantheon roller coaster (more on that in a bit!). We’ll have to wait and see! 


Texas Stingray – SeaWorld San Antonio

Giddy up — SeaWorld San Antonio is introducing the Texas Stingray! Set to become the tallest, fastest, and longest wooden roller coaster in the Lone Star state, this looks like it’s going to be a fun ride. We don’t have an image, but you can watch the simulation video here.

Here are some quick facts about the Texas Stingray:

  • Manufacturer: Great Coasters International
  • Height: 96 ft
  • Drop: 100 ft
  • Speed: 55 mph
  • Inversions: 0

SeaWorld San Antonio is claiming that the Texas Stingray will have more than 15 airtime hills. Having thoroughly enjoyed Steel Vengeance at Cedar Point, the ride with the most airtime in the world, it sounds like this new addition to the Texas park will be a crowd pleaser!


Iron Gwazi – Busch Gardens Tampa

We can’t talk about the best new roller coasters in 2020 without highlighting Iron Gwazi. The ride will reuse portions of the original wooden track from Gwazi, a wooden coaster that closed in 2015 after 15 years in operation. 

Iron Gwazi - Busch Gardens Tampa
Credit: Tampa Bay Times

Here are some ride specs for Iron Gwazi:

  • Manufacturer: Rocky Mountain Coasters
  • Height: 206 ft
  • Drop: 206 ft
  • Speed: 76 mph
  • Inversions: 3
  • Max vertical angle: 91°

As a hybrid coaster, it will combine steel and wood elements to make one (potentially) spectacular ride. Busch Gardens Tampa is not playing around. When it opens, Iron Gwazi will become the tallest hybrid roller coaster in North America and the steepest, fastest hybrid roller coaster in the world. That’s right — after just two short years at the top, Steel Vengeance will be dethroned.


Pantheon – Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Busch Gardens Williamsburg is Josh’s home park (okay, technically King’s Dominion was closer to where he grew up but then when he went to college at William & Mary, the campus basically shared a parking lot with BGW…but I digress). 

Pantheon Busch Gardens Williamsburg World's Fastest Multi-Launch Coaster
Credit: BGW

For five years, we all lived in Virginia and even had season passes. We’re so excited to see something fresh and intense opening at the park. Pantheon looks like a helluva ride. Of course, we had to include it in our best new roller coasters in 2020! 

Check out these Pantheon ride specs:

  • Manufacturer: Intamin
  • Height: 178 ft
  • Drop: 180 ft
  • Speed: 73 mph
  • Inversions: 2
  • Max vertical angle: 95°

Drawing from the power of five Roman gods — Pluto, Neptune, Mercury, Minerva, and Jupiter — Pantheon will be the fastest multi-launch coaster in the world. It will also include a spike, a beyond-vertical drop, and a tophat. Wow! All set at the world’s most beautiful theme park. Does it get much better?


Candymonium – Hersheypark Hyper Coaster

We dare you to find a sweeter roller coaster than the upcoming Candymonium. When it opens, you’ll find it in the Chocolatetown section of Hersheypark. It will be the tallest and fastest roller coaster at the Hershey, Pennsylvania park, narrowly edging out Skyrush. 

Candymonium - Hersheypark Hyper Coaster
Credit: Hersheypark

Here are some ride specs for Candymonium:

  • Manufacturer: Bolliger & Mabillard
  • Height: 210 ft
  • Drop: 210 ft
  • Speed: 76 mph
  • Inversions: 0

I’ve gotta say that Hersheypark has never been on my bucket list, but this roller coaster seems so cool. The ride supports are going to be milk-white, while the track is going to be chocolate brown. The train cars on this out-and-back steel coaster will represent three Hersey candies — Reese’s, Kisses, and Twizzlers. 


Jersey Devil – Six Flags Great Adventure 

Six Flags Great Adventure is preparing to open their 14th roller coaster, the Jersey Devil, in 2020. A unique feature is that this ride will include single rider trains, meaning that you’ll get the experience of riding solo on this crazy thing. 

Credit: Six Flags Great Adventure

Here are some ride specs for Jersey Devil:

  • Manufacturer: Rocky Mountain Construction
  • Height: 130 ft
  • Drop:122 ft
  • Speed: 58 mph
  • Inversions: 3
  • Max vertical angle: 87°

Having thoroughly enjoyed Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point, I’ve made it a goal to ride Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure. When we’re there, we’ll definitely have to get on Jersey Devil. With those stats, it’s going to be the tallest, fastest, and longest single-rider roller coaster in the world. Be right back, gotta go look for flights


Bolt Roller Coaster – Carnival Cruise Lines 

Sometimes, the best new roller coasters in 2020 make the list because they are unusual. This one stands out because you’ll literally have to go out to sea to ride it. That’s right — the Bolt roller coaster is located on a Carnival Cruise Line ship. That’s insane! 

Bolt Roller Coaster - Carnival Cruise Lines 
Credit: Carnival Cruise Lines

As such, the ride specs for the Bolt roller coaster wouldn’t be that notable on dry land, but considering the fact that this thing will be floating somewhere, we’re impressed. We’re just wondering how bad the motion sickness is going to be!

  • First “roller coaster at sea”
  • The design was inspired by motorcycles
  • It’s all electric
  • The track is 800 feet long
  • Bolt reaches a max speed of 40 mph, but riders choose their own speed
  • Photo keepsakes will be available

You’ll find the Bolt roller coaster on the Carnival Mardi Gras, which will be based at Port Canaveral. The massive ship, which will have a double-occupancy capacity of 5,282 passengers and full capacity of 6,630 passengers, will be the first North American-based cruise ship to be powered by liquefied natural gas.

Theme Park Plans for 2020

While we’d love to check out all of the best new roller coasters in 2020, we can only do so much. We’ve got a lot of kids to take care of and a budget. Ahhh, to be young and carefree again! Just kidding, we love having a family — and we also love roller coasters! 

We’re still sorting out our travel plans for the upcoming year, but there’s a good chance that we’ll be visiting the following theme parks sometime in 2020:

It’s hard to complain when you’ve got this type of itinerary, but we are hoping to squeeze in one more park. If I had to guess, I’d say that Six Flags Great Adventure makes the most sense based on our travel plans. Either way, we’re excited to see what 2020 brings for roller coaster fans across the country.

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