We could have never guessed the massive changes that 2020 brought for the theme park world. There were lay-offs, companies reshuffling their executives, project cancellations and an ever-changing set of rules about masks and social distancing. This has caused theme park rumors to change, timelines to shift and projects to be put on hold. So what can 2022 hold for the world of themed entertainment?
Looking back at past theme park rumors, we can say that we were partially accurate for Legoland Florida’s expansion plans. While we didn’t guess Peppa Pig, we did give an early look at their upcoming new park layout. The VelociCoaster didn’t open by the end of March like we had originally guessed, but it did soft open prior to the actual June 10 opening. As with any rumor, it must be understood that the below statements are best guesses and have not yet been confirmed by the parks themselves.
Giga coaster coming to Knott’s Berry Farm
Allegedly, real blueprints have been leaked of a new giga coaster coming to the Calico area of Knott’s Berry Farm. Rumors have circulated for years that Knott’s wanted to build a massive and award-winning roller coaster, but this is the most real that plans have been so far. If true, don’t expect to see it opening in 2022, but it could certainly be announced and have the ground broken this year.
TRON Lightcycle / Run won’t open in 2022
This is the type of rumor we don’t like to report on. But, the TRON roller coaster at Magic Kingdom in Florida went from a 50th anniversary opening to a project that has fallen off Disney’s upcoming wish list. The official D23 website posted an article of “Every Disney moment we’re looking forward to in 2022.” This list includes upcoming movies, shows and ride openings. Not included in this list? The TRON Lightcycle / Run roller coaster. Progress had been moving very quickly, from our viewpoint, on the exterior of the show building during late 2020 and early 2021. It seems that now, though, there is much more to be done. Or, perhaps, Disney really doesn’t feel this is a major project to be finished at top-speed. That would be odd though, as the project was first announced in 2017, meaning it has already been five years of waiting for this new offering.
Disneyland Paris’ Avengers Campus to open in June
Disneyland Paris stated their Avengers Campus will open this summer. In the past, ride openings for the Walt Disney Studios Park tended to happen in mid-June. The 30th anniversary of Disneyland Paris begins in March, so it would make sense to start the big anniversary celebrations then, and amplify it three months later with the new Avengers Campus.
Universal Studios Florida’s Fear Factor Stage being demolished for Wizarding World Expansion
This past year, we said goodbye to the Fear Factor Live stage at Universal Studios Florida. Its final performance was the Nightmare Fuel show during Halloween Horror Nights 30. While rumors have circulated for years that this could become the Ministry of Magic expansion for Diagon Alley, we can’t be sure. But the official closing of the theater does mean that progress is moving forward with this area, whatever it may be.
SeaWorld Orlando to announce upcoming Wing Coaster at park entrance
This rumor has held out for some time, even with the events of 2020. SeaWorld Orlando is almost ready to open their new roller coaster, Ice Breaker, but another coaster rumor began early 2020, and could still be announced this year. If rumors are true, a new wing roller coaster could be flying over the current SeaWorld Orlando park entrance. As wing coasters are so rare in the United States, this could be a great addition and selling point for SeaWorld to work on as Universal ramps up for their Epic Universe park.
Disney to reveal more details on Avengers Campus’ next ride at Disney California Adventure
Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure was one of the biggest openings of 2021 — but it’s not complete. We’re still awaiting a major E-ticket attraction located near Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! attraction. You can already see some of the ride’s facade, as characters use it daily for stunt shows. Rumors suggested the ride would be focused on a massive, Avengers-level threat. Based on concept art, we assume the ride will be set in Wakanda, the fictional country ruled by Black Panther. This ride is also expected to be the next evolution of the flying theater simulator. Soarin’ Over California redefined simulators and is still a huge success for screen-based rides. Then Avatar Flight of Passage took the original idea, and added heightened levels of thrill and immersion. This could be the next evolution, as guests are expected to be placed into jetpack-style ride vehicles. 2022, with its non-stop new Marvel content, would be the time to announce this next step in the Avengers Campus storyline.
Epcot’s new quick service restaurant, Connections Café and Eatery, to open this summer
The center of Epcot has been under construction for a long, long time. For such a major area of a park, we hope that projects continue to speed up and get finished. The Creations Shop and Club Cool opened last September, and give a great look at what we can expect from new areas in the future. Now there is ongoing work on the large quick service location, Connections Café and Eatery. It is expected that Disney wants to get this open by the time the Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind roller coaster opens. If not, it would mean that Space 220 and the Joffrey’s Coffee stand are the only food offerings on that side of Epcot. This can’t reasonably sustain the thousand of guests that will be clamoring for a ride on this new incredible roller coaster. So, we expect this quick service locale to be finished sometime in the next six months.
SeaWorld Parks to double-down and expand on Howl-O-Scream offerings
SeaWorld made the bold choice to introduce Howl-O-Scream to new parks in 2021, a year still risky with COVID-19 surges. But it worked out, and many of these new offerings were met with great reviews. We strongly believe that Howl-O-Scream will return even better than ever. It is thought that SeaWorld Orlando will offer another nighttime ride experience this year, Ice Breaker. Rumors suggest we may get a new house and theme, but that some haunted houses will return with slight modifications. This is normal for some re-use, and is done at Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.
These are some of the top theme park rumors for 2022. But, as the year continues on, rumors will continue to pop-up as well. Keep your notifications on for Attractions Magazine’s social accounts, as we keep you in the loop on what may be.