2019’s most-anticipated new thrill rides and theme-park attractions

There’s no getting around it. What’s most anticipated at theme parks this year – and we’re talking intergalactic Anticipation with a capital “A” – are the two new Star Wars lands at the Disney parks. If you haven’t heard much about them yet, you will as The Mouse will surely supercharge its synergy synapses and hightail the hype into hyperdrive.

But there are plenty of other cool things coming to parks in 2019, including some wild roller coasters (over which I rhapsodized in an earlier article). It’s not just parks. A number of pilgrimage-worthy attractions will open at nontraditional venues. Let’s run down some of the coolest rides (other than coasters) that are on the way, starting with the obvious.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland in California and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida

Two rides will headline the lavishly themed, nearly identical 14-acre lands coming to both of Disney’s U.S. resorts. Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run will empower visitors to take control of Han Solo’s famed hunk-of-junk starship, while Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will place them on the front lines of a skirmish between the Resistance and the First Order. Beyond the rides, expect lots of details to explore, blue milk and other distinctive drinks and dishes to sample, and interactive opportunities to experience, including the chance to meet Kylo Ren. The West Coast Galaxy’s Edge will open in the summer, while the galactic gang won’t make it to Florida until the fall.

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway and Wonderful World of Animation at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida

Mickey recently celebrated his 90th birthday, but the cherubic mascot hasn’t aged a whit. In fact, retro, pie-eyed versions of Mr. Mouse and his constant companion will star in their first ride, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. Set to debut in the fall, passengers will be magically transported into an animated world alongside the mice where they will board a train with Goofy at the helm. What could possibly go wrong?

On May 1, the new nighttime show, Wonderful World of Animation, will premiere at the park as part of Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ 30th anniversary. It will draw on the Disney studio’s overflowing catalog of movies and characters and use the Chinese Theatre (which will also house the Runaway Railway ride) as the backdrop for the multimedia presentation.

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