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I’m A Theme Park Fan Who Lives In The Midwest. There’s Never Been A Better Time For A Coaster Enthusiast To Live Here

 View of the drop on Top Thrill 2 2024.
View of the drop on Top Thrill 2 2024.

You may already know the Midwest offers some excellent thrills and value for theme park enthusiasts from Cedar Point to Silver Dollar City and From Six Flags locations to Holiday World. From the coasters and the water parks to the food, the middle of the country has a lot to offer, and this summer is a great time to be a corn-fed Midwesterner. At least if you love roller coasters.

We’ve known for a while there would be several major releases at varying theme parks in the Midwest in summer 2024. One’s a high-octane thrill ride. One’s a completely new take on a beloved indoor coaster/dark ride. One’s a Thanksgiving-themed gravy boat coaster for families. Outside of being coasters, these new rides may not have a ton in common, but they are bonded by a common geographical narrative and the fact I am going to get my butt into those seats this year.

It’s rare that three such individualized coasters are coming out (and within driving distance from me) in one summer, but I am so excited about Fire In The Hole at Silver Dollar City, Top Thrill 2 At Cedar Point and Good Gravy! at Holiday World, and it’s rare for those of us who live in the middle of the country to have so much to be looking forward to at once. Sure, the coasters are separated by several hours apiece geographically, but if you dare to brave the humidity this summer, here’s why each park is worth checking out.

new Fire in the hole concept art
new Fire in the hole concept art

Fire In The Hole - Silver Dollar City (Stone County, MO)

What It Is: An indoor coaster that’s not super high octane and tells a full story about some baldknobbers, aka vigilantes, burning down a mining town, the original was still among Silver Dollar City's best coaster experiences. The new ride's soft opening kicked off when the theme park opened for the season in early March and will officially debut on March 30th, but early riders have been speaking out about all the attention to detail.

Why I’m Excited For It: Reworking a 50-year old coaster but keeping the original blueprint and nostalgia seems to be a great idea. Silver Dollar City actually moved the location of the new ride to a different section in the park and have completely built a new experience from the ground up (for a cool $30 million to boot), so it’s a brand-spanking new attraction, but it will still feel familiar and the whole family will still be able to ride. A lot of care was clearly put into making this happen, and you can see it in the price point. What’s not to love?

Official Press Photo for Top Thrill 2 At Cedar Point 2024
Official Press Photo for Top Thrill 2 At Cedar Point 2024

Top Thrill 2 - Cedar Point (Sandusky, OH)

What It Is: The coaster haven has been expanding in recent years and it's added a bigger, bolder idea in Summer of 2024. The park has built a coaster whose height is 420 feet in the air, and that notably has the honors of being “the world’s tallest and fastest triple-launch strata coaster.” Three separate launches will allow enthusiasts to experience weightlessness and more multiple times on this 2-minute adventure. Intriguingly, this one will be opening when the park opens on May the 4th.

Why I’m Excited For It: Holy moley, have you even seen a picture of this coaster? I don’t think you need anything more than an image of this giant behemoth to get pumped. It’s definitely the most high-octane ride coming to a midwestern theme park in 2024 – though shoutout to Six Flags St Louis for competing with the world’s scariest looking and “largest” pendulum ride: THE Joker: Carnival of Chaos. I will be riding both.

Official release image for the new Good Gravy! Coaster at Holiday World
Official release image for the new Good Gravy! Coaster at Holiday World

Good Gravy! - Holiday World (Santa Claus, IN)

What It Is: Holiday World’s more known for being a major player in the wooden coaster game, but this gravy-themed family-friendly coaster will literally shoot riders out of a can of cranberry jelly and give them a ride that goes both forward and backward before completion. The park knows the ride is as “cheesy as grandma's potatoes au gratin,” but they’re pretty sure you’re gonna dig in when it opens in May 2024.

Why I’m Excited For It: The Thanksgiving area is honestly one of the least developed areas in the Holiday World Park, and given it's at the back of the park, it has a whole lot of room for growth. This should be a less high-octane option for families who have been too afraid to get on the other steel coaster in the area The Thunderbird (or the previous Pilgrim's Plunge ride that closed). Should be a very fun addition.

Listen, we can talk about Disney World’s upcoming attractions or Universal Studios Florida’s best rides all day, as the Florida Parks get the most press when it comes to theming and more. However, the Midwest is really where it’s at this summer, and I stand by that. So dive in, the water’s warm (and so too will be the weather).