What’s new at Southern California theme parks in 2022

Southern California theme parks are ready to roll out a lineup of new rides and returning entertainment in 2022 after a two-year pandemic hiatus put a damper on the pipeline of projects planned for the region’s playlands.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced many Southern California theme parks to postpone rides and attractions until 2022 that had been planned for 2020 and 2021. Nevertheless, the delayed attractions will still be new to us by the time we get to ride them later this year.

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SEE ALSO: Top 22 for 2022: Best new attractions coming to U.S. theme parks

Let’s take a closer look at the new thrill rides and roller coasters and returning shows, parades and festivals coming to Southern California theme parks in 2022.

Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood will get a more compact version of the new Super Nintendo World that opened at Universal Studios Japan in early 2021 — although an opening date has not been announced for the California Nintendo land.

Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Hollywood will reportedly include versions of the Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge augmented reality racing car ride, Kinopio’s Cafe restaurant and 1Up Factory retail shop found in Japan.

Super Nintendo World visitors will experience a colorful landscape alive with animatronic scenery. Spinning gold coins, question mark boxes and other video game booty frame life-size versions of the video game-inspired land.

Six Flags Magic Mountain

Six Flags Magic Mountain will add an innovative new single-rail roller coaster where riders straddle a monorail track as the Valencia amusement park ups its record-setting coaster count to 20.

The new Wonder Woman Flight of Courage single-rail coaster will debut in the DC Comics-themed area of Magic Mountain this summer as the world’s tallest and longest ride of its kind. The pandemic-delayed coaster was initially set to open in 2021.

The new Wonder Woman Flight of Courage coaster will reach a top speed of 58 mph after climbing a 131-foot-tall lift hill and descending an 87-degree first drop. The ride’s four 12-passenger trains will travel over a 3,300-foot-long track featuring three inversions — a raven dive, zero gravity roll and 180-degree stall.

The Greek-inspired entrance and queue for Flight of Courage will be themed to the hidden island of Themyscira, the fictional island home of Wonder Woman. The queue will showcase the legacy and life of Wonder Woman while explaining how she obtained her super powers.

SeaWorld San Diego

SeaWorld San Diego will add its tallest roller coaster in 2022 as the marine park continues to shift its focus from animal attractions to thrill rides.

The 153-foot-tall Emperor floorless dive coaster will be the longest, tallest and fastest ride of its kind in California.

Built by Switzerland-based Bolliger & Mabillard, Emperor will have a 143-foot-tall vertical first drop, a top speed of 60 mph and nearly 2,500 feet of track. The ride will feature a barrel roll and a sweeping Immelmann loop named after a German pilot who used the distinctive flying maneuver in World War II.

Disneyland and Disney California Adventure

Disneyland and Disney California Adventure will continue to bring back fireworks, nighttime spectaculars, parades, live shows and other entertainment in 2022 put on hold by the pandemic.

The returning Lunar New Year event celebrating Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese cultures and traditions returns to DCA on Jan. 21 through Feb. 13. The DCA Food & Wine Festival starts soon after with local, celebrity and Disney chefs on March 4 through April 26.

Celebrate Gospel will relocate from DCA’s Hollywood Land to Disneyland’s Fantasyland Theatre in February 2022. The “Tale of the Lion King” show takes over the Fantasyland Theatre stage after that in Spring 2022.

The “Fantasmic” and “World of Color” nighttime spectaculars as well as the “Disneyland Forever” fireworks show will also return in Spring 2022.

The Main Street Electrical Parade will back once again on Main Street U.S.A. at Disneyland in time for the venerable nighttime parade’s 50th anniversary in June.

SEE ALSO: What’s on tap at Disneyland for 2022 and what’s still missing

Knott’s Berry Farm

Knott’s Berry Farm has announced a slate of returning seasonal events for 2022.

The first part of the year will welcome back the Knott’s Peanuts Celebration (Jan. 22 through March) and the annual Boysenberry Festival (March 19 through April 24).

Knott’s Summer Nights runs from May 20 through Sept. 5 with live bands, DJ dance music and picnic food plus the Ghost Town Alive live-action role playing adventure.

The fall will bring the fog back to the park for Knott’s Scary Farm (Sept. 22 through Oct. 31) followed by Christmas decorations in the winter for Knott’s Merry Farm (Nov. 18 through Jan. 1, 2023).

Sesame Place San Diego

Sesame Place San Diego will feature seven theme park rides and 11 water park attractions geared toward younger kids at SeaWorld’s former Aquatica water park in Chula Vista.

The highlight of Sesame Place: A faithful recreation of the “Sesame Street” television show set featuring the famed 123 Stoop, Mr. Hooper’s corner store and Big Bird’s massive nest.

The new park targeted toward families with younger children in pre-school and grade school will also feature meet-and-greet opportunities with Sesame Street characters like Big Bird, Elmo, Oscar the Grouch, Grover, Abby Cadabby, Count von Count and Bert and Ernie.

Legoland California

Kids will race their own Ferrari Formula 1 cars built from Lego bricks when Legoland California opens a new testing and racing facility next year billed as the world’s first attraction of its kind.

Lego Ferrari Build and Race will let kids build, test and race the distinctive Rosso red sports cars when the new interactive attraction debuts in Spring 2022 at the Carlsbad theme park.

Kids will build and test their creations on one of three pinewood derby-style racecourses — including a test zone and tracks designed to gauge top speeds and steering skills.

After the race, visitors can digitally scan their custom-made cars and minifigure drivers to compete in a virtual race on a Lego version of Ferrari’s Pista di Fiorano research and development track in Italy. Racers will use a touchpad to control the speed of their cars and make turns.

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