Why do we love rollercoasters? They scare us out of our wits, they threaten to kill us, and they even make some of us lose control of our bodily functions. But it’s the rush we crave. The building anticipation; the doubts, the regrets, and then the drop.
The twists, the falls, the loops, the turns. The screams and the thrills. Round the next corner we might all die but right at this moment we feel a million times more alive than we did ten seconds ago.
And as we come to a standstill we’re triumphant to have made it through unscathed. We’re the Chuck Norris of the theme park world; we looked death in the face and had a decent chortle. Now we feel hungry and want a hamburger.
Here’s a rundown of some of the world’s most impressive rollercoasters. Be warned: some of these videos are pretty realistic.
Kingda Ka – Six Flags Great Adventure, USA
Millennium Force – Cedar Point, USA
Sandusky, Ohio, is the location of Cedar Point, which is home to Millennium Force – one of the tallest, fastest and longest roller coasters in the world. Its highest point is 95m; on a clear day you’ll be able to see Canada from the top of the tracks. It has a maximum speed of 150km/h and a length of over 2km. You will pass through two tunnels, over four hills and round three overbanked turns. A ride lasts 2 minutes.
The Inferno – Terra Mitica, Spain
Benidorm’s Terra Mitica opened in 2000. It is split into five zones, which represent Greece, Rome, Egypt, Iberia and the islands of the Mediterranean. You can find the Inferno in ‘Rome’; it stands 25m tall and reaches a maximum speed of 60km/h.
Takabisha – Fuji-Q Highland, Japan
Fuji-Q Highland is located at the foot of Japan’s Mount Fuji. Takabisha means ‘dominant’; the Guinness Book of World Records confirmed its status in 2011 as the steepest rollercoaster in the world. Takabisha is 1km in length and features a vertical rising section of 43m that leads to a drop at an angle of 121 degrees. According to rollercoaster etiquette, this is the best point at which to vomit. If you manage to stay in the car you can enjoy reaching a speed of 100km/h.
Batman The Ride – Six Flags Great America, USA
Batman The Ride first opened at Six Flags in Gurnee, Illinois, and now appears in several other Six Flags parks around the country. This was the first rollercoaster to use the ‘inverted’ model, which remains hugely popular. It stands 32m high, covers 820m in length and reaches a top speed of 80km/h. A full circuit takes two minutes.
The Colossus – Thorpe Park, UK
Surrey’s Thorpe Park, near Staines, includes a section called Lost City, in which you can find the Colossus. This ride reaches 72km/h and features the world’s first ten-loop corkscrew. It travels 850m, up to a height of 30m, over a duration of 1 minute 45 seconds.
Formula Rossa – Ferrari World, UAE
Styled as a Ferrari Formula 1 car, Formula Rossa can go from 0 to 240km/h in 4 seconds, making it the fastest rollercoaster in the world. The track covers an impressive 2.2km, reaches a height of 53m and takes 1 minute and 32 seconds to complete. Passengers sitting in the front seats need to wear protective glasses (similar to those one wearing by skydivers) to protect their eyes. This rollercoaster in Abu Dhabi has even been tested by professional Ferrari drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa, who were impressed by its power.
Bizarro – Six Flags Great Adventure, USA
Living up to its name, Bizarro completes seven loops, bypasses a flamethrower, travels through an ‘auger of doom’, features three fly-bys and also takes you through a ‘cool zone’. Six Flags describes it as a “multi-sensory ride experience that will take you to another dimension of thrill.” The ride also covers a vertical loop, a dive loop, a zero-gravity roll, a cobra roll, two interlocked cork screws and a high-speed helix. But what does it all mean? Have a look at the video to find out.
Eejanaika – Fuji-Q Highland, Japan
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Eejanaika has the most rotations in the world. Besides the cars themselves, the seats can also rotate forwards or backwards 360 degrees in a controlled spin. If you include this feature in the total, the ride has fourteen rotations. Eejanaika stands 76m tall, has a length of 1.15km and the maximum speed is 126km/h.
Gravity Max – Discovery World, Taiwan
Discovery World can be found in Taiwan and is the home to the famous Gravity Max. This unique rollercoaster includes a section that tilts to 90 degrees before releasing the car to fall with the track. Its maximum speed is 90km/h, it rises to a height of almost 35m and it has a length of 568m. The ride duration is around 2 minutes and 30 seconds.
Top Thrill Dragster – Cedar Point, USA
Cedar Point’s Top Thrill Dragster shares an appearance with Kingda Ka but is slightly shorter in height. This rollercoaster is 130m tall and has a length of 850 meters and a drop angle of 90°. Its maximum speed is 190km/h, with an acceleration of 0-193km/h in only 3.8 seconds. A ride lasts 17 seconds. Eyes wide open, then.
Skycycle – Washuzan Highland Park, Japan
Washuzan Highland Park is in Okayama, and its pedal-powered ‘skycycle’ rollercoaster is known as “the third corner of fear”. Aptly so, if you look at the state of these contraptions. You can get off halfway round, but ideally you need a parachute to do so.
Thunder Dolphin Roller Coaster – Tokyo Dome City, Japan
Thunder Dolphin is an impressive roller coaster; it goes through both holes of Tokyo’s Laqua building and through the Big-O. The maximum speed is 130km/h, the highest point is 80m, it has a drop angle of 80° and a length of 1km.
The Xcelerator – Knott’s Berry Farm, USA
If you’re feeling fruity, you might pass by Knott’s Berry Farm, near Buena Park, California, and while you’re there why not check out The Xcelerator. It has an acceleration of 0 to 132km/h in 2.3 seconds. The highest point is at 62m, while its length is 671m and it can reach a maximum speed of 132km/h. The duration of a ride is just over a minute.
The Beast – Kings Island, USA
This wooden roller coaster at Kings Island in Mason, Ohio, opened in 1979. It is the longest wooden roller coaster in the world. Its highest point is 34m, with a length of 2.24km, and it has a maximum speed of 104 km/h. There are no loops or time-travel options, but it’s unnerving to ride so fast on a wooden roller coaster.
Green Lantern First Flight – Six flags Magic Mountain, USA
In the DC Universe section of Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California, Green Lantern First Flight first flew in July 2011. The structure extends 33m into the sky and the track has a length of 251m. A ride lasts 2 minutes and reaches a maximum speed of 56km/h. The stats don’t seem so impressive, but what makes the ride special is a host of features such as the rotation of the car and the twisting of the track. Riders are flipped head over heels several times throughout the ride in a seemingly uncontrolled manner. Enough to mess up your hair, if not your trousers.
Tower of Terror II – Dreamworld, Australia
Queensland’s Gold Coast is the location of Dreamworld; here you can find the Tower of Terror II. This is similar to Tower of Terror I, but the seats have been rotated so that launch happens in reverse. The car is shot 100m up into the air before falling back down to come to a rest. Thrilling stuff.
New rollercoasters will also be appearing this year. The Leviathan will appear in Canada’s Wonderland in Vaughan, Ontario. A track of 1.7km will make it the new longest and highest roller coaster in the world. It will be able to reach a maximum speed of 148km/h whilst at a drop angle of 80°. A ride will take about three and a half minutes. Leviathan is scheduled for opening in May 2012.
A new rollercoaster is also in construction at Port Aventura, just outside Tarragona. Under the name Shambhala, this ride is intended to resemble an expedition to the Himalaya and will also offer spectacular views of the surrounding area. Shambhala will beat three European records: the fastest European roller coaster, thanks to a maximum speed of 134km/h, the highest point, at 76m, and the longest drop, of 78m. Shambhala is also scheduled to open in spring 2012.
You can find many other rollercoasters which are expected to open in 2012 here.
We’ve had to miss loads out here – but maybe we’ll be back with another rollercoaster feature next year. In the meantime, you guys can feel free to drop a comment or post your favourite pics of impressive rollercoasters.
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