We think that the ideal Roller Coaster should be able to make you experience fear and ecstasy in equal measure. So strap in, buckle up and hold on tight as Cruise Life takes a look at the heart racing and stomach churning best roller coasters in the world.
Whilst the image many of us think of when we think of a Roller Coaster is a modern high tech structure the history of them can actually be traced back to the 16th and 17th centuries, where rides consisting of wooden sleds took riders down large slides made from ice and were predominately popular in Russia. The first roller coasters, where the train was attached to a wooden track, first appeared in France in the early 1800s, and although wooden roller coasters are still being produced (and look like pieces of art), steel roller coasters are more common and can be found on every continent except Antarctica. And with increased structural capabilities and advanced technologies each year you can now (if you dare to) go higher, faster, longer etc than ever before.
So with that said we have put together a list of roller coasters you might want to try at some point if you have the nerve. Each of these are record breakers in their own right for a host of different reasons.
Take a look…
Kingda Ka – Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson, New Jersey, USA
Let’s start big……and when we mean we mean BIG. At 456 feet the Kingda Ka is the tallest roller coaster in the world – top put it into perspective Big Ben is only 315 feet high. It accelerates from 0-128 mph in a mere 2.5 seconds – although this doesn’t make it the fastest (you’ll have to wait for that). So as the announcement states before each ride starts… ‘Arms down, head back, hold on!’
Formula Rossa – Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi, UAE
If you build a roller coaster in the world’s first Ferrari-branded theme park then you’re going to need a fast one. In fact you’ll actually find the fastest ever one. It goes from standstill to 150 mph in less than 5 seconds. Riders experience up to 1.7 g of force during acceleration and up to 4.8 g throughout the ride. The shape of the track is based on Monza where amongst other races the Italy F1 GP takes place – notably and unsurprisingly the fastest circuit on the F1 calendar.
Steel Dragon – Nagashima Spa Land Amusement Park, Mie Prefecture, Japan
Opened in 2000 – The Japanese year of the Dragon the Steel Dragon is officially the longest roller coaster in the world. Measuring a whopping 8133 feet it takes 4 minutes to ride it where it can reach speeds of 95 mph. The ride (which includes two tunnels) also uses more steel than any other roller coaster in the world, although this is largely due to extra strengthening that the ride carries as it is situated on a notorious earthquake spot……just to make you feel even more safe!
Expedition Everest – Disney World Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA
At 199 feet high, 4400 feet long and with a top speed of 50 mph it’s neither the highest, longest of fastest coaster in the world, however it is the most expensive. Completed in 2006 at a cost of $100,000,000 the Expedition Everest takes a ride into and then up the mountain that isn’t in fact modelled on its namesake. A story plays out where the riders are trying to escape from a Yeti that occupies the mountains, and on a side note it is also the tallest artificial mountain in the world.
The Ultimate – Lightwater Valley, North Yorkshire, UK
The UK might not be overflowing with record breaking roller coasters, but for 9 years it did have the longest. The Ultimate at Lightwater Valley was actually made by British Rail, and until the previously mentioned Steel Dragon was born was the longest. However with a top speed of 50 mph compared to the 95 mph of the Japanese one The Ultimate can still have the claim of being the longest in terms of time take to ride it. It takes 7 minutes 34 seconds to ride the 7442 feet of track set within 44 acres of North Yorkshire woodland.
The Smiler – Alton Towers, Staffordshire, UK
So you wait for one record breaking British roller coaster and then 2 come along at once! The Smiler at Alton Park goes down in the record books for have the most inversions (basically a loop to you and me) with 14. A key feature of the ride is the large spider-like structure that serves as a centrepoint for the coaster track. Called ‘The Marmaliser,’ it has 5 legs, each with a distinct function to manipulate riders into ‘smiling’ – hence the name.
Flash – Lewa Adventure, Jingyang, Xianyang, Shaanxi, China
Now from a ride that has 14 inversions to a ride that only has 2, however when one of them is 171 feet high this also finds it’s way into the record books. It is also the newest of any coasters listed here, with it only taking to the tracks last year.
Scenic Railway, Luna Park, Melbourne, Australia
The Scenic Railway sounds about as least terrifying coaster that you could imagine, and with a top speed of 37 mph you’d be right, but if you do happen to go on it you will be a part of history, as it is the oldest roller coaster in the world! Opened in December 1912 it is made of Canadian Oregon Pine and with each train weighing nearly 2 tonnes it is one of only 3 roller coasters (with one of the other two being in Great Yarmouth) that actually requires a ‘brakeman’ to be onboard every ride to stop it!