10 Death Defying Roller Coasters for Thrill Seekers
As an avid amusement park fan, here are my picks for the biggest and badest roller coasters around!
Amusement parks and roller coasters have always been a source of entertainment for people of all ages. Today, there are hundreds of amusement parks around the world offering everything from family style roller coasters, to the most death-defying rides ever created. Some of these are not for the faint of heart and only adrenaline junkies should seek out the rides in this list. Read on and plan your next adventure, only if you dare to ride these monsters of wood and steel.
1. Top Thrill Dragster (The Original Strata-Coaster)—Cedar Point, Sandusky, OH
In 2003, Cedar Point unleashed Top Thrill Dragster. At that time, it was the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world. It was the first roller coaster on the planet to reach over 400 feet high. At a staggering 420 feet tall, it is still among the tallest coasters on the planet. Similar attractions at other amusement parks have tried to copy Top Thrill Dragster, but there is only one original Strata-Coaster (any roller coaster over 400 feet tall). The ride can be seen miles away from the park. The fear and anticipation grow stronger the closer you get to the ride. The queue line entrance for the ride is right at the base of the tower, giving guests a chance to stare up in fear at what they are about to conquer. Once you board the train (shaped like an authentic dragster car), it rolls into the launch position. The sound of the motor begins to roar. As you pull up, there is a row of lights, like in a real drag race, that will light up from top to bottom, yellow to green. When the lights turn green, the train is launched down the race track from 0 to 120 miles-per-hour in 3.8 seconds. At the end of the launch track, the train shoots straight up at a 90-degree angle until it crests the hill at 420 feet in the air. Finally, it plummets straight back down, through a small twist, and evens out again with the ground as it crosses the finish line. After a few hundred feet of slowing down, it comes to a grinding halt. If you have the need for speed, Top Thrill Dragster is a winner every time!
2. Millennium Force (The Original Giga-Coaster)—Cedar Point, Sandusky, OH
Cedar Point has a long history in roller coasters, and they are known for having arguably the best collection of thrill rides on the planet. Imagine being over 300 feet in the air, overlooking Lake Erie, only to drop to the ground seconds later. Millennium Force lets riders experience this fate every day. Cedar Point introduced Millennium Force to the public in 2000, just at the turn of the Millennium. It was the first roller coaster to break the 300-foot-high barrier, and also broke many other records including speed. Due to its height, it was given a new classification, the original Giga-Coaster (any roller coaster over 300-feet-tall). The ride stands at 310 feet high and brings riders up to a top speed of 93 miles per hour. Millennium Force traps riders in its grip for an amazing two minute ride. During the journey, riders will experience several over-banked turns, multiple airtime hills, and even a few tunnels along the way. Careful of that first drop—you may black out from the speed and g-forces alone. This coaster is not for the faint hearted.
3. Steel Vengeance (The World’s Only Hyper-Hybrid Coaster)—Cedar Point, Sandusky, OH
Steel Vengeance is the wildest ride in the West and takes riders on a twisted journey through piles of steel and wood with too many close calls for comfort. Introduced in 2018, Steel Vengeance is a steel track roller coaster with wood supports. One of the park’s old wooden coasters, Mean Streak was retired at the end of the 2016 season and Steel Vengeance was built on top of its aging wood structure. It was the first of its kind to reach over 200 feet high (designated a Hyper-Hybrid roller coaster for standing over 200 feet and being made from a wood and steel combination). It stands at 205 feet tall, to be exact. This ride packs a punch. It offers the most air time in the world… that’s 30 seconds of complete weightlessness. Make sure your safety harness is tight! The two minute and 30 second ride reaches speeds of 74 miles per hour and tumbles riders through four inversions. If that wasn’t enough, the drop is 90 degrees straight down! Are you ready to conquer the wildest ride in the west?
4. Formula Rossa (The World’s Fastest Roller Coaster)—Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi
If you are in need of a facial treatment, but don’t want to pay to go to a spa, then just head over to Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi. There, you will find Formula Rossa, currently the fastest roller coaster on the planet. This ride forces you back into your seat, reaching a top speed of 149.1 miles-per-hour. The ride reaches this top speed in just 4.9 seconds. What does this ride have to do with getting a facial treatment at a spa? Well… you are required to wear safety goggles during the ride. It is so fast that the sand in the air may blast your face as you scream through the ride. Without safety goggles, it could cause major damage to your vision. Don’t worry, as long as you wear the provided safety equipment, the ride is extremely safe. I don’t think this speed record will be broken any time soon!
5. Fury 325 (The World’s Tallest Giga-Coaster)—Carowinds, Charlotte, NC
If you thought that two minute rides were the longest, think again. Fury 325 at Carowinds in Charlotte, NC takes riders on a journey for 3.4 minutes. This is one of the longest roller coasters in the world, and the longest in North America. Not only that, Fury 325 is the tallest Giga-Coaster in the world. A Giga-Coaster is any coaster in the 300 to 399 foot range. This ride is 15 feel taller than Millennium Force at Cedar Point. After cresting the top of the lift hill, 325 feet in the air, you will plummet back to the ground at an 81 degree angle. You may need to close your eyes for this drop. During this ride you are taken under part of the midway, where bystanders watch this coaster plummet underneath the pedestrian bridge and into the valley below. At speeds up to 95 miles per hour, you will scream through the course at blistering speeds until you return back to the station. Take a deep breath, otherwise this ride may leave you in a fury!
6. Superman: Escape from Krypton (Launch Forwards and Backwards)—Six Flags Magic Mountain, Valencia, CA
This next ride combines the best elements of a roller coaster, with those of a free fall drop tower. Superman: Escape from Krypton at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, CA launches riders straight up a 415 foot tall tower at 100 miles per hour in reverse! Once you reach the top, you will experience weightlessness for about 6.5 seconds, before free falling back down to the ground. The kryptonite won’t keep you down for this ride! Talk about an adrenaline rush—and getting two rides in one!
7. Beast (The World’s Longest Wooden Roller Coaster)—Kings Island, Mason, OH
The Beast at Kings Island in Mason, OH is turning 40 years old in 2019. Why is a 40 year old ride still thrilling enough to be on this list? Well, it is the longest wooden roller coaster in the world, and it spans a massive 35 acre plot of land. The ride opened in 1971 and has been thrilling riders ever since. True to its name, the Beast makes you scream as it howls through 7,359 feet of wooden track. This ride has two major vertical drops, the tallest at 145 feet high, and the second at 135 feet high. During the second half of the ride, you will roar through a 125 foot long dark tunnel as you go into an overbanked turn. The train screeches in the darkness as it bounces back and forth, almost breaking free from the track. It almost sounds as if the Beast is going to break apart the train as you spin through the tunnel. Keep your arms inside the train, or the Beast may just reach out and grab you!
8. Smiler (The Most Inversions in the World)—Alton Towers, Alton, England
Our next stop on the journey to find the most death-defying roller coasters in the world brings us to Alton Towers in England. Here, the park offers many exciting rides, but none with more inversions than the Smiler. The two minute 45 second ride will take you through 14 inversions; that is more than any roller coaster on the face of the earth! The initial drop is almost 100 feet in the air and the ride reaches speeds of more than 50 miles per hour. A few inversions are one thing, but 14! That’s more than most people can stand. Conquering this ride will put you in a league of dare devils like fighter pilots!
9. Steel Curtain (Tallest Inversion in the World)—Kennywood, West Mifflin, PA
This next roller coaster is currently under construction and will open in the summer of 2019. Steel Curtain at Kennywood in West Mifflin, PA will be 220 feet tall. The two minute ride will reach speeds of around 75 miles per hour and will take you through nine inversions. Steel Curtain will be the tallest ride in Pennsylvania when it opens. It will also boast the most inversions of any ride in North America, and will have the tallest inversion in the world. This means that you will roll head-over-backwards in a loop that is 197 feet in the air! Themed after the Pittsburg Stealers, you might feel like you’ve been sacked after riding this coaster!
10. TMNT Shellraiser (Steepest Drop in the World)—Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park, East Rutherford, NJ
Have you ever thought about going to the Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park in East Rutherford, NJ? Isn’t this park just for kids? Think again! The park is about to open the TMNT Shellraiser roller coaster this summer. It will have the steepest inversion on any roller coaster in the world when it opens. This indoor amusement park is currently under construction and will open with a total of five roller coasters. The TMNT Shellraiser coaster will have the steepest drop of any roller coaster at 125.1 degrees. That’s steeper than straight down! If that is not enough, the ride will reach a height of 141 feet tall, and will take you through seven inversions at 62 miles per hour! There is even a heartline roll, which inverts riders horizontally in a barrel roll. You might want to leave your nunchucks, masks, and swords behind, and wait to eat your pizza until after this ride!