Nothing compares to the anticipation of an unseen drop, the whirl of a sudden spin or an unexpected plummet from a too-tall tower … a beating heart … sweaty palms … a dry mouth. People love fear-and roller coasters deliver it.
Coasters have fascinated the world since their inception in the 1800s and now more than ever thrill-seeking globe-trotters are seeking these experiences when they travel. Here are seven of the best roller coasters in the world. Look ‘em up, track ‘em down and give ‘em a whirl.
Eejanaika in Fujiyoshida, Japan
Forget about 3-D … that is for sissies. The Eejanaika roller coaster, pronounced “ee ja nai ka,” and meaning, “ain’t it great?” in Japanese, was introduced in 2006 as part of Fuji-Q Highland’s coaster collection and is the second fourth-dimension roller coaster in the world. Eejanaika features a 249-foot drop and reaches 78 miles per hour. That seem too simple for you? Then, consider that throughout the ride your seat is rotating either forward or backward in a full 360-degree controlled spin and that according to the Guinness Book of World Records, Eejanaika has 14 inversions-the most of any roller coaster in the world.
Top Thrill Dragster in Sandusky, Ohio
There is more to Ohio than the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, as Cedar Point Amusement Park proves with their legendary coaster, the Top Thrill Dragster. Living up to its “top thrill” status, the Dragster is one of the tallest and fastest roller coasters in the world and was the first Strata Coaster to climb over 400 feet. The anticipation of the launch sets in as riders inch towards the starting line. Then, as the light turns green, riders speed forward at the rate of 120 miles per hour in less than four seconds. They climb 420 feet into the sky, scale a cliff and turn 270 degrees as they fly toward the finishing line-all in about 17 seconds.
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Oblivion in Staffordshire, England
Considered the tallest vertical drop roller coaster in the world, Oblivion, located in Alton Towers in Staffordshire, England actually drops from an angle of 88.8 degrees … you know, so the wheels will stay on the track. As with many coasters, the build-up and anticipation are mounted by a series of videos showing The Lord of Darkness and perpetrating the legend that some of Oblivion’s cars have fallen into the pit-never to be found. Oblivion reaches a top speed of 68 miles and drops passengers into that dark hole in the ground from 180 feet. The entire ride lasts about 75 seconds.
Tower of Terror in Queensland, Australia
Reportedly the tallest and fastest coaster in the Southern Hemisphere, the Tower of Terror, located in Dreamworld in the Gold Coast, Australia is a steel reverse freefall roller coaster. The Tower of Terror shoots weightless riders 100 miles per hour in 6.5 seconds, then climbs 38 stories before passengers face a 6.5 second freefall and 90-degree reverse. As the name suggests, the Tower of Terror makes only vertical moves and isn’t considered by coaster connoisseurs to be a true roller coaster.
Mindbender in Alberta, Canada
Have you ever been out shoe shopping and thought, “Hey, I want to ride a roller coaster?” Well, ahem, if you do, you should head to Galaxyland Amusement Park, located inside West Edmonton Mall in Alberta, Canada. Home to the world’s largest indoor triple loop roller coaster, Galaxyland is the largest indoor amusement park in the world located inside the largest mall in North America. Mindbender features twisting drops, three loops and a double upward helix finale. Sometimes in high season, those intrepid conductors reverse the final car so riders can’t see what’s coming. Sneaky, eh?
Stealth in Surrey, England
Located in Thorpe Park in Surrey, England, the Stealth opened as the fastest roller coaster in Europe in 2006 and goes from zero to 80 in 1.8 seconds. The train shoots to a height of 205 feet where wide-eyed passengers can scan views of the London skyline, Windsor Castle and Guildford Cathedral before shooting 203 feet back to the ground. The Stealth roller coaster features a 60s race track theme called Amity Speedway and cost an estimated £12 million to construct.
Kingda Ka in Jackson Township, New Jersey
Reaching 456 feet and racing 128 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds, Kingda Ka, located at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey, is the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world. It is impossible to know when the train is going to launch-no doubt adding to the ride’s nail-biting anticipation-but passengers are propelled from zero to 128 in less than four seconds, before climbing the main tower, twisting 90 degrees to the left and reaching a total ride height of 456 feet. After a moment at the top, the train plummets through a 270-degree spiral toward the ground. The entire experience is 28 seconds from launch to landing.
Read more about author Cherry Moore and check out her other BootsnAll articles.