Germans are so bonkers for water slides, they invented the sport of “speed chuting,” or aerodynamically racing down slides at veritable Autobahn speeds measured to the millisecond by laser triggers. It’s no wonder then that Schlitterbahn Kansas City calls their latest endeavor Verrückt (German for “crazy”), since it will soon be the tallest, fastest, and steepest water slide on the planet. Although its exact height has yet to be disclosed, the KC colossus is said to tower above national monument stature, and unlike its freefalling, single-ride brethren, groups of four will float the Verrückt in rafts. While the world waits for this record-breaker to open in May of 2014, Orbitz has a few other favorite outrageous waterslides worth a mention with something in every category of crazy.
While the Kilimanjaro is a clear winner with a drop height of 164 feet, the slide itself is built into a hill, making the Insano the tallest freestanding water slide in the world with a drop of 135 feet. Considering these two free-falling phenomena are located in the same country, why not make a vacation of it?
America’s tallest: Summit Plummet at Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park in Bay Lake, Florida
Based on a mythological ski resort turned Disney water wonderland, Blizzard Beach boasts manmade Mount Gushmore, home of the Summit Plummet, currently the tallest water slide in the United States at 120 feet. We highly recommend that ladies pack a one-piece swimsuit, because at 60 mph, that bikini top might get left in your wake.
World’s longest: Wildebeest at Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana
Similar to the Verrückt, Holiday World’s Wildebeest carries four riders per toboggan and can be classified as a “water coaster,”thanks to the powerful magnets that propel boats up a conveyor belt. Unlike steeper, speedier slides, the Wildebeest proudly stands alone as the longest water ride in the world, soaking its riders with drops, tunnels, turns and twists for a full two minutes and 30 seconds.
World’s tallest loop: L2 Aqua Loop at Wörgler Wasser Welt in Wörgel, Austria
Although Australia is home to the largest collection of Aqua Loop slides, Austria boasts the tallest Aqua Loop, and it’s double the thrill with a loop-the-loop. At over 80 feet tall, L2 Aqua Loop releases riders through a trap door, letting them freefall nearly 50 feet and flying through loops at top speeds of 40 mph. Did we mention there are two loops?
World’s largest bowl: Behemoth Bowl at Chimelong Water Park in Guangzhou, China
A four-man cloverleaf tube ride, Chimelong Water Park’s main attraction is likely the closest thing a human will experience to being flushed down a toilet. The Behemoth Bowl is exactly that: a long tube that leads into a plastic bowl over 70 feet in diameter, from which centrifugal force pulls the tube down the middle and out a chute. If you aren’t bowled over by our description, we can definitely say that it’s more fun than it sounds!
As avid travelers, we can all agree that there’s something to be said for scenery. The Leap of Faith on Paradise Island descends a Mayan temple structure into a glass tunnel that shoots through a lagoon of nurse sharks. On the opposite end of the world and spectrum, the view atop Jumeirah Sceirah in Dubai perfectly captures the vibrant essence of a thriving global city.