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Never mind the merry-go-round. August 16 is National Roller Coaster Day, which means we’re aiming for high-stakes thrills, baby! You wanna go for the ride of your life? Check out these 7 roller coaster wonders at some of the world’s most amazing amusement parks and remember: Keep your hands inside the car at all times.

Related: Check out the world’s coolest Ferris wheels here.

1. The Great Scenic Railway at Luna Park: Melbourne, Australia
Roller coasters operate almost entirely on fear factor and what could be scarier than riding the world’s oldest continuously operated roller coaster—and a wooden one at that? In truth the Scenic Railway at Luna Park, constructed in 1912, is modest by today’s thrill ride comparisons, but the expansive views atop the coaster certainly justify its name. Plus, how cool is it that an actual brake operator rides in the middle of each car?


2. The Cyclone at Jolly Roger Amusement Park: Ocean City, MD
The newest entry into the pantheon of theme park attractions, this “cart coaster” is a 1,500 foot-long hybrid go kart track and roller coaster in which passengers control their own speed and ride individually as they whiz and whir around a track that takes drivers up five spiral stories, down a small hill and back down again via another set of spirals. The Cyclone opened in May, but already we’re amazed.

3. Formula Rossa at Ferrari World: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
This coaster goes so freakin’ fast (150 mph to be exact) that all riders are required to wear protective goggles lest they collide with bugs along the route. Formula Rossa, modeled after Italian racetrack Autodromo Nazionale Monza, currently holds the record for world’s fastest roller coaster—it reaches 60 mph in just two seconds. We have a better name for it: How about Hell on Wheels?


4. Goliath at Six Flags Great America: Gurnee, IL
Poor David wouldn’t stand a chance against this 165-foot tall wooden monstrosity, a recent addition to the Six Flags family. Upon its June debut last year, Goliath shattered three Guinness World Records, including steepest, longest and—at a top speed of 72 miles per hour—fastest wooden roller coaster in the world. That thing that dropped out of your body after the first steep drop? That would be your stomach.


5. Steel Dragon 2000 at Nagashima Spa Land: Mie Prefecture, Japan
Death-defying chills and thrills occasionally come with a steep price tag. The construction of the world’s longest roller coaster—8,133 feet—required more steel than any other for earthquake protection, bringing the total cost to $50 million. The ride consists of an initial 306-foot drop, a figure eight-shaped helix, seven camelback hills and two tunnels and is named for the Year of the Dragon.

6. The Beast at Kings Island: Mason, Ohio
7,349—that’s the number, in feet, of the world’s longest wooden roller coaster—a record that’s been held by the Beast since 1979. It’s also still the longest roller coaster—regardless of construction materials—in the United States. That’s nearly a mile and a half of thrill ride goodness which takes riders up a 110-foot hill and then drops them 135 feet and spins them through dark tunnels, forested areas and one helix after another. When can we go?

7. Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure: Jackson, New Jersey
If you can build a slingshot that can fling an object 128 mph in 3.5 seconds you’ve got yourself a Kingda Ka on your hands. The world’s tallest roller coaster—and second fastest—is actually a launch coaster that hurdles riders toward a 456-tall “top hat” or hill that take riders over a 90-degree hairpin turn without ever going upside down. Confused? Go ride for yourself: You might never be the same again.


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Tagged: Family time, Midwest

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Jason Heidemann

Jason Heidemann

Jason is a Lead Content Specialist for Expedia Group, and manages content initiatives across numerous Expedia-owned brands. His work has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, Time Out, the Huffington Post, Chicago Magazine, Passport and many others.

3 thoughts on “The 7 amusement park wonders of the world”

  1. Orbitz – you may want to edit this article since it is outdated. How could this have been written on June 22nd? Smiler is closed due to an accident on June 2, 2015 and I am pretty sure that I remember reading that all Smiler branding is removed from the roller coaster. If you want to go with the 7 wonders of the world theme, you could replace it with X from Six Flags Magic Mountain or Voyage from Holiday World, Santa Claus, Indiana.

  2. Not sure how X2 at Six Flags Magic Mountain missed this list. Classified as a 4th dimension roller coaster and being the first of its kind which last time I checked there are only two others in the world ( both over seas ). This ride rotates riders at certain key points in the ride. Once you reach the top of the ride you are dropped straight down, rotated in a way where your feet and arms are dangling giving you the sensation your are going to splat when you reach the bottom but just before you do the ride quickly rotates you into a normal seating position and leaves you there until you reach a loop at which point it starts rotating you 360 degrees through the loop! Deemed too radical by the manufacturer the preliminary designs were stored away until one day the CEO for Six Flags paid a visit looking for a new coaster to keep pace with Cedar Point in Ohio (He had designated Magic Mountain as the park that would compete with Cedar Point for the title of most coasters). Not impressed by anything that was shown to him he was getting ready to leave when someone remembered the stored away designs. Cost 46 million, more than double what most of the latest designs cost in those days.

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