For years, amusement park rides have brought fun and excitement to families and thrill seekers alike. From the olden days of carousels and Ferris wheels to the monstrous steel roller coasters of present day, amusement park rides have become a staple of theme parks across the world. The following are a few of the most fun, scary and beloved amusement park rides in the United States.
Top Thrill Dragster in Cedar Point When it opened in Sandusky, Ohio, in 2003, the Top Thrill Dragster was the world’s tallest and fastest amusement park ride. Standing at a staggering 420 feet, and reaching speeds of up to 120 miles per hour, Top Thrill Dragster is the perfect ride for the thrill seeker in you looking for that pure rush of unadulterated adrenaline. The ride takes a mere seventeen seconds to complete, but the adrenaline buzz will last much longer once your feet have touched the safety of the ground.
Kingda Ka in Six Flags Great Adventure Taking over the title of tallest roller coaster in the world, and the fastest in North America, Kingda Ka stands at an intimidating 456 feet. Reaching speeds of up to 128 miles per hour in less than four seconds, the coaster drops vertically into a 270 degree spiral after reaching its highest peak. Located in Jackson, NJ, this steel monstrosity is guaranteed to give any speed freak the adrenaline rush they seek.
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror in Disney’s Hollywood Studios Using the old 1960s television series “The Twilight Zone” as a theme, Disney’s Tower of Terror is a drop tower, or free fall, thrill ride. Located in Orlando, Florida, this stomach churning ride takes place in the fictional Hollywood Tower Hotel in the late 1930s. After boarding the ride, you are taken up the elevator, stopping at a few floors while a special “Twilight Zone” episode plays out. Finally, at the top of the hotel, elevator doors open to reveal the dizzying view of the theme park below just as the elevator cables “break”, plunging you into a free fall. An extra change of undergarments may be required after this ride.
Vortex in King’s Island In 1987, when the Vortex opened at King’s Island in Mason, Ohio, it was the first roller coaster ever to boast six inversions. It also broke the record for most rides given at the park in a year, pleasing over two million adrenaline junkies. Clocking in at three minutes, this roller coaster isn’t the fastest, only hitting speeds of 55 miles per hour, but it does succeed in disorienting you with vertical loops, corkscrews, and a 360 degree helix.
SheiKra in Busch Gardens As if offering a true 90 degree drop after a 200 foot climb wasn’t enough, this roller coaster at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida, takes heart-pounding adrenaline to the next level by pausing at the precipice, leaving you hanging for up to five seconds, facing straight down. Adding to the building terror is the fact the SheiKra also has no floor, letting your feet dangle and lending to the illusion that you can fall out at any moment. Just when you think your heart can’t take another second, you plunge straight down at 70 miles per hour, hitting twists and turns as you go
Classic Family Rides at Walt Disney World Not all amusement park rides have to be hulking steel structures exceeding hundreds of miles per hour to be enjoyable. Some of the best rides are classic family rides found at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The Pirates of the Caribbean is a boat ride that takes you through a town as it is plundered by animatronic pirates singing about the open seas and the joys of drinking bottles of rum. Peter Pan’s Flight transports you to being a kid again, as you are sprinkled with magic pixie dust and whisked away, flying above the streets of London, past the Lost Boys camp and to the scene of the final battle between Peter Pan and Captain Hook. You can also board a “Doom Buggy” and tour the halls and rooms of the Haunted Mansion, taking in scenes of dancing ghosts and creepy floating objects.
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