The highlight of a trip to any entertainment or amusement park is the roller coaster. You can try all the carousels, bump cars, water rides and swing-like rides in the world, but nothing will your heart pumping as the roller coaster. Just be sure that you have the heart and courage to finish it because once it starts, it would be pretty impossible to get off it until it ends.
But what exactly makes a roller coaster ride exciting and scary? Maybe, it is the speed of the coaster, or perhaps, it is the wild twists and heart stopping turns. Add to it the peak height that it could get to, and you got for yourself one hell of a ride.
La Marcus Adna Thompson patented the first roller coaster in 20 January 1885. It was described as a special kind of railroad system, with the track rising or even inverting at certain points to turn the passengers upside down. The tracks may be circuitous, or it may have a different start and end point. It may also have a single car, or it can be in the form of a train that has multiple cars.
Roller coasters may be classified based on train types, track layout, mechanics and height. For height classifications, roller coasters may be defined as (a) kiddie coasters, especially designed for families with young children, (b) hyper coaster, with height or drop that ranges from 200 feet to 299 feet and completes a full circuit. (c) giga coaster, with a height or drop that ranges from 300 feet to 399 feet and completes a full circuit, and (d) strata coaster, with a height or drop that is 400 feet or more and completes a full circuit.
So which roller coasters go to the highest point? Here are the top ten tallest roller coasters in the world.
1. Kingda Ka, Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson, New Jersey, United States – 456 feet
This is the tallest roller coaster in the world, with height reaching 456 feet. It also used to have the distinction of being the fastest roller coaster in the world, until another roller coaster beat its speed record in November of 2010. Kingda Ka uses a hydraulic launch mechanism that will push the train to up to 128 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds.
2. Top Thrill Dragster, Cedar Point, Ohio, United States – 420 feet
it is considered as the first strata roller coaster in the world, meaning it features a complete circuit with maximum height of more than 400 feet tall. Top Thrill Dragster is a very popular ride in the Ohio area, with more than a million passengers every year since 2007. It is also equipped with four dual strobes, three in various sections midway up the track and one at the rides highest point. The dual strobes are not there for decorative reasons; it was actually required of them by aviation security regulations because of the height of the ride.
3. Superman: Escape from Krypton, Six Flags Magic Mountain, California, United States – 415 feet
The ride accelerates in reverse from 0 to 104 miles an hour in about seven seconds. The ride then goes up vertically, with the riders facing directly downward. During the climb up and the slide down, the riders are weightless for around seven to eight seconds. How is that for a thrill?
4. Tower of Terror II, Dreamworld, Queensland, Australia – 377 feet
Up to the late 90s, this ride was considered the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world. It uses an electromagnetic mechanism that allows the ride to accelerate to 100 miles per hour in just seven seconds. The ride then goes up on a 90 degree vertical, with the riders experiencing weightlessness while going up and coming down. This feeling will last for 6.5 seconds, equally divided both ways. The ride then goes back to horizontal and back into the tunnel where a camera is positioned to take a ride of the photographers. The roller coaster will then come to a sudden halt once it gets back to the station.
5. Steel Dragon 2000, Nagashima Spa Land, Nagashima, Mie, Japan – 318 feet
This is one of the most expensive roller coasters in the world. Japan is located in the Pacific Ring of Fire, where earthquakes are common. To safeguard against it, the manufacturers decided to use a lot of steel to ensure the ride’s stability. The final cost of the roller coaster shot up to over $50 million.
6. Millenium Force, Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio, United States – 310 feet
Aside from being tall, the Millenium Force is also the longest steel roller coaster in North America. It is considered one of the best steel roller coasters in the world, having been voted as such five times since 2001, and never placing below second place.
7. Leviathan, Canada’s Wonderland, Vaughan, Ontario, Canada – 306 feet
8. Intimidator 305, Kings Dominion, Doswell, Virginia, United States – 305 feet
The ride features a drop of 300 feet from a steep angle of 85 degrees. The track is unique in that it has two spines, thus allowing for longer spans with just a few support structures. Riders will feel five humps while navigating the tracks, as well as three turns at high speed near the ground level.
9. Thunder Dolphin, Tokyo Dome City Attractions, Bunkyo, Tokyo, Japan – 262 feet
The maximum speed of the ride is 81 miles per hour. But what makes this ride truly unique are its interaction with another amusement park ride and a building. The track passes through a hole in the LaQua Building, as well as through the middle of the Big-O, the world’s first ferris wheel without a center.
10. Fujiyama, Fuji Q Highland, Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan – 259 feet
it wasn’t too long ago when Fujiyama was considered the tallest rollercoaster in the world. The ride opened in 1996 and features a drop of 230 feet.