Very few other manmade creations can provide a reaction like a roller coaster. To some, their mere existence is insane. Here is something built just for the purpose of scaring the hell out of people. And yet millions others flock in droves, wait for hours in line just for the opportunity to ride one of these monsters.
It doesn’t look too impressive by today’s standards but take into account the fact that Leap-The-Dips was built over 100 years ago in 1902. Located at Lakemont Park in Altoona, Pennsylvania, this is the oldest wooden roller coaster still in operation in the world. It only goes about 10 mph (16 km/h) but people still ride it nevertheless and it has been declared a National Historic Landmark.
2. Scenic Railway
Ok, so what we just said about Leap-The-Dips is a bit of a cheat. Although it is the oldest roller coaster still running, it hasn’t been operational the longest time. This is because it was actually closed between 1985 and 1999. That honor goes to Scenic Railway, a roller coaster at Luna Park in Melbourne, Australia which has been continuously operational since 1912.
3. The Cyclone
Nowadays, the tallest coasters in the world are hundreds of feet high and they give you a massive adrenaline rush but none of this would be possible without pioneers like the Cyclone at Revere Beach in Massachusetts. Built in 1925, the Cyclone was the tallest coaster of its time, a title which it maintained for almost 40 years. Additionally, the Cyclone reached another milestone by being the first roller coaster to reach 100 ft (30 m) in height. It closed down in 1969.
4. Kingda Ka
Compared to Kingda Ka, the Cyclone looks absolutely tiny. This is because Kingda Ka from Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey is the current record holder for tallest roller coaster with a height of 456 ft (139 m). It has held onto this record since 2005 when it first opened. In addition to having an insanely high top hat tower, people riding it can expect some serious speeds as well. At 128 mph (206 km/h), this is also the second fastest coaster in the world.
5. Formula Rossa
Speaking of speed, you would expect a roller coaster built with a Ferrari theme to hold the record for fastest coaster in the world. And with a speed of 150 mph (240 km/h), Formula Rossa is that coaster. Thanks to an extremely powerful hydraulic launch system, the coaster reaches its top speed in just 5 seconds. Continuing its racecar theme, the coaster’s shape is inspired by the legendary Italian racetrack at Monza. However, if you want to ride it, prepare for a long trip. Formula Rossa is located at Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi.
6. The Beast
Definitely one of the most famous and most iconic roller coasters ever built, the Beast opened for business in 1979 and it can still be ridden at Kings Island in Mason, Ohio. Back when it was built, it was the tallest, longest, fastest wooden roller coaster in the world. Even today it is still the longest wooden coaster in the world and has been consistently ranked as one of the greatest roller coasters in the world even since its debut.
As the Beast shows, some people prefer the traditional look and feel of wooden roller coasters. Even though a steel one will always be bigger and faster, there is no shortage of wooden coasters being built. In fact, Goliath opened to the public in 2014. It is located at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Illinois and has set multiple records ever since its launch. Despite it being made from wood, we can guarantee that Goliath will offer anyone plenty of thrills and chills: besides being the fastest wooden roller coaster in the world, it also has the steepest and longest drop.
8. The Smiler
People clearly go on roller coasters looking for extreme sensations and one of the best ways to give them what they want is through inversions. For roller coasters, an inversion is any portion of the track which causes the riders to go upside down and then right side up again. It’s very confusing, sometimes nauseating and a hell of a rush. However, most coasters have 2 or 3 inversions (if they have them at all). The Smiler has 14 and they are all varied: corkscrews, loops, rolls, inverted drops etc. Located at Alton Towers in Staffordshire, UK, the Smiler is almost guaranteed to leave your head spinning.
Sometimes you don’t need a lot of inversions in order to make your customers sick (in a good way). Sometimes all it takes is just a really big one. Located at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, the GateKeeper has a 164-ft (50 m) Wing Over drop, the highest inversion in the world. So be sure to pack a barf bag!
10. Steel Dragon 2000
If you are ever in Japan and visit Nagashima Spa Land, make sure to take a trip on the Steel Dragon 2000. Just be sure to prepare for a (relatively) long ride. At 8,133 ft (2,479 m), Steel Dragon is the longest roller coaster in the world. It also had several other records when it opened although those have been broken in the meanwhile. It is a traditional chain lift coaster that uses two chains in order to slowly pull its trains in anticipation for some awesomely steep drops.