5 most thrilling roller coasters around the world
The very first model of the roller coaster was constructed to entertain the Russian royalty as a modernisation of conventional snow sleds and it did not take long for most of Western Europe to build their versions of similar rides.
Such rapid popularity makes one thing quite apparent, the allure of a safe yet wild ride that comes with a guaranteed adrenaline rush has never failed to attract people from all walks of life. Now there are more than 2,400 roller coasters around the world and our pick of the top five offers an array of experiences that cater to a wide range of preferences, from breath-taking velocity and exhilarating descents to dizzying twists and turns.
The Smiler, Staffordshire, UK
It is not a surprise that The Smiler consistently makes an appearance on every top list of roller coasters out there as the very purpose of the ride is to make the passengers laugh involuntarily due to the sheer thrill and excitement. The centre of the ride features a distinct 'five-legged spider-like shape, popularly known as 'The Marmaliser', to create an experience through three continuous dive loops and five corkscrew loops that is absolutely unique.
This massive steel coaster currently holds the world record for most loops in its track — 14 in total and 3 minutes of riding time securing a spot among one of the longest. No matter which type of roller coaster ride you prefer, The Smiler will leave you grinning and screaming at the same time, and leave you craving more when the ride ends.
Kingda Ka, New Jersey, USA
There can be no list of the best roller coasters without the tallest and second-fastest one — the Kingda Ka. Situated at the Six Flags Great Adventure theme park, the Kingda Ka offers an unforgettable ride that reaches 206 km/h in roughly three seconds.
The 950 metres long ride features a unique 'top hat' shape that propels the passengers up to a towering height, followed by a heart stopping 90-degree vertical drop that comes down in a 270-degree spiral. The descent continues for 127 metres also making it the roller coaster with the highest drop.
Kingda Ka may not have a lengthy track, but it more than compensates with its towering height, thrilling speed, and the pure exhilaration of vertical descent. Despite taking only around 50 seconds to complete, the ride delivers an unforgettable experience.
Formula Rossa, Abu Dhabi, UAE
A ride on any roller coaster usually comes with a common fascination — how would it feel to ride the fastest one on earth? The answer would be a trip to Formula Rossa. Constructed as a part of the Ferrari World Theme Park, the fastest roller coaster in the world offers an experience that can be difficult to replicate anywhere else.
The impressive two kilometres long track mimics the outline of the legendary Italian Grand Prix racing circuit, Autodromo Nazionale Monza, while stimulating the sensation of driving a Formula One race car at a speed of 240 km/h.
Most of us would never have the fortune of driving a Formula One vehicle but Formula Rossa is probably the next best thing for those who crave the thrill of a highspeed car race with no special driving skill while keeping safety intact.
Eejanaika, Yamanashi, Japan
There are only 17 operational 4D roller coasters in the whole world right now and the Eejanaika at the Fuji-Q Highland arguably provides the most exceptional experience among them. For those who are new to the thrilling world of roller coasters, a 4D roller coaster refers to rides where the seats are not fixed to any particular angle and can independently rotate forward and backward in a complete 360-degree spin.
As the longest 4D roller coaster in existence, the Eejanaika offers two minutes of pure adrenaline-filled joy as it runs through a record-breaking 14 car inversions, a zero-g roll, and a couple of raven turns.
The ride offers one of the most captivating moments due to its breath-taking twists and turns, and if you somehow manage to keep your wits about you, you can enjoy a stunning view of Mount Fuji on a clear day as the coaster ascends to its top elevation point.
Steel Dragon 2000, Kuwana, Japan
The name of the Steel Dragon 2000 is derived from the Chinese lunar calendar, which designates the year 2000 as the Year of the Dragon, referring to the ride's inauguration. This 2,479 metres long steel monstrosity is the longest one in the world and also features, unsurprisingly, the longest riding time — a whopping four minutes experience of thrill and excitement.
It is quite a surprise that the longest roller coaster in the world can be found in the city of Kuwana, a place with a reputation for seismic activity. Despite any potential concerns, travellers need not lose their peace of mind since the system incorporates one of the most advanced earthquake protections that modern technology can guarantee.