(Image Credit: KingDaKa.net)
I can clearly remember my first introduction into the world of roller coasters, and it was one that scarred me for life. There was this little amusement park in Dartmouth, Massachusetts called Lincoln Park. An amusement park built in 1892, and with rides that reflected that. There was a coaster at Lincoln Park called the Comet. It was one of the last few wooden coasters left in the country, and come to find out, mere weeks after I rode it the first time in the 80's as a wee lad, it killed someone. I say that like it grew arms and beat someone to death, but it may as well have.
1. Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey
This is it, folks. This is the tallest roller coaster in the world, and one of the fastest, clocking in at 128 mph. The first drop alone is 416 feet. I know it is hard to try and imagine that, which is why we included a video that will make it so you don't have to imagine it. You can live it vicariously through your computer. Also, for the two of you who have Google glass, this must actually be a pretty cool way to use the glasses. You get to take the ride without having to pay the admission.
Or you can just sit real close to your tablet. Up to you.
You know if this list is opening this strong, there are going to be a few here that blow your mind. For example....
2. Sky Scream Coaster at Holiday Park in Germany
The Sky Scream coaster lands on the list for very different reasons than the other coasters. While the above coaster may have a massive drop, and few others on the list may be known for their heights and speeds, the aptly named Sky Scream is a wholly different type of coaster. More about the twists and turns and loops when there shouldn't be any, it seems like a coaster that only the bravest souls would ride.
It is not the steepest, nor is it the fastest, but it is definitely the most M.C. Escher-esque.
3. The Intimidator 305 at King's Dominion Park in Virginia
Do you know what a Giga coaster is? It is just like a regular coaster, only faster and often much, much taller. There are a small family of "Giga coasters" in the world, and the Intimidator 305 is one of them. Put it this way, a drop of over 300 feet that reaches max speeds of 90 mph. This aptly named coaster is not one to be trifled with.
4. SheiKra at Busch Gardens in Florida
What sets the SheiKra at Busch Gardens apart is that it is one of those "floorless" coasters, where your feet just hang over nothing. When you add the heights and speeds of SheiKra into the floorless equation, you have one heck of a scary coaster. The 200 foot drop (which you do at a 90 degree angle) is enough to scare anyone off of coasters for life.
Or turn them into a coaster junkie.
One or the other, no middle ground (get it?) with this one.
5. Dodonpa at Fuji Q Highland in Japan
One of the fastest coasters in the world, what is really mind-blowing here (besides the speed) is the fact that the entire ride lasts about 55 seconds. In just under a minute, you experience speeds in excess of 105 to 107 miles an hour. You go from zero to 107 in just under two seconds time. That is nearly unfathomable. So it is sorta like getting whiplash, but making sure you paid for it first.
What is really crazy is, we still have a few roller coasters to go, and they only get crazier.
6. Formula Rossa at Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi
While not the steepest coaster by any stretch of the imagination, Formula Rossa is the world's fastest coaster inside a Ferrari themed amusement park that is under a giant dome. The setting alone makes it sound like something out of some surreal Terry Gilliam film, but this is real as you can see from the video.
A coaster that reaches speeds of 150 plus mph, and there are no over-the-shoulder straps or any similar nonsense. Just a little handle and some REALLY strong G-forces. I told you a few of these would blow your mind.
7. Colossus at Thorpe Park in England
If all the roller coasters and Giga coasters on the list so far are like cool rebels who just want to help you experience adrenaline, Colossus is the bully, who WANTS to see you scared and wounded. Okay, so maybe saying "wounded" is not fair, but honestly, there is a secret understanding among thrill seekers riding this coaster. You keep your head tucked and ride in the carts furthest from the front to keep yourself from being tossed around and beaten up. I wish I was kidding, but as a coaster Jedi, I am being deadly serious.
This coaster likes to punish coaster connoisseurs. On the theme of punishing coaster connoisseurs, we need to end this list with a classic....
8. Coney Island Cyclone in New York
You really can't end the list like this without bringing up THE wooden coaster against which all wooden coasters are measured. Though the Cyclone does not have the drops of some of the cooler, newer coasters on the list, what it does have is heart and history. On top of that, it is a wooden coaster. Not sure if you read the intro or that means anything to you, but it should. Wooden coasters are an experience unto themselves. From the constant vibrating the entire time, to the jerking and jarring transitions between turns and drops, you ride a wooden coaster pretty much positive that something is going to break in you or around you and that you are going to die.
That is why the Cyclone is not only the perfect coaster to end the list on, but really, the only coaster to end the list on. It's one of the originals, and is still standing.