The TGLT group just got back from Orlando where we spent a few days learning all about Universal Parks and Resorts. While it wasn’t great leaving the 89 degrees in Orlando and landing back in Ohio where it was 36 degrees, the trip was a great experience. One of my favorite parts of the trip was getting to ride the VelociCoaster at Islands of Adventure. As you might guess, this is a Jurassic World themed roller coaster that opened in June of 2021. It is a double launched coaster that has one that takes you from 0 to 50mph in 2 seconds and another that takes you from 40 to 70 mph in 2.4 seconds. The hills and barrel rolls have you flying out of your seat during a 2 minute ride that covers 4,700 feet. We are spoiled in Sandusky for sure, living in the shadow of Millenium Force and many other great coasters, but there are parks all over the world that coaster enthusiasts like me can flock to for thrills.
In Orlando alone there are 7 of the top 25 rated roller coasters, as rated by Theme Park Insider, with 2 new coasters set to open in 2022. At Universal’s Islands of Adventure you have the VelociCoaster ranked number one followed by Hagrid’s Magical Creature Motorbike Adventure at number 2, and the Incredible Hulk Coaster at number 20. Just a short train ride to Universal Studios and you can ride the number 4 coaster, Revenge of the Mummy. Down the road at Disney’s Animal Kingdom you can ride the number 6 coaster, Expedition Everest. Disney Parks also have other iconic coasters like Magic Mountain, although it doesn’t make the top 25 anymore it is still worth riding. This year at Epcot, the brand new Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind will open and will most likely make its debut on the top 25 list in 2023. Seaworld in Orlando has a couple of coasters that make the top 25 as well with Manta at number 11 and Mako checking in at 25. Seaworld Orlando will also open a new coaster in 2022 called Ice Breaker that will definitely be worth a ride. And that is just in Florida!
Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California has always been a destination for thrill seekers and is very well represented in the top 25. They have Twisted Colossus at 10, X2 at 12, Tatsu at 17, Full Throttle at 18, and West Coast Racer at 23. In 2022, they will also open Wonder Woman Flight of Courage. Other Six Flags parks are represented as well, like the number 6 ranked El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey. At 19, you have Iron Rattler from Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio and in 2022, Six Flags Fiesta Texas will open Dr. Diabolical’s Cliffhanger, whose name alone sounds amazing.
We know about all the great coasters at Cedar Point, but other Cedar Fair parks have some pretty amazing rides as well. Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, California has the number 24 coast called GhostRider. Kings Dominion just north of Richmond, Virginia has Intimidator 305 ranked number 9. Carowinds, which is partially in Charlotte, North Carolina and partially in Fort Mills, South Carolina has the 5th rated coaster, Fury 325. Not a Cedar Fair park but you can even find one of the best coasters in the world at Dollywood, which has the 13th best coaster called Lightning Rod.
Want to head overseas and include coasters in your trip? If you are in Germany you definitely need to head to Phantasialand. Not only do you get free admission on your birthday, but they have 2 coasters ranked in the top 25 with F.L.Y. at 21 and Taron at 14. Not overseas but in Vaughn, Ontario Canada there is a Cedar Fair park called Canada’s Wonderland that has the number 15 coaster in the Leviathan. At Ferrari World in Dubai they have Formula Rossi which didn’t make the top 25 in 2022, but if you like speed, this is your ride as it launches you from 0 to 150mph in 5 seconds. In Nagashima Spaland, Japan the Steel Dragon 2000 has a 318 foot hill, has 8,000 feet of track, and gets up to 95mph. The Smiler at Alton Towers in the UK sends you through 14 loops at 53 mph. The Tower of Terror in Gold Reef City, South Africa set a world record at 6.3 Gs, which is twice as much as an astronaut feels during a rocket launch.
As you can see if you are a thrill seeker and roller coasters are your thing there are places all over the globe that can offer a unique experience. I get excited thinking about all of the rides I’ve been on that made the top 25 and all of the ones that I hope to get on soon. I highly recommend the VelociCoaster and Hagrid’s when you plan your trip to Orlando, but why stop there? Let’s plan some roller coaster destination trips!
Mike Lilje is the Adventure Travel Specialist for The Good Life Travel Company. While he books all sorts of adventurous travels, his passion for roller coasters and adventure rides has led him to focus on this passion. To begin planning your adventure, email Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org.