3 Must-Ride Roller Coasters for Your Bucket List

If you find yourself debating max height versus top speed, vertical drop versus track length, and the relative merits of giga versus strata, you might just be hooked on roller coasters. We’ve rounded up some rather amusing coasters to add to your bucket list.

Ride The World’s Tallest Roller Coaster

At 456 feet high—that’s 45 stories—Kingda Ka puts you on top of the world at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, N.J. Ranking as the world’s tallest and second-fastest roller coaster, the ride rockets you out with a hydraulic launch mechanism to 128 mph in 3.5 seconds before ascending 90 degrees straight up to the top—then making the epic 418 foot plunge into a 270 degree spiral.

On a clear day, you can catch a glimpse of Philadelphia and New York City. Once your stomach returns to its rightful place and your heart rate recovers, you’ll also want to queue up for the park’s Zumanjaro—Drop of Doom, which debuts in 2014 and is built into the structure of Kingda Ka. The specs? You and seven gondola-mates are lifted 415 feet in the air before being released earthward at 90 miles an hour. While it’s not a roller coaster and the ride lasts only 10 seconds, the shakes might linger with you a while longer.


Ride The World’s Fastest Roller Coaster

Since Kingda Ka came in second for speed and acceleration, world-record junkies are surely wondering who took first. That would be the Formula Rossa at Ferrari World—located in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates which notches a top speed of 149 mph in just under five seconds.

The goal, as you might guess from the name, is to simulate the experience of driving a race car. You’re strapped into a bright red, replica Ferrari F1 race car, hitting a gut-wrenching G-force of 4.8 as you accelerate with a release velocity comparable to launching a jet off an aircraft carrier.

The track, whose shape was inspired by the famed Autodromo Nazionale Monza in Italy, launches you on a whirlwind ride, taking little more than 90 seconds to cover 1.4 miles from inside the amoeba-shaped indoor theme park, outside, and back to the loading station complete with chicanes just like you’d experience on a real race course. While the top height is a modest 174 feet and maximum drop of 169 feet, the Formula Rossa more than makes up for it with pure adrenaline pumping speed.


Ride a Roller Coaster That Has Been Around For More Than 80 Years

From height and speed, we turn to a granddaddy wooden roller coaster that’s still dishing out the thrills after more than eight decades—The Comet, at Six Flags Great Escape in Lake George, N.Y. It’s a fast-paced ride with lots of negative G-force air time—the feeling where you liftoff your seat. While its 95-foot height and 60 mph top speed aren’t in the same realm as its steel brethren, it serves up more than its share of stomach churning drops during a two-minute run. No surprise The Comet has earned a place in the hearts of coaster lovers as well as the American Coaster Enthusiasts organization, which named it a Landmark Coaster a few years ago.

On The Comet, you’re taking a ride on history. Originally named the Cyclone, it was first constructed in 1927 by legendary coaster builder Harry Traver and located in Crystal Beach Amusement Park in Ridgeway, Ontario, Canada. In 1946, it was dismantled, then salvaged, redesigned, and reopened two years later as the Crystal Beach Comet. When the park closed in 1989, the ride was purchased by Great Escape and reconstructed before reopening to the public in 1994.


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