Roller coasters race up and down tracks at county fairs and theme parks around the world, bringing hair-raising thrills to children of all ages. Sometimes called “scream machines,” roller coasters have been the main attraction wherever they are for more than a century.
The coasters of today are taller, faster and wilder than ever before, causing operators to offer photos that capture the experience at the pinnacle of its excitement. Just making it to the end of the thrilling ride is cause for celebration for most riders. Others need more and sometimes stage that moment when the camera flashes, bringing us the wacky photos in this gallery.
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Roller coasters are the highlight of any amusement or theme park for many visitors. High-speed thrills, twists and turns make for good times and have coaster enthusiasts claiming their favorites around the United States. Now, a new show starting Sunday on the Travel Channel decides which coasters are the best, as voted by viewers.
“Insane Coaster Wars” debuts Sunday, July 8, 2012, and settles the battle once and for all asking, “Which coaster is the best?” In May and June, Travel Channel viewers voted on which coaster is the best in various categories, from G-Force Giants to Hang ‘em High coasters.
Each program in the “Insane Coaster Wars” series brings viewers along on the most exhilarating and intense coasters in America, with the winner revealed in each category at the end of the show.Roller Coasters not your idea of a good time?
“Extreme Water Parks,” another Travel Channel show, might be more your liking. Also debuting Sunday, this one features the wildest, over-the-top and most-exhilarating water rides in the world, from Florida to Brazil.
“Extreme Water Parks” is part of the Travel Channel’s Extreme Series that travels around the United States to document and showcase various places, events, things and people that are extreme in some way. Other topics in the extreme series include Extreme Mind-Blowing Hotels, Extreme Animal Encounters, Extreme Truck Stops, Extreme Bar Hopping and others.
Ever wondered what Disney’s famous Space Mountain roller coaster looks like when the lights are on? If so, you’re in luck because the video below was posted to The Disney Blog a few days back and it gives us all a behind-the-curtain look at one of the most iconic rides in all of the Disney parks.
The first Space Mountain opened at Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida, in 1975 and became an instant hit with visitors. The indoor coaster sends riders hurling through a series of sharp twists, turns and drops while remaining almost completely in the dark. That combination of speed and the tension of not knowing what would happen next has made it one of the top attractions in Disney parks ever since.
Rarely do guests in the park ever get to see what Space Mountain looks like when the lights are on, but in the video below riders on one of the park’s “Peoplemovers” passed by while the interior was completely illuminated. The result is a great look at the inner-workings of the ride, which still look impressive.
Last weekend, Busch Gardens Williamsburg confirmed their new 2012 roller coaster Verbolten. The multi-launch steel roller coaster will be built on the former site of the Big Bad Wolf. And, like that classic coaster, Verbolten will use the park’s beautiful and hilly terrain. During its 2,835-foot course, the ride will dive to the Rhine River. The Zierer-designed roller coaster will include two launches, lap bars instead of over-the-shoulder restraints, and a top speed of 53 mph.
In a departure from fabled creatures from European folklore like the Loch Ness Monster and Griffon, Verbolten’s theme will be more modern. The ride will feature what look to be trains themed as sports cars. Based on what little is known about the ride, we do know that it will include an exciting car ride through Germany’s Black Forest that goes wrong. It’s an appropriate theme considering it’ll be in the park’s recently revitalized Oktoberfest area in the Germany section. The most intriguing part of Verbolten may occur inside a building during the indoor portion of its layout. This indoor section is said to hold some surprises as it will incorporate darkness and changes in weather. Aside from these details, not much else is known as the park did not release a full animated POV or off-ride videos like parks do with most new ride announcements.
In what appears to be a new trend, Verbolten will be another launch coaster from SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment that’s more along the lines of a family-friendly joy ride than a white knuckle, g-force intensive thrill ride. Reviews of Busch Gardens Tampa’s Cheetah Hunt reflected its somewhat less than intense ride and the park chain announced another somewhat similar launch coaster (Manta at SeaWorld San Diego) earlier this year.
I’m looking forward to Verbolten, even though it may not be create an insane adrenaline rush. I’m confident that it’ll be impressive from a theming and overall quality stand point like almost all of this park’s roller coasters have been in the past. Here’s a teaser video for Verbolten at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.
Since Canada’s Wonderland opened hyper coaster Behemoth in 2008, it has boasted the country’s largest roller coaster. Next year, the Toronto area park will also be able to boast one of the tallest roller coasters in the World in the $28 milllion Leviathan. The massive steel roller coaster will be a lofty 30-stories (306 feet) tall. After what’s likely to be an impressive view on the lift hill, riders will be treated to an enormous drop at 80 degrees. The plunge will push Leviathan’s 32 person trains to an intense 90 mph. The ride’s 5,400-foot layout includes a number of high speed, heavily banked turns. Leviathan will also have a few camel back-shaped hills aimed at providing airtime moments when riders will be lifted gently out of their seats.
Roller coaster fans are especially interested in Leviathan as the coaster’s size puts it in a small group of 300-foot tall rides known as giga coasters. Coaster enthusiasts are also excited because it will be leading coaster designers, Bolliger & Mabillard’s, tallest roller coaster and the company’s first foray into this coaster genre. They have a track record of innovative designs including floorless coasters, dive coasters, and inverted coasters. It will be interesting to see what they can offer to this category of high altitude and high speed roller coasters. Canada’s Wonderland has moved to the top of my list of theme parks that I need to visit in 2012. Learn more about Leviathan at Canada’s Wonderland.