- April 12th 2012
Orlando’s extensive line-up of theme parks is perhaps most famous for its impressive selection of dark rides, such as the classic Peter Pan’s Flight at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and the high-tech Amazing Adventures of Spiderman at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. However, while the area’s roller coasters are perhaps less-renowned, they are still some of the very best on offer anywhere in the world. Here’s a run-down of 10 amazing coaster experiences in Orlando.
10. Kraken (SeaWorld Orlando)
While it features weaker theming than SeaWorld Orlando’s other thrill rides, the towering Kraken is still not-to-be-missed. The lengthy floorless coaster includes a 119-feet-tall vertical loop, a diving loop, a cobra roll, a zero gravity roll and some G-force-inducing turns, which more than make up for its dull setting. Don’t forget to check out the eels that live in tanks underneath the ride, which represent the Kraken’s offspring.
9. Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit (Universal Studios Florida)
Opened in August 2009 after months of delays, Hollywood, Rip, Ride, Rockit was plagued by technical problems for a long period but is now running slightly more smoothly. Towering over Universal Studios Florida, the Rockit features a long vertical lift-hill followed by a steep drop into a non-inverting loop. A series of twists and turns follow, and the entire ride is accompanied by a music track that you can select personally using an iPod-like device. You’ll be hard-pushed to concentrate on the tune, though, as you race around the 3800-foot circuit.
8. Dragon Challenge (Islands of Adventure)
Opened alongside the rest of Islands of Adventure in 1999, Dragon Challenge was originally known as Dueling Dragons. The name was a nod to its design, which features two separate inverted coasters with circuits that are intertwined. Absorbed into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in 2010, the two coasters are now known as the Chinese Fireball and the Hungarian Horntail. Both feature five inversions in their intense, high-velocity circuits, but sadly they are no longer synchronized after a series of incidents in which guests were hit by falling objects.
7. Space Mountain (Magic Kingdom)
The oldest operating coaster in Florida is still one of its best, despite its relatively tame design. What Space Mountain lacks in big drops and fast speeds, it makes up through its pitch-black indoor setting. The “wild mouse”-style ride is packed with tight turns and small drops, which are enhanced significantly by the fact that riders cannot see them coming. An extensive refurbishment in 2009 resulted in an overhaul of the coaster’s dull queue line, which is now packed with interactive experiences.
6. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster (Disney’s Hollywood Studios)
A roller coaster that features rock stars Aerosmith in its storyline may sound like a strange fit for Disney, but in typical fashion its Imagineers succeeded in creating a musical tour-de-force. The plot is cleverly tied to the ride’s design, with guests racing across town in a limousine to catch the band’s next concert. After a start which sees the trains launched from 0 to 57 miles per hour in just 2.8 seconds, the ride then soars past illuminated road signs in an otherwise pitch-black setting. The on-board audio adds to the experience, and even non-rock fans will find it hard to resist head-banging along. Read more »