"QUANTUM SHOT" #257
article by Rachel Abrams - link
Don't have eggs for breakfast!
The world's wildest roller coasters are crouching in the theme park wilds, ready to uncoil and strike the visitors with an irresistible adrenaline rush, the only addiction without any noticeable side-effects (other than a crazed look).
By the way, if you want to share your facial contortions with others, there is a Flickr pool devoted entirely to the "roller coaster faces".
Best roller coaster is the one you build yourself
What to do if you live three hours away from a decent roller coaster (such as the one in West Edmonton Mall)? You may want to consider the "do it yourself" type, though we can't make any guarantees that this will increase your property value. We can assure you it will increase the cost of your liability insurance, however.
(image credit: vintage_ads)
Who wants to bet the doctor bills in this family were staggering?
However, for something more elaborate, visit this site where Jeremy Reid has designed and built his own backyard roller coaster.
(images credit: Jeremy Reid)
This isn't something for us condo dwelling folk; but if any of our acreage owning friends feel inspired, by all means build one and we'll toddle along for the fun of watching you wipe out. And anyway, someone has to tell the ambulance where to go!
And then there is always this low cost, high thrill option, though don't attempt it without the training wheels... or when the carts are running... or maybe not ever:
Do you have "The Right Stuff"?
Moving on to the Big Kahunas of steel and speed: the official tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world is Kingda Ka, in Six Flags Great Adventure park in New Jersey. It hits 128 miles an hour in 3.5 seconds, and the tower is 456 feet tall.
(image credit: Coasterforce.com)
Go for a walk at the height of 456 feet:
The similar one is Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio:
(images courtesy of Cedar Point, All Rights Reserved.)
Watch it in action:
So... now that you've waited four hours, ridden for thirty seconds (or so) and changed your pants, how about a ride which is just a touch more interesting?
The 4th dimension roller coasters are taking over theme parks around the world, from Six Flags Magic Mountain, and Eejanaika in Japan, to the brand new Galaxy Orbiter in West Edmonton Mall in Canada. This roller coaster not only whirls through the loops, but each cart additionally rotates 360 degrees, guaranteed to scramble even veteran coaster riders. Eejanaika is the fastest and longest, with the most inversions, 14 in total (although this number is in dispute).
X - the World's First "Xtreme" Coaster, at Six Flags Magic Mountain:
The added spinning effect was introduced on the "Arrow Dynamics" prototype in 2002, raising the bar for outstanding roller coasters ever since. For a great review and stats of this coaster, visit Ultimate Roller Coaster.com (images by permission of Eric Gieszl):
Galaxy Orbiter (West Edmonton Mall, Canada):
(images credit: Ride Entertainment)
Eejanaika, Japan - most inversions, perhaps loudest screams.
(image credit: coaster.fc2web)
Here you can also see pretty cool pictures of its construction:
(images credit: Chris Belson)
and this video
Overall the Most Immersive Experience
For the sheer inventiveness and attention to detail, it's hard to beat the "Expedition Everest" Ride in Orlando's Animal Kingdom. While the admission line could still be lengthy (this popular attraction opened in 2005, see construction pics here), various re-created trappings of a Nepalese village help to pass the time. And then, of course, there is this Mountain... Trust me, you'll be surprised a couple of times, while passing through this Everest imitation, and I am not telling by what.. or by whom :)
It all starts with a nice Nepalese truck at the village:
and then you hear the rumble, mixed with screams:
(photos by Avi Abrams)
It may not be the fastest, or the "twistiest" roller coaster, but I certainly recommend it for the cool environment and a few "surprises".
Life in the Slow Lane
Another record-breaker from Japan - this time the world's slowest... If all the excitement, shown above, is too much for your stomach to handle, try the somewhat gentler "Walking Roller Coaster". Don't worry, it has its own fear factor - from the primitive look of the carts which you are supposed to control, to the great heights you navigate on flimsy rails. A good choice for the exercise conscious individuals, out for a thrill.
"The Skycycle" at Washuzan Highland Park in Okayama:
Supposedly each cart has brakes as well as pedals, so you don't crash into anyone.
(images credit: drkssk2.fc2web)
Other Ways of Making Your Life Unstable
And speaking of tiny contraptions at great heights, try this skyscraper swing, set on a platform 700 feet high (via Gizmodo)
Looks very inviting, doesn't it?
(image credit: Shu and Joe)
Some things never change
...including our reaction to sudden twists and accelerations. For the whole series of shots, taken by Yvan Dalain at the "Geister-Express" in Zürich, 1956, visit this page:
(image credit: vintagephoto)
Mystery Roller Coaster
We are fully aware that roller coasters are big and famous beasts, easy to identify, nevertheless here is a picture of one (pretty interesting) structure - see if you can name it.
UPDATE This coaster is located in Yokohama, Japan; just 30 minutes south of Tokyo.
This article is a start of a series, so tip us on some other cool rides to try out.
Category: Architecture, Travel
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