It's one of the most common sounds at many theme parks around the world... the cacophony of screams as daredevil riders brave the twists and turns of a roller coaster hurtling at breakneck speeds. You may even be tempted to try it yourself, though not for the faint-hearted, there's nothing like taking up the challenge of braving one of the most exhilirating rides on the planet. If you're even braver you may be tempted to try one of the world's biggest, fastest, or most terrifying offerings.
Ever wonder what makes some people love roller coasters so much? There's no doubt that the ride is an extreme adrenanlin rush — coasters are generally designed for extreme thrills with corkscrews, inverted loops, zero-gravity rolls, and some even with reverse heartline roll (a heartline rolls is when the center of the coaster car rotates on one axis and the rider is taken through a 360 degree roll). Some believe we love it so much because it reminds us of our favorite childhood playground games, like being on a swing or carousel... some kids love it, others absolutely hate the force of sudden momentum, the sudden stop, and then a change in direction. Adults are much the same, some will avoid roller coasters and stick to the far tamer amusement park rides, and others keep lining up to ride their favorite roller coasters over and over again.
There are those that love coasters so much that they travel the world trying out the most daring: The Banshee in Ohio, USA, is so terrifying that it features seven massive inversions along its 4,124 foot-long track... one of the longest steel inverted coaster tracks in the world. Renovations to make it even more scary were completed in January 2014 so this is the first summer coaster enthusiast will be able to try out the new track, if they dare.
There are also some roller coasters that specialize in dropping you straight out of the sky, giving you that sickening moment of weightlessness before you hurtle all the way to the ground: Takabisha in Fuji-Q Highland amusement park in Japan is the world's biggest freefall coaster, dropping rider 47 feet and 121 degree angle... you're guaranteed to lose your lunch on the way down!
Around the world amusement parks are constantly competing to see who can invent the most terrifying roller coaster to thrill riders... are your brave enough to try one of them? Read on to find out more about some of the world's scariest roller coasters.
Steel Dragon 2000, Japan
Tucked away in Japan's Mie Prefecture, in the middle of the Nagashima Spa Land amusement park, is the Steel Dragon 2000 which opened to much fanfare 14 years ago and was named to commemorate the Year of the Dragon. It is the second fastest roller coaster in Japan and the sixth fastest in the world.
At the time it was the world's tallest complete-circuit roller coaster. It also holds the record for the coaster with the longest track: around 8, 133 feet long. It features a gut-wrenching drop of 157 feet and can reach speeds of up to 95 miles per hour!
Kingda Ka, New Jersey, USA
This Six Flags Golden Kingdom amusement park ride is called "the king of roller coasters" for good reason — it is the tallest and fastest roller coaster in North America running at speeds of up to 128 miles per hour and featuring a u-shaped track at 45 stories high (that's 456 feet).
As if that wasn't terrifying enough, the coaster is planning for more death-defying drops and spirals with new additions... the ride is temporarily closed until the work is complete which will likely be just in time for the summer.