We are lucky enough in the UK to have a nice variety of theme parks to visit, many of them with some pretty hectic rollercoasters to offer the thrill-seekers a decent return of fun in exchange for their entrance fee. Contrary to the popular mantra (and indeed the name of a very mild ride that can be experienced at Walt Disney Resort Florida) of “it’s a small world after all”, it really isn’t. But that’s a good thing because on this gigantic planet you will find some of the most incredible rollercoasters ever built by the human race – so I’ve decided to go ahead and voice my own opinions about what I feel are simply the best rollercoasters to exist in the world today.
Top 10 Rollercoasters in the World
Thrill rides are much like Marmite in many respects: some people absolutely love being hurtled around at high speed with their altitude oscillating at a dizzying rate, while others feel this is an earthly version of hell. How anyone feels about your average rollercoaster is irrelevant for two reasons: one, because there are thousands of them in existence anyhow in thousands of locations around the world; and two – because this article isn’t about just your average rollercoaster rides. This page is dedicated solely to only the most extreme, the most frightening, most dizzying, and what are as a result generally considered by many to be among the best rollercoaster rides that you can experience on this planet. You can be any height to read this – prepare for a dizzying Top 10.
There are many ways to judge a rollercoaster and even separate rankings out there that determine the coasters’ worth through properties like height, speed, steepness, length, and inversion. The list below is merely a reflection of how incredible the rollercoasters within it are overall. It takes many of these properties into consideration. For example, just because Kingda Ka at Six Flags is the tallest, doesn’t mean it is necessarily the best.
1 - Superman: Ride of Steel - Maryland,USA
The Superman: Ride of Steel ride is in the hypercoaster class of rollercoaster. This in itself doesn’t make the ride unique, nor does its height – 215 feet isn’t exactly gigantic compared to some of the bigger hitters in this list – but what does make this ride amazing is the overall experience, which includes zipping around at 73mph around the track’s 5,400 foot length. Low-banked turns can be expected in number, as well as a number of DNA helixes and 20.5 stories of level of elevation on this magnificent beast.
If you perhaps want to have a taste of how great of an experience this rollercoaster is, you’ll have to visit Six Flags America in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, USA. You can also get a little sampler of the experience if you visit the official Superman: Ride of Steel page on the Six Flags website.
2 - Formula Rossa - Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
If you want to experience the greatness of Formula Rossa, you’re going to have to first hop on a plane to Abu Dhabi and then visit the Ferrari World amusement park. For coaster connoisseur however, this is a small sacrifice to make in order to experience a rollercoaster that is able to propel those who dare to ride it up to a top speed of 150mph. If that isn’t enough, this speed is reached in a mere 4.9 seconds, with anyone riding at the front required to wear protective glasses for their own safety. Can you imagine such an experience? It’s a shame that the UAE is such a trek for most people, but if you happen to be passing through the country then make a point to visit the Ferrari World amusement park, a place that is as luxurious an experience as it is an entertaining one.
3 – Top Thrill Dragster - Ohio, USA
Even though it isn’t all about size for many when it comes to rollercoasters, Top Thrill Dragster isn’t exactly lacking in this department. This coaster has a height of around 420 feet, launched hydraulically at the start, and with a gigantic 400 foot drop. Though the whole thing is over in about 17 seconds, it’s a pretty damned thrilling half a minute let me tell you. It exists as one of only two strata roller coasters in the world, with the other being Kingda Ka. This one takes you from 0-120mph in under 4 seconds however, which.. well let’s just leave those stats to do the talking.
This is another American roller coaster, this time located in Ohio at Cedar Point, with the official coaster page located here.
4 – Kingda Ka - New Jersey, USA
Yet another USA-based coaster here, but Kingda Ka is deserving of its place here, as well as the reputation that precedes it worldwide. Kingda Ka is the second of only two strata-type rollercoasters in the world, and it has some impressive (or scary, depending on how you see it) stats: an upside-down U-shaped track extends 456 feet into the sky, with a top speed of 128 mph. This ride lasts about 50 seconds, but it will likely be one of the most thrilling 50 seconds of your life.
This record-breaking coaster is yet again found at six-flags, and is reminiscent of one of those coasters you build in Rollercoaster Tycoon just to push the boundaries. Kingda Ka is very real however; those who have experienced it will attest to this quite strongly.
5 – Takabisha - Fujiyoshida, Japan
Well, how do you go about introducing a rollercoaster with a drop that measures at an angle of 121 degrees? Takabisha is to this day the world’s steepest rollercoaster, though it isn’t pushing any boundaries in terms of height – its highest point is 121 feet. This coaster is all about that drop however, as well as the 0-62mph acceleration that takes just two seconds. Intrigued? You should be. Go visit the manufacturer’s website for a bit more information on this behemoth.
6 – Goliath - Illinois, USA
Another Six Flags offering, sure, but this is a wooden rollercoaster that is one of the few of its kind that turns its subjects upside down in giant spirals, as well as offering a healthy 182-foot drop. 72mph is the speed you’re going to reach on this one, which isn’t record-breaking, but the experience as a whole is one that cannot be missed.
7 – Expedition Geforce - Hassloch, Germany
This is one of the largest rollercoaster in Europe, and its name should be enough to terrify any non-coaster creatures out there. For the coaster lovers however, this beast offers 7 instances of weightlessness that follow its first 82-foot drop. It is 174ft tall at its highest point, but this ride is all about those periods of weightlessness that make it one of the more unique coasters on this list.
8 – Vertical Velocity - Gurnee, Illinois, USA
Yet another Six Flags rollercoaster here, but it is still deserving of its place here simply because of its unusual inverted steel design. The track length is just 200m but designed in a U-shape that has vertical spikes on each end – one with a simple (yet terrifying) backwards vertical freefall and the other a twisted one. It isn’t the fastest, tallest, or most drastic coaster out there, but its design wins it a place here.
9 – Steel Dragon 2000 - Mie Prefecture, Japan
This coaster is beautiful to look at but not so pleasant to ride. This one once held the record for the tallest full-circuit roller coaster (which it lost) but still holds the record for the longest track length for any coaster in the world, at 2,479m.
10 – Tower of Terror II – Queensland, Australia
This masterpiece consists of an L-shaped track which is the blueprint for an experience that takes its subjects up to a terrifying precipice, slowing down before it sends them into freefall. This ride reaches top speeds of just under 100mph, but the real attraction is the weightlessness and the resulting 4.5Gs of force. This one is not for the faint of heart. I suggest you take a peek at the experience at the Dreamworld Tower of Terror II page before you go booking your flights.