From smack-bang in the middle of the bell curve

Life’s a roller coaster!

In top 10 on January 14, 2007 at 2:44 pm

There’s a reason for the title to the post…but for now…my top nine (am sue me) roller coaster rides ever…

9. X-Flight (Six Flags – Ohio)

This one’s on the list mainly because it was my first experience of a roller coaster outside of the dizzying terrors at Esselworld. That and the fact that you lay on your back to get strapped into this monster which then corkscrewed its way through space with your perception of the three coordinates severely impaired. They ‘decomissioned’ it last year when the park was sold by Six-Flags

8. Batman – Knight Flight (Six Flags – Ohio)

Who would think of changing a name like that to ‘Dominator’?! Sure, there were franchise issues, but certainly no clause that excluded the use of a smidgeon of creativity? Unlike most other rides where you board at ground level and are taken up by the ride, here you board almost at the top of the ride. The procedure itself is awesome with the floor falling away once you’re strapped in. Really long ride this one with swooshes and really tall vertical loops make you think its all happening in slow-motion except when the drops skims lake Michigan.

7. Dr. Doom’s Fearfall (Universal Islands of Adventure – Florida)

They say its all in the mind. And does this ride do a good job of screwing with precisely that! Once strapped in, the slow…painfully slow climb to the top…the vista of the park unfolding in front of your eyes…all other noises dying down and all you hear are the voices in your head. Or rather, those condemned alongside you. Imagine hearing the following from your ‘formerly fearless’ brethren as it almost reaches the top “Mummy!”…wasn’t me…honest. The ensuing power descent from 150 feet…to ‘land’, bounce up half that distance and to finally settle at the bottom. Makes you fall in love with terra firma, this one.

6. Big Shot (Stratosphere Hotel – Las Vegas)

“Those with vertigo, not a good idea!” The rides brilliance is its simplicity, a vertical shaft on the roof of the Stratosphere hotel in sin city. Strap you in, countdown music, and boom! Rocketed up (quite literally), you forget the unadulterated terror that makes you ask yourself if you have a death-wish as you see all of the city that’s brighter at night than it is in the day. You bounce a couple of times and when the ride ends, you’re still almost a kilometer above ground-level.

5. Magnum XL-200 (Cedar Point – Ohio)

Supposedly the grand-daddy of all the other gleaming steel skeletons at the park, its biography reading over 10 years of sterling service and the benign looking structure made us line up for it as a break from its diabolically homicidal spawn all around. I mean what self-respecting roller coaster has a thin steel bar across the seats as the only restraint?! But those thoughts subsided gradually as the chain-lift took kept climbing to its full height of what was once a record 205 feet. And ‘benign’ is not the word on your minds when its hurtling towards Lake Erie and veering aways inches (or so it seems) from the surface. The significance of the flimsy-looking restraint became clear when that was all that kept you from being launched from your seat on the coaster that provides maximum “airtime

4. Superman Ultimate Escape (Six-Flags Ohio)

Since the park was sold by Six-Flags, its been renamed to a rather vague ‘Steel Venom’ but this one brought tears to my eyes…mostly cause of the chilly spring air stinging them, partly cause of pure terror. P and I decided the only way to fly was up front and after being strapped in to the suspended seats dangling from the U-shaped frame, we barely had time to brace when the “catapult-launch” system sent us spiralling up one arm of the ‘U’. Up front, with nothing to see but clear blue sky and your own feet, just as you feel weightless, gravity beckons…back down the arm, and up the other…remember..backwards. The other arm is a vertical climb and as it reaches its full height…it stops! Picture being strapped in…abt 10 storeys up… facing vertically downward, your body weight supported by the harness across your chest…motionless. And then the inexorable plummet towards earth and no amount of logic can convince your brain that you aren’t going to be smashed into the ground. Ultimate escape indeed.

3. Dueling Dragons (Universal Islands of Adventure – Florida)

Several inversions, one zero-g roll, a Cobra roll, two corkscrews and two vertical loops. If those terms mean nothing but jargon, how about the l’il bit of trivia that this roller coaster is essentially two roller coaster intertwined in a manner that three times during the course of the ride, you come within colliding distance (18 inches) of the flailing arms and legs of the other coaster. They’re called ‘Fire’ and ‘Ice’ and when the line to embark splits off at one point with a sign that says “Make your choice”, brrr…That first time that you round a curve and see the terrified faces on the ‘dueling’ coaster hurtling towards you to veer off at the metaphoric ‘last’ moment…damn!

2. Millenium Force (Cedar Point – Ohio)

The marketing folk decided that a new term befit the first coaster to break the 300 foot height barrier and called it the first ‘giga-coaster’ in the world. Its the stereotypical old-fashioned roller coaster with huge hills, steep drops…no 360s or loops on this one. Had it not been for that other monster, this one’s quite easily the scariest ride in the world.

1. Top thrill Dragster (Cedar Point – Ohio)

It was the newest addition to the park and the banners screamed it deserved every superlative there was – tallest, fastest and yeah…frikkin’ scariest…420 feet tall, 120 mph top-speed (from 0 in 4 seconds)…90 degree drop. The damn thing stalled twice (not with people in it) as we stood in line waiting. More than twice, the bunch of us immigrants looked at each other wondering if final calls home were called for. The sheer audacity of this ride is..well…you figure it out…

  1. Man, you reminded me of the last time I had been one a few of these. Now am itching to go back again. However, I have to say this – the roller coasters have no comparison to an actual free-fall. I took a swing on a 180+ foot rope and in the first few seconds – life almost stopped, before the rope found its tesntion and swung me from one end of the park to the other! Most spectacular view I have had!

  2. i agree…somehow the optimal combination of opportunity and nerve have evaded me thus far 🙂 but someday soon…

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