The most insane new U.S. roller coasters - WKRN News 2

The most insane new U.S. roller coasters

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The Banshee at King's Island in Mason, Ohio, is billed as the longest inverted coaster in the world. King's Island photo The Banshee at King's Island in Mason, Ohio, is billed as the longest inverted coaster in the world. King's Island photo
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You'll flip head over heels for this summer's bumper crop of new roller coasters.

"It's going to be a crazy good year," says Dave Lipnicky, an economist and volunteer public relations director for American Coaster Enthusiasts, an international group with 5,000 members.

Along with a couple of petrifying new record-breakers (highest, fastest and other superlatives go with coasters like tracks and inversions), U.S. amusement parks are also investing in new technologies and family friendly thrill rides.

"In the '70s, parks were pulling out their kiddie rides to make room for the teen-drawing bigger, faster, stomach-tightening rides," Lipnicky says. "This summer, there are plenty of those, but we're also seeing a nice balance in the major installments."

Here are 10 top new roller coasters you'll be screaming about for a long time:

Goliath

Six Flags Great America, Gurnee, Illinois

This new wooden coaster debuted May 24 breaks three -- count 'em, three -- world records. It has the longest drop, the steepest drop and goes faster than any other wooden coaster.

It also flips riders head over heels in two inversions that could make the inevitable air-time and 180-degree zero-G roll seem kinda tame. Daredevil riders, with bated breath, have been keeping tabs on construction via the Goliath Cam on the park's Facebook site. sixflags.com/greatamerica

Bells and whistles:

Length: 3,100 feet

Speed: 72 mph

Height: 165 feet

Insanity: A 180-foot vertical drop that plunges 85 degrees into an underground tunnel

Banshee

Kings Island, Mason, Ohio

Like the mythological creature whose screams break glass, this new $24 million coaster with the same name is sure to terrify anyone who gets near.

Banshee, which opened April 18, is billed as the longest inverted coaster in the world. And, yes, inverted means upside down. It also has a curved drop, a dive loop, a zero-G roll, a batwing, an outside loop spiral and an inline-roll. visitkingsisland.com/banshee

Bells and whistles:

Length: 4,124 feet

Speed: 68 mph

Height: 170 feet

Insanity: Seven inversions and a 170-foot heartline finale

Verruckt, Schlitterbahn

Kansas City, Kansas

Ever since October 1901, when a 63-year-old Michigan school teacher survived a plunge down Niagara Falls in a wooden barrel, daredevils have been dreaming up schemes to ride down the 167-foot monster waterfall.

On Thursday, July 10, Schlitterbahn Kansas City unveils a waterslide/hypercoaster that's actually several feet taller.

And while it's illegal to mount an expedition down Niagara these days (park officials didn't particularly enjoy dealing with mangled bodies), anyone with the guts to climb the 264 stairs can make the 17-story drop on the Verruckt, which means insane in German. The new attraction is the world's tallest water slide. theverruckt.com

Bells and whistles:

Length: Straight down with a second five-story slope

Speed: 65 mph

Height: 17 stories

Insanity: Taller than Niagara Falls, 40% taller and 20% faster than its closest competitor

El Loco

Adventuredome at Circus Circus, Las Vegas

Living up to its name, this hair-raising new coaster that opened February 18 has a turn that banks to the outside, an unheard of gravity-defying feature, even among coaster collectors.

Eleven-year-old Benjamin De Los Santos of St. George, Utah, who won a contest to be one of the first four passengers, said, "I was out of my seat more than I was in it. The first drop was so crazy I accidentally said a bad word."

Don't worry, Benjamin, with each car's built-in sound system playing cheesy hip-hop and rock, your mother probably didn't hear. adventuredome.com/elloco/

Bells and whistles:

Length: 1,300 feet

Speed: 45 mph

Height: 90 feet

Insanity: It banks outside at a 45-degree angle, about 44 degrees further than the average comfort zone.

The Thunderbolt

Luna Park in Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to Coney Island, a new $10 million steel Thunderbolt opened on the site of the original wooden Thunderbolt that terrified thrill seekers from the 1920s through the '80s.

If you saw "Annie Hall," it was the coaster under which Woody Allen's fictional character grew up.

Thunderbolt 2.0 is the park's first to be built since the famous, still-in-operation Cyclone. The Thunderbolt starts with a jaw-dropping 90-degree vertical drop, followed by a 100-foot vertical loop, an 80-foot, zero-G roll, a 112-degree over-banked turn and a custom heartline dive. LunaParkNYC.com

Bells and whistles:

Length: 2,233 feet

Speed: 55 mph

Height: 115 feet

Insanity: A 90-degree plunge

Flying Turns

Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg, Pennsylvania

Most parks would have given up years ago.

But this family-owned amusement park was so determined to recreate the legendary wooden coaster that British barnstorming pilot John Norman Bartlett brought to America in the 1920s that it spent 7½ years melding its old-school thrills (read, laxer safety standards) with today's high-tech safety regulations.

Judging by the stunned reaction from riders in last October's sneak preview/soft opening, it was well worth every trip back to the old drawing board. On April 26, the park opened for Flying Turns' much-anticipated full debut season. knoebels.com

Bells and whistles:

Length: 1,200 feet

Speed: 24 mph

Height: 50 feet

Insanity: You're in a wooden chute without any tracks making very tight turns.

FireChaser Express

Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Dolly Parton herself was there to cut the ribbon on this new coaster that debuted March 22.

Although it's classified in coaster parlance as a "family ride" -- and indeed riders need only be 39 inches tall to board the splashy red fire trucks -- this innovative new ride includes explosions, fireworks, more twists than an Agatha Christie novel and enough special effects that it could get nominated for that category in next year's Oscars. dollywood.com

Bells and whistles:

Length: 2,427 feet

Speed: 34.5 mph

Height: 12 stories

Insanity: Once Big Bertha explodes, you ride backwards all the way to the station.

Lightning Run

Kentucky Kingdom, Louisville, Kentucky

After a five-year hiatus and a $50 million renovation, this amusement park, formerly a part of the Six Flags brand, debuted on May 24 with the new steel Lightning Run.

Joining Stella and Lola, the Twisted Twins that were originally called the Twisted Sisters until the rock group of the same name threatened to sue, Lightning Run has a sleek new car design that sends riders on a negative force camelback that will have them screaming, "Mommy!" kentuckykingdom.com

Bells and whistles:

Length: 2,500 feet

Speed: 55 mph

Height: 100 feet

Insanity: An 80-degree, near-vertical drop

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, Florida

You might be tempted to sniff at the stats (it IS, after all, an all-ages coaster), but this new steel coaster at Disney World's New Fantasyland does a lot more than defy Newton's laws.

According to Disney Imagineer Dave Minichiello, the ride's creative director, this roller coaster-plus has music and interactive elements, goes outside through a forest and inside through the dwarf's mine and is unlike any ride Disney World has ever seen. disneyworld.disney.go.com

Bells and whistles:

Vultures: 2

Dwarfs: 7

Jewels: Diamonds, emeralds, rubies and more

Insanity: The car's platform rocks back and forth.

Roar-O-Saurus

Story Land, Glen, New Hampshire

Big? Bad? Not so much. But when you figure that the Story Land customer base is 12 and under (oh yeah, and their parents), a brand new wooden roller coaster that catches air is pretty extreme.

And because Roar-O-Saurus' numerous twists and turns are built into such a tight space and because it moves at a surprisingly frenetic pace, Lipnicky, of American Coaster Enthusiasts, claims this new dinosaur-led coaster packs an impressive wallop. storylandnh.com

Bells and whistles:

Length: 1,242 feet

Speed: 35 mph

Height: 40 feet

Insanity: 12 moments of airtime

 

  • News 2 Poll

  • What would you do if you got stuck on a roller coaster?

  • Thank you for participating in our poll. Here are the results so far:

    Call 911 on your cell phone
    16%
    14 votes
    Be calm
    25%
    22 votes
    Take photos/video
    31%
    27 votes
    Call your friends/family
    8%
    7 votes
    Scream
    20%
    17 votes
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