They don’t call Orlando the Theme Park capital of the world for nothing! Between the four theme parks at the Walt Disney World® Resort, two theme parks at Universal Orlando Resort™, and SeaWorld, there are a lot of great rides and attractions for guests to enjoy! For thrill ride junkies, the list includes a lot of great roller coaster options – rides with great theming, lots of drops, and inversions, and even great soundtracks. It was hard to pick just five – but here is what the Key to the World Travel® Advisors picked as their top choices. Let’s see if our list matches up with yours!
Before we get started a few notes on these coasters – these are not for the faint of heart, round of tummy, or short of stature! Each of these rides has height restrictions, as well as health warnings, so be sure to read the signs before entering the queue. In many cases, the restraint systems do not allow for larger individuals to safely be secured, but there are test seats provided at the entrance of the attractions to ensure your ability to ride. Finally, you are not allowed to have any loose items in your pockets – and in some cases, you must pass through metal detectors to assure this rule is followed. This is for your safety, the safety of those around you, and also to keep you from losing items such as keys, wallets, and phones.
Ok, let’s get started with the countdown!
Number 5 – Kracken Unleashed
Kraken Unleashed, located at SeaWorld Orlando is named for the fictional sea monster of the same name. This floorless roller coaster features a total of seven inversions including two vertical loops, a dive loop, a spiraling camelback, a cobra roll, and a corkscrew. When the ride first opened on June 1, 2000, it was named Kraken but was renamed Kraken Unleashed after it’s 2017 refurbishment. During that overhaul, a virtual reality experience was added, however, this experience is no longer available.
Number 4 – Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
The next coaster on our list is located at Universal Studios Florida™, and as you enter the park, you can’t miss it – it’s The Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit! This ride is unique in many ways – from the way that riders are loaded, the music, and the vertical climb – there is a lot going on! As the train enters the station, it slows down but does not stop. There is a moving sidewalk on both sides of the station moving at the same speed as the train so riders can safely load and unload.
From there, riders have about 30 seconds to take their seat, lower the lap-bar, and make their song choice before they start the 167-foot vertical climb! When the train reaches the top of the hill, it drops back to the ground, reaching a maximum speed of 65 miles per hour and then goes through a non-inverting loop, a left upward helix, a non-inverting corkscrew, several turns and hills, as well mid-course brakes, to keep the train from travelling too fast. The first time I ever saw this ride I wondered why no one was screaming – if they were all too scared to even breath as they made the climb and first drop – but I came to realize it was because they were all rocking out to their own personally selected tune to accompany the ride!
Number 3 – The Incredible Hulk Coaster
The number three pick is The Incredible Hulk Coaster at Universal’s Islands of Adventure™. With seven inversions, two subterranean trenches, an almost 150 vertical launch, and speeds up to 67 miles per hour – this is a good ride! When the ride first opened in 1999, riders entered the science laboratory of Dr. Bruce Banner, with a whole bunch of TV’s showing the story of the Hulk – there was also the generator, the gamma core and the towers of power. In 2016, as part of the coaster’s major refurbishment, a new, original storyline was introduced, along with a new queue that puts guests inside a scientific experiment led by General Thaddeus Ross. The ride now features an upgraded launch tunnel and onboard music, and the same track layout from the original Hulk.
Number 2 – Rock ‘n’ Roller® Coaster Starring Aerosmith
Welcome to “G-Force Records”, you are about to get the ride of your life! You may think you are just here to see where Aerosmith makes their music, but before you know it you will be racing across the city of Los Angeles in a super stretch limo hoping to make it in time for their concert! Rock ‘n’ Roller® Coaster Starring Aerosmith is a launched roller coaster located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios®. The enclosed roller coaster accelerates from 0 to 57 mph in 2.8 seconds, and riders experience up to 5 G’s and travel through three inversions, which include half-vertical loops, half-corkscrews, and a sea serpent roll. It is a crazy ride, with lots of good tunes – you are going to love it!
Ok! We made it to the number one recommended roller coaster in Orlando, as ranked by Key to the World Travel® Advisors. Can you guess what it is? Before we get to our number one spot, there are a few other coasters that are worth mentioning!
First is Manta – which is a flying roller coaster, which simulates the way mantas rays appear to fly through seawater. This 3,359 feet coaster at SeaWorld features four inversions; a pretzel loop, two inline twists and one corkscrew.
And now my personal favorite coaster of all time…Mako! This SeaWorld attraction debuted in 2016 as the tallest, longest, and fastest roller coaster in Orlando, and it does not disappoint! While it does not have any inversions, it has plenty of hills and a whole lot of airtime – which is where riders feel a sense of weightlessness going over the hills. This happens many times, and each time is awesome!! Definitely check this ride out!!!
Number 1 – Expedition Everest
Ok, here is our number one pick! To ride this attraction, you have to travel all the way to Asia – at least the Disney’s Animal Kingdom® version of the continent. Expedition Everest opened on April 7, 2006, and tells the story of the Yeti protecting the Forbidden Mountain next to Mount Everest. The queue starts at the office of the fictional “Himalayan Escapes” travel agency, and includes a replica temple with little holy figures, a tea garden, a room with equipment from a successful expedition, and then the “Yeti Museum”, which contains information on the Yeti, and about 8,000 artifacts brought from the Nepal trip in the museum. Once on board the train, riders climb high up into the mountains, but wait, what is that? Broken tracks?!? Through a series of climbs, twists, turns, and drops you will have the time of your life, but watch out for that Yeti!
So there you have it, the top five roller coasters in Orlando as chosen by Key to the World Travel® advisors. How did our list line up with yours? Let us know in the comments below!
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