Wild Roller Coaster Rides in Orlando's Theme Parks
By Lauren Tjaden
The City Beautiful offers an array of rides with death-defying plunges, hair-raising twists and turns, and optics guaranteed to make your head spin – all of them designed to make you scream.
At 300 feet high, it’s hard to miss the world’s tallest SkyCoaster, towering above Fun Spot Amusement Park in Kissimmee. You’ll see visitors dangling from the thrill ride, described as part skydiving and part hang gliding, even before you park your car. After being winched to the top of the launch tower – by yourself, or with one or two other brave souls – you’ll be rewarded with a gut-wrenching freefall. Then, you’ll swing back and forth – before returning safely to the ground.
Named for a mythical sea monster, Kraken is the tallest, fastest and only floorless steel wild roller coaster in Orlando. Located at SeaWorld Orlando, this beast-of-a-ride was featured on the Travel Channel TV series Insane Coaster Wars in 2012, receiving first place in the Wrong Way Up category. Consistently ranked among the top 10 rides by coaster enthusiasts, Kraken boasts U-turns, inclines, loops, rolls and a spin. And every detail is complete: the track arches over a Serpent's Lagoon squirming with live eels to represent Kraken’s offspring.
Take a spin on Universal’s Islands of Adventure’s groundbreaking 3-D ride, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, to enter a thrilling web of sound, feel and sight. The line between reality and illusion will blur as you bang through the streets, scale skyscrapers and plunge to the ground in a simulated 400-foot freefall. This virtual, innovative experience won Amusement Today's Golden Ticket Award as the world’s Best Dark Ride seven times, was honored as the world's Best Attraction by Theme Park Insider four times, and won the 2000 Best Attraction award by the Themed Entertainment Association.
The Incredible Hulk
Just looking at the immense, twisted track of The Incredible Hulk Coaster, sprawled across Universal's Islands of Adventure, is enough to make your palms sweat. But taking a trip on the towering green monster brings crazy to a whole new level. You’ll start by accelerating from zero to 40 mph in two seconds flat, with the force equal to that of a jet taking off from an aircraft carrier. Hang on, because the party’s just getting started. You’ll launch 150 feet toward the heavens, reach top speeds of 67 mph, and be treated to seven inversions and two subterranean trenches before the Hulk’s rampage is finished.
For a truly out-of-this-world experience, rocket over to Mission: SPACE at Walt Disney World’s Epcot. This adventure includes authentic NASA-style training and a space launch on a shuttle simulator. You’ll prepare for a mission to Mars on the X-2 Deep Space Shuttle at the International Space Training Center. You can pick from two levels of intensity for your training mission. Both teams use a centrifuge that spins and tilts to simulate speed and G-forces, but the Orange Team experience is more intense than the Green Team. You’ll board your vessel, brace yourself for the incredible rush of lift-off, and then curve around the moon. Next, you’ll attempt a precarious precision landing on the Red Planet’s alien surface. If you keep all your fingers and toes crossed you might just make it back to Earth.
These radical rides are just the tip of Orlando’s awesome offerings. So start exploring. After all, why live on the edge when you can jump off it?