When it comes to roller coasters, a lot of people sometimes say bigger isn’t better, yet the theme parks, year after year, continue to push the envelope with just how high and how fast their coasters can go. Orlando is home to one of the best collections of roller coasters in the world; the theme park wars here truly push designers to their limits in providing top-notch thrills for their guests.
We’ve dug through the stats and have narrowed down the top five tallest and fastest roller coasters in Orlando. Hold on – this is going to be one crazy ride.
5. Dragon Challenge – Islands of Adventure
The originally-named Dueling Dragons opened with Islands of Adventure back in 1999 and was later changed to Dragon Challenge after the Boy Wizard took over the area in 2010, when that section of land became known as The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade. The ride consisted of two roller coasters that would duel with one another, including three “close encounters” where the two would seem to almost collide with one another. Unfortunately, the dueling nature of the coaster was removed in 2011, but Dragon Challenge is still unbelievably fun.
Rumors are now swirling that Dragon Challenge’s time is limited and will be shut down permanently soon for a new addition to Islands of Adventure, possibly even to expand The Wizarding World once again.
4. Manta – SeaWorld Orlando
Manta opened at SeaWorld Orlando in 2009 and still remains, to this day, the only flying coaster in Florida. Guests are positioned under the track as if they are Superman and are lifted 140 feet in the air, experiencing four inversions throughout the 3,359 feet of track this way. Manta also sports a fantastic queue, featuring several aquariums that total 184,000 gallons and that allow guests to view stingrays and other marine life up close. Finally, the coaster features a unique double station where two trains can be loaded simultaneously, allowing for faster loading times and, in return, a quicker-moving line.
3. Kraken – SeaWorld Orlando
SeaWorld probably has the best collection of roller coasters in Orlando (with the exception of a few at Universal Orlando). Kraken is a big reason why.
The ride opened at SeaWorld Orlando in 2000 as one of three floorless coasters that debuted in the US that year. Kraken’s theme is based upon a mythological creature that resembles a giant squid and that was said to be found off the coast of Norway and Greenland. Kraken, the roller coaster, stands 149 feet tall, features seven inversions, and reaches a top speed of 65 MPH throughout its 4,177 feet of track. The roller coaster ends with an underground dive into the Kraken’s lair.
Kraken will reopen in summer 2017 as Kraken Unleashed. The attraction’s queue and station will get a makeover and virtual reality will be introduced to the ride, which will be optional.
2. Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit – Universal Studios Florida
Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit opened in August of 2009 at Universal Studios Florida. The roller coaster features a unique vertical lift hill that stands 167 feet tall and reaches a top speed of 65 MPH. Its cars feature on-board speakers and a touchscreen for guests to select a song to listen to while they ride – there’s even a “hidden” list of songs for guests to access. The roller coaster cars also featuring flashing LED lights that light up as the ride whips through its 3,800 feet of track. Then there’s also its non-inverting loop and several near-misses when another car flies by you.
Mako is the first roller coaster to open at SeaWorld since Manta in 2009, and it’s the tallest and fastest coaster in Orlando. It opened to rave reviews as Orlando’s first and only hypercoaster (a coaster at least 200 feet in height), and it’s no surprise why: reaching 73 MPH over its 4,760 feet of track, it boasts nine airtime hills where guests seem to float out of their seats, providing an exhilarating experience. The ride also features a unique soundtrack that features several speakers located throughout the attraction that builds as guests climb the lift hill. All of this combined with a uniquely-themed queue makes Mako not only the tallest roller coaster in Orlando, but quite possibly the best.