The world's first roller coaster opened 200 years ago today

By Diana Pearl
April 13, 2017 04:31 PM
Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg/Getty

The world’s first rollercoaster opened 200 years ago today — and since then, we’ve come a long way from the rickety wood rides of your great-great-grandma’s day. Here, the rides that will give the most seasoned of coaster fans twinges of anxiety before take off.

1. Gravity Max at Lihpao Land Discovery World in Taiwan.

Taiwainians just may be the most daring coaster riders in the world. The Gravity Max coaster rises to 114 feet before the track “breaks,” sending riders down a 90-degree angle turn — meaning straight down — in a drop that’ll have your heart racing out of your chest.

2. Formula Rossa at Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi.

Ferrari World is a park inspired by the world of professional race car driving, so it’s a fitting home for the world’s fastest coaster, the Formula Rosa, with a speed topping out at 149 miles per hour.

3. Full Throttle at Six Flags Magic Mountain in California.

This ride will take you for a loop — literally. The California-set coaster has the tallest vertical loop on any coaster in the world, at 160 feet.

4. Steel Dragon 2000 at Nagashima Spa Land in Japan.

For those who are hit with a wave of disappointment every time the ride comes to a (screeching) halt, this rollercoaster is for you. The Steel Dragon 2000 is the world’s longest rollercoaster at 8,133 feet, a record its held since it opened in 2000 — fittingly, the year of the dragon.

5. Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey.

The current record holder for the world’s tallest coaster (456 feet!) and the second fastest (top speed is 128 miles per hours.) The ride is short, with just one drop — but it’s big enough to make up for the quick ride.

6. Goliath at Six Flags Great America in Illinois.

This rollercoaster’s wood makeup may have you thinking it’s old-fashioned and outdated — not the case. It holds three world records for wooden coasters: Biggest drop (180 feet), steepest drop (85 degrees — nearly a right angle!), and fastest speed (72 miles per hour.)

7. Wicked Twister at Cedar Point in Ohio.

Cedar Point is practically the world’s rollercoaster capital, with 16 coasters and 71 total rides in its borders. One of the best? The Wicked Twister, the tallest and fasted inverted rollercoaster in the world. Wicked Twister shoots you up 215 foot tall spikes, which, of course, twist as you go up.

8. Takabisha, at Fuji-Q Highland Theme Park in Japan.

Those wary of steep drops, beware. Takabisha — which means “domineering” in Japanese — has the world’s steepest drop, at a whooping 121 degrees.

9. Fury 325 at Carowinds in North and South Carolina.

This coaster stretches across the North and South Carolina border, which is already pretty cool, but is made even more epic with its massive initial drop followed by twists, turns, and yes, you guessed it, more drops.

10. GateKeeper at Cedar Point in Ohio.

Another record-setter at Cedar Point is the GateKeeper, a “Wing Coaster” (a coaster where you sit on the side of the track, with nothing above or below you) with the highest inversion in the world, at 170 feet.