The next best thing to riding shotgun in a stock car burning rubber on the race track at speeds of 190 mph is sharing a similar experience of speed and force with 35 of your friends seated adjacent. We’re talking roller coasters of the big, fast and intense variety. We’d draw a Venn diagram to help illustrate our criteria, but it’d be all three words in the same circle.
Taking a group to the theme park is sure to please. Coaster aficionados travel across the country (and globe) to ride the most extreme new coasters. Let’s take a look at our top 5 list of best coaster parks for group travelers with a need for speed.
Cedar Point, considered to be the world’s roller coaster capital, is home to many landmark thrill rides, but our pick goes to Millenium Force. The world’s first Giga Coaster broke 10 world records upon its debut in 2000 and ranks among many coaster fans’ top lists even today. At a height of 310 feet with a 300 foot drop, trains reach a top speed of 93 miles per hour before plunging into two enclosed tunnels and intense overbanked turns across a lagoon and small island. Over 6,500 ft of steel track keep the adrenaline pumping for nearly 2 minutes and 20 seconds. The coaster has ranked number one for seven years each by the Golden Ticket Awards and the National Amusement Park Historical Association.
Although not the fastest, longest or most intense roller coaster, this ride made our list for the fond memories. It’s a wooden coaster, an incredible beast of planks and studs, and delivers on “air-time.” Located in the Mitten State, Michigan’s Adventure Amusement Park is a smaller theme park but made national headlines when this coaster debuted in 1998. Today it is the 6th longest wooden roller coaster at 5,383 feet long. From its debut to the present day, it consistently ranks among the top ten wooden roller coasters.
The second Giga Coaster on our list, Intimidator 305 incorporates intense speed, dizzying G-forces and even more speed. Did we mention the speed? In fact, this coaster was so fast that when it opened in 2010, Kings Dominion installed trim brakes to slow the trains down by 4 mph, dialing things back to 90mph. Even still, riders can experience a “gray out” in which the curve at the bottom of the first drop hits your body hard with gravity.
This is a fun coaster as it’s one of the first floorless coasters in the world. Built at Six Flags Fiesta in San Antonio in 2000, this coaster held the record for the world’s tallest vertical loop at 145 feet for a solid thirteen years. Keep those legs kicking and don’t lose a shoe as riders reach the top speed of 70 miles per hour. Add six inversions to the mix, and try to keep it together when exiting the car.
At the moment, this is the tallest roller coaster in the world (and also one of the most expensive, coming in at $25 million). Shield your eyes from the sun as you look up 456 ft to the top of the coaster. What goes up, must come down, and Kingda Ka comes down at an astonishing 128 mph. Hold on for dear life and try not to close those eyes as the ride comes to a close after only 28 seconds. A special hydraulic launch design means riders hit full speed after only 3.5 seconds. There’s no arguing against this coaster’s insane, unforgettable speed.
Round up your friends to board a motorcoach and head for the fastest coaster near you. Take look in our charter bus directory to find transportation providers who’ll drive your group, allowing you to focus on the fun and excitement that theme parks have to offer.