Think Orlando is geared mainly toward kids? Think again. Sure, the city has plenty of child-friendly rides, but it’s also full of thrills for adults. Case in point: the huge variety of roller coasters spread out across the Disney World, Universal and SeaWorld parks. If you’re looking for nostalgic coasters, Disney’s classic Space Mountain or Big Thunder Mountain Railroad should do the trick. Have a hankering for thrills? SeaWorld Orlando and the two Universal Studios Orlando parks are full of soaring, diving, scream-inducing rides. There are even hybrid coasters such as Universal’s Revenge of the Mummy, which blends the dips and dives of a coaster with the magic of audioanimatronics, film, fire and immersive storytelling. In fact, the only reason it doesn’t make this list is that it’s so much more than just a coaster. If you’re looking for classic coasters with special touches, these five are some of the best.
The idea of this SeaWorld Orlando coaster, opened in 2009, is that you’re a giant stingray, gliding, spinning, and flying headfirst through the air. But this coaster—the only one of its kind in the world— is so much more than that. You’ll be facedown for much of the ride, which makes for some serious heart-pounding thrills. Afterwards, visit some real rays at the nearby Manta Aquarium or Stingray Lagoon.
Also at SeaWorld Orlando, find this floorless coaster. Your feet will dangle as you hurtle through the air at up to 65 miles per hour. The idea of the coaster is that a mythological underwater beast is sending you looping, diving and corkscrewing. According to SeaWorld, Kraken will lift you higher, drop you longer and spiral you faster than any other Orlando-area coaster. Get ready to scream your head off.
The Incredible Hulk Coaster
Themed after the comic book character of the same name, this Islands of Adventure coaster accelerates from 0 to 40 miles per hour in the first two hair-raising seconds of the ride before sending you whipping down a track with seven inversions and two subterranean trenches. It’ll leave you breathless.
Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
If you’re a music fan, you’ll love this Universal Studios coaster, which includes the world’s first non-inverting loop and allows you to pick your soundtrack. Make sure to search the internet for “Rip Ride Rockit Hidden Songs” before you go if you want a wider selection of musical tracks. And if you’re at Disney World, try Hollywood Studios’ similar Rock’n’Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith.
Sure, Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain are classics, and the brand-new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is currently one of Disney World’s most popular rides. But if you’re assessing coasters by their creativity and thrill-worthiness, look no further than Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. You’ll encounter the mythical Yeti and hurtle backwards in this imaginative, exhilarating ride.