*Roller coasters are a part of every great summer I’ve ever had. The first one I ever rode was the Blue Streak, a traditional “out and back” that’s still in operation at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. It features an initial drop of about 65 feet, which was excruciatingly scary when I was a kid. Nowadays, that’s just the warm up to the death traps that are featured at amusement parks around the country.
Cedar Point shows up on a recent list of the most anticipated roller coasters of 2016, but their newest coaster will dwarf the Blue Streak in both size and speed. Let’s take a look some of my favorite reasons to travel next year!
The Joker at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom (Vallejo, California)
Ride manufacturer Rocky Mountain Construction has successfully resurrected aging, jerky wooden coasters across the country. This one’s being repurposed from the park’s former wooden monstrosity Roar, which has been one of my summer faves for the last few years. It’s traditional wooden tracks are being replaced with steel ones, creating what’s sure to be another highly acclaimed, super-smooth hybrid coaster. With three inversions and loads of the out-of-seat airtime that coaster enthusiasts crave, the smooth Batman-themed Joker will literally turn passengers upside down. I’ll be riding it opening day.
Valravn at Cedar Point (Sandusky, Ohio)
For it’s 18th coaster, the self-proclaimed roller coaster capital of the world’s Valravn will climb 223 feet and hang for what will seem like a lifetime (but will really only be four seconds) over the edge of a 90-degree, 214-feet drop. Soon after, the ride will hit a peak speed of 75 mph before hitting a 165-feet tall inversion and a second 90-degree drop. Known as a dive coaster, Valravn will be the world’s tallest and fastest of its type. I don’t need a better reason to visit dear old Mom, who lives just a couple of hours from Cedar Point, for Mother’s Day…which just happens to be the weekend the park opens in 2016!
I have and will always love Dolly Parton, but I’ve never been to her amusement park. Next year might be a good time, with Lightning Rod opening. It will be the world’s first launched wooden coaster, feature a 200+ feet tall and 73-degree steep first drop. With a top speed of 73 mph, it will also be the world’s fastest wooden coaster. And rumor has it the country legend herself pops up at the park throughout the season (although she’s notorious for being afraid to ride the coasters!). Gotta do it!
Mako at SeaWord (Orlando, Florida)
At 200 feet, this ride will tie the record for Florida’s tallest roller coaster and at a top speed of 73 mph, it will be the state’s fastest. And if that’s not scary enough, SeaWorld is erecting Mako in the Sharks Realm section of the park. Perhaps this one will help the embattled park reverse downward attendance trends in the wake of the Blackfish documentary. I have a sister in Orlando, and I miss her and her kids Jessica and…what’s his name again? Time for a visit!
Phobia Phear Coaster at Lake Compounce (Bristol, Connecticut)
This aptly-named ride will feature three magnetic launches both forwards and backwards, with a final launch that will send me and other riders racing 62 mph up and over a 150-feet loop.
Flight of the Hippogriff at Universal Studios (Hollywood, California)
With no inversions, a short lift hill, and a relatively slow speed, this one’s saving grace is it’s one of the attractions at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opening in 2016. THIS muggle can. Not. WAIT!
USA Today’s whole Top 10 list is worth taking a look at, but you can count on me at these next year!