Thrill Ride: All You Need to Know

Although Kevin Hart and Jimmy Fallon may have exaggerated their fear of roller coasters for humors sake in the above video, there are many people that do actually share anxiety over the experience. While some have this roller coaster phobia, others are constantly looking for the adrenaline rush that these rides can provide. Why is that?

With technology making so many advances in the last few decades, coaster engineers have been able to safely design and implement roller coasters that were once thought to be a mission of impossible extremes. So, what does the timeline of roller coaster models look like?

There are thousands of roller coasters located all over the world today. Thousands of people still flock to these coasters for a thrilling experience. What are the tallest and fastest roller coasters in the world?

Whether you are a roller coaster enthusiast or you are skeptical of these large contraptions or you are just somewhere in between these two extremes, here is everything you need to know about roller coasters… and more.


The science behind roller coasters

There’s science behind you screaming at the top of your lungs and throwing your arms in the air? Yes, of course! And I’m not referring to the physics involved in designing roller coasters (although that is a pretty important part), I’m talking about the psychological and biological aspects.ControllingGenesWithLightNewTechniqueCanRapidlyTurnGenesOnAndOffHelpingScientistsBetterUnderstandTheirFunction

Recent research done by Frank Farley, a psychologist at Temple University has identified genes that may incite individuals to pursue new experiences. The U.S. National Library of Medicine defines a gene as “the basic physical and functional unit of heredity.” Traits are passed from each parent to their offspring through genes. Genes determine characteristics of your personality, as well as characteristics of your physical appearance.

A biochemist for the University of California, Irvine, Robert Moyzis suggests that the gene that causes humans to seek new adventures and acclimate to different challenges was very advantageous when our ancestors began to explore the world. Moyzis has conducted some research on the DRD4 gene, which he believes was more frequently found in those that traveled farther to settle in new lands than in those who stayed behind. DRD4 is also the gene associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. Those that have this chronic disorder often experience problems with paying attention for longer periods of time and hyperactivity.

Genes might be part of the reason why you love or hate roller coasters. However, past experiences and the people that you surround yourself with can also be to blame for how you feel about thrills.


Coasting through history

 1400s- The “Russian Mountains” were constructed in the area of St. Petersburg, Russia. These were handmade hills built out of ice, in which people would sled down them.

1817-  Wheels are added to the ride for the first time in Paris.

1840- The first looping coaster was assembled in Britain.

1884- The first commercial roller coaster is accessible at Coney Island, New York and is called “The Switchback”.

1902- “Leap-The-Dips” opens at Lakemont Park in Pennsylvania. It is the oldest operating coaster presently.

1955- Walt Disney opens Disneyland in California.

1979- “The Beast”, the world’s longest roller coaster is accessible in Ohio. Today it is still the longest wooden ride (7,400 feet).

1982- The first stand up roller coaster is introduced in Japan.

2005- The world’s tallest and fastest roller coaster is unveiled at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey. The Kingda Ka stands 456 feet tall and travels at 128 mph.

2015- The “Fury-325” located in North Carolina is the world’s tallest and fastest giga roller coaster.

Your safety matters

Thousands of people entrust their lives to the designers and maintenance keepers of roller coasters as they plummet from hundreds of feet in the air and travel at high speeds. Some might wonder as they reach the top of the first incline, is this safe?

The answer to that is ultimately yes. While there have been some incidents associated with roller coasters, extreme measures have been taken to ensure that these incidents are extremely rare and limited.

Not only do parks have their own inspection programs, the government has additional codes and requirements that must be met and checked on a regular basis. Technicians test rides every day several times before the park opens. “We inspect every length of track, every car and every lap bar,” stated Dan West, the rides maintenance manager for Paramount Kings Dominion Park in Doswell, Virginia.

Every coaster goes through monthly and yearly inspections too. These are more extensive and often involve taking apart the roller coaster and rebuilding it, and replacing wood or steel on the track.

Park officials must make rider safety a top priority, not just because it is the moral thing to do but also because they cannot afford to have the parks reputation destroyed by a major accident.

And although there are codes and regulations installed by officials to handle your safety, make sure you do what you can to provide for your own safety. These measures might include

  • Secure your clothing, hair, jewelry, and any other loose articles before getting on the ride.
  • Do not ignore the listed age, weight, height, and health conditions.
  • Keep your head, arms, and legs inside the ride at all times.
  • Always have your head and eyes facing forward to prevent neck injuries.
  • Wait until you are told to unbuckle.


And the “more”

Have you ever dreamed of having your wedding on a roller coaster? Probably not, but good news! You can get married on a roller coaster and many couples have done just that.

The New York-New York Casino and Resort in Las Vegas has a special wedding package. It grants couples the chance to tie the knot on a 67 mph roller coaster. For a cost between $600 and $700, the resort will direct a 15 minute ceremony with a minister included.


Thrill Ride: The Mystery of the Tower of Terror


Roller coasters have definitely come a long way since 1884, when admission to the first noteworthy, commercial roller coaster began. The Switchback Railway was the located at Coney Island in New York and designed by LaMarcus Thompson. It only cost 5 cents to ride it and went at a great speed of 6 miles per hour. We travel about two times faster than that on a bicycle and ten times faster than that in a car. Today, roller coasters reach heights of 300 (+) ft and speeds of 90 (+) mph. Thousands of people still visit these rides and pay a significant amount of money for an experience that often lasts less than a minute. Why is that? For one, it is the thrill and anticipation involved. The anticipation of waiting in line, getting buckled in, climbing the slow ascent to the top of the first drop and finally, the anticipation of the seemingly long pause right before you descend. Our hearts beat faster and there are butterflies in our stomachs, and we cannot seem to get enough. Also, what makes a roller coaster so popular is the story behind it, or the theme. It gives us thrill seekers something more to connect to on an emotional level and therefore, making the ride more riveting.


The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror







Location: Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney California Adventure Park, Tokyo DisneySeaWalt Disney Studios Park in Paris

Thrill factor: 7 out of 10


The popularity of this ride is surrounded by its spooky and haunting atmosphere. The chilling exterior of the ride itself adds an element that most rides lack. The mysterious story behind the Tower of Terror plays on rider’s imaginations, especially since riders are shuffled into a dark, closed in hotel room to watch a pre-ride video. The video features Rod Sterling from the Twilight Series and explains the background of the hotel and the incident that apparently happened on Halloween in 1939. The theme is continued on throughout the rest of the building, with ghostly images and park attendants managing the ride dressed as hotel employees. The height of this attraction is also pretty intimidating. At a height of 199 feet, it can be seen through trees at other various Disney locations. But my personal favorite part of this roller coaster is the free fall. The anticipation of the drop is honestly one of the most intense ones I have ever experienced. You can feel your “elevator” slowly rise to the top and then the doors open to reveal that you can see over the entire park. As you are beginning to enjoy this view, almost forgetting that you are on a roller coaster, the elevator falls. Not to mention, it falls at a rate faster than the speed of gravity and you are unaware of how many times it is going to drop. All of these factors make for a perfect roller coaster that always attracts more people back.