What keeps roller coaster fans coming back for more? The thrills, of course. For roller coaster enthusiasts, the undeniable adrenaline rush of steep drops, twisting turns, and scream-inducing inversions is absolutely delicious. Like sinking your teeth into a sizzling Red Robin Burnin love burger, roller coasters give an explosion of sensations that are both intense and ultra addictive.
As a roller coaster aficionado myself, I can totally relate to this insatiable appetite for thills. So for the sake of yet another roller coaster top ten list, I conducted a few polls with my viewers to decide which ride truly packs the biggest punch. The results certainly did not disappoint. Today, we’ll be running through a countdown of the most intense, holy shrek on a pogo stick rides as voted on by you the fans.
Now, let me be clear – this list isn’t the be-all and end-all of roller coaster intensity rankings. Every coaster offers a unique blend of exciting elements, and one poll alone can’t reflect every opinion on earth. So feel free to drop a comment below and share what the most intense coaster you’ve ridden is. With that being said, let’s get started.
Number 10: El Toro at New Jersey’s Six Flags Great Adventure
Some say wooden coasters are old fashioned, but there are some truly insane creations made of lumber. Many wooden coasters out there rank as some of the best rides at their respective parks. In fact, one attraction took the experience to an entirely new level: El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure. Intamin’s marvel of engineering and design opened to the public in 2006, and since then, it has been delivering gut-busting drops, insane speed, and spring-loaded airtime that’s still standing strong at the park.
After exiting the station, you ascend the initial cable lift hill, taking you to the top much faster than a standard cable lift. After building up some nice speed, you’ll be met with perhaps the greatest first drop on any wooden coaster. To say this drop is a gut-busting masterpiece of gravity is a true understatement. You just get yanked down that drop, and you’ll get even more pull you feel if you’re in the back seat.
Immediately afterwards, you’ll navigate a number of massive, high-velocity airtime hills. To put it bluntly, this coaster means business. Because not only to these hills give you some truly bonkers airtime, but some of them weave into the structure, allowing for some truly heart-palpatating headchopper effects.
Coaster novices are likely to find themselves holding on for dear life, as the coaster races through its layout like a germaphobe for the hand sanitizer. its layout with a velocity that will leave you breathless.
What truly sets El Toro apart is the sheer insanity of its airtime. This ride practically launches you out of your seat with each hill and drop. This sensation of weightlessness is unlike anything else, making you feel like you’re on the wings of an out of control eagle. It’s as if the coaster has a mind of its own, determined to give you an experience that blends spicy freefalls with truly savory airtime.
In recent years, El Toro underwent a significant retracking, addressing the natural wear and tear that comes with years of wooden coaster operation. According to several guest testimonies, this retracking has greatly improved the ride, making it a smoother, more enjoyable experience. And don’t worry, that special wooden coaster rumble is still in place.
So, whether you’re a seasoned coaster veteran or a first-timer, this bull is not one to be messed with.
Number 9: Iron Gwazi at Busch Gardens Tampa.
Talk about turning trash into treasure. This ride got its start back in the 90’s as a twin wooden coaster named Gwazi. Each track had its own layout with timed segments where the trains would interact. While it was quite popular when it first opened, years of wear and tear turned it into more of an earthquake simulator than something that’s supposed to be fun. Despite attempts to improve the coaster both sides of Gwazi’s glory had closed by 2015. The ride sat standing but not operating for four years, but in 2019, a savior emerged in the form of Rocky Mountain Construction.
Armed with their signature Ibox track, the company soon got to work with one of the most impressive makeovers in roller coaster history.
Soon afterwards, Iron Gwazi swiftly rose from the ashes of the original, going from a flawed twin coaster to a world-class single coaster. First opening in 2022, this attraction made its debut to resounding applause from coaster enthusiasts worldwide.
This new ride was taller, faster, and longer than the original, with a supped-up layout designed to take guests by storm. After ascending a 206-foot lift hill, you plummet down a 91-degree drop, rocketing to a max speed of 76 mph. Throughout the layout, you’ll come face to face with a great number of heart-pounding turns and flavorful airtime hills.
Unlike the original, Iron Gwazi features two stellar inversions: a dreamlike barrel roll downdrop and an outstanding zero g stall. Add in a lengthy wave turn a series of upward-curved hills, and well-seasoned airtime, and you’ve got a recipe for success.
Iron Gwazi isn’t just a coaster; it’s a true masterpiece of engineering, proving that any washed up coaster can come back to life with the legendary RMC’s help.
Number 8: Steel Vengeance at Ohio’s Cedar Point
Considered by many to be the greatest roller coaster of all time, this attraction actually got its start as perhaps the worst roller coaster at Cedar Point. Before RMC, this ride opened in 1991 as Mean Streak.
This coaster was known for its extreme roughness and discomfort, with many arguing that it lived up to its name in the worst ways. By the mid 2010s, park fans were clamoring for RMC to give it the Ibox treatment. Sure enough, after the ride’s closure in 2016, RMC’s vehicles were spotted on the property. The next year, the much-anticipated makeover was announced to the public.
This new coaster named Steel Vengeance would break barriers as the longest, tallest, steepest, and fastest hybrid coaster at the time of its opening. After ascending the lift hill, riders plunge down a 200 foot drop, reaching a rock bottom angle of 90 degrees all while hitting 74 miles per hour.
The layout is, to put it simply, a smorgasbord of forceful airtime moments. These moments total over 27 seconds long, giving Steel Vengeance more airtime than any other roller coaster. And this airtime ranges from strong floater to electrifying ejector airtime. As if that weren’t enough, RMC gifts passengers with four surreal inversions: a zero g stall and not one, not two, but three zero g rolls. With all of its elements put together, this coaster has something for every thillseeker, and it’s hard not to come off of it with a big grin on your face.
Overall, it’s safe to say that Steel Vengeance has all the ingredients for a high quality product you can’t get enough of.
Number 7 Ride to Happiness at Belgium’s Plopsaland de Panne
After the success of Time Traveler at Missouri’s Silver Dollar City, German manufacturer Mack Rides had a hit on their hands with their Extreme Spinning Coaster. Through the use of a controlled spin, this ride model blends specially programmed rotations with insane elements and inversions. The one at silver dollar city was heavily acclaimed by enthusiasts, but Mack Rides went even bigger with their next installation. Towards the end of 2019, the Belgian theme park market was red hot, with increasing competition from parks like Walibi Belgium and Bobbejaanland announcing massive roller coaster projects. Meanwhile, Plopsaland de Panne was looking to keep up with their competitors, and wanted to build something major. So park officials got in contact with Mack Rides to build an Extreme Spinning Coaster that outdid the prototype. Millions of euros later, the ride made its debut in 2021 to unanimous acclaim from thrillseekers.
This coaster took the concept that Mack put on the market and made it even crazier. From the moment the ride starts, you get an idea of how insane this coaster is, as you navigate a 360 degree roll straight out of the satation. Soon afterwards, you approach the launch platform, where the train stops to build anticipation. Then, with a burst of magnetic energy, the train is catapulted up a steep incline, ascending to a top height of over 108 feet. After an outwards-banked left-hand turn, you’ll plummet down a vertical drop over the pond.
The rest of the layout is a psychotic episode of twists, turns and brain-bending inversions. A banana roll, a vertical loop, a zero g roll and a step up underflip, all come together in a single experience.
All the while the train’s cars rotate individually. Each rotation is orchestrated with precision, adding a unique fast-paced intensity to the elements that you wouldn’t get on standard trains. It swoop and dives under the Flemish skies, and by the time the ride is over, your heart will still be racing. To put it bluntly, “Ride to Happiness” is a pure symphony of sensations, living up to its name as journey that defines the essence of sheer joy.
Number 6: Velocicoaster at Florida’s Islands of Adventure.
Whether you love or hate the Jurassic World movies, you can’t deny the sheer genius of this coaster. First opening in 2021, this attraction combines S-tier roller coaster thrills with the s-tier theming the Universal Orlando resort is known for.
Just when you thought Islands of Adventure couldn’t get any better, VelociCoaster took the park to a whole new level of awesomeness.
This ride didn’t just meet the public’s expectations; it surpassed them. From the very start, you’re launched into a meticulously designed and wonderfully themed course. The experience involves being launched into a raptor enclosure, with every twist and turn enveloped in lush greenery, raptor figures, and intricately detailed rock formations. The attention to detail, especially in the rock work, adds an immersive layer that’s hard to put into words. It’s here that the coaster’s magic truly shines.
And these rocks aren’t just scenery; they’re part of the experience. One particular intense moment involves a jagged rock structure that appears to be pointed right at your face as you rush towards it. If you’re in the front row, you may find yourself ducking.
The thrills don’t stop there though, because VelociCoaster treats you to a series of ejector airtime moments that slap gravity in the face and throw deep personal insults at its family. These moments just keep coming, making it impossible to keep track of them all. And believe it or not, that’s not all.
As you shift into the second half of the ride you ascend a massive top hat, followed by a breathtaking descent that sweeps you over park pathways. Soon enough, you’ll navigate zero-G stall, and soon enough, the sweet cream filling of the layout known as the Mosasaurus Roll. Imagine being flipped upside down, hanging suspended over water, feeling as if a mosasaurus is about to lunge out of the water and swallow you whole.
If you’re a thrillseeker, you’re likely to find yourself instantly falling in love with this ride, even if you feel like the Jurassic World sequels insulted your intelligence. Hell, this ride could be themed to Grown Ups 2 and still be amazing. That’s how spectacular it is.
Number 5: Skyrush at Pennsylvania’s Hersheypark
This ride, like others on this list, is proof that you don’t need inversions to have an insane roller coaster. This fast-paced hypercoaster boasts one of the most intense and memorable experiences out there. And it’s my personal favorite coaster at Hersheypark.
The journey begins with a fast cable lift that lifts you over 200 feet into the air. Soon enough, you’ll crest that peak, and once you do, the party starts.
The first drop is nothing short of breathtaking, boasting an almost vertical angle of 85 degrees. You just jet yanked down, and you feel like your stomach is being lifted into your chest. But that’s just the beginning. Skyrush is all about the airtime, and it doesn’t hold back. The coaster’s layout is a low to the ground masterpiece of lateral-packed turns and pops of superb weightlessness.
Ejector airtime takes center stage, propelling you out of your seat with forces that rival the best coasters on earth. You could easily say that Skyrush has some of the best ejector airtime in the industry. The forces are simply undeniable, giving you a full-scale buffet of positive, negative, and lateral g forces.
While it is true that Skyrush’s restraints have been criticized by some for being too tight, I personally have no issue with them. Call me crazy, but I think the ride’s unparalleled airtime is more than enough to outweigh any minor discomfort. The brute force of the airtime might catch you off guard, but it’s precisely this unrelenting nature that makes Skyrush a worthy spot on this list.
The best way to describe this ride experience is like a bullet shooting through butter, as the train seamlessly navigating the elements of the super smooth track.
By the time the ride comes to an end, you’re likely to find yourself in a state of total bewilderment. The intensity and airtime of Skyrush are so profound, that it’s practically impossible to resist marathoning it.
Number 4: Tornado at Denmark’s Bakken
You may not have heard of this coaster if you live outside of scandanavia, but this masterpiece of engineering really deserves more attention. This coaster is often acclaimed by well-traveled coaster enthusiasts for its wild twists and turns. For many, it’s unlike any other coaster they’ve ridden in terms of sheer overwhelming intensity.
Even those with an affinity for hardcore, extreme thrill rides often find themselves lost for words after taking this ride on. These same enthusiasts often revel in their high intensity thresholds, and even they may find this ride to be too intense.
On paper, this spinning coaster may not seem like much. After all, it’s top height is a mere 40 feet and its maximum speed is just 32 miles per hour. However, like fine Itallian cuisine, the design of its layout makes the most of its simple ingredients.
On this coaster, riders are seated in pairs facing each other. Shortly after leaving the station, riders are treated to a hydraulic-powered double chain lift. This system feels more like a launch than a lift, and it’s a perfect transition into the layout.
Simply put, Tornado’s course transcends the modest expectations of its riders. The coaster’s compact, mostly indoor layout consists of snapping transitions and tight helixes. You really do feel like you’re inside an actual Tornado.
The main reason this coaster made the list is because of its highly-praised “boost mode.” Sure, the regular version of the coaster is indeed thrilling. However, boost mode takes intensity so far into another level, that it’s about a hair away from no-clipping into the backrooms. This ride mode must be specially requested by the riders when the park isn’t too busy, so its kind of like a secret menu item. In boost mode, the operators increase the speed of the lift, disable the trim brakes, and even manually spin the vehicle at the start. The result is a balls-to-the-wall experience that feels more like a training device at NASA than an amusement ride. With a higher rate of spinning, and a more forceful pace, boost mode is certainly not for the faint of stomach.
The disorientation, the sensory overload, and the sheer intensity create a perfect experience for thrill seekers looking to test their endurance. Tornado is, quite possibly, the most intense spinning coaster on earth.
Number 3: X2 at California’s Six Flags Magic Mountain
Designed by the legendary Alan Schilke, this coaster is sheer madness in the best way possible.
This right here is not only the world’s first wing coaster, but the first fourth dimension coaster as well. What’s a fourth dimension coaster? Well, it’s all in the trains. Through the use of a rack and pinon gear system and a quadruple rail track, this coaster has seats that can rotate a full 360 degrees. As the train coasts along the inside rails, the outside rails raise and lower to make the seats rotate. And this rotation takes this ride from insane to dangerously psychotic.
After exiting the station, you’re lifted up to a top height of a hundred and seventy five feet. Then, after being forced to face the ground, you plummet down a nearly 90 degree drop at a top speed of 76 miles per hour. So much for don’t look down.
As you traverse the course, your surroundings become a blur of forward, backward, and sideways motions. One moment, you’re facing forward, the next you’re on your back, and suddenly you’re facing backwards. One element known as the half twist, gives the illusion that your vehicle has left the track. The unpredictability of the seat rotation ensures that every second is a surprise, and first time riders may come off completely speechless.
The ride’s elements alone are already bonkers, but the seats’ rotations are carefully orchestrated to amplify the intensity, leading to moments that are almost too insane to believe. You’ll certainly need to brace yourself for this onslaught of crazy moments, as X2 demands resilience from its passengers. Intensity really is the name of the game with X2. And as if this fourth dimension coaster wasn’t enough, number two on the list is even more unbelievable.
Number 2: Eejanaika at Japan’s Fuji-Q Highland.
Shortly after X2’s manufacturer Arrow Dynamics went bankrupt, the company’s assets were acquired by American manufacturer S&S Power, now known as S&S Sansei. S&S continued to sell the fourth dimension coaster, and soon enough, they built one across the Pacific.
While X2 pushed the boundaries of what a roller coaster could do, Eejanaika made the experience even more insane.
First opening in 2006, Eejanaika was taller, longer, and faster than X2. Both coasters have similar layouts, but Eejanaika’s longer course allows it to incorporate even more insane elements. Perhaps the most memorable section is a zero g roll that comes directly after a raven turn.
Of course, this ride also has rotating seats, but the rotation is said to be even smoother than X2, as S&S improved the already awesome design of the trains.
Moreover, the rotations are said to be even crazier than the ones on X2, further proving S&S’s commitment to improve the original design.
Basically, you can take everything I said earlier about X2, and beef up the stats. Top it off with some new elements and better rotations, and you’ve got a mixed-up mashed-up slice of mayhem fresh out of the oven. And if you plan on riding this, don’t expect the intensity to cool down, because this ride’s energy is pretty much non-stop.
Number 1: Intimidator 305 at Virginia’s Kings Dominion
If you’re in the mood for a pulse-pounding rush of speed and a relentless concoction of unwavering intensity, Intimidator 305 has your name written all over it. This coaster is a tribute to the late Dale Earnheart, a NASCAR driver known as the intimidator. Capturing the indomitable spirit and insatiable thirst for velocity that defined Earnhardt’s legacy, this coaster is a mecca for thrill-seekers in search of badass ride like no other.
Dominating the Virginia skyline at 305 feet, the Intimidator 305 towers high above the park’s other attractions. Soon after boarding, you hear the famous “Gentlemen, start your engines,” and up you go towards the top. After reaching the peak, you’re met with a jaw-dropping 85-degree drop. This plunge is a true gut buster, but what follows this descent is the true star of the show. Soon enough, riders hit a high-speed banked turn at full-throttle. The G-forces unleashed here are so potent, that they might push you to the brink of graying out or even blackout, a testament to the coaster’s insanity.
In fact, when the ride first opened, this turn was considered to be too intense, as riders blacking out was reportedly a common occurrence. Though the turn was later reprofiled to be less problematic, it still packs a ton of g forces.
Maintaining its velocity, you’ll rocket through a series of nitro-charged elements. A colossal high-speed airtime hill launches you skyward, followed by a series of lightning-fast banked turns that whip you from side to side. These laterals are really something to behold.
Beyond the elements, the true essence of Intimidator 305 lies in its relentless speed. With a course engineered close to the ground, the coaster maintains its momentum throughout, ensuring a Sonic the Hedgehog like experience. Even a trim brake towards the second half is hardly noticeable in this relentless torrent of intensity.
Overall, Intimidator 305 offers a delicious plate of high-speed ecstasy for coaster-holics. Bearing the moniker of a racing legend and meticulously engineered for intensity, this coaster is a symphony of speed that resonates with NASCAR fans and coaster lovers in general. Definitely give this one a ride if you plan on going to Kings Dominion.
So what are some coasters that you think are super intense? Feel free to leave a comment down below.
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