Weekly Top 10: The World's Best 'Upside-Down' Roller Coasters
For many of us who started visiting theme parks as children, a rite of passage loomed — the day when we would summon the courage to ride a roller coaster that (gulp!) went
. Those were the "big kid" coasters, not just the ones with the taller height requirements, but the ones that demanded the courage to believe that physics really did work and that you would not come crashing to the pavement when the train flew through its inversions.
Our Top 10 this week honors the best of the "upside down" coasters, as rated by you, our Theme Park Insider readers. This list differs from our list of Top 10 coasters overall as it excludes the wildly popular Mega and Hyper coasters that have dominated the top of the Theme Park Insider reader ratings in the past decade. But as much as coaster fans love the huge drops and high speeds of the Megas, there's something special about flipping heels over head and seeing the world upside down. And there's something wonderful about reliving that moment when you first were brave enough to climb aboard and let a roller coaster take you there.
10. Full Throttle Six Flags Magic Mountain VIDEO
Magic Mountain's newest major coaster plays to that fear of being upside down, with a terrifying/exhilarating (your call) weightless pause at the top of its world's-tallest loop.
9. Incredible Hulk Coaster Universal's Islands of Adventure
There might be no better start to a coaster anywhere, with this high-speed launch into a cobra roll and loop.
8. Montu Busch Gardens Tampa
Bolliger & Mabillard inverted coasters win much praise from our readers as inverting above a track, rather than below it, amplifies the thrill for many riders.
7. X2 Six Flags Magic Mountain VIDEO
Magic Mountain returns to our list with the world's first four-dimensional coaster, whose chairs send you upside down in places even when the track doesn't.
6. Manta SeaWorld Orlando VIDEO
Our reader's favorite flying coaster, Manta entices you to spread your arms in front of you and imagine that you really can do acrobatics in the sky.
5. Banshee Kings Island VIDEO
The winner of our Theme Park Insider Award for Best New Attraction last year, Banshee is the latest B&M Inverted to win over fans.
4. Nemesis Alton Towers
The United States hardly as a monopoly on great coasters. (Many top manufacturers, including B&M, are located in Europe, after all.) The United Kingdom checks in with this classic B&M Inverted.
3. Maverick Cedar Point VIDEO
Non-inverting coasters Millennium Force and Top Thrill Dragster might dominate the Cedar Point skyline, but many coaster fans know to head to the end of the peninsula for a ride on this delightful Intamin Blitz coaster.
2. Outlaw Run Silver Dollar City VIDEO
Thanks to modern engineering's ability to create great new hybrid coasters, woodies are no longer excluded from this list. Outlaw Run well represents the new breed of coaster by being the top U.S. coaster on our list.
1. Blue Fire Europa Park VIDEO
Europa Park's Blue Fire wins love from theme park fans for its dark ride element, before proving its thrill ride cred by launching into a delightful series of drops and inversions.
When do you first go upside down on a coaster? And which one is your favorite, today? Tell us, in the comments.
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My first was Mind Bender at Six Flags in Georgia -- I think I as about 7 or so. I remember being scared to death ;-).
I can't even remember the first time I rode an inverted roller coaster, I have been riding them for so long! But it was probably Montu since I grew up in Tampa, and it still is absolutely one of my favorites, very near The Hulk in coaster perfection.
I am not a huge fan of Coasters because most of the big ones leave me feeling a little beat-up, queasy and dizzy-headed. I prefer my attractions to be free from physical discomfort.
I've ridden the Hulk and X2. The problem with the Hulk is that it is just too rough, a real head rattler that always gives me a headache. Plus I nearly passed out on that ride, the two times that I braved it. Never again, unless they refurbish the thing (which is highly overdue).
My first inverting coaster was the defunct Windjammer Surf Racers at Knott's Berry Farm. That thing was horrible! Fortunately, I ended up going on enough different rides to realize not all inverting coasters are bad and now I enjoy all of them. I've only been on four of the list above (Full Throttle, X2, Banshee, and Maverick), but all are excellent rides and I'd love to ride the rest some day.
The Mindbender at SFOG was also my first looping roller coaster. As I have gotten older, I find I prefer the floating feeling of hyper coasters to the high G-forces found on looping coasters. That said - it's hard to beat The Hulk at IOA for over all non-stop looping excitement. I wish B&M would build more coasters that include a couple of inversions with all the negative g's on hypers.
Nice list. Glad to see Outlaw Run made it. For a short ride it is truly remarkable. An amazing and relentless ride from beginning to end. It actually makes the other coasters at Silver Dollar City seem less exciting, so save it for last during your tour of the park's coasters.
What about the world record holder The Smiler at Alton Towers, with its 14 inversions and unique design elements. Its fun theming and compact footprint and great ride time (increased by the vertical lift hill) In my oppinion it should be Number 1 !
My first inverted didn't go upside down but was awesome none the less. The Big Bad Wolf at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. It is sad that it had to be removed. You have to give some love to Alpengeist at BGW as well though. Fierce ride will definitely shake you up.
The old corkscrew at Knotts was my first. Nice to see Magic Mountain still so prominent, I always loved La Revolucion.
Nice sound editing on the Full Throttle video! It looks like you had a few choice words to describe the experience of the first inversion that might be better left off the audio! ha
Not me. Magic Mountain sat someone in front of me who decided to reach back over his head and cover the RPOV camera for a large portion of the ride... when he wasn't swearing up a storm. Since he was closer to the audio pick-up on that camera, you heard him more than me. It was the worst media day experience I've ever had on a coaster. Now I'm angry again, thinking about it. Sigh.
Batman at Six Flags Great America was my first upside down coaster, so I continue to force myself to love it, despite a fetid queue and less than stellar maintenance in recent years. X2 remains the top spot on my coaster bucket list (someday...).
Space Mountain (Mission 1) @ Disneyland Paris was mine. Remember being terrified in the queue as it actually passes through the mountain in a tunnel that the tracks get pretty close to! Always remember the music too. FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON! Hopefully they will return this epic ride to its former x glory during the refurbishment this year. No more Mission 2!
First Looper: Chicago Loop / Old Chicago (indoor defunct park). Love Blue Fire! And live close to SFMM, but still have yet to ride Full Throttle (down both times I was there). Will keep trying! ;) HATE X2! It is just way too rough a ride at this point - loved it as X. Love Hulk! Wanna hit both Montu and Banshee - been too long since I went to either (amazing) park. Thanks for the article.
I've ridden only 3 from this list - Outlaw Run, Maverick and Montu - so cannot comment on the others but these at least are good choices. As to Outlaw Run, right on James! It was my best ride experience of 2013 and I liked it so much that I ended up having the logo tattooed on one leg - after consulting with a lawyer to make sure that I wasn't likely to be sued for copyright infringement!
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