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Top 10 Scariest Theme Park Rides

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Allen-Michael Harber
Top 10 Scariest Theme Park Rides of All Time — Best of WatchMojo Subscribe: Do you want to see extreme theme park attractions? How about terrifying theme park rides? Or even dangerous amusement park rides? Whether it’s Tower of Terror II at Dreamworld in Australia, X-Scream at the Stratosphere in Las Vegas or Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey, these attractions all have something in common: they’re some of the world’s scariest rides and roller coasters.

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Get the barf bag ready. Welcome to and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Scariest Theme Park Rides.

For this list, we’re exploring rides from around the world that get your adrenaline pumping and that make you want to scream with fear and joy.

#10: Tower of Terror II

Dreamworld in Gold Coast, Australia

For starters, we have this steel roller coaster which, when it was first built, was the fastest and tallest of its kind. Carrying up to 14 passengers, the vehicle thrusts backwards at 100 miles per hour to climb the ride's namesake tower, which stands at an impressive 377 ft in height. You’ll experience 3.25 seconds of weightlessness both on your way up and back down the vertical portion of the ride, making for a combined 6.5 seconds. When you reach the top, gravity takes hold and you drop almost as fast as you came up. As its tagline says: “Face Gravity, Face First”.

#9: Fahrenheit

Hersheypark in Hershey, USA

Finished in 2008, Fahrenheit is considered the first roller coaster to have gained attention through the use of a viral marketing campaign. At the time of its construction, it had the steepest incline of any roller coaster at a staggering 97 degrees. Reaching speeds of nearly 60 miles per hour, Fahrenheit features six inversions or loops, including a couple corkscrews, a barrel roll, as well as a few other frightening surprises for riders. Fun fact: the name is not only a nod to the 97 degree drop, but also inspired by Ray Bradbury's novel Fahrenheit 451. The ride may not be as terrifying as that dystopian future, but it’s pretty scary in its own right.

#8: Superman the Ride

Six Flags New England in Agawam, USA

Although Six Flags has a handful of coasters named “Superman: Ride of Steel” at other locations, we are talking about the world famous ride that has been consistently called one of the top steel roller coasters in existence. Though, at a glance, not as fancy as some of its contemporaries, it does boast speeds of 77 miles per hour and a 221 foot drop. In 2016, they introduced a Virtual Reality experience, with a narrative about Superman duking it out with Lex Luthor’s Bots. Although a novel concept, the VR feature was removed in 2017, proving that sometimes, the real world can be even more thrilling and intense than CGI.

#7: X-Scream

Stratosphere Las Vegas in Las Vegas, USA

The Stratosphere Las Vegas is combination hotel, casino and tower that features a mini-theme park at the very top. Though the rides may be simplistic, they are some of the scariest. With only one car that sits on a 68-foot rail, X-Scream hangs off the side of the tower at a stomach-lurching height of 866 feet. The track tilts downwards to catch the riders off guard and simulate nearly falling off the tower. It then retracts the car back and tilts down at a steeper angle to do it all again. It’s simple but so very effective.

#6: Giant Canyon Swing

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs, USA

You know a ride that makes you sign a waiver before you get on means business. The Giant Canyon Swing sits 1300 feet overlooking Glenwood Canyon. You’ll swing over the canyon at 50 miles per hour while at the same time getting a breathtaking view of the surrounding area, if you’re brave enough to open your eyes during the experience. This is a ride so scary that its own creator has reportedly only ridden it once. Don’t let the word “swing” give you a false sense of security; you’ve never encountered any like it in the playground.

#5: Kingda Ka

Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, USA

Named after a rare Bengal tiger once held in a neighboring exhibit, and later moved to the park’s safari area, Kingda Ka certainly lives up to its impressive namesake - it is the world’s second fastest roller coaster. After the ride tells you to hold on, passengers are then thrust forward at speeds reaching 128 miles per hour in less than four seconds. The car then climbs the tower that reaches a little over 400 feet, going over a spiral and then dropping back down almost as fast. Kingda Ka only lasts 28 seconds, but that’s all this ride needs.

#4: Colossus

Thorpe Park in Surrey, England

Many rides on this list are the world’s first “something” in the roller coaster category, and Colossus is no exception - it was the world’s first roller coaster with 10 inversions. Translation: as a rider, you’ll be going upside down 10 times in just 1 minute and 45 seconds. Is your head spinning just thinking about it? This roller coaster is seemingly so impressive that an exact replica of it was built in Guangzhou. China, albeit with the not so creative name of “10 Inversion Roller Coaster”. But hey, they do say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery.

#3: X2

Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, USA

What can you expect from a roller coaster with the name X2? How about the world’s first 4th dimensional roller coaster? What’s a 4D roller coaster? Basically, while you are on the coaster, your seat is twisting and turning at the same time to give you an experience unlike any other. While the coaster is climbing hills, going through inversions or dropping, your seat is changing directions on its own to coincide with the track in unexpected ways. Originally called X, this ride was revamped between 2007 and 2008, during which time it acquired flamethrowers. As if people weren’t adequately intimated already...

#2: Eejanaika

Fuji-Q Highland Park in Fujiyoshida, Japan

How does the expression go? Anything you can do I can do better. Well, this is definitely the case with Eejanaika, the world’s second 4th Dimension roller coaster, which is both faster and taller than its American counterpart. Reaching a height of nearly 250 feet and a speed of 78 miles per hour, this mechanical monster soundly beats out its predecessor. It also holds the Guinness World Record for most inversions on a roller coaster, thanks to the many times the seats turns in addition to the three inversions of the track itself. All said and done, you’re looking at 14 inversions in roughly 2 minutes.

Before we get to the front of the line to get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Big Shot

Stratosphere Las Vegas in Las Vegas, USA

The Smiler

Alton Towers in Staffordshire, United Kingdom

Expedition GeForce

Holiday Park in Hassloch, Germany

#1: Insanity

Stratosphere Las Vegas in Las Vegas, USA

Also located atop the Stratosphere Las Vegas, Insanity hangs you 64 feet off the side of the building giving you both an amazing and terrifying view. You are then spun around fast enough to experience 3 Gs. In the process, your seat tilts into a 70 degree angle so that you can’t really help but look down. While all the other rides on this list have had you feeling safe in a car, Insanity literally dangles you 900 feet in the air. Count yourself lucky you weren’t one of several riders who had to endure hanging there for an hour and a half the time that the ride shut down to prevent a malfunction in 2005.


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