Record-breaking Theme Park Attractions in the US

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Courtesy Universal Studios Orlando

Faster. Taller. Scarier. We love roller coaster engineers and designers, for they are the geniuses who continually out-do themselves in finding ways to frighten and thrill us, all in the space of one short amusement park ride. From coast to coast, new record-holders and old favorites compete for our attention, and from flying roller coasters to plunging water rides, there may be no end to the scares these folks dream up-and we thank them for it.
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Record-Breaking Theme Park Attractions

Faster. Taller. Scarier. We love roller coaster engineers and designers, for they are the geniuses who continually out-do themselves in finding ways to frighten and thrill us, all in the space of one short amusement park ride. From coast to coast, new record-holders and old favorites compete for our attention, and from flying roller coasters to plunging water rides, there may be no end to the scares these folks dream up-and we thank them for it.

We double-dog dare you to try these 10 record-breaking amusement park rides; whether you want to rock, roll or plunge, there's a ride for everyone.

Record-Breaking Theme Park Attractions

The Ride:Pilgrims Plunge
The Record: World's tallest water ride.

Think log ride meets geyser, as after boarding a boat on the 1620s Pilgrim-themed ride, it is suddenly lifted 131-feet into the air thanks to an open-air elevator. The boat pauses for a heart-stopping moment, then drops-at a 45-degree angle-in what seems like mere seconds. . The ride's a classic shoot-the-chute, with the twist being that open air elevator and the angled drop. With a top speed of 50 miles per hour, Pilgrims Plunge might seem like child's play but not when you're the one in the boat-trust us.

Record-Breaking Theme Park Attractions

The Ride:Kingda Ka
The Record: Tallest and fastest roller coaster in the United States.

The Kingda Ka takes just a minute to ride-but in those 60 seconds, riders zoom from zero to 128 miles per hour, and shoot 45 stories skyward. Hydraulic launches keep the action moving as the clock ticks, shooting into turns and swooping into a spiral then careening up a camel hump. Our advice: Save lunch for after you've ridden this one.

Record-Breaking Theme Park Attractions

The Ride:Manta
The Record: The only flying roller coaster combined with an animal attraction.

Manta is one of the country's only flying roller coaster-and the newest, having opened in mid-2009. Designed to imitate the flying, swooping motion of manta rays, the entire ride is aquatically-themed, with huge floor to ceiling aquariums, pop-up aquariums and underwater tubes all filled with exotic sea animals including hundreds of rays– and that's just in the wait line. Once strapped in-face down-to the ray-shaped ride, the coaster takes off with 32 riders for an extreme experience on steel rails, racing at speeds of almost 60 miles per hour and coming within inches of watery features more than once.

Record-Breaking Theme Park Attractions

The Ride: Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
The Record: The world's highest vertical lift coaster.

The interactive, high-tech features on the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit might just overshadow its true claim to fame-a vertical lift of 17 stories. Board the coaster, choose your soundtrack from one of 30 songs in six musical genres, and tighten that lap bar-you'll shoot straight up for this rockin' ride. Your entire ride is videotaped and grooves to your tunes through six near-miss experiences and at speeds of up to 65 miles per hour, and a non-inverting loops-a first of its kind coaster experience. When it's all over, choose to download or email a full-length, custom music video of your ride.

Record-Breaking Theme Park Attractions

The Ride:The Beast
The Record: The world's longest wooden coaster.

The 30-year old wooden coaster is still the longest, measuring 7400 feet or 1 and 3/4 miles. Considered by many serious coaster enthusiasts as the greatest wooden coaster ever built, The Beast covers 35 acres and follows the contours of the densely wooded land, adding in a bit of natural ruggedness to the conventional coaster ride. With a ride time of almost four minutes, maximum speed of nearly 70 miles per hour, a few dark tunnels and a 540-degree helix turn at the end, The Beast may just be the best.

Record-Breaking Theme Park Attractions

The Ride:Wicked Twister
The Record: The world's tallest and fastest double twisting impulse coaster.

Two twisting towers are what make the Wicked Twister a double-impulse coaster; throw in the height of both towers-each stands at 215 feet-and you've got yourself a record-breaker. The best part about Wicked Twister may not hurtling through the twists and turns at its top speed of 72-miles per hour; instead, the spinning views of Lake Erie and the Cedar Point beach might just induce some serious stomach roiling. Don't say we didn't warn you.

Record-Breaking Theme Park Attractions

The Ride:Dueling Dragons
The Record: The world's only dueling inverted coaster.

These dragons may not breathe fire, but that doesn't mean they're any less frightening-or exhilarating, depending on your perspective. Each coaster soars 125 feet into the air and reaches speeds of 55 miles per hour, and riders pass within 18 inches of each other-three times-in this medieval form of coaster combat. The two-and-a-half minute ride includes a zero-G roll, corkscrews and vertical loops, plus three near misses that are sure to make you scream like a girl.

Record-Breaking Theme Park Attractions

The Ride:Diamondback
The Record: The first ride in United States to have open-air, stadium-style seating.

The Diamondback debuted in summer '09 with truly unique seating-a four passenger configuration with two front seats and two rear seats for a panoramic view and maximum thrills. The stadium-style seating means the twists, turns and vertical drops-10 in all-are even more heart-pounding, thanks to the enhanced view. From the first drop of 215 feet at a staggering 75-degree angle to the audacious spins of the two helixes and the splashdown ending, this snaking ride is for serious coaster enthusiasts and not for coaster posers.

Record-Breaking Theme Park Attractions

The Ride:Griffon
The Record: The first diving and floorless rollercoaster in the world.

Named for the supernatural beast that's half lion, half eagle, the Griffon started out simply as a diving rollercoaster, then a few years later designers took out the floors, creating the first diving and floorless coaster. Reaching top speed over 70 miles per hour and a heart-stopping, 200-foot suspension in the air, the Griffon plunges at a 90-degree angle seemingly straight for the ground-but whips away as the ride continues.

Record-Breaking Theme Park Attractions

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