WHAT IS THE SCARIEST ROLLER COASTER YOU HAVE RIDDEN?
Brace yourself for death-defying thrills when you board the world’s scariest roller coasters.From July 2011By Jessica Adamiak
You’re climbing slowly up the roller coaster’s first hill. Tiny cars gleam a few hundred feet below and trees look like broccoli florets. The rickety chain clanks as it thrusts you forward, and there’s nowhere to go but down. As your car teeters at the pinnacle, one thought flashes before you: “I paid to do this?”
Crazy as it seems, we are predisposed to pay up for such heart-pounding thrills. A few thundering turns on a roller coaster set off a chemical reaction—the release of adrenaline and dopamine—that makes us feel giddy and intensely alive. As roller coasters continue to push the extremes of acceleration, speed, and corkscrew-like inversions, what does it take to be among the world’s scariest?
The answer turns out to be highly personal; there’s little consensus among even the most discerning riders about the recipe for a good scare. “Some like smooth rides full of floating zero Gs while others want to be thrown around and brutalized so they can live to brag about it,” says Scott Rutherford, a senior writer and editor for Amusement Today who has experienced more than 500 coasters on four continents.
Steel Dragon 2000,Japan
Where: Nagashima Spa Land in Mie Prefecture.
Scary Stat: Slow climb to a 306-foot drop.
It takes nerves of steel to sit calmly through what feels like the most suspenseful 1:15 minutes of your life as this coaster gradually climbs to the top of the first hill before dropping 306 feet. Built in 2000, the year of the dragon, the world’s longest coaster stretches on for 8,133 feet—an endurance test of marathon-like proportions—and you’ve got no choice but to wait it out for all four minutes.
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