The roller coasters in my list are found in:
Las Vegas (HGVClub at Flamingo Las Vegas, HGV at Las Vegas Hilton, Polo Towers, Jockey Club, Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Desert Club Resort, Marriott’s Grand Chateau, HGVClub on Las Vegas Strip, Wyndham Grand Desert, Tahiti Village, Consolidated Club de Soleil)
Pigeon Forge TN, (Bluegreen’s Mountain Loft, Laurel Crest Resort, Gatlinburg Town Square Resort, Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort, Tree Tops of Gatlinburg, Oakmont Resort, Peppertree at Laurel Point, Wyndham Smoky Mountains at Governor’s Crossing, Mountain Meadows Resort, Sunrise Ridge Resort)
Orlando (Sheraton’s Vistana Orlando, Orange Lake Country Club Holiday Inn Club Vacations, HGVClub at Sea World Orlando, Marriott’s Cypress Harbour, Marriott’s Grande Vista Resort, Westgate Vacation Villas, Sheraton’s Vistana Villages, Wyndham Cypress Palm, Vacation Villas @Fantasy World, Cypress Pointe Resort)
Williamsburg (Powhatan Plantation Resort, Marriott’s Manor Club at Ford’s Colony, Wyndham Kingsgate, Beach Quarters@Clarion Resort, Summit at Massanutten, Massanutten’s Mountainside, Wyndham Patriot Place, Eagle Trace @ Massanutten, Greensprings Plantation Resort, Turtle Cay Resort)
Tampa (Grand Shores West, Coral Reef Beach Resort, Redington Ambassador, All Seasons Vacation Resort, Camelot by the Sea, Tierra Verde Resort, Voyager Beach Club, Sand Pebble Resort, Shawnee’s Island Gulf Resort, Hideaway Sands Resort)
Missing from the list are the outstanding roller coasters in Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania, California, and many others. There just wasn’t enough room to work them in.
El Loco – Adventuredome at Circus Circus, Las Vegas
Living up to its name, this hair-raising new coaster that opened February 18 has a turn that banks to the outside, an unheard of gravity-defying feature, even among coaster collectors.
Bells and whistles:
Length: 1,300 feet
Speed: 45 mph
Height: 90 feet
Insanity: It banks outside at a 45-degree angle, about 44 degrees further than the average comfort zone.
FireChaser Express – Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Dolly Parton herself was there to cut the ribbon on this new coaster that debuted March 22.
Although it’s classified in coaster parlance as a “family ride” — and indeed riders need only be 39 inches tall to board the splashy red fire trucks — this innovative new ride includes explosions, fireworks, more twists than an Agatha Christie novel and enough special effects that it could get nominated for that category in next year’s Oscars. dollywood.com
Bells and whistles:
Length: 2,427 feet
Speed: 34.5 mph
Height: 12 stories
Insanity: Once Big Bertha explodes, you ride backwards all the way to the station.
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – Walk Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, Florida
You might be tempted to sniff at the stats (it IS, after all, an all-ages coaster), but this new steel coaster at Disney World’s New Fantasyland does a lot more than defy Newton’s laws.
According to Disney Imagineer Dave Minichiello, the ride’s creative director, this roller coaster-plus has music and interactive elements, goes outside through a forest and inside through the dwarf’s mine and is unlike any ride Disney World has ever seen. disneyworld.disney.go.com
Bells and whistles:
Jewels: Diamonds, emeralds, rubies and more
Insanity: The car’s platform rocks back and forth.
Apollo’s Chariot, Busch Gardens Williamsburg (Williamsburg, Virginia)
Apollo’s Chariot is at the Busch Gardens Williamsburg theme park in James City County, Virginia. The ride was the first Hyper Coaster designed by Swiss firm Bolliger & Mabillard. It officially opened to the public on March 30, 1999.
The 4,882-foot-long ride is characterized by eight air-time hills, with heights ranging between 49 and 131 feet. Riders ascend 170 feet on the chain lift hill before dropping 210 feet at an angle of 65°. Apollo’s Chariot is generally well received with it consistently rating highly in industry rankings.
SheiKra was the first Dive Coaster to be constructed in North America: its track includes a splashdown and an Immelmann loop, both a first for its kind. It broke the records for the world’s longest, tallest, and fastest Dive Coaster, but lost these records when Griffon in Williamsburg, Virginia, and Dive Coaster at Chime-Long Paradise in Guangzhou, China opened.
Kraken is a floorless roller coaster located at SeaWorld Orlando. Manufactured by Bolliger & Mabillard, the ride features a total of seven inversions including two vertical loops, a dive loop, a zero-g roll, a cobra roll and a corkscrew. Kraken opened on June 1, 2000.
Expedition Everest at Disney Animal Kingdom
Careen through the Himalayan mountains on a speeding train while avoiding the clutches of the mythic Abominable Snowman.
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