Thursday, February 26, 2015

7 Incredible Roller Coasters Based on Movies

Providing a great day out for kids and the young at heart alike, theme parks are loved the world over. And as long you enjoy heart-stopping excitement, who can resist a roller coaster, with its twists and turns, plunging drops, inversions, and eye-popping G-forces?

If you’re a fan of movies as well, then one of the most exhilarating, adrenalin-charged ways to get your fill of cinematic magic is to head out to an amusement park and take a trip on one of its thrilling film-themed rides. Here are some of our favorite roller coasters based on movies. It’s edge-of-your-seat stuff all the way.

7. Dragon Challenge – Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida

This coaster opened as Dueling Dragons in May 1999 at Universal Studios, and the dragons – that is, the trains – initially dueled after setting off at the same time. After renovation, the ride was re-launched in 2010 as Dragon Challenge and is now situated in the park’s Wizarding World of the Harry Potter section. It’s apparently based on Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and we reckon it might just rival the 2005 addition to the film franchise for thrills and excitement.

Ride the red Chinese Fireball and you’ll experience a 115-foot plummet, Immelmann loops, a vertical loop, some corkscrews, and an air-time hill; while on the blue Hungarian Horntail, you get a 95-foot drop, a zero-G roll, a cobra roll, an overbanked turn, and another corkscrew. And whichever one you choose, it’s a great way to feel the wind in your hair and the sensation of a giant lizard on your tail. Those in the know are also impressed, with Dragon Challenge having appeared in the top 50 of Amusement Today’s best steel roller coasters list annually since 2000.

6. Batman: The Ride – Six Flags Great America, Gurnee, Illinois

Batman: The Ride remains as popular and unaffected by the passing years as the Caped Crusader himself. Perhaps that’s why it can be found in so many Six Flags parks. After its initial opening at the Six Flags Great America Illinois location in 1992, matching roller coasters were opened at Six Flags parks in New Jersey, California, Missouri, Georgia, Texas and New Orleans. The coaster’s design motifs are based on the 1989 Tim Burton movie, starring Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson and Kim Basinger, and traveling down its approximately 2,700-foot length at 50 mph, riders can expect to feel a G-force of four.

This is an inverted steel roller coaster, and once the train gets moving, passengers’ feet are free to dangle, adding to the feel of flying around Gotham. The original 1992 ride was the first inverted coaster in the world, and it’s since been given the illustrious honor of Coaster Landmark status from the American Coaster Enthusiasts.

5. Enchanted Airways – Universal Studios, Sentosa Island, Singapore

Shrek is, of course, a simple tale of girl meets ogre with a snarky attitude, and the movie has an unconventional but still happy ending. The 1,150-foot-long Enchanted Airways – which opened in March 2010 at Universal Studios in Singapore – is modeled after the Shrek movie series, but unlike the films’ green and grumpy hero, it’s pretty sophisticated. This roller coaster was fitted out with a friction wheel lift system that starts accelerating riders in their dragon-like train halfway through their first climb.

Features around the coaster include Shrek’s swamp house, a woodland area, and a medieval zone – and these all add to the feeling of sweeping into and over the animated kingdom.

4. Saw – The Ride – Thorpe Park, Chertsey, Surrey, England

Saw – The Ride opened in March 2009 and resides at Thorpe Park in England. It’s the only roller coaster in the world that’s based on a horror movie – and it could certainly provide frights to rival those supplied by the bloodcurdling 2004 classic.

When riders pull into the station at the end, they will have experienced 2,362 feet of track, reached a top speed of 57 mph, gone through three inversions, and been subjected to a massive G-force of 4.8. For comparison’s sake, astronauts aboard NASA’s Space Shuttle only underwent about 3 Gs of force upon launch and re-entry. This is an intense one minute, 40 seconds of speed and excitement. Just don’t lose your head!

3. Green Lantern Coaster – Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

The Green Lantern Coaster at Warner Bros. Movie World on Australia’s Gold Coast made its debut in December 2011, and it boasts the steepest drop in the Southern Hemisphere – and the second steepest anywhere in the world. That drop, by the way, is a staggering 120.5 degrees. The individually articulated rows of seats are each outfitted with their own speakers, and the cars feature LED logos – but that’s probably not why you’d choose to take this particular trip. Nope, you’d strap in to feel the wind racing by your ears at 41 mph and 3.5 Gs pressing you into your seat.

The 2011 superhero movie may not have fared well with the critics, but we reckon they’d have a tough time penning negative write-ups while riding this intergalactic trip of a coaster.

2. Indiana Jones et le Temple du Péril – Disneyland Park, Paris, France

Indiana Jones et le Temple du Péril – notable for being the first Disney coaster to feature an inversion – has seen almost as many iterations as its film franchise namesake. The 1,969-foot-long ride first opened in Disneyland Paris in July 1993, but after the roller coaster had been running for seven years, the engineers were asked to step in and reverse the whole thing.

In the spring of 2000, Indiana Jones et le Temple du Péril: Backwards! brought in a whole new way for riders to experience their favorite thrill – although the ride was reversed again in 2004. Passengers sit in mine cars like the ones featured in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and travel at speeds of 36 mph. The coaster also holds the distinction of having the tallest height requirement of any ride in any Disney park. This fright-inducer may not be enough to rip your heart out, but it could sure make it skip a beat or two.

1. Battlestar Galactica: Human vs. Cylon – Universal Studios, Sentosa Island, Singapore

With these dueling roller coasters, Universal Studios Singapore paid tribute to the cybernetic beings known as “Cylons” at the center of the Battlestar Galactica science-fiction series. The ride opened in March 2010 and is 140 feet tall. Passengers on the Human coaster are seated throughout the experience, while the Cylon coaster sees riders hang from an inverted support.

Both trains set off simultaneously and propel thrill-seekers at high-acceleration speed right from the start, although they also offer completely different experiences. The Cylon ride maneuvers through a series of five inversions and a terrifying dive into a dark and foggy pit. Meanwhile, the Human ride doesn’t invert but subjects passengers to a greater amount of G-force and reaches a speed of 56 mph. The two trains often run close together, making you feel as if you could reach out and touch the other cars – and naturally this adds to the exhilaration of it all.


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