17 Roller Coasters That Will Make You Scream
Ah, the joys of summer! A time for sunshine, warm weather, vacationing and amusement at every turn.
Amusement parks across the country reopen for the season to give thrill-seekers a chance to shake off the winter chill and feel the wind in their hair on rides that spin, climb, loop, twist and turn.
And, every year, a new crop of roller coasters appears, touting fastest, tallest, record-breaking or first-of-its-kind distinctions. We found eight new roller coasters opening in 2019 that are practically guaranteed to make you scream, as well as nine coasters that took America by storm in 2018.
With 15 summer weekends from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend, you could make it your mission to visit them all. Or, at least try one close to your neck of the woods.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Copperhead Strike at Carrowinds - North Carolina
As frightening as stumbling upon a copperhead snake in the woods, the Carolinas' first double-launch coaster arrives at Charlotte, North Carolina's Carrowinds this summer.
The super-speedy and scream-inducing ride will launch you 0 to 42 miles per hour in 2.5 seconds before hurtling you through a second launch traveling 35 to 50 miles per hour in just 2 seconds.
Not only will you be thrust into the back of your seat on this crazy adventure, you'll loop five times along the 3,225 feet of steel track that makes up this highly anticipated 2-minute, 24-second coaster.
Maxx Force, Six Flags Great America - Illinois
Think two launches were enough to twist your stomach into knots? How about three — traveling faster than the speed limit?
The triple-launching Maxx Force will break records when it opens this year, becoming the fastest launch coaster in North America. Reaching speeds of 78 miles per hour in less than 2 seconds, travel upside down along five inversions and soar to heights of up to 175 feet.
Maxx Force won't rest on just being the fastest launch coaster. No; this coaster outside of Chicago will also feature the tallest double inversion of any coaster in the world, as well as the fastest inversion — a zero-G roll at 60 miles per hour. You may not want to eat before this ride.
Firebird, Six Flags America - Maryland
Like a Phoenix rising from the flames, Six Flags America, serving Baltimore and Washington, D.C., gives new birth to its former Apocalypse stand-up coaster, which has been closed since 2012.
This isn't a simple facelift with a new coat of paint. Apocalypse is gone and in its place, the new Firebird brings a twisting, turning and shriek-activating ride to Six Flags America's 2019 season.
The only floorless coaster in Maryland will shoot riders to heights of up to 67 feet into the air along 2,900 feet of steel track at speeds of up to 55 miles per hour. Don't look down!
Phoenix at Adventureland - Iowa
Think Iowa doesn't offer thrills? Adventureland Park in Altoona wants to prove you wrong.
This June, the amusement park with more than 100 rides for thrill-seekers of all ages welcomes its first spinning roller coaster: Phoenix. Don't confuse this coaster with The Scrambler or any other county fair-like spinning ride. This one is the real deal: an actual roller coaster with a four-car seat that spins 360-degrees as it travels up and down the track's hills.
The $6-million family coaster will travel faster than any fair spinner you have tried, moving as fast as 40 miles per hour while it climbs heights of 50 feet. You are guaranteed to a bird's eye view of Iowa with this new screecher.
Steel Curtain at Kennywood - Pennsylvania
In Pittsburgh Steelers Country, you can bet a new coaster created with one of the NFL's toughest teams will pack a punch.
Kennywood, which originally opened outside Pittsburgh in 1899, proves a 120-year-old amusement park can still make you howl with its Steel Curtain. The Pittsburgh Steelers' signature gold and black adorn the coaster's 4,000-foot-long steel (of course) track, which climbs 220 feet and features the tallest inversion in the world at 197 feet.
Traveling at speeds of up to 76 miles per hour, this 2-minute ride will invert you a total of nine times — yes, nine! — on one ride, the most inversions in North America.
Did you expect anything less from the tough-as-nails footballers?
Tigris at Busch Gardens Tampa - Florida
Forget Disney World, in Florida you'll find the best shrieks at the Tampa-area Busch Gardens amusement park. With nearly 25,000 feet of roller coaster tracks across the wildlife-themed park, Busch Gardens is renowned for opening hair-raising rides.
This year is no exception.
Bringing the tallest launch roller coaster to the state of Florida, Busch Gardens added Tigris to its amusement arsenal on March 1. Although the ride features a small footprint of 1,800 feet of steel track, it packs one heck of a punch.
You will travel 150 feet toward the sky and reach speeds of more than 60 miles per hour on Tigris as Busch Gardens celebrates its 60th anniversary. But watch out! The looping twists at this party will have you moving forward and backward like a cat's play thing.
Yukon Striker at Canada's Wonderland - Ontario
The faint of heart (and stomach) need not apply when it comes to Toronto's new roller coaster. Perhaps the most fear-inducing ride on this list, the new Yukon Striker breaks records and barriers in 2019.
Canada's Wonderland introduces Canada's first dive coaster — distinguished by at least one nearly-vertical drop — to the masses. This is also the world's fastest dive coaster, reaching speeds of 80 miles per hour. The dive coaster stretches along 3,625 feet of steel track — making it also the longest dive coaster ever built.
But these records are not enough for Canada's Wonderland: A 245-foot, 90-degree drop is the world's steepest incline — on any roller coaster. You may feel like one strong wind and you'll be pushed over the edge.
Dare you not to scream!
West Coast Racers, Six Flags Magic Mountain - California
Not one, but two side-by-side tracks will be the key to Six Flags Magic Mountain's newest roller coaster, West Coast Racers, in the Southern California town of Valencia.
Thanks to infamous Los Angeles traffic, you may not have a chance to speed-race other cars, but you can feel the wind in your hair and come within inches of the other cars on this daredevil ride. Two coasters take off simultaneously on a 3-minute, 55-mile-per-hour race, circling two laps with 14 over/under near-misses with one another.
Not to be outdone by all the new record-beating coasters arriving in 2019, West Coast Racers breaks its own with four magnetic launches for the two side-by-side trains. The steel tracks also features three zero-G rolls and a zero-G stall, providing exactly the loops that will make you bellow in a combination of fear and delight.
Steel Vengeance at Cedar Point - Ohio
If you've proclaimed yourself the "Roller Coaster Capital of the World" you better not disappoint the throes of adrenaline-junkies visiting for a fix. Which is exactly why Cedar Point updated its original Mean Streak wooden coaster into a modern-day thriller: Steel Vengeance.
Adding a steel track to the original wooden layout in a two-year transformation, Steel Vengeance is the world's fastest and tallest hybrid coaster.
Offering higher peaks and steeper drops, the revamped coaster joins the elite "hypercoasters" (those with heights over 200 feet) by rising 205 feet. You'll reach speeds of 74 miles per hour as you drop from this insane height. There's also a 90-degree drop (thus the steepest honor for a hybrid) and more than 5,700 feet of track, making Steel Vengeance the longest hybrid coaster, as well.
Cedar Point promises 27.2 seconds of out-of-your-seat moments; why not test it for yourself?
RailBlazer at Great America - California
A gif is worth a thousand words when you see, above, just how Great America's RailBlazer operates: on a single rail!
The first single-rail steel coaster on the West Coast may be smaller than the Santa Clara park's massive wooden Gold Striker, but as the newest ride, RailBlazer gives its monster big sibling a run for its money.
Riders sit single-file style to travel along the single rail, which takes you face-first down a 90-degree drop — especially frightening if you have the front seat. As you glide along the 1,800-foot-track, you'll reach speeds of 52 miles per hour, stall at 180 degrees and loop in a zero-gravity roll. Hold onto your hat!
Twisted Timbers at Kings Dominion - Virginia
Proving again that size does not matter, Virginia's Kings Dominion reworked its wooden Hurler coaster to create a new speed-demon coaster: Twisted Timber.
Using the same designers who unveiled Steel Vengeance, Twisted Timber may not break records, but it does bring new life to its resurrected coaster, traveling along a 3,361-foot-long track at speeds of 54 miles per hour — fast enough to make you lose your breath on its twists and turns, but long enough to give you a chance to catch it before losing it again.
You'll begin the hybrid coaster adventure with a barrel roll on the 100-foot drop, coming out of your seat before zero-g rolls, three inversions and three airtime hills lift you up, again and again.
This is definitely not a kiddie coaster!
Wonder Woman Golden Lasso at Six Flags Fiesta - Texas
RailBlazer wasn't the first rail coaster in the world. That honor went to Six Flags Fiesta in San Antonio when it opened Wonder Woman's Golden Lasso coaster in 2018.
Joining Batman and Superman coasters, the first coaster dedicated to the comic-book heroine gives those in Texas a chance to sample the single-file rider train on a single track, dropping them 90 degrees in the park's first such drop.
Whipping you around as if you were Wonder Woman's lasso, the coaster runs along 1,800 feet of golden track and experiences a zero-g roll, a stall at 180 degrees and two airtime hills, similar to the RailBlazer but as smooth as Gal Gadot.
Electric Eel at SeaWorld San Diego - California
In a shift to move away from its status as an aquarium park (rightfully so after "Blackfish" and the following backlash), SeaWorld aims to recreate its theme parks into amusement parks with rides that will really move you.
The Electric Eel opened in 2018 as the park's (and San Diego's) tallest and fastest roller coaster — not to mention the fastest in California. As a triple launch coaster, you'll start with a forward-backward-forward launch, then climb 15 stories before experiencing an upside-down twist.
You'll reach speeds of up to 60 miles per hour and race forwards and backwards like an electric eel, swimming through the sky with a non-inverting loop.
The ride is less than a minute in length, but there will still be screams.
Adrenaline Peak at Oaks Park - Oregon
In Portland's Oak Park, roller coaster fans christened the ride that opened to much fanfare in 2018. The winning choice, Adrenaline Peak, earned its name for bringing visitors to new heights near the Cascade Mountains.
Although the track is one of the shortest found on this list, the much-hyped coaster is a first of its kind in Oregon, traveling 45 miles per hour on 1,050 feet of steel track. With a 72-foot vertical lift and a 97-degree loop, just eight passengers ride along the track and spin on three inversions.
Adrenaline Peak replaced the Looping Thunder, which had a longer track but offered no inversions and a height of only 36 feet. No wonder this new spiral, climbing coaster was welcomed so warmly.
Tantrum at Six Flags Darrien Lake - New York
Six Flags doesn't joke around when it comes to adding shrieks to its nationwide locations, but had forgotten its upstate New York location for 10 years. In 2018, the amusement park finally realized how hungry for scares its Darrien Lake location was, and served up Tantrum, the first new roller coaster to open at the park since 2008.
With as much force as a child's temper tantrum, Tantrum features pretzel-like loops after a 98-foot climb at a 90-degree angle (straight up!) drops riders at a 97-degree angle. In fact, the coaster is the first ride in New York state and nearby Ontario to have the beyond-vertical descent.
With such a drop and three inversions, you'll travel at speeds reaching 52 miles per hour. Although the ride is just a minute across a 1,246-foot steel track, it beats out the water flume ride that once called the location home.
HangTime at Knott's Berry Farm - California
Competing with nearby Disneyland, the ultra family-friendly theme park in Buena Park decided to up its game in 2018. With Snoopy characters filling the park's low-key rides, the new HangTime fills the air with high-pitched cries as riders hover overhead.
HangTime didn't just bring Knott's Berry Farm its first dive coaster; it brought the entire state of California its first dive coaster. With a near-vertical drop, the ride earned its name from its stop just as you cross over the 15-story peak — a few seconds of staring straight down, knowing what is to come!
Falling 96 degrees, you'll fly through five inversions, riding the waves of the air at this Boardwalk-themed ride.
Time Traveler at Silver Dollar City - Missouri
Branson's theme park, Silver Dollar City, is like stepping back in time to Pioneer Days. Although its newest roller coaster hearkens to the Time Traveler theme by name, this wild ride is straight out of modern day.
Opening in 2018, the Time Traveler is the world's tallest and fastest spinning coaster. Built with the whopping price tag of $26 million, the ride is worth every cent as it begins its crazy spin through time and space with a 90-foot drop. Hurdling through the "centuries," the ride continues with diving loops, vertical loops and zero-gravity rolls.
You'll top out at 100 feet and scream your way along more than 3,000 feet of steel track, reaching speeds of more than 50 miles per hour, all the while spinning on what was named one of the best steel coasters in the world.