Travel By Numbers: Rollercoasters
As US National Rollercoaster Day loops ever closer, Ben Ross reveals the twistiest, turniest of them all
Saturday 13 August 2011
The year Edwin Prescott of Arlington, Massachusetts, patented his "novel rollercoaster or railway chiefly for the purposes of pleasure", which contained "a circularly arranged vertical loop or loops". The exact date, 16 August, has now been enshrined as National Rollercoaster Day in the US. For a taste of what came later, head to Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio: "America's Roller Coast". The oldest rollercoaster here is The Blue Streak, a wooden ride that has been shaking bones since 1964. The scariest? Top Thrill Dragster, which has its own spectator stand. Cedar Point is most easily reached by flying to Detroit. cedarpoint.com
The top speed in kilometres per hour of Formula Rossa, the world's fastest rollercoaster. This mighty ride (0 to 100km/h in two seconds) can be found – appropriately enough – in Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi, which opened last November. Ferrari World claims a top spot of its own as the largest indoor amusement park on the planet. ferrariworldabudhabi.com
The number of inversions (yes, that's when you're turned upside down) on the Colossus ride at Thorpe Park in Surrey, the most on any rollercoaster in the world. The ride's "highlight" is the UK's only quadruple corkscrew. Prepare to lose your lunch. thorpepark.com
The number, in millions, of visitors to Disney's Magic Kingdom in Florida in 2010, making it the most popular theme park in the world. A visit here is as much about strolling down Main Street USA and visiting Cinderella's Castle as looping the loop, but the likes of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad should satisfy 'coaster fans. disneyworld.disney.go.com
The height, in metres, of the Pepsi Max Big One at Blackpool pleasure beach, making it the tallest rollercoaster in the UK. Sadly for the Big One, it's a little less than half the height of the tallest rollercoaster in the world, found at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey. Here the Kingda Ka behemoth lords it over the world of the thrill-seeker at 139m; go worship via Newark airport. blackpoolpleasurebeach.com; sixflags.com
The approximate number of Lego bricks used to create Miniland at Legoland Windsor. Child-friendly rollercoasters here include The Dragon and The Dragon Apprentice. If you'd like to treat your darling Minifigs to lashings of sunshine as well, head for Legoland Florida, due to open its little plastic gates for the first time on 15 October. legoland.co.uk
The largest number of rollercoasters in any one park. Six Flags Magic Mountain in California seized the record from Ohio's Cedar Point last month with Green Lantern: First Flight, the first "spinning" rollercoaster in the US. sixflags.com
The number of stand-up rollercoasters in Europe. Drayton Manor in Staffordshire holds this perhaps dubious honour with its Shockwave ride. Here you can sample 4g and a zero-gravity roll without even going through the tedious process of sitting down. draytonmanor.co.uk
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