I remember my first ever rollercoaster experience like it was yesterday. It was 1996 and I was 13 years old. My mum had convinced me to join her and my sister on one of their favourite rides, Kumba at Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay. I wasn’t what you’d call a thrill seeker and my nerves were steadily building as we waited in line. By the time we got on the ride I was a nervous wreck and the tears started to flow. I begged to get off but it was too late – we’d already set off along the track. The climb to the top of the ride only took about 45 seconds, but it felt like a lifetime and I was near having a panic attack by the time we reached the top and hurtled down towards the first loop! What followed next was the most thrilling few minutes of my life and the start of my love for rollercoasters. I was hooked.

That was twenty years ago and since then I’ve gone on rollercoasters all over the world – but no one does it quite like Orlando. They have some of the best rides out there and I’ve been fortunate enough to ride them all. They are all unique and enjoyable in their own ways but here’s the top Orlando rollercoasters that stand out for me:

Manta
Location: SeaWorld
Duration: 2 minutes 36 seconds

Top 10 Orlando Rollercoasters

My personal favourite, Manta gives riders the journey of a lifetime as you discover what it’s like to spin, glide and fly like a giant ray. You’re initially seated upright before being flipped, so that you’re parallel to the track with your ankles buckled into straps, and it’s this riding position which makes Manta so unique. Water jets blast up high into the air as you fly by, helping you to really feel like a ray flying through seawater. The ride is disorientating – but in a thrilling way. With a 113 foot drop and 56 mph top speed, Manta’s power is not to be underestimated.

Kraken
Location: SeaWorld
Duration: 2 minutes 02 seconds

Top 10 Orlando Rollercoasters

Now I’m not one to be scared of heights, but by the time I’ve reached the top of the 153 foot climb on Kraken, named after the mythological sea monster, even I’m shaking with a mix of nerves and anticipation. It features a total of seven inversions, including two vertical loops, a dive loop, a spiraling camelback (where you will experience a strange feeling of weightlessness), a cobra roll and a flat spin, and reaches a top speed of 65 mph. Kraken will leave you screaming for more.

Kumba
Location: Busch Gardens
Duration: 2 minutes 54 seconds

Kumba Busch Gardens

Ah, my first ever rollercoaster experience, and for that reason this ride has to feature in my all time favourites. When Kumba opened in 1993 it featured the world’s tallest vertical loop and was also the tallest, fastest and longest roller coaster in Florida. Whilst bigger and faster rides may have since sprung up it still has some impressive stats. After the thrill of a 135 foot drop you’ll reach a top speed of 60 mph whilst you dive and twist your way through seven inversions. You will also experience up to 3.8 times the force of gravity during the ride experience. This is an old school yet intense ride that doesn’t disappoint.

Falcons Fury
Location: Busch Gardens
Duration: 2 minutes

Top 10 Orlando Rollercoasters

Standing 335 foot in the air Falcons Fury, Busch Gardens free standing drop tower, gives you the perfect mix of thrills and stunning views of the park. Once you have climbed to the top of the tower, which takes around a minute, you will be tilted forward in your seat so you’re facing the ground and experience approx 5 seconds of free fall, whilst reaching a speed of 60 mph. The ride may be over in a flash but your pulse will still be racing long into the day.

Montu
Location: Busch Gardens
Duration: 3 minutes

Top 10 Orlando Rollercoasters

This one is an oldie but a goodie. Montu first opened back in 1996 and has been thrilling riders ever since. At the time of its opening to the public, Montu was the tallest and fastest inverted roller coaster in the world, standing at 150 foot tall and hitting speeds of 65 mph, but with rides ever evolving this is a title that it’s since conceded.  An added thrill is the floorless carts that you ride in, meaning your legs are dangling in mid air as you fly along the track and through the seven inversions Montu has to offer.

SheiKra
Location: Busch Gardens
Duration: 2 minutes 20 seconds

Top 10 Orlando Rollercoasters

For me the 200 foot climb at a 45 degree angle to the top of SheiKra is just as thrilling as the ride itself. Once you’re at the top you are left hanging face down over the edge for a few seconds, teasing you with the 90 degree drop that awaits. By the time you’ve reached the bottom of the drop you’re doing speeds of 70 mph. Whilst SheiKra only has one loop, making it different from many rollercoasters out there, this doesn’t detract from it’s awesomeness at all.

The Incredible Hulk
Location: Universal Islands of Adventure
Duration: 1 minutes 15 seconds

As you enter The Incredible Hulk you’ll pass underneath a towering figure of the green man himself, using his colossal strength to hold up pieces of the coaster’s track. Once seated you’ll be rocketed out of a launch tunnel into the open air and hit an impressive 40 mph in just 2 seconds flat. With an overall high speed of 67 mph the ride stands 150 feet in the air. Experience a completely weightless “zero g” roll as you are propelled along the course through seven inversions and two subterranean trenches. This is definitely not for the faint hearted!

Dragon Challenge
Location: Universal Islands of Adventure
Duration: 2 minutes 25 seconds

Dragon Challenge

Situated in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter area of Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure is where you’ll find Dragon Challenge, a pair of intertwined inverted rollercoasters. You’ll mount one of two dragons, an aggressive Chinese Fireball or a ferocious Hungarian Horntail and go head to head as you twist and turn along the track, at one point coming within a fraction of ‘colliding’ together. The ride has 5 inversions and reaches top speeds of 60 mph. This is two high speed rollercoasters in one as each ‘dragon’ gives you a completely different ride experience.

Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
Location: Universal Studios
Duration: 1 minute 45 seconds

Rip Ride Rockit

A rollercoaster with a musical twist. As you take your seat you have 45 seconds to strap in and pick from 30 songs that you’ll then listen to as you fly round the track at 65 mph. This ride is all about the 167 foot climb as you head straight towards the sky at a 90 degree angle. There’s not actually any inversions on this ride but there’s plenty of twists and turns that will leave you screaming for more. Remember to check out the video of your adventure once you’re back on solid ground too.

Rollercoasters may not be for everyone……..just ask my husband! But if you’re planning a trip to Orlando then I thoroughly recommend you give each of these rides a go – they’re up there with the best of the best and no one does it quite like the Americans.

*this is a collaborative post – Images courtesy of  SeaWorld Parks and Universal Parks and Resorts