Orlando Roller Coasters: Top Teen Screams

Orlando’s many rollers coasters are teen favorites. Which are best? Let our local teen guide give you the inside scoop.

As a 16-year old who lives about five minutes from Universal Orlando, I’ve been lucky enough to take lots of roller coaster rides. My dad is a travel writer, and let’s just say he’s a wimp when it comes to riding rollercoasters. That’s probably the main reason he recruited me to write about the coasters my friends and I think are the most awesome.

Fast and Furious

My favorite is the Incredible Hulk at Islands of Adventure at Universal Studios Orlando, which is the ultimate fast-and-furious ride. The first thing you notice are the big nets under the ride—the kind the trapeze artists use in the circus—that catch flying cell phones, wallets, keys and other things that fall out of riders’ pockets when they turn upside down. There are tons of rollovers, corkscrews, dives and twists on the ride, which gets up to 67 m.p.h. I remember one ride when I lost my cell phone about two weeks after I got it, and my parents weren’t very happy. The people at Islands of Adventure checked the net, but they never found it.

Two Corkscrews and a Loop on Top

If you want something not quite as scary, the Dueling Dragons at Islands of Adventure is not as fast as Hulk, but it’s still a great ride. There are two coasters, the Fire Dragon and the Ice Dragon, that are locked into some sort of duel or race against each other. Three times during the ride, riders come within 18 inches of the other dueling dragon, but it actually seems a lot closer than that. Both coasters go up to 125 feet in the air and reach speeds of 55 m.p.h. There always is something exciting happening with several inversions, a zero-g roll, a cobra roll, two corkscrews and two vertical loops.

Airborne Aerosmith

Over at Disney World, the Rock’N’ Roller at Disney-MGM Studios theme park is a really cool coaster because you get to hear some great tunes while you ride. The “theme” of the ride is that you’re visiting a recording session by the rock band Aerosmith. My dad tells me they were big in the 70s and 80s. Anyway, the coaster is designed to look like a limo that chauffeurs Aerosmith around. The start of the ride is unbelievable. The limo (coaster) goes from 0 to 60 m.p.h. in about three seconds and for a little bit more than three minutes it seems like you’re in some out-of-control, speeding limo. During the entire ride, Aerosmith’s hit “Sweet Emotion” is playing loudly in the speakers of your coaster car.

Other Options

One of my favorite coasters since I was little is Space Mountain at Disney's Magic Kingdom. You start out going through a tunnel of strobe lights and colors and then through darkness past shooting stars and glowing planets. Because you’re in the dark, it always feels like you’re going a lot faster than 28 m.p.h.

Another coaster that might be good for kids 5 or 6 years old and up is Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, which is pretty tame by my standards, but has an 80 foot drop and gets up to 50 m.p.h.

The tallest roller coaster in Orlando is Kraken at SeaWorld Orlando. It takes you up more than 140 feet, turns you upside down seven times and reaches speeds of 65 m.p.h.  Don’t wear flip-flops or sunglasses because they’ll go flying the second the ride cranks up and you suddenly find yourself upside down. Your feet dangle as you sit in open-air seats with nothing but shoulder restraints. What’s weird about Kraken is you’re not really ready for it. Most of the time, when you visit SeaWorld, you go see a whale or dolphin show first, so you’re pretty laid back. The next thing you know, you get on Kraken and everything goes bonkers.

One coaster my dad has ridden that I haven’t is The Starliner at Cypress Gardens Adventure Park in Winter Haven, about 30 minutes west of Orlando. It’s a giant, old style, wooden roller coaster that was transported from the Miracle Strip Amusement Park in Panama City, Florida, which closed down a couple of years ago. My dad rode it up there when he was younger. “It’s one of the last great wooden roller coasters in the U.S.,” he says. “I just love that clickity-clack sound as you race up and down the tracks.” The Starliner tops out at 70 feet on the first hill. It then races down at speeds up to 70 mph, then skims a series of bunny hills and camel backs, providing plenty of negative-g’s. Created by master coaster designer John Allen, the Starliner is one of only eleven Allen coasters still in operation throughout the world.

Thanks pops, but I’m the expert here.

Enjoy Orlando’s stellar coasters!

Destinations: Florida, Orlando

Themes: Amusement Parks, Family Travel

User Comments

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