12 Record-Breaking Roller Coasters Across the Globe

Tiger and Turtle is a landmark on the Industrial Heritage Route

Have you ever ridden one of the many record-breaking roller coasters around the world? The first record-breaking coaster I rode was SheiKra in 2005. Upon opening, the dive coaster at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida, broke the record for the world's tallest and fastest dive coaster. Unfortunately, it lost that title a few years later to the Yukon Striker at Canada's Wonderland in Canada. Popular amusement park attractions hold records for the longest tracks, the fastest coasters, the most loops in a singular coaster, and even the slowest roller coasters that require walking. From New Jersey to the United Arab Emirates, these roller coasters break records daily.

1. World's Tallest/Biggest Roller Coaster- Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey

Kingda Ka, worlds tallest roller coaster, in New Jersey
Image Credit: Dusso Janladde, CC BY-SA 3.0/Wikimedia Commons.

Kingda Ka‘s infamous green track looms over the terrain at Six Flags Great Adventure Park in Jackson, New Jersey. The spine-chilling ride features a 0 to 128 mph catapult for those intrepid amusement park enthusiasts in under four seconds. After registering the launch, riders jet up 45 stories (456 feet) at a 90-degree angle and descend on the other side through a 270-degree spiral. Following those brain-whirring moments, riders zip over a 129-foot camel hill—a straight incline that simulates a weightless sensation. All that happens in 28 seconds. 

2. World's Longest Roller Coaster- Steel Dragon 2000 at Nagashima Spa Land in Mie Prefecture, Japan

Steel Dragon 2000 in Nagashima Spa Land, Kuwana, Mie prefecture, Japan
Image Credit: Alpsdake, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wikimedia Commons.

Steel Dragon 2000 came out in the year of the dragon, 2000, hence the name. The train coasts over a winding 8,133-foot track and never once inverts, making this ride favorable for those who wince at loops. The red coaster blasts riders down an initial hill of 307 feet at a 68-degree angle, over a secondary hill of 252 feet, and through two dark tunnels to accentuate the delight. The coaster offers two helixes, one clockwise and one counterclockwise, to shake up the coaster and disorient passengers on the three-minute and twelve-second ride. 

3. World's Fastest Roller Coaster- Formula Rossa at Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Ferrari World Rollercoaster
Image Credit: MrT HK, CC BY 2.0/Wikimedia Commons.

Currently, Formula Rossa at Ferrari World in the United Arab Emirates holds the record for the fastest roller coaster in the world, clocking in at a whopping 149 mph. However, next summer, the world record will pass on to a new coaster opening in Saudi Arabia, slated to reach 156 mph. Riders on Formula Rossa nestle into their Ferrari-esque seats and slap on a pair of mandatory safety goggles. Since the coaster cruises at an ungodly speed, riders must wear protective glasses to prevent debris from hitting their face and eyes. 

4. World's Slowest Roller Coaster- Tiger and Turtle at Magic Mountain in Duisburg, Germany

View from southwest onto the tiger and turtle sculpture in Duisburg, Germany
Image Credit: Avda, CC BY-SA 3.0/Wikimedia Commons.

Heike Mutter and Ulrich Genth designed this walkable roller coaster in Duisburg, Germany. From afar, the zinc and steel sculpture resembles a simple formulaic coaster layout, with a vertical loop as the focal point and curves surrounding the inversion. However, passengers cannot physically complete the loop. A gate closes off the entrance to the upturned stairs, but after climbing 246 stairs, you won't want to try to meet that challenge. This ride is free and open to all ages. 

5. World's Smallest Roller Coaster- Dvergbanen at Tusenfryd in Vinterbro, Oslo, Norway

Dvergbanen kiddie coaster in Oslo, Norway
Image Credit: Andreasr24, CC BY-SA 3.0/Wikimedia Commons.

Inside Norway's largest amusement park lies the world's smallest roller coaster—Dvergbanen. Dvergbanen interests aspiring coaster connoisseurs who haven't quite conquered loops or the fast-paced adrenaline rush of vertical drops with a smooth 85-foot track cruise. The Norwegian coaster plants four pink, red, green, and yellow-hued cars on the red track and sets off at a blood-curdling pace of 3.73 mph. The track extends eight feet off the ground during the swift thrill.

6. Roller Coaster With the Most Loops- The Smiler at Alton Towers in Staffordshire, United Kingdom

A Smiler car goes through an inversion on a sunny day at Alton Towers
Image Credit: Suntooooth, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wikimedia Commons.

The world record holder for the most loops in a singular ride goes to The Smiler at Alton Towers in the UK. A demented smile logo latches to the front of the coaster—a face you'll possess upon coaster completion—challenging the most daring individuals to board the coaster, featuring 14 inversions. The thrill ride advances at 52 mph over 3,838 feet of steel track. Can you survive fourteen loops in 180 seconds?

7. World's Tallest Wooden Coaster Drop- Goliath at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Illinois

Goliath wooden roller coaster at Six Flags
Image Credit: Jeremy Thompson, CC BY 2.0/Wikimedia Commons.

Wooden roller coasters succeed in giving intense neck aches and back aches from coasting over rocky terrain in uncomfortable seats. The wooden coaster with the tallest drop resides at Six Flags' location in Gurnee, Illinois. Pick between the red or orange trains to trek up the rickety wooden plateau before descending 180 feet at an 85-degree angle, averaging 72 mph. The Goliath contains a heart-stopping dive loop and a zero-g stall—a moment where riders remain upside down for an extended period. 

8. World's Tallest Beyond Vertical Drop- Takabisha at Fuji-Q Highland in Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan

Takabisha roller coaster
Image Credit: Cesar I. Martins, CC BY 2.0/Wikimedia Commons.

SheiKra at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida, soars down a vertical drop at 90 degrees. However, Takabisha at Fuji-Q Highland in Japan extends beyond vertical with a 121.5-degree plummet. The ride begs an untraditional route by dropping off into a dark abyss. A few moments later, the coaster undergoes a heartline roll.

During this maneuver, the rider's heart stays in one spot as the coaster, and their body twists around the artery. Following these epinephrine-fueled movements, the coaster climbs 141 feet up to a resting point overlooking the amusement park and pauses to build up passengers' anticipation until the latches release and the ride barrels down the 121.5-degree drop. 

9. World's Longest Floorless Roller Coaster- Dominator at Kings Dominion in Doswell, Virginia

The Dominator Rollercoaster at Kings Dominion
Image Credit: Coasterman1234, CC BY-SA 3.0/Wikimedia Commons.

At Kings Dominion in Doswell, Virginia, 32 daredevils buckle into a lemon yellow cart, seating four riders per row. The orange track rolls out over 4,210 feet, with riders dangling their feet above the steel. These courageous passengers set off on a 4,210-foot journey that cruises through five loops at 67 mph, with nothing to stomp onto for support. The Dominator incorporates five loops, including a cobra roll, a vertical loop, and a helix, into its two-minute and six-second runtime. 

10. World's Fastest Bobsled Roller Coaster- Avalanche at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in Blackpool, England 

The bobsled cars of roller coaster Avalanche at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in Blackpool, England 
Image Credit: WillMcC, CC BY 2.5/Wikimedia Commons.

The terrifying part of Avalanche is that it unlatches from a track during the runtime. Avalanche begins with a train car traversing up the built-in track to the summit of the “alpine.” The bobsled then detaches from the track and launches onto a white carved-out bobsled track with nothing gripping the coaster to the path. Riders swerve through about a minute of twists and turns at 50 mph until they return to the attached track after the ride. 

11. World's Tallest Standup Coaster- The Riddler's Revenge at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Los Angeles, California

Aerial view of Riddler's Revenge rollercoaster
Image Credit: Jeremy Thompson, CC BY 2.0/Wikimedia Commons.

Can you survive the wrath of The Riddler? The Riddler's Revenge is the perfect coaster for those thrill seekers looking to take their adventure to the next level. For this ride, passengers stand and are buckled into a yellow safety harness. The green coaster zips you through 4,370 feet of track, a 156-foot tall loop, and two corkscrew inversions, all at a maintained pace of 65 mph, making the coaster not only the tallest standup coaster in the world but also the fastest and longest standup roller coaster worldwide. 

12. World's Fastest Water Roller Coaster- Speed at Energylandia in Zator, Maloposkie, Poland 

Speed at Energylandia in Zator, Poland
Image Credit: Tomasz Adam, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Speed Water Coaster inside the Polish amusement park, Energylandia combines two favorite amusement park attractions: roller coasters and water rides. Passengers pile into the five rows that seat two people per row. Riders cruise on the blue track for the first few moments of the ride before the coaster rises at a vertical angle and fastens to another track 164 feet above the ground. Patrons plunge through the drop at 63 mph with a surprising splash, celebrating their first return to the ground. The track winds through 2,000 feet and one more splash before returning to the boarding station.