Top Ten Roller Coasters in Florida - Coaster101

Top Ten Roller Coasters in Florida

If you want to ride a bunch of different roller coasters in multiple theme parks, Florida is one of the best states you can visit to do so. In fact, there are currently 56 operating roller coasters in the state of Florida. But which ones are the best? Shane, Nick, and Eric got together and came up with a list of the top ten roller coasters in Florida.

10. Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit

Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit is an innovative steel coaster that includes unique track elements and on-board audio. Sprawling across a large section of the park, the skyline of Universal Studios Florida was changed forever when the Rockit began thrilling in August of 2009. Riders board a train consisting of two six-passenger cars before ascending the 167-foot-tall vertical lift hill. After reaching a speed of 65 mph, the ride soars into a mammoth non-inverting loop (a loop that twists at the top so the vehicles never turn upside down). This crazy maneuver is followed by the Treble Clef (where guests burst through a building façade on track shaped like the music symbol), and later followed by the Jump Cut, a spiraling, negative-gravity move. If nothing else, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit is surely one of the coolest looking coasters around, especially at night when the lights on the vehicles are lit up.

The most unique aspect of Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit is the ability to choose your own song to rock out to. That is, if you can hear it over your own screaming. The music selection is broken up into 30 songs in five categories: Classic Rock/Heavy Metal, Club/Electronica, Country, Rap/Hip-Hop, and Pop Music/Disco. In addition to these 30 songs, Universal has also included a number of “hidden” tracks that are accessible via entering secret codes into the ride’s touchpads before your journey begins. A personalized take-home music video is also available for purchase for those wanting to remember and share their terrifying ordeal with their friends. – Nick

Is there a concert venue with a better view than this?

9. Montu

All B&M inverts are good, some B&M inverts are great. I hadn’t been on Montu in almost 15 years before a recent visit to Busch Gardens Tampa, and I admit I had forgotten how great it is. When it opened it was the world’s tallest and fastest inverted coaster, but like a lot of Busch Gardens coasters what really elevates it is that little bit of extra theming. I love the way the tunnel and trench after the first 104 ft tall loop, and then the way the Immelman loop pulls up against the large Egyptian wall/gate. And compared to the average inverted coaster, the post-brake run section feels like gets a lot more action. The second loop, the barrel roll, and the batwing are all happen on the second “half” of the ride, a nice change from coasters that tend to peter out after the brake. Plus the added bonus that most of those elements are below ground level, with nicely themed Egyptian walls and trenches, it really gives it a surprising aspect. All together it makes it one of our favorite B&M inverts, which means it’s also one of our favorite coasters! – Eric

8. Revenge of the Mummy

Based on Universal’s Mummy film series, this Premier indoor launched coaster at Universal Studios Florida propels riders at speeds exceeding 40 mph. Revenge of the Mummy opened in 2004 and replaced the Kongfrontation dark ride which closed in 2002. The 2,200-foot-long coaster contains two launch sequences and a short section in which the 16-seat “mine car” travels backwards. Riders come face to face with the mummies themselves as they navigate through an Egyptian tomb. Oh, and if you like fire this is the ride for you! – Nick

7. Sheikra

The first dive coaster in North America still packs a great punch, and with only a handful of dive coasters in the US, it’s definitely one of our favorite rides in Florida. I still remember the first time I rode it back in 2008, and the hold before the first drop terrifying me. Not quite as terrified of it these days, but I love the way that first drop goes right past the station building, and under the supports of the brake run.  Sheikra stands out compared to other dive coasters by how much it dives between and banks over trees and buildings. Thinking about how Valravn is basically on a big grassy field really makes me appreciate the Sheikra layout. Then there’s the second drop, which I think has got to be best second drop of any dive coaster in North America. The way it dives into a ruined tower and under the splash pool before banking around to splash down is just fantastic. No other ride in Florida is like it, and there’s a chance it’s still my favorite dive coaster. Plus, unlike most of the others, the splash down actually soaks people! – Eric

 6. Cheetah Hunt

We love an Intamin LSM Launch (formerly Blitz) coaster. There are only a handful of these in the US, and Cheetah Hunt MIGHT be our second favorite of all of them. The opening launches are great, and we love the weird figure 8 at the highest point for its uniqueness. The middle section, low to the ground and surrounded by trees and bushes, is even more fun than the trenches on Maverick at Cedar Point. For thrills that involve twisting turns and low to the ground excitement, it doesn’t get much better than Cheetah Hunt. – Eric

5. Mako

Mako at SeaWorld Orlando is a B&M hyper coaster opened in 2016 and is inspired by the mako shark. It reaches a maximum height of 200 feet (61 meters) and speeds of up to 73 miles per hour (117 kilometers per hour). With a track length of 4,760 feet (1,451 meters), riders experience an air-time filled journey in the first two-thirds of the ride before a twisting finale over the central lagoon. Mako is known for its smooth ride and is one of the tallest, fastest, and longest roller coasters in the Orlando area.

There are currently 13 B&M hyper/giga coasters in North America and although it would be impossible for us to rank them all without riding them back-to-back, Mako would certainly rank towards the top of the list. The airtime is very strong, there’s a great head chopper effect, and the layout is a bit more varied and flows better than some of the other B&M hyper coasters. -Nick

The Mako finale which even includes some sideways airtime

4. Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is the latest Disney coaster, and the first roller coaster ever at EPCOT. In short, this ride is a masterpiece. I’ve said before that this is the greatest coaster experience in the world, and other than Hagrid’s (more on that in a bit), I stand by that. I have never experienced the level of pure joy that Guardians gives me on any other ride, it’s an absolutely perfect combination of coaster, show, and music. If you’re a fan of the Guardians characters, this ride will appeal even more to you, but even if you’ve never heard of them you’re going to have a blast. The rotating ride vehicles are a very exciting advancement, and help the coaster achieve the feeling of floating and surfing through space. The first reveal of space after the launch is one of my favorite moments on a coaster, and impresses me every single time. The re-rideability factor of getting different songs is a great twist, and provides 6 different ride experiences. Guardians is a pure euphoria blast, and an incredible coaster. -Shane

3. Iron Gwazi

For some coaster enthusiasts, RMC has not been doing enough to make their coasters unique in recent years. Critics say: if you’ve ridden Twisted Timbers, then you’ve ridden Wicked Cyclone, Untamed and Joker too. Iron Gwazi is RMC’s answer to these complaints. How about a record breaking, blistering-fast airtime machine with nonstop pacing? Iron Gwazi is unlike any other coaster, and certainly any other RMC, I have experienced. First of all, it’s massive. The giant lift hill looms over every area of Busch Gardens Tampa, you can see it from down the street before you even arrive. If that wasn’t enough, the 90 degree drop that follows the lift is one of the best first drops on any coaster, you’re being thrown out of your seat as you fall straight down. The collection of elements on this ride are some of RMC’s best, with the “death roll” being the sure standout. The first half is long, drawn out elements like the outerbanked hill and the stall, then after the death roll it’s nonstop small hills with some serious pops of airtime that will have you out of the seat more than you’re in it. You can check out mine and Mike’s initial reactions on media day, and it’s only gotten better since then. Iron Gwazi has added yet another coaster to BGT’s perfect lineup, and made the park a must-visit for Florida coaster trips. -Shane

2. Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

Hagrid’s sort of feels like a ride where Universal basically asked Intamin to throw in every different kind of non-inverting feature they could. Like, they probably could have gotten away with just doing a multi-launch coaster, especially with a record-setting (at the time) seven launches. It’s Harry Potter, so makes sense you’d throw in some impressive animatronics. That should be enough, but let’s also add on the unique vehicle design with the two different seats – which is really what made me first want to ride it – and while you’re at it make the motorbikes look great, use onboard audio, make the headlights respond to the ride, and throw on a button you get to smack. Could have easily stopped there, but no, let’s put in a switch-track and backwards vertical drop too, show Disney who’s who. I guess that still wasn’t enough for Universal, because they decided to throw on a drop track as well.

Hagrid’s basically combines everything I could want from mid-intensity roller coaster into one, and does it in an amazing way. It’s another example of how a coaster doesn’t have to be the biggest or tallest or fastest for it to be one of the best. If only the queue weren’t as long (or as claustrophobic), I’d ride it over and over again. – Eric

Top Ten Roller Coasters in Florida

1. VelociCoaster

VelociCoaster is special. It’s not just a coaster. It’s an experience. It’s Universal Orlando saying, we can build a world class coaster and theme it too. The ride’s massive top hat is a calling card, saying to guests whose biggest coaster credit may be Space Mountain, “I dare you.” The ride is all-encompassing, with its second half of track bleeding into the Wizarding World and The Lost Continent. From the moment you enter the ride’s beautiful plaza, you are surrounded by the track, and after you pass under the flaming entrance arch, there’s no turning back.

Something I am impressed by every time I ride VelociCoaster is just how premium everything feels. The marble floor and walls, exquisitely maintained theming elements, and 4k screens surround the queue. In the station, there is even a marble line on the floor that separates the front row line, but is perfectly integrated into the station with its giant windows letting in natural light and allowing for stunning views of the coaster in the paddock. The in-theme queue videos are also a treat. One thing I was so curious about before the ride opened was, how are they going to theme a roller coaster to Jurassic World? Easy. It’s a roller coaster set inside Jurassic World. It’s so simple, and the queue theming and videos add to this lore in a brilliant way.

The coaster itself is enthusiast heaven, a perfectly smooth coaster with an incredible layout and beautiful surroundings. The first half is in the raptor paddock, so the movements are more contained, twisting around the rockwork and having smaller bursts of airtime. Then, after the ride is let loose after the second launch, the ride goes from great to mind-blowing. Massive airtime elements and inventive inversions galore, with the lagoon underneath the track is an incredible setting as well. The Mosasaurus Roll is my favorite inversion on any coaster, and the speed hill beforehand feels like a third launch, catapulting riders through this tight twist.

Taking a world class layout and combining it with state of the art theming can only result in something incredible, and VelociCoaster is even more than that. It’s not just the best coaster in Florida, it’s one of the best in the world.

Honorable Mentions

We also wanted to mention a few other coasters that didn’t make our list, but we thought about hard:

Escape from Gringott’s: We actually had it on the list, but then decided the things about it we really loved most were the dark ride parts, and really it’s more dark ride than coaster. So thanks to that technicality we kept it off, but we definitely love it. Read how Escape from Gringott’s works.

Space Mountain: Yeah, it’s painful, but it’s still fun and nostalgia kept it in consideration.

Incredible Hulk: A really a solid coaster, but when we compared it to the other B&Ms on our list it didn’t quite make the cut. It’s also a little rough these days.

White Lightning: It’s good (we’ve never been on a bad GCI) but not mind blowing.

Mine Blower: Would absolutely be on this list…IF it were smooth and re-rideable, which it is not. Incredible layout but just too rough to be enjoyable.

IceBreaker: Fun launches and we like the top hat, but compared to the other launch coasters that made the list it just isn’t quite thrilling or exciting enough. And the vehicles are not easy to get into.

Ok, so what do you think? Are we completely wrong, or do you agree? What favorite coaster of yours didn’t make the list and we need to reconsider? Let us know below!


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2 Responses

  1. anonymous says:

    no hulk?

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