Take a look below for our list of 10 of the best theme park rides of all time.
1. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, also known as Tower of Terror, is an accelerated drop tower dark ride located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Tokyo DisneySea, Walt Disney Studios Park, and formerly located at Disney California Adventure. The attraction is inspired by Rod Serling’s anthology television series, The Twilight Zone, and takes place in the fictional Hollywood Tower Hotel in Hollywood, California.
The Tokyo version features an original storyline not related to The Twilight Zone and takes place in the fictional Hotel Hightower. All versions of the attraction place riders in a seemingly ordinary hotel elevator, and present a fictional backstory in which people have mysteriously disappeared from the elevator under the influence of a supernatural element many years previously.
2. Millennium Force
Millennium Force is a steel roller coaster located at Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio. Manufactured by Intamin, it was the park’s fourteenth roller coaster when it opened in 2000, dating back to the opening of Blue Streak in 1964. Upon completion, Millennium Force broke five world records and was the world’s first giga coaster, a term coined by Intamin and Cedar Point to represent roller coasters that exceed 300 feet (91 m) in height and complete a full circuit.
It was briefly the tallest and fastest in the world until Steel Dragon 2000 opened later the same year. The ride is also the third-longest roller coaster in North America following The Beast at Kings Island and Fury 325 at Carowinds.
3. Haunted Mansion
Dearly depart into a foreboding estate, drag your body to the dead center of the Portrait Chamber and watch as the walls begin to stretch before your eyes. Climb into your waiting Doom Buggy and embark on a shivering journey into an unearthly realm.
The disembodied voice of the Ghost Host is your private guide through the cadaverous dwelling—home to grinning ghosts and other spectral surprises.
Glide past a rattling casket in the conservatory. Head off to Madame Leota’s spooky séance room. Float by the Grand Ballroom and its waltzing apparitions. Take a spin through a cemetery where the spirited residents regale you with song.
Beware of lurking hitchhikers—these phantom pranksters may try to follow you home!
4. Jurassic Park: River Adventure
One minute, you’re gliding along in your raft. The next, you’re face to face with a giant T. rex. There’s nowhere to turn. She’s bearing down on you and your only escape from her razor sharp teeth is to take the pitch-black plunge before you. Did we mention it’s an 85-foot drop?
5. Splash Mountain
Jolly Roger’s Splash Mountain has slides to test even the bravest member of your family. Experience the thrill of being shot uphill amidst a torrent of water on the Master Blaster water roller coaster, test your nerves while flying up and down the sides of Stealth, the park’s 45-foot tall half-pipe slide, or dare to test your nerves in the Aqualoop. Try your hand at river rafting on the Rapids Ride or slip and slide your way through the darkness of the Black Hole. For the little ones, Splash Mountain is home to three Kiddie Pools, the Lazy Lagoon Family Activity Pool, and the ever popular family favorite, the Rain Forest!
6. Space Mountain
Dip and careen into the inky blackness as a futuristic soundtrack echoes all around you. Fly past shooting stars and celestial satellites. Roar past streaking orbs of light, wayward comets and migrant meteors. Feel the pull of gravity as you’re drawn into a swirling wormhole!
7. Expedition Everest
Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain is a steel roller coaster built by Vekoma at Disney’s Animal Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The ride is themed around the Yeti protecting the Forbidden Mountain next to Mount Everest. It is the only roller coaster at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and the tallest roller coaster at any Disney theme park.
Kumba is a steel roller coaster located at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay in Tampa, Florida. Manufactured by Bolliger & Mabillard, the ride opened in 1993. It stands 143 feet (44 m) tall and has a top speed of 60 miles per hour (97 km/h). Kumba features a total of seven inversions across the 3-minute ride.
X² (formerly known as X) is a steel roller coaster operating at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California. It is the world’s first 4th Dimension roller coaster and was the final roller coaster conceived and installed by ride manufacturer Arrow Dynamics. The ride is unique in that the trains’ seats pitch 360 degrees forwards and in reverse independent of the main chassis.
The coaster initially opened to the public on January 12, 2002; numerous malfunctions delayed it from debuting in 2001 as was originally anticipated. On December 2, 2007, the ride closed for its transformation into X². It was completely repainted, received new third-generation trains, and featured new special effects including a sound system and a pair of flame throwers. The ride reopened on May 24, 2008, following the upgrades.
10. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is a motion-based dark ride located in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter-themed areas of Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida; Universal Studios Hollywood in Universal City, California, Universal Studios Japan in Osaka, Japan and Universal Studios Beijing in Beijing, China. The ride takes guests through scenes and environments in and around Hogwarts Castle from the Harry Potter series of books and films.
Mark Woodbury, president of Universal Creative, described the ride as an in-depth look at the world of Harry Potter, which utilizes never-before-seen technology which transforms “the theme park experience as you know it”. The ride first opened at Islands of Adventure with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter on June 18, 2010; subsequent versions opened at Universal Studios Japan on July 15, 2014, at Universal Studios Hollywood on April 7, 2016, and at Universal Studios Beijing on September 20, 2021.