X2
Six Flags Magic Mountain
Los Angeles
www.sixflags.com/magicmountain
It started as X, the world’s first “4th Dimension” roller coaster, enabling cars to independently spin on a perpendicular axis while careening along 3,610 feet of gut-testing steel track with 88-degree turns, 215-foot drops, two inversions, a back flip and a twisting front flip among other chaotic acrobatics. Then, in 2008, it was reborn as X2 — an upgraded version that sends shrieking passengers pitching head over heels along the old X track — but at a slightly faster clip (now 76 miles per hour) and with added “5th Dimension” audio-visual-sensory effects and a new color scheme. Are we happy now?

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THE CYCLONE
Luna Park
Coney Island, N.Y.
www.lunaparknyc.com
According to the Roller Coaster Database, there are nearly 60 roller coasters that have the word cyclone as part of their name. The forefather of them all is this beloved 1927 landmark, which, as the story goes, once inspired the first three words of an adult rider who hadn’t spoken since birth (“I feel sick”). Since then, the Cyclone has survived demolition threats and the closing of Coney’s Astroland Park. Now in operation next to the resurrected Luna Park, the Cyclone has been called “the most copied roller coaster in the world” — maxing out at 85 feet and 60 miles per hour, with six turnarounds and eight screamworthy drops.


Did You Know?

The first 100-foot-tall roller coaster — the Serpent of Fire at La Feria Chapultepec Magico in Mexico City — was unveiled in 1964. The 200-foot barrier was broken in 1989 (Magnum XL-200 at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio), followed by 300 feet in 2000 (Millennium Force at Cedar Point) and 400 feet in 2003 (Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point).

Lakemont Park in Altoona, Pa., is home to the world’s oldest operating roller coaster — Leap-the-Dips, a side-friction wooden model constructed in 1902.

Loops in roller coasters today employ a teardrop-shaped curvature (with a continuously changing radius) known geometrically as a “clothoid.”

On Aug. 10, 2010, more than 100 au naturel coaster fans boarded the Green Scream at England’s Adventure Island, setting a new world record for naked roller-coaster riding.

Roller coasters are believed to have originated from large ice-slide sled rides popular in 17th-century Russia.