Seeking a thrill this Halloween season, but ghosts and vampires aren’t up your alley? Ditch the haunted house and get spooked on three of the East Coast’s most extreme and cutting-edge coasters.
The Intimidator – Carowinds in Charlotte, NC
Looking for a coaster close to home? North Carolina’s long-standing amusement park Carowinds is a family favorite among many East Coast residents. One of the park’s most extreme roller coasters is the Intimidator, a hyper coaster reaching speeds of up to 80 mph. In fact, according to the park’s website, the Intimidator is one of the world’s tallest, fastest, and longest hyper coasters in the Southeast. Additionally, it ranks as one of the top 10 tallest steel roller coasters in North America. The coaster opened to riders in 2010 and was inspired by NASCAR’s Dale Earnhardt, a North Carolina native. If you reach the minimum 54-inch height requirement and can tolerate close to four minutes of an intense adrenaline rush, try not to close your eyes as you inch closer and closer to the top of the 232-foot hill, shortly before descending upon a rapid 74-degree drop. Want to ride the Intimidator, but don’t want to wait in long lines? Carowinds offers Fast Lane passes for $75 per person, allowing guests skip-the-line entry on many of the park’s most popular attractions. Visit www.carowinds.com to purchase park tickets and view park hours, dining options, and more.
Griffon – Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA
European-themed Busch Gardens has been voted the world’s most beautiful park, and is home to some of the East Coast’s most unique thrill rides. Griffon, the park’s 205-foot tall floorless dive coaster, is horrifying to onlookers as riders slowly approach the summit of the first hill, and stop at a seemingly uncomfortable and nerve-wracking angle at the top before the car is released down the 90-degree drop, reaching speeds of up to 75 mph. Designed by Bollinger & Mabillard (B&M), Griffon has been a park favorite since it first opened in 2007. Griffon riders also get splashed by two 50-foot lines of water sprayed into the air, so don’t forget your rain poncho and an extra pair of socks. The minimum height requirement to ride is 54 inches, and seeing other riders’ feet dangling due to the floorless layout may be unnerving to many who wait in line. Also coming soon to Busch Gardens is Pantheon, which will be the World’s Fastest Multi-Launch Coaster and was listed as one of the most anticipated roller coasters of 2021 by USA Today. To buy park passes and learn more about other attractions at Busch Gardens, visit www.buschgardens.com/williamsburg.
The Joker – Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson Township, NJ
With an ominous name and a terrifying 90-degree hill that stands as tall as a 12-story building, Six Flags staple The Joker leaves riders feeling weightless due to two beyond 90-degree “raven” drops, and its 4-D, free-fly coaster style. Not only are its drops alarmingly steep, but the coaster’s unique technology adds an extra layer of edge to the ride as the tumbling-like features of riders’ 4-D wing vehicles allow riders to flip through the air in every direction as the coaster twists and turns. This coaster is definitely not friendly for those with a weak stomach or those prone to motion sickness, so pack Dramamine (Non-Drowsy) and be sure to ride on an empty stomach. If you can manage to keep your eyes open, enjoy a view of the lake as you whip through the sky. With only a 48-inch minimum height requirement, and a maximum height of 77 inches, brave riders of all ages can embark on The Joker journey. If this coaster is too intimidating for some members of the family, Six Flags Great Adventure is packed with family-friendly thrill rides and attractions. Visit the park’s website at www.sixflags.com/greatadventure to buy park passes and read up on all Six Flags has to offer.