Everybody wants a thrill.

Back in February, I took a day off from the good ship GOVX to spend a day at Disneyland with a close friend and self-admitted ‘Disney Adult’. Despite being a lifelong Californian, I had only ever made the magical pilgrimage down to the House of Mouse once, roughly 28 years prior as a wide-eyed kid on a family vacation. With nothing but distant memories and a somewhat skeptical view of the obsession grown adults have on a place designed for children, I begrudgingly rolled into the massive Disney lot in the early morning and accepted my digital tickets for both California Adventure Park and Disneyland proper.

What followed was a day of pure delight. Within hours I had consumed a massive turkey leg and Mickey Ice Cream bar, unabashedly washing it all down with a glass of blue milk from Galaxy’s Edge. I had transported myself to the future of tomorrow, enjoyed a joke-filled Jungle Cruise, and rubbed shoulders with Disney’s elite. Eventually, I turned my full attention to the rides.

There was the epic Rise of the Resistance, an immersive experience where one literally feels like they’re part of the Star Wars saga. There was Space Mountain, where wonder took over and intergalactic adventure suddenly seemed not just possible, but probable.

Finally, there was Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout, where going airborne to the soundtrack of the 70s ruled harder than any ride I’ve ever been on. Ultimately, I learned that you’re never too old to enjoy yourself. With that said, here’s 10 legendary rides that encapsulate the extreme. Best of all, you can ride ‘em all for yourself with exclusive theme park discounts through your GOVX membership.


CALIFORNIA’S GREAT AMERICA - Santa Clara, California

Hailing from NorCal, I can fully attest to the fact that Great America was the place to be for every grad night, birthday party, and day camp getaway since the onset of the park. In fact, I’m so old that I remember when Paramount had the naming rights, and this very ride was known throughout the Bay Area as TOP GUN. Judging by the longevity of the attraction, it seems the name has changed, but the fun has stayed the same. One of the first-ever inverted coasters, FLIGHT DECK offers all the twists you’d expect in a 360-degree vertical loop, two 270-degree afterburn turns, a full-circle wingover, and a gravity roll. All at a max speed of 50 MPH.



Holding multiple titles as both the country’s tallest coaster and the world’s fastest and steepest ride, IRON GWAZI remains a bucket list attraction for thrill-seekers nationwide. With an emphasis on maximum airtime, this excellence in attraction engineering plunges riders from a 206 ft. apex into a 91-degree drop at an eye-popping 76 MPH. Inspired by the mighty crocodiles of western Florida, this one has a much bite as any coaster you can imagine.



This is another one I have a little bit of experience with. Starting out innocuous enough, with a leisurely tour through a simulated manta ray tank, before immediately launching the rider on a rapid ascent (and descent) at 43 MPH. This one effectively replicates the sheer speed of the sea animal and practically sets you up to want to get back in line for another go. Just be sure not to lose your hat mid-ride as this friendly neighborhood blogger did, because you’re not going to get it back.



While in comparison to the classic flick from 1993, the quality of the new era of Jurassic Park films are open to debate. What isn’t debatable, however, is how completely badass the VelociCoaster ride is at Universal Orlando. Rocketing riders through the park’s raptor paddock at speeds up to 70 MPH, it features two magnetic launches, a 155-foot-tall tower with an 80-degree plunge, and four inversions. The last of which inverts riders for a full 100 feet. Do you have what it takes to keep pace with the predators?


Disney California Adventure Park – Anaheim, California

Okay, I'm biased. I love this trilogy. I wept uncontrollably during the latest installment, and I have a Baby Groot replica staring back at me from my work desk at this very moment. Regardless, this ride was the standout attraction during my previously mentioned Disneyland visit. Inhabiting the former Twilght Zone Tower of Terror attraction, this rescue mission involves Rocket Raccoon mistakenly dropping the riders into a massive freefall set to a randomly chosen tune from Peter Quill’s Awesome mix. Despite being firmly buckled in, I felt myself leave my seat multiple times as I enjoyed the cinematics unfolding in front of me. 10/10 would ride again.


Knott’s Berry Farm – Buena Park, California

This rickety wooden giant is the longest, fastest coaster of its kind on the west coast. If that isn’t enough to convince you to hop in and go for a spin, consider the fact that in just two minutes you’ll have reached speeds of 55+ MPH and a height of 118 feet. Marked by quick turns, sudden drops, and wood everywhere you look, GHOSTRIDER is something you’ll have to experience to believe.


Disney World – Orlando, Florida

The next best thing to being a full-fledged NASA astronaut, this innovative out-of-this-world attraction delivers an intense level of G-forces for a simulated mission to the Red Planet itself, Mars. With each member of your four-person crew playing a vital role, it’s on you to work as a team to dodge meteorites at high speeds and slingshot your craft around the moon. Totally cosmic.



All hail the king. Holding the crown as the fastest coaster in North America and the tallest coaster in the world, KINGDA KA reigns supreme and tests the limits of even the bravest riders. Accelerating from 0 to 128 MPH in under four seconds, the titan of twisters climbs 45 stories in the sky before sending its riders on a frenzied dive down at a 270-foot spiral. Truly unlike any other coaster out there, this experience is not for the faint of heart.


Kings Island – Mason, Ohio

Coaster enthusiasts come from far and wide to board ORION, one of seven giga-class rollercoasters in the world. For those keeping score at home, a giga coaster is a ride that has a height or drop of 300-399 feet. Named after the mighty constellation, riders strap in for a 300-foot drop before ripping and roaring at interstellar speeds of 91 MPH over 5,321 feet of track.


Six Flags Magic Mountain – Los Angeles, California

In many ways, the Man of Steel is the perfect inspiration for arguably the most intense out of all the rides to make this list. As one of the only coasters on Earth capable of reaching 100 MPH. It hits the century mark in just seven seconds flat. Of course, we can’t leave out the best part, for much of the ride, you’re facing completely backwards. Featuring a 415 ft tower at its apex, you’ve got all the room necessary to clock in faster than a speeding bullet.

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