Believe it or not, there are people on the planet who pay significant amounts of money to strap themselves into treacherous metal machines for three minutes at a time. They are called roller coaster people, and they are a baffling species.
I appear to be in the minority with this opinion, however, so here goes: U.S. Thrill Rides and the engineering firm S&S Worldwide have confirmed that they're in the process of building the world's tallest roller coaster in Orlando, Florida. Dubbed the Skyscraper, the coaster will rise 570 feet in the air, and will wrap around a central tower with a glass observation deck.
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Riders will ascend in glass elevators before spiraling down around the tower and out into the Skyplex amusement park, a new 12-acre indoor entertainment complex on Orlando's International Drive. The tower will be central Florida's tallest structure when completed.
Actually, the whole Orlando skyline will look quite a bit different next summer - the Skyscraper coaster will be constructed near the Orlando Eye, a 435-foot ferris wheel also currently being built.
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The Skyscraper is one of a new class of "Polercoaster" thrill rides, designed to be constructed around a central tower with a relatively small footprint. Two other Polercoaster units are also in planning stages - one in Georgia and another in Las Vegas.
The current record holder for tallest roller coaster belongs to the 456-foot tall Kingda Ka coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey. The Skyscraper will top that by more than 100 feet, but it isn't particularly fast - top speeds will be around 65 mph. For the extremely courageous, the world's fastest roller coaster is the Formula Rossa in United Arab Emirates, which tops out at 149 mph.