The USA's theme park market continues to sustain dozens of parks, despite the gloomy economic climate. There are a dazzling array of attractions on offer, including towering roller coasters, soaking-wet water rides and tamer rides aimed at younger guests. Since we launched our theme park guides last year (covering every major park in the USA, and 90+ in total), we've been keeping a close eye on the ratings and reviews that our readers have given to US theme park rides. Now that the 2013 season is over, we thought it would be a great time to produce a list of the top 10 rides in the country, based on our readers' opinions. We'll aim to revisit this list of stunning rides in the future. If you want to influence the position of your favorite ride, head on over to our theme park guides section and start adding your own ratings and reviews!
10. Radiator Springs Racers (Disney California Adventure)
Using the technology behind Epcot's Test Track, this off-roading, fast-paced adventure ride places guests behind the wheel of their own Cars character and through a dark ride past the movie's most well-loved scenes. An outdoor finale race caps off the exhilerating experience. Full details: Radiator Springs Racers guide
9. Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye (Disneyland)
A dark ride affixed to a motion simulator base, the Indiana Jones Adventure carries guests into the darkness of the Temple of the Forbidden Eye, an ancient lost Bengalese temple that has become the new vacation hotspot for would-be adventurers in 1935. Inside, rumor has it that the ancient god Mara promises to grant one of three gifts to any who enter his Hall of Promise: eternal youth, earthly riches, or visions of the future. But legend also speaks of a curse: whosoever looks into the corroded and dark eye of Mara will be sent to the Gates of Doom. Riding in jeeps holding sixteen passengers, guests on the Indiana Jones Adventure come face-to-face with skeletons, lava, giant snakes, rats, a giant rolling boulder, and the disfigured god himself via a number of special effects and the motion-base EMV (enhanced motion vehicle) that simulates rough terrain, quick turns, and quick acceleration. Full details: Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye guide
8. Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride (Universal Studios Florida)
"The world's first psychological thrill ride" will leave you screaming for more as you hurtle backwards and forward through a cursed tomb on this launched roller coaster full of special effects. And just when you think it's over...In the words of the Mummy: "Your end shall be my beginning." Full details: Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride guide
7. Incredible Hulk Coaster (Islands of Adventure)
One of the first sights that guests see on reaching Islands of Adventure's lagoon is the stunning Incredible Hulk Coaster, which features both impressive comic book-theming and seven massive inversions. After a high-speed launch up a ramp at nearly 70 miles per hour, the coaster's trains twist and turn through a circuit that stands over the lagoon itself. With blinding green track and a dramatic splash accompanying the ride's pass over water, the Incredible Hulk is a force to be reckoned with. Full details: Incredible Hulk Coaster guide
6. Diamondback (Kings Island)
Diamondback is a steel hypercoaster built by Bolliger and Mabillard and is one of ten Mega Coaster models designed by the group. As in all B&M Mega Coasters, the emphasis of Diamondback is placed on airtime hills meant to create a sensation of weightlessness. Diamondback is 230 feet tall and travels at a maximum speed of 80 miles per hour. Notably, it features a "scoop"-created splashdown in a concrete pool, a feature that is otherwise present only on B&M's Dive Machine models. Full story: Diamondback guide
5. Transformers: The Ride - 3D (Universal Studios Florida and Universal Studios Hollywood)
When Transformers: The Ride - 3D originally debuted at Universal Studios Hollywood and Singapore, it seemed unlikely that Universal would bring it to its Florida resort as well. After all, it is almost identical in design to The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man at Islands of Adventure. However, it proved to be such a hit at both of its original homes that Universal caved, bringing a version to Orlando in double-quick time to tide over guests while it extends its range of Harry Potter attractions. Full details: Transformers: The Ride - 3D guide
4. Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (Disney's Hollywood Studios)
While similar to its clones elsewhere in the world, the original Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studios trumps them with an additional dark ride section which sees its elevators leave the lift shaft and wind their way through a floor of the Hollywood Tower Hotel. The highlight, though, remains the drop sequence at the end, which sees the elevators repeatedly climbing and falling. The Tower of Terror is a masterpiece of theme park attraction design, and one of the best rides of any kind in the world. Everything about the attraction, from the exterior appearance, to the pre-show, to the elevator ride itself is virtually perfect. Full details: Twilight Zone Tower of Terror guide
3. Expedition Everest (Disney's Animal Kingdom)
Opened as Disney's Animal Kingdom's first major coaster and first ride to feature a mythical animal, Expedition Everest is a forwards / backwards mine train coaster in which guests encounter the legendary Yeti through special effects and a stationary animatronic figure. While the special effects have declined somewhat in recent years - particularly the Yeti himself - the ride remains one of Walt Disney World's top draws. Full details: Expedition Everest guide
2. The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man (Islands of Adventure)Image: Universal
When it debuted alongside the rest of Islands of Adventure back in 1999, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man simply blew guests away. Now updated with high-resolution 3D technology, it still features the same combination of immersive video footage and real-world effects. Not to be missed. Full details: Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man guide
1. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (Islands of Adventure)
The reinvention of the dark ride began here. Located in the depths of Hogwarts Castle, this mile-a-minute, out-of-control sensory dark ride pits riders against the dark forces of Harry's world as familiar characters appear to help. Making use of revolutionary robo-arm technology, Forbidden Journey once again saw Universal redefining what is possible in a theme park attraction. Full details: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey guide
What do you think?
Disagree with the rankings above? Why not indicate what your favorite coasters in the US are by exploring our park guides and adding your own ratings and reviews.