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6 Lesser-Known Attractions Every Theme Park Fan Should Experience at Least Once

4. Swiss Bob – Efteling

Okay, you may deem this one as something of a cheat. I don’t consider Swiss Bob a roller coaster in any way, but I will cede the point that it does have tracks at a few key points. That’s not the purpose of the ride, though. Instead, Bobbaan as the locals call it is an Olympic event disguised as an amusement park attraction.

Like Disneyland’s The Matterhorn, the Efteling attraction simulates the experience of bobsledding down the mountains. It’s a sport you’ve witnessed at the Winter Olympics and possibly even thought, “Hey, I could do that.” No, you can’t.

At least you can’t if we’re talking about the real thing. You’d hurt yourself and probably severely. A controlled version of the premise at a theme park is perfectly okay, though. In the case of Bobbaan, that means jumping into a six person cart and riding down un-railed sections of track at high velocity. Since Efteling controls the environment through frequent guidance tracks, you never go more than 38 miles per hour. Still, it’s the closest thing to a real bobsled you can ever ride without endangering your health.

5. maXair – Cedar Point

Again, you best appreciate this attraction by watching from two points of view. The one above is what maXair looks like from a safe distance. The one after the paragraph below is what you’ll experience should you dare to board Cedar Point’s most thrilling ride…which is really saying something at the Roller Coaster Park Capital of the World.

maXair is less an amusement park attraction and more of a lost bet. At least that’s how you’ll feel once you start to get onboard. You’ll join 50 of your closest strangers in strapping yourself onto the hub of a wheel. When you look down, things seem fine at first. Then, your view turns into this:

You will definitely enjoy views of the universe that you would never get otherwise. maXair twists and turns you at the strangest angles, propelling you along at 70 miles per hour while you sit helplessly. You can do nothing but hold your breath and look out at the stunning architectural feats spread throughout Cedar Point. And it’s named maXair for a reason. You’ll receive more airtime on this ride than anything else in the world. I think that Bert the Conqueror said it best in this clip:

“You feel like…you’re doing a figure-eight. You get so high.”

6. Falcon’s Fury – Busch Gardens Tampa

You’re probably non-plussed by this selection.You've ridden Sky Jump drop tower attractions before, after all. You think they’re all the same since they lift you up in the air then figuratively pull the floor out from under you. The thrill of such rides is the sensation of zero-gravity freefall for a time. Your heart shoots up into your chest as your entire body feels alive in a way that’s only possible for a few seconds here and there. Personally, I’m a big fan of drop towers, but I agree that there’s a degree of sameness to them.

Falcon’s Fury is different. The video above aptly demonstrates why if you haven’t watched it yet. This version of a drop tower does more than simply hurtle you to the ground. First, it shows you the danger. Pay attention to the 50-second mark of the clip. That’s the perspective the rider enjoys at the top of Falcon’s Fury. They have a lovely view of the clouds. It won’t last long. At the 57-second mark, the apparatus tilts the rider such that they’re now looking straight down. A plunge ride is exciting when you don’t know what’s coming. Facing the ground below is an entirely different proposition.

Falcon’s Fury is less an amusement park attraction and more a test of how well people can face their natural fear of heights. On this ride, you’re effectively a yo-yo, but the string is 310 feet long. If drop towers are endurance tests for the brave, Falcon’s Fury is the ultimate quest to overcome one’s fear. You literally have to face it as you plummet to the ground below.

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