Florida is the theme park capital of the world. Sorry, Cedar Point! Yes, you have the most roller coasters in a single location, but the state of Florida has you beat in terms of quantity and quality. Don’t worry! Everyone still loves you!
Now that I’ve apologized for any potential hurt feelings (you’re good too, Knott’s Berry Farm!), let’s get back to the point. Florida has an amazing assortment of roller coasters throughout the state. Many of the best ones are in two places, though. Let’s be honest that Orlando and Tampa are the unofficial theme park capitals of Florida. The list will reflect that. Similarly, I prefer thrill rides that also have themes, which means that something undeniably wonderful like The Dragon at Legoland Florida or Seven Dwarfs Mine Train won’t make the cut here due to velocity limitations. The Incredible Hulk narrowly misses because it’s not very…Hulk-ish. Keeping these criteria in mind, here are the best roller coasters in Florida!
9. Test Track
Test Track is undeniably a masterpiece, an immersive ride experience. A replacement for World of Motion, it’s a fascinating exploration of car engineering. Disney and Chevrolet, the ride sponsor, show what a manufacturer has to evaluate in building a new vehicle. It does this in a manner so seamless that many riders don’t even realize that they were a part of such a simulation.
As an attraction, Test Track is the gold standard. It’s an amazing, engaging ride that satisfies on every level. As a roller coaster, it’s harder to judge. The stop-and-start elements of the attraction aren’t what people have come to expect from roller coasters. And those blinding few moments of daylight when the doors open, thrusting the rider into sunlight, are only a small portion of the ride-time. Yes, the rush of surging from 0 to 64.9 miles per hour is invigorating, but it only lasts for about 40 seconds. As much as I love Test Track (it’s probably my favorite attraction on this list) I don’t think that’s enough to slot it higher on the list of best roller coasters.
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is quietly a powerhouse in the field of roller coaster design. Several of their attractions merited consideration for this list. In the end, I settled on two for this list (sorry, Montu!). SkeiKra is the inferior of the two in the same way that one of Paul McCartney or John Lennon is the inferior Beatle. People harbor strong feelings about each one, and the same is true of the best two attractions at this park.
SheiKra is a dive coaster that effectively takes a section of stadium seats, connects them together, and then races the whole group through 3,188 feet of track at breakneck speeds. The theoretical maximum velocity is 70 miles per hour, but due to the design of these seats, you’ll feel like you’re going much faster. It offers one of the most exhilarating, out of control sensations possible on a roller coaster. The only reason why I didn’t slot it higher is that the ride is a bit uncomfortable for some. The unique design definitely isn’t for everyone.
7. Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
Look, anything that’s good enough for Sharknado 3 is good enough for me. Okay, that shameless bit of cross-promotion was a misstep, but in terms of explosive roller coasters, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit delivers one of the coolest ride experiences available in Florida.
The attraction is an x-coaster with a 90-degree vertical drop. You don’t have to know a lot about geometry to understand that a 90-degree drop is straight down! With a top speed of 65 miles per hour and a lot of breaks, turns, corkscrews, and faux inversions, Universal delivers one of the most inventive coaster rides yet created. And you even get to pick your choice of tunes for the ride!