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5 Non-Disney Rides Sure to Delight Thrill Junkies in 2019

Maxx Force at Six Flags Great America

Maxx Force

Image: Six Flags

Opening date: July 2019

Six Flags has cultivated a reputation for producing some of the most intense and ambitious roller coasters in the country, and Great America’s highly-anticipated Maxx Force might just top the charts.

Okay, so it’s nowhere close to the fastest launch coaster in the United States—that honor goes to Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure, which goes from 0 to 128 m.p.h. before hurling its riders toward a 456-foot tower. But with a launch speed of 0 to 78 m.p.h., Maxx Force is poised to become the second-fastest launch coaster across any U.S.-based theme park, which is still a fairly notable designation.

Once riders are zipping along the track at 78 m.p.h., they’ll rocket 175 feet into a world-record double inversion (one of five total inversions), drop down into a barrel roll, and get flipped upside down in a 60-m.p.h. zero-gravity roll. In other words, it’s about par for the course with some of Six Flags’ other thrill-makers, and undoubtedly one of the fastest and most thrilling roller coasters to debut across any park this summer.

Tidal Twister at SeaWorld San Diego

Tidal Twister

Image: SeaWorld

Opening date: May 2019

The more complex and stomach-twisting the roller coaster, the less you want to hear the words “operational issue” right after its release. But SeaWorld San Diego’s newest ride, Tidal Twister, apparently ran into a technical snafu just two weeks after its Memorial Day weekend debut, causing a brief flurry of understandable consternation among parkgoers.

SeaWorld didn’t release an official statement on the temporary closure, but whatever issue was hampering the coaster’s operation has since been resolved. And though it’s not exactly slated to break any existing world records (the way, say, Maxx Force might), it’s definitely a unique addition to SeaWorld’s more family-friendly attractions. The compact 300-foot-long track dips, weaves, and crisscrosses in order to simulate the feel of ocean waves, while dueling trains execute perfectly-timed inversions to miss each other by mere feet.

Perfect for those who may not enjoy an ultra-fast launch or skyscraper-level drop—or, as early reviewers pointed out, those who may be a tad too short for adult coasters—Tidal Twister still delivers thrills with each lap around the track. And now that the safety issued have been completely ironed out, riders should be able to take advantage of its tidal-like loops all summer long.

El Diablo at Six Flags Over Texas

El Diablo

Image: Ryan9270144, Wikimedia Commons

Opening date: May 2019

We’ve seen everything from super-speedy launch coasters to creative eight-figure tracks to prehistoric monsters on this list so far. El Diablo, the newest addition to Six Flags Over Texas’ impressive 13-roller coaster spread, delivers a staggering 10-story loop. And yes, that’s a world record.

Like Discovery Kingdom’s BATMAN: The Ride, El Diablo also incorporates face-off seating so you can get a good look at your friends’ faces when they start flailing on the coaster’s 360-degree revolutions. It’s not for the faint of heart—or for those who hate the peculiar flavor of nausea that’s often triggered by long stretches of hang time.

The design of the ride doesn’t offer any surprises or revolutionary features in and of itself. In fact, it should be pretty familiar to anyone who’s braved the Super Loops, Ring of Fire, or Fire Ball at their local carnival or state fair over the last 40-some years. But the sheer size of the ride and the delicious way it lingers at the very top of the track is intense enough to generate some serious thrills and chills… whether you’re a seasoned roller coaster fanatic or a courageous newbie.

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Have you tried any of the roller coasters or drop rides on this list? What other thrill rides made the cut for your summer bucket list this year?

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