It’s a special day when a kid finally stands tall enough to ride a real roller coaster. No longer are you limited to town fairs and teacups, but amusement parks are now prime destinations for family vacations ⏤ goodbye Grover’s Alpine Express, hello Tower of Terror.
And while most families live within driving distance of at least one regional amusement park ⏤ there are hundreds across the United States ⏤ some roller coasters are worth packing up the car and traveling to, especially if they’re new, record-breaking, or themed after Wonder Woman (and you’re daughter is obsessed with Gal Gadot). Overall, eighteen new roller coasters are debuting at parks around the country this summer and each looks more terrifying and insane than the next. One features a 109-foot-tall barrel roll drop. Another sends riders airborne for almost 30 seconds. Still another looks like Slinky from Toy Story and is sure to be a kid favorite. But which ones are worth the road trip? Here are the best five.
Wonder Woman Golden Lasso Coaster
Six Flags Fiesta Texas ⏤ San Antonio, Texas
Guests Must Be: 48-inches or taller
The latest superhero coaster to open at Six Flags Fiesta Texas ⏤ joining Batman: The Ride and Superman: Krypton Coaster ⏤ the new 113-foot-tall Wonder Woman is the world’s first monorail roller coaster. And one rail means crazy twists. In addition to a top speed over 50 mph and a ridiculous number of loops and turns, it thrills riders with a “spectacular straight-down 90-degree drop” and a “180-degree stall and a zero-g roll.”
Cedar Point ⏤ Sandusky, Ohio
Guests Must Be: 52-inches or taller
The most highly anticipated opening of the year, Steel Vengeance is a record-breaking 5,740-foot-long wood-steel hybrid that stands 205-feet tall and can hit almost 75 mph. It replaces the world’s tallest wooden roller coaster, Mean Streak, at arguably the world’s most preeminent coaster park, Cedar Point. What has had fans salivating, however, is the 90-degree 200-foot drop right off the bat, “four head-over-boots inversions,” and a ride time that lasts 2.5 minutes, 30 seconds which are completely airborne and set a world record.
Silver Dollar City ⏤ Branson, Missouri
Guests Must Be: 51-inches or taller
Silver Dollar’s new Time Traveler stands 95-feet-tall and is now officially the tallest spinning coaster in the world. It also starts with a bang: a 90-degree, 10-story drop right out of the station. It’s a terrain coaster that capitalizes on the mountainous topography of the Ozarks, hits top speeds of 50 mph, and includes a 95-foot vertical loop and two launches. And don’t forget, the cars are spinning the entire ride.
Kings Dominion ⏤ Doswell, Virginia
Guests Must Be: 48-inches or taller
Originally built in 1994, this older wooden coaster at Virginia’s Kings Dominion has spent the past two years getting a steel-and-wood makeover. Now with 3,351 feet of steel track, three loops, and a 109-foot-tall barrel roll drop, this new hurler resembles an old apple truck from the 1950s, can hit a top speed of 54mph, and offers riders 20 hills to catch air.
Slinky Dog Dash
Disney’s Hollywood Studios ⏤ Orlando, Florida
Guests Must Be: 38-inches or taller
The headlining ride at Disney’s just opened Toy Story Land ⏤ a themed-section of Hollywood Studios where Buzz and Woody run wild through Andy’s backyard ⏤ the Slinky Dog Dash is a family-friendly coaster that looks like the springy dachshund from the movies. It’s targeted toward younger kids so expect gentle turns and rolling hills, but it also provides a fun tour of the new area.