Some adventure enthusiasts share experiences of some of the most thrilling rides that they have been on around the world with Pooja Bhula.
Formula Rossa, Abu Dhabi
My first stop in Abu Dhabi is Ferrari World and I know I can’t walk out without a ride on Formula Rossa, the world’s fastest roller coaster at 240 km/h. When we are told that it accelerates to its top speed in five seconds (approx.), I am unsure about trying it. Next thing I know, I’m handing over my bag, trying on a pair of protective glasses and finally, strapped in and ready to go. Even before we start, I keep chanting “I want to get off.” As we start crawling away from the boarding station to the starting point of the ride, I begin yelling. And I don’t stop till it’s over. I clutch on to the safety handle as we climb up 52 m into the sky; my heart, stomach, lungs, liver and every other organ is in my mouth as we are rush down and tilt at the sharpest turn, 70º. After 2.07 km when it’s over, I stumble out on jelly legs and walk to the photo booth to check out the pictures clicked and I’m not suprised–there I am, mouth wide open, clutching on for dear life! I cannot believe that I had just survived the fastest roller coaster ride in the world.
The Hulk, Florida
Before the actual experience kicks in, what sets this ride in Universal Orlando Resort apart from others is the sense of drama created before it begins. The boarding platform is completely enclosed and gives you a feeling of being in an underground tube station. It is built such that you can’t see the tracks beyond the ‘station’, although you do note that ahead, the track angles to a steep, inclined ramp. Expected, you’d surmise, being a roller coaster and all. Now you’re seated, the body harness pins you and the train begins moving at a stately 14 km/h down the track. The ride announcer welcomes you in a cheery theme-park lilt as the train starts slowly climbing the ramp. Then, snapping your adrenalin level to ‘aaargh’, the announcer falters and yells “No! No! No!”, like something’s gone terribly wrong. Sirens blare in the background. Before you can process it, the coaster’s launch system blasts you to 64 km/h in an impossible 2 seconds. Unless you’re a fighter pilot, this delivers acceleration and G forces like you’ve never experienced before. And it’s entirely thrilling. You burst from the dark tunnel into open air–sky above, theme park below. From there on it only gets better–the coaster pulls into zero-G rolls, plunges down 100+ ft, vaults into a roll over a lagoon, dives into an underground mist tunnel, followed by several other mind-bending maneuvers, leaving you to drag yourself out of the car in happy ecstasy.
–Marco Angelo D’Souza
I’ve been on both the Fujiyama and Eejanaika at Fuji-Q Highland, but unlike the latter, the old school, no-strap, only-lap bar part of Fujiyama just makes the entire experience more thrilling. Named after Mt Fuji, the first incline is also shaped like the volcano and the unhurried pace at which you go over it, instead of being comforting, seems endless. It adds to the adrenaline rush because you know at the back of your head that it’s going to bolt and speed up immensely sometime soon. By the time you reach the top of that incline, which is flat, you can see Mt Fuji from end to end in all its glory. Before you have the chance to properly take it in, BAM! The ride drops really fast, winds around only to snake you to more rises and drops. I was sitting next to a friend, but I didn’t look her way once, I was clutching the handle, looking after myself and I’m pretty sure I must have screamed. I knew about the ride, people had told me “it’s something you must experience” and had also warned me about the drop, but trust me, knowing doesn’t prepare you for it. In fact, it was worse than I anticipated, I came out with my knees shaking like never before.
The Hair Raiser, Hong Kong
The ride at Ocean Park itself starts on a mountain; you reach its top (where the adult rides are) with a cable car. As we gradually ascend the first hump (that’s really high up) I feel as petrified as I am excited. I can see the entire park and then there’s a sudden drop followed by three consecutive loops. It’s just crazy! I can’t explain how beautiful, thrilling and scary the third loop is, all at the same time–imagine being head down on this loop, which is at such a great height above the mountain, and below you can no more see the ground. You can only see the sea (at the foot of the mountain), over which you feel like you have been suspended. By the end, our hair had flown all over, blood rushed to our faces. My parents, who usually never go on such rides, were really scared even after we were off the ride. My husband didn’t want to talk to me for the next 10 minutes, he just wanted me to shut up. It’s the best experience I’ve had, simply hair raising!
–Sheena Saini Sabherwal
The Revenge of the Mummy, Singapore
Inspired by the movie, this Universal Studios’ ride in Sentosa Island captures the Mummy theme from the word go. The entrance is designed in Egyptian style and the open roller-coaster type car takes you through a dark tunnel, merely lit by torches. The ride moves at a super speed, but its most interesting facet is its unpredictability and shock value. It’s so dark inside that you can’t see the tracks or anything around you, hence you have no clue when you’ll go on a drop, when the ride will start moving sideways or when it’s going to start climbing. As if that’s not enough, characters from the movie like creatures in half-eaten state pop up out of nowhere and the eerie silence gives way to even more eerie sounds.
- –Archana Tomar
Compiled by Pooja Bhula, Avril-Ann Braganza, Marco Angelo D’Souza
Coordinated by Pooja Bhula