It feels as though by adulthood, we have a handbook for how to celebrate autumn: fall foliage, corn mazes, pumpkin patches, trick-or-treating, over-sized scarves, Turkey Trots, and throwing out our backs raking leaves. One of these years, I’m going to make it to Punkin Chunkin.
But there are some other great ways to Feel the Fall that could add a new chapter to that trusty handbook. While roller coasters and themed attractions are the cornerstone of the Summer Staycation, these rides continue to offer thrills and adrenaline well into the fall season. As the leaves change colors and rain to the ground, many of these attractions also offer brand-new views that summer guests may never see. We offer you our Top Ten Ways to Feel the Fall!
With a drop angle of 95 degrees, Maverick is Cedar Point’s steepest roller coaster, and the 500th roller coaster designed by German engineer Werner Stengel. The track twists and turns past numerous patches of deciduous trees and truly shines in the fall. One of the main displays of the park’s Halloween makeover takes place right beneath the ride; the fog, monster howls, lighting effects, and screams from guests fill the air as this coaster whips by.
Commonly considered the crown jewel of PortAventura’s new Ferrari Land, Red Force is the tallest and fastest roller coaster in Europe. The launch coaster blasts out of the station at 112 m.p.h. in just five seconds and reaches heights of 367’ before making a 90-degree turn to plummet straight back down to earth. In mere seconds, the exhilarating experience will have you relating to autumn’s falling acorns.
This classic woodie roars through the New England forest treetops at Lake Compounce in Bristol, CT. Built from Southern Yellow Pine and Douglas Fir, this ride was once ranked the #1 Wooden Roller Coaster in the World by the Golden Ticket Awards. Carefully designed to weave through the existing forest, this ride is simply breathtaking in the fall as the changing leaves whoosh past the cars.
Thanksgiving and fall go hand-in-hand, so a roller coaster set in the Thanksgiving landscape of Holiday World is a must-have on our list. Thunderbird launches guests from zero to 60 m.p.h. in just 3.5 seconds along an exciting ride that includes a 14-story Immelmann loop, Zero-g roll, barrel roll, and the tallest vertical loop on a wing coaster. Framed within a fictional story of the American Pilgrims sighting a powerful, mythological bird when first arriving in the New World, the ride winds through Holiday’s World’s hills and forest while hurtling guests past themed elements along the ground, including a barn, windmill, chimney, and nearby rides. The vibrant landscaping depicts a thriving farm, full of foliage like hardy crops and perennial flowers, with stunning fall colors abounding.
On to our second mythological flying animal, the Griffon dive coaster simulates what it’s like to dive into a freshly raked pile of fall leaves (okay, not actually, but it IS a dive coaster)! Located in the French Village of Busch Gardens Williamsburg, this richly thematic attraction is set in the gardens and farm buildings on the outskirts of a French town. With numerous drops, including a 90-degree dive, Griffon was the second dive coaster in the United States and the fourth in the world when it first opened.
Kingda Ka might just be the ultimate way to Feel the Fall. Situated in Jackson, New Jersey’s Six Flags Great Adventure, the 125 mph (in 3.5 seconds) launch coaster is the world’s tallest and second fastest roller coaster, dropping daredevil riders from an astounding 418’ (fitting beneath the Gateway Arch, but roaring over the Statue of Liberty). As part of the park’s Golden Kingdom realm, this jungle-themed ride tears past lush foliage. Your Instagram photo will simply be a blur of fall colors.
One of the most iconic attractions of Ohio’s King’s Island is The Beast. This in-house wooden roller coaster is one of the most popular and celebrated in the world, opening in 1979 as the world’s tallest, fastest, and longest wooden roller coaster on the planet. To this day it retains its “longest wooden coaster” title. With a ride time of over four minutes, this rattling adventure takes riders far above ground and deep below the surface. The coaster offers nail-biting views of the surrounding forested landscape as riders reach the first hill climb, and quick bursts of fall colors can be seen as the coaster blasts between its numerous tunnels.
Journey to Atlantis
When Journey to Atlantis first opened at SeaWorld Orlando, it took the attractions industry by storm with an entirely new type of ride – a combination of a traditional steel coaster and water flume. Its deeply thematic and immersive story takes riders on an adventure through the Lost City of Atlantis near a small Greek fishing village. Featuring a variety of characters, special effects and water effects, the ride also includes not one but two breathtaking dives into the mythological and exciting waters surrounding this sunken city. Those not courageous enough to ride can venture into the flooded depths of Atlantis to see Commerson’s dolphins swimming through the city as well as other features of the aquarium.
Many of these attractions challenge you to experience just one or two falls, but Busch Gardens Tampa’s Montu dares you to brave seven inversions, including twisting drops, a 60-ft. vertical loop, an Immelman loop, a zero-G roll, and much more. Themed around Egyptian mythology and named for the Egyptian god of war, Montu was one of the first suspended coasters in the world when it opened. At the time, riders leaving the station would look down into a live crocodile habitat. Don’t fall!
Named for one of the ocean’s apex predators, Mako is a hyper-coaster that simulates the sensation of its namesake shark surging through water at top speed in pursuit of prey. Sending guests into near-weightless “air time,” the 4,760-foot-long ride reaches speeds of up to 73 m.p.h. and heights of 200 feet – making it Orlando’s tallest, longest, and fastest roller coaster at its time of opening. Situated next to Kraken – another predator of the sea – these two coasters’ dueling drops tempt guests to compare and contrast their thrilling falls.