Tuesday, April 11, 2017

25 Extreme Drop Tower Rides

Besides your roller coasters, carousels, and Ferris wheels, a staple attraction of any major amusement park is the drop tower ride. While common today, these freefall attractions don’t have a long, hundred-year history like the roller coaster or amusement park. The first tower rides didn’t appear until the 1980s and didn’t start catching on until the 1990s when the technology and ride experience improved enough to make them “can’t miss” attractions.

What are the tallest, fastest, and most extreme drop towers ever built? Find out all this and more by reading 25 Extreme Drop Tower Rides. You'll learn about the history of the drop tower as well as all the different seating configurations and where the most terrifying freefall rides can be found.

Download it for FREE to read on Kindle between April 14 through 16, 2017. Follow this link to get it on Amazon.com

Monday, February 20, 2017

Support Mystic Timbers First Rider Auction

I'm super excited to get to ride Mystic Timbers, the new wooden roller coaster at Kings Island and front runner for best new coaster of 2017. I will be participating in the First Rider Auction where Kings Island and Cedar Fair Charities are joining with the Andy & Jordan Dalton Foundation to give us fans a chance to raise money for a great charity and be some of the first people to ride Mystic Timbers. 

The Andy & Jordan Dalton Foundation is "a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing life-changing experiences to seriously ill and physically challenged children and their families in the Cincinnati area."  They have created numerous community outreach programs in the past that benefit local hospital and their patients.

If you have a dollar or two to spare, I would appreciate it if you could donate through my fundraising page, in order for me to help reach and surpass my goal:


mystic timbers layout whats in the shed

Mystic Timbers features a 109 foot tall lift hill, speeds of 53 miles per hour and 3,265 feet of track in the woods. Kings Island is teasing a mystery finale to the ride: "what's in the shed?" My guess is some kind of media presentation generated by Holovis. Be sure to stay up to date on the ride's progress via the official Mystic Timbers website. And look for my review of Mystic Timbers in April!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Adventures from the World's Craziest Theme Park - Part 1

Never in my life had I visited a more bizarre theme park. Twelve years of blogging about roller coasters and thrill rides had brought me to exotic locales like Perth, Australia, Kaatsheuvel, Netherlands, and Santa Claus, Indiana. I conquered the infamous “dog fart” coaster at BonBon-Land in Denmark. I survived the Abyss at Adventure World that’s so crap-your-pants scary they literally have underwear dispensers waiting for you at the ride’s exit. Yet nothing had prepared me for the craziness that is Happy Fun Land. And no, it wasn’t crazy because I saw kids shitting on the sidewalks like when they opened Shanghai Disneyland. This was a different kind of crazy altogether.

The adventure began when I received an invitation to attend a “sneak peak” preview of Happy Fun Land before it opened to the general public. China’s amusement park industry was booming and the newest themed entertainment mecca was about to come online. In order to ensure a successful launch, they were looking to build world-wide buzz through any and all media outlets. They reached out to reporters, journalists, columnists, podcasters, bloggers, vloggers, and theme park nerds from all over the world, including Thrills and Chills, to come visit their resort. The preview event would occur over the Chinese New Year holiday before the grand opening celebration. The idea of being the crash test dummy for what would surely become a world-renowned vacation destination was quite thrilling while sitting at home in Medium-Sized Town, USA. It didn’t take long for me to begin wondering what the hell I had gotten myself into.

My adventures began when I landed in Shanghai Airport and was greeted by a smiling, twenty-something year old holding a handwritten sign: “Nike Farmington.”

 “Hello!” I waved as I greeted him. “I’m Nick, nice to meet you. By the way, it’s spelled N-I-C-K.”

“I’m sorry for spelling your name wrong. I’m Eric. E-R-I-C,” he said with reasonably good English.

“That’s a very authentic Chinese name you have there.”

“My parents named me after their favorite musician: Eric Clapton.”

Eric would act as my guide and interpreter over the coming days. He was assigned to me as I spoke no Chinese or had any clue where I was going, as this was my first visit to the enormous country. And perhaps to keep an eye on me as well.

The Happy Fun Land resort was located in New Suzhou, which is about an hour-and-a-half east of Shanghai. Unfortunately, our travel situation was fucked up from the start. I wasn’t allowed to drive because foreign and international drivers’ licenses are not recognized in China. I would need a Chinese driver’s license, passport, and a residence permit before being legally allowed to operate a vehicle. Eric didn’t own a car himself so driving ourselves wasn’t an option. Eric informed me the railways would be exceptionally busy due to the holiday. In fact, I’m told the Chinese New Year is the world’s largest human migration as millions of Chinese workers travel home to their families. Apparently, the trains are so overcrowded travelers wear diapers for their multi-hour long journeys home. No thank you to that. It seemed like our best bet was to take a taxi. And thus I got to experience the trip’s first thrill ride - the drive to Suzhou.

“The way I see it, traffic in China is a free-for-all,” my cousin Jim explained to me over a beer the night before I flew out. He had spent three months overseas for his job in the automotive manufacturing world and attempted to give me an idea of what to expect. “There appear to be no road rules at all, and if you survive the day, you’ll do it all again the next day. The stoplights that they do have must only be for decoration. They don’t have traffic circles in China either. Traffic circles only function if people follow the rules, hence they don't work there. A roundabout would only add to the chaos.”

“I’ve been on the tallest and fastest roller coasters in the world, I’m sure I can handle it,” I said.

“Just you wait and see! Taxi drivers drive in the middle of two lanes so they can swing into either one of them as needed. According to my made-up insurance statistics, the most dangerous cars are green and driven by the Chinese.” Jim thought he was hilarious. But I was about to find out if he was right or not.

After navigating us through the sprawling terminal building, Eric flagged down a taxi cab and negotiated the rate with the driver. Jim had also warned me that, “as soon as you climb into a taxi, the very first thing you do is fasten that seat belt, pull it as tight as you possibly can, and grab onto anything that feels or looks sturdy.” Well, to my delight, this particular cab didn’t have a working seat belt. I had barely sat down and closed the door when we suddenly veered out into the street into the chaos of traffic. As we darted in between cars I was left with clutching onto the seat in front of me until my knuckles turned white. Eric must be used to the traffic as he cracked many jokes with our driver in rapid Chinese, most I assumed were at my expense. I thought that was about as funny as ejector seats in a helicopter.

I had to quickly put it out of my mind; however, as we veered across another street and nearly died for the sixteenth time this trip. In America, us coaster nerds are always touting the safety of theme parks by using the same old quote “you’re more likely to be injured on the way to the amusement park than by riding a roller coaster.” I quickly realized this might be even more true in China. Luckily, we arrived at the Happy Fun Land welcome center in one piece. Unfortunately for me, this short trip turned out to be the easiest and most uneventful travel of my wacky, life-changing vacation.

Want to keep reading?

Check out Happy Fun Land now!

Sunday, November 27, 2016


The 2016 holiday shopping season is upon us and if you’re on the hunt for that special gift for a friend or family member who happens to be a roller coaster fanatic, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve organized our gift ideas into several sub-categories of books, games, toys, and more.


  • Roller Coaster Tycoon World — the long-await sequel to 2004’s Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 — is now available. The game is touted as the “newest installment in the legendary RCT franchise” with “fan-favorite features as well as incredible new advancements! Buy Roller Coaster Tycoon World online for $19.24 (as of this posting).
  • Or you can get the classic RollerCoaster Tycoon Triple Thrill Pack instant download for just $9.99, my personal favorite!
  • Planet Coaster has brought the roller coaster and theme park simulator genre roaring back to life. The game has received rave reviews, and was made by the developers of Roller Coaster Tycoon 3. Like RCT3, Planet Coaster allows players to design and manage their dream theme park, as well as ride their roller coaster creations — and share them with other players. Planet Coaster isavailable for purchase on Steam for $44.99 (as of this posting).


  • Coasters 101: An Engineer’s Guide to Roller Coaster Design. Learn how roller coaster designers spend hundreds of hours creating, tweaking, and re-imagining ride paths to push the exhilaration envelope while carefully maintaining the highest safety standards. Features design example problems real roller coaster engineers face in the field today as well as career advice for any aspiring roller coaster engineers.
  • 50 Groundbreaking Roller Coasters: The Most Important Scream Machines Ever Built by Nick Weisenberger is a comprehensive list of the most influential scream machines that drove the evolution of the modern roller coaster. It’s a new and interesting look at roller coaster history. What makes a majority of the roller coasters listed in this book even more impressive is the fact that they were designed using pencil and paper rather than computers.
  • Theme Park Design and the Art of Themed Entertainment is the most thorough book on theme park design available. David Younger’s book is literally a textbook on every single aspect of theme parks you could think of, with quotes from real designers with priceless knowledge. Reading Theme Park Design is like taking a college course on the subject, and your professors are Walt Disney Imagineers. I recommend if you want to go from RollerCoaster Tycoon to real life theme park designer!
  • American Coasters 2 by photographer Thomas Crymes. The pictures are large and crisp. The colors are vivid. The book’s simple design places more emphasis on the photographs. Nothing beats seeing pictures of roller coasters printed on a physical page (sorry, internet). The book is available on Amazon for $30.36 (as of this posting).


  • Lego Disney Castle. Launch the fireworks and let the magic begin! The Disney Castle measures over 29” (74cm) high, 18.8” (48cm) wide and 12” (31cm) deep. This set includes over 4,000 LEGO® pieces. Be sure to buy directly from LEGO where the set is only $349 (not $479 like on Amazon).
  • LEGO Creator Expert 10247 Ferris Wheel Building Kit – Build the iconic Ferris Wheel, featuring 12 colorful suspended gondolas with opening doors, ice cream stall, kiosk, 10 minifigures and more.
  • CoasterDynamix Nancoasters – Stainless steel coaster models that are pretty affordable, though non-working. Great gift to display on your desk or in your home.
  • K’NEX Space Mountain Roller Coaster. I loved playing with K’Nex as a kid and I’m glad they’re still around with more roller coaster sets to choose from than ever before. Recreate the excitement of the popular Disney Parks attraction. Includes 2 roller coaster cars and 25 ft of track that glows in the dark!


  • Google Cardboard – Want to see those virtual reality coaster videos parks are now creating to market and preview their new rides? Get a Google Cardboard. Take a spin on Lightning Rod or Valravn. Google Cardboard is described as Virtual Reality (VR) on a budget. Gives you a taste of the capabilities of the Oculus Rift at a fraction of the cost. Though be warned it may cause motion sickness if the app you’re looking at doesn’t perfectly track your head movement. It’s fun to assemble and play with.
  • Catalyst: A Rogue One Story by James Luceno. If you’re a Star Wars fan like I am you’re probably anxiously awaiting Rogue One: A Star Wars Story movie on December 16th. This book will wet your appetite before the new movie comes out. The story takes place during the Clone Wars and the formation of the Empire. Not required reading for the movie, but will give you some additional background information on the characters.
  • Laptop Privacy Screen Protector. Whenever I visit a customer I always take my privacy screen protector for my Dell laptop. It keeps your personal or confidential information safe from prying eyes as you’ll see the information on your display while people on either side only see a darkened screen. If you’re ever on an airplane or in a coffee shop and feel like your neighbor is constantly looking over your shoulder at your screen then you need to get one of these today!
  • Amazon Prime Membership. If you haven’t joined Amazon Prime yet, why not? I do almost all my shopping online and I get free two-day shipping on nearly everything. You can also borrow books, watch movies, and stream music. Click here to start your 30-day free Amazon Prime trial membership.


The Coaster101 2017 Roller Coaster Calendar is the perfect gift for any thrill seeker. The photographs featured were all taken by members of the Coaster101 team. And best of all, they’re donating 50% of net proceeds to Give Kids The World Village in Florida. Each calendar costs only$15 and includes free shipping in the United States! Purchase your calendar(s) here!

What gifts are you getting your coaster enthusiast friends? Which coaster gifts are you hoping to find under the tree this year? Discuss in the comments section below.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Is there a Six Flags park in Florida?

Despite the consistent rumors, there are currently no Six Flags parks in Florida. This rumor may have been started on April 1st, 2014, when Coaster101.com posted an April Fools Day article containing a fake news release about the announcement of Six Flags Orlando. An excerpt from the fake announcement:

Mickey Mouse and Harry Potter will soon have to make room in Orlando for Bugs Bunny and Batman. The Six Flags Entertainment Corporation announced late Monday night that they plan to build the 12th United States park under the “Six Flags” banner, Six Flags Orlando. The park plans to break ground later this year and be completed by mid-late 2016. “It was a logical decision to build our next United States park in Orlando,” said Brett Petit, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Six Flags. “The greater Orlando area entertains more than 50 million worldwide visitors on an annual basis, and we wanted to expose these guests to the excitement and thrills that Six Flags’ guests have experienced for decades at our other parks around North America.” 

Shortly after, on May 24, 2014, the Spring Hill Courier published an article stating Six Flags was expected to break ground in Hernando County in 2014 on a new theme park slated to open in 2018. This article was completely faked, with one of the biggest red flags being that the author names Will Feinstein as the CEO. That might come as a surprise to Jim Reid – Anderson who had been serving as the Six Flags CEO since 2010. Later on, a follow up story on the Spring Hill Six Flags was posted in July 2015 and should prove without a doubt this is a made-up ongoing story. 
six flags orlando

Historically, Six Flags has had a presence in Florida, even Orlando, but maybe not exactly what you would expect:

Six Flags Stars Hall of Fame in Orlando, Florida was a wax museum was located near SeaWorld Orlando from 1975 to 1984. Like SeaWorld, it was acquired by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, but it was closed almost immediately after the sale.

Six Flags Atlantis was a water park located in Hollywood, Florida. Begun as a private venture originally known as 'Atlantis the Water Kingdom', funding ran out before construction ended. The park sat partially completed for several months before Six Flags opened in 1979 "Six Flags Atlantis." The park included a wave pool, a lake with water ski shows, a seven-story slide tower, picnic area, stores & arcades, shows, and activities for all ages. In 1989 the park was sold. was eventually demolished in 1994. Today most of the area is now occupied by retail shopping.

Six Flags is lending their brand to new parks in Dubai and China but no, there are no Six Flags parks in Florida, but we could always use more theme parks and would welcome Six Flags Florida if they did build one ;)

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


Roller coaster enthusiasts get an extreme adrenaline rush from the act of being blasted to 100 miles per hour, four hundred feet in the air. But there are many individuals who deeply fear this activity and the mere thought of climbing aboard a coaster car chills them to the bone. These phobias are often grounded in the irrational belief that one has a possibility of dying or "falling out" of a roller coaster.

The first step to overcoming your fear of roller coasters (or anything for that matter) is to determine the root cause of that fear. Why are you afraid to go on roller coasters? You need to drill down to figure out what’s driving those fears. Roller coaster phobia appears to actually be based in several other phobias, any of which can be enough to trigger a fear of coasters.

The most recognizable treatment for phobias is known as "exposure therapy". During this type of treatment, a client is gradually exposed to whatever is at the root of their anxiety until they come to the realization that these fears were based on irrational thoughts or beliefs. Basically, to get over your fear of roller coasters you need to start riding roller coasters. Do you really want to spend all that money to go to an amusement park if you can’t enjoy all the rides?

tips to get over fear of roller coasters
My guess is you or someone you know has suffered from the fear of roller coasters, and wants help to overcome it. I’ve been in the same boat. The purpose of my new book is to provide an understanding of what that fear is, where it stems from, and the actions you can take to be able to ride the roller coaster of your dreams.

Have you ever turned down an amazing vacation or day out with your friends because of it? Your fear of coasters could actually be something very specific or a combination of fears rolled into one. The best way to conquer any kind of fear is to face it.

In order to overcome your fear, you need to understand it. In the first half of this book, we’ll examine why people like to ride roller coasters in the first place while others are deathly afraid of them. Then we’ll get into the tips and strategies you can use to overpower that fear and ride that awesome and thrilling roller coaster.

Coaster enthusiasts strap themselves into these scream machines simply because they love being scared in a safe environment. Know that your fear is treatable, manageable, and that you can overcome it.

Here Is A Preview Of What You'll Learn...

• Examining what about the roller coaster makes you scared
• How roller coasters are safer than your car
• Benefits of riding roller coasters
• How riding a roller coaster could save your life
• Where to sit on a roller coaster
• How to choose the best ride to get over your fear
• Much, much more!

(Kindle version will be free the first week of July 2016)

Monday, June 6, 2016

How Pirates of the Caribbean at Shanghai Disneyland Works

Shanghai Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure is a new take on the beloved, classic boat ride. It uses a combination of physical sets, audio-animatronic (AA) figures, and giant projection screens to help bring the story to life. What makes the technology behind the ride system so incredible is the engineers have complete control over the speed, position, and orientation of the boats.

Learn more about how Pirates of the Caribbean works here.