Orlando is the theme-park capital of the world, and that means plenty of fun rides for the entire family. But don't expect everything to be waving princesses and gently spinning teacups. You may be surprised with just how big and fast Orlando's roller coasters are. So for these, leave the kiddos in the child-swap line, take a seat, strap in and get ready to ... SCREAM!
Manta—SeaWorld Orlando. You'll turn, glide and fly just like a giant manta ray. Nose-dive head-first in an inverted position, skimming the water's surface. Afterward, you can actually touch a ray at the adjacent exhibit. 54 inches or taller; best for teens and older.
Everest—Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom. Don't let the scenic Tibetian village fool you. Once you're on board the weather-beaten train, there's no going back down this foreboding mountain. The best part is an unexpected stop: Brace yourself for a backward thrill ride, a double-looping turn and an 80-foot drop down the mountain. 44 inches or taller; best for elementary school kids and older.
The Incredible Hulk—Universal Islands of Adventure. Just what you'd expect from this Marvel superhero: mean, green, powerful and with a short fuse that gets you going from zero to 40 mph straight out of the gate. The ride features seven inversions at 67 miles per hour, and if you're brave enough to keep your eyes open, you can appreciate views of the city and the lagoon as you hang upside down. 54 inches or taller; best for teens and older.
Space Mountain—Disney World Magic Kingdom. This Disney classic never gets old. Board a rocket ship single-file and get ready to launch into space. You'll ascend a 180-foot-high mountain and then zoom down through complete darkness, feeling the force of gravity. 44 inches or taller; best for elementary school kids and older.
Rock 'n' Roller Coaster—Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios. Take off on an LA freeway in a limo while listening to the music of Aerosmith. While you'll see the famous Hollywood sign and other landmarks, this is no joy ride. You'll go 60 mph, with sharp turns, two rollover loops and one corkscrew. 48 inches or taller; best for tweens and older.
Hollywood Rip Ride and Rockit—Universal Studios. As you start to climb Orlando's tallest roller coaster, your heart starts pumping to the music of your very own soundtrack. Click, click, click, click, click. Release. You're falling from 17 stories at 65 mph with several loops including the world's first non-inverting loop. 51 inches or taller; best for teens and older.
The Dragon Challenge—Universal Islands of Adventure. Here, you'll board one of two dragons inside the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. While not quite as fast as the Hulk, this ride has incredible thrill factor as your feet dangle through a zero-g roll, two corkscrews and two vertical loops. The dragons, the Chinese Fireball and the Hungarian Horntail, are actually two different rides that intertwine. Warning: Do no attempt to drink a butterbeer before boarding. 54 inches or taller; best for teens and older.