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Top 5: Rollercoaster architecture

Following the announcement that Dreamland in Kent will be renovated, the AJ looks at the most extreme and inventive architecture-themed rollercoasters in the world

1 - ‘New York New York’

Las Vegas, USA

The rollercoaster incorporates a re-modelled New York skyline, complete with barrel roll, ‘heartline’ twist and 203ft drop. The 67mph skyline rollercoaster, formerly known as the ‘Manhattan Express’, even features NY checkered taxi cabs as train carriages. It sits above the New York New York Hotel and Casino, owned by MSM Mirage. In true Vegas style you can get married on the ride from $600.


2 - ‘Thunder Dolphin’,

Tokyo Japan

Why go round a building when you can go through it? At over 1km long and 26 storeys high Thunder Dolphin, in Tokyo’s Dome City theme park, is the fifth highest rollercoaster in the world and reaches 81mph. However the ride gains extra kudos for passing through both a hole in a building and the ‘big O’ - a spoke-less ferris wheel, also at the park.


3 - Big Ben Tower

No fixed location

This ride is a traditional drop tower with, you guessed it, Big Ben’s glowing face on top. This movable carnival ride recently changed hands and is currently touring around the UK. Sadly the clock is not functioning but it gets coaster-points for an impressive bell ‘clang’ and being so ruthlessly patriotic.


4 - X-Scream

Las Vegas, USA

Not just a rollercoaster; it’s a rollercoaster, on top of a skyscraper, in the middle of a desert. The X-Scream ride sits almost 900ft above the Las Vegas strip, on top of the Stratosphere Tower, making it the third highest ride in the world. X-Scream projects passenger vehicles 27ft over the edge of the building at 30mph. The tower forms part of the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino which also features the highest and second highest rides in the world.


5 - ‘Vanish’

Yokohama, Japan

Mysteriously diving underground, no one knows where the ride reappears…This 115ft high steel rollercoaster is one of the central attractions at Cosmoworld theme park in Japan which opened in 1999. The 240m track also incorporates an intense downwards helix spiral, then wraps around the theme park’s ‘Cosmo Clock’.

To read more about the Dreamland renovation, click here

Many thanks to the National Fairground Archive

Readers' comments (3)

  • Bit more than renovated!

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  • Oh lord, how come Shin Takamatsu's yabafo free fall ride not make it!? (I guess 'technically'not a rollercoaster)

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  • From the 'Save Dreamland' Forum

    "Interesting (ahem...) choices. Two of these five rides aren't roller coasters. The coaster at NYNY is nice to look at but quite a painful ride experience."

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