Dubai: Get ready for the world's longest, tallest and fastest roller coaster ride.
American theme park operator Six Flags announced on Monday that 12 record-breaking attractions are coming to Saudi Arabia — including the "world’s longest, tallest and fastest roller coaster ride".
In a ceremony in Riyadh on August 26, the company unveiled designs for the country’s mega theme park — called Qiddiya — set to open to the public in 2023.
Six Flags’ David McKillips said the park will be “the most unique Six Flags theme park ever built.”
Qiddiya's Phase 1 will be open in 2022, according to the company.
28 rides and attractions
Qiddiya will cover 32 hectares and include 28 rides and attractions across six themed lands including, The City of Thrills, Discovery Springs, Steam Town, Twilight Gardens, Valley of Fortune and Grand Exposition.
Within The City of Thrills will be two of the major record-breaking rides: The Falcon’s Flight, inspired by the kingdom’s famous raptor, will be the longest, tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world.
On the other hand, the Sirocco Tower will be the world’s tallest drop-tower ride.
The Citadel, a central hub area, will be covered by a billowing canopy form inspired by traditional Bedouin tents. McKillips said this was reflective of the park’s plans to embrace its local Saudi surroundings.
It's not immediately clear what is the ultimate height or speed of Qiddiya's mega roller coaster.
When you sit on the Formula Rossa, you get blasted to that speed in just 4.9 seconds. After scaling heart-racing heights of 52 metres and with the adrenalin rush of 4.8Gs riding high, you’ll cross the finish feeling like a true Scuderia Ferrari champion.
Qiddiya is not just designed as an entertainment centre.
A wide range of real estate options and community services are also planned within the development to complete it is as a 24-hour destination resort and a self-contained community.
It will be Saudi Arabia’s pre-eminent entertainment, sports and cultural destination; the place to live, work and play, a prominent landmark and an important hub to meet and satisfy the recreational, social and cultural needs of the kingdom’s current and future generations.
Visitors to Qiddiya will have access to more than 300 recreational and educational facilities designed around five cornerstones of development that drive the company's strategy:
- Parks & Attractions - with amusement, theme and water parks and feature attractions
- Sports & Wellness - will introduce sports programs and facilities for all kinds of hobbyists to professional athletes
- Infrastructure - capable of hosting international competitions and world-class training facilities and academies
- Motion & Mobility - will provide adrenaline induced motor and sky sports on and off-road as well as airborne
- Nature & Environment - explores the great outdoors with environmental, nature and adventure activities
Another cornerstone at Qiddiya — Arts & Culture — will offer facilities and programmes that provide visitors an array of traditional and modern arts, exhibitions, cultural and educational opportunities.
Qiddiya is operated by the Qiddiya Investment Company (QIC), incorporated in May 2018 and is wholly owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia, the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund.
The project broke ground on April 28 last year and the first of three phases is due to open in 2023.
“Our vision," says Michael Reininger, CEO of QIC, "is to make Six Flags Qiddiya a theme park that delivers all the thrills and excitement that audiences from all over the world have come to expect from the Six Flags brand, and to elevate those experiences with authentic themes connected to the location."
"As a place that will create indelible memories and moments of delight, telling stories that resonate with our guests is a central notion that will be evident throughout Qiddiya,” Reininger added.
Top 5 fastest roller coaster rides in the world
Formula Rossa: 149.1 mph
This roller coaster reaches an astonishing top speed of 149.1 mph (240 kmh). Formula Rossa accelerates from 0 to 100 km (62 miles) in 2 seconds, climbs 52m (171 feet), and generates 1.7 Gs.
The ride starts inside the indoor theme park, accelerates through the dome, travels outside the park, and returns to the loading station inside the building. The train's cars look like flashy red Formula One Ferraris (and travel as fast). It is so intense, passengers are issued goggles to protect their eyes from the desert sand.
Location: Ferrari World on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, part of the United Arab Emirates. The hydraulic launch coaster is manufactured by Intamin AG of Switzerland
Kingda Ka: 128 mph
Kingda Ka is the fastest roller coaster in the United States. At 456 feet, Kingda Ka reaches its speed in a matter of seconds. The roller coaster ride uses a Six Flags hydraulic launch system.
Location: Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson, New Jersey.
Top Thrill Dragster: 120 mph
Top Thrill Dragster has a racing car theme. Top Thrill Dragster is essentially similar albeit slower and smaller than Kingda Ka.
Location: Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio
Red Force : 112 mph (tie)
Opened in 2017 as part of Ferrari Land (inside PortAventura), Red Force uses magnetic motors to launch its trains at 112 mph towards a top hat tower that looks similar to Top Thrill Dragster and Kingda Ka. It is the fastest (and tallest) roller coaster in Europe.
Location: PortAventura Park, Salou, Tarragona, Spain
Dodonpa: 112 mph (tie)
Using a compressed air launch, Dodonpa goes from 0 to 112 mph in just under two seconds. The Fuji-Q Highland coaster races up and down a 170-foot top hat tower at 90 degrees. The whole ride clocks in at 55 seconds. (Because they go so fast, most of the coasters on this list are fairly short in duration.
Location: Fuji-Q Highland, Yamanashi, Japan