Ever since I was a kid, I have always loved roller coasters and other scary type rides. The scariest I have ever been on are not even in an amusement park. The scariest rides are in Las Vegas at the top of the Stratosphere! There are currently four rides in the top of this 1,149 foot tall tower, although the rides are mostly between the 900 and 1,000 foot levels. I have not been there since they competed the fourth ride. I will describe the rides in the proposed order of riding.
The first ride is a little roller coaster named High Roller. On the ground this would be a little kiddie roller coaster. But when you are rolling around the tracks over 900 feet up in the air, it is a little different. While not really really scary it is a bit unnerving.
The next ride is called The Big Shot. I have been of rides similar to this one, but none have nearly the impact of this one. This ride is on the needle at the top of the tower. The needle has three sides, and there are a row of seats on each side. You are strapped into the seat securely with your back to the needle. There is a wait period, then you will be slowly lift off the ground to about 10 feet in the air. Still no big deal. Then without warning, you are ROCKETED upward. As you go up, you do not see the tower anymore. You only see out, and that you are around a 1,000 feet in the air. There is a weightless feeling as through you have come disconnected from the tower. I screamed the first time I felt this. Unlike other rides like this I have been on, you do not feel when you hit the top, and start falling. For example the similar type ride in California Adventureland, you actually feel a bit of braking toward the top. You do not feel this braking on the Big Shot. You will start free falling down again. Then the seat will bungee up and down until you are finally lowered at the end of the ride.
The third ride is the scariest of the three. It is called X-Scream. This ride is like a open side bobsled mounted on a see-saw. The first time I rode this, I was in the second row. You are strapped securely into the bobsled part. The teeter-totter will start to tip up, and the bobsled will slide to the other end of the track. Ummm … did I mention other end of the track is over 30 feet out over the edge of the tower? So then you are sliding forward down the track toward the over 900 foot drop straight down to sin city! Then the track will tilt back, and you will slide backwards. Then it will tilt forward again, and you will get to the end of the track. The car might creep a little forward, and then drop some more. The track may lift, and then drop again. The ride has some different programs so that the slides and falls are not predictable to the rider. At the end of the ride, the guys in the front row said that for the full effect, you need to be in the front row. This is true. IF YOU WANT THE SCARIEST EXPERIENCE, RIDE IN THE FRONT ROW, EVEN IF YOU HAVE TO WAIT! I rode the ride again, this time in the front row. They were absolutely right! In the front row, you have nothing between you and ground 900 feet below except a bar, and a harness. You start thinking what if some bolt or cable breaks!
I had bought a ticket to ride all of the rides as many times as I wanted. I ended up riding the High Roller coaster once, the Big Shot once, and the X-Scream twice. That was enough. My legs were shaking! I had had enough for the day.
I did ride these rides again on my next visit to Las Vegas when my brother was there. I kept thinking to myself why am I on these rides again?
The newest ride is called Insanity The Ride. Looking at the Stratosphere's website, I do not see the High Roller listed anymore. They may have removed it for this ride. From reading, and looking at the photos, it appears that the Insanity ride has 5 arms that hang down form a wheel attached to a big arm, with each small arm having two seats at the bottom. You are strapped into the seats, and then the big arm swings you out over the edge. Then the wheel starts to turn and the hanging arms swing out with you strapped to them. It would probably be very scary, but I have not ridden it yet.
If you get to Las Vegas, and like scary rides, you gotta try these!