Summer Travel Quest #32

Ride the World's Tallest, Fastest, Steepest Wooden Roller Coaster

Old-school construction meets scream-inducing speed in the just-opened Goliath in Gurnee, Illinois
by Suzanne Rowan Kelleher Posted Jun 19th 2014 9:04a.m.
An award-winning travel writer and family vacations expert, Suzanne is always up for a summer road trip.

If your summer bucket list includes bragging rights to a record-breaking coaster, head to Gurnee, Ill., for the chance to chalk up a triple play in just under 90 seconds.

Six Flags has already bestowed the name Goliath on six of its largest steel roller coasters, but for the first time the theme park chain has christened a wooden coaster with the name of the Biblical giant. When it opened on June 19 at Six Flags Great America, the newest Goliath became the world’s fastest wooden coaster.

The ride’s opening gambit is the world’s tallest and steepest drop for a wooden coaster, too—a 180-foot free fall at a screaming 85-degree angle that ends with a dive through an underground tunnel. Riders careen at speeds of up to 72 mph through turns that tilt more than 90 degrees, fly over a hill for a few seconds of air time and twist into multiple inversions, including a 180-degree barrel roll.

INSIDER TIP

When it comes to buzzed-about theme park rides, the early bird gets the shorter line. The park opens at 10:30 a.m. every day, all summer.

And look, Ma, no whiplash. The new Goliath combines the gritty look of a vintage wooden coaster with a notably smoother and quieter ride, thanks to polyurethane wheels instead of the old-school clackety steel ones.

That’s progress your spine can love.

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An award-winning travel writer and family vacations expert, Suzanne Rowan Kelleher is always up for a summer road trip.

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MORE SUMMER TRAVEL QUESTS

30) See Chuck Berry Perform

31) Visit an Authentic Speakeasy

32) Ride the World's Tallest, Fastest, Steepest Wooden Roller Coaster

33) See the Golden Gate Bridge From Golden Gate Park

34) Kick a Field Goal on an NFL Field

>> All 99 Summer Travel Quests

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Use the hashtag #99SummerQuests to share your own summer travels, and follow along with us at @MapQuest and Instagram.

The Goliath from a rider's point of view
A report on the Goliath's debut
The Goliath from a rider's point of view
A report on the Goliath's debut
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