Kingda Ka roller coaster, Six Flags Great Adventure

No. 1: Kingda Ka -- Six Flags Great Adventure

Kingda Ka, located in the jungle-themed Golden Kingdom in Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, N.J., cost $25 million to build in 2005.

It holds the distinction as the world's tallest roller coaster and was the fastest until Formula Rossa opened at Ferrari World in the United Arab Emirates in November 2010.

The ride starts when a hydraulic launch accelerates the trains from a standstill to a breathtaking 128 miles per hour in the blink of an eye -- an astonishing 3.5 seconds.

The train then climbs straight up a 456-foot-tall tower -- that's 45 stories high -- twists 90 degrees, crests, and drops straight down 418 feet in a 270-degree spiral.

There's one more hill, this one 129 feet, to climb, giving riders a moment of weightlessness.

The train then descends, and the ride is over, only 28 seconds after it has begun -- but that half a minute contains a lifetime's worth of thrills.