Top 8 Coasters To Ride In The Dark

As a theme park enthusiast, is there anything more magical than being in a theme park at night? (Whenever I write 'at night' I just picture Spongebob - Google it if you don't get it it's driving me mad!) Usually being in a theme park at night means one of two things: you're on holiday or it's Halloween. Both of which are joyous and exciting occasions, so as such any rides taken at such a time have that extra twinge of magic and delight about them. 

Riding coasters at night is just that though - pure magic. Even the blandest of coasters seem to spring to life when ridden after dark. But out of all the coasters in the world, there are some that are simply outstanding when the sun goes down and that's what I wanted to chat about with you guys today! 

As always, this list is based off of my personal opinion and experiences so won't include anything I've not ridden yet. Feel free to comment below if you think I've missed anything or if you disagree with any of my picks!

Often number one on many a coaster-rider's list, Nemesis is a beast come day or night. But there's definitely something that brings this B&M invert to life on a cold October evening. The whole of Forbidden Valley is absolutely electric during Scarefest, what with the moody lighting and thin layer of fog everywhere, and this seasonal set-up gives Nemesis a menacing glow that can only be experienced in the dark. Plus, despite having ridden the thing at least 100 times, the veil of darkness helps keep those forces hidden as an extra moment of surprise!

Back in 2014 I had the pleasure of pretty much having this wonderful Mack multi-launch coaster to myself with the group I was visiting Liseberg with. It was a balmy summer evening, we were already running around like lunatics on an adrenaline high from multiple rerides but little did we know that once the sun had set this was about to amplify even further. The first drop out of the station onto the inky black hillside is one thing, but when you're thrust forwards and upwards on that launch into the inversion with all of the twinkling lights of Gothenburg hurtling towards you it's little less than euphoric. Incredible experience. 

Have I ever mentioned on this blog how much I FUCKING LOVE TARON OMG I LOVE IT SO MUCH. And breathe. Similarly to Helix, we were lucky enough to enjoy some crisp-aired October evening ERT on my beloved Intamin launch coaster and sweet Jesus was it a treat. I can't put into words the ecstasy of riding Taron in the dark - it's one of those moments that make you fall in love with being an enthusiast all over again and reminds you why you do this stupid hobby in the first place. Klugheim lit to look like it's slightly smouldering underneath all that rock, with an earthy orange glow and catapulting down that second launch up into the rocky waterfall accompanied by an almighty WHOOSH is second to none of the coaster experiences I've enjoyed in my life. I never wanted that night to end and my face was numb from the cold nighttime air by the end of it!

Strange one to appear on my list as I've never much actually liked this coaster, but when we visited Orlando in 2016 Animal Kingdom had just launched its night time opening hours and I was keen to see how the family Vekoma coaster would fare on an Orlando summer's evening. Turns out pretty damn well. The boring meandering section before the ascent into the mysterious mountain is suddenly given a new lease of life, the shadow of Everest accompanied with the nighttime darkness shrouds this section with an extra layer of mystery and anticipation. The shadows cast up the rock give the impression that the mountain is three times her usual size and thus that much more intimidating. Then there's the infamous 'broken track' scene - the way Disney light their rides is obviously expert level but the use of light and shadow here is truly incredible. 

This is probably nostalgia getting the better of me, but we used to have a tradition called GhosterForce where we'd visit Thorpe Park and Chessington for the Halloween season, with the day at Thorpe often culminating in a group ride on the mighty SWARM! The whole island is transformed in the dark, the fire spurting from the wrecked fire engine that much more impressive and the trains whizzing by with their red LEDs makes for a truly fantastic spectacle. That and at the end of the day, like many coasters, THE SWARM really comes into its own and feels that much more intense!

Riding this coaster for the first time is one of my happiest memories - but in particular after dark. I believe we'd taken advantage of some ridiculously reasonable deal for a stay on Resort at Port Aventura in the December of 2012. That meant little to no crowds in the park and an early sunset - meaning more coasters in the dark! Shambhala is bloody huge and intimidating at the best of times, but ascending that colossal lift-hill under cover of darkness with nothing but the inky black sky ahead of you is something else! The cold wind blowing in your face as you're lifted from your seat time after time by big, powerful floater airtime, one could almost be mistaken for feeling like you're flying! Breathtaking.

We must have been on at least our tenth go when it came to riding SkyRush in the dark (after riding it countless times as the sun was setting). She's a beautiful beast of a coaster, but you;d be forgiven for thinking that with the combination of colour scheme and layout across the lake that this was a more elegant ride than it lets on. In the dark, this gentle edge is completely removed and as such the pure wicked form of the coaster comes forth. Skimming over the water as the forceful ejector airtime does its best to remove you from the exposed seats is both terrifying and exhilarating, especially when amplified by the darkness. 

I'm not sure if Nagashima SpaLand always see the night out with fireworks, but on the occasion we visited this is absolutely what they did. Ascending the lifthill of this mighty coaster on the final day of our trip with a full blown firework spectacle taking place at the same time was absolutely fantastic! The lifthill is so huge that you just keep going, up and up towards the twinkling stars, and in our case, sprinkled with the multicoloured flames of the fireworks. And then you plummet, racing up and down, in and out of the blackness. The rush of that first drop into the night sky is stunning.

And there we have it, but ultimate coasters to ride in the dark! As with all of these lists, I'm sure more additions and changes will be made once I add more to my coaster riding CV.

Talk later xoxo,



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