Dubai: 50-metre drop, going upside down at 77kmph; How I enjoyed the fastest vertical launch rollercoaster in the world

The ride was officially certified as the fastest vertical launch rollercoaster by Guinness World Record on the day it opened on February 17 last year

by

Nasreen Abdulla

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Photos: Shihab/KT
Photos: Shihab/KT

Published: Mon 21 Aug 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Mon 21 Aug 2023, 2:19 PM

Imagine going 77km per hour…upside down. That is exactly what Storm Coaster, the fastest vertical launch rollercoaster in the world promises. Located inside the Dubai Hills Mall, the roller coaster launches a whopping 50 metres in the air before plummeting down. I screamed, laughed and shut my eyes tight as the ride twisted and turned around the overall 640 metres of the ride. An experience of a lifetime, the Storm Coaster is definitely a bucket list item.

I arrived at the ride as part of the #DubaiDestinations campaign and there was no denying it — I was nervous. I am not particularly fond of rollercoasters but here I was. There was a considerable crowd, despite it being a weekday. “This ride is very popular,” said a spokesperson. “Over the weekends, most days it is quite busy. We have people flying in from neighbouring countries to enjoy the Storm Coaster with their friends.”

First inaugurated in 2022, the ride was officially certified as the fastest vertical launch rollercoaster by Guinness World Record on the day it opened on February 17. With prices starting at Dh65 per person, the ride is popular among guests who like to go on it multiple times. That is why there is an option for people to buy a single person 3 entry ticket for just Dh149 per person. I couldn't imagine why anyone would want to go on a rollercoaster three times consecutively but each unto his own, I guess?

Simulation

Before the tickets are purchased, people are informed about the physical restrictions of the ride. Guests have to be at least 130cm tall and anyone with a heart condition, pregnancy or back and neck injuries are prohibited from riding the roller coaster.

After this, we were ushered into a simulation. This involves standing in a room with handrails and top to bottom screens surrounding us. The theme of the ride is that a storm is hitting Dubai and it is too late for us to escape. So, the only option is to ride it out.

In the simulation, we ride up an elevator to the top of the storm coaster building, “You are now ascending 1500 metres above the Dubai skyline,” a voiceover informs us. At the top, there is supposedly a view of 400 miles with a great view of the skyline of the city. As the storm hits, the metal floor begins moving and we are given a brief overview of what the ride will entail.

The ride of a lifetime

After the simulation we entered the actual indoor roller coaster area. We put all loose items, including sandals, in a locker outside the ride. I was asked to tuck my hijab into my shirt. I was offered the front seat of the ride — the tickets of which were more expensive than the regular tickets.

I politely declined. I was brave but not that brave. Gulping down my fear, I stepped in. The assistant locked down the belts and secured me safely. The entire ride lasted one minute and 21 seconds, of which I was silent probably for 5 seconds. The ride that goes up to 77 kmph, takes you all over the side and middle of the entire building. We were sometimes upright and sometimes upside down. Sometimes slow and sometimes fast. The massive dive — the one that earned it the Guinness World Record — had me shutting my eyes tight and screaming at the top of my voice.

But despite the length of the ride, I felt like it got over a little too quickly. And suddenly, I understood why people choose to go on it multiple times. It doesn’t leave you nauseous and woozy like usual rollercoasters. It is indeed an experience of a lifetime. When I exited the ride, I knew one thing — I was definitely going to go back on it another day.

And that day, I might just buy the 3 entry pass for myself.

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