FlipsidePA reporter Abbey Zelko takes on the tallest, fastest and oldest roller coasters at Hersheypark for National Roller Coaster Day.
Jeremy Long, FlipSidePA

You look up. Way up.

Gulp. “What did I get myself into?”

There’s no sympathy to be had from the person next to you — they’ve done it before.

As you’re climbing that hill, being serenaded by the clacking of the car you’re strapped into, there’s only the track in front of you.

Grades, money, love, heartbreak … There’s no room in your head for any of that while you’re on a roller coaster.

Well, a good one, anyway.


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Pennsylvania has plenty of those. Eleven roller coasters in Pennsylvania were ranked among the top 100 in the world in 2016. That’s more than any other state. Or any foreign nation.

A survey of 500 roller coaster enthusiasts from around the globe determines the annual “Golden Ticket” top 50 lists for steel and wooden roller coasters. The awards — which also assess other aspects of amusement parks — are basically the Emmys of the theme park industry, organized by trade publication Amusement Today.

Pennsylvania’s top coasters aren’t the fastest. They aren’t the tallest. And for the most part, they certainly aren’t the newest — one is nearly 100 years old, actually.

But there’s something special about them, according to enthusiasts.

“Magic” is the word Tim Baldwin, Golden Ticket awards…