Summer is here and that means it's time for one thing: roller coasters! Now, with help from a few developers, getting around theme parks has never been easier. You can download maps, plan schedules and find wait times just by clicking on these apps. The cash-strapped can even operate a 3D rollercoaster straight from their phone. Let's take a look at the most helpful apps for the coaster-crazed.
Want to know how long the wait is for your favorite ride? Consider Ride Hopper your new best friend. The app tells you the wait times of over 4300 rides at 260 theme parks worldwide. The app works via user submissions, so it's possible you won't be able to know the wait times if no one else is using the app. That said, hundreds of five star reviewers claim the app was accurate during their own theme park visit. A bonus is the ability to sort rides based on wait times, so you can hit up the ones with the longest lines early in the day before you run out of time.
Ah, France. Home to Gruyere, fashion and...roller coasters? Yup, Disney opened their first theme park across the pond in 1992 and, after numerous setbacks, the park is now the most-visited attraction in all of Europe. The Disneyland Paris app helps you plan your trip and, once you've arrived, organize your visit using an interactive map which shows all the points of interest and tells you how to get to the nearest ATM or bathroom. You can see wait times and create an agenda with attractions you don't want to miss.
Cedar Point in Ohio is mecca for all roller coaster enthusiasts. Featuring a whopping 16 rollercoasters, the massive theme park is tied with Canada's Wonderland for the second most rollercoasters in a park. The Cedar Point app features an interactive park map with search, a calendar of events and show times, hotel information, driving directions and the ability to create your own schedule.
Trip Advisor's Orlando City Guide
If you're in the U.S. and you're looking for the perfect city from which to explore the roller coaster jungle, Orlando is the place to be. Spitting distance from Universal Studios and Disneyworld, Orlando has more amusement park attractions than you're likely to find on the entire European continent! Since the Busch Garden and Universal Studios official apps have received middling reviews, I've included this entry from Trip Advisor. Using their Orlando City Guide, you can find and read reviews for all the attractions, restaurants and hotels in Orlando, read city facts and take self-guided tours. Best of all, the app works completely offline so you don't have to bite into your data plan while traveling.
Rollercoaster Rush New York
If you don't have the cash to drop on a cross-country trip to the hottest theme park, you can create your own theme park attraction on your own smartphone. Rollercoaster Rush New York allows you to monitor the speed of a 3D roller coaster which travels through the New York skyline. The game rewards players who make their roller coasters go as fast as possible without falling off the tracks! The game costs $1 and worked very well during my testing.
(Top photo from Ocean Park in Hong Kong)