US Thrill Rides

Last updated
US Thrill Rides
Industry Manufacturing and design
PredecessorPatent Lab, LLC
Founder Bill Kitchen (Inventor)
Area served
Products Amusement rides, roller coasters

US Thrill Rides was an entertainment design and consulting company in Orlando, Florida. It was best known for creating thrill rides in several US locations.



In 1992, William Kitchen and Ken Bird invented the SkyCoaster. Kitchen founded Sky Fun I Inc. that same year to sell the product to amusement parks. Canadian firm ThrillTime Entertainment International purchased the company for $12 million in mid-1998, renaming it SkyCoaster Inc.[ citation needed ] All 12 employees kept their jobs, with Kitchen remaining linked to the company as a consultant. [1]

Kitchen's next invention was that of the SkyVenture, sold under SkyVenture, LLC. The first installation opened across from Wet 'n Wild Orlando on International Drive in July 1998. The attraction received a visit by George H. W. Bush. [2]

Kitchen next founded US Thrill Rides. [3] US Thrill Rides has since developed the UniCoaster flat rides and SkyQuest transport rides, [4] as well as the SkySpire and Polercoaster (in collaboration with Intamin). [5]

Martin & Vleminckx acquired Kitchen's portfolio of rides in November 2022. [6] On December 21, 2022, US Thrill Rides filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and quietly shuttered. [7] [8]

Products and technologies

US Thrill Rides specializes in amusement rides and attractions. [9]


Polercoaster was an amusement ride offered as a joint venture by US Thrill Rides and Intamin. An installation consists of a large tower structure which featured glass elevators to an observation deck, as well as an El Loco steel roller coaster wrapping around the tower. [10] The model was first introduced in 2012. US Thrill Rides' Bill and Michael Kitchen invented the concept to allow amusement parks with little available space to be able to design a full-size roller coaster. [11] [12] [13] By November, 2014 Kitchen had licensed the Florida rights for his invention to Skyplex where it was announced the first Polercoaster would’ve been the tallest rollercoaster in the world, (called the "Skyscraper") and would be built by 2017. [14] The Skyplex project was still claimed to be moving forward but had not broken ground and has not opened in 2020 as previously claimed by the developer. [15]


SkyQuest is a people mover introduced in 2010. The cable-car style ride utilizes covered platforms and gondolas to move rides either around the track or from one platform to another. [16] [17]


SkySpire is an amusement ride offered by US Thrill Rides. An installation consists of a large tower structure which features glass elevators to an observation deck, as well as a ride featuring fully enclosed gondolas wrapping around the tower in the shape of a double helix. [18] [19] Skyspire was chosen as one of the five finalists to anchor the San Diego Bay revitalization project. [20] Skyspire won the contract with 1HWY1 who took primary ownership of redesigning the initial concept and implementation, but encountered numerous obstacles that have hindered development to the present day. [21]


SkyView is a proposed concept for lightweight Ferris wheel designs with heights between 200 feet (61 m) and 1,000 feet (300 m) and able to withstand strong winds. [22] The wheel itself does not turn like a conventional Ferris wheel, instead a chain-like mechanism is used to move the gondolas around the structure, which could be constructed in shapes other than the traditional circle. [23] In 2009, Park World Online reported that US Thrill Rides planned to erect and operate 300-foot (91 m) tall SkyView rides in Orlando and Las Vegas, [23] however the 400-foot (120 m) Orlando Eye and 550-foot (170 m) High Roller giant wheels have since been constructed in those cities. No SkyView rides have yet been built.


UniCoaster is an amusement ride with a small footprint designed to mimic the experience of a looping roller coaster. The design was licensed exclusively to Chance Rides [24] until 2020 when Kitchen cancelled the exclusivity and began marketing variations such as "Unicoaster Roulette" to casinos [25] in an attempt to mitigate the financial impact of the COVID-19 theme park shutdown.

Notable installations

2010 BrainSurge (UniCoaster) Nickelodeon UniverseBloomington, Minnesota
  • First park installation of ride
2010Octotron (UniCoaster) Belmont ParkSan Diego, California
2012SkyQuest Indianapolis ZooIndianapolis, Indiana [16] [17]
2013Unicoaster (UniCoaster) Happy Valley Tianjin - Tianjin, China
2016Trouble Twist (Formerly Zero Gravity) (UniCoaster) Galaxyland - Edmonton, Alberta
2019Jimmy Neutron Atom Smasher (UniCoaster) Nickelodeon Universe American Dream - East Rutherford, New Jersey
2021Time Tumbler (UniCoaster)Doha Quest [26]
2022Rivet Town Roller (UniCoaster) Genting SkyWorldsGenting Highlands, Malaysia
Cancelled Skyscraper (Polercoaster) Skyplex – Orlando, Florida
  • Never built.

Related Research Articles

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Intamin</span> Swiss design and manufacturing company

Intamin Amusement Rides is a design and manufacturing company in Schaan, Liechtenstein, best-known for designing and constructing thrill rides and roller coasters at dozens of international theme parks, amusement parks and other establishments. The Intamin brand name is a syllabic abbreviation for "international amusement installations". The company has corporate offices across the world, including three in Europe, three in Asia, and two in the United States.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Skycoaster</span> Amusement park ride

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Enterprise (ride)</span> Amusement ride model

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chance Rides</span> Ride manufacturer

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Polercoaster</span> Amusement ride

Polercoaster was a type of amusement ride offered by US Thrill Rides and Intamin. An installation consists of a large tower structure which features glass elevators to an observation deck, as well as a steel roller coaster wrapping around the tower. The model was first introduced in 2012, and in 2013, four were proposed for construction. However, US Thrill Rides cancelled all future Polercoaster locations, after the company went bankrupt.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Martin & Vleminckx</span> Roller coaster manufacturer

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Skyscraper (roller coaster)</span> Cancelled roller coaster concept

Skyscraper was a roller coaster concept originally planned for a future Skyplex entertainment complex located in Orlando, Florida. Development began in 2012 by American manufacturer US Thrill Rides and Swiss manufacturer Intamin, with both companies designing the attraction as the first Polercoaster model utilizing an observation tower for its main support structure. Skyscraper would have become the tallest roller coaster in the world at over 500 feet (150 m), and it would have featured both the steepest drop and highest inversion in the world.

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Skyplex was a proposed and planned entertainment complex, It was to be located on a 14-acre (5.7 ha) lot at the northeast corner of Sand Lake Road and International Drive in Orlando, Florida. Plans for the complex include a 570-foot (170 m) tower which would’ve featured the world's tallest roller coaster, Skyscraper, and the world's largest Perkins Restaurant and Bakery. In January 2019 the project was expected to cost US$250,000,000 and include space for a future hotel. The complex was originally planned to open first in 2016. But pushed back to 2017, then 2018. The project was once again delayed to 2019, until the final delay to 2020. In 2020, Lionsgate was originally set to build the complex called Lionsgate World Resort Orlando, which was set to be constructed in early 2021 and was set to open in 2024. However, on December 21, 2022, US Thrill Rides and Polercoaster, LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. On January 30, 2023, WPC confirmed that the project would not be moving forward.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Skyline Attractions</span> American amusement ride manufacturer

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bill Kitchen (inventor)</span> American inventor and business executive (born 1948)

William Joel Kitchen is an American inventor and business executive. Kitchen is the Founder and CEO of U.S. ThrillRides, Inc. and Thrillcorp, Inc.


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