US Thrill Rides

US Thrill Rides
Industry Manufacturing and design
Predecessor Patent Lab, LLC
Founder Bill Kitchen
Headquarters Orlando, Florida, United States
Area served
Products Amusement rides, roller coasters

US Thrill Rides is a designing and manufacturing company in Orlando, Florida. It is best known for creating thrill rides and roller coasters worldwide.


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. The product was ultimately a hit, with more than 90 worldwide installations in six years. As each operator of a SkyCoaster pays a royalty of 5% of their gross revenue, the company was making $1.75 million annually in royalties along by 1998. Canadian firm ThrillTime Entertainment International took notice and purchased the company for $12 million in mid-1998, renaming it SkyCoaster Inc. 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. Within a year, the attraction's popularity grew, making a profit for the firm and getting a visit by former President of the United States George H. W. Bush.[2]

Kitchen next founded US Thrill Rides, a central firm for all future design concepts.[3] US Thrill Rides has since developed the UniCoaster flat rides (which are sold and manufactured by Chance Rides),[4] and SkyQuest transport rides,[5] as well as the SkySpire and Polercoaster (in collaboration with S&S Worldwide and Intamin).[6]

Products and technologies

US Thrill Rides specializes in amusement rides and attractions.[7]


Main article: Polercoaster

Polercoaster is an amusement ride offered as a joint venture by US Thrill Rides, Intamin and S&S Worldwide. An installation consists of a large tower structure which features glass elevators to an observation deck, as well as an El Loco steel roller coaster wrapping around the tower.[8] 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.[9][10][11]


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.[12][13]


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.[14][15]


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.[16] 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.[17] 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,[17] 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 is currently licensed exclusively to Chance Rides.[18]

Notable installations

Year Ride Location Notes
2010 BrainSurge (UniCoaster) Nickelodeon UniverseBloomington, Minnesota
  • First park installation of ride
2010 Octotron (UniCoaster) Belmont ParkSan Diego, California
2012 SkyQuest Indianapolis ZooIndianapolis, Indiana [12][13]
2017 Skyscraper (Polercoaster) Skyplex – Orlando, Florida
  • Upon completion, expected to be world's tallest roller coaster[19]


  1. Waddell, Ray (August 3, 1998). "ThrillTime Entertainment purchases Sky Fun 1; to be named SkyCoaster". Amusement Business. 110 (31): 19.
  2. O'Brien, Tim (April 12, 1999). "Former President Bush takes a 'fall' at Orlando's Sky Venture". Amusement Business. 111 (15): 18.
  3. "Reinventing the wheel". Park World Magazine. November 27, 2009. Retrieved November 21, 2013.
  4. "Chance finishes first Unicoaster". Park World Magazine. November 27, 2009. Retrieved November 21, 2013.
  5. "US Thrill Rides launches SkyQuest". Park World Magazine. December 29, 2010. Retrieved November 21, 2013.
  6. "Polercoaster". Park World Magazine. November 2012. Retrieved November 21, 2013.
  7. "Our Products". US Thrill Rides. Retrieved 2015-07-11.
  8. "Polercoaster™". US Thrill Rides. Retrieved 2015-07-11.
  9. "Parkworld Magazine November 2012". Parkworld Magazine: 36. November 2012. Retrieved 2015-07-12.
  10. Kitchen, Michael (13 November 2012). "IAAPA 2012 Trade Show Coverage". Theme Park Review (Interview). Interview with Robb Alvey. Retrieved 2015-07-11.
  11. Kitchen, Michael (November 19, 2013). "S&S & US Thrill Rides Announce New Poler Coaster that will be Worlds Tallest Coaster". The Coaster Crew (Interview). Retrieved 2015-07-11.
  12. 1 2 "US Thrill Rides launches SkyQuest". Park World Online. 2010-12-29. Retrieved 2015-07-12.
  13. 1 2 "SkyQuest ride sold to Indianapolis Zoo". Orlando Business Journal. 17 November 2010. Retrieved 2015-07-12.
  14. "SkySpire™". US Thrill Rides. Retrieved 2015-07-11.
  15. Anstey, Tom (March 13, 2015). "AM2 News: Skyspire concept touted for New Orleans World Trade Center redevelopment". Retrieved 2015-07-11. External link in |work= (help)
  16. "SkyView™". US Thrill Rides. Retrieved 2015-07-11.
  17. 1 2 "Reinventing the wheel : Park World Online – Theme Park, Amusement Park and Attractions Industry News". Park World. 2009-11-27. Retrieved 2015-07-11.
  18. "UniCoaster™". US Thrill Rides. Retrieved 2015-07-11.
  19. Dineen, Caitlin (May 6, 2015). "Skyplex plans include 350-room hotel on Orlando's International Drive". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2015-07-11.
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