(USA TODAY) -- Theme parks and amusement parks will be standing tall this season. And not just in the metaphorical sense of proudly displaying their shiny, brand spanking new rides. We're talking about literally standing tall with coasters and other crazy contraptions that will reach absurd heights and make even the most steely-nerved daredevils quiver with fear. The most anticipated ride of 2014, however, will take Potterphiles deep underground for a face-to-(nose-less) face encounter with "he who must not be named."
Honorable Mention: El Loco at The Adventuredome, Las Vegas
As its name implies, this is one crazy coaster. It takes a more-than-90-degree dive and suspends passengers upside down for what seems like an eternity (although the entire ride lasts barely more than a minute).
Honorable Mention:Roar-O-Saurus at Story Land, Glen, N.H.
The wonderful, under-the-radar Story Land, which is loaded with charm and geared to the under-12 set, is not known for its thrills. With a mere 38-foot drop and a relatively poky speed, Roar-O-Saurus would never compete with the behemoth coasters found at Six Flags and its ilk. But thanks to a revolutionary car design, the wooden coaster should be remarkably smooth and filled with "airtime," that glorious out-of-your-seat sensation that coaster fans adore.
10. New England SkyScreamer at Six Flags New England, Agawam, Mass.
Spinning in a circle at a modest 40 mph may not sound like much. In fact, there are a number of similar swing rides at other parks. What will make New England SkyScreamer unique, however, is that at 400 feet above the ground, it will be the world's tallest swing ride. Offering precariously open seats and tethered with nothing more than chains, acrophobics would surely want to sit this one out.
9. Falcon's Fury at Busch Gardens Tampa, Fla.
Acrophobics would want to watch this one on terra firma also. Rising 335 feet into the air and freefalling back down at 60 mph is agita-inducing enough. But the seats on the first-of-its-kind ride will tilt 90 degrees at the top of the tower so that passengers will be facing straight down before they plummet. Yikes!
8. Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom at Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson, N.J.
The New Jersey park already has the world's tallest roller coaster, Kingda Ka. By piggybacking onto the coaster's top hat tower, it will also boast the world's tallest drop ride. Could you handle a 400-foot drop at 90 mph? Double yikes!
7. Thunderbolt at Luna Park, part of Coney Island, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Its name may conjure memories of the classic wooden coaster that once graced Coney Island, but with its novel elevator lift tower and other decidedly modern touches, the new Thunderbolt will make its own waves at the seaside amusement area.
6. FireChaser Express at Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
It only chugs along at 35 mph, which makes it accessible to all but the wimpiest of visitors. But the coaster, which features two launches – one forwards and one backwards – nonetheless packs a fiery punch and includes a cute theme.
5. Banshee at Kings Island, Mason, Ohio
Inverted coasters feature trains that hang suspended from the track above and leave passengers' legs dangling. They typically offer tight turns with lots of positive G-forces. With a ride time of 2:40 and a track length of 4124 feet, Banshee is the world's longest inverted coaster and is getting rave reviews from ride fans.
4. Despicable Me Minion Mayhem at Universal Studios Hollywood, Los Angeles, Calif.
The supremely silly characters from the popular Despicable Me movie bring their supercharged antics to an engaging 4-D ride film. It's loaded with laughs, and like the movies, includes some surprisingly touching moments as well.
3. Goliath at Six Flags Great America, Gurnee, Ill.
The innovative company that is building this newfangled coaster has an impressive track record of delivering incredibly smooth and satisfying thrill machines. So the anticipation is high for Goliath, which will boast a 180-foot, 85-degree drop and a top speed of 72 mph, which will make it the world's tallest, fastest, and steepest wooden coaster.
2. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
It's both a mildly thrilling coaster with a unique cradle design that allows the cars to swing back and forth and a compelling "dark ride" that takes guests into the colorful mine to see the Seven Dwarfs at work. The animated characters are particularly stunning in the attraction, which is the capstone of the park's New Fantasyland expansion.
1. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts and the Hogwarts Express at Universal Studios Florida, Orlando, Fla.
Universal is promising a mind-blowing, next-evolution ride experience in its second Potter-themed land. The coaster will use immersive 3-D imagery to take visitors to the subterranean netherworld under the Gringotts bank where they will face off against fire-breathing dragons and the villain to end all villains, Lord Voldemort. Getting to the new Diagon Alley land will be nearly as much fun, as the Hogwarts Express will shuttle muggles from the original Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade on a tricked-out, effects-packed, vintage steam train.