Ride Review: Orbiter

Orbiter, manufactured by Tivoli, is a pretty common ride around US midways with quite a few medium to large carnivals owning one. The ride can almost be seen as a more extreme version of the Scrambler and Sizzler type of rides that have grazed midways for decades now.

Orbiter is comprised of six arms with a satellite on each end holding three cars. The center spins in one direction and the satellites spin in the opposite. The arms are able to tilt the seats to a steep angle, nearly sideways but not quite. The colors vary but multi-colored or a brownish/red and yellow color scheme seem to be the popular ones.

Riders are secured with simple lapbars with G-force holding the riders in more than the bars. Orbiter has a top speed of 21 RPM for the center sweeps and 26 RPM for the satellites. The speed of the satellites are dependent on the speed of the center hub and cannot rotate by themselves.

The Ride

A ride on the Orbiter starts with the center spinning in a counterclockwise direction; it’s not too fast at this point. Next the center of the ride rises up a few feet and the arms begin to flip outward as the ride begins to spin faster.

The next part depends on how far the ride operator turns the speed dial. I’ve been on Orbiters that go at a fair speed and give a nice enjoyable ride, and I’ve been on Orbiters that whip riders around at Mach 10. On the latter you tend to get a feeling of your face being pushed back as the cars dive under the arms. It’s worth mentioning that riders are in very unnatural positions while riding with them essentially sideways and vertical at times. To be honest, you don’t even realize it while on the ride.

Other Info

Orbiter Amusement RideOrbiter comes in three names: Orbiter, Predator, and Typhoon. While Orbiters are mostly found at carnivals there are non trailer-bound park models. For example, The Flying Machine at Busch Gardens Williamsburg is a stripped down Tivoli Orbiter. The ride has also seen a successor of sorts in the Tivoli Re-Mix ride. Re-Mix differs from Orbiter by hoisting cars to a 90 degree angle and seating riders in floorless cars. The satellites on Re-Mix can also be spun independent of the center hub.



  • Lilly says:

    hey! oh i was just gonna say… i hate that ride! it almost made me sick! it went so fast! i’ll never ride that ride again…

  • Chris says:

    I operate an Orbiter for a living…. intense ride. Who know’s how many things could go wrong with it though.

  • Kotaro says:

    I will never go on that ride again. My neck feels like Gumby’s…ow…I feel like I’m going to be sick. I’m only ten and I don’t think I’ll recomend it anytime soon…*barf*

  • aneliz says:

    OHH! Hahahaha…i rode the orbiter when i waz 11 years old! Now i am 12 and i will ride it again this 4th of July…its so awesome!!

  • Michael M. Cook says:

    I haven’t try to ride in this Orbiter but i guess it is such a great experienced to be ride on it 🙂 . How i wish that i could ride on it someday 😀 .

  • Nick says:

    Ride spun WAY too fast for me could not enjoy, not for someone that cant handle a fast, fast spin. damn i regret getting on this.

  • Cyclone411 says:

    Top of my list for least favorite ride. Only an unusually sort cycle (carnie wanted to chase a townie girl) saved me from puking on my one and only ride. The regular oscillating motion is simply the WORST – any of the random action rides can be tolerated as at least there is variation but here there is no relief in sight until the ride stops. But it’s my daughter’s favorite carny ride.

  • wavymouth says:

    here’s a made-up song to sing on this ride: it feels so weird to me right now(from calvin harris’ feel so close only i changed the words). kinda strange trying to breathe if you pay attention to that stuff:)luv it! went on it at local carnival and going on it as much as i can every time it comes!!! the only thing that sux is u can’t ride alone:(

  • Jason says:

    Use to run an Orbiter years ago and loved every minute of it. Made me sad when the show owner sold it. As I’ve gotten older, it’s one of only a small handful of rides I’d ever get on.

  • Jase Green says:

    I totally love this ride! I’m 30 and will still ride one of these at least once, if not twice, a year.

  • Austin says:

    I rode one at the Santa Clara County Fair with half of the graphics panels missing and exposed and burnt out light bulbs. Kinda being an idiot but I touched one of the lights on the satellite and got shocked. Luckily it was probably only 5v cause it was a led.

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