Wonder Woman Lasso of Truth is a record-breaking attraction with a twist. At 17 stories, it’s the world’s tallest pendulum ride. People sit around the outside of a disc attached to a long arm. Motors raise the arm high up and then let it drop. The pendulum swings to the other side, rising until it pauses in midair. At that moment, it has zero speed. “Basically, all of the energy is potential energy then,” says Rhoads. But “as you swing down, you’re going to pick up speed.”
On its own, a pendulum continues swinging to almost the same height each time because of inertia. That’s the tendency of an object to keep moving unless acted on by an outside force. A little height is lost to drag and friction. But on the ride, motors boost the pendulum higher as it sways. At the peak of each swing, “it has more potential energy than it did the last time because it’s higher,” says Reitz. Riders sweep through the bottom of the arc—the point with the greatest kinetic energy—at speeds of up to 121 km (75 mi) per hour.
As the disc swings, it simultaneously spins riders in counterclockwise circles. Each time a rider passes through the same point in the swing, he or she is in a different position on the disc. “It’s a very cool sensation,” says Reitz. “It’s almost as if you’re moving back and forth in a wave motion.”