In honor of National Roller Coaster Day, I thought it would be fitting to release my official Top 10 Roller Coasters list (as of August 2019). I was actually quite surprised that I had never released this list before, but I guess now is the best time to do it. At the time of writing this, I have ridden 110 roller coasters. That’s obviously not as much as some enthusiasts out there, but I think its still a substantial count with a decent amount of variety. The thing that makes my list a little unique is I haven’t been to parks like Cedar Point, Hersheypark, Dollywood, or Six Flags Great Adventure, so therefor some fan favorites like Steel Vengeance, Skyrush, Lightning Rod and El Toro won’t be featured on this list. Hopefully there will be at least one coaster on here that doesn’t appear on too many other top 10’s. Once you’re done reading this list, feel free to tell us your own Top 10 in the comments below! Here we go:
10. Superman: Escape from Krypton (Six Flags Magic Mountain)
Superman: Escape from Krypton might be a criminally short ride, but it’s still an adrenaline rush. It’s currently the 3rd tallest roller coaster in the world, with the track standing at 415 feet. Sure, you only make it up to 328 feet, but that still feels incredibly tall when you hit the top. The thing that makes this a Top 10 coaster for me is the weightlessness you get at the very top. I was a bit skeptical that the ride would offer any good weightlessness at first, since it features over-the-shoulder restraints, but luckily they don’t impact the ride negatively at all. Also, the launch is very intense and feels even crazier going backwards.
9. Ghost Rider (Knott’s Berry Farm)
Just a couple hours south of Magic Mountain is Knott’s Berry Farm, which is home to my 9th favorite roller coaster, Ghost Rider. This was my number 1 wooden coaster for a while, but since I rode it in 2017 I’ve gotten on others that I consider to be better. Ghost Rider is still a spectacular ride though. The retracking made it feel glossy smooth, and the layout is both long and action packed. The drop and its following hills offer so much airtime, and other points throughout the ride continue that trend. My favorite part about Ghost Rider has to be the pacing, as it feels like its a long and satisfying ride that never gets boring. Even though there are better wooden coasters on this list, I still think Ghost Rider gets bonus points for not being as short of a ride.
8. Renegade (Valleyfair)
Speaking of other wooden roller coasters, Renegade is a spectacular ride at Valleyfair that really doesn’t get enough attention. Not many enthusiasts have ridden it, so it’s kind of a hidden gem that needs more people to experience it. It is a bit shorter than I would’ve liked, and it does seem to slow down in the last 3rd of the ride, but that doesn’t take away from how amazing the first 2/3rds are. The s-shaped drop is one of the most unique drops on the coaster I’ve ever ridden, and the ride has plenty of airtime that will instantly please any enthusiast. Easily the best part of Renegade is just how crazy it feels. The ride absolutely hauls for the first 2/3rds of the ride, and it feels completely out of control in the best way possible.
7. Goliath (Six Flags Great America)
My favorite roller coaster at my home park, Six Flags Great America, is also my 7th favorite coaster ever. This might technically be another wooden coaster, but it was manufactured by RMC and uses their topper track for a more intense and interesting layout. Goliath might not be my favorite coaster ever, but it does feature some of my favorite elements ever. The drop is my current favorite drop on a roller coaster (especially in the back), and the zero-G roll is my favorite ever inversion. The ride does suffer from being criminally short, but it still is incredibly strong. Every element feels important, as if they didn’t want to waste any track with the limited space they have.
6. Mystic Timbers (King’s Island)
Okay, I promise this is the last wooden coaster for a while. Mystic Timbers is a GCI wooden coaster that is very similar to the previously mentioned Renegade. I actually went back and forth on which coaster was better for a while, but ended up going with Mystic Timbers due to it having a bit more airtime and intensity. Also, Mystic Timbers doesn’t seem to slow down at all throughout the entirety of the ride. Yes, the shed isn’t as interesting as many would have hoped, but it still offers a nice bit of theming that’s better than nothing at all. Mystic Timbers is my second favorite wooden roller coaster, not just ever, but also at Kings Island (hint for later).
5. Afterburn (Carowinds)
I haven’t seen too many Top 10s featuring a B&M invert, so I feel like this is probably my most unique pick on this list. Afterburn is definitely one of the most intense rides I’ve been on, and not a single part of it disappoints. It soars through its layout with such speed and smoothness, and each of its 6 inversions made me gray out at least a little bit. Perhaps my favorite part of Afterburn is its Batwing inversions. Not actually because of the inversions (although they are very fun), but because of the fog/mist tunnel in between them. Being flipped around into a tunnel where you can’t see anything before emerging out to be flipped around again is one of the most disorienting elements on any roller coaster I’ve done.
4. Twisted Colossus (Six Flags Magic Mountain)
Twisted Colossus is another RMC to make this list, and its not the last one either. Every ride on this coaster makes me like it a little bit more, as opposed to slowly getting bored with it. There’s not much I can say about it that hasn’t already been said about any other RMC: it has crazy inversions and elements, fantastic airtime moments, and is glossy smooth. Sure, the pacing does suffer a bit from it having to go up the lift hill a second time, but that also makes it feel like you’re getting two rides for the price of one. My favorite part of Twisted Colossus definitely has to be its high five element towards the beginning, especially when its dueling. The airtime hill directly before it is extremely forceful too.
3. Wicked Cyclone (Six Flags New England)
Putting Wicked Cyclone this high on a list might be a bit controversial these days, as it’s been reported that it hasn’t been running nearly as well as it used to. However, I rode it multiple times back in 2016, so I can only base my opinions on those rides. Because of that, I must say that Wicked Cyclone has one of the most enjoyable, well-paced layouts of any roller coaster I’ve ridden. From start to finish this thing never lets up, offering loads of airtime and 3 impressive inversions (the last one is easily the best). Everything I said earlier about Goliath’s elements feeling important applies to Wicked Cyclone too, but the thing is Wicked Cyclone is like 3 times as long. I honestly can’t even pick a favorite part of this ride, because it all feels equally strong.
2. Beast (Kings Island)
If you would have told me 3 years ago that Beast would be my favorite wooden roller coaster in the future, I would have laughed in your face. After watching POV’s, I could never understand the hype surrounding this older wooden coaster. Sure, it’s long, but it looked kind of boring and drawn out. Now, after riding it a few times, I can safely say that you should NEVER judge a book by its cover (or a coaster by its POV). The thing that gets me is just how different the coaster is depending on the time of day. Riding Beast during the day is enjoyable, sure, but riding it at night is an entire different beast (pun intended). The drop after the second lift hill is literally the most terrifying part of any roller coaster I’ve ridden. This might sound like a pretty GP thing to say, but you literally feel like you are going to fly off the track when you hit the bottom. I actually reviewed Beast a while back, so if you want to know more about my thoughts (and emotions) on this coaster, then I highly suggest clicking here to read it. It comes so close to being my number one roller coaster, but there’s something else that narrowly beats it out.
1. Fury 325 (Carowinds)
Before there was Steel Vengeance, Fury 325 seemed to be the ride that would sit at everyones top spot for favorite coaster lists. Since I’ve never ridden Steel Vengeance, I’m still stuck in that previous era. I actually remember going into Carowinds and actively having the mindset of “you can’t become a Fury fanboy, you should have a more unique number 1 coaster”. After getting 8 rides on it though, I couldn’t help but love everything about the Giga Coaster. From start to finish its such an intense and fast ride, yet it still feels graceful and in control. It embodies all the best parts of every roller coaster I’ve previously on this list, especially in terms of every element feeling important. It’s really tough to pick a favorite element on Fury, but I think I can at least come up with a top 3. First, the drop is absolutely insane and makes me grey out at the bottom every time. Second, the dive under the tunnel after the treble clef has a powerful chunk of airtime that I love. Finally, just riding in the front and having the air rushing towards your face at 95 mph is such an enjoyable sensation that isn’t quite sustained as long on any other roller coaster. Fury may be a common choice for a number 1, but I’d say it really does deserve it.
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