by Andrew Rybarczyk
I really had no intention of attending Halloween Horror Nights this year. Don't get me wrong, it's something I've always wanted to do but a number of things were working against it happening this year. First, because of the cost involved I thought it might be best to make my HHN debut on the 25th anniversary. In addition I thought time would prevent me from actually being able to attend as well. As always, I still anticipated the house reveals as I have for the last few years knowing that it would be very unlikely that I would get to experience them. By this point we had already received some pretty cool house and scare zone announcements like another rendition of the Walking Dead, a From Dusk to Dawn house and even areas based on the hit SyFy show Face-Off. However on August 4th, my mind was blown. That night Aliens vs Predator was announced and I knew I had to find a way down to Orlando to experience it. I've always lamented not being able to experience some of the great haunted houses of the past at HHN especially two found at HHN 12, JP Extinction and Maximum Carnage. Being that there was no guarantee that AvP would return for a second year, HHN 24 HAD to be my first HHN experience.
Now I've always known that Halloween Horror Nights at both Orlando and Hollywood are well regarded as by far the best Halloween events at any theme park. Many would say they are the best Halloween events anywhere. Needless to say I had high expectations going into my first HHN experience. Last weekend, I can easily say that those expectations were definitely met. Now I've been to a few Halloween events over the years including multiple trips to both Cedar Point's Halloweekends and Six Flags Great America's Fright Fest. A few things make HHN the standout among these. First the detailing of the haunted houses is downright amazing. I was prepared for good, but these environments are comparable to movie sets and sometimes better. The amount of detailing is simply outstanding. What impressed me most is a lot of the detail will never even be noticed especially in the dark but were still included by the designers anyway. (I'll talk more about this later when I discuss the backstage Unmasking the Horror tour.) The costumes and makeup were also very well done and added to the overall presentation. Most importantly though, the scares were varied and really well performed. Many times, scares came from the sides but it was also surprising to see scares from above and below. Water features and air bursts also added to the realism and a feeling of uneasiness as one walked along the haunt path. One other aspect that was new to me was the use of prerecorded sound effects and lights that are triggered by the actors before they initiate the scare. I'm not so sure how I feel about this. Sometimes the sounds and lights worked perfectly and I think the best example was the Halloween house when lights and sounds replaced Michael Myers having to say something (which would have ruined it.) Other times, the sound effects were too over the top and did not fit the character of the creature bring represented. Another issue with this method of scare is sometimes it literally shone a bright light on the scares that were a few feet up in the haunt. Despite these issues, I'd still rank all of the haunted houses at HHN ahead of other houses I've been through at other parks.
As for the houses themselves, AvP, the reason for my attending HHN this year, went beyond my already high expectations. It was perfect from start to finish. Coming face to face with Predator was an experience I will never forget. Beyond that though, the house was also designed better than any other at the event. Entering many rooms, scares were almost immediate while other rooms set the tone for what was to come. The ending was was one of the greatest experiences I have ever had at a theme park haunt and was a perfect cap to the house.
Even though I've never seen an episode of The a Walking Dead, I thought the house was also extremely well done. The sheer number of actors made this house stand out because the actors were able to set up and tag team scares a lot easier. A few sections even had chain scares that were really unexpected and thrilling. Halloween was also fantastic and used the subject matter perfectly. Walking through this house was an abbreviated version of walking through the classic horror film. Michael Myers was fantastic and the designers set up multiple areas where fans could relive classic scenes from the movie (without being killed of course). Rounding out my top four houses was Roanoke Cannibal Colony. Being a history teacher, I was very interested to see how this one would play out and let me say I was fascinated by the story and detail from start to finish. Overall the rest of the houses were very good, but these four really stood out among them.
I would also be remiss if I did not point out how great The Purge:Anarchy was as a scare zone. I love the freedom of scare zones and find that actors have to work double as hard to produce the same result most of the time. The Purge not only had great actors but also had some awesome skits that happened every hour. The capturing of a citizen and then auctioning her off to be killed was just an awesome addition to the scare zone. It took it from what would have been a very good scare zone to one that is probably the best I've been through.
Finally I would like to mention an awesome VIP event that I attended on the last day of the trip. Universal Orlando offers the Unmasking the Horror tour where guests are taken on a lights on tour through three of the houses. Just that alone would be worth the extra money it cost. However, the tour also features very knowledgeable tour guides that give insider perspectives on how the houses were designed. My tour was led by Christina who was just fantastic and had a lot of great insight on not just the houses but also the haunting industry in general. She was able to point out the minute details that really fleshed out the story being created inside the haunted house. The amount of backstory and research that goes into these houses is amazing and allows them to tell a full emotions, story. I would highly recommend this tour if you have the time and money to do it!
It was never in question if I would ever attend Halloween Horror Nights, but rather when. I have to admit, I'm hooked and am already trying to design trips to attend either Orlando's or even Hollywood's event next year. If you even remotely enjoy haunted houses or Halloween, HHN is simply the place you have be. I can't wait to see what Universal has in store for next year and hopefully with the big 25th event, it's even more mind blowing than this year!
by Ryan Shrout
Millions of guests have taken part in a thrilling Viking adventure over the past 26 years at the Norway Pavilion in Walt Disney World's EPCOT theme park. Today, the flume ride Maelstrom will send off its last ship of would-be vikings to explore the spirit of Norway before the ride closes down to make room for a new Frozen themed attraction.
This is just the latest in a long line of of very unique Disney attractions being replaced or updated to include more of the much loved corporate characters. The Magic Kingdom's old "TimeKeeper" attraction is now home to a Monster's Inc stage show. The much loved "Extra TERROR-estrial Alien Encounter" was lost to the Stitch invasion. The formerly educational El Rio de Tiempo boat ride through Mexico was overtaken by Donald Duck and the Three Cabillero's. Another great educational experience at EPCOT, the Living Seas aquarium, is now largely dedicated to the gang from Finding Nemo. The longstanding Tram Tour at Disney's Hollywood Studios was recently shut down, presumable for a large Carsland Expansion similar to the one at California's Adventure in Anaheim.
Now, certainly there were valid financial reasons for all of these changes, and some of the previously mentioned rides such as the Time Keeper were sort of duds. But that's not the point I'm trying to make. Yes, Disney is known primarily for its characters, and those characters and related merchandise are very profitable. But I for one, very much enjoy the parts of Walt Disney World that are more than mere three dimensional extensions of their films.
Some of the very best attractions Disney has ever created in my opinion created entirely new and unique story lines. Expedition Everest at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Pirates of the Caribbean (so good films were based off of it!), Haunted Mansion, and The Jungle Cruise at Magic Kingdom, EPCOT's centerpiece Spaceship Earth and the still very educational Universe of Energy are all wonderful top notch attractions. They immerse the guest and tell a story without needed to be propped by Mickey Mouse and Co.
The late great Alien Encounter in Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland was one of the only truly scary rides Disney has ever imagineered. It was unique and filled a niche that is now largely a void in the whole of WDW. World Showcase at EPCOT was intended to be a place where guests could explore the far flung reaches of the world - but nowhere on a map can you show me the kingdom of Erindale. The fact is that Stitch is no replacement for a truly terrifying alien, and Olaf the talking snowman should not be the spokesman for Norway.
With the loss of Maelstrom, the Impressions de France film remains the only un-modified attraction from Epcot's original line-up, with the audio-animatronic / film hybrid American Adventure also remain largely identical to when it originally opened.
by Andrew Rybarczyk
We all love roller coasters. I'm pretty sure that if you are reading this blog that it also means that you love amusement parks as well. No one wants to see an amusement park close or a classic roller coaster torn down. Sometimes though we allow this passion to cloud our judgment and allow memories to influence the decisions we make today. I've heard and read some pretty heated discussions about what the fate of Conneaut Lake Park should be. After attending the park on Saturday, I sadly have to declare that I truly believe it is best to allow the park to close.
A few years back I can remember voting in the Pepsi Refresh Project to help find a way to save a classic roller coaster. Now, I didn't know much about the ride or even the park for that matter, I simply did not want to see a roller coaster with so much history just disappear. After winning $50,000, I thought that the coaster would be in good hands and have a chance at sticking around for generations to come. However, this was not the case.
Much has been discussed as of late about Conneaut Lake Park with the financial situation worsening by the day. Last weekend, I decided to take a trip out to the park to experience it myself and get my first and presumably last ride on Blue Streak. I did not have high expectations for the park given many of the stories I've heard coming out of the park over the last few months, but when I got there it was worse than I could have imagined. Upon arriving an hour after the scheduled opening time, the weather was a bit gloomy and misty. A very light rain had fallen as we drove into the area, but behind it was sunny skies for miles. We arrived and found a near ghost town. A few workers were walking around seemingly packing up for the day. I asked one if the park was open to which she replied that they were closed for "weather" and "lack of attendance." To say I was upset would be an understatement. The hours were clearly listed on the website. Numerous calls went unanswered both during the week and day of the trip to try to decipher the exact operating schedule. To top it off, we had driven an extra 1.5 hours to attend the park. She did say though that they will be reopening the next day to which I replied that I would never be coming back. After the exchange, I decided to walk around the shuttered park and found a number of families milling about trying to figure out what to do for the day now that their plans had been dashed. I find it absolutely ridiculous that a business who is in such dire straits would close with paying customers in park. Even if that is not financially possible, a business should be able to figure out what their operating hours are and be able to communicate those to their patrons. To blame the weather is equally ridiculous because anyone with a smart phone could easily see that within twenty minutes the gloomy skies would open up into a bright and sunny day. From the reports I've heard the park has remained open with only a few guests present as well. My final conclusion is that the park has either given up or simply does not care.
The issue of not caring is also one that I've seen expressed from numerous people visiting the park throughout this season. Operating hours that are shifting is just one example. Bad attitudes and lack of gratitude to me is inexcusable. Once again, if a park is in such dire need, they should making a much greater effort to try to get people not only to come but to return. This issue of caring can also be seen in the condition that the park is in. Rides that haven't been operated in years litter the area such as a few flat rides and their Toboggan coaster. These rides should have been removed, hidden or scrapped long ago. What patron wants to walk a midway and see skeletons of formers rides that are rusting out? General maintenance also seemed to be poor overall. Very few signs directed people where to park or where to go. I felt that the operators of the park wanted to keep me out rather than invite me in every way imaginable. Its disappointing especially since this same park begs for money at every turn to try to keep itself alive.
Conneaut's current problem stems from back taxes that total over $900,000. We also don't know how many more creditors are out there that are also owed money. The local governing bodies want to confiscate the property and sell it off to recoup some of these lost monies. Taxes in general are paid to support the public good. These back taxes could be going to a number of different places including the financially strapped school districts that populate the same area. With this in mind, my own experience this weekend, and the experiences of many others throughout the year, I believe it best if we as coaster enthusiast simply stopped pushing to keep this park open. First, it is unlikely that any financial plan the park comes up with will actually save the park. Even after filing chapter 11 bankruptcy, the park may alleviate its debt but would have no money to actually fix the park. Getting new credit would be extremely difficult and it's safe to say that its current attendance issues will not miraculously be changed because of less debt. It may be able to stay open for a few more season but a very real possibility is that it will close soon after. It may even create a hostile environment towards the park from those who believe the government should be able to recoup some of its losses right away with a sheriff's sale.
It also makes enthusiasts look bad as well. By heavily supporting the park and pushing for it to remain open, many are only looking at one side. In doing so, it makes us look almost foolish. Ignoring the real financial issues that plague this park and why they are there to begin with makes us look bad. Every time we put up a status about "saving the park" and a new person goes to check it out and has an unfavorable experience, it hurts our credibility. It also makes it look as if we are insensitive to the needs of the community to who almost one million dollars is owed. In short, Conneaut does not deserve our support. However, coaster enthusiasts are some of the most genuine people I've ever met. Our efforts and money can go to saving rides and parks that truly deserve our support. Go spend your time and money at another park who appreciates it. There are plenty of parks out there who have aging rides or just simply need the money for upkeep or additions.
Conneaut's problem is that they are always looking for the next way to stay open tomorrow. Fundraising drives, reality TV shows, and bankruptcy are just a few, but the real issue is that they aren't concerned about today. Giving guests a memorable day today will bring them back tomorrow or in the future. Unfortunately, it is quite clear to me that under the current management, the sun will soon fail to rise on the tomorrow that the park is always looking for.
by Danny Miller
Saturday evening, the 2014 Golden Ticket Awards (GTAs) ceremony was held at Sea World San Diego in California. The GTAs have always been a talking point for coaster enthusiasts, as many believe they are “inaccurate” and that they “never change.” While this is not the point of this discussion, I will state up front that this is simply not true, and I encourage anyone who disagrees with me to look back at previous GTAs and take a look at how winners have slowly changed over time. Like most things, the “best” of something (or in this case “favorite”), does not change overnight. It is a long process. See one of my blogs from earlier this summer for a description for what the fundamental differences are between “best” and “favorite.”
I have always been a strong believer in the GTAs being an awards ceremony for “favorites” and not “bests.” I think the awards are simply mislabeled, and calling something the best is simply not possible in an industry where personal preference plays such a huge role in who wins. Also take into account the fact that there is no objective scale used to “grade” theme park attractions. That being said, it doesn’t stop folks from constantly criticizing the GTAs on a yearly basis. While I do not agree with every single award given, I will also say that when you look at it from category to category, for the most part, the awards do make some sense, and I find it difficult to pick out any category where the winner is a bad choice. Did Knoebels really have the best food for any park in the world for years? Probably not, depending on your preference, but to say that Knoebels doesn’t have great food (and a variety of options for that matter) is an opinion not shared by many. On that note, Dollywood also has amazing food, and I personally would put Dollywood near the top of my list along with the Busch/Sea World parks, and the Disney parks, then Knoebels.
Perhaps one of the biggest surprises, and likewise the biggest criticism of the 2014 GTAs was the “Best New Ride” category. Most people had penciled in Banshee from Kings Island as the winner back in April when the ride opened. Media Day even saw park personnel dubbing it as “YOUR best new ride of 2014!” Indeed it was. I’ve ridden several of the “New for 2014” rides (Banshee, Firechaser Express, and Wonder Mountain’s Guardian among others), and none came close to Banshee. Even most of those who rode Goliath at Six Flags Great America said the ride had little chance against B&M’s latest inverted monster. It was a sure thing that Banshee would take the award in a landslide victory.
But then it didn’t. Flying Turns, the coaster that has become a punchline over the last eight years, the coaster that didn’t even debut in 2014 (it opened for a few weekends in 2013), took the crown as “Best New Ride” for 2014. How could this be? It’s small, not that fast, and frankly, not an extreme coaster in any sense of the word. It has a short ride time, and took forever to open. So how in the world could Flying Turns be given an award that Banshee absolutely should have won? Simply put, Knoebels deserved it.
I say many controversial things regarding theme parks and their attractions, but this may be the most controversial idea yet. Kings Island created a monstrous, intense, world-beating steel coaster that brought back the intensity that early B&M coasters were packed with. Flying Turns was a wooden bobsled that didn’t even hit 25 MPH. It has poor capacity. It frustrated enthusiasts for years as the park struggled to get it open. Enthusiasts joked that if it ever did open, it would be the greatest thing ever. The thing is, when it did open in October 2013, it kind of felt like it was.
Knoebels has poured their heart, soul, blood, sweat, and tears into this ride. They have pushed through all the issues, from massive floods to problems with the trains. More than once people speculated whether Knoebels would even finish the ride, saying that it was a lost cause after numerous failed attempts to get trains that would track correctly without tearing themselves apart. A good chunk of land that the ride took up could be used for something that would actually operate. The main brake run and storage area had even been completely rebuilt, and re-tracking was done before the ride ever made one circuit with guests. Well, just in time for Phoenix Phall Phunfest 2013, Flying Turns opened. Some may call it coincidence that the ride followed in the footsteps of the nearby Black Diamond by opening just in time for all of the enthusiasts to ride it, but I say it was a brilliantly executed plan on the part of the park.
When you think about it, so many of the folks that for for the GTAs are older enthusiasts that are very well-traveled. They have to be in order to keep the U.S. bias down (although it is impossible to eliminate). For those people, nostalgia plays a big part in the success of Flying Turns. A handful of folks riding Flying Turns in 2014 had the pleasure of riding some of the original “Flying Turns” rides, like the Euclid Beach Flying Turns near Cleveland (the tallest ever built) and the Riverview Park Flying Turns, a ride that is nearly a mirror image of the Knoebels version. It’s a blast to the past for not only seasoned enthusiasts, but also for younger, budding enthusiasts like myself and my sister that never had the chance to experience Flying Turns in its “Golden Age” form.
While it did not open in 2014, only a hand full of people got to ride in 2013, and it did open after the ceremony for the 2013 GTAs, let alone the actually voting period, which ends long before the ceremony. This is a point most people get, because it honestly would not be fair to deprive a ride of a chance to win just because it opened late. Some people say that Flying Turns winning the awards was predictable and a “typical publicity stunt” pulled by the GTAs. Ok, so maybe we did see this coming. After all, we did say that if it did ever open it would automatically be “the greatest thing ever.” Is it the best ride ever built? Of course not. But the ride opening is a long-awaited event that was welcomed with open (and raised) arms.
To wrap up, let’s get one thing straight. To call an attraction world-class, it has to be special; there is no doubt about that. In my opinion though, it doesn’t have to be one of the best rides in the world to be world-class, it just has to be very special. Millennium Force is world-class because it’s great. Boulder Dash is world-class because it’s great, and they both are very special. Flying Turns may not be the tallest, fastest, or greatest ride every built, but only a fool would say it isn’t special. It may not be the most thrilling ride that was up for consideration for the “Best New Ride” award, but it was certainly the most unique, because there is only one Flying Turns. Honestly, I hope that Knoebels gets to keep that honor, because I don’t know if anyone would have the guts to try and go through everything Knoebels did to make Flying Turns come to life.
This Thursday, you can join Andy Rybarczyk and me on COASTER-net Uncut and discuss your thoughts with us. Until then, I’ll leave you with this thought: Flying Turns may not have opened in 2014, and it may not be as thrilling as Banshee, Goliath, or even Lightning Run, but through all of the trials and tribulations, through all of the failed test runs, through all the naysayers comments, Knoebels prevailed, and made Flying Turns a reality. Congratulations to Flying Turns and the entire Knoebels staff. In my book, you guys deserve this award.
by Andrew Rybarczyk
I can remember back to March when Tony Clark said that next year's Winter Chill would not want to be missed. Immediately my mind began racing as to what that meant for 2015 and beyond. Since then, we've been treated to a number of different clues, pictures, and teasers that deal with what possible attraction could be added to Cedar Point in 2015. Sadly though, I am no closer to having a definitive answer than I was back during the winter. However, some options have clearly become front runners amongst many online communities. So for your viewing pleasure, I have compiled a list of possibilities along with what I believe the likelihood of them becoming reality actually is.
Aquatrax - The running joke of the coaster community has been the installation of a 500 foot looping Aquatrax that usually takes it beneath water. Obviously, that won't happen, but what if the team at CP wasn't being dishonest when they've come out multiple times and said an Aquatrax was being installed? We all know the problems that have plagued Shoot the Rapids both with operation and reception from some guests. Would it be too farfetched to think that it could be retrofitted to be made into more of a coaster with splash down elements? Another idea would be to create a whole new Aquatrax styled coaster alongside StR that starts somewhere on Frontier Trail and uses parts of the giant StR pool as part of its splash down elements. This is a long shot for a reason because its extremely unlikely that we will see this come to pass.
Large Coaster Installation - Back in the winter, I thought this was more of a possibility than now. My thoughts centered around the CP five year plan and GateKeeper. It was said in our From Dreams to Screams: GateKeeper documentary that GateKeeper was not planned. In fact Matt Ouimet asked for the CP brass to scour the IAAPA floor to find a ground breaking new ride to add for CP. If you believe this story, you have to wonder what was planned for not only 2013 but also for the next few years. We know most parks have a five year plan and it seems GateKeeper wasn't a part of that. It would stand to reason that maybe 2015 was scheduled to be the next big coaster installation after Maverick in 2007 and not the 2013 season. There's plenty of speculation regarding the movement of Challenege Park elsewhere. Some believe that Ripcord will be moving to where the current Point Pavillions stand (This is further backed up by the removal of Fear Faire for this year's Halloweekends lineup). Skyscraper, the go-karts and the mini-golf course would also be removed. This opens up a huge tract of land for a possible shifting of the Soak City parking lot, which could open up a bunch of new land for a coaster starting on Frontier Trail and shooting out towards the parking lot.
Waterpark Expansion: A long with the previous line of thinking, it could just as easily mean a waterpark expansion is on the way. Now I believe this will happen eventually, but I question if it will be in 2015. Soak City is in need of some new attractions. The water slides being painted vibrant colors a few seasons ago gave it a new look and feel and new slides could make it even more of an attractive option for resort guests and park goers. We all know, the waterpark does pretty well as is, but hasn't been given much love. A racer slide was added in 2012 but the previous new slide was added in 1997. I'd guess that many of you reading this now didn't even know how to read back then! The point is that the park could use a new section added and the removal of Challenge Park could allow for that to happen. The removal of the Bon Aire section of Beakers could also allow the addition to be placed where the current mini-golf stands as well. The biggest question is will this happen in 2015? Probably not, but I would be watching for this to happen in the next 5 years for sure.
Mean Streak Iron Horse - This week CP has played up tomorrow's announcement as being at "high noon." For me this has revived speculation on the proposed Iron Horsing of Mean Streak. I wouldn't be shocking anyone if I said Mean Streak isn't on the favorite list of many enthusiasts. I would respectfully disagree under the right conditions though. Last October, staffer Steven and I had an amazing night ride on Mean Streak with a full train of people that just happened to have the first hill's trims turned off. This ride can pack a punch but is being held back by the park's concern that the ride could tear itself apart if allowed to run free. RMC could fix that with creating an iron horse layout that would take the problems areas and convert them into airtime elements. Texas Giant and Mean Streak were both designed by Curtis D. Sommers and had very similar layouts with only slight variations that changed the direction of the train at two points. People also herald New Texas Giant as one of the best steel coasters in the world. RMC has also experimented and learned a lot since their first creation in NTG. Cedar Point could add a new world class steel coaster while mostly retaining the beauty that Mean Streak offers. I also think that this is a possibility for 2015 because earlier in the year many people were pointing out that RMC was expanding their business with both factories and workers. Despite this assertion, RMC is currently on the docket for only two conversion projects which I believe seem less than the one conversion, one completely new construction project they have completed for the last two years. So where are all of these new resources going that RMC supposedly has? Maybe Steel Streak is the answer.
Mantis Conversion - The most unappealing option to me being heavily discussed is the conversion of Mantis into a floorless coaster. Now, I am in no way saying that Mantis shouldn't be converted because in its current state it can be very uncomfortable or even painful to many riders. My point is why spend the money? The ride has a decent enough ridership though lower than many of the park's other coasters but a conversion to floorless wouldn't simply be putting new trains on the track. The entire station would most likely have to be torn down to accommodate the moving floor and equipment needed to make the ride "floorless." Another option, would to simply put a B&M sitdown train on the track (ex: Kumba or Wildfire) and maybe give the ride a new theme and paintjob. This would be cheaper because the train in theory could just be added without any major station modifications. Another bigger idea would be to change to the new trains and add an event house after the MCBR to give the ride some more excitement. In any of these cases, I think the end result would be taking a below average ride and making it simply an average ride at best. Take that money and spend it on ANY of the previous things mentioned in this blog and you'd be better off.
Dark Ride - For two years we have heard talk of a dark ride being added to CP. With the great success of Wonder Mountain's Guardian at Canada's Wonderland, I am shocked we haven't heard of a similar ride being added to another Cedar fair park yet. This style of ride has a great many benefits. First it has a very small footprint. Although Guardian is big, the footprint it uses in the mountain is very small meaning that it could be placed almost anywhere at CP. The old Pirate Ride building comes to mind. Maybe even the spot across from Snake River Falls on Millennium Island could work. There are even a number of buildings in Frontier Town that could be re-purposed and expanded to fit the ride. Second, the ride fills that gap left by the removal of Disaster Transport and Paddlewheel Excursions where families can experienced a ride together. Third, as we've seen at Canada's Wonderland, the ride can be re-purposed with new themes and stories for different seasons. Guardian for Halloween Haunt has become a zombie shooter and I could totally see Cedar point going a similar route with their dark ride.
So folks, there you have it. What's funny is there is still a good possibility that its none of these options and something that no one has really even considered. As we march towards the parks 150th anniversary in 2020, I think we are in for some great rides and surprises and hopefully 2015 will start us off on this great trek! Join us tomorrow as we cover the announcement and discuss it in our forums!
by Danny Miller
It’s been a month since Holiday World captivated the coaster enthusiast community with the announcement of Thunderbird, the first ever B&M launched wing coaster. Today, we are less than 24 hours away from finding out what Carowinds is adding for 2015 after a teaser campaign that has been every bit as confusing and entertaining. As I did ahead of the Thunderbird announcement, I am going to talk about what we know, what we think we know, and what we could expect to see tomorrow morning when Carowinds unveils all of their plans for 2015.
WHAT WE KNOW – There is a ton of information that we think we know, but honestly, not a whole lot that we definitely do know. Let’s start with the track. Just arriving on site is dark teal B&M track with a lime green accent color on the bottom of the spine. Barely visible behind the track are white supports that appear to be for the transfer and storage area. Unless a lot of extra time and money is going into this campaign by shipping fake track, these items are for the new coaster, so we know it is B&M as well as the colors of teal, lime green, and white.
We also know that the park has released several teasers, some pointing to a roman theme, while others point to a different theme that could relate to bees or a swarm of bees. While visiting the park last week, a teaser that said “Join Our Conquest” next to a set of roman armor appeared. In the reflection of the armor, a wing coaster train can be seen rushing by. What we don’t know from all of that is how real it is, or what it means.
WHAT WE THINK WE KNOW – There is a lot here, so I will try to get as much as I can. We know that Cedar Fair owns trademarks to the names Centurion, Fury, and Fury 325, so one of those three will presumably be the name of the ride. I haven’t been able to confirm, but several sources say that the Centurion trademark has been suspended. This will come into play a bit later. We also think that we know the layout. A while back, blue prints were found that seem indicative of a hyper/giga coaster style layout. It seems to lack inversions, and contains several turns and a few hills, not a far cry from the layout of Leviathan, although this ride does seem to be longer.
We think we know that this ride will be a giga coaster, and we know that B&M has done it before for Cedar Fair, so it’s not out of the question. The real hang-up with saying that it definitely is a giga coaster is the teaser that I mentioned earlier. The reflection inside of the armor clearly shows a wing coaster train. The logic to dismiss it however, is that if the roman theme (and Centurion name) is not real, it could simply be another case of “The Bat” teaser that Kings Island did last year. The whole thing could be fake and we could be getting a giga coaster after all. Some have also suggested that the roman teasers point to the front gate renovation that is likely, as the current entrance featured roman-style columns at the turnstiles.
THEORY #1: CENTURION TROUBLES – The more I think about it and the more I see and find, the less I see this one being the real thing. The Centurion trademark is rumored to be suspended, which means it wouldn’t be used. While it is a great name and a pretty awesome logo, I am more skeptical about this now than ever. However, an interesting theory came from our friends atcoasterradio.com last week. What if Centurion was planned to be the name, but an issue with the trademark forced a change of plans? The trademark for Centurion was filed in October 2013, while the original Fury trademark was filed in January 2014. Oddly, Fury 325 was not filed for until June, just a few months ago. Is it possible that the Centurion name/theme fell through, and a new plan was needed, and Fury 325 is what resulted? They could have already had the Centurion logo made and decided to use it for something to throw us off since they know it wouldn’t be used elsewhere.
THEORY #2: SWARM IS LANDING – Is it possible that all of the talks of Centurion and Fury 325 are off and Carowinds will call the coaster something completely different? Here is why the name Swarm could be the real name. In the code of Carowinds’s website, the microsite for the attraction is called Swarm, just as Gatekeeper’s microsite was called Gatekeeper. While Swarm has not been trademarked, Gatekeeper was not trademarked until the day of the announcement at Cedar Point, so there isn’t a good argument against it in that regard. Swarm also connects to both speculated names. The connection to Fury 325 is fairly simple, as a group of bees is often called a swarm. The connection to Centurion was found by my sister last week. The Latin word for swarm and/or squadron is “turma.” Doing some digging found that the leader of any one “turma” is called the “centurion.” So the name Swarm has a connection to both names while not being either one. Could both Centurion and Fury 325 be fake?
THEORY #3: MULTIPLE FURIES – This theory is one that I’ve come up with on my own completely over the last week or so. Remember back in 2010 when Cedar Fair had big additions at Carowinds and Kings Dominion? They wanted to use the name Intimidator, but Dale Earnhardt Inc. owned the rights to the name. Cedar Fair approached DEI in hopes of being able to use the name, and sure enough, two areas with heavy NASCAR influences got roller coasters with a Dale Earnhardt theme and name. To distinguish between the two rides, the taller of the two was called Intimidator 305 (from its height).
What if Cedar Fair is doing the same thing this time around? In June, I spotted footers at California’s Great America. Since then, some have said it was for a new haunt or a new pavilion, but they certainly did not appear to be either of these to me. What if either the Great America project, or another Cedar Fair project in the near future is going to take advantage of the Fury name? Both Fury and Fury 325 have been trademarked separately, and the “325” in the leaked Fury 325 logo could easily be removed for a ride simply named Fury, just like in the case of Intimidator and Intimidator 305. Could Cedar Fair be looking to use another name more than once at different parks? If so, this would explain two trademarks with one having the height distinction attached to it.
THEORY #4: GIGA WING – This idea has come up a few times in recent days, especially since the teaser video with the wing coaster reflection, but what if it is both a giga coaster and a wing coaster? B&M has shown that they are all-in with the wing coaster, as they have committed to trying new things with it such as a launch system that Thunderbird will use. Who’s to say they won’t try a giga-wing? I think it’s unlikely, but at this point, we can’t totally eliminate the possibility. Some have expressed concerns of the practicality from an engineering stand point. From my knowledge and experience, I see no reason why it couldn’t be done. If this is the case, then all of the clues would make at least some sense, even in the case of it being called Centurion because all of the bee and buzz clues could simply point to the idea of something that has wings.
THEORY #5: TWO RIDES – This is probably the least-likely of any theory out there, but what if Carowinds is getting two major rides? It is probably not the case, and it doesn’t even have to be two coasters, but what if two big rides are coming in at the same time? Both the Centurion and Fury 325 names could be used (in whatever sense) and it would explain the two very different paths each of the names go down. Again, it’s not likely, but it’s worth the thought.
A day before the Thunderbird announcement, I had a pretty good idea of what was probably going to happen, but with this one I am at a loss. I would love to think that the new ride(s) will be something close to one of my theories, maybe even a combination of a few of them, but I honestly don’t know. Cedar Fair showed with the Banshee campaign that they have quite the playbook when it comes to teasers, and we really can’t take anything out there as real or fake for sure. Join our discussion on the Carowinds 2015 project as we get closer and closer to the moment of truth!
by Andrew Rybarczyk
It's been no secret that I've been openly critical of SeaWorld over the last year. The documentary Blackfish raised a number of questions in my head. After further research, I wrote this blog: After Blackfish, Should I Still Support SeaWorld? The film and research made me question the company, its practices, and also the support I've given them. My trips to Busch Gardens in both Tampa and Williamsburg along with my trips to SeaWorld in Orlando, Aurora, and San Antonio have always evoked pleasant memories. However, upon introspection I could no longer support the parks for two major reasons. First, after numerous accidents (some fatal), I did not support trainers in the water. Secondly, I also did not approve of the way SeaWorld housed its killer whales and thought the animal enclosures were far too small for an animal of that size. Other issues raised were the issues of how truthful the corporation was and its treatment of orca families. My ultimate stance was to no longer support SeaWorld or Busch parks with the only way I could vote on the issue, my wallet. It was a tough choice because of the fond memories, but I could not in good conscience support a company that I felt was doing wrong in my eyes.
Yesterday morning, I opened my email and was shocked to read what I saw. Before I start with this, let me say that I had been contemplating writing a blog about what SeaWorld should do to restore its image in the consumer's eyes. As many of you know, this week SeaWorld released some pretty dismal financial news and the stock market responded accordingly with a 30% drop in price in one day. That's a devastating number to a company who just over a year ago released its IPO to resounding success. In this blog I was going to write about where SeaWorld had gone wrong and how they could right the ship. Yesterday, however, SeaWorld wrote my blog for me.
The Blue World Project, as SeaWorld is calling it, will double the size of the killer whale habitat in San Diego. Not only will it increase in size but it will feature technology to create currents to give the whales even more "diversity" in habitat experience. What's even better is that it seems as if the park is making it a truly unique viewing experience with views at eye level, above the water and below the water. This enclosure is exactly the type of thing I envisioned when I thought about how the park could restore its image. Obviously issue two was also resolved by the courts when they refused SeaWorld's request to put trainers back into the water. I'd also say that embarking on not only this investment but also a $10 million investment into the research of killer whales also alleviates my concerns about the corporation. To be honest, I never expected to see this. SeaWorld was so dug in with their "truth team" that I never thought I would see them budge an inch or admit that what they were doing wasn't the best. Both these moves changed that perception and impressed me greatly. Because of that, I say with certainty, that I can now change my answer that I have been asked persistently over the last year. Yes, I support SeaWorld.
With that being said, I will not diminish the "Blackfish Effect." I stand by my position I held for the last year and look proudly on every word I wrote or uttered. Let me also say these were not easy words to speak. Like I said before, I enjoyed my time at Busch Gardens and SeaWorld and it pained me to have to give them up for my beliefs. I truly believe, though, that it is because of Blackfish that these orcas will now be able to live in a habitat the likes of which have never been seen before. Like it or hate it, Blackfish shone a light on a part of SeaWorld that was not pretty. You can dispute facts or trivia presented, but in the end the major issues resonated with me and many others. I believe that through this new investment that SeaWorld can truly move positively into the future. I know that the radicals will not be pleased by this, but guess what, radicals of all sorts are never pleased. SeaWorld needed to win over the common park guest like myself. They have done that.
So in short, thank you Blackfish for opening my eyes to this cause. It has been a struggle the past year, but I believe I am better for having gone through it. Thank you SeaWorld for restoring my faith in your company that has provided me joy over the years and can now do so once again.
by Danny Miller
Christmas in July has come and gone, and Holiday World has announced Thunderbird for the 2015 season. Thunderbird will be the first launched wing coaster from B&M, and will also be the first coaster that B&M has done their own launch system for. Enthusiasts will note that B&M did not do the launch system on Incredible Hulk. Nearly 3,000 viewers tuned in to the online feed that built up the hype leading up to the announcement around 9:30PM on Thursday evening. Several fans of the park were on site to witness the reveal in person.
The last few days of teasers and hints were pretty good at giving us an idea of what we would see. Several folks had come to the decision to guess it would be a wing coaster with some sort of bird theme. Less people however, picked up on the reference to Mammoth, which hinted at the launch concept. I thought it made sense from the moment we heard “truly unique” and the “first of its kind” come out. Thunderbird will be truly unique (at least when it opens), and maybe technically the first of its kind. Don’t forget that Spain is home to Furius Baco, an Intamin launched coaster with wing seats, but that ride is not well-liked and is very short. Thunderbird is expected to be well-liked and a slightly longer experience.
So let’s focus on Thunderbird. What does it mean for B&M? More importantly, what does it mean for Holiday World? Let’s start with B&M. For the popular steel coaster manufacturer, Thunderbird represents a step in a new direction. As their first launch coaster (with a launch made by them of course), Thunderbird will forever be a milestone in coaster history. We don’t know how much B&M was persuaded (if they needed to be in the first place), but if Thunderbird can have the reliability that other B&M coasters have, then I would think that more launch coasters may be on the way. I don’t expect them to come in bunches, but the possibility is now on the table for future projects.
Second, it shows that B&M is all in with the wing coaster concept. Just four years ago, it was a new thing, and we wondered how popular it would be. After 2012, I predicted that it would be bigger than the stand-up coaster, and we would eventually see more wing coasters that the floorless coasters. While we haven’t gotten to the later point yet, the fact that a small park has invested in the wing coaster concept is proof that B&M is sticking with it and that more are coming in the near future.
For one, I’m excited. I am a reasonably big fan of the wing coaster. I usually do not go for the gimmicky rides, but the wing coasters have the ability to do special things (like keyholes and fly-throughs) that other train styles can’t pull off. I don’t think the wing coasters built thus far have been gimmicky; they have been good rides that, when properly themed and surrounded with nice scenery, can be made even better. That holds true to just about any coaster type. Raptor (Gardaland), X-Flight, Gatekeeper, and Swarm are great coasters not because they are gimmicks, but because they are overall solid rides made better by theming and scenery that enhances the ride experience.
Thunderbird is a big step for B&M, but it’s an even bigger step for Holiday World. The late Will Koch had a vision for his park, and throughout his much too short time with us, he saw Holiday World grow and become not only a hometown favorite, but a destination for coaster enthusiasts across the globe. Not one, not two, but three spectacular wooden coasters made this enthusiast paradise, but he always knew there was something missing, and once Voyage succeeded, the idea of a major steel coaster was on the table. The discussions of bringing a steel coaster to Santa Claus have been going on for several years, and B&M seems to have always been the company slated to do it. Good call.
So Holiday World is finally getting their steel coaster, and it’s a culmination of an idea dreamt up by Will Koch many years ago and the execution of it by his friends and family that have continued to keep the park as brilliant as ever. Thunderbird will fill the void that only a steel coaster like this could fill, and it also brings in the idea of a launch, something that will really make this a stand-out attraction. The theming should be right on par with other Holiday World attractions, as it mixes together some Thanksgiving theming with Native American theming (do some searching for Thunderbird on Google to find out more), but also represents the farming that the heartland of America is known for.
Most importantly though, Thunderbird is a sign, a “shot across the bow” if you will. What do I mean by that? Well, a few years ago when Kentucky Kingdom closed, the Koch’s tried to open it as Bluegrass Boardwalk. The plan would put two parks near each other and create two parks to make money in instead of just one. However, after struggles, the deal did not get done, and now Ed Hart has re-opened Kentucky Kingdom under his own banner once again. Located in Louisville, Kentucky, Kentucky Kingdom exists once again in one of Holiday World’s major markets.
The early praise for Lightning Run has caught the attention of enthusiasts and locals that are flocking to Kentucky Kingdom. With the promise of a revamped T2 (soon to be T3) for 2015, and the unknown plans for Twisted Twins waiting for 2016, Kentucky Kingdom has a five-year plan to come back with a vengeance, and they’re doing it. By installing Thunderbird, Holiday World steps into a bit of uncharted waters (no pun intended). They all of a sudden have a big steel coaster to compete, check that, knock the socks off of Lightning Run and T3. By adding a big steel coaster, Holiday World is showing that they aren’t afraid to venture into the territory of the big parks, and they are up to the challenge and ready to compete for every guest that will come through the gates.
As for the coaster, I love it. It seems a few people are confused about the name and theme. Remember what I said earlier. It is a nice mix of Thanksgiving, Native Americans, and American culture. If you need more help, do some digging about what a thunderbird is in Native American culture. A few others have expressed concern of the length. I say it looks good to me, especially for a launch coaster, specifically a prototype. Its length beats X-Flight slightly, and a launch instead of a lift adds a thrill. The action time is not lengthy, but few launch coasters are. I for one am very excited for the ride and hope it is as great as the teaser campaign.
All in all, Holiday World played a perfect hand with all of this, and now they are the most talked about park in the country (at least until another announcement comes). It’s great to see a small park do something that says, “Hey, we can play this game too.” And boy, can they ever? Thunderbird will be an icon for years to come, and it is the culmination of a dream by Will Koch that was executed to perfection after he sadly left us much too soon. When you ride Thunderbird next season, look at the “Will Power” sign that will adorn the flywheel building that helps the launch, and remember that even though this is just another coaster to some, to others, it really means so much more.
by Danny Miller
After a two-month campaign that has taken us through 66 days at sea, it’s nearly time for Holiday World to announce what they are adding to the park for the 2015 season. All kinds of theories exist, but honestly, nobody is really sure at this point what exactly to expect. The park has done a tremendous job of teasing us, giving us clues, and worst of all, throwing out red herrings trying to throw us off. Today, I’m going to re-cap some of the hints we’ve gotten and try to narrow down the options ahead of the big unveil on Thursday evening.
WHAT WE KNOW – We know that the ride is going to be a part of the Thanksgiving section of the park in the general area of where Pilgrim’s Plunge (later Giraffica) used to stand near Hyena Falls. There is a clearing near that area in the same vicinity as Voyage’s track. We also know that this will be the largest investment in the park’s history, and we recently learned that the total dollar amount is right around $22 million. The significance of knowing the number comes in next.
Previously, the largest investment was roughly $14 million when the Thanksgiving section opened in 2006. $8.5 million of that was put into Voyage. Until a few days ago, all we knew is that it was more than that. Now, we know the exact amount. Also surfacing recently thanks to a hint from the park is that the new attraction is exactly that: one attraction. Unless they are pulling a fast one, this will not be a new section or a new collection of rides, but rather, as they put it, “One. Big. Thing.” Those two clues are key because that really starts to narrow down what exactly we may see. Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s look at what we can and cannot expect on Thursday night.
WHAT IT PROBABLY IS NOT – You’ll notice I used the word “probably” because, like I said, nobody except the higher-ups at the park knows exactly what’s going on at this point. Like Kings Island’s Banshee campaign, very little has leaked. Any leaks that have come out have been put out there by the park, like the shredded engineering drawings that EB from Coasterradio.com found back at the beginning of the campaign. That still is our only real handle to grab in terms of guessing that this may be a steel coaster, but I digress.
With a $22 million price tag, we can almost surely eliminate any type of wooden coaster unless it is so massive or so outrageous that nobody would believe it even if the park straight-up told us what it was. Ignoring the change in dollar value since 2006, this new ride would cost nearly three times as much as Voyage did. To put it another way, Outlaw Run cost Silver Dollar City $10 million just two years ago. Also, the footers placed so far are very much indicative of a steel coaster. Unless we see something crazy like a launched wooden coaster or an inverted wooden coaster that is extremely large, I would think it’s reasonably safe to cross off the wooden coaster possibility.
The other thing we can eliminate is what I will call a “standard” steel coaster. A recent post on the Holiblog mentions that what they are building will be “truly unique” and “the first of its kind.” Those two phrases have lost much of their meeting in recent years as parks have stretched the meaning of “unique” and “one-of-a-kind” quite a bit in order to gain an edge in marketing. Holiday World has never been one for gimmicks, and hearing these terms from them truly makes me think they mean it.
What that means is that we aren’t going to see a moderately-sized looping coaster with four or five inversions. If the ride itself is of a moderate size, there will probably be fairly extensive scenery and an elaborate story to go with it that makes it unique. The question from there becomes, “does that eat up $22 million?” I’m not so sure it does. Banshee and Gatekeeper came in at $24 million and $25 million the last two years, so if it is a steel coaster, expect it to be on the same order of magnitude as those two if there is not extensive scenery and theme elements or something brand new.
WHAT IT COULD BE – This is a bit tougher because there are a lot of options. Let’s start with what I think is less likely: a highly-themed, indoor coaster. Construction thus far hasn’t really suggested that we will see a large building. A decade ago, Revenge Of The Mummy in Orlando cost around $40 million, so a ride with an extensive theme like that is out of the discussion. Perhaps we could see something less extensive with scenery similar to Maverick, but maybe it will not be much of a coaster, rather a dark ride/coaster combo like Wonder Mountain’s Guardian. For the record, that ride cost $10 million to open for this season.
There are plenty of other possibilities, but the “truly unique” and “first of its kind” words are really throwing me. There has to be something unique about it. Day 65 of the teaser site talks about a creature appearing with giant wings. This could hint at a wing coaster, perhaps maybe even a 4-D coaster. B&M has been rumored to e developing one for some time, and it would certainly be the first B&M 4-D coaster. Perhaps the cars are free spinning even. S&S is working on a model of that type, but none exist currently. Either of those options would indeed be unique and firsts.
Another guess may be the first B&M launching coaster. This one would only be on a technicality because B&M did not do the launch system on Incredible Hulk, but again, they have supposedly been developing a system for some time. If they are, we’re going to see it eventually. If it is indeed a launch coaster from B&M, they the possibilities remain large because I would assume it could be used on many of their designs. After all, if it is brand new, we can’t really put any limitations on it. Most of B&M’s vehicles run off the same general chassis design, so using a system similar to their magnetic braking system would theoretically work just fine for a launch system.
I think the above three options are most likely, but there is a small possibility that it’s something completely new and innovative. Maybe it’s a new vehicle type or a new seating configuration. Maybe the seats face sideways like the old scenic railway coasters. Maybe it’s a brand new type of track style. Maybe it’s even two coasters in one and some sort of special racing/dueling coaster. Whatever the result is, we’re only hours away now, and it’s sure to be exciting and the talk of the industry for at least a few days (until another park makes their announcement). What are your predictions?
by Danny Miller
All too often, we hear someone say, “Maverick is the best ride,” or “Voyage is the best wooden coaster.” The ride mentioned may change, but the statement of confidence claiming that a ride is the best is common among coaster enthusiasts. Among the message boards, several websites have threads specifically for discussing the best rides, including us here at COASTER-net in our Official Coaster Ranking Thread.
The trouble with calling any ride the best, is that the word “best” implies that there is a correct answer. Over time, there seems to have been the development of correct answers, with rides like Bizarro, Millennium Force, and El Toro topping their respective categories in most polls. While these are indeed spectacular rides, and several people rank them highly, the fuss that is created over ranking coasters in not a science. It is not a math problem. There is not a correct answer, and therefore, no such thing as the “best” coaster, but rather the more proper label of a “favorite” coaster.
That being said, there is nothing wrong with trying to do both. For a long time, people have questioned how I rank rides and what I consider my favorite rides, or sometimes, they ask me what the best ride is. Over the last few years, I’ve developed a two-tiered system, separating my list of favorite coasters and a list of what I think are the best coasters. My favorite list is pretty simple. I say to myself, “If I had one ride, what ride would I choose to ride?” I do that until I subjectively “rank” every coaster in that manner.
Deciding on what coasters are “best” is more difficult, because as mentioned, there is no correct answer. To start, all rides must be put on a level playing field and graded on the same scale, which is especially difficult for steel coasters considering there are so many different types and styles. Grading wooden coasters against one another is a fairly simplified process because generally speaking, they have many similarities amongst them, such as rider position, style of restraint (lap bar and sometimes seatbelt), and feel during the ride.
To grade rides against others on a common scale, I use eight categories. The first is smoothness, usually the smoothness of the track or train traversing the course. This may include ride violence in some cases. Next is forces, usually quality or intensity and the quantity of forces throughout the ride. Next is the pace/speed category. This includes both the sense of speed and the pacing of the ride because some rides that have great speed do not pace very well (Raging Bull due to trims), but small rides with lower speeds have excellent pacing (Gold Striker and Thunderhead come to mind). Fourth is drop/launch, which grades the first or main drops for coasters with lifts, and the main launch of a launched ride. Rides like Maverick and Verbolten get good scores for having both features and/or multiple launches.
The fifth category is re-rideability. This category combines not only the comfort of the ride and sustainability, but also the desire to re-ride. Extremely intense rides like Intimidator 305 are smooth, but the intensity may make it hard to re-ride for some, while kiddie coasters are easy to re-ride, but the desire to do so is quite low. Layout is the next category, and this accounts for continuity and flow in a ride layout along with the originality. A strong layout that is cloned may lose a point or two due to lack of originality (like the Batman clones), while unique layout that may come off as somewhat boring may also suffer here (one that comes to mind may be Thunder Dolphin in Japan).
Seventh is ride atmosphere. This category favors rides that may not be as intense as others, but are heavy on a theme or surrounding scenery. This does not have to necessarily be a theme directly related to the ride; it can also just be a nice location, such as the Beast, which is totally hidden on the woods. Highly themed rides like Expedition Everest, Wonder Mountain’s Guardian, and Verbolten score well here. Lastly, ride length is a category by itself. This is self-explanatory, simply grading the length of action or track during a ride. Rides like the Banshee, Voyage, and Gatekeeper score well here, as their ride times are rather long, while other coasters like Outlaw Run, Volcano, and Iron Rattler, while incredibly thrilling, score slightly lower as the ride is over quickly.
As of this writing, my subjective top ten looks like this from #1 to #10: Manta (SWO), Bizarro (SFNE), Maverick, Intimidator 305, Millennium Force, Apollo’s Chariot, Leviathan, Banshee, Diamondback, Behemoth. My graded top ten looks pretty similar: Bizarro (SFNE), Maverick, Millennium Force, Apollo’s Chariot, Banshee, Diamondback, Manta (SWO), Leviathan, Behemoth, Nitro. What is interesting is when I combine the two lists, making each of them count as half of the total list. The result is: Bizarro (SFNE), Maverick, Manta (SWO), Millennium Force, Apollo’s Chariot, Banshee, Diamondback, Leviathan, Intimidator 305, Behemoth.
It’s an interesting process that I’ve started to use in the last year or two to try and settle the debate of the difference between “best” and “favorite.” It actually makes some sense too, because while Apollo’s Chariot may be my favorite B&M hyper, others disagree. Manta is my “favorite” steel coaster, but based on my grading system, Bizarro is the “best” steel coaster. Andy’s favorite coaster is Raptor, and it probably always will be, but he would likely make the case that Maverick is the “best” steel coaster.
So what do you think? Is this something you agree with? Would you like the spreadsheet that I use to do this? It’s actually pretty interesting to try it out. I also have columns for the park, the style of ride, the manufacturer, and the year that it was built. This is useful when try to figure out which manufacturer you like best or what style of ride is your favorite. Check it out!