Welcome to Theme Park Insider! Join the community or log in
Theme Park Insider
Facebook Twitter YouTube Email Newsletter

2009 Best Ride in America Tournament, day three, round one: Millennium Force bracket

Written by
Published: March 19, 2009 at 7:46 AM

It's day three of the 2009 Best Ride in America tournament on Theme Park Insider.

Yesterday, favorites Apollo's Chariot, from Busch Gardens Europe, and Disneyland's Haunted Mansion cruised to easy wins. Cedar Point's Raptor upset fellow B&M coaster Nitro, from Six Flags Great Adventure. And Disneyland's Matterhorn rode the votes of anonymous Disney fans to eliminated higher-seeded Mystery Mine, from Dollywood, to the consternation of yesterday's commentators.

As always, I ask you to take a look at the comments below *before* casting your votes. (Early voters, get the campaigning going by submitting a comment.) Thoughtful votes help make this a better tournament.

Millennium Force

Today, we start with really, really tall iron, as Cedar Point's Millennium Force takes on Six Flags Great Adventure's Kingda Ka.

It's Six Flags versus Cedar Point again in the second match, this time with Six Flags Over Georgia's Goliath facing off against Cedar Point's Magnum XL-200.

Two newer Bolliger & Mabillard coasters vie for your votes in or third match-up today, Six Flags Magic Mountain's flying coaster Tatsu and Busch Gardens Africa's floorless dive coaster SheiKra.

We haven't forgotten Disney fans today. It's an all-California match-up, as California Adventure's California Screamin' takes on the original Soarin' Over California from the same park.

To the comments!

Readers' Opinions

From Don Neal on March 19, 2009 at 8:02 AM
CP takes the cake today!
From brian lochridge on March 19, 2009 at 8:16 AM
Millennium Force is truly a force to be reckoned with and it gets my vote.

Can't go wrong with Magnum XL2000 the first Coaster that truly scared me.

Sheikra I hope makes it to at least the elite 8 if not the Final 4, hands down one of my favorite rides around.

Gotta go with Sorin over California Screaming, one of the best themepark experiences you can have.

From Michael Barkdoll on March 19, 2009 at 8:43 AM
SheiKra is from Busch Garden's Africa not Busch Garden's Europe. [Oh, duh. Fixed - Ed.]
From Anthony Murphy on March 19, 2009 at 9:39 AM
The first one should be Great Adventure, not Great America. I voted for it anyway because its a great roller coaster. I wish it really was at Great America (Ed.- Changed, thank you, though I liked thinking it was at SFGA)
From Joe Schwartz on March 19, 2009 at 9:06 AM
Millennium Force is my top coaster pick of all the steel coasters that I have been on. Magnum XL at one time a top coaster now needs new cars and an overhall.
From Mike K on March 19, 2009 at 9:08 AM
Cedar Point is the clear winner today. With their superior coasters I believe we will see the CP coasters go farther this year.
From TH Creative on March 19, 2009 at 9:17 AM
Soarin' is good but it's just too short.
From Robert Niles on March 19, 2009 at 9:22 AM
I need to stop typing these at 6:30 in the morning, and just write them the night before, when my fingers are awake.
From Robert Niles on March 19, 2009 at 9:26 AM
As for the DCA rides, I voted for Screamin', which is a decent enough coaster - not inaccessible for most riders and with more variety of elements that one typically finds in non-extreme coasters. The Soarin' movie I've bagged on before, both for its music and the concept, which traps the camera in the air, too far away from its subjects.

I would also like to note that, despite what Disney apparently believes, the letter "g" is not illegal in California.

From James Rao on March 19, 2009 at 7:04 PM
Kingda Ka may be the tallest and fastest in North America, but it is not the bestest.

Magnum reminds me a lot of my local hyper, the Mamba, however Goliath looks a lot like Apollo's Chariot. Gonna go with Goliath...but it won't matter cause Millennium Force is gonna whip whichever wins in the next round.

I have never ridden either Tatsu or Shiekra, but I did ride Griffon and voted for it as well. So I am gonna take Tatsu here - it looks like a very fun and unique coaster. In the long run, it won't matter cause neither is in my Final Four.

Finally, California Screamin' may be the 5th longest coaster in the US, and the 8th longest in the world, but Snorin'...errr, I mean...Soarin', for all its faults, is still an entertaining attraction that is accessible to the entire family. I look forward to Soarin' and MF squaring off in a few rounds....if the Disney Army can pull that upset off, they can accomplish almost anything.

From Joshua Counsil on March 19, 2009 at 9:47 AM
Robert -
If the letter 'g' is not illegal in California, perhaps they should consider adding some g's to Screamin'. This is Disney's poorest coaster and, yes, I'm including Goofy's Barnstormer. Additionally to lacking any sort of punch, the coaster has no theming or storyline. The launch is boring. The drops are shallow. The twists are infrequent. I know Disney's not exactly known for its thrills, but at least the other coasters offer something to look at. This is probably the most over-hyped ride I've ever ridden.

I will argue to the death that Soarin' beats Screamin'. The queue line is covered, somewhat themed, and air conditioned (not to mention it features a great intro from Patrick Warburton). The ride can be experienced by all ages. I think the cinematography, despite your objections, is very well done. I don't find the subjects are too far away - I think it just offers a nice panoramic view of the surroundings. And I'm not sure why you dislike the music. Sure, it's generic, but so is most theme park music. If Screamin' takes Soarin', I'll be shocked. If nothing else, Soarin' is innovative and exhilarating, and is the only relatively thrilling ride I can get my mother on.

Millennium will take Ka no problem. MF is near brilliant, while Kingda is pretty much a clone of a ride that also pales in comparison to MF.

I hope Magnum takes Goliath, as Magnum is the best ride at the Point (IMHO).

I do love Sheikra, but it really dies after the first couple of drops. Tatsu should take it.

From Tim Strickland on March 19, 2009 at 9:52 AM
I wonder if it is just me or if not that many people have ridden Tatsu? It was my first and only flying coaster that I have had the chance to ride. I rode it three times at night before the parked closed and it was my favorite ride at SFMM. I enjoyed Sheikra as well last summer, but I thought Griffon was much better. Then again I like Europe much better than Africa as well. Maybe it was just my first flying coaster experience that made me like Tatsu so much, but I thought for sure it would do better than it is right now. I'm guessing the majority of TPI's are on the east coast like myself.
From Derek Potter on March 19, 2009 at 9:56 AM
Voted for both Cedar Point coasters. Millennium Force remains my favorite coaster to ride. Although Magnum is aging and could use a little help, it still has the best of locations, still has a good first drop and bunny hop finale at the end, and it's the one that started my love affair with coasters. I was 9 when it first opened, and I'll never forget that first ride.

I went with Tatsu over Sheikra. I think that the Busch vertical drop coasters are overrated. There aren't many B&M flying machines around..I wish there were more.

Went with Soarin over California Screamin. California screamin is pretty generic...especially for Disney. There are several coasters at Magic Mountain and Knotts that provide more "screamin". Soarin at least is an original concept.

From Andy Guinigundo on March 19, 2009 at 10:33 AM
I do love Millennium Force. It is everything a "modern" coaster should be big, fast, etc.

Believe it or not, I prefer Magnum. It a little bumpy and rough - but you can feel every mile per hour. In a sense Millenium is so smooth that you don't feel like you are going that fast. It's like going 100mph in a Mercedes compared to 80mph in a Corvette Stingray.

From Ashlee Swanson on March 19, 2009 at 10:40 AM
Well, its obvious by the voting that Cedar Point is the power house of this bracket. Kingda Ka could never touch Millennium Force, for that fact very few coasters could. Keep it up voters!
From Raul Araoz on March 19, 2009 at 10:46 AM
The only ride in this round that has any chance of winning it all is Millenium Force. Kingda Ka is a short, overhyped miss.

Magnum is a classic, but I feel, that Steel Force in Dorney is the better ride. Being the Hypercoaster homer that I am, I have to go with Goliath.

The third pairing is the hardest. These are both great coasters. However, if I had to ride just one in the day, it would have to be Sheikra. You can't go wrong.

The last group is a joke. These are both overrated and hugely disappointing Disney attractions. On top of Robert's comments on its' flaws, the thing that bothers me the most on Soarin' is that it has cuts. Those stupid cuts make it more obvious that you are watching a cheap movie instead of feeling like you are immersed into a ride. Previous simulators, at least, have a straight throughline for the on-ride film. This does not. It is also barely a ride with the only exciting part being the lift-off. Also, unless your are in the front row, you see a bunch of dangling feet. A poorly designed attraction. Screamin' isn't a great coaster by any stretch of the imagination but at least it is a ride. So, in this pairing it wins by default.

From Scottland Jacobson on March 19, 2009 at 10:50 AM
I'm still mad about Mystery Mine!!! Dang you secret Disney voters that don't get out to the other great parks in the US!

Today's vote caused me much less heartburn.

Although I have never ridden Tatsu, and I love Sheikra, I have been told that Tatsu is the most amazing flying coaster experience - especially at the top of the "magic" mountain. My vote went to Tatsu. (although I love the new floorless Sheikra!)

Millenium was easy. There's no contest here. That coaster is still one of the absolute best.

And little Magnum? That thing holds up after all these years. I think it was built in 1989 and it still gives me thrills, plenty of airtime, a few screams and a HUGE grin on my face. Despite Goliath's awesome ride, Magnum is the one.

I love both Screamin' and Soarin', but Soarin' is just so unique and enjoyable - I went with Soarin'.

Did I mention I'm still angry about Mystery Mine?

From TH Creative on March 19, 2009 at 10:54 AM
The ride duration for Soarin' is too short.
From Robert Niles on March 19, 2009 at 11:34 AM
Following a previous comment about having a tournament without Disney rides, the discrepancy between the anonymous voting and the comments makes me wonder about the results of a tournament where only registered members who comment would vote.
From Joshua Counsil on March 19, 2009 at 12:06 PM
I agree, Robert - I was hoping that you'd change that this time around. You know that there are all kinds of people just linking here from other sites.

I was actually thinking of a tournament solely for those who have been registered for at least one year. Just curious to see the outcome then.

From Robert Niles on March 19, 2009 at 12:29 PM
Well, I do like welcoming new readers! (And many of the folks who have been here one year first came here during last year's tournament.)

But I am getting interested in having a polling tool that allows me to capture additional information, such as whether you are registered or not, then cross-tabbing that with the results. (Sorry, to go all stats geek on you, there.)

That way, everyone can vote, but I could publish what the results were among registrants/non-registrants, people from various parts of the country, etc.

Frankly, that'd be a PITA to build, but might be worth it once the polls get more votes.

From Scottland Jacobson on March 19, 2009 at 12:44 PM
Robert - I think you're on to something. That would be very interesting!
From Adrian Walker on March 19, 2009 at 1:44 PM
Sheikra gets my vote for being a simply breathtaking innoventive coaster with good theming and excellent thrills. Plus that first drop is awesome! Nothing against Tatsu, seeing as I haven't ridden it, but I'm going to back Sheikra.

Refusing to vote for the other attractions since I think it would be silly to vote for those that I've never ridden. I'll leave the voting to those that have.

From Russell Meyer on March 19, 2009 at 3:16 PM
I'm really surprised with the results here. Goliath is one of the best B&M hypers around, and Magnum is a bit of a dog these days, and is incredibly rough on the butterfly turn. I'm also amazed that Sheikra is getting the nod over Tatsu. I was simply bowled over by Tatsu when I rode it last fall, and it's definitely better than a pretty straight forward dive machine.
From TH Creative on March 19, 2009 at 4:32 PM
Did I mention that the duration of the ride Soarin' is too short?
From Joshua Counsil on March 19, 2009 at 5:03 PM
Yes you did, TH, but did I mention that the ride for Screamin' is absolute crap?

Uh oh. The animosity builds!

From James Rao on March 19, 2009 at 5:12 PM
FIGHT! FIGHT!

This tournament has us all pumped and jittery!

Speaking of Soarin' (& Airplane!), did I mention that I picked the wrong week to stop drinking, smoking, sniffing glue, and taking amphetamines?

From Raul Araoz on March 19, 2009 at 5:15 PM
Forty doll...make that cents on TH.
From Derek Potter on March 19, 2009 at 5:20 PM
Screamin...Soarin....meh. I'll settle the debate. If you ask me, sledgehammers and dynamite should be taken to both of em. My father-in-law has an old riding lawnmower that offers a better ride. Hows that for trash.
From Raul Araoz on March 19, 2009 at 5:31 PM
The Potter lawnmower experience...I'd buy that for a dollar.
From TH Creative on March 19, 2009 at 5:53 PM
We visited Disneyland Resort last summer. When the rope dropped we headed straight to California Screamin' ... rode it ... got off ... rode it again. I thought it was big fun.

Full Disclosure: I picked it over Soarin' because I figured the coaster freaks would boost it's prospects. Looks like I was wrong.

If today's battles hold I will be a somewhat ugly eight out of twelve. But, in my defense, I did pick Mystery Mine over the Matterhorn.

From TH Creative on March 19, 2009 at 6:32 PM
And Hey Raul, on the Discussion Board you wrote: "Disney would never be able to make a park like Epcot today. It has the smallest lines ..."

Yeah, right! Let me tell ya about the lines belonging to a little attraction called "Soarin'"

90 minutes of waiting for about 35 seconds of fun.

Okay ... I'm bitter.

From Raul Araoz on March 19, 2009 at 6:37 PM
I prefer to pretend that the blemish that is Soarin' doesn't actually exist in the otherwise fine park that is Epcot. Ahhh...the benefits of denial.
From James Rao on March 19, 2009 at 6:54 PM
Sure, TH, bring up Mystery Mine....now you're gonna get Scottland all jacked up again! And just when he was calming down a bit!!

PS Don't look now, but Goliath is making a big push in the final minutes of the game.....

From Derek Potter on March 19, 2009 at 7:15 PM
Six Flags fanboys??? nah it can't be.
From Rob P on March 20, 2009 at 2:13 AM
The voting has been tough for me as I've forced myself to abstain from voting when I've only experienced one of the rides in contention.
Then.......we get a face off between two rides I do know well and I find that tough too.
Soarin' or Screamin' ??
Now I like Soarin'. It's a nice experience but might benefit from a couple of different movies so that you never quite know which one you're going to get. ( like the drop on TOT ).
Screamin' , despite some bad reviews here, is actually quite good. I agree that it lacks a bit of theming but it does have a good variety of elements to it. It's also a ride that thrills without ills making it accessible to a wider audience.
So , by a bunny-hop , it's Screamin' that gets the nod.
From Don Neal on March 20, 2009 at 5:27 AM
And this ladies and gents **and Josh ;)** are why we love this tourney!! :D
From 66.222.110.15 on March 20, 2009 at 6:18 AM
love my griffon thank you very much!!!!
From Todd Houts on March 20, 2009 at 7:18 AM
Well, I voted yesterday but didn't have time to write comments. Rather enjoyed the notes that have been added since my relatively-early-in-this-vote visit yesterday.

For this round, MF was a no brainer for me over Kingda Ka. MF is still my all around favorite ride at Cedar Point and when I make my annual (or so) trek there and stay on site, it is the ride I run to for the early-entry-into-CP-for-onsite-guests benefit, so I can ride it 2, 3 (or sometimes 4) times before the general public starts filling up the line.

Magnum was a great ride initially, but it really needs some work. Goliath, on the other hand, gives me lots of that airtime that I really crave.(Although I really wish Six Flags would stop using the same name for completely different coasters at different parks. Goliath at La Ronde (similar to Georgia's Goliath [four across seating] but an out and back with possibly the best airtime ever [note to James Rao: it's like taking the first two hills of Mamba and making 10 of them in a row]), Goliath at Magic Mountain (2 across seating, taller, different layout), and Goliath at Fiesta Texas - which is Batman The Ride with a different name. (Why decide to call it something different at this park? Sure they did at La Ronde, but then the names mostly in French at that Montreal park...) My vote went to Goliath.

I gave props to Tatsu. Having ridden two clones of Six Flags Superman Ultimate Flight, and thinking, ehh... I wasn't expecting much. Tatsu is what a flying coaster should be. Especially since as you go up the lift hill, MM's mountain is dropping away from you making the peak an incredible distance from the ground below (170 feet staring straight down vs 106 on SUF). Shreika was great initially, then bested by Griffon.

Finally Soarin' vs Screamin'. I agree that Screamin' disappointed and I figured the universal appeal of Soarin' would push it forward - hence my vote.

I'm ready for today's match ups!

(Thanks Robert for the tournament again, for considering ways to improve it for loyal TPI readers, and for the site in general. It is my only RSS feed at work.)

From James Rao on March 20, 2009 at 8:03 PM
WOW...ten in a row...that would be the best airtime machine ever. I still like Mamba quite a bit...so that version of Goliath sounds amazing. I would love to ride it.

Someday....

This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Previous article: 2009 Best Ride in America Tournament, day two, round one: Apollo's Chariot bracket



Planning a trip to Walt Disney World?

Family vacation

Insider's Pick: Don't try to do Disney without the ever-entertaining and informative Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2014. Save time and money with these tested tips and strategies for getting the most from a Disney World vacation. It's a great investment in happiness for you and your family.

Get it! In paperback | For Kindle | For iBooks