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2010 Best Roller Coaster in America: Apollo's Chariot [Bolliger & Mabillard Mega] vs. The Voyage [The Gravity Group]

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Published: April 1, 2010 at 7:27 AM

You've voted in the 2010 Best Theme Park Attraction Tournament, and now it's time to pick the Best Roller Coaster in America.

Apollo's Chariot at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Apollo's Chariot at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Apollo's Chariot represents the Mega Coaster model from Swiss coaster masters Bolliger & Mabillard. Debuting in 1999 in an infamous manner, Apollo's Chariot won praise throughout the tournament for its smooth ride, speed, visuals and airtime.

The Voyage at Holiday World

The Voyage at Holiday World

Holiday World's The Voyage comes from The Gravity Group, a relatively new Cincinnati-based wooden coaster company that's winning praise for its innovative blending of wooden and steel coaster technology.


Please tell us in the comments why you voted the way you did.

Next up: The Best Theme Park Movie in America, Mickey's PhilharMagic vs. It's Tough to be a Bug!

Readers' Opinions

From Derek Potter on April 1, 2010 at 7:47 AM
Apollos Chariot isn't even the best in it's class. Voyage is in a class by itself. Voyage all the way.
From James Rao on April 1, 2010 at 7:58 AM
Two of the best coasters in the world, IMHO, and both worthy of Top Dawg status.

Busch Gardens and Holiday World both have very active fanbases and are heavily invested in social media like Twitter and Facebook (Busch has already tweeted and posted to their wall, Holiday World has not). I am expecting a furious battle today.

And honestly, I love both coasters, so this contest is a win-win. However, in my heart of hearts I want Holiday World's Voyage, the Best Wooden Coaster in the World, to take top honors.

From Anthony Murphy on April 1, 2010 at 8:11 AM
Gotta go with Ragin Bull's Cousin: Apollo!
From James Rao on April 1, 2010 at 8:12 AM
That's it, Anthony, you and I are gonna have to take it outside!!! ;)
From James Rao on April 1, 2010 at 8:22 AM
Busch just called on its fans again. Kudos to them for getting out the vote. I love when these companies take enough pride in their attractions to get involved. Almost makes me want to change my vote!

When is Holiday World gonna send out the call???? I want a battle, not a slaughter!

From Joe Schwartz on April 1, 2010 at 8:25 AM
I am surprized AC is leading this this catagory so far. Both coasters are great. But I will take the speed and smoothness Of Apollo's Chariot over the Voyage. Both coasters re top notch. So it really doesn't matter to me who wins.
From James Rao on April 1, 2010 at 8:32 AM
The power of social media... Busch is using it, HW is not - yet! The early lead may evaporate once HW gets off the sidelines and into the game.
From James Rao on April 1, 2010 at 8:34 AM
Holiday World just got involved. LET'S DO THIS!
From 96.230.26.38 on April 1, 2010 at 8:36 AM
Holiday World all the way!
From Paula Werne on April 1, 2010 at 8:39 AM
Was stuck in an all-hands meeting when voting started ... I was starting to TWITCH! :0)

Paula (at Holiday World)

From James Rao on April 1, 2010 at 8:50 AM
^^Gotta love have Holiday World representation IN THE HOUSE! How cool is that?!?

Time for the comeback... the Voyage at least has to make this contest respectable! After all, it is the better coaster! ;)

From 68.179.170.226 on April 1, 2010 at 8:47 AM
I love both coasters... such a hard choice!

I used to live in VA Beach and was a frequent guest at Busch Gardens to ride all the coasters.

But I grew up in Southern IN, close to Holiday World. It's home, and will always be very special to me. So by default I had to vote for the home team.

GO VOYAGE!!

From 70.62.63.30 on April 1, 2010 at 8:47 AM
I don't get how Apollo's Chariot gets the marks is does. It's the weakest B&M I've ridden. The Voyage on the other hand, excels for me, beating out all other coaster - steel and wood combined.

The Voyage is everything a world champion coaster should be and more. Nothing beats the Voyage.

From 99.18.38.34 on April 1, 2010 at 8:49 AM
I can get what's pretty much the same thing as Apollo's Chariot at Kings Island. Boring.

Even though I've never ridden the Voyage, I know it's a pretty intense coaster, from what people have said.

From 68.18.105.112 on April 1, 2010 at 8:51 AM
Voyage, nothing beats it!
From James Rao on April 1, 2010 at 8:52 AM
^^Intense is an understatement! After the initial lift hill the Voyage doesn't have one second of downtime until you are begging for mercy at the end of the ride!
From 64.233.248.41 on April 1, 2010 at 8:53 AM
The Voyage is amazing! I can't stop laughing and screaming everytime I ride it! We have season passes and ride it often and it never gets boring!
From James Rao on April 1, 2010 at 8:58 AM
Gotta love this: even the Gravity Group is involved! Think B&M will join the fray? I am not sure they are even on Facebook...
From 216.54.1.35 on April 1, 2010 at 9:05 AM
The fact that one of the first real B&M Mega's is still as highly regaurded as it is with all of it's newer creations...should say A LOT about this awesome coaster. Most of the others that are probably "better" are a much improved version. So for a real deal "first gen" (yes i know they made previous ones) B&M to have such a gread ride...it deserves kudos. And again, give BGE credit for having a ride that wasnt just stuck on a flat piece of land and that actually takes advantage of the scenery and layout.
From 12.153.11.225 on April 1, 2010 at 9:05 AM
My vote is for Voyage! We live in Nashville, TN and the short drive to Holiday World is worth it once you have ridden Voyage. I'm already dreaming of this year's trip.
Plus you have to root for the little guy in this contest. Holiday World proves that good things come in small (and clean)packages!
From Squid McGlamery on April 1, 2010 at 9:06 AM
The overall quality and uniqueness of The Voyage should push it over for the win.
Apollo's Chariot has some wonderful qualities and is an amazing ride. However, at this point in time, is not as unique nor as exciting a coaster in comparison.

Great match-up though! They are both very deserving of the praise.

Hopefully now that Paula is out of the meeting and back to what she does best the votes will start to pour in from the Holiday World camp!

From Derek Potter on April 1, 2010 at 9:11 AM
A social media showdown. This contest isn't only a contest between their rides, but also their marketing departments.

I still think The Voyage wins hands down.

From Tyler Bell on April 1, 2010 at 9:09 AM
AC gives me an experince of a lifetime as i drop 210 then go back up the other 170 feet,overall AC is a better ride,and by far my favorite roller coaster
From Robert Niles on April 1, 2010 at 9:23 AM
Personally, I think this is too close to call, and we're all just going to have to, uh, do some more research on this decision. I'd be perfectly happy to ride these two as long as it takes for a clear winner to emerge. :-)
From Dave Stroem on April 1, 2010 at 9:34 AM
Voyage all the way. Apollo's Chariot is not even the best B&M Mega.
From 99.21.15.33 on April 1, 2010 at 9:35 AM
The Voyage - super coaster and super park!
From Squid McGlamery on April 1, 2010 at 9:38 AM
Social media attacks!!

And with the come from behind win....!

From Derek Potter on April 1, 2010 at 9:38 AM
Oh I'll be going to Holiday World to do some more research alright. The new and improved trains will be running on Voyage this year.
From Paula Werne on April 1, 2010 at 10:04 AM
Question for Robert ... what time does the voting end for this championship?

Thanks, Paula @ Holiday World

From James Rao on April 1, 2010 at 10:18 AM
11am-5pm ET, 8am-2pm PT - Best Roller Coaster Final.

We still have a little way to go to ensure a victory, Paula! ;)

From Jack Curley on April 1, 2010 at 10:10 AM
B&M Megas are my favorite coasters. For me, nothing beats the airtime that you get, and the unrestricted view of your surroundings.

Now that I've said that, as far as I'm concerned, this one is a coin flip. I can't argue for or against either of these. They're pretty much the top of their respective fields for me.

From James Rao on April 1, 2010 at 10:24 AM
Busch making another push... they just re-Tweeted and posted to Facebook again. I love these two theme parks! They are in the thick of it! Kudos to both!
From Don Neal on April 1, 2010 at 10:24 AM
Go Voyage go! :D
From 129.186.57.107 on April 1, 2010 at 10:27 AM
Everything AC offers, Voyage has a superior supply of.... airtime? Nothing touches Voyage's 24.2 seconds. View? Looking back into the woods before you plummet down the first drop is the last peaceful feeling you'll get before the final break run.

Voyage is the perfection of the roller coaster, I honestly do not know how it will ever get better.

And here I am, appropriately dressed in my Holiwood Nights 09 shirt, which yielded the greatest rides on Voyage to date!

From Derek Potter on April 1, 2010 at 10:31 AM
James is talking about this until he's blue in the face...I mean seriously have you seen the guy's face lately?
From 216.54.26.18 on April 1, 2010 at 10:34 AM
Looks like it's neck and neck! I'll be at BG this weekend.
From 131.187.253.130 on April 1, 2010 at 10:36 AM
Voyage amazed me the first time I was on it. I usually hate wooden coasters, but it is an especially pleasant exception.
From James Rao on April 1, 2010 at 10:41 AM
LOL... I am all over the place. I am the new Erniebald57, pulling the strings behind the scenes! Wreaking MAJOR HAVOC wherever I go!

What a battle!

From 166.137.9.90 on April 1, 2010 at 10:49 AM
I have been on both coasters. Apollo's Chariot is very smooth and fast. However, nothing beats a great wooden coaster. The Voyage all the way!
From 96.28.219.66 on April 1, 2010 at 10:58 AM
The Voyage truly SCARES me. You wonder if you are going to come off the track the whole time. I LOVE coasters and the first time I rode the Voyage I cried. Joy and Fear.
From James Rao on April 1, 2010 at 11:24 AM
Can't take it anymore! Putting on my Voyage t-shirt and heading out to see a movie. May the best ride win.

And Robert, gratz for all the attention your site has received today! ;)

From 71.114.59.103 on April 1, 2010 at 11:50 AM
I like Apollo's Chariot a lot, never been on Voyage. Kinda confusing that AC is held in high regard. Nitro up in NJ is a much more fun ride than AC.
From Beth Olliges on April 1, 2010 at 11:53 AM
I still don't understand all the love people have for The Voyage. It is beyond rough -- I'd go so far as to call it brutal. Truly one of the worst coasters I've ever ridden. (I go on coasters to have fun, not to be beaten and battered so severely it ruins the rest of my day!) Oh, and it's not just me -- the feeling was unanimous among my entire party that day at Holiday World. I still love HW, but The Voyage is terrible. I'm voting for Apollo!
From 166.137.11.138 on April 1, 2010 at 11:53 AM
This was really tough...my favorite wood coaster vs. my favorite steel coaster in America. But wood wins, and Holiday World ALWAYS wins.
From 24.149.85.240 on April 1, 2010 at 12:08 PM
Busch Garden's should get an automatic win simply for atmosphere. Beautiful landscaping amongst well-maintained grounds, delightful scenery and ambience... and don't forget the awesome view of the water atop the crest of Apollo's Chariot!
From 159.218.112.37 on April 1, 2010 at 12:24 PM
I remember when I first rode the Voyager, it was awesome,I rode it 10 times that first day, just wish my knees reacted as well as my excitement. Oh well, with these new seats, it should be better suited for me! GO VOYAGER AND GO HOLIDAY WORLD!
From 74.234.175.133 on April 1, 2010 at 12:36 PM
My Family has had season passes for several years to Holiday World we love The Voyage, Best wooden coaster ever!!!!!!!!!
From 65.189.250.181 on April 1, 2010 at 1:04 PM
In my firm opinion, anyone who thinks the Voyage is rough does not understand what rough is. Voyage is turbulent - it is a tad toward the violent side, it shakes you around and takes you where it wants to. You cannot 'brace' for the corners, you have to just let go and ride it. A rough ride is one that hasn't been retracked in far too long, and you feel the 'potholes' in the track as you bump across them. Examples of this would be Thunder Road at Carowinds, the blue side of Racer at Kings Island, and many other wood coasters at some of the smaller parks, such as Zippin Pippin at Libertyland when it was still running. Then there is rough like Son of Beast and Mean Streak, where the trains tend to 'hunt' for the correct line on the track, causing a lot of jarring to the riders. Voyage is turbulent due to its quick transitions, never-lets-up speed, and massive amounts of air time which mean you're out of your seat when taking the intense transitions.

As for the comparison of the two (AC vs Voyage) ... is there one? Voyage is absolutely out of control. There is no other coaster I've found that comes close to touching it. Whereas, in my opinion, there are at least two B&M mega coasters that are superior to Apollo's Chariot (Diamondback at Kings Island and Intimidator at Carowinds), let alone non-B&M coasters, such as Millennium Force, Superman: Ride of Steel, and more, that far surpass it. Is it a great ride? Absolutely. I thoroughly enjoyed riding it during ERT at ACE Dives! last year. However, I wouldn't put it in the same category as Voyage - the air time, speed, and out-of-control feeling are just lacking. I blame a lot of this on the fact B&M likes to over-trim their hypers. Apollo's Chariot loses a lot of it's momentum as it slides through 3 trim brakes and a mid-course brake run that steal it's speed, whereas Voyage blows right through it's one and only trim brake at the mid-course, meaning it maintains it's momentum throughout the entire course.

From 99.190.188.126 on April 1, 2010 at 1:06 PM
Who's your coaster if you are a Hoosier born & raised. Only one choice as I see it, the Voyager..Gotta love us here in Indiana. We have the Hoosier Hospitality going for us and much more. Come "wander Indiana" and see how much enjoyment can be found.
From 75.81.196.129 on April 1, 2010 at 1:12 PM
Absolutely The Voyage!! For one thing it is one of the longest coasters I have been on, and the the fact The Voyage gives you so much air time!! I love this coaster!!!! Not to mention Holiday World is the friendliest & cleanest park!
From 67.239.142.171 on April 1, 2010 at 1:12 PM
Apollo is AWESOME!!! It is soo long and is fast and smooth and has a lot of drops!! Who WOULDNT love it!! 8D
From Derek Potter on April 1, 2010 at 2:08 PM
Voyage for the win!
From 68.73.150.192 on April 1, 2010 at 4:08 PM
I am an ex-high diver of the park. Grew up there and worked at the park for 5 years until college. I rode the Voyage on a twenty year diver reunion. Take into the fact, I dove from 80 feet high! This roller coaster is way above that. And this is why it is named a "Voyage". Man oh man..I think I went straight to the bathroom near bye...lol. I am rooting for hometown. I have never ever ridden a coaster like that. Good luck Voyage!
From James Rao on April 1, 2010 at 4:29 PM
Huge win for this down-home masterpiece and a huge win for the legions of Holiday World fans who rose to the challenge round after round.

Kudos to both Busch and Holiday World for getting involved. It is good to see companies who care about their attractions and, more importantly, their fans.

Gratz to both coasters!

From 74.96.78.3 on April 1, 2010 at 4:41 PM
I've never been on Voyage but I have ridden Apollo's Chariot more times than I can count and it's hard for me to believe that any wooden roller coaster would beat out Apollo's.
From James Rao on April 1, 2010 at 7:21 PM
Seeing is believing... check out the results! =)

AC is a great ride, but it does not match the Voyage for sheer intensity and power.

Note: with 1900+ voters, this contest had the largest voter turnout so far this year. Nice. I'd like to think an alter ego of mine had a MAJOR impact on those numbers... ;)

From Ethan Bernhardt on April 4, 2010 at 9:59 AM
THIS IS HORSEDOODIE APOLLO'S CHARIOT IS WAY BETTER THAN SOME P.O.S COASTER LIKE THE VOYAGE!!!!!!

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