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2012 Best Attraction Tournament: Best Intamin Accelerator Coaster?

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Published: January 13, 2012 at 8:01 AM
It's all about speed today in the 2012 Theme Park Insider Tournament. And just how quickly you can hit that top speed.

The undisputed speed champion in roller coasters today is Intamin, with its line of accelerator/high-speed launch coasters. Formula Rossa in Abu Dhabi is the current official speed champ (which is why I included it with these other, Top-Hat-style accelerators), but a few others in today's vote have held that record in the past, too. If there's an Achilles' heel on these Intamins, it's uptime. Too many fans over the years have complained that the traveled to a theme or amusement park to ride one of these record-breakers, only to find them down for much or even all of the day.

But when you do get on one? Sit back with your head against the rest, because you're in for one heck of a ride.

Voting is open for 24 hours. Rally the troops in the comments, and on Facebook and Twitter. Here are your nominees:

Formula Rossa - at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi

Formula Rossa

Kingda Ka - at Six Flags Great Adventure

Kingda Ka

Stealth - at Thorpe Park

Stealth

Top Thrill Dragster - at Cedar Point

Top Thrill Dragster

Xcelerator - at Knott's Berry Farm

Xcelerator


Tuesday: Arcade-style dark rides, including Buzz Lightyear and Men in Black.

Readers' Opinions

From Justin M on January 13, 2012 at 8:22 AM
No Cheetah Hunt??
From Mike Gallagher on January 13, 2012 at 8:35 AM
I'm a coaster guy, and I like going fast and high. However, I've only been on KK and TDD. kingda Ka is still the tallest coaster in the world, one of the fastest, and it resides in my home state at my home park. That being said, it's only the fourth or fifth best ride in the park.

I prefer TDD, and cast my vote accordingly. It may fall "short" of KK's numbers, but I prefer the theme, colors, trains, and restraints over its bigger cousin here.

From Randy Stellar on January 13, 2012 at 9:04 AM
Storm Runner.
From David Kirby on January 13, 2012 at 9:08 AM
Pretty easy one today. Formula Rossa looks beyond overrated to me. What's the point of going that fast if you're just going to hit trim brakes on the first hill and not even go to high. Stealth and Xcelerator are just too short compared to the other 2 to be considered the best. Between KK and TTD, I've only actually ridden Kingda Ka, but ended up voting for TTD. Even though it's not as tall, everyone seems to say it's a much freer experience with the restraints. Plus, I have to give it props for being the first coaster to break 400ft.
From Jeff Elliott on January 13, 2012 at 9:26 AM
Formula Rossa is pretty cheesy.....you start hitting the breaks even before you make it to the top of the first hill. So, yes, it is the fastest coaster in the world, but immediately starts slowing you down and spends the entire rest of the ride slowing you down.....with no elements after the launch, it drops way down on my list....

I actually voted for Xcelerator because it has a little more track after the launch and top hat. And it doesn't hurt that I rode it 6 times in a row on a very lucky day a little over a year ago.

From Dominick D on January 13, 2012 at 9:29 AM
I voted TTD. Also, TSM better win tomorrow, or else!!!!
From Robert Niles on January 13, 2012 at 10:37 AM
Cheetah Hunt's coming up later in the tournament, in another Intamin category. Storm Runner got bumped by Formula Rossa, because it felt too weird not to include the world's fastest coaster in the tournament, and Storm Runner had fewer votes than the remaining coasters.
From Scottland Jacobson on January 13, 2012 at 10:41 AM
I'm assuming Maverick will be up with Cheetah Hunt later...

This is a difficult one as many are good - but I doubt too many of us have ridden the Dubai one - which may be awesome.

I like the double-load of Kingda Ka - although exactly the same as Top Thrill otherwise. Due to the more efficient loading system, I went for KK.

From Scottland Jacobson on January 13, 2012 at 10:41 AM
Oh - and agree with Randy that Storm Runner is a definite fave!!
From James Rao on January 13, 2012 at 4:19 PM
I went with the tallest and fastest, even though it is inoperable most of the time.
From Mike Gallagher on January 13, 2012 at 11:24 AM
Scottland,

I'm not much on technical aspects of roller coasters, but when you say "double load," are you referring to the fact it loads from both sides of the station? If so, they were only using one side this past season, and a ride supervisor I run into occasionally (Matt) told me that may not change back anytime soon.

And please allow me to join the Storm Runner chorus. It's far from my favorite coaster, but at least you get a bit of a ride after the drop from the top hat.

From LG Mills on January 13, 2012 at 1:03 PM
Well given as my username is dragster master...I guess my vote is fairly obvious. That said, though, each of these rides IS pretty good. In fact, they are almost perfectly balanced, but the fact remains that the TTD has the free-est restraints [which really manifests itself nicely during the crest of the hill, where it DOES feel like you really are flying], and is the Stratocoaster OG. Kingda-Ka may be about 60 feet taller, but it's clear the design was commissioned solely for the purpose of upstaging Cedar Point's claim to having the largest roller coaster in the world. Still, Cedar Point has pioneered the "best and biggest" several times over. Being the original old-schooler is a lot better than being the rip-off with slightly bigger hills. Plus the theme for the TTD is pretty awesome.
From Robert Niles on January 13, 2012 at 2:02 PM
Throwing this out there for debate: What would you rather look at from the top of the hill? When the rides are similar, best view can be the difference.
From Mike Gallagher on January 13, 2012 at 2:58 PM
^^Parking lots are always nice.
From Tony Perkins on January 13, 2012 at 9:09 PM
No contest it's Formula Rossa. The rest are one-trick ponies, while Rossa has a lot of ride left after it's initial big trick. Unfortunately most people have never been on it so they don't vote for it.
From 68.6.149.171 on January 13, 2012 at 9:52 PM
Most people that LIVE there have never been on it; it's closed that frequently
From AJ Hummel on January 13, 2012 at 11:04 PM
I voted Kingda Ka, but I'd probably say it and Top Thrill Dragster are tied. They both have their unique pros and cons. Xcelerator is also really good, but there's something about a 400 ft drop that is difficult to beat (that being said, Xcelerator definitely has the best launch of the three).
From 82.21.58.35 on January 14, 2012 at 3:37 AM
Lol I can't believe people actually voted for Stealth
From Derek Potter on January 14, 2012 at 6:43 AM
These rides really are pretty much the same. KK didn't get my vote even though it's technically the tallest and fastest. At that height and speed, the difference between KK and Dragster isn't really that much. I did however, leave it between the tallest ones, as the trip 400+ feet in the air is better than 200ft. Between KK and Dragster, it's the little things that make the difference.

Dragster got my vote for a few reasons. One, the restraints are T-Bars instead of the obtrusive over the shoulder ones. Two, the view of Lake Erie (however fleeting it may be) is better than a parking lot. Three, there is a coherent theme to the ride. The Dragster theme is put to use with all the things that make it look like a race track.

From Tracy Bates on January 15, 2012 at 1:24 PM
I missed the voting on this, but would have voted for Dragster. I'll have to watch out for Cheetah Hunt. What a lame coaster. They made such a big deal out of it's speed, and it might hit that speed, but it immediately slows down.
From 213.123.125.222 on January 16, 2012 at 5:46 AM
I was too late to vote but the only one I have been on is Stealth at Thorpe Park so would have to have chosen this one.

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