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Robert Niles
Editor

2012 Best Attraction Tournament: Best Wooden 'Mega' Coaster?

Published: February 1, 2012 at 9:06 AM

Today in the 2012 Theme Park Insider Tournament we're honoring those roller coasters that blur the line between traditional wooden coasters and modern steel mega-coasters. These hybrid coasters deliver heights (over 150 feet), speed - and airtime - previously unheard of on woodies, thanks to their blend of materials or construction technique.

Three stand out, according to Theme Park Insider reader ratings - El Toro at Six Flags in New Jersey (prefabricated wood), last year's rebuild of Texas Giant at Six Flags' original park in Arlington (steel track on wood support), and the defending champion in this tournament, The Voyage at Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana (wood track on steel support). Voting is open for 24 hours, and campaigning - in the comments, and on Facebook and Twitter - is encouraged.

El Toro - at Six Flags Great Adventure

El Toro

Texas Giant - at Six Flags Over Texas

Texas Giant

The Voyage - at Holiday World

The Voyage


Tomorrow: It's time to vote for the best theme park 3D movie.

Replies (17)

James Rao
Writer

Published: February 1, 2012 at 9:45 AM

Tough vote. The Voyage is perhaps the best coaster I have ever ridden, but the NEW Texas Giant was masterfully reborn with its much ballyhooed "iron horse" solution last year. Normally I would be inclined to vote for the Voyage, but a vote for the Giant is also a vote for the iron horse solution that brought it back to life. I would love to see more parks utilize this technology in the future. After all, there are a good number of decrepit Dinn Corp woodies (all of them) that could use an iron horse upgrade!

My vote: The NEW Texas Giant and the I-Box retracking that helped it rise like a phoenix from the flames.

Incidentally, the Rocky Mountain Construction Group (the folks responsible for the rebirth of The Texas Giant) are working on a brand new coaster installation for Silver Dollar City in 2013. Being just 3.5 hours from SDC, I now have another reason to keep on living (Peter Jackson's upcoming HOBBIT movies keep me plugging along as well).

162.66.52.234

Published: February 1, 2012 at 9:43 AM

Wait, how do I vote for The Beast?
Rod Whitenack

Published: February 1, 2012 at 9:56 AM

The Voyage is the best coaster I've ever ridden. Period. It took twenty some years for something to come along that finally put down the Beast as my favorite wooden coaster. There is just no substitute in the mega wooden coaster arena.
Mike Gallagher

Published: February 1, 2012 at 9:59 AM

I haven't done any campaigning in this tourney. But it's time.

El Toro is my favorite ride, so I'm biased. I've been on it more than 600 times. Sure, there's some things that will cause a bad ride, and I've had some. Front seat is lackluster, the ride can be a little sluggish on a cold Spring morning, I'm stapled in so it can be uncomfortable. But I've been on almost 300 coasters, and none tops this ride. I can't wait 'til April 5.

I've been on Voyage. My 50 rides over two days in 2007 were universally mind-blowing, even near/in the front. But people I communicate with on other sites...whose opinions I trust and value, along with some on this site..seem to agree that Voyage is not the ride it used to be. Rough, bumpy, etc. Maybe the work they're doing with the re-tracking and Timberliners will boost it. But if you haven't been on these rides, or haven't been on Voyage recently, please vote for ET. I've heard great things about the Texas Giant re-do, but it's not a part of my coaster experience.

Dominick D

Published: February 1, 2012 at 10:05 AM

I voted for the Voyage. That thing looks super scary!
Todd Houts

Published: February 1, 2012 at 10:06 AM

This is a tough category but having been given the opportunity for ERT on the new Texas Giant this past June, I found it amazing my body could hold up as I rode it literally 15 times in a row (occasionally changing seats). Heck I would have kept going had I not needed a restroom break. I know repeated rides like that are something I could not do with either The Voyage or El Toro based on my most recent rides on them (Fall and Summer 2010 respectively). So the New Texas Giant got my vote.
96.29.125.64

Published: February 1, 2012 at 11:04 AM

The Voyage is hands down the best mega wooden coster in the world!! I love Holiday World & Splashing Safari!! There all way's number 1 and always will be!! Plus they have unlimited soft Drinks!! If you have not been you need to go!!!
Tracy Bates

Published: February 1, 2012 at 11:22 AM

I'm abstaining from this one because I've not ridden any of these rides. They all look like fun, but I'm not a big fan of the wooden ones. they tend to be too rough.
James Rao
Writer

Published: February 1, 2012 at 11:35 AM

Holiday World represents again! You gotta love a park that supports its fans and its outstanding achievements! Six Gags never gets involved.
71.245.15.239

Published: February 1, 2012 at 12:24 PM

Voyage is the only one with "REAL" wood track.
74.133.69.42

Published: February 1, 2012 at 12:51 PM

I have to respectfully disagree with the "new" Texas Giant being included in a poll with wooden coasters. I had always thought what a coaster is classified as was determined by its track. As James said in the first comment, Texas Giant uses steel I-beam as its track, not wood.

I think one question to ask is: If Texas Giant's track was made of steel (in addition to its steel track), would it still be considered a wooden coaster? Probably not. Voyage has steel supports, but isn't considered a steel coaster because it's the track that classifies the coaster, not the supports.

Robert Niles
Editor

Published: February 1, 2012 at 1:20 PM

This was another category where I fiddled with the name until the last minute. Texas Giant has a wooden structure, so it's not a pure steel coaster, and wouldn't have made the cut in any of those categories anyway. Voyage has a steel structure, so it didn't seem fair to include with the smaller woodies. El Toro's a similar ride to the other two, so it seemed a natural fit in a new category with them. (Maybe I should have gone with hybrid mega coaster?)

Anyway, by keeping El Toro and Voyage out of the "traditional" wooden category we voted on earlier, that gave two other wooden coasters a chance to compete - including Prowler, which won the category. (The Beast lost in that category, for the poster who referenced it.)

So let's put aside the category name, and how about just voting on which of these three is the best coaster?

James Rao
Writer

Published: February 1, 2012 at 1:45 PM

Agreed, just vote! Although, at this point the Holiday World War Machine looks to be mounting an insurmountable lead. ;)
Zack McDonald

Published: February 1, 2012 at 2:31 PM

They are all great; however Texas Giant is not a wood coaster. It's all about the track and the Iron Horse track makes the Giant a Steel coaster.

I would put Hades up there with El Toro and Voyage.

50.103.171.254

Published: February 1, 2012 at 6:51 PM

Yes I'll admit I'm biased to vote for the Voyage! Having been a former Employee of Holiday World! And if you have been keeping track of thing's the TimberLiner Car's/Train's are to be running this year! Can't wait to ride up front on a Car that has no front wall to speak of!
75.179.190.89

Published: February 1, 2012 at 10:35 PM

Voyage is one of the most overrated coasters around. El Toro and the new Texas Giant are both far superior to it. The overlay they have done to Texas Giant is nothing short of amazing. I so hope they bring that to CP's Mean Streak.
AJ Hummel

Published: February 1, 2012 at 10:54 PM

I haven't been on New Texas Giant yet, but it looks like a great ride. I have been on the other two, and here is what I have to say: Voyage would be better IF it wasn't so rough. I don't mind wooden coasters that shake you up a bit, but if the ride is so rough that it HURTS to ride anywhere other than the front two cars, there is a problem. I hope the retracking and the new trains help this ride, because if it was running in top form it would be the second best coaster I've been on (after SFNE's Bizarro).

El Toro, on the other hand, is nearly perfect. Smooth, filled with airtime (including some extremly intense airtime), and twisty enough to not be a boring generic out and back. The only negative is that the ride operators staple riders in, but that is acceptable on this ride as a loose restraint could easily result in a rider getting flung out of the train. This ride just placed as best wooden coaster in the world in Mitch Hawker's poll, so it must be something, right? If you haven't been on it before, trust me...it delivers!

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