Underrated / Over Rated coasters: post here

Edited: January 21, 2020, 10:39 PM

Viper SFGAm – For some reason you don’t hear much about this ride but it is unquestionably the best of the Coney Island Cyclone type coasters. Its fast, smooth, great pops of airtime, the lapbars have wide gaps between the clicks so usually you get good air. Nothing not to like here.

Invadr – Not much to say here other than its an awesome little GCI. Fast, relatively smooth, has some good pops of air. Overall just a great coaster, kind of reminds of Avalanche at Timber Falls but longer.

Avalanche Timber Falls – Speaking of which...although it did get unbearably rough in its latter years (though still a great ride in the front row) this coaster was extremely underrated, which was understandable considering it was in the middle of bumble**** Wisconsin. At the time it opened there weren’t a whole lot of coasters in the country like it, it was one of the first of the incoming flood of awesome wooden coasters to come.

Big Dipper Geauga Lake – Another ride nobody ever talked about but had great airtime and relatively smooth for being so old. By far my most missed ride of that park.

Shambahla – Ok so this coaster probably is not over-rated amongst Europeans but here in the USA we tend to be ethnocentric and look at our B&M hypers as the best in the world…but this one is the best. I don’t even know why but there is just feels faster, has more sustained airtime, great views, etc.

Flying Dinosaur – Speaking of the best B&M of their type, this one also takes the taco when it comes to flying coasters. Tatsu and Manta get all the attention while this one flies under the radar because of its location, but this ride is intense AF.

Twister Knoebels – I went to this park thinking Phoenix was going to be the best ride, but Twister is really the standout coaster here. Even when I rode it recently it was relatively smooth (though not smooth by todays wooden coaster standards, it wasn’t bad at all for being older), the laterals and airtime are top notch.

Arthur Europa Park – Didn’t know much about this ride before going on it but it turned out to be my favorite ride in the park. While more dark ride than coaster, I thought it was extremely well done for being a non Disney/Universal dark ride-coaster. It’s also hilarious going through the “ghetto” scene and hearing the soundtrack say the N-word. Its like…”wait did I really just hear that??” especially on a ride made for kids.

Great Bear – I absolutely loved this invert, IMO it is one of the best out there. For some reason you don’t hear much about it as at the time it was built it was overshadowed in the fanscape by Raptor, Alpengiest, and Montu, but Great Bear is really unique.

Evel Knievel – Another kickass little GCI that delivers big even with its small footprint.


Raven – What’s so great about this ride? Nobody’s ever been able to explain it to me. Got a lot of attention because of the ACE event, it’s a decent but by no means a world class coaster. When I was younger this was constantly at the top of the polls yet Viper at SFGAm (see above) is better and you didn’t ever see that up there.

Montu – I don’t think this is a bad ride, but it was the big new ride when I was first getting into riding coasters so was super pumped for it. Came off thinking “that was kind of tame compared to Batman.” It just wasn’t as good as looked. As I’ve gotten older now I’ve learned to appreciate the tamer coasters a lot more lol. To be fair over the years I have gotten a few non-trimmed super intense rides where the ride was probably running more nylon wheels but those have been rare.

Diamondback – Its possible I just got a bad ride on it, but I rode it last year and didn’t really like anything about Diamondback. It was rough (like, legit rough, I thought my caps were going to fall out of my mouth) and didn’t have much air. Rode in the back but I feel like its probably a better front row ride.

Kingda Ka – This ride is excessively rough and has been ever since it first opened. For being so famous you would think Six Flags would take better care of it. Sadly the roughness really does ruin what should be an amazing ride, for some reason TTD doesn’t rattle nearly as bad.

Millennium Force – I think you have to be my age to understand this one. Nobody makes a big deal about MF now, but when it first opened it was supposedly the be-all-end-all of all coasters and was constantly getting ranked as the best coaster in the world. Meanwhile smaller but better versions were popping up all over the place around the same time (the Superman Intamin hyper trio, Expedition GeForce, etc). While its by no means a bad ride and I’ll go for a ride on it anytime it is definitely not one of the best coasters in the world.

Replies (10)

January 22, 2020, 10:17 AM

I'm definitely with you on Millennium Force, but cannot agree with Montu being overrated. It's one of only 2 B&M Gen 1 Inverts that has a Batwing (Afterburn at Carowinds is the other), and if you've had a chance to ride without the trims prior to that maneuver firing, it is quite possibly one of the most intense elements on any inverted coaster.

I'm also with you on InvadR. BGW did a great job coming up with a compact, yet exciting wooden coaster that is well-themed and accessible. The only issue is that the smaller trains hurt capacity a bit, leading to long lines on busy weekend days (over 45 mins for a family coaster is a bit much IMHO).

Great Bear is appropriately one of the worst B&M custom invert ever created. You can tell from the layout that they were struggling to fit the coaster into Comet valley with the unique, but lame, post lift helix, and the awkward jog the track makes to follow the creek along the back stretch (similar to the run-up on Dueling Dragons Ice prior to the castle wall). The coaster overall is pretty forceless, and while the layout is unique, there's really nothing special aside from it being boring.

I think beyond the coaster community, Intimidator 305 is vastly underrated. It is miles better than MF in my book, especially with the soft padded OTSRs now, and is too good to consistently have lines shorter than 10 minutes.

I think Superman The Ride at SFNE is also highly overrated. Certainly, it was the best of the American Intamin hypers when it opened, but this entire generation of Intamins with the t-bar restraints have not aged well. There is a lot of vibration on the trains, and while you get the upper body freedom with the t-bar, you end up banging your knees into the piston housing and so many guests are unable to ride because of the super short seat belts.

Another overrated coaster for me is Banshee at KI. I like the wider trains that give guests a little more elbow room, but I don't like the vests that occasionally ratchet up when you least expect it. The elements and layout are fine, especially the low-speed barrel roll at the end, but I felt that B&M could have done so much more with the old SoB space.

If you want to talk about an underrated coaster at Hersheypark, it's got to be Lightning Racer. It was pretty highly rated when it first opened, but has kind of fallen off the map since El Toro opened and RMC has risen to prominence. However, Lightning Racer still gives a solid, smooth ride despite its age, and the racing aspect is under-appreciated. It sucks that this coaster is at a dead end, but for me, it's the one coaster at Hersheypark that I think is anywhere close to best of its type.

January 23, 2020, 8:32 AM

From what I understand the new trains ruined both SROS and DejaVu at SFNE. Sadly the old trains are probably not still around. Also totally agree about Banshee, i'd put it down there with Silver Bullet as one of the worst B&M inverts. I don't know what it is about KI and excessive roughness but even their B&Ms are rough.

Edited: January 23, 2020, 3:26 PM

I agree with Viper being underrated, as that is a very solid wood coaster that still runs great and easily ranks among SFGAm's top five for me. I'd also agree with Lightning Racer being underrated, as while not the most intense coaster out there it is a ride that is pure fun. For the overrated side, I do think it's fair to call Montu one of B&M's more overrated inverts, as while the layout is good the ride just doesn't seem to deliver the intensity many of their other inverts do.

However, there's a fair few up here I can't get behind. To me, InvadR is one of GCI's most overrated creations, as it's a short ride with a few fun moments but nothing particularly unique, plus the lower capacity causes much longer lines than I've encountered on any of their other creations. American Thunder is another GCI I find overrated...it's fine, but nothing particularly special, yet seems to get a mention in the Golden Ticket awards each and every year. Great Bear is up there with Montu for B&M's most overrated inverts in my book...short, awkward layout, and poorly paced. At the other end of the spectrum, I'd disagree with calling Kingda Ka or Millennium Force overrated, at least among the enthusiast crowd as a whole. The former is generally not particularly well liked among enthusiasts (especially in comparison to other accelerator coasters), and most who are well traveled place the latter somewhere in the 10-20 range on their list, which seems appropriate for the ride. The public certainly hypes up these rides though, which makes them absolute wins for the parks regardless of what we all think.

As for me, here's a few I'd consider overrated and underrated that haven't been brought up yet...


Big Thunder Mountain: To be fair, this is strictly as a coaster and not as an overall attraction. As an attraction, Thunder is great and fits perfectly into every Disney park that hosts it. Strictly as a coaster, however, most other mine train rides have more thrill than this one.

Joker (Six Flags Discovery Kingdom): The ultimate "it's an RMC so it must be great," I ride this thing a couple times each year and it consistently lands at the bottom of my RMC list by a sizable margin. In fact, it's closer to 100 than 50 on my list.

Lightning Run: How well traveled enthusiasts call this mini-hyper a top 25 is beyond me. Yes, it's got some decent airtime, but it's also a short ride and the trains are a bit uncomfortable.

Mine Blower: I've got a feeling a lot of people who love this have limited woodie experience, because while the layout is cool it does not run well at all.

Renegade: A fun GCI, but not a top 20 wood coaster like many enthusiasts make it out to be.

Space Mountain (Magic Kingdom): Rough, uncomfortable trains, and dated theming, yet it was the first so it ranks high to many who grew up with it. As someone who grew up with California's Space, I found this one vastly inferior.

Tremors: Cool layout with several tunnels, but also a bit rough and with less airtime than Timber Terror just across the park.

Wooden Warrior: This was the original Gravity Group junior woodie, and while fun I see it on a lot of top 25 wood lists. It's good, but not that good.


Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts: Underrated? It's one of the best rides out there! Well, yes, but while there's a lot of praise of the ride itself there isn't a whole lot of discussion about the entire experience. In my opinion, this is probably the best attraction ever created door-to-door, with only Rise of the Resistance potentially beating it out.

Kentucky Rumbler: This GCI suffers from being at a tiny park in the middle of nowhere, but it provides an exceptionally good ride and is better than many larger GCIs IMO.

Legend (Holiday World): I feel like this coaster doesn't get the respect it deserves because it is located at a park with two other spectacular woodies, but the ride certainly holds its own and is definitely a top 20 wood coaster on my list.

Premier Sky Rocket: A model rather than an individual ride, these are outstanding compact coasters that pack a punch into a tiny space.

Intamin Impulse: Another model, this is a simple ride yet provides the best experience possible with a shuttle layout.

Edited: January 24, 2020, 6:38 AM

Russell .... I agree, I305 is way better than the Force, and those short lines make it even more so.

Would you put Leviathan above I305 though ?? Still pondering if I should visit Canada's wonderland this year.

I thought InvadR was poor, to be honest. Nowhere close to Mystic Timbers. Hopefully SeaWorld's next ride will be a GCI. The stingray looks good.

Ah, come on AJ .... what's not to like about BTMR .... :)

January 24, 2020, 7:36 AM

Leviathan is a completely different experience from I305. I'm a positive G guy more than a zero-g guy, so I would absolutely put I305 over Leviathan. However, I know you really like Fury 325 Makorider, so Leviathan is a very comparable experience. Personally, I like Levaithan better overall compared to Fury, because I think it doesn't run out of steam like Fury does (those last couple of camel backs don't really add much), and I like the turnaround on Leviathan better than Fury 325.

January 24, 2020, 11:36 AM

Thanks Russell ..... I'll be back on Fury in May, but a trip north of the border late Aug/early Sept is still penciled in.

It'll be interesting to read the reviews on Orion once that opens up.

January 24, 2020, 11:57 AM

Yeah...Orion doesn't look very innovative compared to Fury and Leviathan, so I'm not terribly excited about it - probably more excited for Candimonium at Hersheypark.

We're hoping to finally make a Southeast trip in late July/early August that I've been trying to do for the past 3 years now, so it will be my first time back on Fury since the 2015 media day (which was less than a year after my only rides on Leviathan in 2014).

January 24, 2020, 1:14 PM

I'm sure you must be looking forward to Pantheon as much as we all are with Gwazi ? Although I must admit, the latest BGW photo reports do make great viewing. And we have a baby version in Ice Breaker :)

It'll be interesting to see which gets the 2020 best new coaster award ... Orion, Pantheon or Gwazi ??

I see BGWfans are still pushing that monster shuttle coaster idea as well, with even more compelling evidence of possible things to come !!

Edited: January 24, 2020, 1:54 PM

I saw BGWFans' latest propaganda complete with "legitimate" looking electrical diagrams. They present some pretty compelling evidence, and the 2-for-1 deals with a coaster manufacturer would not be unprecedented, particularly with Intamin. However, it spits in the face of reality that a theme park would install a record-breaking multi-launch coaster in 1 year, and then install an even bigger one the very next year. Even if the rumored 2021 coaster was a shuttle-coaster, it wouldn't really be that much different from Pantheon aside from the height and obvious increased speed needed to get up a 300+ foot spike. It just doesn't make sense from a practical, financial, or logical perspective, and the constant rumors that come and go regarding the old Drachen Fire parcel make even the most researched ones seem farcical.

For best new coaster of 2020, I think it's going to be hard to top Iron Gwazi, especially since it's at more of a destination park than many of the other new coasters for 2020.

The real battle is coming in 2021. If BGW does come through with this 300+ launching shuttle, it's almost certainly going to get buried beneath what's coming to Orlando - Jurassic World, Tron, AND Guardians. Plus, early rumors suggest Cedar Point will step up with something big along with whatever Kings Dominion has planned for the old Volcano plot, which got a bit more interesting following the announcement that The Crypt is going away. That's the third attraction (if you count Hard Rock Park as a single "attraction") I've done a media event for that's extinct - I guess that means I'm getting old now.

January 28, 2020, 6:21 AM

I love classic wooden coasters that beat you to death. So I put the Giant Dipper in San Diego as underrated, as everybody knows and loves its sister the Cyclone. By the way, the New Texas Giant is great, but I liked the real fear that the original Texas Giant put you through.

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