Remember, these are the top five voted by Theme Park Insider readers over the past year. So if you don't see a particular coaster here, it's because it didn't make top five.
If you've got a favorite among these, just jump down to the vote. If not, click through to our ride description pages, where you'll find photos, reader reviews and even a few videos. Still not decided? Check out the comments, where other readers will be campaigning for your vote.
Apocalypse - at Six Flags Magic Mountain. (Formerly known as Terminator Salvation: The Ride.)
The Beast - at Kings Island
Lightning Racer - at Hersheypark
Prowler - at World of Fun
Thunderhead - at Dollywood
Tomorrow: We'll vote on the Best Animatronic Show.
Not a single Disney or Universal attraction to be found. I almost feel like I'm on a different site.
Wood roller coasters are the biggest attraction for me at parks. Unfortunately, I have not been to Magic Mountain or Worlds of Fun, so Apocalypse and Prowler (a ride I've heard incredible things about from people I trust, including Mr. Rao's comments above) are non-contenders for me.
The remaining three are in my Top Ten Woodies, with only Thunderhead occupying the bottom half. I don't get into hybrids vs. "real" woodies. If it's made of wood, it's a woodie. But I am sort of glad El Toro and Voyage are in another category, otherwise these three remaining great coasters would be demolished in the vote.
I had 22 rides on Thunderhead on my one Dollywood visit, and it's a wonderful ride. Great views, decent airtime, smooth. It went into my Top Ten, but never cracked Top Five. Partly because I didn't get to ride at night, which is an important factor for me in a woodie if other things are equal. Beast will always be a favorite of mine, but the rides I've had on Lightning Racer the last several years have just been SO MUCH FUN! I like the racing, I like the camaraderie, I love the way it LOOKS at night, I like the MF trains, I like the way it feels 20mph FASTER after dark. I just realized in voting today, that I have more fun on LR than any other coaster I ride regularly..including El Toro. Is it a better ride? Maybe not, but for me it's a blast.
The only traditional (TPI classified) wood coaster I'd rank above LR and Beast is Waldameer's Ravine Flyer II, but of course, that's nowhere to be found here.
My vote in this category surprised me. I voted for Lightning Racer.
I have riden Thunderhead many times and each time i ride it I like it a little less. It must be my the pain in my ribcage that is accentuated after multiple rides.
I was glad to see this category- there are so many wood coasters out there and more often than not they are found at "amusement" parks. Many times the theme parks have copied these older gems.
In all honestly, though, Prowler is the best of this fine collection of coasters.
Come on, folks, vote for Prowler now, while it is still young, smooth, and has that new wood smell!!!
Prowler will do what it does best, FINISH STRONG!!! Come on, Worlds of Fun fans, let's bring this race home!!!
It's too bad Boulder Dash isn't featured on this site because that would probably defeat everything in this poll. Night rides on that are outstanding, even better than El Toro.
Of these modern rides in the list, the Prowler is my favorite.
And although El Toro is my favorite coaster, there's a handful I enjoy waaayyyy more at night.
Also, you are right about American Thunder/EK - great ride. Very compact and aggressive.
On a side note, if the rumored 2013 addition to Silver Dollar City turns out to be a GCI woodie as well, Missouri could score a major trifecta!
(Cue dramatic music)
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Prowler, which debuted in 2009, is an outstanding wooden coaster and a big deal for us folks stuck in the Midwest. The ride itself is as smooth as silk, and fast as lightning. The oh-so-cozy trains hug the terrain and turn on a dime, sweeping through the course effortlessly and relentlessly. The way the track embraces and utilizes the surrounding landscape makes the attraction a truly one-of-a-kind experience, and the "midnight ride" offered by Prowler (no lighting on the track after the lift hill) is second to none. This local favorite is not the tallest, longest, or fastest wooden coaster I have ever ridden, but it is a top notch contender and further evidence that Great Coasters International, Inc., just knows how to build a terrific coaster. Furthermore, in today's vote, only the Beast and Thunderhead offer serious competition, however most of that competition stems from a romanticized history of the excitement those two rides used to offer, and not from their current ride experience. So instead of voting for yesterday's stand-outs, support my local park and go with the new-kid-on-the-block: PROWLER! A vote for Prowler is a show of support for small, hometown parks everywhere!