What is the worst roller coaster in America?
Theme parks are kicking off Halloween events all around the country, so let's talk about the scariest, most frightening, and completely horrible theme park attraction experiences imaginable.
But we're not going to talk about haunted houses, mazes or scarezones. Nope. Today, we're talking about something far worse than those staged frights. We're talking about the most painful theme park attractions ever built. (Okay, the second most painful, after getting stuck on "It's a Small World" when ride attendants forget to turn off the soundtrack.)
We're talking about the worst roller coasters in America.
The worst roller coaster in America?
Yesterday, I asked Theme Park Insider's fans on Facebook and on Twitter to identify the worst coasters they ever ridden, and why they thought them so bad. And you responded with tales of pain, anger, and frustration. Many of you cited rides so unpopular that their parks have closed them, notably Son of Beast at Kings Island, Drachen Fire at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Rolling Thunder at Six Flags Great Adventure and Flashback and Psyclone from Six Flags Magic Mountain.
I asked my children if they wanted to make a pick, too, and my son raised an interesting point. Some fans like rides that beat them up. They're looking for the most extreme thrills available in a park, and would love the chance to ride something with a reputation for brutality. The rougher, the better.
So you can look at these lists as rides to avoid, or rides to rush to. Your choice. But you can be assured that these roller coasters have left their mark, sometimes literally, on many other visitors before you. From our Theme Park Insider reader ratings of attractions at highly-attended theme parks around the country, here are the lowest-rated coasters in the country.
- Ninja at Six Flags Over Georgia
- Georgia Cyclone at Six Flags Over Georgia
- The Dark Knight Coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey and Six Flags Great America outside Chicago
- Mean Streak at Cedar Point
- Mind Eraser at Six Flags New England
In addition to the coasters listed above, our fans on Facebook and Twitter also panned The Roller Coaster (formerly Manhattan Express) at the New York, New York Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Gwazi at Busch Gardens Tampa, Viper at Six Flags Great Adventure and Six Flags Magic Mountain, and Apocalypse at Six Flags America, which is the former Iron Wolf from Six Flags Great America.
What's your pick for the worst roller coaster you've ever ridden? Let's open this up beyond America's borders, too, so go ahead and warn us in the comments about really nasty coasters elsewhere in the world, if you'd like.
Tomorrow, we'll look at the flip side and list readers' picks for the best coasters in America. And this weekend, we'll reveal our readers' pick as the top roller coaster park in the United States in 2013.
I think the New York New York ride in Vegas was fun, i had heard it was rough in the past but when I rode last year it was very smooth. Most of the wooden coasters are the rough ones.
I find it interesting the the 5 worst coasters are all at six flags parks.
Strongly disagree with the Dark Knight coasters being among the worst. Any of them in their present state of repair are better than any Vekoma headbanger SLC at any age.
Psyclone, Mean Streak and "Roller Coaster" at the New York New York are all strong choices.
Gwazi in busch gardens florida is awful!
Mean Streak at Cedar Point. I swore I would not ride it again, but for some sadomasochistic reason my kids wanted to ride it this past Sunday, and since the Eden Musee haunted house we had just gone through is actually built inside the Mean Streak and we were right there, I figured, "Why not? Just once." Once was too much. Anton had a splitting headache from riding it once. Kristina was bruised and I was just nauseous from the violent shaking. I used to think it was my favorite coaster- it has dropped to the bottom of the list.
Green Lantern at Six Flags Magic Mountain is the only "coaster" that has left actual bruises on my clavicles. Wait around and watch people ride it and, instead of shrieks of fear or delight, most people are yelling "Ouch!"
I love the Mean Streak but I hate The Mantis for always beating the crap out of me. The pain that ride causes is way more intense than a few bumps and bruises. It locks on to pressure points and has causes me to black out once or twice.
How is Viper one of the worst coasters? That person has never been out of So Cal if that's considered one of the worst. That's one of the smoothest coasters in Magic Mountain. Sure it's not the newest or fastest or tallest, but it's still fun.
The Wildcat at Hershey Park. It's like someone said, "What if we rebuilt the Comet, only now we're trying to kill passengers?"
How appropriate to include a photograph of Mind Eraser! This is unquestionably the worst - and most brutal - coaster I have ever ridden. I've been on some headbangers but on this one my head, neck and shoulders were killing me. I really took a beating. The folks with whom I rode that park's Batman ride had likewise just come off Mind Eraser and the four of us were in agreement that it's a ride from hell.
I love that I have had the "pleasure" of riding 2 of the worst. Six Flags New England is my 'home' park, and let me tell you, Mind Eraser is some bad. A couple of my friends had to leave immediately after riding, they hit their heads so hard that they feared a concussion. My rides on this particular coaster have not been as eventful, but I can say I was genuinely scared riding it.
"Mean Streak" is definitely a beast to ride. However, I have found that sitting in the front (or as near to the front as possible) smooths out the ride considerably. Definitely give it a try in the front and see if its not a better ride.
Mitchell said "I find it interesting the the 5 worst coasters are all at six flags parks."
I didn't even have to look at the list to know the Dark Knight would be on it....
I don't think the New York New York coaster is that bad, but the Canyon Blaster at Circus Circus causes quite a headache!
I'm thinking about the original Phantom at Kennywood Park. They had people remove all jewelry before riding (earrings). The side to side head movement on that ride was horrendous.
I'd say the worst is a relatively unknown coaster. Batman Escapes at Astroworld was one of the worst coasters I've ever been on. In fact, it's the only coaster out of hundreds that I remember finding painful.
Forgot to add... I'm surprised none of the Vekoma inverted boomerangs made the cut. DeJa Vu at SFGA had the most downtime of any ride, anywhere....
Steamin' Demon at Six Flags Great Escape in New York. Wow, it was fine until the corcscrews and after your ears were shredded from the restraint! I feel bad for the people with earings...
Like Mr. Koehl, there was a time when I was a big fan of Mean Streak. I dislike it now because it's painful AND boring, a deadly combination. I despise Dark Knight, have since my first ride the year it opened. There are others I dislike, but I have a cold and I'm tired so I'll leave it at that.
Riding Mean Streak in the front: I have, my first ride was a front row ride, and my second ride was in the second row. Both were so violent that I will never, ever ride that again.
Yeah, NB, there's a good chance I would have included Deja Vu, if it hadn't have been closed on each of my visits.
In leaving my first comment, I neglected to address the issue of Gwazi. I am truly surprised that this coaster has been given thumbs down. On my visit to Busch Gardens Tampa I was delighted to see that unlike Busch Gardens Williamsburg, BG Tampa actually has a wooden coaster. When I got there the tiger side had been permanently closed so I read the lion side and really enjoyed it. I thought that Gwazi was far superior to Rebel Yell, Grizzly and Hurler at Kings Dominion, Cyclone and Thunderbolt at Six Flags New England, Wildcat at both Hersheypark and Lake Compounce, Wolverine Wildcat at Michigan's Adventure, Thunderhawk at Dorney, Mean Streak and the soon to be extinct Rolling Thunder.
The Express coaster at NY NY casino in Vegas. Ouch hurts just thinking about it. Any and all Vekoma Hang and bangs.
Its funny that two of the coasters on this list are at ONE Six Flags Park (Georgia)! The Ninja is not all that bad in the very back of the train though. While riding in the back, you can SEE the riders in the front getting banged around as the train enters the loops. The imported trains from the former Great American Scream Machine at SFGadv has helped a little, but this coaster's days are likely numbered. The Georgia Cyclone is no picnic either although work has been done to smooth out the first drop rather nicely.
Looking forward to it, James.
Not in America Granted, but the most brutal ride I ever had was on Jetstream at Rhyl in North Wales. Mainly due to it CRASHING WITH ME ON IT!!! But as it was torn down shortly thereafter, I don't suppose it counts! ;)
I know you have already mentioned it, its closed and completely removed now but the Son of Beast at Kings Island has been my worst coaster experience in 30+ years. I had the displeasure of riding it late in 2008, not too long before its final closure. The ride in general was so rough that it gave me a headache for hours. There was a terrible bump coming around the left hander just as you were starting down the hill where the loop used to be that was so severe it could literally knock the wind out of you. I am not sure whether to blame the Ohio weather or poor footings for the Son of Beast's demise but either way the coaster did not settle well. I rode the Son of Beast when it was fairly new and still had the loop without issue. It was rough then but not painful. Gravity provides some great thrills but to the Son of Beast it was a death sentence.
Pretty much any Dinn Corp woodie that hasn't received a Texas Giant sized overhaul should be on this list. Specifically, Worlds of Fun's Timber Wolf is about as bad as it gets.
The Ninja at Six Flags St. Louis is also very rough. I'm not sure if it's the same as the Georgia version. Looking overseas, the Indiana Jones coaster at Disneyland Paris is probably the lamest coaster that I've ever ridden, especially at a Disney park.
Mean Streak. My 13-year-old daughter votes for Mean Streak as well. We rode it once a few years ago, and it literally beat us up... bruises on hips and elbows, nausea, headaches, an ache in my shoulder. Now, I don't mind a rough wood coaster. I once rode The Boss at SFSL 11 times in one afternoon, and that's not exactly a smooth ride, but Mean Streak is just brutal. When we were at CP this summer, I asked my daughter if she wanted to try Mean Streak again. Her response: "Are you kidding? NO way! It's the worst coaster ever!" However, when we rode it our first and only time, there was a teenage girl right in front of us who was talking about how much she loved Mean Streak and that it was her 7th ride in a row.
Put me down for Mind Eraser too! I'd add Anaconda to that list as well.
Sadly two of the worst coasters are in my "home" park SFOG but even worse is that I totally agree they are horrible. I now skip them everytime time I go because whiplash and minor concussions are just not that much fun. I've ridden coasters all over the country and cannot remember any that rattle you worse than those two.
I have to disagree on Georgia Cyclone at Six Flags Over Georgia being a bad roller coaster. I live here in Ga and it is a old Woodie!
T-2 was one and despite everyone that thinks Voyage is the greatest thing on earth, I think it is a horrible ride
As a coaster, Dark Knight isn't bad, but as an overall attraction it is one of the worst out there. I agree that Mean Streak is among the worst wooden coasters, but I'd still rank it above SFMM's former Psyclone and CGA's Grizzly. Mind Eraser, however, is actually my favorite of the Vekoma SLCs I've been on and while I wouldn't wait very long for it I didn't find it to be a horrible ride (although it was my least favorite ride at the park). I don't like SLCs, but I don't hate them either and would rather ride an SLC than an old corkscrew coaster (my least favorite coasters: Super Manege and Steamin' Demon) or even an equally rough Boomerang.
Flashback (SFMM) wins my vote as the worst - it was a prototype brought in from another park (where it was called Z-Force). There was a reason there was only the one. I never rode it without getting a headache.
The Dark Knight Coaster is my favorite Wild Mouse coaster. It's a great ride with the worst theme choice. I think it gets most of the flack that it catches because of improper expectations and not poor ride quality.
Coming from the UK i havent been subjected to any of the forementioned 'horror' coasters. However for me in the UK the worst coasters have to be Colossus at Thorpe Park and X also located at Thorpe park. Colossus boasts having '10 Vertical Loops', however what it doesnt describe is the 10,000 times your head is smashed into the head bars (restraints) whilst enduring the loops. 'X' is possibly the lamest excuse for a coaster ive ever experienced. It used to be a back wards coaster with no theme, now its a forward coaster with random flashing lights and loud music (as if that's a theme), possibly the joltiest coaster in the UK, if not the world. Give it a miss.
Gotta say that the worst woodie I've been on is CA Great Adventure's Grizzly and I've been on Mean Streak. The worst steel was SFMM's Viper. Banged my head around so I didn't know whether I was coming or going. A real disadvantage trying to deboard at the end. Honorable mention goes to The Roller Coaster at New York, New York, although they may have cleaned up their act judging from some of the comments. It was still the Manhattan Express when I rode it. Windjammer at Knott's was thankfully torn down, otherwise you'd also see it in this comment. Oh, wait...
Gwazi at Busch Gardens, Tampa....I literally thought my head was going to be shaken off!
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