As always, we present our Top 10 lists on one page, instead of in one of those annoying multi-click slideshows. And we've got lots of on-ride video for you to enjoy, too. (If you like our list, please share it via the Facebook, Twitter, and G+ buttons below!)
10. SeaWorld Orlando: SeaWorld's only got a couple of coasters, but they're among our readers' favorites anywhere: Manta and Kraken.
9. Canada's Wonderland: The park offers one of the deepest collection of coasters on the planet, but two stand apart from the rest: Leviathan and Behemoth.
8. Hersheypark: Readers' picks for the top coasters here are Storm Runner, Lightning Racer, and Fahrenheit.
7. Dollywood: Sure, the park's known for its world-class musical performances, but Wild Eagle, Thunderhead, and Mystery Mine put Dollywood on many fans' lists for top thrill rides, too.
6. Busch Gardens Tampa: Why wait around for Falcon's Fury when you've got Montu, Cheetah Hunt, and SheiKra waiting for you? ;^)
5. Kings Island: Kings Island won this year's Theme Park Insider Award for Best New Attraction for Banshee, while The Beast and Diamondback continue to win high ratings from readers, too.
4. Cedar Point: We hope you enjoyed James Rao's trip reports from America's Roller Coast last week. His top coasters at the Point are our readers' top picks here, too: Millennium Force, Maverick, and Top Thrill Dragster.
3. Busch Gardens Williamsburg: Yes, you can have great thrills in a park with great theming, too. Especially when you have coasters such as Apollo's Chariot, Griffon, Alpengeist, and Loch Ness Monster.
2. Six Flags Great Adventure: The New Jersey parks wins readers' praise for El Toro, Nitro, Bizarro, and Kingda Ka.
1. Six Flags Magic Mountain: The Southern California park wins our top honor for the second time, with an awesome line-up topped by reader favorites X2, Apocalypse, Full Throttle, Tatsu, Goliath, and The Riddler's Revenge. Just wait until Twisted Colossus opens next year!
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Strong point about attendance, too. Coasters really are a niche within the niche.
Based on where I've been and using the criteria listed above, my top ten coaster parks would probably be:
1. Six Flags Magic Mountain
2. Six Flags Great Adventure
3. Cedar Point
4. Kings Island
5. Busch Gardens Williamsburg
7. Six Flags Great America
8. Canada's Wonderland
The attendance observation is indeed interesting. Are roller coasters more "relevant" to regional amusement/theme parks that general have annual attendance under three million guests? What does it say that the highest attended parks aren't ones that focus on coasters and pure thrills? I realize the answer isn't nearly that simple but it is an intriguing point to ponder.
I really like Kings Island, a lot of good coasters, wish they hadn't taken down Son of Beast although Banshee is also great (wish it had replaced the BAT instead).
And not on your list, I really like Kings Dominion. A dozen coasters, most of which are legitimate coasters. Volcano is one-of-a kind (wish it didn't bleed off all the speed without doing at least one loop or something). 305 is lightning fast. They have 3 good wood coasters in Grizzly, Rebel Yell (wonder when they'll give in to political correctness and change that name), and the Hurler. Dominator is a decent ride, as is flight of fear and the stunt coaster formerly known as The Italian Job.
I don't like stand-up coasters but they have one. Anaconda is too old and bumpy, but it does plunge under the water. Scooby Coaster is good for kids and small adults, as is ricochet. And that little tiny thing in Scooby Land (taxi?).
No theming, one coaster is essentially in the parking lot, so it doesn't get marks for that. I guess Volcano is kind of themed.
I also love Busch Gardens, and hope they get one more good coaster.
I guess its votin time for me!
Charles makes a good point about Kings Dominion, as it does have a solid collection of coasters (although I disagree with Hurler being a good wooden coaster, as it is a neglected Dinn Corp creation which is very painful and not fun). Volcano is one of my absolute favorites.
Six Flags Over Texas is another good candidate for this list with four headliners in Titan, the Texas Giant, Batman, and Freeze.
Anthony, one of these days I need to get up to your neck of the woods and visit the Gurnee park. Question is, will you be as good of a host as Mr. James Koehl? I am guessing the answer is yes....
Riddler's Revenge is a couple of ticks better than Green Lantern at SFGAdv
Scream! and Bizarro are identical layouts with a gnat's whisker of an edge going to Bizarro for theming, even though they took out the speakers.
Tatsu is far superior to Superman, and is up there with Manta for the best flyer in the world.
Goliath is probably not quite as good as Nitro, but it's a pretty darn good hypercoaster.
Superman Escape from Krypton doesn't hold a candle to Kinda Ka.
El Toro blows away both Apocalypse and Colossus.
The Batman: The Rides are identical, and thus a wash.
Gold Rusher is a bit better than Runaway Mine Train.
I'd much rather ride Ninja than Skull Mountain.
However, SFMM still has Green Lantern: First Flight, X2, Viper, La Revolution, and Full Throttle (which I have yet to ride) to go against Great Adventure's "left-overs".
Even though Kingda Ka and El Toro have definitive edges, that does not top the 5 other headliners available at Magic Mountain. I don't think the 2 parks are even close, even though I have strong disdain for both parks.
Either by accident or on purpose, Six Flags Great America has had the great luck to have a good variety of roller coasters. Some are the first of their kind, some are the last of their kind. Either way, Great America has a roller coaster for everybody.
Goliath (First of its kind- hard to categorize)
X-Flight (Suspended Roller Coaster)
The American Eagle (Racing Wooden Roller Coaster)
Demon (Steel Coaster- Great intro "upside down coaster")
The Whizzer (Only Electric Roller Coaster still around Space Mountain-ish)
Superman (Flying Roller Coaster)
Dark Knight (Mouse Roller Coaster)
Raging Bull (Hyper Coaster)
Viper (Classic Wooden)
Batman (First Inverted Roller Coaster)
V2 (Launch Coaster)
Little Dipper (Kiddie Wooden Roller Coaster)
Spacely Sprocket Rockets (Kiddie Steel Roller Coaster)
And Anthony, I agree that SFGA has some very good rides. I liked X-Flight almost as much as anything I've ridden recently and got a kick out of Viper but Raging Bull was a disappointment. Putting the trim brakes on the 2nd hill nearly ruined the ride experience for me. Goliath is phenomenal but much too short.
Six Flags Great America actually only has 13 coasters...
SFMM has 19
Cedar Point has 16
Canada's Wonderland has 16, but had 17 before Skyrider closed earlier this week
Kings Island has 14
Kings Dominion has 14
Carowinds has 13, but will have 14 next year with the addition of Fury 325
Hersheypark has 12, but will have 13 next year with the addition of Laff Trakk
Six Flags Over Texas has 12
I'm glad to see Magic Mountain get some much deserved credit. It has an unbelievable collection of scream machines.
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Despite a lower overall count, Silver Dollar City has three top notch coasters, Outlaw Run, Powderkeg, and Wildfire, as well as two excellent family coasters, Thunderation and Fire In The Hole. I don't know that I would drop anything off this list to include SDC, but I am fairly certain it offers a better "whole park experience" than several of the parks listed.
Interesting how only two of these parks are in the US top ten for annual attendance. Theme park enthusiasts like us are already a niche crowd, and within that niche is an even smaller niche of coaster enthusiasts. How humbling.