Tournament 2018: What's the best coaster park on the east coast?

March 9, 2018, 2:28 PM · Debates over roller coasters are the Schrodinger's Cat of theme park fandom. They are both easily quantifiable and impossibly subjective at the same time. Their resolutions are indisputable, except for all those other fans who disagree.

So of course we are going to ask you to select the nation's best roller coaster park as part of our Theme Park Insider Tournament this year. The criteria you use to decide that is up to you, of course. We will try to make this a slightly easier task by breaking your decision into two parts. Today, we give you five parks from which to pick a winner. Later in the tournament, we will present you five others. And yes, in the regional semifinals you'll be asked to pick between these two first-round winners.

Taking the "easily quantifiable" approach, these are the 10 parks in North America with the most roller coasters, with the five eastern-most of those 10 parks in today's vote. But I doubt that too many of you will simply vote for the parks with the most coasters to advance in each round. There's quality to consider, too. And that's where things get subjective and Schrodinger's Cat claws its way out of its bag. (Wait, did I mix or scramble that metaphor?)

Here are the five parks in today's vote. As always, your ratings and reviews of these parks' attractions on their listing pages are encouraged and welcomed. Register here to be able to leave written reviews for each ride, in addition to the ratings that are open to everyone.

Time to vote! Let's hear your arguments for each park, in the comments.

Congratulations to Islands of Adventure, which advanced yesterday in the Big Brands region. Tomorrow, we're doing just one vote o Saturday, with the SeaWorld parks facing off for the right to advance in the Big Brands region.

Replies (12)

March 9, 2018 at 2:58 PM ·

I was thinking Cedar Fair but that is not rally east coast...

March 9, 2018 at 3:32 PM ·

Sea World Orlando

March 9, 2018 at 3:47 PM ·

East Coast!! I've been visiting all five parks on a yearly bases since Leviathan debuted. Although each park has their own signature roller coaster in my eyes, I have to go with Six Flags Great Adventures. I wish I could just take one, well really two, and place them in one park.

March 9, 2018 at 3:54 PM ·

Brian, did you mean Cedar Point? Carowinds, Kings Dominion and Canada's Wonderland are all Cedar Fair parks.

March 9, 2018 at 4:11 PM ·

3 cheers for my home park of Hershey!! ^_^

March 9, 2018 at 4:22 PM ·

I’ve only been to Carowinds and enjoyed it a lot, but Great Adventure has been in the top 5 on my bucket list the past few years.

March 9, 2018 at 8:16 PM ·

Carowinds. Beautiful park with a great collection of coasters including Fury 325, the best giga coaster in the United States (subjectively asserted), and the tallest giga coaster in the world (objectively true).

March 10, 2018 at 12:18 PM ·

This is particularly challenging for me, as I've been to all five of these parks and any of them could be the best depending on how you interpret it. Of the five, I'd say either Carowinds or Kings Dominion have the best coaster collection (which depends on how good Twisted Timbers ends up being), and those two parks have the most balanced coaster line-ups, with a good mix of modern rides, older rides, family rides, and thrill rides. If you instead look at which park has the single best coaster, it comes down to Carowinds vs. Six Flags Great Adventure and whether you feel El Toro or Fury 325 is the superior ride. If you look at most coasters, Canada's Wonderland leads the pack, and I'd also say that if you look beyond the coasters and consider the park as a whole, Canada's Wonderland has the most balanced attraction line-up. However, my vote is going to instead go to the one I haven't mentioned yet: Hersheypark. It may not excel in the more specialized categories, but of the five this is by far the one where I enjoyed the overall experience the most, and when overall park experience is what this tournament is looking at, it feels like the right choice here.

March 10, 2018 at 8:38 AM ·

I refuse to vote for GADV because even though it has the best coaster collection on the east coast, it is a dump, and i've seriously disliked all three of my visits there. Now granted this is over a 15 year period and the last one was by far the best (although still not good)...I just can't vote for it for any type of award (unless the award is dumpiest big park on the east coast).
So my vote goes for SFNE. Two of the best steel coasters in the country, DejaVu which I love (though I haven't ridden with the new trains), and for some reason I always though the park retains a lot of character. There are all sorts of quirky things about SFNE that I enjoy. The steps leading down to the entrance area with the colonial bricks and the soundtrack that blends in with it (though knowing SF its probably pop music now), the plaza when you first enter the park with the bricks and the Thunderbolt with all those little colonial buildings around it, and it has three great coasters and one decent one.

As much as I hate the Boomerangs and SLCs...I just can't go for GADV.

March 10, 2018 at 11:17 AM ·

This is a really, really tough one. My initial inclination was to vote for my home park - Six Flags Great Adventure - b/c it's the home of the best coaster I've ever ridden (El Toro) - but like AJ I voted for Hershey. All of these parks have outstanding coaster lineups so it's difficult to choose but Hershey to me has the best atmosphere and I also like the fact that their 3 major coasters are Intamins.

March 11, 2018 at 7:55 AM ·

I know six flags will win but I’ll still vote for one of my home parks, Hershey Park!

March 12, 2018 at 6:48 AM ·

James, I did mean Cedar Point.. Thx..

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