Tournament 2018: Which is the best coaster park (Midwest/West division)?

March 12, 2018, 5:31 PM · Last week, we asked you to pick the best coaster park from among five candidates in North America, and New Jersey's Six Flags Great Adventure advanced. Today, we are asking you to select which of five more top coaster parks will compete against SFGrAdv to advance in this year's Theme Park Insider Tournament.

Our criterion for inclusion in the tournament was total number of roller coasters. But quality counts just as much as, if not more than, quantity when advancing. Our candidates today include parks with record breakers, but also a big number of just plain crowd pleasers. So which one is your favorite?

We invite you to read more about these parks on their Theme Park Insider listing pages. 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.

That's a heckuva roadtrip right there, isn't it? And what better way to pass all that time in the car than by arguing which of these parks is the best?

The comments await.

Check in tomorrow for more Tournament action, as we vote on America's best Legoland... then just blow stuff up by asking you to pick the best Walt Disney World theme park.

Replies (12)

March 12, 2018 at 7:15 PM ·

I know SFMM has really done a lot to improve things and I think their heart is in the right place. I don't want to diminish what they have done in the past decade because they really have identified many things that sucked about the park and fixed them up. Replaced Psyclone with Terminator, not only do a full fix for Superman but also add a drop tower to the side of it, RMC Colossus, full fix for Revolution, and spruced up some old dead areas of the park. And the place does have an amazing mix of coasters. They not only have an RMC and GCI in the same park, but also the killer collection of B&Ms (flyer/standup/invert), unique premier launched coaster, pretty good Arrow suspended coaster, and the only 4D coaster in the country. I would say SFMMs collection is probably even better than CPs.

But every time I go to SFMM there always just feels like there's something off about it. There's just no atmosphere...the place is just dead. Which is really ironic because that's how I feel about most Cedar Fair parks, and I am going to vote Cedar Point in this poll. Even though most Cedar Fair parks are bland, Cedar Point is not, its a really nice park in a fantastic location with amazing views and atmosphere. Most Cedar Fair parks to me have the SFMM "blahness" to it but CP is oddly enough is the opposite. Even though SFMM has the better coaster collection on paper I always have more fun at CP.

March 12, 2018 at 7:27 PM ·

Kings Island + Cedar Point = the perfect coaster trip. But between the two, you just can't beat the view from Hotel Breakers (park side or beach side - it doesn't matter), so Cedar Point gets my vote.

Still, Banshee >>>>>> Raptor, Mr. Koehl!

March 12, 2018 at 8:03 PM ·

I would like to write-in Worlds of Fun...

Not really. Cedar Point wins.

March 12, 2018 at 8:10 PM ·

Two words: The Beast

March 12, 2018 at 10:25 PM ·

Home park is SFMM but with Steel V, hitting CP this year - grew up on KI CP and Geauga Lake; haven’t been back to CP in 20 years. Voted for CP. and per the comments: loved the first, nailed it. I agree! Hotel Breakers - yes, so glad we will be staying there! And LOL on WoF. Followed by CP.

March 12, 2018 at 11:40 PM ·

Your 'contests' are really lame. Mostly just a bunch of WDW fanboys who have been nowhere and know nothing.

March 13, 2018 at 12:36 AM ·

I won't comment on Six Flags Over Texas as I haven't visited (it's penciled in for spring 2019), but of the others...

Six Flags Magic Mountain has, in my honest opinion, the world's best roller coaster collection (even when Steel Vengeance is considered). Not only are many of the park's rides unique in some way (either by design or because they've outlived others), every single coaster at the park save Green Lantern is still a quality ride today. Plus, while it may not be the objective best roller coaster, if it is running as designed Twisted Colossus provides the best coaster experience of any of the 400+ I've ridden.

Six Flags Great America has the most balanced coaster collection of the four, with a great mix of thrill rides, family rides, old classics, and modern scream machines. I'd also say they're the most balanced park overall. Sadly, based on my one visit to the park it is not run well, with operations that make what should be a 45 minute wait into 75 and unpleasant and/or uncaring staff members. This visit was several years ago and I hope the park has changed positively since then, but it did sour what would otherwise be my second favorite Six Flags.

Kings Island is the park that does everything right yet nothing perfectly. It is very, very hard to find negative things to say about the park, yet if you look at any one specific area, there is always a park that does it better. Even within the Cedar Fair chain, I'd say Cedar Point's got a better coaster collection, Carowinds and Kings Dominion have more balance in their ride lineups, and Knott's Berry Farm has the place beat on theming. Kings Island is still a wonderful park, but you need at least a couple first place trophies to be the best.

Cedar Point is the best park I've visited if you're looking for a pure amusement park. No theming, no luxury offerings, and no attempt to pretend something isn't what it is, just a huge selection of heavy machinery providing a natural high through the laws of physics. Maverick, Millennium Force, and Steel Vengeance could each legitimately claim to be the best roller coaster in North America, and Cedar Point could easily contend for best park location. Plus, operations at this park are second to none, and it is the only non-Disney park I'd legitimately call a two day park. There are some who feel it is overrated, but if you restrict the discussion to regional parks, I find it hard to believe anyone who has actually visited doesn't place it on top (or at least in the top three).

March 13, 2018 at 7:49 AM ·

This one is a real hard one for me. I've been to all of these parks, and they each have pluses and minuses. Cedar Point was ultimately my vote because they do a much better job running and maintaining their coasters. If I were voting strictly based on lineup, I would have to give it to SFMM, but waiting for 2 hours to ride X2 because they're only running 1 train and have incompetent, lazy ride ops really knocks SFMM down a peg or 2 in my book. KI, SFoT, and SFGA would be a good head to head matchup, but are second fiddle to the top 2 on this list.

March 13, 2018 at 8:14 AM ·

So the first one was 25% of america and this one is 75%. Seems you could have broken this down more and done midwest and then west bracket.

March 13, 2018 at 9:20 AM ·

Great America will always have a place in my heart for being my original home park, but I GOTTA get out to Magic Mountain someday (X2 all the way baby). Sorry Cedar Point fans.

March 13, 2018 at 9:22 AM ·

I voted for Cedar Point by default, as I do think it has a better coaster lineup than Six Flags Over Texas despite the fact that I much prefer SFOT as a park. I'm surprised that Six Flags Fiesta Texas wasn't included in the list; that's the park for which I would have voted b/c it contains Iron Rattler (my 2nd favorite coaster of all time) and Superman Krypton Coaster.

March 13, 2018 at 9:55 AM ·

Have to say Cedar Point obviously. But have a soft spot for Great America as "hometown" park and the Batman ride is still the first and best of that type around.

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