Tournament 2018: What's the best coaster park in America?

March 22, 2018, 9:56 AM · We are voting to select the world's best theme park in this year's Theme Park Insider Tournament, but we are deciding some other important titles along the way, including a very big one today: What's the best roller coaster park in North America?

In the first round, Cedar Point defeated Six Flags Magic Mountain, Kings Island, Six Flags Great America, and Six Flags Over Texas while Six Flags Great Adventure took out Hersheypark, Kings Dominion, Carowinds, and Canada's Wonderland to reach this point.

As always, we invite you to rate and review the attractions and restaurants at the parks we cover here on Theme Park Insider, in addition to voting in the tournament.

Let's see your analysis in the comments!

Here is the remaining Theme Park Insider Tournament schedule:

U.S. big brands semifinal: Friday, March 23
Disneyland vs. Magic Kingdom

Asia final: Sunday, March 25
Tokyo DisneySea vs. Universal Studios Japan

U.S. regional park final: Monday, March 26
Dollywood vs. TBD

Europe final: Tuesday, March 27
PortAventura vs. TBD

U.S. big brands final: Wednesday, March 28
Islands of Adventure vs. TBD

Tournament semifinal: Asia vs. Europe - Thursday, March 29
Tournament semifinal: Best park in America - Friday, March 30

Tournament final: Monday, April 2

Replies (12)

March 22, 2018 at 11:29 AM ·

Well, this is almost a no-brainer. Although SFGAD is the home of what is not only my favorite coaster but probably one of the best coasters ever built - ole! - it can't compete favorably with Cedar Point, which surpasses it in both quantity and quality. Great Adventure does have more than one excellent coaster but nothing as wild as Maverick and while Batman is very good, I happen to think that Raptor is a little bit better. What really sealed the deal is Steel Vengeance. GAD really needs an RMC. It would have been nice if they'd hired RMC to remake Rolling Thunder in lieu of demolishing it but as that didn't happen, what I would anticipate is another installation of the raptor model.

March 22, 2018 at 11:09 AM ·

This one is tougher than it would first appear. If you go head to head with similar coasters...

TTD>KK - For me, this one is easy, because that lap bar allows for so much more freedom on TTD than the OTSR on Kingda Ka (I know bigger guests that simply can't fit on TTD obviously prefer KK). I don't think the airtime hill on KK does anything for that coaster, and there's so little scenery around Jackson, NJ that the views from the top are not nearly as good as TTD (on a perfectly clear day you can sometimes see NYC, but I've only seen it once). Having to wait for Zumanjaro makes the lines on KK incredibly slow.

El Toro>any woodie at CP past or present (and most of the steel coasters too) - This could obviously change when Steel Vengenace opens later this year, but for right now, El Toro is the best woodie in the world and one of the best coasters of any type in the US.

Gatekeeper>Superman Ultimate Flight - There's no wing coaster at SFGAdv and no flyer at CP, so comparing these 2 is reasonable with Gatekeeper easily coming out on top.

Millennium Force>Nitro - This is a lot closer for me than it probably is for most people. I'm not a huge MF fanboy, and personally prefer I-305 at KD to the world's first giga coaster. Nitro is a solid hyper, but if we were to swap out Nitro here for Leviathan or Fury 325, MF might not come out on top.

Valravn>Bizarro>Green Lantern>Rougaroo - This is a tough comparison, because the only direct comparison would be between Bizarro and Rougaroo, of which the SFGAdv coaster easily comes out on top. Green Lantern is the second best stand up coaster in the world (behind Riddler's Revenge), but Valravn tops them all (I think I still prefer SheiKra though with it's second tower drop).

Raptor>Batman - Raptor is really starting to show its age, but is still way better than BTR.

Cedar Creek>Runaway Mine Train - This one's close, but CP has superior scenery on their Arrow mine train.

Then you get down to the coasters that don't have comparable models in each park. This is where Maverick blows everything at SFGAdv away. Throw in Gemeni, Wicked Twister, and Magnum XL (though I'm not a huge fan) against Skull Mountain, Joker, and Dark Knight, and it's Cedar Point by a pretty decent margin.

CP gets my vote.

March 22, 2018 at 11:27 AM ·

Never been to SF Great Adv, but I do love me some Cedar Point. And if Bobbie and Russell pick The Point, that’s all the proof I need! Ride on!!

March 22, 2018 at 12:53 PM ·

I agree with Russel, once you through in Maverick, CP is a shoe in. I on the other hand personally prefer Nitro over MF.

March 22, 2018 at 1:32 PM ·

In my opinion, Six Flags Great Adventure has only two advantages over Cedar Point: Their coaster lineup is a bit more balanced, and El Toro is better than any single coaster at Cedar Point (except perhaps Steel Vengeance). In every other regard, Cedar Point is the superior park. I'm voting for CP, but I'm still really excited to return to both parks in June.

March 22, 2018 at 2:06 PM ·

I’ve heard nothing but great things about El Toro, so I’ll go with SFGAd despite the futility of doing so.

March 22, 2018 at 3:06 PM ·

Being origionally from the Indy area, I've been to King's Island quite a few times, but never made it up to Cedar Point. This probably won't be the year, either.

Obviously, the choice here is CP, and likely by a wide margin.

I think it's futile as JT said, so I'm not going to vote. But I'll comment. Because that's what makes a community thrive. And we're all for a thriving community here at TPI, right?

March 22, 2018 at 3:52 PM ·

I’ll go with the majority and vote for CP. I’ve never been to SFGA, but reading Russell’s excellent comparison I’ll add my vote to the park that I’ve been too. I’ll be back in May to ride Steel Vengeance, but SFGA is one of the parks on my list for 2019.

March 22, 2018 at 8:37 PM ·

I don’t even think Six Flags is all that great. I’d much rather go to Cedar Point. Lol.

March 22, 2018 at 8:49 PM ·

As with everybody else, I voted for Cedar Point. I'd rather go there more than Six Flags and as a park it looks better plus it has 3 extra coasters than Great Adventure.

March 23, 2018 at 6:22 AM ·

I like Nitro better than Millennium Force and El Toro better than anything at CP, but still going to vote for CP for the sad reason that its not SFGADV. If GADV had better upkeep and operations I would probably vote for it.

March 23, 2018 at 6:28 AM ·

I like Nitro better than Millennium Force and El Toro better than anything at CP, but still going to vote for CP for the sad reason that its not SFGADV.

If SFGADV had better upkeep of facilities, consistently good operations, and didn't have the "Six Flags experience" (ads everywhere), I would probably vote for it.

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