What is the world's best roller coaster?

January 14, 2019, 1:42 PM · Today's category in the 2019 Theme Park Insider Awards is (by popular demand!) Best Roller Coaster, honoring the king of all thrill rides. This year's finalists are:

El Toro
Six Flags Great Adventure

Fury 325
Carowinds

Intimidator 305
Kings Dominion

Steel Vengeance
Cedar Point

Twisted Colossus
Six Flags Magic Mountain

Twisted Timbers
Kings Dominion

Your vote below will help determine the winner. Voting will be open for one week from the time of this post and comments are open during that time for campaigning.

We will announced the winners of the 2019 Theme Park Insider Awards on January 31! If you haven't voted yet, here are our previous votes: Best Quick Service Restaurant, Moderate or Value Hotel

Replies (12)

January 14, 2019 at 2:40 PM

Yet another All American list when there are worthy contenders abroad. Much as I enjoye the nominees, there are others worthy of consideration and several of those are in theme parks outside of the U.S.A. Wicker Man at Alton Towers comes to mind as a themed thriller that is unique, well regarded by coaster fans and receiving accolades from the industry as well. I voted for Steel Vengence myself out of this set of nominees- but overall these awards seem to have limited depth in each category thus considering the possibilities available.

January 14, 2019 at 4:38 PM

Just for some clarification Dave - "Starting with the 2019 awards, six finalists will be determined in each category, based upon the highest average reader ratings (with a minimum number of votes) from among the eligible locations listed on ThemeParkInsider.com. A reader poll, published on the front page of the site, will determine the category's winner from among the six finalists. Previous awards were determined solely by the reader ratings, without the final poll."
Robert is not simply picking who the contenders will be for each award. It's based on the rides the readers rate highest. There are Twenty-seven parks from fourteen countries from outside the US listed on TPI. While it's obvious that this site gets readers from all over the world, Robert has wisely established a minimum number of votes for a ride to be considered. Otherwise a ride with a single rating of 10 would qualify. It is a shame that some very deserving international attractions won't be up for winning, but what point would it to put them up for votes if not enough of the readers have experienced them?
I think this makes the best sense, don't you?

January 14, 2019 at 5:12 PM

I wish the people who make these videos would just point the camera straight ahead! Nobody wants to see anyone's face or hear their commentary. Just shut up and keep pointing forward! It's annoying! Geez!

January 14, 2019 at 6:46 PM

It’s take the gloves off time ... SV fanboys vs F325 fanboys ... !! We all know who we are, so yes I’m voting for Fury 325. 2018 GTA’s got it right, so can TPI ??

Being lucky enough to ride Fury and SV within a week of each other, there is only one.

All I can say is OMG if KI’s giga is somehow better than CW’s remarkable B&M

January 14, 2019 at 6:59 PM

I've ridden all the coasters on the list here and i'd rank them

1.Twisted Timbers
2. Steel Vengeance
3. Twisted Colossus
4. Intimidator 305
5. El Toro
6. Fury 325

Steel Vengeance is amazing, and probably it's just because i'm getting old, but the ride is just too long for me. It just keeps going and going and my body is ready to be over for it about 70% of the way through. If I were 15 years younger it probably would be my #1. Twisted Timbers on the other hand I think has all the great qualities of Steel Vengeance but is a more enjoyable experience IMO.

El Toro held my #1 spot for a long time but my last ride on it was absolutely terrible. Have no idea why that is because I had also ridden it earlier in the summer and it was fine, but when I went back later in the summer it was extremely rough and hurt like hell. Because of the fact that I rode it earlier in the summer and it was fine i'd still put it above Fury, but if my next ride is the same as my last I might not ever ride it again after that.

Fury I thought was decent but nothing earth shattering, personally I like Goliath at SFOG and Mako better.

January 14, 2019 at 8:23 PM

It’s great that every year we have this discussion about what we think is the best coaster on the planet ... and every year we all agree to disagree. That’s why we do what we do. Truth be told, I’ve only ridden SV and F325 from the list, but the feeling I had riding the MF a week after F325 was nothing short of total enlightenment. SV wowed me for sure, but the_man’s point on its length, and as we discussed in other posts, the element repeats is what makes it #2 on my list. I disagree with the GTA’s making MF 2nd, but hey ... up until I rode SV and F325 last May it was my #1.

I’ll be riding TT and I305 in May/June, so maybe this time next year my top 3 will once again change. I’m excited for this years adventure, and maybe something else will reach the top of my list .. who knows .. gotta ride ‘em first.

I must admit I’m bemused by the_man’s statement Mako is better than F325 !?!? But again, everyone to their own. Anyway, here’s to a stellar 2019 & 2020. January’s 2021 tpi poll should be very interesting with all the promised new rides coming over the next couple of years.

January 14, 2019 at 9:16 PM

I like out and back B&M hypers as opposed to the twisty ones, a ride like Intimidator 305 is more effective at pulling off that kind of ride IMO. Although oddly enough once in a while there will be a big miss for some reason as I thought the hypers at Canada's Wonderland and Carowinds were both really subpar.

January 14, 2019 at 10:58 PM

I've ridden all six of these coasters (five of them in 2018), and out of over 450 coasters all of them land somewhere in my top twenty. On my personal list, they rank as follows:

1. El Toro (#1)
2. Fury 325 (#2)
3. Steel Vengeance (#4)
4. Twisted Timbers (#8)
5. Twisted Colossus (#10)
6. Intimidator 305 (#18)

Coasters are always challenging to rank and can produce some heated opinions as everyone has different preferences. Additionally, some of the best rides out there are at small parks few are likely to visit (at least one coaster on my top 20 list is at a park not covered by TPI, and a couple others are at non-chain parks). I'm really curious to see what the results of this one are...Steel Vengeance is definitely getting the most hype, but I've got a feeling opinions may cool slightly on it after it's been running for a couple years.

January 15, 2019 at 8:55 AM

I think I'm going to be on the wrong side of this one, but I-305 is the best on this list for me. I LOVE Steel Vengeance and Twisted Timbers (haven't ridden Twisted Colossus yet), but Steel Vengeance is too repetitive for my liking (the entire second half is like being in a martini shaker), and Twisted Timbers lacks the speed and awe-inspiring intensity that Cedar Point's RMC creation possesses. Maybe if you merged those two together, you'd have a #1 coaster. I also like Fury 325 (to be honest, I haven't ridden it since it's inaugural season), but I actually felt Leviathan, which I rode less than a year earlier was better.

The real hard choice for me was between El Toro and I-305. I love the cornocopia of ejector air that El Toro provides, and it is by far the smoothest true-wooden roller coaster in the world. The pacing and length is about as perfect as you could ask, but the one thing it is lacking for me is sustained positive g's. I've always been a fan of coasters that can pin you to your seat, and I-305 does that better than any roller coaster on the planet. The new softer, padded OTSR are extremely comfortable, and about as good as you can get without going to a lap bar (sans seat belt). The pacing of the coaster is relentless with each section of the ride bringing a different sensation to the table. From the high angle drop to the grey-out-intense turn to the zero-g airtime hill to the s-curves, I-305 just doesn't let up until it's over. Best of all, because of the location of the coaster in the park and the overall profile of Kings Dominion, I-305 rarely has a line that extends beyond 15-20 minutes. On most Sunday afternoons, I could marathon I-305 20+ times in just a couple of hours. It's one of the few coasters I get off, and just take a deep breath and think of how great it is to be alive!

SHOCKED to see Millennium Force not make this list.

January 15, 2019 at 11:56 AM

It practically killed me to vote for Steel Vengeance but I did. The reason it practically killed me is that since I took up coasters 8 years ago El Toro has been my favorite. (It's also the 1st coaster I'd ridden in 40 years and as a result I developed a sentimental attachment to it.) Nothing could top it - not Lightning Rod, not Outlaw Run among woodies and not any steel coaster or hybrid. However, I found SV to be more thrilling. At some point I may change my mind as to which is better b/c El Toro is more user friendly. I've ridden El Toro probably 500 times (it's in my home park) and never felt any the worse for having done so. After 5 rides on SV I had a banged up elbow on one side and a large bruise on the other so if rideability and re-rideability were the determining factor I would certainly put El Toro ahead. I-305 would be my # 3 and I likewise prefer Leviathan to Fury. Wicker Man is astonishingly good but not a top ten coaster. I put both Iron Rattler & New Texas Giant in my personal top ten b/c I can think of few coasters which are as much fun to ride as these two.

January 15, 2019 at 4:44 PM

There are many fantastic coasters out there, many of which I have not yet had a chance to visit. On this list I voted for F325, but here is my current top 10 (11):
1. Maverick – Cedar Point
2. Fury 325 – Carowinds
3. Intimidator 305 – Kings Dominion
4. Millennium Force – Cedar Point
5. Superman the Ride / Bizarro – Six Flags New England
6. Banshee – Kings Island
7. Beast – Kings Island
8. Voyage – Holiday World
9. Outlaw Run – Silver Dollar City
10. Apollo’s Chariot / Mako – Busch Gardens Williamsburg /
SeaWorld Orlando

Honorable mentions... too many to list!

January 16, 2019 at 1:26 AM

Millennium Force is still my favorite, and I’ve ridden SV and Twisted Collossus. Both great, but I can’t get over that height and those views of MF!

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