With new coasters debuting across the country as regional parks open for the season, let's ask the big question - which roller coaster manufacturer is creating the best coasters in the business?
We have 10 companies for you to consider in our Theme Park Insider Vote of the Week this week. Let's start with the five manufacturers with multiple coasters in our annual Top 25.
The creator of more rides on our Top 25 list than any other manufacturer, Liechtenstein-based Intamin Amusement Rides builds much more than just roller coasters. But the fact that this company has helped create our readers' top two favorite coasters, as well as five of our Top 10, speaks to its record as a coaster builder. Intamin's top coasters include Intimidator 305, El Toro, Maverick, and with Universal Creative, Hagrid's Magical Creature Motorbike Adventure and Jurassic World VelociCoaster.
Walter Bolliger and Claude Mabillard left Giovanola in the late 1980s, then went on an unprecedented run to become one of the world's leading coaster companies. Known for innovations with Floorless and Dive coasters, notable B&M productions include Fury 325, SeaWorld Orlando's Manta, Leviathan, Incredible Hulk Coaster, and the just-opened Emperor at SeaWorld San Diego.
Fred Grubb upended the roller coaster community (yeah, pun intended) in 2011 with the debut of New Texas Giant, which revived an aging wooden coaster with a greased lightning steel track. So popular that the company's initials have become a verb ("which coaster should get RMC's next?"), Rocky Mountain Construction's top coasters include Steel Vengeance, Twisted Colossus, Lightning Rod, Iron Rattler, and this year's Iron Gwazi.
Baltimore-based Premier Rides made its name with LIM-launched coasters in the late 1990s. Today, its most installed coasters are its three Sky Rocket models, including the recent Ice Breaker at SeaWorld Orlando. Its Revenge of the Mummy with Universal Creative is its top-rated coaster by our readers, and other notables include Full Throttle, the record-setting EpiQ, and West Coast Racers.
Dutch Vekoma Rides Manufacturing started making farm equipment in the early 20th century, but got into the amusement business as a contractor for Arrow Development before building its own rides in the late 1970s. Now part of Sansei Technologies (see below), Vekoma has a long-standing relationship with Disney, for whom it is building the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, following its work on Disneyland Paris' Space Mountain, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, and Expedition Everest.
Then let's also consider five other design and construction firms, including a couple with a single coaster on our Top 25 list.
Cincinnati-based The Gravity Group is one of several companies that arose after the demise of Custom Coasters International. With its manufacturing arm Gravitykraft, The Gravity Group recently built Kentucky Flyer and Mine Blower, but its best-known and highest-rated coaster remains Holiday World's The Voyage.
Pennsylvania-based GCI is another CCI descendent. Its recent coasters include Texas Stingray, Wicker Man, Mystic Timbers, and InvadR. But our readers' favorite GCI production remains GhostRider, a CCI coaster that GCI retracked in 2016.
Utah-based S&S is another Sansei Technologies company. It's also the final resting place of Arrow Dynamics, whose assets the company acquired in 2002. It also hired several former CCI employees, too. S&S just opened Tumbili, one of its 4D Free Spin models. It also produced Fuji-Q Highland's Do-Dodonpa and Adventuredome's El Loco.
Germany's Gerstlauer builds a range of flat rides and track rides in addition to its coasters. Best known for its Eurofighters and Infinity coasters, Gerstlauer's notable works include TMNT Shellraiser at Nickelodeon Universe in New Jersey, Dollywood's Mystery Mine, and Alton Towers' The Smiler, as well as Knott's Berry Farm's HangTime.
Mack Rides is the oldest company in our vote today, dating back to 1780. Still owned by Germany's Mack family, Mack Rides showcases its attraction line-up at its Europa Park. But you can find Mack Rides in parks around the world, including Copperhead Strike at Carowinds, Slinky Dog Dash at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Flight of the Hippogriff at Universal Studios Hollywood, and Time Traveler at Silver Dollar City.
There are our candidates. Now it's time to vote.
* * *
We wanted you to read this article before we make our newsletter pitch, unlike so many other websites. If you appreciate that - and our approach to covering theme park, travel, and entertainment news - please sign up for our free, three-times-a-week email newsletter. Thank you.
This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.