El Toro: A Landmark Roller Coaster Is Born Ladies and gentlemen, the future is here! Riding El Toro is something any coaster enthusiast, heck, any person with a pulse should do. Especially if you think you know what wooden coasters have to offer. El Toro is going to turn your world upside down. The Plaza Del Carnival section is appropriately themed with a Spanish flare. The look and feel is definitely a step above cheesy or contrived. Right down to the sandy desert-like landscaping with chill pepper plants. Even the smell of the food reminded me more of restaurants in Mexico than Taco Bell. The Viper’s old southwestern station fit into the area perfectly. The trains are themed somewhat like mine train cars and have a very comfortable, next generation look and feel. Loading the trains is a bit slow, but the trains are longer than normal holding 36 riders compared to 24 on Thunderhead and 28 on The Voyage. Intamin’s Prefabricated Wooden Coaster Delivers The ride starts with a quick climb up a relatively quiet lift hill. Already the ride has been uncharacteristically wooden. As I crested the top I looked over and down at Medusa. The height of El Toro gets forgotten, just because it’s not a record breaker. You quickly turn around and drop down the 176 feet of steep track at 76 degrees. This is easily the best first drop of any wooden coaster I’ve ridden, it provides some air and you really feel the steepness. You cross under some track and rise into the first airtime hill. You’re ejected north to the sky, even though you’ve been stapled in by the ride ops. The next hill offers more of the same blissful airtime. The swooping banked turn is next. It’s great especially if you’re seated on the right side of the train. Thanks to the prefabricated track, the ride is glass smooth so far and it’s even more apparent during the swooping turn. If you closed your eyes you’d think you were on a B&M hyper or some other type of steel coaster. After the turn, there’s another fun drop and a smaller, shorter drop that offers the least air on the ride. Extreme Ejector Air & A Twisting Finale Next the track quickly banks to the left which sets up coaster AIRTIME BLISS. The track finishes the turn then rises up and you drop straight into the twisted finale. This innocent looking hill has the sickest airtime on the planet! It’s so forceful that you feel if the restraints failed you’d end up being flung into the tiger exhibit over in the Golden Kingdom. After that El Toro finishes strong with a twisting section close to the ground reminiscent of another bull, Raging Bull at Six Flags Great America. This twisting section is much more satisfying. You finish the twisted finale and eventually reach the breaks. All the riders I rode with returned with the euphoric feeling of heroin. People aren’t used to riding something so thrilling and comfortable. I had 3 rides on El Toro, but I could’ve re-rode 10 or 20 times if I could’ve. You’re not shaken, slammed, bruised, beat up, beat down, jolted, or smacked around the entire ride. Yet it’s thrilling from the beginning to the end. There’s nothing that I would particularly change with El Toro (hence the perfect score). But I would’ve like to have seen a tunnel or two. It would only add to the ride. I’m a sucker for tunnels, terrain coasters, and the like. But let me be clear in stating that El Toro is missing nothing! It doesn’t unseat S:ROS at SFNE as the best coaster on the planet or Kumba as my personal favorite, but it comes pretty darn close. The Voyage and now sits at number 3 on my Top Ten Coasters. This is why I try to save 10’s for rides that really deserve them. El Toro deserves one of my few 10’s and then some. I’m sure GCI and Gravity Group are doing push-ups if they’ve ridden this coaster. Intamin’s on its way to World domination. Final Rating – 10.0 (Superior) Check out the rest of my rating scale here. Also, check out this great roller coaster video of El Toro. Note the speed of the lift hill and smoothness of the ride. You can really here those riders scream on those airtime-packed hills. Note – This video was filmed by professionals with permission from the park. For safety reasons, please DO NOT take a camera on a roller coaster. El Toro is rated ‘IN’ for Intense. It’s a 4 out of 5 on my Thrill Scale for of its height and speed. What’s Your Take? Questions or comments about El Toro? Leave ’em below. 53 Responses « Older Comments blahblahblah August 6, 2011 el toro is amazing!! way better than kingda ka. best coaster in the park Reply Bobbie February 8, 2012 I will limit my comments, already having reviewed this coaster at length on other websites, to say that 1) I agree with Joel that it's just about perfect; I would make alterations to any number of other coasters but El Toro is the coaster perfection incarnate; 2) in my opinion it's superior to The Voyage and as a result it annoys the hell out of me that The Voyage has been consistently getting a Golden Ticket award for #1 woodie; 3) as a veteran of approximately 50 rides on El Toro, I can say that it never gets to be old hat. Reply Speed June 21, 2012 I know this is an old post, but I rode this yesterday for the first time in two years, and it has gotten significantly rougher… I remember, and you stated in the review, that it's extremely smooth for a woodie, and feels like a steel coaster. However, I think it's starting to show it's age. It was pretty rough, and I was bumping (for lack of a better word) around in my seat, especially during the high speed 90 degree turns at the bottom. I walked off he ride with a slight headache and a hurting side. Maybe I just happened to ride on a bad day, but this was disappointing from my 4th favorite coaster. It's still a great ride, but after this I think it went down from a 10 to a 9 in my book. (I rode it twice, by the way, same story second time.) Reply DRU August 27, 2012 I rode El Toro a week or so ago for my first times. I'd say an 11 out of 10. Having missed it's earlier years, I would not call it rough. I also would not say it's as smooth as steel in those wonderful turns. Still much smoother than Ravine Flyer 2 was this July… Best air ever!!!!!!!! Tied with I305 for my #1 Reply Mark September 11, 2013 I finally rode El Toro this past weekend. Wow is an understatement. I got almost 20 rides in two days, including evening ERT (Riding of the Bull Cinco). Front seat, back seat, middle, every car. It feels like it’s probably not quite as smooth as it was on opening day — especially the far turnaround — but still magnitudes smoother than 90% of wood coasters. I did get a big bump on my elbow that will take a few days to heal. The park says they haven’t had to retrack the ride yet, which is very impressive. Great pacing, great elements, even the middle section (the return past the station before the RT ejector hill) is better than most coaster’s best parts. I look forward to comparing this with Rocky Mountain coasters. Reply linaskye April 7, 2014 Mark, I did RotB as well, and I actually felt I got the best rides on Toro since I first rode it about 6 years ago. It was actually a bit TOO intense for me. It was really running completely wild, and I stopped after 5 or 6 laps and moved on to other things. I didn’t think to ask if they’d retracked at all, but I’m astounded that they haven’t done anything in that vein to it. Does it toss you around? Absolutely, but I never get a vibration or bumping or shaking or shuffling when riding it. I’m so psyched for opening day to ride again…if I actually get to ride anything after getting my season pass and the Rolling Thunder piece/certificate, that is! Reply Ana June 14, 2017 I know this is an old post, but I went on this ride yesterday and it was the bumpiest and most rough ride I’ve ever been on. Jerks you forwards and backwards. Most likely so rough from the age. After going on it my whole neck is in excruciating pain. The thrill was great, but the whole neck thing put a big damper on the ride. Reply Joel June 15, 2017 I’m sorry to hear that. I’d hoped that El Toro would stay smoother than most wooden coasters because it’s a different kind of woodie. Hope they make improvements to keep it smooth. Reply aj September 25, 2017 I have a season pass and went to six flags solo, which is surprisingly fun given the freedom to go when and where I want all day. At gates open, went straight to nitro for 3 runs. Nitro is still epic, and a solid second place… But el toro is just amazing. I’ve been to many parks and have ridden many coasters, but I can’t think of anything that tops el toro in terms of overall experience. Somehow, even though I’ve been on it dozens of times, el toro delivers the ” first time ” feeling. No matter how prepared the most experienced riders are, this coaster delivers a solid and thrilling ride every time. Besides the epic drop and steel coaster- like smoothness, the several “zero- g/ stomach in the throat” moments are what make el toro special. I would venture to say that this is the feeling that all fellow coaster junkies crave, and el toro not only delivers them in spaids, but throws them at you like haymakers from a heavyweight. Tip for riders to enjoy this feeling- release your grip on the hill crests and let your body float… Pure bliss. This has to be one of the best coasters on the planet. No question. If there were a coaster hall of fame, el toro gets my vote… Truly epic Reply Myke August 30, 2019 Wonder when was the last time you tried it as the one and only time I tried it was in 2018 and it was not as smooth as you make it appear. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad ride, but it was just as smooth as I would expect from a wooden coaster going that fast, which is not enough for me to enjoy. Reply « Older Comments Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.