Top Wooden Coasters of 2006

Thunderhead Edges Out The Voyage for Second Straight GTA Title
Thunderhead won top honors at Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket Awards for the second year in a row. But the real surprise, to me at least, is that The Voyage shot all the way to the second spot nearly taking first in its very first year in existence. That’s impressive, and it must mean that a lot of those well-traveled enthusiasts made it out to Santa Claus, IN. It’s good to know that I wasn’t the only one who ventured way off the beaten path to visit Holiday World.

The Voyage and Thunderhead offer quite different rides. Thunderhead is more of a fun-for-the-whole family type of coaster where you get off no worse for the wear. The Voyage on the other hand is an intense, white knuckle adventure. It will be interesting to see if The Voyage will over take Thunderhead next year as not all riders will prefer its intense 1.2 mile trip over Thunderhead’s fun twists and turns. Congrats to Dolly and the coaster designers (Great Coasters International). They’re going to have find room for another Golden Ticket on Thunderhead’s entrance sign.

Boulder Dash and Hades Tie
It’s funny that Hades and Boulder Dash are tied at 3rd. I had a hard time placing those two coasters in my Top Ten Coasters. It’s really tough to say which I prefer. Hades has an amazing opening. Boulder Dash has a stronger finish. Riding at insane speeds through a pitch black tunnel is crazy. Flying down a mountain and through the woods is almost just as thrilling. Both coasters offer pretty unique and very thrilling rides.

Phoenix at Knoebels deservedly rounds out the top 5. It’s not one of my personals favorites, but it’s packed with airtime and has been a perennial fan-favorite for years. If you haven’t been to Knoebels it has a lot to offer for a smaller park. It’s coasters and the park itself are a great change-up compared to the modern corporate parks out there.

Below is the complete Top 10 Wooden Coasters:
*= Coasters that I’ve ridden.

Golden Ticket Awards – Top Wooden Coasters
1 Thunderhead* – Dollywood
2 The Voyage* – Holiday World
3 Boulder Dash* – Lake Compounce
4 Hades* – Mt. Olympus Theme Park
5 Phoenix* – Knoebels Amusement Resort
6 Shivering Timbers – Michigan’s Adventure
7 Raven* – Holiday World
8 Beast – Paramount’s Kings Island
9 The Legend* – Holiday World
10 Lightning Racer* – Hershey Park