Steel vs. Wood | Theme Park Round Table For this week’s Weekly Topic I thought I’d invoke the eternal battle in the coaster enthusiast community. Like PC vs. Mac, conservative vs. liberal, Pepsi vs. Coke. Most fall into one or the other. It’s a simple question that’s been asked and discussed countless times. Which do you prefer wooden or steel roller coasters?
I would like to add a wrinkle to this classic question. What if you could only ride just one type of coaster? I know that there are many woodie fans that swear by their beloved wooden coasters, but still enjoy the extreme heights, speeds, inversions of steel coasters. Well, I’m making them choose. If they could ride exclusively wooden coasters, would they still choose their allegiance to those old amusement park staples.
Steel Coasters: State of the Art Thrill Machines I fall in the steel coaster camp, but I’ve grown to appreciate wooden coasters as I’ve started to travel more. Rides like Boulder Dash, Voyage, and Hades are amazing to say the least. Even still, I prefer the smooth ride, jet fighter-like inversions, and insane heights that steel coasters can offer. I also enjoy the many varieties of steel coasters. The last few decades have brought us a plethora of new ride types including dive, flying, inverted, and hyper coasters to name a few. With the many flavors of steel coasters comes an wide range of sensations that riders can experience.
Wooden Coasters: Timeless Amusement Park Staples Woodie fans love the classic and time tested feel of being thrown around on a rickety old wooden landmark like the Coney Island Cyclone. I credit a large amount of the love for wooden coasters a result of nostalgia as many fans grew up riding them way back when.
Many woodie fans prefer the roughness for the challenge that it brings. This was no more apparent than when Intamin’s first pre-fabricated wooden coaster debuted in the U.S. with Great Adventure’s El Toro. Enthusiasts like myself applauded the smooth as glass ride (not to mention the abundance of airtime), but wooden purists scoffed at the idea of a wooden coaster with an overly smooth ride. They claimed that El Toro much like Son of Beast, when it had its loop, were abominations and were not what wooden coasters were meant to be.