Best Wooden Roller Coasters in the World Announced

Everland’s T Express Takes Top Spot Intamin Dominates Top 10
This year’s Internet Coaster Poll had a big shake up at the top of the wooden poll as two-time champ The Voyage (Holiday World, Indiana) was unseated by newcomer T Express (Everland, South Korea).

Intamin Pre-fabs For the Win!
Last winter, I covered the T Express construction. I had particular interest because it’s an Intamin pre-fabricated woodie. Pre-fabs are similar to steel coasters in that they are assembled like puzzle pieces on-site. Another major difference has been their ultra-smooth, unwooden-like ride. Wooden purists can hate these faux-woodies all they want, but the poll speaks for itself. This year, all four Intamin prefabricated coasters are in the top ten. The only one in America is Six Flags Great Adventures’ El Toro. It offers an amazingly smooth and thrilling ride with more airtime than you’d think would be possible. For that reason it’s at number 2 in my Top Ten Coasters and number 3 in the Internet Coaster Poll. I’ve heard great things about Balder at Liseberg (Sweden) which came in at 5th again this year. And Colossus (Heide-Park, Germany) moved up 7 spots to 10th. If that wasn’t enough, a traditional woodie from Intamin moved into the top 10 as Aska (Japan) came in tied for 7th place even though its been ‘standing, but not operating’ for 2 years. I don’t think most would have forseen Intamin’s sudden wooden dominance.

2007 Top Ten Best Wooden Roller Coasters
1 T Express at Everland (Korea) Intamin (New in ’08)
2 The Voyage at Holiday World (Indiana) Gravity Group (1st ’07)
3 El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure (New Jersey) Intamin (2nd ’07)
4 Boulder Dash at Lake Compounce (Connecticut) CCI (6th ’07)
5 Balder at Liseberg (Sweden) Intamin (5th ’07)
6 Phoenix at Knoebels (Pennsylvania) Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters (7th ’07)
7 Troy at Toverland (Netherlands) GCI (4th in ’07)
7 Aska at Nara Dreamland (Japan) Intamin (11th in ’07)
9 Ravine Flyer II at Waldameer (Pennsylvania) Gravity Group (New in ’08)
10 Colossos at Heide Park (Germany) Intamin (17th ’07)
Complete 2008 wooden roller coaster poll results with all 178 coasters.

Check out this on-ride video of T Express at Everland. It’s a massive wooden coaster at 183′ feet tall and over 5,300 feet long it’s the 3rd tallest and 6th longest in the world!

Other Notable Rankings – The Winners
In all, America now has only 5 of the top ten wooden coasters as one of my all-time favorites Hades (Mt. Olympus, Wisconsin) and Tremors (Silverwood, Idaho) have been bumped out of the top 10. Meanwhile, Ravine Flyer II debuted at an impressive 9th in its first year. Six Flags St. Louis’ brand new Evel Knievel debuted at 15th.

Other Notable Rankings – The Not-Winners
Kings Island’s de-looped Son of Beast moved up (if you can believe that) to 174th out of 176. Other well-known woodies at the bottom, include Cedar Point’s Mean Streak at 166th, and Darien Lake’s Predator at 173rd. California’s Great America’s Grizzly once again retains the title of world’s worst wooden coaster.

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), Son of Beast was closed during my trip to Kings Island. Since it’s lost its loop and distinction as the world’s only wooden looping coaster, the ride does look a lot less eventful with just a number of huge helixes. I re-rode Darien Lake’s Predator this summer and while they’d removed that unforgivable gum monument in the queue, the ride was still much rougher than it should be. I did notice that they were in the process of working on it. Even if it’s improved, it may take years for its reputation to improve. Mean Streak isn’t by any means a horrible ride, it’s just about as dull as possible. And with its size, potential and location at the Coaster Capital, Mean Streak is quite a dissapointment. I’ve never been to Great America’s, but it’s Grizzly has the same ‘Coney Island Wildcat’ design as the Grizzly at my old home park Kings Dominion. I could definitely imagine it super-rough and rickity. I’m surprised Cedar Fair hasn’t done a major overhaul and brought in a wrecking ball at this point.

What’s Your Take?
What do you think of the 2008 Internet Coaster Poll’s Wood Results? Where does your favorite woodie place? Do you agree with the results? Leave a comment below.