Most Overrated Roller Coasters: Which Roller Coasters Can’t Live Up to the Hype?
Manhattan Express at New York New York Hotel & Casino - Las VegasThere are roller coasters that are very highly regarded. Some of these rides deserve their status, while others are way over hyped or overrated in my opinion. “Overrated” lists will always be controversial as everyone has their own take on which rides are good and even which rides are as good as advertised. While I’ve thought about doing a post like this before, I was prompted again by Judy passing along Arthur Levine at About Theme Park’s List. His list is roller coasters that didn’t live up to the hype. He describes hype as being from the parks or from theme park fans.

Arthur Levine’s list includes: Time Machine, High Roller, Kingda Ka, Hypersonic XLC, Dark Knight (Great America & Great Adventure), Goliath (Magic Mountain), Manhattan Express, Son of Beast, Beast.

I invite you to visit his list to learn Levine’s rationale behind each pick. Before I even clicked through to read his list, I decided to make my own so that I wasn’t biased in any way by his picks. But, I made my list based on my own interpretation of overrated: roller coasters that are regarded higher than they should be. This doesn’t mean that these are not good roller coasters, but they have a somewhat bloated reputation that they don’t really live up to.

Here’s my list of the Most Overrated Roller Coasters:

Ghost Rider at Knotts Berry Farm
Ghost Rider may just be a victim of time. When I rode it in 2008, it was one of the roughest and jerkiest rides of the year. It may have deserved its status years ago, but not anymore. Sadly, I know that West coast enthusiasts don’t have too many wooden coasters to really enjoy and be proud of. So the hype around Ghost Rider could be based on the wooden coaster vaccuum out West. Hopefully Terminator Salvation helped to fill that void somewhat.

Raven at Holiday World
I love Holiday World, but I’ve never understood the crazy enthusiast infatuation for this woodie. It is a terrain ride, which I can definitely appreciate. And when I rode it, Raven was fairly smooth and fun, but it had a ridiculously lofty reputation for what it is. In a way, I’m glad that it was so celebrated as it helped put Holiday World on the map. But at the end of the day I’m still puzzled as to why Raven is so loved. I got off a bit underwhelmed.

Goliath at Six Flags Magic Mountain
A Goliath Dissapointment at Six Flags Magic MountainGoliath is about the 125,000th example of bigger not always being better. Sure it’s larger than a number of other hyper coasters in the States, but it flat out doesn’t deliver. The first drop isn’t steep enough and the twister layout has one airless hump-shaped hill. The remainder is a set of helices that would be fun if the g-forces weren’t so strong. If you don’t mind blacking out (or maybe just graying out if you’re lucky) then Goliath might no be so bad for you. I’d like to save my brain cells, so for me, Goliath’s size, but lackluster layout fell way short of the hype. Read my full Goliath review.

Kingda Ka (& Likely Top Thrill Dragster)
While it’s no doubt an insane experience to be rocketed to 128mph in only a few seconds, Kingda Ka is not the roller coaster it’s hyped to be. It’s way too short an experience to mentioned in the same breath as the best of the best in the World. While I haven’t ridden Top Thrill Dragster, all indications would allow me to include it as well. I know that the consensus is that it’s better than Kingda Ka (because of the lap bars), but in my opinion these Strata coasters are more thrill rides than full-fledged top notch roller coasters like The Voyage or Apollo’s Chariot. In the 2009 Golden Ticket Awards, Top Thrill Dragster was ranked as the 10th Best Steel Coaster in the World. I find that hard to believe. Read my Kingda Ka review and the Kingda Ka vs. Top Thrill Dragster showdown where my readers gave Top Thrill the edge.

Millennium Force at Cedar PointIs this Millennium Force's Sole Airtime Hill?
Before I start my explanation, I would like to ask anyone who hails from the great Buckeye state, Michigan, parts of Indiana, and Western PA to take a deep breath. Here goes. Your beloved giga coaster doesn’t live up to its lofty reputation. It almost does. I gave it a 9 out of 10. But the lack of airtime is the ride’s down fall. With a layout that (in theory) is meant to provide air, it did not deliver when I rode it. I know some disagree and others agree. I’m looking forward to getting back to Cedar Point one day so that I can give Millennium Force another try. If it had half the aitime of Bizarro (S:ROS at SFNE) than it would probably be a 10 and in my opinion deserve it’s status. But, BIG and FAST, wasn’t enough for me. Read my full Millennium Force review.

Formerly Overrated, Now Just Scrap Candidates
Hypersonic XLC may be more of a regionally hyped ride, but it was nonetheless hyped to be a bigger deal than it actually was. Thankfully, the five blink-long XLC has been scrapped so the debate over the ride is pretty much over. Cedar Point’s Mean Streak was a huge dissapointment, but I think the word is out enough on that ride to where it’s not rated highly enough to say it’s overrated. I haven’t ridden Son of Beast, so I can’t speak from my own personal experiences. But again all indications would lead me to believe that it was very overrated. Son of Beast has been much hyped over the years, but has suffered many breakdowns, caused a lawsuit even after it was de-looped, and has been hammered by enthusiasts.

What’s Your Take?
There’s plenty to discuss here. What do you think of my list and Arthur Levine’s list? Do you agree or disagree? Which roller coasters do you think are overrated? Leave a comment below. Some images courtesy of CoasterImage.

44 Responses

  1. airtime

    I have to agree that Millie is overrated. Sure, a big, intimidating lift hill and super speed, but you're right – the air is just not there.

    Raven? Goodness – what are you looking for in a woodie? Its awesome ejector air, picturesque setting, and breakneck run to the station are incredible. The pacing is picture perfect.

    I guess KK and TTD are not traditional coasters, and I agree that they are far too short, but my oh my, those launches are truly extreme. They would be worth it even if they didn't have the skyscraper-sized hills!

    Now for my turn to throw a dead cat up the church aisle: I would add the Coney Island Cyclone to this list. Perhaps I am just getting old and wimpy, but this ride was too much sheer pain to even appreciate. I understand the appeal of old woodies, and maybe my body just can't stand them anymore, but I can't see the point of subjecting my flesh to such violence for a few thrills. (I'm not sure it's just my age, because my son [16] and my daughter [17] both thought the same after riding: OUCH!) I have 72 woodies on my track record, and this is the only one I thought might actually be causing me brain damage.

    • Zombie

      Agreed. Raven is a bit short, but It's still a great ride. Okay, maybe not the best, but still a GREAT ride.

  2. James

    I don't get this whole rage about expedition geforce. It is not the best rollercoaster in Europe, it's nothing special. I picked Nemesis, Dragon Khan and Blue Fire as my 3 best in Europe – just because their something different

  3. A

    Vampire Suspended Coaster at Chessington world of adventures is soooo overatted for me. It has a tiny drop, it does like a few tight turns and then that's it. So what if the themings very good? You don't go on a ride to look at the scenery!

    • Alex

      I dont think its overrated as you rarely hear about it. Its a fantastic family ride, though.

  4. Daniel

    Pepsi Max Big One is overrated. For some strange reason, everyone seems to think it goes 87mph and is 235ft tall. When I rode it, the only fun bit was the twisting drop. All the other bits were quite slow and gentle, they weren't bad but they were certainly not thrilling.

  5. Teddy

    I gotta agree with millenium force being on here. i rode it about 10 times the last time i was at cp. every time just begging for it to give me airtime. sadly it failed every time. its just unecessarily fast and has zero ejector time. So many people love it for some reason tho…

  6. Ben Morris

    I don't agree with you about the Manhattan Express, when I went on it, it was so fun, I loved the drop and the loop, and before that, I was afraid of roller coasters, so I asked some people in line about it, and they loved it.

  7. Surya

    I don't agree on your comments on Goliath. I've ridden it 14 times in my 2 days at SFMM and just LOVED the airtime it offers on the first drop (in the back) and the camel back (all of the train). I found a way to have the restraints (which are excellent) fairly loose (at least 4 inches between my legs and the restraints, and each time I would be lifted up all the way. Amazing and fun.

    Also, I had no blacking out or graying out problems in the helix. It is insanely intense, and I think it's fun having such an intense element that is just too much for some people. Not every coaster is for everyone, but I loved this!

  8. Zombie

    I can't believe Brian had the guts to put "Rolling X train" at Everland, Korea, as "the 5th most overrated coaster in the world"

  9. Alex

    I agree with all except Raven, I really liked that ride!

    Kingda Ka is incredible, but its not a great coaster. Its simply an adrenaline rush.

    I hate Goliath personally, and think its a terrible ride. I perfer the B&M creations over Giovanolas crap creations any day.

  10. Levi

    Disagree with you in a big way on Kingda Ka.

    It is what it is, a two-trick pony. A ridiculously fast launch and a HUGE hill. But that's enough to make this ride one of the best in the world. There is simply NOTHING else like it. The closest comparison I can draw to that launch is skydiving – it really feels the same with the wild buffeting and and the blast of air to your face. I've never seen anybody get off of that ride and look like they were disappointed by the experience.

    • Ryan

      I hated kingda ka. It has that unpleasant airtimehill at 100 mph… It just hurts.

  11. Ryan

    You need to ride millennium towards the back, or the 5th row. Those are the 2 “candy” sopts in it, you get a lot of airtime in those seats.


    AGH! Did someone just say that MONTU WAS OVERRATED? I rode it in Jan. 2013 and it was great, the best looper I’ve ridden.


    As for Kumba, it has seen better days. It is getting quite rough in its age, and unfortunately I never got to ride it when it was newer.


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