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. Quil

    I`d have to agree whith arthur about batman the ride being overated. i had a HUGE hedache after getting off of that. CC, could you also write a post about underated coasters?

    PS-i`m suprised that you didn`t add nitro to the list, it`s been #3 on golden ticket for a while and it`s in 10th place on your list.

    Reply
    • Tom

      Now that I think about it, Nitro (in my opinion) is very overrated. When I went on it I got NO airtime, hardly any G's, and a disappointing drop.

      Reply
  2. Jeff

    I believe Arthur Levine was referring to The Dark Knight, not Batman: The Ride.

    I found his list curious as I think may of the rides on it are not that highly regarded by enthusiasts.

    I would say The Beast and Magnum XL200 (or any Arrow/Morgan hypercoasters) are the most over-rated.

    I think most GCI wood coasters are over-rated, although I love the Prowler here at WOF; I think we got really lucky with that one. I have not ridden Thunderhead yet so I cannot comment.

    The Raven is one of my favorites. I love the air-time hills going out to the lake, the big drop into the low area, followed by the out-of-control speed back to the station. I would like a couple of things changed on it, but it is a fun ride.

    Reply
  3. Judy P in Pgh

    I agree with Joel about Raven. It was a fun family ride and I enjoyed it more than The Legend. I went to Holiday World a few years ago, lured by stories of the legendary Raven and found … Ta-Da … The Voyage! What did Joel call it … "full-fledged top notch roller coaster?" I guess that made Raven "bait" for me.

    Now it's time for a couple of dissenting opinions. Being from western PA, I took a deep breath as directed, but it only allowed me to scream "WHAT?!" all the louder. You gotta come back up here, Joel, and I'll take you for a ride on the BLUE train on Millenium Force. I can only guess that you rode on red or yellow. Heck, look at the photo you have posted above. Those people are on the BLUE train and they are having a blast! If I needed to go back to grad school and do some sort of research and thesis, it would involved the differences in speed on these 3 differently-colored trains.

    Now I get to stab back at CC …Bizarro at 6 Flags New England. Yawn! Maybe I expected more because of the way that Joel talked it up, but I was pretty disappointed in this ride. Or maybe I was in a bored state of mind before even boarding due to the loooooooooong lines on that hot July day. It was so stinking crowded that the water park was filled to capacity and I only got one ride per coaster, with a water ride or two for cooling off purposes. I can, however, recommend going down the road to Friendly's for a nice air-conditioned lunch, complete with ice cream for dessert and free drink refills.

    OK, so maybe we should turn this into a joint venture, Joel. I'll take you to Cedar Point to show off Mille and you get me some re-rides on Bizarro. Then, we can head off to Holiday World and ride The Voyage until we can't stand up anymore (at which point, we can stop for a nice, cheap Thanksgiving dinner right next door to the coaster).

    Reply
  4. Quil

    oh, the dark knight rides were ripoffs too, i just didn`t like the world`s first invert.

    Reply
  5. MannyArno

    No-one has commented on an english ride?? Think about it… there has been rita queen of speed at alton towers… massive hype about it… and really it's BORING… all that i came with out of it was a sore neck… please i implore you, it's not worth the massive waiting lines… one year after it opened… it took me 1 hour to get on the ride, with a fast pass ticket, now that's large for Alton Towers… and it's just not worth it… i'd have rather gone on the classics like corkscrew which is no longer there…

    Reply
  6. Schwarz

    I hate to correct you Judy but the train they were on in the picture is red if you look at the sides. Also on millennium force it may have not had much airtime at all but the ride overall was still great thanks to the speed!

    Reply
  7. Charlie

    Thought on hyper sonic: it was still a fun coaster. to bad i never got to ride it.

    thoughts on millennium force: Intimidator 305 doesn't look like it will have any air time eather. but we shall see.

    Reply
  8. The Coaster Critic

    Jeff & Manny Arno, that's part of the problem with doing an overrated coasters list. Many won't even agree on which rides are 'highly regarded' or hyped to begin with, much less which are actually overhyped. I haven't ridden any coasters in the UK unfortunately so I can't speak to Rita. Plus, maybe they hyped it as a bigger deal because of the lack of launchers over there. Just a thought.

    Judy, even if Millennium Force's other trains produce a bit more air, or if I have to sit in the 9th row, left seat, with a clean shaven face, on an empty stomach then it can't 'reliably' make good on its purported greatness. I'm not sure what happened on your trip to SFNE. I guess long lines can have an effect, but I wouldn't think it'd make you overlook Bizarro's ridiculous airtime, that view of the river, and the two tunnels. Thanks again for passing along Arthur's list. While things could get ugly :), this is a fun topic.

    Reply
    • ??????

      Dont you think Montu is over rated? nowadays, its so slow it barely feels like a world class coaster. maybe it was reviewed before the trim brakes. kumba is waaaay better

      Reply
  9. Evan

    Charlie – how could you possibly call Hypersonic fun without ever riding it? It was one of the worst coaster experiences of my life – second to last in my list of coasters ridden. After feeling like being punched in the stomach during the launch, the rest of the ride was an abhorrence because of the pneumatic tires. The dynamics of the trains with those wheels is a feeling I'd love never to experience again.

    Reply
  10. Hoss

    LoL Judy P in Pgh. Funny you mention that because I have actually found the Red train to produce the fastest and most intense rides on MF. I've done the red train only twice and those two times also happened to be my only two night rides on MF. MF has an extremely high average speed. It is also the longest steel roller coaster in the country. Because of those 2 factors the trains heat and loosen up a lot more during the day than other roller coaster trains would, and because of the extreme length of the ride the difference becomes more noticeable than for other roller coasters. Remember MF has no trim brakes. Typically there is less wind at night as well. This is why MF is so much better at night! I don't even pay attention to people when they rate MF based on an experience that happened during the day time. It's that much better at night especially in the back seat. Greatest roller coaster experience I have ever had!

    Reply
  11. Mike

    Ghostrider was my #1 for its first three seasons, and now it's a top 30 ride. Knotts has done an admirable job w/ the trains & replacing wood & track, but there's just so much structure there to influence the ride.

    Goliath criticism noted and agreed with, except the "one airless hump shaped hill." That hill might have the GREATEST moment of airtime on any coaster not named Superman IMO. I don't know when & where in the train you rode it, but I've been launched on that hill in every part of the train every season it's been open. You may want to ride it again or try your memory again — because that hill has never failed to deliver and is the only thing keeping any enthusiasts re-riding it!

    Raven is so beloved by enthusiasts because it delivers air in any seat, relentless speed, changes of direction, a beautiful & slightly confusing layout, and even in its brevity, it hits the brake run with the upstops spinning like mad. And there was nothing else like it when it hit the scene, and even after it, most "bigger" rides have failed to deliver most, if not all of that lists of qualities.

    Reply
  12. Prof. BAM

    Intamin does need to make their giga-coasters longer. Steel Dragon 2000 is only a few feet taller than the force, but it has double the distance. As for Kingda Ka and TTD, they're a launch, a very tall hill, and a brake run. They need to be longer. Kingda Ka is close to matching the length of Millenium Force. Strata-coasters need a chain lift, a 90 degree drop, a few inversions, and airtime.

    Reply
      • Prof. BAM

        So what? Millenium Force (I know this is one on this list) used a new cable system. It's hill is steep and from what I hear, fast. The chain alone on Magnum weighs 2 tons. Millenium force's hill only weighs like a 1/2 ton. That could cut down on the prices. And most amusmant parks don't really care about price if it willl draw customers that will drool till they're so dry that they're dead.

      • Quil

        actualy, that description would seldom go farther than premier parks. and they`re out of buisness.

    • Mike

      If you are giving I-305 a 10 post trim then I would definitely think it's overrated. I've ridden pre and post trim and pre trim it was the most intense ride experience I ever had. Post trim it's still a good ride but just doesn't have the speed and intensity it should have. Still a good coaster tho. In other news they actually just put new restraints on it. Instead of the Red OTSR it has black straps now. From what I hear it actually holds you in tight but there is no more head banging.

      Reply
  13. THRILL SEEKER #2

    Most overrated coaster would have to be Montu. i rode it in 2002 , 2005 and 2009 and imo , doesn't even feel like a world class coaster anymore. the line was empty and i just rode it once. maybe it was reviewed before the trim brakes but is time to change the review. kumba is wayyyyy better

    Reply

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