Top Ten List-O-Rama!

It seems like coaster enthusiasts stay sane in the off-season by doing polls, top tens, awards, and coaster/ride tournaments. Even I’m starting to get a little tired of them at this point. But, Brady over at the LA Time Funland Blog has done something a little different.

He created his top tens based on a panel of coaster ‘experts’ (including me!). The panel includes such luminaries as Duane Marden, creator of the best roller coaster site on the planet: Roller Coaster Database, theme park world-traveler Robb Alvey of Theme Park Review, and Lance Hart from the top theme park news & rumor site, ScreamScape to name a few.  He also included the Golden Ticket Awards and Mitch Hawker’s Internet Coaster Poll for good measure. The result is the LA Times Top 10 Roller Coasters Lists:

LA Times Top 10 Steel Roller Coasters in the United States:
1. Bizarro at Six Flags New England
2. Millennium Force at Cedar Point
3. Apollo’s Chariot at Busch Gardens Williamsburg
4. Montu at Busch Gardens Tampa
5. Goliath at Six Flags Over Georgia
6. Incredible Hulk at Universal’s Islands of Adventure
7. Diamondback at Kings Island
8. Griffon at Busch Gardens Williamsburg
9. Nitro at Six Flags Great Adventure
10. Tatsu at Six Flags Magic Mountain 

LA Times Top 10 Wooden Roller Coaster in the U.S.:
1. The Voyage at Holiday World
2. El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure
3. The Phoenix at Knoebels
4. Boulder Dash at Lake Compounce
5. Ravine Flyer II at Waldemeer
6. The Beast at Kings Island
7. The Raven at Holiday World
8. GhostRider at Knott’s Berry Farm
9. Thunderhead at Dollywood
10. Lightning Racer at Hersheypark

I could dispute a few of the steel roller coasters (Millennium Force is way too high!), but overall I have no real gripes with the steel coasters list. The wooden list befuddles me a bit. There must be some West coast bias or nostalgia in play. I don’t know how anyone could ride Knott’s Berry Farms’ GhostRider today and consider it a top ten roller coaster. Well, maybe if you’ve only got about 10 wooden coasters under your belt. 

At first, I was a bit surprised by the lack of roller coasters from other countries. I’m sure that well-traveled enthusiasts like Robb Alvey had some international coasters in their list. Then, I realized that the list is the top roller coasters in the U.S. It was probably a good idea to narrow the scope some, but this kept it from being  a true top ten if some of the participants had Canada’s Wonderland’s Behemoth or T Express in their top 10. Of course all of these lists have there downsides and disadvantages. There will never be a perfect list, but at least there are now a number of resources to answer the question: What’s the best roller coaster?

Visit the LA Times Funland Blog to see the full panel of experts, participate in a coaster poll, and see photo galleries of both the Top 10 Wooden Roller Coasters and the Top 10 Steel Roller Coasters. Thanks to Brady for including me in the panel!

The Coaster Critic’s Brand New Top 10 Lists
As part of my participation in the LA Times panel, I decided to revise my top ten steel, wooden, and overall lists. I’ve always tried to create my lists by doing a heads up comparison. Would I rather ride this coaster or that coaster? At the top, it’s all very close. Those roller coasters are amazing and it’s really tough to put one above another. As a result of my revisions Montu, Kumba, and Manta joined my steel coasters list and Rampage joined my wooden coasters list. After writing my Montu review I realized that I had snubbed it and it wasn’t getting the love it deserved. 

My Updated Top 10 Roller Coasters:
 1 Bizarro (Superman) at Six Flags New England
 2 El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure
 3 Apollo’s Chariot at Busch Gardens Europe
 4 Beast at Kings Island
 5 The Voyage at Holiday World
 6 Alpengeist at Busch Gardens Europe 
 7 Montu at Busch Gardens Tampa 
 8 Kumba at Busch Gardens Tampa
 9 Hades at Mt. Olympus Theme Park
10 Ravine Flyer II at Waldameer Park
Also see my updated Top 10 Steel Roller Coasters and Top 10 Wooden Roller Coasters lists.

What’s Your Take?
What’s your number one roller coaster? What do you base your top ten coasters on? Leave a comment below.