For this edition of Top 3 Thursdays I thought I’d take a look at the most common roller coaster names. Instead of trying to find the specific roller coaster names, I figured naming themes would be a bit easier. I perused the indispensable Roller Coaster Database until I came up with a handful of common namethemes. I’m sure that there are a few others. If you can think of any, feel free to share them. Here’s my list of the most common roller coaster name themes. High Winds – Powerful Swirling Winds Make Good Coaster Names One of the most common name themes involves powerful, windy, weather phenomenons. From Cyclones to Hurricanes, many wind-related terms have been used as roller coaster names. It makes sense that the turns and twists found on roller coasters take would remind people of swirling winds. Popular Examples: Hurricane, Tornado, Twister, & Cyclone Less Common Examples: Nor’Easter, Typhoon, Storm Serpents – Steel Snakes & Snake-Like Creatures Those long slithering creatures seem to make for good roller coaster names. The imagery here reflects the trains navigating the mostly steel track in an often twisty fashion. I’ll also include snakes’ mythical cousins the dragons in this group as they’re often snake-like in appearance. With 75 known roller coasters named Dragon, it was one of the most common names I found in my research. Popular Examples: Dragon, Python, Viper/Vibora, Serpent, Cobra, Anaconda Less Common Examples: Diamondback, Rattler, Eel, Loch Ness Monster Ride Types & Model Names – The No Theme Theme Some roller coasters just fit their manufacturer’s given ride model name or ride type so well that parks just use them as the names. In my brief search of RCDB I found 286 roller coasters containing the word ‘mouse’. Many of these are likely wild mouse coasters. These compact family coasters with hairpin turns are everywhere. There were also 81 that contained the word ‘mine’. Most of these are likely mine train roller coasters. And lastly, I found 33 that contained the word ‘boomerang’. I’d bet that the majority of these are shuttle coasters. Popular Examples: Wild Mouse, Mine Train, Boomerang Less Common Examples: Invertigo Best of the Rest – Super Heroes, Cats, & Classic Names A few other common naming themes involved super heroes thanks largely to Six Flags (15 Batman coasters & 16 Superman coasters) and large cats of different kinds. There are 48 Wildcats and other feline coasters including Tigers, Cheetahs, and even HellCats. The last major category I noticed were some of the roller coaster names that were more popular in the Golden Age of Roller Coasters. There’s some overlap with the aforementioned Cyclone name, but other historic names are: Jack Rabbit (29), Flyer (25), Racer (40), and Dipper (111). Many of these rides are no longer with us. What’s Your Take? Did I miss any major name themes? What are some of your favorite roller coaster names? Leave a comment below. Photo 1 courtesy of JFinkBiner. Photo 3 courtesy of Milst1 13 Responses Quil August 12, 2011 This is a very Interesting post, CC. I found that these observations were very accurate, and I found myself luaghing at the amount of parks who simply use copied names. (*cough*Six Flags*cough*) Reply Matt August 12, 2011 What about themed names for being tall? Behemoth, the goliaths, giant(texas giant and others), titan, etc. Reply The Coaster Critic August 12, 2011 Good one Matt. Big things (titan, goliath, giant, etc) are another one I thought of, but didn't include. Also flying creatures (griffon, sheikra, eagle, phoenix, etc) came to mind, but I was already well over 3 for my Top 3 post. Reply Prof.BAM August 12, 2011 What about states? When I saw the Carolina Cobra graphic, I could have sworn location would be a part of it. Reply The Coaster Critic August 12, 2011 Locations are another good one. I didn't think of that. They're good modifiers if you choose a common name. Nice one! Reply Piedude81 August 12, 2011 How about one name plastered on the logos of the exact same ride 15 times in 15 different parks? (Six Flags) That was sarcastic, in case you didn't pick up on that. Actually, an example is one word names with the occasional the at the beginning. The Ninja (SFSTL) The Boss (SFSTL)… Those are just off the top of my head from my local Six Flags Park. There are a lot more of those too. Reply Matt McIrvin August 12, 2011 There are a lot of bears out there. Grizzly, Grizzly Bear, Great Bear, Teddy Bear for kiddie coasters. Untamed at Canobie Lake has a bear theme, though it's not clear from the name. (The mascot is a grizzly/brown bear–a little inconsistent with the Adirondack theme, but I guess black bears aren't scary enough.) Reply coasterer22 August 12, 2011 How about coasters named after objects in space? Many coasters are named Comet, Shooting Star, or Galaxy. That's the only one I can think of. And yes, Six Flags is the king of unoriginality. Reply Matt McIrvin August 12, 2011 Also birds of prey: eagles (frequently screaming), falcons, hawks of various sorts. In general, any animals that sports teams are named after will also tend to inspire roller-coaster names. Reply DC August 12, 2011 Back in 1968 when I hit Coney Island for the first time, I remarked even then on the weather related names of their three great woodies: Cyclone, Thunderbolt and Tornado. And, like you guys, I've noticed the a lot of the mythological gods, snakes of all sorts and several avian and mammal species. Comic book and cartoon heroes vary, basically due to licensing agreements and aren't limited to coasters, i.e.Dudley Do Right and Popeye @ IOA. Scooby Doo. And we can't forget movie and TV themes, although they sometimes get lost in the generational shuffle. (Hurler, Italian Job, Outer Limits, Top Gun, Terminator, Joker's Jinx, Batman, ad nauseum) I'm just glad that the creativity is better is the actual coaster designs rather than the marketing Reply Nick August 22, 2011 How about materials? Such as steel, iron, wood, etc. Reply CFC August 22, 2011 Good one. Should have thought of that one myself! Reply Jacob November 15, 2012 You forgot about the Beast. Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.