They’ve been battling it out on roller coaster polls and enthusiast’s top coaster lists for years. Now Holiday World’s The Voyage and El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure will go head-to-head in the latest installment of Roller Coaster Showdowns.


I like to include a ride’s theming in my showdowns because, at times, a ride’s theme can actually add a lot to the overall experience. For these two coasters, theming is a bit less of a factor.

El Toro’s located in Six Flags Great Adventure’s Plaza del Carnival section. The trains are kind of mine train-esque and the bull on the front car is a nice touch. The station looks like an old South Western building and I still remember noticing the strong and enticing smell of Latin food in the air thanks to the new (at the time) restaurant nearby. Overall, El Toro’s got a nicely-themed look and home.

The Voyage is in Holiday World’s Thanksgiving area. The ride’s name and logo reflect the voyage of the early settlers of America. The station is in a deep blue building, reminiscent of the ocean. Inside, it’s themed like a 17th century ship with seafaring items on the walls. I don’t remember a whole lot else in terms of theming from when I rode it (2006).
Edge: El Toro

Lift Hill & First Drop

el toro six flags great adventureThe Voyage’s lift is pretty standard. You exit the station and immediately start your climb. From the 163-foot peak you’ve got a great view of the forest and the exciting ride to come. The drop is very good and offers some solid airtime.

The typical clickety-clack sound heard on most roller coasters is absent on El Toro. The ride’s lift hill is remarkably quiet and fast. It’s a pretty strange experience as you basically zoom upward thanks to the cable lift technology. At the top, the train takes a left turn before diving down a steep 76-degree, 176-foot drop. El Toro’s drop is 13 feet taller and 10 degrees steeper. And while, the lift hill doesn’t offer an amazing view, the cable lift is pretty unique. El Toro takes this one easily.
Edge: El Toro


The Voyage at Holiday World
The Voyage has one of the most adventurous layouts in all of coasterdom. One moment you’re high above the tree line, then the next you’re flying through one of the ride’s several tunnels. There are insane 90 degree banks, as well as the triple down section. Best of all, as a huge fan of terrain coasters, after all of that insanity, you feel like you went somewhere.

It’s a small knock, but I wish El Toro had some terrain to play with or at least a tunnel. How great would it be if one of El Toro’s final turns were covered or in a dark tunnel? The Voyage gets this one with its dynamic layout.
Edge: The Voyage


One of The Voyage’s claims to fame when it was announced was that it was going to boast a record-setting amount of airtime. “24.2 seconds of weightless” is what the press release touted. I have to say that The Gravity Group sure seems to deliver on that promise as there’s airtime all over The Voyage. However, I prefer El Toro’s smoother, more precisely executed airtime moments. The Voyage’s wild and out-of-control ride is great, but banked airtime hills were a bit rough and for me felt a bit awkward. Both rides offer tons of air and they each have unforgettable signature moment: Voyage’s Triple Down in the Dark and El Toro’s catapult-like final drop. Tough one here, but I’ll go with El Toro’s flawlessly executed airtime.
Slight Edge: El Toro

Overall Showdown Winner

Since I have El Toro as my top wooden roller coaster, I figured it would win, but I didn’t think it’d get 3 out of 4 categories. The Voyage is still an incredible ride that I rated a rare 10 (Superior). Every theme park fan should get to Holiday World and experience it. And of course, if you haven’t been to Six Flags Great Adventure, what are you waiting for? El Toro’s glass smooth, airtime-packed ride makes it a must as well. Both of these two next generation woodies are important roller coasters that should not be missed.
Overall Winner: El Toro

Bonus Round: The Mascot Showdown! 3,000 Pound Wrecking Machine vs. A Wild Maritime Journey
No points for the bonus round, but a bull, (a mighty and powerful animal) probably edges out a historically important, but intangible object in the crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. Plus, my plush El Toro bull is pretty cool. I haven’t been to Holiday World in years. Are there actual boats in the gift shop at The Voyage?
Mascot Winner: El Toro

Read my reviews of these awesome coasters:
The Voyage at Holiday World
El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure

Take a virtual ride on El Toro and The Voyage:

Note – These videos were filmed by professionals with permission from the park. For safety reasons, please DO NOT take a camera on a roller coaster.

Who’s your pick in this Roller Coaster Showdown? Vote in the poll below and leave a comment below.[poll id=”69″]

15 Responses

  1. Gearhart

    That's a pretty sweet showdown, I haven't been on either but will be in Jersey in a few weeks (finally). Do you have any suggestions for tackling SFGAdv or seating preferences on El Toro?

    • The Coaster Critic

      Not a whole lot of tips. I would definitely say that you have to head towards the Kingda Ka/El Toro end of the park right away. I'd imagine that those two rides still have the longest lines. And, if you've never done a strata coaster, I'd start my morning on Kingda Ka. It's not the best coaster in the park, but an experience that you can't miss. Plus, it seems to break down a lot, so it'd be better to ride it while you can then put it off and miss out. Then I'd head straight for El Toro. I don't have a favorite seat, but since ET's such a smooth woodie, you don't have to be afraid of being punished in the back seat. Plus, the first drop and final EXTREME drop will be the most fun in the back. Anyone else have any tips for Gearhart?

      • Gearhart

        Thanks for the tips, I've been on TTD but I can't miss the world's tallest if only to say I've done it. It's good to know also El Toro won't kill me in the back.

      • Mike

        I would just add that if the park is packed it will probably be worth it to get the flash pass. It made my one trip there more enjoyable. I want to go back so badly.

      • Quil

        If there is a parade at the park that day, be sure to ride as many thrill rides as possible during the parade. I once managed to get on Nitro six times in about 30 minutes because of how many people were attending a parade and not going on rides.

    • Zac

      Dunno if you've already gone to SFGAdv but I thought I'd throw in my two cents on seating preferences since you've already gotten good advice on tackling the park. The great thing about El Toro is there's really no bad seat. That being said, if you can, you definitely want to experience that first drop either in the far front or way back. The train is so long that in the front, you hang over the drop for quite some time which is a seriously unique experience, and I personally find the airtime on the first two hills a bit better in the front from the excess speed (but again, it's great all throughout the train). As The Coaster Critic already said, the first and last catapult drop are absolutely wild in the back. Sitting in the back for that first drop is as close as you'll get to being safely dragged over a cliff.

  2. Caveman

    Really cool. I haven't been on The Voyage, but El Toro is my favorite coaster, wooden or otherwise. It's like they managed to capture everything awesome about wooden coasters without any of the negative aspects, even adding some new twists on the concept.

  3. Spartanator

    I've yet to ride The Voyage, but El Toro is the best wooden coaster I've ever ridden. The amount of airtime this bull provides in the last row is nothing short of amazing.

  4. Rider 118462

    Gearheart, Superman and GL normally have the longest lines, and bizzaro and nitro have the shortest. I go to El Toro first, but the lines on it never get that long. Also, I sit in the front row on all the coasters

  5. Will

    EL TORO is probably one of my top two favorite coasters. It was just about one of the most perfect coasters ever, it had A TON of air time hills, a bunch of intense twisties, and a few really fun elements in between.

  6. LinaSkye

    Gearhart: flashpass gold+El Toro back seat right side+Kingda Ka at night=a very good day!

  7. Bobbie Butterfield

    Having ridden both coasters – El Toro over 70 times and The Voyage 7 times – repeatedly, I am of the opinion that El Toro is the superior ride. Yes, The Voyage is great, with a fabulous first drop and spectacular scenery but I think that the ride would be better with more airtime hills and fewer overbanked turns. The first drop on El Toro is incomparable, as is the drop just before the ride goes into the twister finale. The entire layout is a work of pure genius. There has been some discussion about seating preferences and although I occasionally like to ride El Toro in the front just to be the first to go over the drop, I find that the back is significantly better for airtime. I rode The Voyage only in the front so can't comment on what it's like in the back. What I CAN comment on is the relative smoothness of El Toro. Regardless of where I sat, I never came off this coaster feeling any the worse for wear – whereas after 7 rides on The Voyage, I felt somewhat beaten up and suffered with back pain for two days afterward.

    • linaskye

      I have not yet ridden The Voyage, but I'm a total El Toro-phile. I cannot imagine Voyage ever unseating El Toro for me, especially in the back seat. I've never had a bad ride on it (some have been better than others, but all have been awesome).

  8. MBrilhart

    I did El Toro earlier this year, and while it was an incredible ride, I wasn’t blown away as I felt they could have done a whole lot more with the layout. The restraints also hindered the airtime severely, which. I just got to ride the Voyage this weekend, and I have to say, the Voyage is the superior wooden coaster in my honest opinion. There’s not much that could be done to make the voyage any better as a ride other then re-tracking it in a few parts where it was just a tad rough. The Voyage blew me away, and it now sits at the top of my wooden coaster list. El Toro only managed to make it’s way to the #4 slot (now #5) after my first rides on it, (under my personal favorite, the Coney Island Cyclone, The Beast and Hades) I think El Toro is a tad over-rated honestly.


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