5th Annual List of the Most Anticipated New Roller Coasters of the Year

Each year I rank the new roller coasters that are opening based on which of them I’d like to ride the most. Usually, I base my rankings on how unique or thrilling they look. This year’s list of new roller coasters isn’t quite as packed as 2012’s, but there are some very interesting additions. I’m keeping the list to the United States. Then, for all of you real coaster geeks, I’ll be adding a separate list with new coasters from the Europe and Asia.

8 White Lightning at Fun Spot Action Park (Orlando, Florida)

Orlando amusement park, Fun Spot Action Park, is undergoing a major expansion for 2013. The new developments will bring two roller coasters to the park. One is a family suspended coaster called Freedom Fighter. The other is a Great CoastersWhite Lightning Wooden Roller Coaster Coming to Fun Spot Action Park International wooden coaster dubbed White Lightning. At 2,000 feet in length, the woodie could be considered a family coaster, but with all of the intense thrills and dramatic theme park rides in the area, a good-old fashioned roller coaster might be just what’s needed. Fun Spot’s smaller amusement park feel boasts free admission and parking with rides like go-karts, a large Ferris wheel and a number of flat rides. Adding a few family coasters to the mix should take the park to a new level.

Why You Should Be Excited – Wooden roller coasters in Florida are pretty rare. So Fun Spot will add a more traditional crowd-pleasing family coaster in a sea of high tech, high thrill rides. Creators, Great Coasters International, almost never disappoint. The ride’s layout looks fun and the train-themed cars are some of the most memorable coaster vehicles I’ve ever seen. I’ll be sure to swing by Fun Spot on my next trip to Orlando for White Lightning. I’m glad to see the park expanding to add another offering to the thrillopolis of Central Florida.

More on White Lightning at Fun Spot Action Park | Stats on RCDB | Fun Spot Action Park’s Expansion Page

7 El Loco at Adventuredome (Las Vegas, Nevada)

El Loco Roller Coaster - Adventuredome at Circus Circus - Las VegasIndoor theme park, Adventuredome is adding a compact and thrilling new roller coaster. The S&S-designed El Loco will take up a relatively small footprint, but will still have enough exciting moments to pack quite a punch. There aren’t a whole lot of details as of yet, but similar rides like Indiana Beach’s Steel Hawg treated riders to a beyond-vertical first drop, tight turns, and a few inversions. El Loco will also take things up a notch with on-board audio and more open seating previous models.

Why You Should Be Excited – With the kind of rare, thrilling elements that El Loco will provide, there’s plenty for Nevadans to be excited about. I’ll definitely swing by the Adventuredome when I make it out to Las Vegas. El Loco is currently scheduled for a December 2013 opening.

More on El Loco at the Adventuredome | Similar Coasters on RCDB | Adventuredome’s Website

6 Gold Striker at California’s Great America (Santa Clara, California)

The drought is over. Fans of California’s Great America can rejoice as they’re about to receive their first new roller coaster in more than a decade! For a regional theme park that’s seen more notable removals than additions, I’d imagine that anything new would Gold Striker Coming to California's Great Americabe welcomed. Thankfully, the park will get more than just something new with a Great Coasters International woodie in Gold Striker. The ride will have an interesting layout that’ll include a 103-foot first drop that’ll wrap around the park’s observation tower. And, it was recently announced that this first drop will be covered to the point of offering complete darkness.

Why You Should Be Excited – The West Coast is not known for its wooden roller coasters. In fact, while California can lay claim to the having the most roller coasters, it has fewer wooden coasters than states like Ohio and Pennsylvania. And, the state’s been home to some of the lowest rated woodies in coaster polls. So, a quality ride like this is good news for left coast. Gold Striker looks like a fun twister that should provide a smooth ride (at least for a while). Its course includes a station fly-by which is always a good element to keep the energy in the station up, with regular reminders of the excitement to come. Lastly, as I’ve said on many occasions, I’m a sucker for a tunnel. So, news of that covered first drop may have actually moved this ride up a on the list.

More on Gold Striker at California’s Great America | Stats on RCDB | California’s Great America’s Gold Striker Page

5 GateKeeper at Cedar Point (Sandusky, Ohio)

While Cedar Point’s been long considered the Coaster Capital, it has been uncharacteristically quiet since the addition of 2006’s Maverick. After a few Cedar Point - Gatekeeper - 2013 Wing Roller Coasterremovals (Wildcat & Disaster Transport) and no new mind-boggling record-breakers, the Point’s next big roller coaster is finally on the horizon.

GateKeeper will be the World’s largest wing roller coaster. On wing coasters, riders are positioned outside, to the left and right of the track, rather than above or below it. Built by world-renowned coaster designers Bolliger & Mabillard, fans can expect a smooth and thrilling experience akin to a flight on a fighter jet. Or, in this case, a mythical bird. If the riding position and loops weren’t enough, GateKeeper will bring the wow factor with a twisting maneuver that’ll take riders right through a two key-hole cutout structures right above the main gate.

Why You Should Be Excited – GateKeeper’s unusual riding position will be new to most riders. I was lucky enough to ride both Dollywood’s Wild Eagle and Six Flags Great America’s X-Flight last year and I can say from experience that riders will feel more exposed than usual with nothing above or below them. GateKeeper’s inversions look great starting with that dive drop just off of the lift hill. There, riders on one side will get lifted way up, while on the other side riders will get dipped downward. This difference exemplifies the need to re-ride wing coasters as experiences can differ depending on where you sit. GateKeeper’s going to be a very popular ride at Cedar Point for years to come.

More on GateKeeper at Cedar Point | March 2013 Construction Update |  Stats on RCDB | Cedar Point’s GateKeeper Site

Also, check out this preview video of Cedar Point’s GateKeeper:

I’ve completed the list. Read Part 2 of my Top 8 New Roller Coasters of 2013.

Also, see top roller coasters lists from previous years here: Top New Roller Coasters Lists

Let us know what you think. Would you rank these coasters this way? Any guesses as to which coaster will be my top pick? Leave a comment below.

9 Responses

  1. Halvorsion

    Why is Gatekeeper only at 5? In NPN’s poll it took 47% of the votes when they asked what their reader’s most anticipated coasters of 2013 were.

  2. 1570626

    Coastercritic, I am glad that you are putting other coasters above Gatekeeper as it is getting too much attention. the RMC coasters are definitely the best of the bunch for 2013 although Full Throttle looks good even though it is short.

  3. James

    ^I agree with Halvorsion. Why is Gatekeeper only 5th? I think this and outlaw run are both top 2. Then in 3rd comes Iron Rattler. But Full Throttle ahead of Gatekeeper!? I think you need to rethink your list. Did you not like X-Flight when you rode it? I think Gatekeeper should be at the minimum 3rd. Repeat: Minimum

    • The Coaster Critic

      I thought about it quite a bit and even surprised myself with the ranking for GateKeeper. To re-iterate this is a list of the coasters that I’d like to ride the most. Having ridden last year’s wing coasters, I can say that (while they were great, both 9 out 10’s) the higher ranked coasters are just more enticing to me and look like they may offer something completely new.

      For most GateKeeper will be something new so I’d have a different list if say I was interviewed and asked about the most anticipated new rides for the public in general. As for me personally though, this is where I have them. Make sense?

  4. Gearhart

    I honestly think you nailed it. the RMC coasters always looked more enticing then Gatekeeper and the more I see of Full Throttle, the more I can’t wait to try it out. Gatekeeper is actually the only big new ride that I’m not actively trying to get to, maybe next year as it does look really cool.

  5. Mark

    Gatekeeper looks fun and will make up for Mantis not being fun.

    But the Rocky Mountain coasters are the star attractions this year.

    Gatekeeper will need an extra large queue this year, the crowds that Cedar Point gets are all going to be swarmed at the new ride. I may wait until 2014, rumor has it that Kings Island next year will have a big new shiny ride to replace Son of Beast. (There will be an ACE gathering in May 2014 and I doubt it will be to look at the field where SOB used to be.)

    If CP wants another coaster investment after Gatekeeper a Rocky Mountain redesign of Mean Streak is the obvious choice, similar to New Texas Giant. They could call it Iron Streak or I Streak for short.

  6. James

    If Mean Streak is going to get the RMC treatment then it should either be called “Meaner Streak” or “The New Mean Streak”

  7. Rosalie

    gatekeeper and gold strike sound like fun, never been on a winged coaster before


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