With the year coming to a close, I thought I’d write about my single best ride experience of 2013. I’d also like to hear about your most memorable or best ride. Last year, for me it was quite a surprise. Even though I’d ridden the exciting new wing coasters, Wild Eagle and X-Flight, my pick was Mystery Mine’s Beyond 90-Degree Goodness.

2013 Contenders for Best Ride Experience

2013 was a pretty good year for theme park travel. I made it out to Missouri for first-time visits to Worlds of Fun and  Silver Dollar City.  I also visited Busch Gardens Williamsburg (Virginia), Family Kingdom (Myrtle Beach, SC) and Six Flags Over Georgia. And, I went to my home park, Carowinds, numerous times.

Outlaw Run’s Outside-Turn Element

I’ve been around the block a few times and I’m not easily surprised when it comes to riding coasters. Looking back on the year, I’d have to say that Outlaw Run lived up to the hype as a new breed of roller coaster. It was able to deliver unique elements that provided some really exciting experiences. While the double-barrel roll was the ride’s big draw, it wasn’t my most memorable element. That’d be the wild and disorienting outside-turn. Here’s how I described it in my review:

Best Ride Experience of 2013 - Outlaw Run - Silver Dollar City

I was glad that I took the flight all the way out to Kansas City and then drove by car to Branson. Outlaw Run even edged its way into my Top Ten List. Read my full review of Outlaw Run at Silver Dollar City.

And, read what these other enthusiasts say their single best ride experience of 2013 was:
Brian from Domain of Death
The Team at Coaster 101: Part 1 & Part 2
Arthur from the About Theme Parks Guide
Bobbie from Ups, Downs, and Upside Down

Tell us about your favorite ride experience of the year. Leave a comment below.

About The Author

Founder of CoasterCritic.com. My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.

24 Responses

  1. DRU

    This is a tough choice as I did a few new to me great parks this year. Hershey, Lake Compounce, and SFNE. My top ride has got to be Boulderdash. Bizzarro a close second. I was amazed by both of them.
    Hershey Park was such a pleasant surprise. I thought their coasters are very distinctive. Mixed blessing though I wish they had better loading procedures on their coasters.
    Worth mentioning…I did another Alpine Coaster at Okemo in VT. I thought it was faster but shorter than the one at Wisp in MD.

  2. Will

    Mine was probably Outlaw Run. I had a lot of great rides this year including Millennium Force, Maverick, Magnum, and Dragster but none of them surprised me as much as Outlaw Run.

    • Judy P in Pgh

      Outlaw Run was not necessarily my best new ride, but it was probably my most memorable. It is definitely a coaster where you fave to be an “active participant,” anticipating quick drops and turns, or you will be tossed around like a rag doll! My first ride was in the back seat and was quite unsettling. It was worth the wait for a second ride in the front seat, just to be able to anticipate the upcoming features and have my body positioned and braced for them. After that, I rode all over the train, but found my favorite rides were toward the front of the train … not typical for this back seat rider!

      I would have to say that Renegade at ValleyFair was my favorite new coaster while Prowler at Worlds of Fun came in second.

      My top 10 list still didn’t change much except for 1 HUGE change … The Voyage dropped completely off the list after having been in the top 10 spot since 2007. It was extremely rough on the day I rode it, and even though I tried just about every seat on the trains, I never found a sweet spot. I still love the layout and intensity of this coaster, but it definitely beat me up.

      The worst coaster experience of this summer was Timber Wolf at Worlds of Fun. After a painful , neck-jarring ride, I was wishing I had left the loading platform through the door labeled “chicken exit.” It now sits at the BOTTOM of my list, below other body-jarring rides including Ninja (6FOG), Predator (Darien Lake), Son of Beast (King’s Island) and Mean Streak (Cedar Point).

      I had season passes this year for Cedar Fair and 6 Flags Parks as well as Dollywood/Silver Dollar City. Cedar Point is still my roller coaster capital and Gatekeeper is an amazing new ride, but not top 10 material for me. 6FGrAdv has my #1 coaster, El Toro, but I’m findng that 6 Flags Parks across the country are way too noisy for me and seem to attract a rude crowd! I’ll take Cedar Fair parks over 6 Flags parks hands-down any time. That being said, Dollywood still delivers the best overall theme park experience (didn’t do Disney this year) … great rides (Thunderhead for me!), food, shopping, seasonal events, entertainment, cleanliness and and overall friendly atmosphere. I can take just about anyone to this park and they will have a good time.

  3. ethan

    My best experience was between Intimidator (Carowinds) and Goliath (SFOG) this year.

  4. Mak

    At canobie lake i rode untamed 3 times in the rain at night without getting off. That same night, I rode one of my favorite coasters, Yankee cannonball, in the backseat in the rain at night. I went to Disney world for the first time this year as well. I loved all three of they’re big roller coasters (rockin roller coaster, space mountain and expodition everest) although expodition everest was my favorite of the three and was my first Disney coaster, and rockin roller coaster was my first launched coaster, space mountain was my favorite ride experience because it was Much better than I expected and It was also my little sisters first roller coaster.

    • Matt McIrvin

      Funny… Canobie Lake and Walt Disney World were also the only parks I went to this year!

      There were several candidates for “best ride experience of 2013” at WDW. On balance, I think my favorite was actually the classic mine-train family coaster, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

      But Expedition Everest, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Epcot’s Test Track were also up there. (My daughter has pronounced Test Track, in its Tron-esque 2.0 incarnation, her favorite ride of all time.)

  5. kieran

    Even though el toro was my favorite ride of 2013, riding tatsu for the first time at night was the best experience. Not only was it my first flyer, but also the first coaster I’v rode at night

  6. Ryan

    I’ve been to carowinds, dollywood, kings island, and cedar point and i have to say either the beast or millennium force.

  7. Brian

    My final coaster of the year, Nitro, was my best ride experience of 2013. Although, it was the best because I rode it while it was close to freezing out. Doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun, but man, it was actually pretty awesome!

  8. Frank D

    This year I made a trip down to FL and did Busch Gardens Tampa and made it to Sea World Orlando for the first time…I would have to say that Manta was my best experience of the year! The ride themeing was incredible with the aquariums littered throughout the queuing line…It is not an intense coaster (I’ve been on MANY extreme rides) but Manta was THE most fun this year

  9. Shane

    Lightning Racer at Hershey Park. Fun, thrilling, and the aspect of racing makes it freaking exciting!

  10. Susan

    We visited in June from Australia & visited several parks. My favourite ride experience was definitely Tatsu at Six Flags Magic Mountain. Rode it 5 times – back, middle, front. The best ride was front row, in the dark. That pretzel loop is unbelievable! Honourable mentions to Millineum Force at Cedar Point and Diamondback at Kings Island. My husbands favourite was Gatekeeper – front left outer seat.

  11. Marcia

    Manta at SeaWorld Orlando! I just love love love that ride! It’s definitely my favorite roller coaster I’ve been on out of my measly coaster count of 10. It has an awesome theme, I love the whole ‘flying’ idea, that pretzel loop is to-die-for-amazing, and the whole thing is just totally cool. I just wish it wasn’t 12 hours away from me.:)

    Honorable mentions go to (yes, in this order):
    ~Apollo’s Chariot (love flying down that first drop with just the lap bar, hands up and screaming all the way) & Griffon (dangling over that first drop then plummeting straight down is great fun; also first coaster ride of the year, 2nd coaster ride ever)
    ~Rock’n’Roller Coaster (love the launch in the front row)
    ~Kraken (going upside down 7 times is fun)
    ~Alpengeist (all right, it was a tad disappointing actually ’cause I couldn’t see where we were going from row 5, but still fun)
    ~Loch Ness Monster (my first coaster from 2012; I like it a lot)
    ~Verbolten (I did not care for it the first time I went on it, but it’s grown on me. Now I like it a lot.:) Best in the back in my opinion)
    ~Shamu Express (meh, whatever;))
    ~Grover’s Alpine Express (Ugh! Never again! I hated hearing that Elmo song in the queue line:P)

    And that’s all for me.

    I went to Busch Gardens Williamsburg, SeaWorld Orlando, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2013.

  12. Coaster Gravity

    When I went to Cedar Point and sat in front of Single Rider Bob on Millennium Force. It was August 2nd

  13. Kevin

    My favorite coaster experience of 2013 was the amazing upside down hangtime of Full Throttle’s loop. It definitely is one of the more unique feelings I have ever felt on a coaster. This all being said, my favorite coaster of the year was Full Throttle.

  14. Mike M.

    My best ride experience of 2013 was Gollath SFOG, front seat with a host of family riding behind me. Easily the best Megacoaster I’ve been on so far (hoping to finally make it to Bizarro this year).

    Mystery Mine was a close second for me. Awesome experience overall.

    Have to give an honorable mention to White Lightning at Fun Spot.

  15. Ryan

    Oh yeah, I went to Cedar Point and i got to sit with Mean Streak Henry on Mean Streak. That was memorable. And i like Mean Streak because it throws you around just the right amount (for a football player).

  16. Rosie

    for me last year I’d have to go with SFMM’s Colossus it was the second ride of the morning and my daughter was a little scared since we were in front row, it was still pretty smooth after all those years and it was great seeing her alternate between shrieking hysterically and yelling “This is awesome!”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.