About The Coaster Critic

I’m a native of Virginia and I got my first taste of roller coasters at Kings Dominion. As a kid I feared them even more than broccoli, but everything changed when on a high school trip I was dragged onto the local legend known as the Grizzly. Somehow being scared to death sparked a strong interest in coasters and I haven’t looked back since. A few years ago I decided to merge my love for theme parks and writing by creating The Coaster Critic’s Blog. I’m big into reviews of all kinds so the blog offers reviews of some of the most popular and interesting roller coasters that I’ve ridden. Currently, I’ve ridden over 250 roller coasters at more than 30 amusement parks.

Appearances in the Media
In 2015, I appeared in a CNN article highlighting new thrill rides: 6 Thrill Rides That Are Worth the Trip. I helped USA Today compile their list of the nominees for the 10Best Awards in travel categories related to theme parks and roller coasters.

In 2013, I appeared on The Willis Report on the Fox Business Network.

That year I also helped The Washington Post with an interactive roller coaster infographic and article called Why Roller Coasters Make Us Scream. And I appeared in the Star-Telegram in an article about the New Texas Giant accident.

Joel on Insane Coaster Wars - Travel ChannelIn 2012, I appeared in an episode of The Travel Channel’s Insane Coaster Wars. I was interviewed by The L.A. Times for an article called: “Thrill ride designers try to push passengers to the limits”. I was also quoted in a Popular Mechanics article on wing roller coasters called: “Wild Wing Roller Coasters Coming to America”.

In 2011, I was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal for an article (“Larry Chickola – Mastermind of the Mega Coaster”) about an engineer at Six Flags. I was also quoted in a Newsweek article (“The Scariest Summer”) about new rides debuting that year. I appeared on Fox Charlotte News to discuss the announcement of a new ride. And, I was a credited consultant for several episodes of the second season of the Travel Channel’s Bert the Conqueror.

Coaster Critic on Bert the ConquerorIn 2010, one of my posts (Spongebob vs. Snoopy) was featured in the San Jose Mercury. Later that year, I was featured in an episode of the popular Travel Channel television series, Bert the Conqueror. I also acted as an on-going consultant for the show, helping them translate geeky coaster speak to plain English so that they could hype up the rides featured on the show. Also in 2010, I was included in MSNBC.com’s “10 Gut-Churning Attractions” and interviewed on several podcasts including The Season Pass Podcast as they recorded a show at Kings Dominion.

In June 2009, I was featured in a news story on Fox Charlotte News. Then, in July I was interviewed by the Williamsburg Yorktown Daily and featured in an article about a local ride’s removal. In July 2008, I was quoted in a New York Times article about Pennsylvania’s wooden coasters. In 2007,an article I wrote on Lake Compounce was re-published to the Boston Globe’s web site.

About The Coaster Critic’s Blog

I started the blog in April of 2006 on Blogger. In early 2008, I redesigned it with a rotating header image using photos I had taken on my coaster trips. On January 01, 2009, I re-launched the blog on WordPress. The latest version has a ton of new capabilities and better organized content. Thanks to WordPress, the most powerful blogging and CMS platform on the Web.

Other Sites & Content Published on the Web

In 2010, I started writing for AOL’s popular travel blog, Gadling. I’ve also published content for BlogCritics and Associated Content.

In the summer of 2011, I launched Theme Park Hype. It’s a social link and news sharing website for theme park fans. And, in the fall of that year, I launched an online community magazine called Theme Park Geekly.

In November 2009, I launched Theme Park Syndicate. It’s the Web’s first ever theme park news aggregator. Theme park enthusiasts can easily stay on top of the latest news and developments with just a quick visit as Theme Park Syndicate brings together headlines from all of the top theme park news sites, blogs, and podcasts in one place. In 2012, I re-branded the site as Theme Parker.

About Joel

Since I’ve got this shiny, new About Page, I figured I’d include some personal information. I moved to Charlotte in 2007 with my wife and daughter. In 2010, we welcomed our second daughter into the family. Other than blogging about roller coasters I enjoy listening to music, playing video games, reading, and working out when I get a chance. I enjoy progressive/indie rock, some hard rock, downtempo electronic music, and hip hop that says something (I know that’s rare, but it exists).