Joel

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

Review: Pigeon Forge Snow | Indoor Snow Tubing

While we focus primarily on roller coasters at CoasterCritic, I have reviewed some non-coaster rides like the popular Proslide Tornado. In that same vein, if you enjoy barreling down a hill at speeds of 30 mph or more, then I can almost guarantee snow tubing is down your alley. As I kid growing up in northern Virginia, I was fortunate enough to get a decent amount snow every winter. My neighborhoo...

Review: The Coaster at Goats on the Roof | Mountain Coaster

Mountain coasters (also known as alpine coasters) feature sled-like cars that fit up to two people (snugly) and allow for the riders to adjust their speed. In recent years, there’s been a bit of a boom as they’ve been popping up more and more in the United States at ski resorts and in mountainous tourist areas. On a past trip to the Smoky Mountains in Eastern Tennessee, I rode my first...

Dollywood 2019 Trip Report: Part 2 Luminights & Lightning Rod

Here’s Part 2 of my Dollywood trip report. In case you missed it, check out Part 1: Wildwood Grove and Dragonflier. Great Pumpkin Luminights: A More Family-Friendly Halloween-Themed Event Great Pumpkin Luminights is Dollywood’s Halloween-themed event. As parents, we really appreciated Dollywood’s approach to their theming. Instead of the gory and macabre, the park has glowing pum...

Dollywood 2019 Trip Report: Part 1 Wildwood Grove & Dragonflier

A few weeks ago, I went to Dollywood with my wife and daughters (ages 12 and 9). It was our first time at Dollywood since our trip in 2015. On that trip, Lightning Rod had just began construction. Since then, the ride had opened to much praise from enthusiasts. Jon gave it a 10 out of 10 and it currently sits tied at 2nd in our combined overall list. So I was looking forward to finally riding it m...

Review: Lightning Rod at Dollywood

Lightning Rod is located in Dollywood’s 1950’s-themed Jukebox Junction area. Both the station and the coaster’s trains reflect that era. One of Dollywood’s strengths is the park’s use of its mountainous terrain. Several of the roller coasters are terrain rides which not only make them unique, but also hides much of the layout from a spectator’s view. Like wing c...

Review: Dragonflier at Dollywood

Dragonflier is a family roller coaster that serves as the signature attraction at Dollywood’s new Wildwood Grove area. Wildwood Grove’s focus on family attractions means that the area has something for the entire family from toddlers to adults. Dragonflier is a suspended Vekoma roller coaster, where you ride below the track rather than on top of the track. Located in the far end of Wil...

SeaWorld Orlando Announces Ice Breaker for 2020

SeaWorld Orlando’s Ice Breaker Roller Coaster SeaWorld has announced Ice Breaker, a new launch roller coaster that will open in 2020. It will boast the steepest beyond-vertical on a roller coaster at 100 degrees. Ice Breaker will also be a rare multi-pass launch coaster meaning that riders will travel forward and backward with the aid of several launches. When it opens it will be the park...

Iron Gwazi Roller Coaster Announced for Busch Gardens Tampa

Last week, Busch Gardens Tampa announced Iron Gwazi. Rising from the ashes of the defunct Gwazi wooden coasters, Iron Gwazi will be a hybrid roller coaster featuring a wooden support structure and steel rails. The steel rails will be the key in creating a whole new experience for riders. Whereas before, Gwazi’s dueling course was pretty typical of wooden coasters with drops and turns youR...

Pantheon Roller Coaster Coming to Busch Gardens Williamsburg in 2020

Pantheon Roller Coaster Launching in 2020 Busch Gardens Williamsburg will be opening an exciting new multi-launch roller coaster in 2020. Pantheon will be built in the park’s Italy section and will be themed around the pantheon of Roman gods. It will feature a variety of elements and boast quite a few stats making it a one-of-a-kind roller coaster. The Pantheon roller coaster will include: T...

Do You Like Seeing Hyper Coasters and Giga Coasters at the Same Park?

Cedar Fair’s Recipe: A Hyper-Giga One Two Punch Hyper coasters and giga coasters represent two of the more popular steel roller coasters over the past few decades. Hyper coasters reach a height or have a drop of 200 to 299 feet and giga coasters reach a height of or have a drop of 300 to 399 feet. Way back when I reported on the announcement of giga coaster Leviathan at Canada’s Wonder...

Orion Giga Coaster Announced for Kings Island | 2020 Roller Coasters

In 2020, Kings Island will launch its 15th roller coaster with its tallest yet, Orion. On this new steel coaster, riders will be lifted to a height of 287 feet only to plummet down a 300-foot drop. With a drop this large, Orion will join the ranks of the rare, sky-scraping giga roller coasters. It will feature 5,321 feet of track and reach speeds of 91 mph. Orion Teaser Video What to Expect on Kin...

Copperhead Strike Almost Ready to Launch at Carowinds

Earlier this week, I joined a construction tour of Carowinds new roller coaster Copperhead Strike. The track is complete, but the station, launch barn, and area around the ride are still far from complete. Steve Jackson, Director of Maintenance and Construction led the tour and did a great job answering questions. Seeing the ride’s orange track, even from a distance I could tell that this is...

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