Review: Mine Blower at Fun Spot America

Overview Located at Fun Spot America in Kissimmee, FL, Mine Blower is a hybrid wooden coaster.  It’s hybrid to the extent that it has a steel support structure but the track is made of wood and it rides like a woodie so for all intents and purposes it’s a wooden coaster. Opened in 2017, it was designed by The Gravity Group (The Voyage, Ravine Flyer II) and built by sister company Gravitykraft. Lay...[Read More]

Review: The Raven at Holiday World

The Raven is a classic wooden roller coaster at Holiday World in little Santa Claus, Indiana. This is a park well known for its wooden coasters, and it was The Raven that kicked off this reputation! It was the very first woodie they added, built by Custom Coasters International back in 1995 (which actually makes the ride surprisingly young). And as Holiday World will be the first to tell you, The ...[Read More]

Review: Big Dipper at Camden Park

Located in West Virginia’s only amusement park, Camden Park, the Big Dipper is a lesser-known but classic wooden roller coaster which can deliver a fun ride if you’re willing to trust it. Built back in 1958 by the National Amusement Devices Company, it is still standing as an ACE roller coaster landmark (while sporting some stylish trains as well). Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover...[Read More]

Review: Monster at Adventureland

When I planned a quick weekend trip to see a Minor League baseball game and visit Iowa’s premier amusement park in early June, this ride was at the very top of my radar. It’s 1 of 2 steel roller coasters at Adventureland, located just outside of Des Moines, Iowa. Monster debuted in 2016 and replaced the park’s venerable log flume. Although some may miss the water ride, it’s hard to argue that what...[Read More]

Review: Wicker Man at Alton Towers

Overview Opened in March of 2018, Wicker Man is the first wooden coaster to be built in the UK in 21 years and the first ever wooden coaster to be built at Alton Towers.  When SW8 (projects at Alton Towers are given codenames, SW standing for Secret Weapon) was announced, it ignited considerable curiosity, especially when it became known that this coaster would incorporate the element of fire. The...[Read More]

Review: Viper at Six Flags Great America

For as many trips as I’ve logged on this roller coaster, I feel like it’s time someone paid kudos to this unassuming, often overlooked ride. It’s 1 of 4 wooden coasters at Chicago’s Six Flags. Viper debuted in 1995 as part of Great America’s expansion into a new themed land and was later officially added to Southwest Territory in 1996. It’s the only coaster ever built directly by the Six Flags cor...[Read More]

Review: Lightning Racer at Hersheypark

When the new millennium rolled around, it seemed everyone was trying to capitalize on the big event. Hersheypark joined the fray by opening Lightning Racer. It’s no Millennium Force, but this wooden dueling and racing coaster is still pretty fun. The second Great Coasters International woodie at the park, it is much better than the first, Wildcat. That one is more on the rough side, as Joel ...[Read More]

Review: American Thunder at Six Flags St. Louis

American Thunder at Six Flags St. Louis is a Great Coasters International woodie that I feel flies under the radar for many enthusiasts. Originally, it opened back in 2008 as “Evel Knievel” after the American daredevil of old. In 2011, however, a then recently-bankrupt Six Flags dumped the branding in a cost-cutting move, giving the ride its more generic and patriotic moniker of today....[Read More]

Review: Hurler at Carowinds & Kings Dominion

In 1994, the Paramount-owned Kings Dominion and Carowinds opened two wooden roller coasters dubbed, Hurler. The ride’s original theme was connected to the 1992 movie and Saturday Night Live skit, Wayne’s World. Back when it opened the sparse warehouse-like station had a few exterior touches to make it look more like a Hollywood studio building. The most overt tie-in was the video of Wa...[Read More]

Review: Wooden Warrior at Quassy

In 2011, Quassy Amusement Park in Middlebury, Connecticut added Wooden Warrior: a small, family-friendly coaster made by The Gravity Group. This addition was perfect for Quassy. The park already had a real “local park” kinda charm to it, and now it has a fantastic little wooden coaster to capture the attention of enthusiasts. Wooden Warrior is not only worth attention — it exceeds expectations and...[Read More]

Review: Lightning Rod at Dollywood

Lightning Rod is a wooden roller coaster which was slated to open for the 2016 season at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Due to complications with its prototype launch system, it failed to open as scheduled and struggled to remain open consistently that whole year. In 2017, and hopefully beyond, it seems to have turned the corner. An Unfulfilled Trip It was a crisp morning in late June when ...[Read More]

Review: Blue Streak at Conneaut Lake Park

When I arrived at Conneaut Lake Park this past July, there were maintenance workers high up on the lift hill. All roller coasters need maintenance and regular inspections, especially wooden ones that have structures that some describe as living or breathing. I never think of it as an ominous thing to see work being done (whether it be welding on a steel coaster or some sawing and hammering away at...[Read More]

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