Ky’s Top 10 Roller Coasters!

In 2019, I reached the 150 roller coaster milestone and I am slowly, but surely, inching my way toward riding 200 different roller coasters. So which ones are my favorites? Here’s a look at my top ten favorites, along with some honorable mentions:

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In 2019, I reached the 150 roller coaster milestone and I am slowly, but surely, inching my way toward riding 200 different roller coasters. So which ones are my favorites? Here’s a look at my top ten favorites, along with some honorable mentions:

SkyRush - Hersheypark
SkyRush – Hersheypark

#10: SKYRUSH

  • Location: Hersheypark (Hershey, Pennsylvania)
  • Opening Date: May 26, 2012
  • Manufacturer: Intamin Amusement Rides
  • Model: Wing Coaster
  • Track Length: 3,600 feet
  • Height: 200 feet
  • Speed: 75 miles per hour
  • Inversions: 0
  • Vertical Angle: 85 degrees

What I Love About This Ride:
This packs a mean punch! From the moment that the train begins its ascent, you learn real fast what you’re in for. It’s placement over the water gives it a really nice aesthetic as you’re going through the motions, and its smoothness does not go unnoticed. A comfortable, fun ride that never let’s you down. I wish it had a little more airtime, but it makes up for the lack of airtime with pure adrenaline.

SkyRush – Hersheypark

Kingda Ka - Six Flags Great Adventure
Kingda Ka – Six Flags Great Adventure

#9 – KINGDA KA

  • Location: Six Flags Great Adventure (Jackson, New Jersey)
  • Opening Date: May 21, 2005
  • Manufacturer: Intamin Amusement Rides
  • Model: Accelerator Coaster
  • Track Length: 3,118 feet long
  • Height: 456 feet tall
    • Currently the tallest roller coaster in the world.
  • Speed: 128 miles per hour
    • 0 – 128 mph in 3.5 seconds.
    • When it first opened it was the fastest roller coaster in the world, but the ride no longer holds that record.
  • Inversions: 0
  • Vertical Angle: 90 degrees
  • Duration: 28 seconds

What I Love About This Ride:
I got to watch the construction of this ride every day when I was working a young high school student working at Superman: Ultimate Flight. I had a clear shot of the construction from the beginning, and I’ll never forget the moment when I finally got to ride this bad boy.

This coaster gets more hate than it should. I don’t think many people realize just how special this coaster is and how unique it is, even in comparison to its sister in Cedar Point (Top Thrill Dragster). Yes, it’s a short ride, but there is nothing else that will give you the feels that this gives you, especially on the first launch. Let’s put some respect on the name of Kingda Ka.

Kingda Ka – Six Flags Great Adventure

Nitro - Six Flags Great Adventure
Nitro – Six Flags Great Adventure

#8 – NITRO

  • Location: Six Flags Great Adventure (Jackson, New Jersey)
  • Opening Date: April 7, 2001
  • Manufacturer: Bolliger & Mabillard
  • Model: Hyper Coaster
  • Track Length: 5,394 feet long
  • Height: 230 feet tall
  • Drop: 215 ft. drop
  • Speed: 80 miles per hour
  • Inversions: 0
  • Duration: 2 minutes, 20 seconds

What I Love About This Ride:
C’mon… how could you ever go wrong with Nitro?! This ride, even in 2019, was just as smooth and exciting as it was back when it opened in 2001. There are a lot of B&M hyper coasters out there, and this is one of the best after 20 years of service. To this day, it’s still the first coaster I’ll ride when I visit the park. It’s consistent, rarely has mechanical issues, the line moves ridiculously fast, and it’s always a pleaser. Personally, I love sitting in the front on this ride, but the airtime in the back is relentless and there are not too many coasters out there that can compare when it comes to airtime.

Nitro – Six Flags Great Adventure

Millennium Force - Cedar Point
Millennium Force – Cedar Point

#7 – MILLENNIUM FORCE

  • Location: Cedar Point (Sandusky, Ohio)
  • Opening Date: May 13, 2000
  • Manufacturer: Intamin Amusement Rides
    • I’m sensing a pattern here…
  • Model: Giga Coaster
  • Track Length: 6,595 feet
  • Height: 310 feet tall
    • When it opened it was the tallest roller coaster in the world. It has lost its title since then, but at the time, it was a BIG DEAL.
  • Drop Height: 300 ft. drop
  • Speed: 93 miles per hour
  • Inversions: 0
  • Vertical Angle: 80 degrees
  • Duration: 2 minutes, 20 seconds

What I Love About This Ride:
My, oh my! This is a gem! You’d think that as it heads into it’s 20th season that it doesn’t pack the same punch, but it good lord, it DOES. I got to ride it last summer and this bad boy is going strong.

On top of the fact that the ride is crazy fast, it’s also one of the most beautiful roller coasters ever constructed. It beautifully weaves throughout the entire northwest section of the park, reminding you how powerful it is every time a train passes by.

The only downside to this ride is riding it when the bugs are out in full force… it’s disgusting.

Millennium Force – Cedar Point

Fury 325 - Carowinds
Fury 325 – Carowinds

#6 – FURY 325

  • Location: Carowinds (Charlotte, North Carolina)
    • Fun fact, portions of this park extend into South Carolina, so it’s quite possible to ride this ride and travel through two states.
  • Opening Date: March 28, 2015
  • Manufacturer: Bolliger & Mabillard
  • Model: Hyper Coaster
  • Track Length: 6,602 feet long
  • Height: 325 feet tall
  • Drop: 320 foot drop
  • Speed: 95 miles per hour
  • Inversions: 0
  • Vertical Angle: 81 degrees

What I Love About This Ride:
Okay… take everything you love about Nitro and multiple it by 10. This roller coaster is fantastic! It’s everything you enjoy about Nitro, but taller, faster, and more twisted elements that you don’t want to end as you blast through. Climbing this lift hill is scary, but it’s so much fun once you get going. Props to Carowinds for this dynamic, smooth, exciting hyper coaster!

Fury 325 – Carowinds

El Toro - Six Flags Great Adventure
El Toro – Six Flags Great Adventure

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#5 – EL TORO

  • Location: Six Flags Great Adventure (Jackson, New Jersey)
    • No more Great Adventure coasters after this one, I swear.
  • Opening Date: June 12, 2006
  • Manufacturer: Intamin Amusement Rides
    • Yes, really!
  • Model: Prefabricated Wooden Coaster
    • Hence why it’s so smooth for a wooden coaster.
  • Track Length: 4,400 feet long
  • Height: 181 feet tall
    • Currently the second tallest wooden coaster in the world.
  • Drop: 176 ft. drop
    • Currently the second tallest wooden coaster drop in the world.
  • Speed: 70 miles per hour
    • Currently the fourth fastest wooden coaster in the world.
  • Vertical Angle: 76 degrees
  • Duration: 1 minute, 42 seconds

What I Love About This Ride:
So this coaster is near and dear to my heart for many reasons, but mainly because I was a part of the original El Toro team to train and run the ride for guests.

I’ll never forget when the manufacturer came to the park while we were testing and he asked the supervisors who was the lead of the ride. I raised my hand and he asked if I had ridden it yet. I replied no because at the time, the only people that had ridden the ride were the manufacturers and park supervisors and head honchos. He looked at me and said, “Strap in, let’s go.”

So my first time riding El Toro was sitting directly next to the person who designed it. ❤

On top of that, the ride is STELLAR. The first drop (especially if you sit in the back) is crazy good. Additionally, the head chopper illusion halfway through is quite scary, and the ending twists before you hit the final brakes are incredibly timed and smooth. I love this ride!

El Toro – Six Flags Great Adventure

Intimidator 305 - Kings Dominion
Intimidator 305 – Kings Dominion

#4 – INTIMIDATOR 305

  • Location: Kings Dominion (Doswell, Virginia)
  • Opening Date: April 2, 2010
  • Manufacturer: Intamin Amusement Rides
    • I mean, c’mon…
  • Model: Giga Coaster
  • Track Length: 5,100 feet long
  • Height: 305 feet tall
    • …hence the name of the coaster…
  • Drop: 300 ft. drop
  • Speed: 90 miles per hour
  • Inversions: 0
  • Vertical Angle: 85 degrees
  • Duration: 3 minutes

What I Love About This Ride:
This ride is all about pure adrenaline and nothing else. It’s named after the race car driver Dale Earnhardt (his nickname was the Intimidator) and it surely feels like you’re in a race car, for sure.

The lift hill and first drop, while fun, are not the best parts of the ride. The best parts come in two places: first, when you’re simply going ridiculously fast around the bends, and second, when the coaster decides to suddenly switch directions on you. The switch in direction happens so fast, you sit there wondering how it was even physically possible.

Intimidator 305 – Kings Dominion

Maverick - Cedar Point
Maverick – Cedar Point

#3 – MAVERICK

  • Location: Cedar Point (Sandusky, Ohio)
  • Opening Date: May 26, 2007
  • Manufacturer: Intamin Amusement Rides
    • Are we even surprised at this point?
  • Model: Blitz Coaster
  • Length: 4,450 feet long
  • Height: 105 feet tall
  • Drop: 100 ft. drop
  • Speed: 70 miles per hour
  • Inversions: 2
  • Vertical Angle: 95 degrees
    • Nope… you didn’t read that wrong.
  • Duration: 2 minutes, 30 seconds

What I Love About This Ride:
This is not the tallest or fastest ride you’ll ever ride, but it may potentially be one of the most memorable. I remember waiting in line for this with little expectations. It looked so tiny and casual… boy was I wrong…

This little guy whips you around in ways you’ve never experienced before. While there are dozens of blitz coasters out there, this one is, without a doubt, the best and most unique. This ride is packed with surprise elements that you will not be expecting…

Maverick – Cedar Point

X2 - Six Flags Magic Mountain
X2 – Six Flags Magic Mountain

#2 – X2

  • Location: Six Flags Magic Mountain (Valencia, California)
  • Opening Date: January 12, 2002
  • Manufacturer: Arrow Dynamics
  • Model: 4th Dimension
  • Length: 3,610 feet long
  • Height: 175 feet tall
  • Drop: 215 ft. drop
  • Speed: 76 miles per hour
  • Inversions: …a lot…
  • Vertical Angle: 88.5 degrees

What I Love About This Ride:
I know I’m going to get some heat from some serious coaster phanatics out there for this one, but I am standing my ground here. I have always liked this ride, even with its flaws and roughness. It’s number two for me mainly due to the fact there is nothing else like this ride in the United States, and even around the world, this ride is quite rare and we’re lucky to have it.

It’s not smooth, but when you sit in the front, there is nothing else like it. For those of you who are unfamiliar with how this ride works, in addition to the train going through the track, your seats are spinning indivually from what the train is doing… it’s insane.

X2 – Six Flags Magic Mountain

Wicked Cyclone - Six Flags New England
Wicked Cyclone – Six Flags New England

Honorable Mentions

Before we get into my number one roller coaster, I’d like to point out some honorable mentions. These are rides that are right on the cusp of potentially making my top 10:

  • Alpengeist (Busch Gardens Williamsburg – Virginia)
  • Talon (Dorney Park – Pennsylvania)
  • Silver Bullet (Knott’s Berry Farm – California)
  • Batwing (Six Flags America – Maryland)
  • Tatsu (Six Flags Magic Mountain – California)
  • Superman: The Ride (Six Flags New England – Massachusetts)
  • Wicked Cyclone (Six Flags New England – Massachusetts)
  • Incredible Hulk (Islands of Adventure – Florida)
  • Revenge of the Mummy (Universal Studios – Florida)
  • Escape from Gringotts (Universal Studios – Florida)
  • Expedition Everest (Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Florida)
Incredible Hulk – Islands of Adventure

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Steel Vengeance - Cedar Point
Steel Vengeance – Cedar Point

#1 – STEEL VENGEANCE

  • Location: Cedar Point (Sandusky, Ohio)
  • Opening Date: May 5, 2018
  • Manufacturer: Rocky Mountain Construction
  • Model: IBox Track
  • Length: 5,740 feet long
  • Height: 205 feet tall
  • Drop: 200 ft. drop
  • Speed: 74 miles per hour
  • Inversions: 4
  • Duration: 2 minutes, 30 seconds
  • Vertical Angle: 90 degrees

What I Love About This Ride:
I’ve ridden a lot of roller coasters in my day… never have I ever been in complete shock after riding one. My friends that were with me can attest to the fact that I was in complete awe before, during and after riding this ride.

You’d think that the excitement would have worn off as I rode it a third and fourth time… but it did not. This is the best roller coaster on the planet, I don’t need to ride every coaster in the world to know that.

I won’t even waste your time trying to explain what this coaster did to me, all I can say is that you need to take the trip to Cedar Point and ride this. You will not regret a second of this action packed ride, especially if you ride it at night. You have no idea what you’re in for…

Steel Vengeance – Cedar Point

Iron Gwazi - Busch Gardens Tampa
Iron Gwazi – Busch Gardens Tampa

2020 RIDES I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO

2020 is bringing us a bunch of new coasters around the world. Here are some that I am looking forward to that may have the potential to crack my top 10:

  • Orion (Kings Island – Mason, Ohio)
  • Candymonium (Hershey Park – Pennsylvania)
  • Ice Breaker (Sea World Orlando – Florida)
  • Iron Gwazi (Busch Gardens Tampa – Florida)
    • This is a BIGGIE and the one I’m looking forward to the most.
  • Pantheon (Busch Garden Williamsburg – Virginia)
  • Texas Stingray (Sea World San Antonio – Texas)
  • West Coast Racers (Six Flags Magic Mountain – California)
  • Jersey Devil Coaster (Six Flags Great Adventure – New Jersey)
    • This one was designed and built by the same manufacturer behind Steel Vengeance… so my expectations are quite high for this unique single rail coaster.
Jersey Devil Coaster - Six Flags Great Adventure
Jersey Devil Coaster – Six Flags Great Adventure
Jersey Devil Coaster – Six Flags Great Adventure

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