This the conclusion of my annual New Roller Coasters List. In case you missed it, here’s Part 1. This year was tougher than usual as there weren’t many new coasters opening in the States. Also, there were a few attractions with very little information for me to go on. Here are my top five picks for 2010.
Thirteen | Alton Towers – Staffordshire, England, United Kingdom
Alton Towers’ Hyped Psychoaster Boasts A One-of-a-Kind Element
Ride Experience:A horror-themed ride with the World’s first drop section on a roller coaster.
Little was known about Alton Towers new roller coaster. Early on, the park referred to it as ‘Secret Weapon 6′. Eventually a horror theme was revealed and there was mention of a one-of-a-kind element. Next, the park dubbed it the World’s first ‘psychoaster’, and described it as so scary that there needed to restrictions. They included: an age limit (16 to 55), a waiver releasing Alton Towers of any lawsuits, and optional health insurance for an extra £1. Details were still scarce as the park advertised the new ride with creepy commercials.
My Take: I’ll admit that I was somewhat duped by the insane hype pumped out by the park. I had high hopes for Thirteen based on Alton Tower’s impressive track record promises of the scariest coaster experience ever. The UK park also boasts the world’s first dive coaster (Oblivion), B&M’s first flying coaster (Air) and a critically acclaimed inverted coaster (Nemesis). Unfortunately, Thirteen is essentially a mine train ride that enters a dark room, drops a few stories, and exits backwards. While the concept and execution of a drop section is a neat idea, it doesn’t appear to be on the level of the park’s other creations. Reviews from riders at the bottom of the comments section this post and this post confirm my fear that Thirteen probably deserves a lower ranking (like 6 to 10) in my Top 10, but that’s the risk in trying to predict the top rides.
Sky Rocket to Launch from Kennywood in 2010
Ride Experience: A launched looping coaster that will offer a thrilling action-packed course.
Kennywood (located near Pittsburgh, PA) will add their 7th roller coaster in Sky Rocket. The new Premier Rides-designed launch coaster will start with a 0 to 50 mph launch in less than three seconds. Then, riders will experience an inverted top hat, a barrel roll, another vertical drop, and a corkscrew. Premier Rides are the launch coaster pioneers that brought us a number of successful coasters including: the Revenge of the Mummy coasters, Flight of Fear coasters, and Italian Job ( renamed Backlot Stunt) coasters.
Intimidator 305 | Kings Dominion – Doswell, Virginia
A Massive Roller Coaster With Intense Speed
Ride Experience:A race-inspired Giga Coaster with a 30-story drop, high speeds, and banked turns.
Kings Dominion is now home to one of the tallest roller coasters in the United States (5th) and the World (7th). At a lofty 305′ tall Intimidator 305 will surely live up to its name. Themed after beloved NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, riders board trains themed after his famous black Chevy Monte Carlo. Then, riders are challenged by an enormous drop and speeds reaching 90 mph as the trains traverse a twisting highly-banked course.
My Take: Intimidator 305 is just what the doctor ordered for Kings Dominion, a park that has been without a truly sky-scraping ride. While neighboring parks added hyper coasters (200+ feet tall), Kings Dominion has now answered with a much larger ride. I305′s layout looks to focus on speed and g-forces where the ride’s famous big brother Millennium Force at Cedar Point features a series of hills. I was glad to see that the park differentiated the ride to fit the NASCAR theme and to possibly deliver a better overall ride.
Intimidator | Carowinds – Charlotte, North Carolina
NASCAR-Themed Airtime Machine
Ride Experience:A NASCAR-themed hyper coaster that looks to thrill with airtime-packed hills.
North Carolina is the birthplace of stock car racing. So it’s only fitting that Carowinds (Charlotte, NC) build a NASCAR-themed roller coaster. Intimidator, not to be confused with Intimidator 305 at Kings Dominion, is also themed after legendary race car driver Dale Earnhardt. It will boast the title of the tallest, fastest, and longest roller coaster in the South East. It’s layout has eight action-packed hills aimed at lifting you out of your seat. The first of which is a 211-foot plunge pushing the race car-themed trains to 75 mph.
My Take: Hyper coasters like Intimidator are among my favorite type of roller coasters and Intimidator was designed by legends Bolliger & Mabillard. Their coasters are smooth, comfortable, and eat up lines due to their high capacity. For these reasons I’m predicting Intimidator will be the Best New U.S. Roller Coaster opening in 2010.
GCI Terrain Wooden Coaster | Knight Valley – Shenzhen, Guangdong, China
GCI’s monster-sized, world-class wooden coaster.
Ride Experience:A massive, action-packed wooden coaster.
For the first time, my top pick comes from the other side of the World. Great Coasters International is building a massive wooden coaster on the side of a mountain at Knight Valley in China. GCI has built a number of critically acclaimed coasters including 2009′s Golden Ticket Winner for Best New Ride, Prowler at Worlds of Fun. Later this year, they’re scheduled to open their largest creation yet. The unnamed wooden coaster will start with a 131 foot triple-down drop that will pass through a castle. Then through out its 4,817 ft course riders will experience an exciting station fly-through, a station fly-by, a tunnel, and 80 degrees of banking.
My Take: This looks like a monster of a terrain coaster and with its strong pedigree including Thunderhead at Dollywood and Lightning Racer at Hersheypark, it will undoubtedly be world-class. Large terrain coasters like Boulder Dash and the Beast are my favorite types of coasters as they provide unique experiences and they make it difficult to see what’s next as their courses navigate through wooded, hilly areas.
The only thing that I don’t like about this coaster is its longitude and latitude as it’s unlikely get to experience it anytime soon. For mega coaster geeks, I’d recommend that you look into Theme Park Review. Robb Alvey and his community there take international theme park trips to Asia and Europe. It might be your best chance to ride this monster if you’re stateside like myself.
Also, read about some relocated coasters like Mr. Six’s DanceCoaster at Six Flags Magic Mountin, Lil Dipper at Six Flags Great America and more here: Roller Coasters on the Move in 2010
What’s Your Take?
What do you think of my complete Top 10? Leave a comment below.