For this edition of Top 3 Thursdays I thought I’d take a look at the most common roller coaster names. Instead of trying to find the specific roller coaster names, I figured naming themes would be a bit easier. I perused the indispensable Roller Coaster Database until I came up with a handful of common namethemes. I’m sure that there are a few others. If you can think of any, feel free to share them. Here’s my list of the most common roller coaster name themes.
High Winds – Powerful Swirling Winds Make Good Coaster Names
One of the most common name themes involves powerful, windy, weather phenomenons. From Cyclones to Hurricanes, many wind-related terms have been used as roller coaster names. It makes sense that the turns and twists found on roller coasters take would remind people of swirling winds.
Popular Examples: Hurricane, Tornado, Twister, & Cyclone
Less Common Examples: Nor’Easter, Typhoon, Storm
Serpents – Steel Snakes & Snake-Like Creatures
Those long slithering creatures seem to make for good roller coaster names. The imagery here reflects the trains navigating the mostly steel track in an often twisty fashion. I’ll also include snakes’ mythical cousins the dragons in this group as they’re often snake-like in appearance. With 75 known roller coasters named Dragon, it was one of the most common names I found in my research.
Popular Examples: Dragon, Python, Viper/Vibora, Serpent, Cobra, Anaconda
Less Common Examples: Diamondback, Rattler, Eel, Loch Ness Monster
Ride Types & Model Names – The No Theme Theme
Some roller coasters just fit their manufacturer’s given ride model name or ride type so well that parks just use them as the names. In my brief search of RCDB I found 286 roller coasters containing the word ‘mouse’. Many of these are likely wild mouse coasters. These compact family coasters with hairpin turns are everywhere. There were also 81 that contained the word ‘mine’. Most of these are likely mine train roller coasters. And lastly, I found 33 that contained the word ‘boomerang’. I’d bet that the majority of these are shuttle coasters.
Popular Examples: Wild Mouse, Mine Train, Boomerang
Less Common Examples: Invertigo
Best of the Rest – Super Heroes, Cats, & Classic Names
A few other common naming themes involved super heroes thanks largely to Six Flags (15 Batman coasters & 16 Superman coasters) and large cats of different kinds. There are 48 Wildcats and other feline coasters including Tigers, Cheetahs, and even HellCats. The last major category I noticed were some of the roller coaster names that were more popular in the Golden Age of Roller Coasters. There’s some overlap with the aforementioned Cyclone name, but other historic names are: Jack Rabbit (29), Flyer (25), Racer (40), and Dipper (111). Many of these rides are no longer with us.