They’ve been battling it out on roller coaster polls and enthusiast’s top coaster lists for years. Now Holiday World’s The Voyage and El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure will go head-to-head in the latest installment of Roller Coaster Showdowns.
I like to include a ride’s theming in my showdowns because, at times, a ride’s theme can actually add a lot to the overall experience. For these two coasters, theming is a bit less of a factor.
El Toro’s located in Six Flags Great Adventure’s Plaza del Carnival section. The trains are kind of mine train-esque and the bull on the front car is a nice touch. The station looks like an old South Western building and I still remember noticing the strong and enticing smell of Latin food in the air thanks to the new (at the time) restaurant nearby. Overall, El Toro’s got a nicely-themed look and home.
The Voyage is in Holiday World’s Thanksgiving area. The ride’s name and logo reflect the voyage of the early settlers of America. The station is in a deep blue building, reminiscent of the ocean. Inside, it’s themed like a 17th century ship with seafaring items on the walls. I don’t remember a whole lot else in terms of theming from when I rode it (2006).
Edge: El Toro
Lift Hill & First Drop
The Voyage’s lift is pretty standard. You exit the station and immediately start your climb. From the 163-foot peak you’ve got a great view of the forest and the exciting ride to come. The drop is very good and offers some solid airtime.
The typical clickety-clack sound heard on most roller coasters is absent on El Toro. The ride’s lift hill is remarkably quiet and fast. It’s a pretty strange experience as you basically zoom upward thanks to the cable lift technology. At the top, the train takes a left turn before diving down a steep 76-degree, 176-foot drop. El Toro’s drop is 13 feet taller and 10 degrees steeper. And while, the lift hill doesn’t offer an amazing view, the cable lift is pretty unique. El Toro takes this one easily.
Edge: El Toro
The Voyage has one of the most adventurous layouts in all of coasterdom. One moment you’re high above the tree line, then the next you’re flying through one of the ride’s several tunnels. There are insane 90 degree banks, as well as the triple down section. Best of all, as a huge fan of terrain coasters, after all of that insanity, you feel like you went somewhere.
It’s a small knock, but I wish El Toro had some terrain to play with or at least a tunnel. How great would it be if one of El Toro’s final turns were covered or in a dark tunnel? The Voyage gets this one with its dynamic layout.
Edge: The Voyage
One of The Voyage’s claims to fame when it was announced was that it was going to boast a record-setting amount of airtime. “24.2 seconds of weightless” is what the press release touted. I have to say that The Gravity Group sure seems to deliver on that promise as there’s airtime all over The Voyage. However, I prefer El Toro’s smoother, more precisely executed airtime moments. The Voyage’s wild and out-of-control ride is great, but banked airtime hills were a bit rough and for me felt a bit awkward. Both rides offer tons of air and they each have unforgettable signature moment: Voyage’s Triple Down in the Dark and El Toro’s catapult-like final drop. Tough one here, but I’ll go with El Toro’s flawlessly executed airtime.
Overall Showdown Winner
Since I have El Toro as my top wooden roller coaster, I figured it would win, but I didn’t think it’d get 3 out of 4 categories. The Voyage is still an incredible ride that I rated a rare 10 (Superior). Every theme park fan should get to Holiday World and experience it. And of course, if you haven’t been to Six Flags Great Adventure, what are you waiting for? El Toro’s glass smooth, airtime-packed ride makes it a must as well. Both of these two next generation woodies are important roller coasters that should not be missed.
Overall Winner: El Toro
Bonus Round: The Mascot Showdown! 3,000 Pound Wrecking Machine vs. A Wild Maritime Journey
No points for the bonus round, but a bull, (a mighty and powerful animal) probably edges out a historically important, but intangible object in the crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. Plus, my plush El Toro bull is pretty cool. I haven’t been to Holiday World in years. Are there actual boats in the gift shop at The Voyage?
Mascot Winner: El Toro
Take a virtual ride on El Toro and The Voyage:
Who’s your pick in this Roller Coaster Showdown? Vote in the poll below and leave a comment below.