El Toro @ Six Flags Great Adventure | Coaster Reviews

Roller Coaster Reviews

El Toro: A Landmark Roller Coaster Is Born
Ladies and gentlemen, the future is here! Riding El Toro is something any coaster enthusiast, heck, any personEl Toro - Coaster Reviews with a pulse should do. Especially if you think you know what wooden coasters have to offer. El Toro is going to turn your world upside down. The Plaza Del Carnival section is appropriately themed with a Spanish flare. The look and feel is definitely a step above cheesy or contrived. Right down to the sandy desert-like landscaping with chill pepper plants. Even the smell of the food reminded me more of restaurants in Mexico than Taco Bell. The Viper’s old southwestern station fit into the area perfectly. The trains are themed somewhat like mine train cars and have a very comfortable, next generation look and feel. Loading the trains is a bit slow, but the trains are longer than normal holding 36 riders compared to 24 on Thunderhead and 28 on The Voyage.

Intamin’s Prefabricated Wooden Coaster Delivers
The ride starts with a quick climb up a relatively quiet lift hill. Already the ride has been uncharacteristically wooden. As I crested the top I lookedEl Toro - Coaster Reviews over and down at Medusa. The height of El Toro gets forgotten, just because it’s not a record breaker. You quickly turn around and drop down the 176 feet of steep track at 76 degrees. This is easily the best first drop of any wooden coaster I’ve ridden, it provides some air and you really feel the steepness. You cross under some track and rise into the first airtime hill. You’re ejected north to the sky, even though you’ve been stapled in by the ride ops. The next hill offers more of the same blissful airtime. The swooping banked turn is next. It’s great especially if you’re seated on the right side of the train. Thanks to the prefabricated track, the ride is glass smooth so far and it’s even more apparent during the swooping turn. If you closed your eyes you’d think you were on a B&M hyper or some other type of steel coaster. After the turn, there’s another fun drop and a smaller, shorter drop that offers the least air on the ride.

Extreme Ejector Air & A Twisting Finale
Next the track quickly banks to the left which sets up coaster AIRTIME BLISS. The track finishes the turn then rises up and you drop straight into the twisted finale. This innocent looking hill has the sickest airtime on the planet! It’s so forceful that you feel if the restraints failed you’d end up being flung into the tiger exhibit over in the Golden Kingdom. After that El Toro finishes strong with a twisting section close to the ground reminiscent of another bull, Raging Bull at Six Flags Great America. This twisting section is much more satisfying. You finish the twisted finale and eventually reach the breaks. All the riders I rode with returned with the euphoric feeling of heroin. People aren’t used to riding something so thrilling and comfortable. I had 3 rides on El Toro, but I could’ve re-rode 10 or 20 times if I could’ve. You’re not shaken, slammed, bruised, beat up, beat down, jolted, or smacked around the entire ride. Yet it’s thrilling from the beginning to the end.

There’s nothing that I would particularly change with El Toro (hence the perfect score). But I would’ve like to have seen a tunnel or two. It would only add to the ride. I’m a sucker for tunnels, terrain coasters, and the like. But let me be clear in stating that El Toro is missing nothing! It doesn’t unseat S:ROS at SFNE as the best coaster on the planet or Kumba as my personal favorite, but it comes pretty darn close. The Voyage and nTop 10 Roller Coastersow sits at number 3 on my Top Ten Coasters. This is why I try to save 10’s for rides that really deserve them. El Toro deserves one of my few 10’s and then some. I’m sure GCI and Gravity Group are doing push-ups if they’ve ridden this coaster. Intamin’s on its way to World domination. Final Rating – 10.0 (Superior)

Check out the rest of my rating scale here. Also, check out this great roller coaster video of El Toro. Note the speed of the lift hill and smoothness of the ride. You can really here those riders scream on those airtime-packed hills.

Note – This video was filmed by professionals with permission from the park. For safety reasons, please DO NOT take a camera on a roller coaster.

Intense Roller Coasters - For Adventurous RidersEl Toro is rated ‘IN’ for Intense. It’s a 4 out of 5 on my Thrill Scale for of its height and speed.

What’s Your Take?
Questions or comments about El Toro? Leave ’em below.


  1. Ooh, yeah. That sounds good – Voyage vs. El Toro: Battle of the Best Woodies Around. Now THAT would be hyped about for a long while.

    • I deleted the last 5 or so comments from this post. I don't want to have to start banning people, but please don't post just for the sake of posting. If you want to do that, I suggest you exchange instant messenger screen names. So if we could keep the discussion to something to do with the post or use the Discussion page for stuff that's off topic, I'd appreciate it.

      And yes, a Voyage vs. El Toro isn't a bad idea for a coaster showdown post.


  2. Austin, another ride to add to your avoid list is vertex at californias great america. Gave me a HUGE headache.

  3. Sorry about the attitude, CC. But what, we can't have any fun on your site? Ha ha, just kidding.

  4. Haha, Coaster Critic, it's Plaza del Carnaval, not El Carnival. I would be kind of dissapointed if it were El Carnival, but the section overall is very well done. It almost equals Golden Kingdom. I think overall Great Adventure's a well-themed park, although the back of the Boardwalk could use some rehab, and maybe some more pirate scenery at the Lakefront.

  5. Coaster Critic, I love El Toro as much as you do, and I thought you should see this. It is fine with me if Six Flags puts advertisements on their older coasters, but look at this. The lead car of El Toro has been turned into an ad for Stride gum. Hideous. Here's the link:
    They did the same thing to Kingda Ka.

  6. ^Oh my, I hope that looks better in real life…

  7. My wife and I just got back from visiting Hersheypark Wed and then SFGA on Thursday. I have to say out of the 15 coasters we rode EL TORO was the BEST! I would probably have to say my #2 coaster. After riding El Toro it only made me imagine how incredible Intimidator 305 would be if it did not have the OTSR. You've already said all that needs to be said but man that is one GREAT COASTER!!!

  8. The first time that I rode this, it was as if I went back in time and rode a combination of Coney Islands Cyclone and Tornado rollercoasters all combined into one. What a rush! This is definetly up there as a top ten coaster.

  9. Having El Toro at my homepark makes me feel extremely thankful. It's by far my favorite wooden coaster (Bizarro at SFNE is my top overall but just barely) and given the chance I would ride it all day. The airtime is unbelievable and the fact that it's smoother than most steel coasters is another bonus. The first drop is insane and after that it's just airtime hill after airtime hill. This ride is definitely a 10/10.

  10. I wish I had the nerve to get on the damn thing. I did ride it 5 times in August of 2010 but when I went back in September I completely lost my nerve. And I think it's because I rode it before and know what that first drop feels like that I can't get on it again. It's totally awesome, a fabulous ride, but plummeting down 176 feet at a 76-degree angle can be hard to take except for extreme thrill seekers. When I rode it, my palms were so sweaty that I felt I wouldn't be able to hold on and would go flying into the air despite the restraints (lap bar and seat belt). (Once I get past the 1st drop, I'm fine.) The last time I tried to get on it I felt panicked just looking at that monster and although it was my turn to ride I chickened out. And that's after spending money on a Flash Pass which allowed me to jump to the head of the queue. Help! If I had someone to ride with I could probably do it, but I don't. I'm pretty old and my friends are most definitely not into riding roller coasters so no-one will go with me. So I go alone and wish that I could stand up to that roller coaster and not let it get the better of me.

  11. El Toro is SHOCKINGLY deceiving. It appears to be a regular wooden coaster but even standing in line–just the speed of the train passing by is amazing. The ride is one of the best EVER–better than Kingda Ka by a long shot. Better than many steel coasters and one of the few rides that lives up to its name/theme. It really feels like a bull has gone insane and the rider is being ripped along the track. Too bad Six Flags leaves a lot to be desired in the quality department. I wish they would move El Toro to Busch Gardens Williamsburg!!

    • I licked your descripton, "like a bull has gone insane and the rider is being ripped along the track."

  12. The ejector air was so fierce on this ride that I actually think I had my eyes shut! I was being thrown up and down in my seat, and it felt like my stomach was being ripped apart! It sounds bad but really it is aaaweesome!

    • The last time I rode El Toro, it seemed as though the airtime on that one hill just didn't amaze me. Maybe I was expecting just a bit too much, but it just didn't throw me that much.

  13. Best woody in the world. One of the best air time coasters period. One of the world's best, in my opinion. If you're looking for an alternative steel or woody, I'd say Nitro at SFGA, Diamondback at King's Island, Intimidator at Carowinds or Colossos at Heide Park.


  15. I love this ride! Great lift, drop, airtime and smoothness. The only thing bad about it is the ride ops staple you in way too far. And like cc said, you still get airtime, which sometimes hurts my legs getting ejected into the lap bar. But it is awesome and the best wooden coaster ever.

  16. MAGNIFICENT! Hands down, whenever I ride a new coaster this is the one I invariably compare it to. And nothing has come close yet. I admit that I prefer wooden rides to the overly smooth steel track ones, but this one is perfect in every way no matter how you look at it.

  17. Is El Toro the tallest and fastest OPERATING wooden coaster in America? Son of Beast is not operating. El Toro has to be.

  18. El Toro is the most fabulous creation I have ever ridden. Funny how things change; less than a year ago I posted on this site because I was afraid to ride it and now can't get enough of it! I love this ride! Rode it 6 times on July 4, 2011 and would have ridden it more had there been time. The first drop is totally awesome and the rest of the ride is spectacular. I find the track layout ingenious and appreciate the fact that because it's so smooth, it affords a high thrill ride without subjecting the rider to physical abuse. (The one exception is one drop coming off a curve, where the lap bar always socks me in the hip although that's a testament to the airtime.) I went to Indiana six weeks ago to ride The Voyage, just to see what all the fuss was about, why that coaster got a Golden Ticket award for #1 woodie. Well, it's a great ride, but in my opinion El Toro is a better ride – and I must say that after 7 rides on The Voyage I was beginning to feel banged up, something that doesn't happen on El Toro. In my opinion El Toro is #1 beyond a reasonable doubt. Ole!

  19. Sit in the last car for one of the most insane coaster rides you will ever experience. Best first drop. Best chain lift. Amazing airtime. Perfect name. Sitting in the back verses the front gives you two completely different ride experiences. I MUCH prefer the back, but I still loved the front. Oh, and one more thing I'd like to rave about is that small drop right near Rolling Thunder…. HOLY **** I have never experienced airtime like that before. The only flaw is that it's over too quick.

  20. This is one insane and insanely good ride! Shot to the top of my all time favorites in no time. Just awesome from start to finish!

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