Top Ten List-O-Rama!

Editorials and Rants Roller Coaster News

It seems like coaster enthusiasts stay sane in the off-season by doing polls, top tens, awards, and coaster/ride tournaments. Even I’m starting to get a little tired of them at this point. But, Brady over at the LA Time Funland Blog has done something a little different.

He created his top tens based on a panel of coaster ‘experts’ (including me!). The panel includes such luminaries as Duane Marden, creator of the best roller coaster site on the planet: Roller Coaster Database, theme park world-traveler Robb Alvey of Theme Park Review, and Lance Hart from the top theme park news & rumor site, ScreamScape to name a few.  He also included the Golden Ticket Awards and Mitch Hawker’s Internet Coaster Poll for good measure. The result is the LA Times Top 10 Roller Coasters Lists:

LA Times Top 10 Steel Roller Coasters in the United States:
1. Bizarro at Six Flags New England
2. Millennium Force at Cedar Point
3. Apollo’s Chariot at Busch Gardens Williamsburg
4. Montu at Busch Gardens Tampa
5. Goliath at Six Flags Over Georgia
6. Incredible Hulk at Universal’s Islands of Adventure
7. Diamondback at Kings Island
8. Griffon at Busch Gardens Williamsburg
9. Nitro at Six Flags Great Adventure
10. Tatsu at Six Flags Magic Mountain 

LA Times Top 10 Wooden Roller Coaster in the U.S.:
1. The Voyage at Holiday World
2. El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure
3. The Phoenix at Knoebels
4. Boulder Dash at Lake Compounce
5. Ravine Flyer II at Waldemeer
6. The Beast at Kings Island
7. The Raven at Holiday World
8. GhostRider at Knott’s Berry Farm
9. Thunderhead at Dollywood
10. Lightning Racer at Hersheypark

I could dispute a few of the steel roller coasters (Millennium Force is way too high!), but overall I have no real gripes with the steel coasters list. The wooden list befuddles me a bit. There must be some West coast bias or nostalgia in play. I don’t know how anyone could ride Knott’s Berry Farms’ GhostRider today and consider it a top ten roller coaster. Well, maybe if you’ve only got about 10 wooden coasters under your belt. 

At first, I was a bit surprised by the lack of roller coasters from other countries. I’m sure that well-traveled enthusiasts like Robb Alvey had some international coasters in their list. Then, I realized that the list is the top roller coasters in the U.S. It was probably a good idea to narrow the scope some, but this kept it from being  a true top ten if some of the participants had Canada’s Wonderland’s Behemoth or T Express in their top 10. Of course all of these lists have there downsides and disadvantages. There will never be a perfect list, but at least there are now a number of resources to answer the question: What’s the best roller coaster?

Visit the LA Times Funland Blog to see the full panel of experts, participate in a coaster poll, and see photo galleries of both the Top 10 Wooden Roller Coasters and the Top 10 Steel Roller Coasters. Thanks to Brady for including me in the panel!

The Coaster Critic’s Brand New Top 10 Lists
As part of my participation in the LA Times panel, I decided to revise my top ten steel, wooden, and overall lists. I’ve always tried to create my lists by doing a heads up comparison. Would I rather ride this coaster or that coaster? At the top, it’s all very close. Those roller coasters are amazing and it’s really tough to put one above another. As a result of my revisions Montu, Kumba, and Manta joined my steel coasters list and Rampage joined my wooden coasters list. After writing my Montu review I realized that I had snubbed it and it wasn’t getting the love it deserved. 

My Updated Top 10 Roller Coasters:
 1 Bizarro (Superman) at Six Flags New England
 2 El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure
 3 Apollo’s Chariot at Busch Gardens Europe
 4 Beast at Kings Island
 5 The Voyage at Holiday World
 6 Alpengeist at Busch Gardens Europe 
 7 Montu at Busch Gardens Tampa 
 8 Kumba at Busch Gardens Tampa
 9 Hades at Mt. Olympus Theme Park
10 Ravine Flyer II at Waldameer Park
Also see my updated Top 10 Steel Roller Coasters and Top 10 Wooden Roller Coasters lists.

What’s Your Take?
What’s your number one roller coaster? What do you base your top ten coasters on? Leave a comment below.

Founder of My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.


  1. Ha-Ha! 8 B&Ms in the top 10 steel coasters! As for the woodies, I've been on lightning Racer, Loved it. Thunderhead is a coaster I want to go on (why? It's a GCI! I love all GCI coasters). I wish to ride all 20 coasters on the list according to the LA times. As for the 10 coasters you picked, I love Hades and I would seriously like to ride The Beast. I aspire to be an author, and with King's Island's permission, The Beast is a coaster I will base a story on.

  2. Last year, you said that Kumba was your "personal favorite," even though it wasn't #1 on any of the three lists. Is it still your personal favorite? If not, which coaster has replaced it and why? (I'm starting to sound like an English teacher!)

    • Yep. Kumba's still my personal favorite. Before, I just left it out the lists. I guess I found it hard to subjectively analyze it and do the heads up comparison, until now. So, yes. As I've always said, Kumba's my all-time favorite, but not the BEST roller coaster I've ridden. That would be Bizarro. I equate it to my favorite comedy movie, Happy Gilmore. It's my favorite, but I'd never argue that it's the best comedy movie of all time.

      • CC, could you add a Top 10 favorites list to your top tens.

        • I guess. I'd have to think about that. I'm not sure there are that many other personal favorites.

  3. What about Nitro? That was one of the best B&M hyper coaster Ive ever been on

    • Nitro's an excellent coaster and it used to be in my top 10. I gave it a 9/10, there are just so many good rides out there.

    • I'll put Nitro above Alpengeist.

    • I` put nitro as my 4th, after bizzaro, el toro, and kingda ka. nitro would be followed by medusa.

      • I would put Nitro above Apollo's Chariot! I think they're close and should at least be next to each other on the list, but Nitro's slightly better than Apollo's Chariot in my opinion.

        • Apollo's theme, more interesting layout with the use of the terrain and abundant airtime put it ahead of Nitro for me.

  4. Interesting top ten. I would have never thought MF would be #2. I would think X2 should be in that list for sure! And Tatsu finally made a list! Wooooo! By the way, Nitro isn't in my top ten list. Ya it was smooth, but I didn't get the airtime I expected.

    • you realy like X2 dont you.

      • Yep. I think it's the best thing man ever invented. No kidding.

  5. i don think griffon should be in there… hulk around 9 or 10

    • I`d say hulk looks better tha griffon too.

      • its kind of hard to not be better than griffon… and all those other dive coasters

        • they`re short, aren`t they.

  6. Everyone likes B&Ms. everyone always talks about how B&Ms are their favorite coasters. I like many companies. Who else likes someone other than B&M (otherthan the coaster critic)!??!

    • i`d say my favorite company is Intamin AG. they make some of the best rides in the world.

      • Obviously, my favorite is B&M, since I rant on and on about them. Still, they built Afterburn, Apollo's Chariot, and more, and they're building Intimidator 232. Who doesn't like them?

  7. I like arrow dynamic coasters. The steel phantom was one of my favorites. Besides the roughness it was a good ride.

  8. Speaking of Phantom's Revenge, I heard somewhere that all the Arrow track is being repaced withe Morgan track because they somewhat rebuilt Steel Phantom

  9. I started reading your website some recently, been into coasters since the early nineties and online since '94. I must say I was a bit surprised that the Beast is anywhere near your top ten list. I probably won't stay on this site for that reason alone. I never had one coaster enthusiast, who's opinion's I respect, who has the Beast any where near the top of their list. I think it's a fun ride, but probably mid pack out of my 120 or so wood coasters.

    • It's cool if you disagree about The Beast, I know that a lot of people consider it overrated. And I'm not going to defend my opinion. It's all in the review, but I will say that I could see someone having a problem with blind love for The Beast. For example if my high rating stemmed from fanboyism or a regionalism thing. Like if I had six Ohio coasters in my top 10 or if it was in my list because I've been riding it every summer for decades. But if I genuinely rate The Beast highly after having been to parks all over the country, I'm not sure why that would be a big deal. I don't know you, but you sound like an elitist or maybe you think you're 'above' people that love The Beast. Again, it's cool to disagree and I know that many think The Beast is overrated. I just don't get your thinking I guess. At least you gave me an idea for two new posts. Although, it doesn't sound like you'll be around to read them. 🙂

      Maybe one of the great theme park blogs listed here would be more to your liking. Although, I doubt many of them list their top ten coasters and/or give detailed coaster reviews. But, maybe that's a good thing. Thanks for the comment Ted!


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