Golden Ticket Awards – My Take on the Top Steel Coasters

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Golden Ticket Awards – Top Steel Roller Coasters of 2011
Millennium Force at Cedar PointIn 2010, I noted that Bizarro was bumped out of the top spot for the first time in four years by Millennium Force. The ride’s transformation from Superman: Ride of Steel to Bizarro may have had something to do with that. Millennium Force retained its title this year and once again reigns supreme as the favorite steel roller coaster of the Golden Ticket Awards participants. Other than a strong debut from the New Texas Giant and Diamondback’s descent from 7th to 11th, there were no real major changes; just a few coasters that flipped positions.

Here are the best steel roller coasters in the World according to the Golden Ticket Awards:

Millennium Force* – Cedar Point (Ohio) 1st in ’10
Bizarro* – Six Flags New England (Mass.) 2nd in ’10
Nitro* – Six Flags Great Adventure (New Jersey) 3rd in ’10
Goliath* – Six Flags Over Georgia (Georgia) 5th in ’10
Phantom’s Revenge* – Kennywood (Pennsylvania) 9th in ’10
6 New Texas Giant* – Six Flags Over Texas (Texas) New in ’11
Apollo’s Chariot* – Busch Gardens Williamsburg (Virginia) 4th in ’10
Expedition GeForce – Holiday Park (Germany) 6th in ’10
Top Thrill Dragster – Cedar Point (Ohio) 10th in ’10
10 Magnum XL-200* – Cedar Point (Ohio) 8th in ’10
*=Coasters that I’ve ridden.

The New Texas Giant Makes a Mark
New Texas Giant Returns to the StationI was happy to see that the New Texas Giant made such a strong debut. Not onlydid it when Best New Ride, beating out Cheetah Hunt by a large margin (45% vs. 12% in voting), but it also came in as the 6th best steel roller coaster. It also debuted on my top ten list. The New Texas Giant is tied for 6th on my Top 10 Coasters List and tied for third on my Top 10 Steel Roller Coasters List.

The ride has cool theming for a wooden coaster with its Cadillac-themed trains and fun elements like its tunnels and extreme banking. Not to mention, it delivers an insane amount of airtime. If you didn’t make it to Arlington, Texas this year, you should make plans to get down there soon. Read my full New Texas Giant review.

A Giga With the Wrong Longitude & Latitude?
Intimidator 305 just missed the top ten when it debuted in 2010. This year it slipped a couple more spots to 13th. I find it interesting that this giga coaster can’t break into the top ten while another has been battling for and sometimes attaining the top spot for much of the last decade. Millennium Force and Intimidator 305 are by no means the same ride, but I305’s absence may give some credence to the Midwest U.S. bias that many feel the awards have. I wonder how I305 would be ranking if it were at Kings Island instead of Kings Dominion.

Other Observations
As far as the rest of the list, I wouldn’t have included Top Thrill Dragster as I consider it more of a thrill ride than a full-fledged, world-class roller coaster. I like Phantom’s Revenge, but I don’t quite consider it a top or best of the best steel coaster. And, as I’ve said many times in the past, Bizarro is a much more complete roller coaster than Millennium Force which just offers speed and height, but little airtime. Lastly, as guest writer Aric covered in his post, Why Looping Coasters Deserve Their Own List, looping coasters still can’t seem to get any love in the Golden Ticket Awards these days.

View the official Steel Coaster results with the point totals here. Also, see: My Take on the Golden Ticket Awards 2011 Top Wooden Coasters. Check out the full list of 2011 Golden Ticket Award Winners including theme park and other ride award categories.

What’s Your Take?
What do you think of this year’s Golden Ticket Awards? Do you agree with the top steel coasters? How many of these coasters have you ridden? 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. I find this list incredibly biased year after year. There are some amazing coasters that seemingly get no attention, yet the same rides flip flop the same positions year after year. My personal top 10 steel coasters list is vastly different from the Golden Ticket Awards. I could care less about nostalgia, which seems to be a running theme with these awards. For me, I look at the ride itself and how "complete" it is, not how long it's been there, where it is, or how many people have ridden it. My own picks seem to align a lot more with Mitch's coaster poll, whose "scientific" way of deduction seems much more fair than the "general public"s viewpoint. My own top 10:

    1. Intimidator 305

    2. Maverick

    3. Millennium Force

    4. Top Thrill Dragster

    5. Griffon

    6. Goliath (SFOG)

    7. Intimidator

    8. Apollo's Chariot

    9. Kumba

    10. Incredible Hulk

    (I will be making a trip to SFMM and Knott's Berry Farm at the beginning of next year, so my list is likely to change)

    • Intimidator 305 seemed very incomplete to me. It has hardly any airtime, and has a very congested and close layout. I havent been on the new version without trim brakes, but the august 2010 one was definitely incomplete. Millennium Force is much better in my opinion. And Maverick is awesome and it should be in the top 10.

      • 305 has 5 moments of airtime. One is floater and most people won't notice it as it is crammed in between 2 high speed turns, but the other are all very noticeable, this year (I've only ridden it in 2011)

      • I think you need to ride I305 in it's current form. Millennium had just a couple nice moments of air, but nothing too crazy. I305's first airtime hill however, produced the most powerful and prolonged ejector air I've ever experienced on a roller coaster. Only Maverick's first airtime hill comes close, in my mind, as the single most insane airtime movement I've experienced. Also, no matter how many times I ride I305, I get scared, and this is coming from a season coaster rider. It's just that intense.

  2. I know I haven't been on many coasters (16), but so far I don't find looping coasters particularity thrilling. Nothing gets my blood pumping like a good Hyper Coaster. Talking to family and friends they share the same sentiment. Maybe next year when I hit up more parks my opinion might change…(doubtful).

  3. The list is very conservative. Still having Magnum XL200 in the top 10 says a lot. Don't get me wrong, I like that coaster, but it's not in my top 10, not by far.

    That neither Intimidator coasters made it, is also strange. I happen to like Intimidator more than Nitro, and Intimidator 305 more than Millennium Force.

    I also feel Maverick is missing from this list.

    • Maverick inverts, basically disqualifies it.

  4. I personally think that Intimidator 305 is MUCH better than Millenium Force, but that's just my opinion. The first thing I noticed was that Expedition GeForce is still falling, it's only in 8th this year. I'm also suprised that Diamondback dropped out of the top ten.

  5. Once again, people judging rides by popularity, size, and location (*cough*Cedar Point*cough*) instead of the actual ride expeirience. I look forward to see what happens when the time comes for Mitch's Poll results to be released.

  6. Millennium Force is number one again! 🙂 That is my favorite ride. I have been on bizarro, it is good but the trains are horrible. There are no handlebars, hardly any place for your feet, and worst of all over every hill my legs got pushed up into the bar very harshly. Even with better trains, I might still like millennium better because of its great spaced out layout and that great drop. Nitro should be at number 2 in my opinion, I like B&M hypers better than intamin ones. And I agree with you about TTD, it is up and down a large tower and then youre done. It shouldnt be in the top 10. And phantoms revenge, ive never been on it, but it doesnt look like top 10 material.

  7. Yup, I guess location is crucial in these polls. Intimidator 305 definitely deservews a place somewhere near the top of this list. It's most certainly at the top of my favorite steel rides, as are several that actually made the list. Maybe next summer's new additions will skew things a little differently as these will be a totally new design on the steel front.

    And yeah… Just how do you get to vote in these polls? It does seem as though most of the voteres are centered around the the Midwest if you look at the results. Somehow they need to broaden the scope of the voting populace.

    • I'm also wondering how to vote. I never realy gave it much thought, but now that I think about it, I want to.

  8. The oddest part about this supposed, "midwest bias" is that Maverick is clearly the most popular coaster at Cedar Point. I do believe there is too much emphasis on the Midwest in these awards, but that does not explain the exclusion of Maverick. It always has a line, even when everything else is a walk on.

    • Maverick is just that awesome.

  9. I have ridden expedition-ge force, Nitro and millennium force and I think that ge force is Far superior to bolth. I also think Nitro is a more enjoyable ride for me then mellinuim force. Just my opinion

  10. I305's absence is a joke, especially with the 2011 changes. It's a great ride and deserving of a top 10 spot!

  11. When was the last time you rode the phantom. You need to experience the airtime again!

  12. I really don't like MF being number one, especially when Maverick is in the same park and blows it away yet wasn't even in the top ten. Personally I think Montu should be higher, it sits in my top five, love it.

  13. My top ten


    Wicked Twister





    Kingda ka


    Millennium force


    Going to Hershy soon so this will change

  14. I don't get why people ever listen to the Golden Ticket awards, its the most biased load of crap ever. TTD in the top 10? Really? And only one overseas coaster in the top 10. Wow.

    Mitch Hawker poll is much more accurate.

  15. I just got back from King's Dominion. Millenium Force has been my favorite coaster for years, but it has been dethroned by I-305. I always loved MF for its height and speed and smoothness, but it always seemed to be missing that little extra thrill factor. Well, I-305 fills that void and then some! The 2012 version of I-305 is a thrill from start to finish, and the airtime is the best I've ever experienced (especially the first hill). It feels like the love child of MF and Maverick. There is no way it is NOT a top 10 coaster. My top 5:

    1. I-305

    2. MF

    3. Maverick

    4. Apollo's Chariot

    5. Rock n Roller Coaster

  16. My top 10. 1.Top thrill Dragster 2. Millennium Force 3. X-Flight 3. Magnum XL-200 4. Maverick 5. Bizarro 6. Diamondback 7. Intimidator 305 8. Intimidator 9. El Toro 10. Cracken?

    • I think you mean Kraken.

  17. I'd like to know why so many people prefer Top Thrill Dragster over Kingda Ka or if you've included Top Thrill Dragster, why you haven't included Kingda Ka? Just an open question, nothing judgmental.

    • I just wanted to explain to you why people prefer ttd over kinda ka…it’s one factor; restraints. Kk has over the shoulder restraints and I always feel super safe on that ride, where as ttd has the same simple lap bar and seat belt ELEVATED seats as millennium force. It is incredibly terrifying knowing that’s all that’s between you and a 420ft plummet back to earth. Makes one hell of a difference.

  18. My top ten would be…

    10 Phantoms Revenge
    9 Gemini
    8 Racer
    7 Rockin Rollercoaster
    6 Expedition Everest
    5 Blue Streak (I always get a butt load of airtime)
    4 Disaster Transport
    3 Top Thrill Dragster
    2 Millennium Force
    1 Is a tie!!! *gasp* Here it is… Raptor and Mantis

    I have only been to three parks Disney in Florida, Kennywood, and Cedar Point. Disaster Transport is on my list because I liked how it was unique and was very disorienting-ly dark in the tunnels. Despite the special effects deteriorating the ride always had a soft spot in my heart. I am really sad to see that it was torn down… 🙁


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