With this The Coaster Critic’s Blog, I try to straddle the line a bit. I’m hoping it’s both a resource for the average theme park-goer as well as a place for the die hard theme park geeks. When I decided to simplify my annual top new coasters list (Part 1 & Part 2) and only focus on North America, I had no idea how many of the geeks out there would be expecting the worldly coverage that the list usually has.
Thanks for speaking up. Here’s my take on the rest of the World, or as one indignant commenter put it: “beyond the borders of the United States and Canada”. Really, it’s just Europe and Asia. So, here’s my Best (looking) New Roller Coasters Opening in Eurasia this year. Enjoy!
7 – 11 Inversion Coaster at Jinling Happy World (Lu’an, Anhui, China)
While I’m a big fan of loops, 11 inversions in 3,200 feet of track sounds like more of a challenge than a fun experience. Maybe if it was a longer version of a B&M sit-down looper like my beloved Kumba I’d be more interested. But, it’s being designed by a company I’ve never heard of: Hebei Zhongye Metallurgical Equipment Manufacturing. Still, a record breaker is always notable. So, it makes the list.
6 – Bullet Coaster at Happy Valley (Shenzhen, Guangdong, China)
This S&S-designed compressed air launch coaster looks great. It’s got a 221-foot tall hill with a 196-foot drop and a top speed of 83 mph. It even has what looks to be an underwater tunnel. Bullet Coaster looks like it’s this Happy Valley’s largest coaster (there are 5 Happy Valley parks in China). I bet it will fit the bill of the park’s signature coaster for years to come. See photos of Bullet Coaster taken by Duane Marden, the man behind RCDB, himself.
5 – Wodan at Europa Park (Rust, Germany)
Europa Park has already been one of my Most Wanted European Theme Parks. Wodan looks like even more reason for me to get my passport start shopping for flights to Germany. It’s a cool-looking GCI woodie with loads of theming in and around the ride. Check out the POV video of Wodan below and Blogger Coaster’s images of the incredibly themed queue.
4 – The Swarm at Thorpe Park (Chertsey, Surrey, England, UK)
It’s definitely the year of the Wing Coaster. While we’ve got Wild Eagle and X-Flight here in the States, the UK has their own in Thorpe Park’s The Swarm. I’ve been writing about it for well over a year and now it’s open to the public. The Swarm boasts five inversions over a post-apocalyptic playground. It even opens with an interesting overturned drop that swoops riders under a destroyed plane’s wing. Read a full review of The Swarm at Theme Park Tourist and see pictures at RCDB.
3 – OzIris at Parc Asterix (Plailly, Picardie, France)
Montu’s long lost French cousin is here. There’s nothing wrong with another Egyptian-themed B&M invert. If you were going to model your new ride after an existing one, Montu’s a great choice. Both rides actually have custom designs, and OzIris is by no means a clone, but the similarities are noteworthy. OzIris has fewer inversions than Montu (five), but it does seem to borrow from the ride’s Egyptian theme and below-ground dives. If I get to Europe I’ll be able to write one heck of a Roller Coaster Showdown. Check out some photos on RCDB.
2 – Wooden Coaster-Dragon Wings at Happy Valley (Wuhan, Hubei, China)
Wuhan’s Happy Valley is opening with five roller coasters including a Gravity Group dueling/racing roller coaster that looks amazing. Dubbed the ‘high-five coaster’ by some for its unique element where the trains traverse two 90-degree banked hills at the same time. I had it as #4 on my Top 10 New Roller Coasters of 2011 List because it was announced in 2010. See pictures of Wooden Coaster-Dragon Wings. Check out the animated video of the Wooden Coaster-Dragon Wings below. The ‘high five’ happens at 0:33.
1 – Shambhala at PortAventura (Salou, Tarragona, Spain)
B&M hyper coaster Shambhala looks to me to be the best looking new roller coaster opening in Europe or Asia and maybe even the World. It’s early, but from the updates I’ve been seeing from Blogger Coaster and the fan-made video below, it looks amazing. I know that I said I was a little ‘giga/hyper coastered-out’ when I put Leviathan at #3 for my North American list, but Shambhala looks to be a bit more eventful than Leviathan. It’s impossible to know how any of these coasters will really be until you ride them, but I’ll take a shorter and slower ride like Shambhala with a several airtime hills, two tunnels and a sweet looking down-ward helix any day of the week.
Read more of my take on Shambhala. And check out this great fan-made video of how Shambhala could look. It was created by fans close to the project:
What’s Your Take?
What do you think of my Eurasian edition of the best new roller coasters opening in 2012? Leave a comment below.