2012 Golden Ticket Awards: Steel Coasters – Did They Get It Right?

Roller Coaster News

Last week, we looked at the Golden Ticket Awards Top 10 Wooden Coasters of 2012. This time let’s have a look at the steel coaster list. Again, we should try to stick to the question: Are these roller coasters representative of the best roller coasters in the World? I think this is a much more reasonable way to approach these lists as we can never expect to completely agree with each pick and their respective ranks.

Here are the best steel roller coasters in the World according to the Amusement Today’s 2012 Golden Ticket Awards:

Millennium Force* at Cedar Point (Ohio) 1st in 2011

Bizarro* at Six Flags New England (Massachusetts) 2nd in 2011

Nitro* at Six Flags Great Adventure (New Jersey) 3rd in 2011

Apollo’s Chariot* at Busch Gardens Williamsburg (Virginia) Tied for 7th in 2011

New Texas Giant* at Six Flags Over Texas (Texas) 6th in 2011

Expedition GeForce at Holiday Park (Germany) Tied for 7th in 2011

7 Intimidator* at Carowinds (North Carolina) New to Top 10

Magnum XL-200* at Cedar Point (Ohio) 10th in 2011

Goliath* at Six Flags Over Georgia (Georgia) 4th in 2011

10 Diamondback at Kings Island (Ohio) Not in Top 10 in 2011

*=Coasters that I’ve ridden.

Rivals Face Off Once Again

Is this Millennium Force's Sole Airtime Hill?I’m going to try not to over analyze the list. Breaking down the never-ending Bizarro-Millennium Force and Apollo’s Chariot-Nitro wars is so 2000’s. Consider me on Team Bizarro by the way. Although I haven’t ridden it post-transformation. And I’d take Apollo over Nitro. You can read why here: Nitro vs. Apollo’s Chariot

I’m very happy to see my hometown hyper Intimidator break into the list. And I’m glad to see Top Thrill Dragster leave the list. Carowinds’ Intimidator beat intense giga coaster, Intimidator 305, to the top 10. Is that another factor in Intimidator’s favor?

Where Have All the Loopers Gone?

The steel coaster list might be a bit more fun to discuss. Why you ask? In case you’re not familiar with all of these roller coasters, they have one big thing in common. None of them have loops. Not a single one. And in fact, nearly all of them (8 of 10) are hyper coasters. I know, Expedition GeForce doesn’t have a 200-foot drop, but it’s got all of the hyper coaster elements.

Millennium Force is similar. It’s an over-sized hyper coaster, defined as a giga coaster because it breaks the 300-foot barrier. The last coaster, New Texas Giant, breaks up the similarities a bit with its ground-breaking hybrid structure and wooden coaster-like layout. Frequent guest writer, Aric noticed the trend away from loopers a while back when he wrote: “Why Looping Coasters Should Have Their Own Lists”. This all may seem to get away from my central question, but it doesn’t.

A Semi-Representative List?

The lack of diversity alone makes me question this list. Again, from the viewpoint of  whether this list represents the best in the World, I’d have to say yes and no. Maybe there’s just too much variety in the steel coaster world. I just feel like this is a great list of the World’s best airtime machines. Scratch that. I forgot that Millie topped the list. I just feel like this is a great list of the World’s best thrill machines.

At first I was glad to see Top Thrill Dragster finally bumped from the list. Nothing against it, and to be clear I’ve only ridden Kingda Ka not TTD. But neither of these rides seem worthy of  such an exclusive list. On the other hand after realizing that this list is mainly showcasing one kind of steel coaster, maybe I wouldn’t mind a launcher being on the list. I’m torn, but I’d like to hear what you think.

I’ll re-state it one more time. If you had to present this list to a friend who wasn’t a coaster geek, how comfortable would you be in saying that this is a list of the best steel roller coasters in the World? Image courtesy of CoasterImage.Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

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


  1. What is it about the lack of attention to coasters of the west coast? They're hardly ever mentioned on the 10 then lists. Doesn't anyone enjoy X2, Tatsu, Green Lantern, Xcelerator, or even the novelty coaster, Pony Express? It's just interesting that most of the, so-called "lists" and even television programs seem to focus their attention on the coasters of the midwest and eastern parts of the country… Just makin' an observation…

    • Not to sound like a hater or anything but I really didn't care for Tatsu. When it comes to Magic Mountain, I prefer X2, Viper, Riddlers Revenge, and even Goliath but you can keep Tatsu.

  2. I agree with Jacob Many voters are Cedar Point fanboys, and in my opinion I wanna see a six flags park in the top 10 best parks for once. I would also enjoy a launches coaster in the top 10 like Kingda Ka or TTD.


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