2012 Best Single Ride Experience of the Year Series

Memorable Coaster Moments

To wrap up the year I’m joining a few other sites in writing about our favorite or most memorable single ride of the year. A year ago I would have thought that my ride on one of the new wing coasters, Wild Eagle or X-Flight would had to been my ride of the year. But, I love the adventure of visiting theme parks for new experiences. They can be surprisingly bad or, like in this year’s best ride, surprisingly good!

Mystery Mine & The Power of the Unknown

Completely new experiences can be hard to come by when you’ve traveled around a good bit. There are clone coasters out there like the to Batman – The Ride coasters that I rode this year for the first time. Then there’s rides like the aforementioned wing coasters. They were brand new to me and everyone else. But I’d covered them in detail for months, been interviewed about them, and had almost ridden them in my head before arriving at Dollywood and Six Flags Great America. They were awesome rides. Both received a 9 (Excellent). But, Mystery Mine earns the distinction of Ride of The Year.

I had purposely not researched Mystery Mine this year so that I’d be in the dark (See what I did there?) about the ride’s details. And I’m glad that I did. Rides that combine dark ride and roller coaster aspects (like the highly rated Revenge of the Mummy) rampp up the adventure scale ten fold. Even though it’s not a long ride, there’s a lot going on. So, it feels a good bit longer. The opening dark ride aspects were fun, but at the top of first hill I had no idea what I was about to experience.
Here’s how I described it in my Mystery Mine review:

Mystery Mine at Dollywood Review - Ride of the Year

I had many enjoyable experiences this year at all of the parks that I visited, but this particular first ride on Mystery Mine takes the cake because of the surprise aspects from the theming, small but powerful drop, the second drop, and the hang time from the heartline-dive loop combo that feels like an eternity. Mystery Mine is not the best overall coaster I rode this year, but it definitely gave me the best ride of the year.Best Single Ride Experience of 2012
See what others have said:
ThemeParkRides.orgMost Memorable Ride Experience of 2012
CoasterblogMy Single Favorite Ride of the Year
The Coaster GuyMy Best Single Ride Experience of 2012
Coaster101Best Ride of 2012: Beast at Night

What’s Your Take?
What was your best single ride experience of the year? Did you have a memorable night ride or fun experience with a friend or family member?

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

41 Comments

  1. Because of those feelings, I postponed riding the ride until after I rode the usual suspects (i.g, Talon, Batman, Colossus, Green Lantern (which came a close second behind X2 as my most memorable ride experience this year). When I finally got my nerve up, it was dark and the fire effects on the ride were on full blast. I was ready! When we were waiting in the queue and finally got into the station, I noticed that the coaster-lift took the cars up backwards. I really, really hate being lifted backwards, but I sucked it up and was so glad I did. What an amazing coaster experience. So bloody disorienting. It was a totally surreal and was one of the best rides of my 2012 coaster season. If you haven't done it, I highly recommend it — especially at night.

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  2. My best ride experience was Tatsu at Magic Mountain at night, during the Fright Fest. Because of the haloween event, mm turned off the track lights on several rides, and Tatsu was one of them. Tatsu in the day is an incredible flying experience, but at night, with no track lights, it was absoultely awe-inspiring I’ve never felt closer to actually flying, nor have I felt more exhilarated.

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  3. I didn't do a large amount of coastering this year, but there's really no contest: Boulder Dash. Somewhat tarnished, though, by the fact that my wife found it way way WAY too much and came off seriously shaken by the experience.

    Second best was another terrain coaster, but at the opposite extreme and for different reasons: riding the little Polar Coaster at Story Land (NH) with my daughter. On the first ride, when it went around the first couple of turns, she yelled "This is funner than I thought!!"

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  4. SkyRush! My third ride of the day, enhanced by the mildly dark sunglasses that I’d never gone back to car to change, was absolutely insanity. After that rapid first drop, the rest of the ride occurs in that previously unexplored territory behind the Comet. With only a dimly lighted path below, that twisted layout gave no warning and showed no mercy as I felt almost helplessly ejected at the top of every rise, banked or not. For a brief moment, my hands descended, searching for a hold as instinct took over on the Stengel dive. I thought I might go flying over the Comet towards the Boardwalk section of the park. It was the first moment of fear I've ever encountered on a coaster and it was absolutely incredible. After of hundreds of different rides, I’d achieved coaster nirvana. Of course, I got back in line and did it again, front seat and all. The coaster gods were with us that day, as every ride garnered a wing seat.

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  5. I would probably have to go with my night rides on The Beast in Kings Island. Average at best during the day, amazing at night. El Toro and Bizarro still are the best, but The Beast was my most memorable ride this year.

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  6. My overall favorite roller coaster ride experience for 2012 was Top Thrill Dragster. It’s the fastest and highest roller coaster that I’ve been on.

    My favorite roller coaster is MF (Millennium Force)
    My favorite roller coaster that I rode for the first time last year = TTD

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  7. Best “experience” would probably be me and some friends ending the year by packing the back of the train of the S&S woodie, Timberhawk on a cold December night. It was a party plain and simple. However, best coaster of the year was definately El Toro at SFGAdv, absolutely blew me away with it’s aggresive yet smooth barrage of high bank turns and airtime moments. A fun surprise and honorable mention must go to SeaWorld San Diego’s new Manta, is it a family friendly thrill ride? yes. However, it is also one wildly enjoyable and very repeatable floating air machine. I took 8 rides in a row and still wanted more, soooo much fun!

    Reply

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