Top 10 Wooden Coasters of 2012 – Coaster Poll Results


World’s Best Wooden Roller Coasters of 2012 | Coaster Poll

Dualing Dragon - High Five Wooden Coaster - Happy Valley - ChinaHere’s the top ten wooden roller coasters in Mitch Hawker’s annual Internet Coaster Poll along with their places in the last poll:

2012 Top Ten Best Wooden Roller Coasters
1 El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure (New Jersey) Intamin (1st)
2 T Express at Everland(Korea) Intamin (2nd)
3 The Voyage at Holiday World (Indiana) Gravity Group (4th)
4 Boulder Dash at Lake Compounce (Connecticut) CCI (3rd)
5 Phoenix at Knoebels (Pennsylvania) Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters (5th)
6 Balder at Liseberg (Sweden) Intamin (8th)
7 Ravine Flyer II at Waldameer (Pennsylvania) Gravity Group (6th)
8 Dauling Dragon-Left at Happy Valley (Wuhan, China)
9 Dauling Dragon-Right at Happy Valley (Wuhan, China)
10 Colossos at Heide Park (Germany) Intamin (10th)
11 Fireball at Happy Valley (Shanghai, China) Gravity Group (15th)

See the complete 2012 wooden roller coaster poll results with all 183 coasters.

The Internet Coaster Poll tends to be more international than the Golden Ticket Awards. I’ve ridden the 5 U.S. roller coasters that are in the top ten. I definitely agree that they’re worthy of top rankings as four of them are in my top wooden coasters list. And I consider Knoebels’ Phoenix just outside of my top woodies.

The proliferation of international woodies over the past 5 or 6 years has been undeniable. First the crazy-smooth Intamin pre-fabricated coasters (cousins of Great Adventure’s El Toro) like Balder, Colossos, and T Express made their mark. Then China’s roller coaster explosion has led rides like the massive GCI terrain woodie at Knight Valley, Fireball, and the exciting ‘high-five’ dueling woodie at the Wuhan Happy Valley. Again, every time I see these lists I’m reminded of Robb Alvey’s international coaster trips. One day. One day.

Here’s a video of a ride that made two entries of this year’s top ten woodies, Dualing Dragon at Happy Valley:

For a more U.S.-centric list see the 2012 Wooden Coaster Results.

Best of the Rest

Other American wooden roller coasters that made the top 25 were: Thunderhead at Dollywood (15th), Prowler at Worlds of Fun (17th), Renegade at ValleyFair (19th), Tremors at Silverwood (20th), Rampage at Alabama Adventure (21st), Wooden Warrior at Quassy (23rd tie), Raven at Holiday World (23rd tie), and Shivering Timbers at Michigan’s Adventure (25th).

Have you ridden any of this year’s top 10 or 25? What do you think of the list? Which rankings are you most surprised by?

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


  1. I voted in this poll and am absolutely delighted to see El Toro, my favorite coaster, wood or steel, to come in at number one. A veteran of more than 70 rides on this coaster, I never get tired of it and find it superior to The Voyage. As to the others that made the top ten, I can’t really comment because I have never had the opportunity to ride coasters in Europe or Asia and probably never will because I can’t afford it. The only others in the top ten I’ve ridden are The Voyage and Phoenix, both deserving of high marks although I rate Shivering Timbers above Phoenix. (Am going to ride Boulder Dash at the end of May and that will probably end up in my own top ten list.) One thing on which everyone who voted seems to agree is that Mean Streak is decidedly inferior. When I voted, I put Mean Streak at the very bottom of my list, after Rolling Thunder, Cyclone Six Flags New England and Blue Streak. Cedar Point could really use a good wooden coaster. It has everything else, so why not that? (Gemini is a hybrid and OK but nothing to write home about.)

  2. Where are the articles? You only post once or twice every week or two. Besides that, I completely agree with this list. So… yeah.

    • Have you ever tried to visit the site and have it not load? I probably should have put a post up about it, but I’ve been working through some technical issues with my sites. I didn’t really want to post anything new until the issues were fixed. Everything should be good to go now though.

      Anyway, I’m back now. So I’ll be posting more regularly.

      • Okay, glad you’re back!

  3. El Toro and The Voyage are sitting at #1 and #2 respectively on my personal lis (274 total)t. El Toro will probably be my first ride of this year (Marcdh 23!!) and I hope to get back out to Holiday World on my midwest coaster-bagging trip this summer. I keep hearing that The Voyage is running much rougher than when I last rode it a few years back, so I’m interested in putting it up against El Toro once again. The Voyage was the first coaster to leave me feeling exhausted at the end of my first ride, so I tend to compare all new coasters to that one memorable ride. BoulderDash and Ravine Flyer are also in my top 10 list, as is Thunderhead. All three are comparable in that once your crest the lift hill, the fun doesn’t let up until you hit the final brake run. I also have The Beast in mny top 10, but specifically for rides after dark on moonless nights 😉 Year after year, I’m surprised by The Phoenix being included in these lists. It’s good ride and understandably called a “classic,” but it just doesn’t keep up with the others, in spite of it’s fun pops of airtime.

    My 84-year old mom still claims The Beast as her favorite, but her last coaster ride was at age 83 on Thunderhead (impressed the heck out of me!!) and she gave it 2 thumbs up!

    I’m off to Silver Dollar City this summer. Can’t wait to see where a wooden corkscrew will fit into my list. Judy P

    My Track Record: 274

    My Favorite Roller Coasters
    El Toro, 6 Flags Great Adventure
    The Voyage, Holiday World
    The Beast (after dark!), King’s Island
    Millenium Force, Cedar Point
    Ravine Flyer II, Waldameer
    Boulder Dash, Lake Compounce
    Thunderhead, Dollywood
    Leviathan, Canada’s Wonderland
    Goliath, 6 Flags Over GA
    Afterburn, Carowinds

  4. I cannot get over how fast the Dueling Dragons woodies look like they are going. I’d be interested to ride them.

    I have not yet ridden the Voyage, so El Toro remains easily in my number one spot, followed closely behind by Phoenix. I was not a Phoenix fan at all until I sat in the second seat in the first car. It is a completely different ride experience from this seat, and I was usually so far out of my seat that I was actually fearful at times. Amazing.

    As many coasters I have ridden, I still don’t feel that I can honestly comment on “the best” coasters fairly. I’m mostly an east coast girl, though I have visited Cedar Point twice. I’ve only ridden 102, so I’m hoping to add some things this year. I have more of a favorite within each type:

    Wood: El Toro, followed by Phoenix and Lightning Racer
    Launcher: Tie between Revenge of the Mummy and Maverick
    Inverted: Montu, followed by Talon
    Floorless: Kraken
    Steel hyper or giga: Nitro (I’ve only been on three hyper coasters and one giga, and only Nitro is a B&M, so I really feel I need more experience in these), followed by Millennium Force and then Steel Force
    Strata: Edge easily goes to TTD, although night rides on Kingda Ka are better due to the pitch black launch.

    I can’t wait to see what Outlaw Run and Iron Rattler do though. I think we’re gonna see some unseating going on very soon.

  5. Reading this list to my husband as we just left Boulder Dash in Lake Compounce. He has been on about half the wooden roller coasters on this list but still none he says compare to the Cyclone at Coney Island.


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