Showdown: Superman Krypton Coaster vs. Dominator

Roller Coaster Showdowns

Overview

The common denominator is that Superman Krypton Coaster and Dominator are B&M (Bolliger & Mabillard) floorless coasters.   Superman, operating since 2000, makes its home at Six Flags Fiesta Texas while Dominator, operating since 2008, is located at Kings Dominion.  (Dominator actually opened in 2000 as Batman:Knight Flight and has a rather complicated history, in that it first opened at Six Flags Ohio, which was originally Geauga Lake, before becoming Six Flags Worlds of Adventure and then Geauga Lake & Wildwater Kingdom.)

Layout, Theme and Setting

Superman, themed after the DC Comics superhero, features a sprawling layout over a limestone quarry, with 4,025 feet of track. Dominator, which has no discernible theme, also features a sprawling layout with 4,210 feet of track. In fact it’s the longest floorless coaster currently in operation. Dominator is located near the front of its park and occupies a plot of land with grass underneath.   The trees are some distance away. For theming and setting Superman comes out way ahead.  Those of you who visit Six Flags and Cedar Fair parks are undoubtedly aware that Six Flags has a licensing agreement with DC Comics whereas Cedar Fair does not, so that the Batman theming had to be removed from Dominator when Cedar Fair purchased it, and nothing was substituted.

Photo by Bobbie Butterfield

 

Photo by Bobbie Butterfield

Elements

Superman has six inversions (vertical loop, zero-g roll, cobra roll and interlocking corkscrews) while Dominator has five (vertical loop, cobra roll and interlocking corkscrews).  When it opened Superman set a record, broken in 2013, for the tallest vertical loop on a coaster.  In this category I would have to give Superman the edge for greater variety.

Ride Experience

A ride on Superman begins with a slight left turn out of the loading station and ascent up a 168-foot chain lift hill.  Upon reaching the top the train makes a 180-degree turn before dropping 168 feet off the quarry wall at a pretty wicked right angle.  It then shoots up into a 145-foot vertical loop with an imposing statue of Superman at the top.  From there it ascends into a helix over the quarry wall, followed by a zero-g roll.  Shortly thereafter it enters the cobra roll, then navigates a couple of turns and hits the mid course brake run.  Upon exiting the brake run the train drops sharply to the right and enters the interlocking corkscrews.  After a short straightaway it returns to the station.  Of note is that Superman reaches a maximum speed of 70 mph.

Photo by Bobbie Butterfield

A ride on Dominator begins with a small dip (similar to the one on Nitro at Six Flags Great Adventure) and 180-degree right turn out of the station.  The train then ascends a 157-foot chain lift hill and upon reaching the top, plummets 148 feet at a right angle.  It shoots up into a 135-foot vertical loop, followed by an upward right turn, before swooping down and entering the cobra roll.  After the cobra roll the train makes a right turn which takes it to the mid course brake run.  From that point it drops before ascending and navigating the interlocking corkscrews.  Upon exiting the corkscrews it goes through a couple of twisty turns that take it back to the loading station.  The ride is very well paced, with good airtime as well as a high thrill factor.  And the train passes by the station twice during its course, once after the loop and once after the cobra roll.  Dominator reaches a maximum speed of 65 mph.

Photo by Bobbie Butterfield

The Winner

Photo by Bobbie Butterfield

And the winner is…Superman.  Both coasters are awesome and while Superman has an extra inversion, this is not the deciding factor.  These coasters pretty much parallel each other in ride experience so it ultimately comes down to the setting.  Although Dominator features a very nice layout, it can’t top Superman’s.  Like Iron Rattler, Superman uses the park’s quarry wall to great advantage.  Creating a theme park at the site of an old limestone quarry was a stroke of genius and incorporating what remains of the quarry into coaster layouts significantly enhances the ride experience.

What’s your take?  Have you ridden Superman and Dominator and if so, how do you think they match up?

Hi! I took up roller coasters late in life, 8 years ago at the age of 59 and am trying to make up for lost time. Most of my favorite coasters were made by Intamin and lately, Rocky Mountain Construction. I love Hersheypark not only because it's the sweetest place on earth but because the three major coasters are Intamins. In real life I work in the legal profession.

4 Comments

  1. Dominator, then Batman: Knight Flight, was my first floorless coaster experience when it was located at Geauga Lake. At the time, it was one of the most intense things I had ridden, but it was smooth and well-paced, always leaving me wanting for “just one more ride.” It’s placement at Geauga Lake was along the shoreline, making for a very pleasant evening ride when there was a cool breeze! I do not like its current status as a “parking lot coaster” at Kings Dominion. I believe it is worthy of a better setting than it has, but I still enjoy it, especially after dark. If King’s Dominion is having fireworks, there is a great view from the top of the queue line stairs.

    Reply
    • What would we do without parking lot coasters? Dominator at Kings Dominion, Goliath at Six Flags Fiesta Texas, Superman at Great Adventure, et al. I too would prefer Dominator to be in a better setting but them’s the breaks. The difference between Dominator and Goliath is that Dominator is usually the 1st coaster I hit at Kings Dominion b/c of its proximity to the parking lot and Goliath is usually the last at its park b/c of its proximity to the parking lot. (Goliath is sort of meh so I’ll ride it on the way out if I have time but otherwise won’t bother.)

      Reply
      • I have to nominate Scream at Magic Mountain as the ultimate parking lot coaster. The last time I saw it, it was sitting right on the blacktop, with the parking spot lines still in evidence. Plus, it’s a B&M floorless, so on-topic for this discussion. No theme, basic color scheme, hidden entrance…a B&M deserves better.

        Reply
  2. Still itching to get on Dominator, though the setting looks about the same as Scream! @ SFMM, which is to say, a big ol’ boring concrete slab. I absolutely adored Superman Krypton Coaster when I visited SFFT a few summers ago…..that dive off of the quarry wall was sublime.

    Nice showdown post.

    Reply

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