RE: Best theme parks for coasters 2015
When I replied to strycker's thread the first time today, I was on my phone. After posting and thinking about his question a bit more, I realized I could (and would like to) say considerably more than I did the first time around. So now I'm on a computer and will list out all the park's I've been to and will judge each of them based on their coaster collections.
Parks will be color-coded green, orange, and red based on my opinion of their lineup. Coasters I highlight at each of the parks are coasters I consider to be not only great, but also in some way unique and hence, worth visiting the park for. If a coaster is good but undeserving of the highlights listing, I'll list it under honorable mentions.
Anyway, hopefully this helps!
Adventure Park USA
If you're driving through New Market, Maryland stop in. It's a neat little place with two actual coasters (plus a kiddie coaster). That said, nothing here is worthy of specific mention. Given the rate at which they're growing though, maybe they have plans to up their game further in the future?
Busch Gardens Tampa
Great park, but their coaster collection isn't incredible. That said, it's easy for a credit seeker to happily spend a day on coasters at Busch Gardens Tampa. Highlights here are Cheetah Hunt and Kumba. Honorable mentions go to Montu, Scorpion, and SheiKra.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Great park with a stellar collection. Don't really need to defend it much to this audience, but the highlights here are Alpengeist, Apollo's Chariot, Loch Ness Monster, and Verbolten. Additionally, I'd put Griffon and into the honorable mentions category.
The worst Cedar Fair park I've ever visited. Unfortunately, it is also home to Fury 325- one of the greatest coasters I've ever ridden. Fairly mediocre collection otherwise. Highlights here are Fury 325 and Afterburn (RIP Thunder Road). Honorable mentions? Only
In contrast to Carowinds, this is the best Cedar Fair park I've ever visited. Is this the holy grail of amusement parks? No. Is it a really good park? Yes. Highlights here are Maverick and Millennium Force. Only honorable mentions I have for this park are Blue Streak and GateKeeper.
Like Cedar Point, this is another park I'd consider overrated. It's an interesting park, but I wouldn't call it a great one. The sole highlight here in my honest opinion is Mystery Mine. Honorable mentions are FireChaser Express, Tennessee Tornado, and Thunderhead. I also have to say that Lightning Rod looks incredible. It is probably justification alone for a trip out to Dollywood in 2016.
Dorney is a great park that's lacking a crown jewel attraction. It manages charm in the same league as Cedar Point but doesn't have the headliner it needs to put it on the map. This is the park I wish Fury had gone to. Highlights here are Hydra The Revenge and Talon. Honorable mentions are Steel Force and Thudnerhawk.
Ah, my favorite amusement park in the country. A must-visit in my honest opinion. Highlights here are Comet, both sides of Lighting Racer, Skyrush, and Storm Runner. Honorable mentions go to Fahrenheit, Great Bear, and Superdooperlooper. I'm pretty sure Laff Trak belongs on the honorable mentions list as well, but I haven't gotten a chance to ride it myself just yet.
Another of my favorite parks and definitely the woodie capital of the world. It's also worth noting that Splashin' Safari is the best water park I've ever experienced. The highlight here is The Voyage. Simply a masterpiece. Honorable mentions go to The Legend and The Raven. Though I haven't experienced it personally yet, Thunderbird looks like it belongs on the honorable mentions list as well.
I love that Idlewild exists and I think it's an incredibly neat park to visit- just not for their coasters. That said, I'm going to give an honorable mention to both Rollo Coaster and Wild Mouse for being two little coasters that actually took me by surprise.
Another unique (and incredible) Pennsylvania classic. Like Dorney, it has a great base collection, but it needs that one big headliner to really put it on the map. That said, I prefer Kennywood to Dorney. Highlights here are Jack Rabbit, Phantom's Revenge, and Skyrocket. Honorable mentions go to Exterminator, Racer, and Thunderbolt.
There has been too much change since I've visited for me to accurately judge this park, but Lighting Run and Storm Chaser both look like incredible additions. Plus, it sounds like Thunder Run is running better than ever.
GASP! Did I just list Kings Dominion as orange? Yeah, I did. I (of course) love the park, but it feels like there are large holes in its collection. The only highlight I have to give here is Intimidator 305. Honorable mentions go out to Avalanche, Dominator, Flight of Fear, Rebel Yell, and Volcano.
Kings Island is in the same place as Kings Dominion in my book collection-wise. I wholeheartedly believe Kings Dominion to be the better park though. Kings Island has a solid collection, but not a great one. Highlights are Banshee and Beast. Honorable mentions go to Bat, Diamondback, Flight of Fear, and Racer.
Another park with a collection that I'm uncomfortable judging right now. Knoebels has added three (!) coasters since I visited just a couple years ago. When I was there, their collection was far from diverse (it only consisted of two woodies), but I'd consider both of those woodies (Phoenix and Twister) to be highlight-worthy attractions. Incredibly intrigued by Black Diamond, Flying Turns, and Impulse. I suspect all three are likely worthy of honorable mentions if not better.
Legoland Florida is a neat family park, but, like Idlewild, you're not going to visit for its collection. I wouldn't say there's a highlight here, but I'll give honorable mentions to Coastersaurus and Dragon.
Giving SeaWorld Orlando green while only giving Kings Dominion, Kings Island, and Busch Gardens Tampa orange is going to be a very controversial choice, I know. That said, it honestly accurately represents my opinions. I'd consider all three of SeaWorld Orlando's current coasters, Journey to Atlantis, Kraken, and Manta to be highlights. With the addition of Mako next year, I honestly think SeaWorld Orlando will end up with the best coaster lineup in Florida. No honorable mentions here because there's nothing left to list!
Six Flags St. Louis
Not a great park and certainly not a great collection. I don't have a single coaster to highlight for Six Flags St. Louis, but I'll give out a few honorable mentions: American Thunder, Batman The Ride, Mr. Freeze Reverse Blast, and Pandemonium. Mr. Freeze could have been a highlight for me, but unfortunately, it's basically a clone. It's a great ride, but I'd rather go to Six Flags over Texas and ride theirs.
Universal Studios Florida
Don't visit USF for coasters. Only highlight here is Revenge of the Mummy. Neither of the others are even worth mentioning. Love the park, but not for coasters.
Universal's Islands of Adventure
Of the two Universal parks in Orlando, this is the better for coasters, but it's still a bit of a snooze-fest. I don't have anything to highlight here honestly. Honorable mentions go to both sides of Dragon's Challenge and Hulk (presumably new Hulk as well?).
Walt Disney World: Animal Kingdom
The worst of the Florida Disney parks. No highlights here but I'll give an honorable mention to Expedition Everest for being a surprisingly solid coaster.
Walt Disney World: Epcot
No coasters here. Makes my job easy.
Walt Disney World: Hollywood Studios
Small park that's undergoing a major overhaul. Only coaster here, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, would fall into my honorable mentions category. It's unique, but not really a very good coaster.
Walt Disney World: Magic Kingdom
Like all the other Disney parks, you don't visit for coasters. That said, I'll give an honorable mention to Space Mountain for being a flashback to a very different time in roller coaster history. Plus, it still manages to be a pretty fun ride.