Top 5 Worst Years for New Roller Coasters

Last week, we made our case for the top five best years for new roller coasters in America. Today, let’s look at the other end of the spectrum: the top five worst class of new roller coasters. As with the last list, I’ve tried my best to be as objective and impartial as possible, but this time I’d say the quantity of new coasters was the biggest influence, along with quantity, innovation, and historical significance. The number of coasters opened per year stats are according to RCDB. Here are the top five worst years for new roller coasters in America:

 5. Class of 2003

  • Total number of new coasters: 28
  • Notable coaster: Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point

For most of our readers, this may be the only coaster class on this list they were even alive for. Top Thrill Dragster was the highlight of the year by far but former Cedar Fair CEO Dick Kinzel said it was probably the worst business decision he’s ever made. The majority of the other new coasters built in 2003 were all clones, or copies of existing rides: Steel Venom, Superman Ultimate Flight (x2), Batman the Ride. Or parking lot coasters like Scream at Six Flags Magic Mountain (also a clone).

 4. Class of 1983

  • Total number of new coasters: 7
  • Notable coaster: Cyclone at Six Flags New England

Yes, the most notable roller coaster opened in 1983 was Cyclone at Six Flags New England, the same ride that was just closed in 2014. Yeah, that’s pretty sad.

3. Class of 1982

  • Total number of new coasters: 6
  • Notable coaster: Viper at Darien Lake and Grizzly at Kings Dominion

Viper at Darien Lake is one of two coasters you’ve probably heard of that opened in 1982. In the 2013 Mitch Hawker steel coaster poll, Viper came in at 311, out of 364 steel coasters. Grizzly at Kings Dominion was rated 104th “best” wood coaster in the 2013 Mitch Hawker wood coaster poll – out of 175. viper darien lake

 2. Tie between class of 1932 and 1945

  • Total number of new coasters each year: 1
  • Notable coaster: Giant Racer at Saltair, Cyclone at Palisades (not the Traver designed Cyclone)

Only one new coaster was built in 1932 and 1945 respectively. But this should come as no surprise. In 1945, World War II was still wrapping up and 1932 was in the midst of the Great Depression. Giant Racer opened at Saltair, an amusement park in Salt Lake City.

 1. Tie between class of 1943 and 1944

  • Total number of new coasters each year: 0
  •  Notable coasters: None

Yes, no new roller coaster were opened between the years of 1943 and 1944. Not surprising seeing as how we were fighting in a world war. If you were a roller coaster enthusiast back then, you were probably fighting in the war, but if not, it was a long wait until a new coaster opened.

worst year for new roller coasters

Honorable mention: 1985 is saved from being in the top five by the opening of the Phoenix at Knoebels.

There was a lot going on in the world so the 1930s and 40s have a good reason why so few coasters were built. The 1980s were a rough time, literally, with all the Arrow coasters, until B&M came onto the scene in 1990 with their super smooth rides. 2003 was rather disappointing, especially considering how awesome 1998-2001 were.

Do you agree with our list of the worst years for new roller coasters? What coaster class has been the worst since you’ve become a coaster enthusiast?