Our Favorite Moments from 2015, Part One

It’s that time of year again — 2015 is coming to a close and 2016 is just around the corner. Every year we take a look back and reflect on the past year. In this two-part series, each member of the Coaster101 will share a few of our favorite moments from 2015, and what we’re each looking forward to in the new year.


Holiday World Meet-Up

Coaster101 celebrated ten years online in 2015. And although we’ve been around for over a decade, we had never had a formal meet-up of the writing team. That all changed in August when most of the group met at Holiday World to check out the park’s new launched B&M wing coaster, Thunderbird.

holiday-world-meetup  DSC05043

CoasterBuzz’s “Fall Affair” event gave us a behind-the-scenes tour and extended ride time (ERT) on Thunderbird. We also got plenty of rides on the park’s famous wooden coasters: the Voyage, Legend and Raven.

Although Thunderbird was down for much of the day (they had to fetch a replacement part from Louisville, Kentucky) we were able to get exclusive nighttime rides on the wing coaster along with the park’s wooden coasters.

Overall, it was a spectacular day, and we hope to have many more meet-ups (you included!) in the coming years.


The 2015 coaster season treated me well. I was fortunate to add 28 new coasters to my list, surpassing the coveted “100-credit” mark.


I attended the Justice League media day at Six Flags St. Louis, experiencing my first Sally Corp. interactive dark ride.

I visited Busch Gardens Williamsburg for the second time, and, being a few inches taller, I was able to ride all of the park’s major coasters. Griffon and Apollo’s Chariot were standouts, but I also enjoyed the park’s other offerings including the new-for-2015 Tempesto.

DSC04885Soon after, I made an unexpected visit to Kings Dominion, a brand new stop for me. Intimidator 305 took my number-one steel coaster spot – I was completely blown away by the ride, my first giga coaster. I often refer to the first ride as “life changing.” Dominator, Volcano: The Blast Coaster and Grizzly were a few of the other memorable rides. I took one ride on Shockwave since I knew its time was limited.

The previously mentioned Coaster101 team meet-up at Holiday World was certainly a highlight, as was my first ride on Thunderbird. I hope B&M continues building launched coasters – the marrying of two of my favorite things: B&M coasters with smooth, yet forceful launches.

IMG_7186I also visited Lake Winnepesaukah (or Lake Winnie) for the first time. The quaint lakeside amusement park injected a great deal of nostalgia in me as I was seemingly transported back in time to similar smaller parks that I visited as a child.

I ended the season with two visits to Dollywood for the park’s Smoky Mountain Christmas. I added another new coaster to my list: the family friendly, quirky FireChaser Express, which exceeded my expectations.

The 2015 season was by far one of the best for me, and I look forward to what 2016 has in store.


2015 was another successful coaster season for me as well. I was able to visit two new parks and ride 13 new coasters.

gatekeeper1My season started out with an unexpected trip to Florida and a one day park hopper ticket to Disney. I was able to get to three of the four parks in one day, grabbing rides on all of my favorite attractions. While it was a very long day, it was totally worth it, especially getting to try out the relatively new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. It was a great ride with incredible theming, definitely another gem from the Imagineers.

Next up for me was attending the first ever Coasterstock event at Kings Island. The two-day event was packed full of ERT and backstage tours, I highly recommend it.

I was lucky enough to visit Cedar Point twice this year, once for CoasterMania and again in September for the parks first Coaster Appreciation Night, where they opened only the coasters for a reduced entry price. Even though the rain was pouring all night long, it was pretty fun getting to ride Millennium Force, Maverick and GateKeeper without any wait.

mich advMy first new park of the year came at Michigan’s Adventure in August. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Cedar Fair’s smallest park going into that day, but I left wanting to go back. Michigan’s Adventure has a very nice collection of fun and high quality roller coasters, my favorite being Shivering Timbers.

The last park visit I made this year was to Holiday World to meet up with the rest of the Coaster101 Team. I absolutely loved this park and all of their coasters. The attention they put into keeping their rides running smoothly is amazing. The Voyage stunned me, it was ten times better than I thought it was going to be. My first ride on it at night was one of my best rides ever on a roller coaster.

It will be hard to top 2015, but I can’t wait to ride some of the new coasters in 2016!


I’m joining in the chorus of 2015 being a good coaster year, but every year is as long as you get to ride something new (or a favorite), right?

The biggest highlight was probably that Holiday World trip we made in August.  Being from Northern California, the chances that I would ever make a trip to middle-of-nowhere (sorry Holiday World), Indiana were pretty slim, but I was certainly glad I made it out.  The ERT we got to enjoy on Thunderbird and The Voyage were worth the trip, and I got to visit a new park which means I successfully checked a box on my coaster resolutions for the year!

El Toro at Six Flags Great AdventureI got to take a very brief visit to Six Flags Great Adventure while in New Jersey for the ol’ day job during the summer, and while I didn’t get to spend too much time there, any chance to ride El Toro mutitple times is pretty great.  It happened about a month before the Holiday World trip so I got a pretty good opportunity to compare two coasters frequently at the top of “best wooden coaster” lists.  I think El Toro still wins for me, although I admit they’re pretty hard to compare (an excuse I’ll keep making for not actually declaring a winner).

Although it happened a lot later in the year than I wanted, I’m so happy I made it down to Magic Mountain this December to get a ride (well, several) on Twisted Colossus.  Twisted Colossus at Magic MountainHaving never been on a Rocky Mountain Coaster before, I didn’t quite know what to expect, but the expectations were high.  TC had no problem exceeding them.  It was unlike any ride I’ve ever been on, and certainly had me lifted out of my seat more than anything I’ve ever experienced.  It easily became my favorite ride at the park, probably in this state.  This amazing discovery also increases my excitement for my last highlight of the year…

There weren’t any huge new openings at my local parks, but both announced new rides that have me pretty excited.  California’s Great America is completely re-doing their old “Action Theater” for a ride themed on one of my favorite video games, Mass Effect.  There still haven’t been too many details released, but I’m excited about the possibility of more blending of games and rides going forward, and this seems like a great place to start.

The classic GCI banked drop.

The bigger local news, though, was that Six Flags Discovery Kingdom is getting it’s own Rocky Mountain conversion!

Going to the park for the final day of Roar was a bittersweet highlight for the year.  It was a good coaster (one of my favorites at the park) and I’ve always been a Great Coasters International fan, but after riding on Twisted Colossus I cannot wait to see what RMC will do with this tight, twisted GCI layout!  So far the construction looks great, and getting a new coaster, from arguably the best coaster designer currently working, in my own region is thrilling, to say the least.  So while 2015 was great for me with lots of awesome new rides, I’m pretty stoked about what 2016 will be bringing to my neighborhood (not to mention the short trip to Southern California for Wizarding World of Harry Potter opening in just a few months…)

Be sure to check out Part Two tomorrow!