Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide for Coaster Enthusiasts 2017 Edition
If you’re in search of a gift for a roller coaster enthusiast friend or family member this holiday season, we’ve got you covered. Our 2017 roller coaster enthusiast gift guide features a diverse selection of gift ideas that will please any lover of roller coasters and theme parks.
Of course, you can’t go wrong with buying a season pass for your coaster enthusiast’s local amusement park, zoo or aquarium. But if you want something to wrap, see the list below for our suggestions. And please feel free to recommend additional ideas in the comments section below. We’d love to include it on the list.
As in previous years, we’ve organized our gift ideas into several categories of roller coaster books, games, toys, and more. Remember that prices and availability are subject to change.
Books by Coaster101 Writers
Images of Modern America: Libertyland is a chronological look at the theme park’s life, from blueprints to its razing and beyond. Photographs were gathered from former park employees, guests, historians, Memphis-area libraries, and the Shelby County Archives. Born and raised in Memphis, Coaster101 creator and author John R. Stevenson V rode his first roller coaster at Libertyland and considers his childhood days spent at the park unforgettable. This book is not only a tribute to Libertyland’s legacy, but also a history lesson for generations of Memphians to come.
Coasters 101: An Engineer’s Guide to Roller Coaster Design by Nick Weisenberger will show you how roller coaster designers spend hundreds of hours creating, tweaking, and re-imagining ride paths to push the exhilaration envelope while carefully maintaining the highest safety standards. Features design example problems real roller coaster engineers face in the field today as well as career advice for any aspiring roller coaster engineers.
Nonfiction Theme Park Books
Theme Park Design by Steve Alcorn. Take a peek behind the scenes, with a theme park engineer – a must read for all aspiring theme park designers! For more information read our review and interview features with Steve.
Creating My Own Nemesis by John Wardley. The story follows John’s professional career beginning with how he got out of the boring family business and into the crazy world of theme parks. If by any degree you’re into magic, illusions, theater production, theme park design, or roller coasters I highly recommend you read this thoroughly entertaining book. Read our full review here.
Theme Park Design and the Art of Themed Entertainment is the most thorough book on theme park design available. David Younger’s book is literally a textbook on every single aspect of theme parks you could think of, with quotes from real designers with priceless knowledge. Reading Theme Park Design is like taking a college course on the subject, and your professors are Walt Disney Imagineers. Click here for my full Theme Park Design book review.
A perfect coffee table book, American Coasters 2 features beautiful photographs of roller coasters from coast to coast. The book is available on Amazon for $30.36. See some of the images and read our review here.
Fiction Theme Park Books
Earlier this year we posted a fictional interview with the main character from Serpentine, a thrilling book by Peter Parkin and Alison Darby. As you might expect in a fictional story about a roller coaster – the Blank Mamba crashes in a horrible accident. Just like the coaster, the story takes a couple of crazy turns: it goes from media day for a super-sized roller coaster, to a crazy terrorist/government conspiracy theory.
Nowhere in the world is there a more bizarre theme park than Happy Fun Land. Nike Farmington’s twelve years of thrill-seeking and roller coaster riding has brought him to exotic locales like Perth, Australia, Kaatsheuvel, Netherlands, and Santa Claus, Indiana. He’s marathoned a roller coaster for ten consecutive hours and conquered the world’s tallest and fastest. Yet nothing has prepared him for the insanity of Happy Fun Land and it’s mind blowing attractions: a drop ride with no brakes and a death simulator, just to name a few. Will Nike survive his hilarious adventure through the world’s craziest theme park?
Opposed to sharing the spotlight with his intergalactic co-stars, Darth Vader will stop at nothing to foil Disneyland’s plans to build a Star Wars Land. Conspiring with Mickey Mouse, Darth employs Sheriff Woody and the Toys to develop a dastardly plan to sabotage the kickoff festivities for the new themed land. But can the double-crossing Indiana Jones put a halt to the plot and save Disneyland? Find out in Backstage Disneyland as award-winning newspaper reporter and theme park blogger Brady MacDonald delves into the private lives and personal problems of the Disney characters secretly living behind the scenes of Disneyland.
Roller Coaster Video Games
Planet Coaster has brought the roller coaster and theme park simulator genre roaring back to life. The game has received rave reviews, and was made by the developers of Roller Coaster Tycoon 3. Like RCT3, Planet Coaster allows players to design and manage their dream theme park, as well as ride their roller coaster creations — and share them with other players. Expansions packs are now available as well.
Finally, RCT fans can experience all the fun from the original RollerCoaster Tycoon and RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 games with a new incarnation that combines the best elements of both classic titles! RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic theme park sim came out on mobile and tablet devices back in December 2016 and was a massive hit. Now, RCTC is available on desktop PCs as well as MAC computers. No, this is not the terrible, micro-transaction riddled mobile game RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile, nor the poorly reviewed PC game RollerCoaster Tycoon World. This is RollerCoaster Tycoon and RollerCoaster Tycoon 2, aka the fan favorite Chris Sawyer originals, rolled into one masterful game. Get it from Steam for $19.99 – totally worth it.
NoLimits2 is the ultimate roller coaster simulation game that lets you experience authentic roller coaster thrills. Focusing on realism and speed, NoLimits lets you ride real existing coasters, or build rollercoasters to your own specifications. Even real roller coaster design firms use this software to make quick concepts before diving into all the engineering. Standard edition is $39.99.
Holiday World offers a t-shirt grab bag on their Holi-shop. Available in both Adult and Child sizes, these mystery t-shirts can be yours for the low, low price of $7, which is a huge savings from the typical $20+ park t-shirt.
Made To Thrill has several Disney-inspired (and one for Fury 325!) shirts for sale in their online shop. If you’re a fan of Epcot, Monorail Gold, or Soarin’, be sure to check them out! They’ve also got some really great roller coaster-inspired prints. Made To Thrill re-stocks and comes up with new products every so often, so keep an eye on their site.
Roller Coaster Toys and Models
Roller Coaster Challenge Logic and Building Game is 50% logic game, 50% roller coaster building set, and 100% awesome and educational. Select a Challenge Card and set up the Posts and Tracks as shown, then Determine where to add the indicated pieces to the grid. When your Car successfully rides the Track from Start to Finish – You win. Get it for $25.49 on Amazon.
Lego Disney Castle. Launch the fireworks and let the magic begin! The Disney Castle measures over 29” (74cm) high, 18.8” (48cm) wide and 12” (31cm) deep.This set includes over 4,000 LEGO® pieces. Be sure to buy directly from LEGO where the set is only $349 (not $479 like on Amazon).
LEGO Creator Expert 10247 Ferris Wheel Building Kit – Build the iconic Ferris Wheel, featuring 12 colorful suspended gondolas with opening doors, ice cream stall, kiosk, 10 mini-figures and more.
CDX Blocks Cyclone Roller Coaster is a block based roller coaster construction toy. It will be the first commercially available kit that combines the versatility of the world’s leading building block system with the realism and excitement of the CoasterDynamix track system. The result is an amazing roller coaster model that is easy to build and fun to customize, not to mention relatively affordable too. Join multiple sets together to make larger, more elaborate custom designs. So no, it’s not made by LEGO but is fully compatible with LEGO blocks, and maybe that’s a good thing because the coaster system itself is much better designed than any official LEGO coasters that have been released. Get your own CDX Cyclone coaster here.
If you’re shopping between November 24 – 27, get free shipping and save 20% by using code BF20.
For more Lego set ideas read our list of Top Ten LEGO sets for roller coaster fans.
There are several interesting K’NEX roller coaster sets available this Christmas season and none of them use the traditional chain lift. K’NEX Crossfire Chaos Roller Coaster uses a rubber band style launch system ($34.99).
The Web Weaver Roller Coaster Building Set uses something I’ve never seen before on a K’nex coaster: an air-powered car. The vehicles have fans on the back so you can build a track that can be set horizontally or turned vertically and the car will still complete the circuit, no chain lift required. ($42)
Clock Work Roller Coaster Building Set uses a clock-hand mechanism to lift the car to the top of the 2.6 foot high hill. ($25)
Want to bring a little piece of Walt Disney World into your home? Looking for an alternative to putting a train around your Christmas tree? Then check out the Walt Disney World Monorail Playset. This working monorail is inspired by the real thing and has sound and light effects. Disneyland version also available. Currently $79.95.
CoasterDynamix Nanocoasters: Stainless steel coaster models that are pretty affordable, though non-working. Great gift to display on your desk or in your home.
Tech, Gadgets, Miscellaneous
VR is becoming bigger and bigger in the amusement park industry so why not get a Samsung Gear VR headset to play around with at home? Especially since many theme parks are now releasing 360 degree videos for their coasters.
Intamin Track Bottle Opener. Looking for that perfect gift for the theme park fan in your life who also enjoys beverages out of glass bottles without screw-off caps? Look no further than this roller coaster track bottle opener, shaped like Intamin track!
3D Printer – Why might a 3D printer be on our list you might be asking yourself. So you can design, print, build, and operate your very own mini roller coaster of course! Check out our feature with Matt how he recreated Invertigo at Kings Island by using 3D printers.
Be on the lookout for Black Friday sales, like SeaWorld’s buy one get one free deal. Six Flags parks are also having a Black Friday sale for Season Passes. Be sure to check your local Six Flags park for specific details!
What gifts are you getting your coaster enthusiast friends? Which coaster gifts are you hoping to find under the tree this year? Discuss in the comments section below, and feel free to recommend additional gift ideas!