Coaster Credits: Agree or Disagree?

The biggest debate inside of the coaster community, outside of whether to classify RMC’s topper track as a wood or steel coaster, is what counts as a roller coaster credit? Counting the number of coasters you’ve conquered is one of the first steps from casual to hardcore roller coaster enthusiast. We’ve even created out own Excel spreadsheet template to keep track of your coaster count, but the question always comes back to: what counts as a coaster credit?

The definition of a roller coaster is not always as simple as it seems. And what about rides that are relocated? Coasters that are re-tracked? We decided to have a round table discussion to hear each others opinions about what should count as a coaster credit. Below is a state about whether a ride counts as a credit and whether we each agree or disagree. Read our thoughts then share yours in the comments below!

The Incredible Hulk redo where all the track was replaced and it’s essentially a brand new roller coaster does NOT count as a new credit: agree or disagree?

Andrew: Disagree. I think it should be a new credit. I think if you count coaster clones (i.e. Batman: The Ride B&Ms and Joker S&S Freespins) in your personal coaster count, you have to count Hulk 2.0 as well. It’s essentially a cloned layout with the new track, but happens to exist on the exact footprint of the coaster it cloned, rather than at another park somewhere else in the world. (And I’m not just saying that because I’ve ridden it and it gives me a “found” credit that I was previously unaware of.)

Eric: I’m going to preface this by saying I don’t really care about or count my coaster credits (I know, heresy). I’ve also never been on either version of Incredible Hulk. Basically, I’m super unqualified to answer this. That said, I think this is close. My inclination is to say it DOES NOT count as a new credit. Yeah, the launch is upgraded, and the track is replaced, but the layout is identical. Is this that much different than a retracked wooden coaster?

John: As a semi-serious coaster credit counter having ridden both the “old” and “new” tracks, I did not count the retracked Hulk as a new credit. I don’t count retracked wooden coasters as new credits. The new track is typically added in certain segments, and it’s still largely the same ride experience, albeit a smoother one. I applied the same logic to Hulk.

Nick: This is a tough one to start out with! On one hand, it IS essentially a completely new roller coaster. But on the other it’s the exact same layout in the exact same location. I think I’m also going to have to say AGREE, this is NOT a new credit.

Zamperla Disk’o rides, like Pipe Scream at Cedar Point, are NOT roller coasters. Agree or disagree?

Andrew: I think Disk’o’s, while a great ride, aren’t technically coasters. I’ll call it a flat ride. It’s similar to the motion of a Frisbee, just on a track instead of an overhead pendulum.

Eric: Agree, these are NOT roller coasters. I’m not sure what they are, but they’re definitely not roller coasters.

John: Agree. These are not coasters. And that works in my favor, as I don’t like spinning. So there’s no temptation to suffer through a ride for the credit.

Nick: I had the same thought here, I’ve always thought of them as flat rides. But does the ride ever run on gravity, even for a few seconds? If so, then I think we have to apply the same logic as the Skyline Skywarp models (more on this later) and count them as coasters.

Rougarou at Cedar Point and Patriot at California’s Great America should count as new credits. Agree or disagree?

Andrew: I’m on the fence here. There are definitely differences in the ride experience between a stand-up and floorless coaster, but I don’t think new trains can make for an entirely new coaster credit. I’ve ridden Mantis, and I’ll ride Rougarou hopefully on my next visit to Cedar Point. I never rode Patriot when it was Vortex at California’s Great America, so that one’s a bit of a moot point, anyway.

Eric: Nope, also not a new coaster. It’s the same track. Experience is slightly different, but again, I think of this as more like a re-tracked wooden coaster or like “New Revolution” getting new trains with different restraints. The coaster is improved, but it’s not brand new.

John: I say no. Again, I default to my wooden coaster logic. If a wooden coaster receives the train of a removed coaster (e.g. Great American Scream Machine at Six Flags over Georgia receiving the former Georgia Cyclone trains), I wouldn’t consider that to be a drastically different ride experience. And of course, the layout is exactly the same.

Nick: I think it all comes down to what Andrew alluded to: are we counting credits based on the coaster’s track or the rider experience? If you’re counting rider experiences, then it’s definitely new. If you’re going by the track, well, same track, same location, no new credit.

Timber Wolf at Worlds of Fun will have a new finale in 2018  but is NOT a new credit. Agree or disagree?

Andrew: Wooden coasters get re-tracked all the time. Unless the entire track is changed, then I’m not counting this as a “new” credit. But like John, I’ve never ridden this, so for me, it will be a new credit regardless. (Hoping to get to Worlds of Fun later this year, though!)

Eric: John and I see to have been on the same page for wooden coaster retracking being our guide for most of this. This is more complicated, but I’m still leaning towards not counting it. A line needs to be drawn somewhere, right? I wouldn’t count GhostRider as new after the reprofiling work it received, or Legend as new after it’s layout was modified. Are pre and post-loop Son of Beast different? I think not. Sadly Timber Wolf won’t be a new credit. Of course, all these GCI refurbs have made coasters much better, so I don’t want to discourage people riding them.

John: The line between credit/no credit is blurry here for me. I’ve never ridden Timber Wolf, so thankfully I won’t find myself in this predicament. Considering that the coaster’s track length will be shortened, I likely would not count this as a new credit.

Nick: Yeah, percentage wise they’re changing what, like less than 10% of the coasters layout? I guess for me you would have to change more than like 60% of the layout in order for me to consider it a new credit. So I agree, not a new credit.

Alpine coasters count as coaster credits. Agree or disagree?

Nick: Totally agree and so does RCDB. The only thing that makes them slightly different from your standard roller coaster is the passenger’s ability to influence the max speed of the ride by using the manual brake handles.

Eric: Agree, definitely coasters. Vehicle coasts freely on rails down a hill. It’s basically the definition of a coaster.

Andrew: Agreed. See Eric’s answer. That’s what I would have said, although I would have stumbled to try to make it make as much sense as he did.

John: Technically, yes. But I don’t count them. I’ve only been on one, so that’s no huge loss for me.

Larson loops are NOT coasters: Agree or disagree?

Andrew: As hard as Six Flags tries to convince me otherwise, these are not coasters. Never will be.

Eric: Yeah, definitely not coasters. They’re driven the whole time. It’s more like a Pirate Ship than a roller coaster.

John: Definitely not. Sorry, Six Flags.

Nick: Again, technically if there is moment where they run on pure gravity then maybe they should be a coaster. But nah, I personally will never refer to them as roller coasters.

Skyline Attractions’ Skywarp ride IS a roller coaster and counts as a coaster credit. Agree or disagree?

Andrew: I’ll defer to this tweet from Skyline during IAAPA. Duane and Arthur are both experts in the industry, and if they’re convinced its a coaster, its a coaster.

Eric: This is on the edge, but Skyline told us they actually coast a little bit, and are not fully driven. I think that makes them a coaster, plus the like wheel design and potential for a LIM launch make them even more coaster-like. It’s probably as close to not being a coaster as a coaster can be, though.

Nick: If it looks like a coaster…

John: I’m on the fence about this one too. I think seeing it in action may help me make a decision. I doubt I’ll ride one in the near future, so I’ll likely just cross that bridge once I come to it.

Eric: Gotta get you out to the West Coast, John!


Do you agree or disagree with any of us about what counts as a roller coaster credit? Let us know in the comments below!

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9 Responses

  1. Grobble says:

    Skywarps are not coasters. They have the same drive mechansism as larson loops. Skywarps coast just as much as larson loops9a few feet) and you people sat they are not coasters. Intellectual consistency and engineering knowledge shows Skywaprs are not coasters.

  2. Jeremy says:

    Fun read. I think I agree on all the statements but the skyline attractions, and on that i’m undecided. My gut feeling is that it is not a credit. But, I think the deciding factor is going to be seeing one in action and riding one. I think if the ride holds you in an unnatural position it will not be a coaster for me. But, on the other hand and using my engineering knowledge, if the propulsion of the train feels natural and like I am spending a lot of time coasting I may lean the towards a credit and coaster. Like I said, I’m undecided

    Grobble- Thanks for the comment. I love hearing different opinions. But, as a Mechanical Design Engineer I had to chuckle at “Intellectual consistency and engineering knowledge”. Most things are not binary but on a spectrum. Also, If I was critically analyzing this ride with engineering knowledge. The ride has a train, track and coasts…sounds like a credit. Like I said, I’m undecided. I hope to see your comments in the future, but would love to hear why you hold a point and try to convince me with some evidence or supporting points. -dftba

  3. Grobble says:

    @Jeremy

    Skywarps are not a credit unless you’re one of the people who think super loops are a credit. It’s the same drive tire mechanism and has about the same tiny bit of actually coasting.

    Your quote..” If I am spending a lot of time coasting …” Here’s your answer, which I already knew before hand and thus knew it’s not a coaster. Direct from Skyline in an interview actually from Coaster101…”“We have about five feet of complete coast without being driven by anything, ” Gray explained. Skywarps coast 5 ft of a 360ft circuit. That’s 1.38% of the circuit. Is that “a lot of time coasting?”

  4. Jeremy says:

    @Grobble

    I would agree super loops are definitely not a credit and that the Skywarps have a tiny amount of time were they are coasting. Leading me to say they are not a credit, but with the hesitation that in the programming they could coast the train even when they are in range of a powered section.
    Skyline has been quoted saying-
    “gradually rock the train back and forth until reaching full speed, reducing power consumption and minimizing required infrastructure improvements.”
    So there is a chance where this ride coast a lot to keep the power consumption low. I think I will need to ride it to make my final choice. Till then I think I agree, not a credit, with the chance of a change after riding one.

  5. Grobble says:

    @Jeremy
    @Jeremy

    ““gradually rock the train back and forth until reaching full speed,” That’s what a superloop does. Skywarps are the exact same thing as Super loops just with an Immelmann.

  6. Dave says:

    I like the brief analysis for each as that helps to simplify the issue in a sense. However, there were a few that were missed:

    1. Dueling coasters–one or two credits?
    2. Relocated coasters
    3. RMC Conversion (i.e., wood to steel)
    4. Powered coasters (e.g., Thunder Run @ Canada’s Wonderland)
    5. Water coasters (e.g., Poseidon, Journey to Atlantis, etc.)
    6. Shuttle coasters (some do not count them as being a shuttle coaster disqualifies it completely from having a specific classification, e.g., hypercoaster, stratacoaster in the case of Superman at SFMM, etc.)
    7. Backwards conversion (e.g., Mr. Freeze to Mr. Freeze Reverse Blast)

    The key disqualifier for me when it comes to Larson Loops, X-Scream, Disk’O, etc. are the continual starts and stops. Hardly anyone brings this factor up as a true roller coaster does not make multiple starts and stops. This can also be applied to alpine coasters as the passenger has the ability to slow and stop the car at any moment, which is why I am on the fence in regard to alpine coasters as a true coaster would continue the speed (i.e., coasting without physical personal control) without slowing/stopping multiple times.

  7. Nick says:

    Thanks for the comments everyone.

    That’s a good point about only coasting less than 2% of the coaster’s circuit. At what percentage would you count it as a coaster? 50%? 90%?

    Yeah Dave, there are more that we could do. Son of Beast with and without the loop, six vs seven car trains on Voyage, water slide coasters, etc. Maybe we’ll have to do a part two.

    In the end it doesn’t really matter what we call them as long as the rides are fun. This just makes for an interesting discussion to help pass the off-season!

  8. Maxi says:

    I have a question about alpine coasters: on rctb I can only find alpine coasters that are using a metal track, either one or two railed. However, there are a lot of bobsled alpine coasters in Germany and Austria. Those use a half tube in which they run, just as the regular winter sports. For example for the “Bayern Park”, which has 2 of those type, they are not listed on rcdb. However, looking at other coasters like the “Schweizer Bobbahn” in the “Europa Park” they totally are identical in terms of way they function. Can I count them as a credit or not, and why?

  9. Nick says:

    Hi Maxi, that’s an interesting observation. Maybe we should ask RCDB why they don’t include alpine slides while they do include bobsled coasters like Diaster Transport. They use wheels so they are still “rolling” and “coasting.” We don’t count water slide coasters because they don’t have wheels. I would probably count them.