15 to 15: 15 Favorite Lists and Rankings
Next in our celebration of 15 years of Coaster101, we’re making a list of lists! You can’t have a good website without rankings, comparisons, guides, and just generally silly “listicles.” So, of course, we’ve made a lot of them over the years. Time to take a look back at 15 of our favorite lists and rankings we’ve put together for Coaster101. In no particular order, here we go:
We’re cheating a little bit with this one, as we’ve decided to lump together our entire best of the 2010s end-of-decade project from last December. We chose five categories of attractions to look at the best of the decade from each: Steel Coasters, Wooden Coasters, Non-Coasters, Defunct Rides, and Innovative Attractions. First, you, our readers, nominated your favorites. Then, we debated internally all of your nominations to try to rank everything. After lots of fun discussions within the group, we eventually landed on several great lists of a lot of great rides.
One of our most fun history projects, we took a look back in time to decide which years gave us the best “class” of new coasters. We tried to factor in a mix of quantity of new roller coasters, the quality and longevity of the rides, and new coaster innovations. What stands out the most was how great the late 90s and early 2000s were for roller coaster lovers. Three of our top-5 classes were 1998, 2000, and 2001 (and while 1999 just missed our top 5, we just did a whole series on its awesome coasters). Great time to be a roller coaster fan! But, this list might be due for an update pretty soon. The last couple of years have been pretty great for new coasters, and 2020 was on pace to be another one.
While we found the best coaster classes were from more recent years, it doesn’t mean there aren’t great old ones. Another of our end-of-the-decade projects last year, we decided to look at some of the best coasters 50+ year old coasters still running. Ranging from as recent as the ’60s to as old as the 1900s, there are a lot of really good classic coasters out there.
Speaking of classic coasters, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of Loch Ness Monster at Busch Gardens Williamsburg a few years ago with 40 fun facts about this beautiful Arrow Looper. Did you know it’s the only coaster left with interlocking loops? And that those loops are identical in size and shape? Or that over the first 40 years of its life, 58.5 million riders have braved Nessie? Tons of fun details about one of our favorite coasters. And if you like 40 year anniversaries, also check out our 40 facts for Carolina Cyclones’ 40th.
Loch Ness Monster appears on a few of our lists. We ranked it as our second favorite Arrow Looping coaster still operating. When Kings Island announced they were closing Vortex, we decided we needed to look at which classic Arrow Loopers were our favorites, the ones we really hope never see the chopping block. Luckily, we’re pretty sure our top few are safe!
We here at Coaster101 love roller coasters of all shapes and sizes. They don’t need to be the biggest and fastest to be fun, which is why we took a look at some of the best coasters that race slower than 35mph. The list includes rides like the Seven Dwarfs Mine Ride at Magic Kingdom, Lost Coaster of Superstition Mountain at Indiana Beach, and Fire Chaser Express at Dollywood. All of them are a blast, and all of them are family friendly.
We also love coasters that aren’t always considered coasters. We’ve done a few features of the years about Alpine coasters, from an interview about how they work to comparisons between them. But the most recent, and thus most useful to you, is our comprehensive guide to them. Kyle broke down the differences between the seven alpine coasters currently in the Smoky Mountains (at the time of its writing), comparing things like their lengths, histories, prices, and more. He also provides reviews of each, and overall rankings of them both based on their thrill level and their overall experience (including value). If you’ve ever wanted to give one of these a try but just weren’t sure which, this is for you!
Going to a park as a first timer always provides and interesting perspective compared to those who go all the time. In this example, while Coaster101’s founder John Stevenson is a long time Dollywood regular, our West Coast writer, Eric Wooley, went for the first time in 2018. Coming in with different expectations than someone who regularly goes to a park can make different things stand out. Sometimes charming little things about a park or unique attractions that long time visitors are used to actually turn out to be the most memorable parts of a park for a first time visitor. Search
This “first timer” post highlights that sometimes on a first time visit you realize things you should have done differently, and discover things you wished you’d known beforehand. John put together a great list of tips and tricks for a first time visitor that many of us have applied in our first time visits, like to ride Laff Track first and to make sure to take the quiet path down past Skyrush for some great pictures. Eric then added six more tips after his visit in 2018.
Of course, sometimes youe don’t just need tips to visit a park, but you want to know whether to visit a park in the first place! So we put together lists of reasons to go somewhere, especially a slightly out-of-the-way destination. Small parks often have one or two things that most people have heard of, but usually there are a lot more to love about them. In this case, a first time visitor to Knoebels makes it clear why you should head up there, even if it’s a little out of the way.
These were just some examples of “first timer” lists on the site, but there are tons more to check out!
When a cool new tech or company comes out, we immediately think about where we want to see it used. In this post, the Coaster101 team got together to each list three coasters we want to see get an awesome lightning package from KCL Engineering. The lights on Hangtime may be our favorite thing about it, and we’d love to see that kind of package on as many coasters as possible going forward!
Quarantine had us bored, so we started dreaming about theme parks. Including theme parks that aren’t real. Andrew turned that into his list of eight animated theme parks he wanted to see in real life. And then he added another eight. And don’t forget that John also gave his eight reasons he wanted to see a Bob’s Burgers theme park. What’s the deal with animation and the number eight?
We’re cheating a little bit here again, this time by highlighting a popular ranking series on the site. While often you think of roller coaster rankings as being about which ones are best, best is subjective. Not everyone can handle the biggest, most intense rides. Maybe they’re new to roller coasters, maybe they have kids who aren’t tall enough to ride everything, maybe they’re just getting a little on in years and things hurt more (speaking from experience). Our solution to that? Rank coasters by how intense they are, to give you a guide as to which coasters maybe to avoid, or how to plan your trips to make sure you don’t ride things that are crazy intense back to back too often. If there are other parks you want this kind of guide for, let us know!
Sometimes, we make a list just because it’s fun. Do people love dinosaurs? Yes. Do people love roller coasters? Yes. Obviously, people will love a collection of dinosaur themed roller coasters. Of course, we might need to update this list soon, since the new “Velocicoaster” being built at Islands of Adventure is looking pretty awesome.
Finally, it wouldn’t be a good list without some merch on it. LEGO has always been one of our favorite toys, and of course LEGO makes lots of awesome sets related to amusements parks. They’re sort of a perfect setting for LEGO, since attractions tend to combine interesting motion with fun aesthetics. It’s why Legoland is so great. So, if you’re still stuck inside, looking for something to do now that you’ve read our whole list of lists, why not get yourself some LEGO?
Coaster101 15 to 15 Giveaway #5
Today, we’re giving away another Coaster101 Prize Pack! To enter, leave a comment below telling us which of these lists is your favorite — or choose one that’s not listed! Heck or suggest an idea for a list you want to see from us. We’ll do our best to make sure to make it sometime over the next 15 years!
You can enter now through 11:59 p.m. ET tonight.
- The entry period for this giveaway will run until 11:59 p.m. ET tonight. We’ll email the winner tomorrow.
- To remain eligible for your prize pack, you will need to respond with your name and mailing address within 24 hours of receiving the email notification.
- One entry per person.
- Unfortunately, we are unable to ship Prize Packs outside of the U.S.
Finally, keep an eye out for the next 15 to 15 tomorrow as we continue celebrate 15 years online!