15 to 15: Our 15 Most-Read Posts of All Time

Welcome to the second-to-last installment of our “15 to 15” series, where we’re looking back on our first 15 years online. We’re nearing the end, and today we’re sharing our top-15 posts of all time (or at least since we started tracking in 2013).

Don’t miss the giveaway at the bottom of the post!

15. Coasters-101: How the Hogwarts Express Works

Over the years, Nick, the first to join the Coaster101 team, has written countless articles about the science and inner-workings of roller coaster and attraction design. His “Coasters-101” series, as you will see several times on this list, is immensely popular. This piece focuses on a behind-the-scenes look at Universal’s Hogwarts Express attraction, which connects Diagon Alley in Universal Studios to the village of Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure. Though it looks ilke a train, it operates like a totally different transportation system.

Warning: spoilers ahead. Read the full post here.

14. 13 Tips to Save Time, Avoid Long Lines, and Experience More Rides at Amusement Parks

Nick offers 13 time-saving tips to avoid time in long lines on your next theme park visit. Even in this social distancing era and virtual queues, this list is still full of helpful tips.

Read all 13 time-saving tips here.

13. Coasters-101: Launch Systems

Launching a roller coaster at 128 mph is no small feat. In this “Coasters-101” article, Nick discusses the technology and physics behind various coaster launch systems, including electromagnets, pneumatics, hydraulics, flywheel, catapult, and friction wheel.

Get up to speed on coaster launch systems here.

12. Coasters-101: Wheel Design

There would be no “roll” in roller coaster if it weren’t for the wheels. In this “Coasters-101” article, Nick writes about the different types of wheels commonly found on coasters, including road wheels that bear the load or weight of the train, side friction wheels that are mounted perpendicular to the road wheels and up-stop wheels that are placed under the rail to prevent the vehicle from coming off the track over airtime hills.

Learn more about coaster wheels in the full post here.

11. Secrets Behind Shanghai Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean

Nick again takes us behind the scenes of an immersive dark ride attraction. As you’ll learn after reading, he leads the article with this: “Move over Spider-Man. Move over Forbidden Journey. There’s a new contender for most immersive theme park ride ever built. Shanghai Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure is a new take on the beloved, classic boat ride.” This isn’t your parents’ Pirates of the Caribbean.

If you don’t mind the spoilers, read the full post here.

10. A Ranking of Hersheypark’s Roller Coasters from a First-Timer

My ranking of Hersheypark’s coasters from my visit park seemed to resonate with many others. I’ll need to return to the park soon to see where the park’s new-for-2020 Candymonium hypercoaster ranks.

Read the full post here.

9. What Makes Avatar: Flight of Passage So Immersive

Image © Disney Parks

Avatar: Flight of Passage is one of the most hi-tech and immersive theme park attractions of all time. Nick again takes a close look at how the ride works and why it’s so cutting edge.

Warning: spoilers ahead. Read the full post here.

8. 10 Hersheypark Tips from a First-Time Visitor

To complement my ranking of Hersheypark’s coasters from my first visit (see #10 above), I shared 10 hopefully helpful tips that I took away from my visit.

Read all 10 tips here.

7. Coasters101: Coaster Physics Calculations

Math is not my strong suit, so thankfully we have Nick’s ability to put complex engineering concepts into layman’s terms. In this Coasters-101 installment, Nick covers some of the calculations that roller coaster designers use to find the mass of trains, lift hill includes, maximum speed and several others. Even if you’re scared of math, it’s an interesting read.

Read the full post here.

6. Top Five Must-Dos at The Island in Pigeon Forge

the island in pigeon forge things to do

Nick recapped his inaugural visit to the then-relatively-new “The Island” entertainment complex in Pigeon Forge, TN with a list of his five favorite things he found. On the list are spaghetti-shaped ice cream (yum!), a complex mirror maze, a light and water show and a 200-foot-tall observation wheel.

Read the full list here.

5. Should You Eat Before Riding a Roller Coaster?

It’s a question I’ve asked myself ever since I was a kid: “Should I eat before riding a roller coaster?” I put on my researcher cap and went on the hunt for a science-based answer.

To learn about my findings, read the full post here.

4. Coasters-101: Escape from Gringotts Secrets Revealed

Nick wrote another fascinating article detailing the secrets and inner-workings of a Harry Potter attraction — this time, it was the Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts indoor coaster/dark ride at Universal Studios Florida. The hi-tech attraction combines giant physical sets with massive projection screens. It’s more of a dark ride than a coaster, but the behind-the-scenes look is fascinating regardless.

If you don’t mind the spoilers, read the full post here.

3. Kings Dominion Announces Removal of Volcano: The Blast

This is the only breaking news post on the list, and we wish it wasn’t. In early 2019, Kings Dominion announced that Volcano: The Blast Coaster would not return after an extended bout of downtime. The unique coaster had become a fan favorite, and many were saddened and surprised to see it go.

Read the breaking story here.

2. Designing a Safe Backyard Roller Coaster with Paul Gregg

We’ve seen a lot of backyard roller coasters over the years, but the safety of some are iffy at best. Nick, however, interviewed Paul Gregg, a retired aerospace engineer who holds 29 US and foreign patents, two special invention awards, and was Boeing Aerospace Engineer of the Year in 1988. He built one of the safest (and most aesthetically pleasing) backyard coasters you’ll ever see.

Read the entire interview with Paul here.

1. Blazing Fury Behind the Scenes, Lights On at Dollywood

This was one of the most unforgettable moments in my coaster-enthusiast career. I had the chance to take a behind-the-scenes tour of Dollywood’s Blazing Fury indoor coaster. Opened in 1978, the classic dark ride/coaster combo was the park’s first roller coaster. And as I learned, its history is nearly as interesting as the ride itself.

Learn more and see a lot of photos of Blazing Fury with the lights on here.

Coaster101 15 to 15 Giveaway #14

We’re giving away one $25 Amazon e-gift card and a Coaster101 Prize Pack.

You can enter now through 11:59 p.m. ET tonight.

Giveaway Rules

  • 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.

Enter Here:

HBD C101 Giveaway 1

For an additional entry, you can comment below the name of your favorite post on Coaster101.

Good luck! We’ll see you again tomorrow for the last installment in our “15 to 15” series — which is also our 15th birthday!


You may also like...

3 Responses

  1. Luke Otten says:

    My favorite Coaster101 post was your July 2016 trip report of Six Flags Great America

  2. Tyler S says:

    I liked the launch systems, and I even used it for a class

  3. Zach W says:

    My favorite post of all time was the Escape from Gringotts one. It was my favorite coaster at USF, and I loved the fact that you took the time to go over how the ride, elements, and it’s system working. Congrats on 15 years!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.