20 in 2020: Our Top 5 Coasters from the Year 2000

Last week we wrapped up our year long series looking at 20 roller coasters that celebrated their 20th birthdays in the year 2020. We covered a lot of ground, with coasters all over the country (and some overseas). We looked a coasters that are still around today, some that changed location, and some that are long gone. But looking at all of them made us realize, 2000 was a pretty good year for coasters!

So, we decided to end the year by ranking some of our top coasters that turned 20 this year. We looked at three categories: Coasters that had the most impact on the coaster industry going forward. Coasters that were the most unique or unusual. And, of course, our favorite coasters from the year 2000.

Top 5 Most Impactful Coasters from the year 2000

These are the coasters that we think had the most lasting impact on the industry as a whole. Maybe they broke some barriers, maybe they were the first of their kind, or maybe they started some new trend. Whatever the reason, we think these historically were pretty important in the coaster world.

5 – The Legend at Holiday World The Legend was one of the last and best coasters built by Custom Coasters International. It remains a fan favorite, with some modifications along the way, and was an important step in Holiday Worlds path to becoming a coaster destination

4 – Boulder Dash at Lake Compounce Like the Legend, Boulder Dash was one of the last and best wooden Coasters CCI ever built. It’s one of the best terrain coasters out there, and still regularly wins top coaster awards. And, it put Lake Compounce on the map (for us, at least).

3 – Stealth at California’s Great America – The world’s first true flying coaster. It certainly wasn’t the best, and the old Vekoma Flying Dutchman model has been replaced both by B&M flying coasters and Vekoma’s own newer flying model. But, it did something completely new, and showed that this kind of flying coaster was possible on a big scale.

(photo by Robin Weiner courtesy SFgate.com)

2 – Son of Beast at King’s Island – Son of Beast had plenty of problems – that’s why it isn’t around anymore – and for some of us it was too painful to ride, but there’s no questioning that it took wooden coasters to a new extreme. Would we have the modern inverting wooden coasters we do today without Son of Beast? Maybe, but pushing boundaries on wooden coasters started in a new way after it.

1 – Millennium Force – The original Giga Coaster. It was the first coaster to do what it did, at that size and scale, and set a new level for what a coaster could be. It also introduced new technology like the cable lift. Although it lost most of its records to Steel Dragon 2000 a few months after it opened, we still today compare new Gigas to Millennium Force. That demonstrates its lasting impact on the coaster world.

Top 5 Most Unique and Unusual Coasters From the Year 2000

5 – Lightning Racer at Hersheypark – Good modern wooden racing coasters are a rare breed, and this one designed by Great Coasters International instantly became one of the best. It’s only the second wooden racing coaster built after the 80s, the other being the now defunct Gwazi, also built by GCI, and only two others have been built since, both overseas. And, unlike Gwazi, we still love its awesome dueling/racing layout.

4 – Steel Dragon 2000 at Nagashima Spa LandSteel Dragon set loads of records for a steel coaster, and it’s still the longest today. It showed what could be done with steel coasters and with a traditional lift hill. But, it also happened to be one of the last coasters built by DH Morgan Manufacturing. So while Millennium Force paved the way for similar Intamin giga coasters, Steel Dragon 2000 remains a unique steel behemoth, unlike any other giant steel coaster out there.


3 – Stealth at California’s Great America – Like we mentioned above, Stealth was a first of its kind. And today it’s one of the last of its kind. Living on at Carowinds at Nighthawk, it’s one of only two of these original Vekoma Flying Dutchman models left operating.

2 – Son of Beast at King’s Island – No surprise here again. Son of Beast was unlike any other wooden coaster, and while newer wooden coasters have added extreme elements, none are quite like Son of Beast was. Still, it’s probably better for our physical health that Son of Beast was one of a kind.

son of beast t-shirt

1 – Flying Super Saturator at Carowinds – One of two coasters of its model, built by a company that only has three roller coasters to its name. And it only lasted 8 seasons. From the vertical track to the swinging cars to the interactive dumping of water on the midway, almost everything about Flying Super Saturator is unusual. We’ll probably never see something quite like it again.

Top 5 Favorite Coasters From the Year 2000

5 – Boulder Dash at Lake Compounce – Boulder Dash regularly ranks as one of the best wooden coasters in the country, so it’s no surprise it’s on our list. We love any ride that is long, uses the terrain well, and has a scenic setting. Boulder Dash easily checks all those boxes.

4 – Lightning Racer at Hersheypark – We’re noted GCI fans here at Coaster101, so no surprise we love Lightning Racer. Back when we ranked Hershey’s wooden coasters a few years ago, it was easily our favorite. We love that its held up as well as it has all these years later.

3 – Kraken at SeaWorld Orlando – B&M Floorless coasters consistently provide great experiences, and Kraken is one of our favorites. Its trenches and tunnels particularly make it stand out. Plus, we had to have something on here for inversion fans.

2 – Legend at Holiday World – The layouts and location in the woods of Holiday Worlds wooden coasters make them easy favorites, and wee love how well they keeps up their woodies running. The recent re-tracking and profiling on Legend made sure it’s still one of our favorites, and should be for a long time.

1 – Millennium Force at Cedar Point – Could it be anything else? As mentioned earlier, Millennium Force is still the standard by which we compare all Giga Coasters. It frequently ends up at the top of peoples favorite coaster lists. And the view from the top over Lake Erie can’t be beat. We pretty much all agreed that it’s our favorite coaster from the year 2000.

Millennium Force (Cedar Point)

With that, we wrap up our 20 in 2020 series! Make sure to read all of our 20 in 2020 features if you haven’t yet, and let us know in the comments below what your favorite coaster from the year 2000 is.

While you’re at it, let us know if there are any other coaster histories you’d be interested in reading from us. Lastly, happy New Year!


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