We’ve rated and reviewed many coasters and rides over the last few years, and although we’re usually not fans of listing/ranking rides or parks, we do create an annual California TOP 50! You might, and likely will, disagree, and that’s totally fine! That’s what this TOP 50 is all about! Of the many rides in the state, we selected the 50 we think are best! Here are places 10-1 (TOP 10!) in the California TOP 50 of 2016!
The TOP 10 is where it gets real interesting! Let’s see why we placed the rides in the order that we did! – We would like for you to understand that all rides in our TOP 50 went through our own rating/ranking system that created a TOP 50, the way we think the rides are ranked best! By the time the entire TOP 50 has been published, our minds may have changed, because with this much variety and top quality rides in CA, it’s insanely hard to get to a ranking. We’ve ridden all the rides again in 2016, and thus our list differs from previous years. Here’s the final part, enjoy!
10. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
New in California is the high-tech trackless robotic-arm dark ride themed to the popular Harry Potter franchise. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is part of a 1.6 Billion dollar investment that is known as The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood and is located in a giant showbuilding behind the Hogwarts castle. Now you may wonder, why is there a non-coaster type of attraction in the California Top 10? We traditionally only featured coasters in the top 10, but this year, a ride as innovative, well-themed and thrilling as this, simply could not be left out. The ride’s line alone is an experience/attraction. If you don’t want to ride the ride, there’s even a possibility to take a ‘castle tour’ only. The line/castle tour takes guests through many famous rooms of Hogwarts, including the dorms, the room with the living paintings, Dumbledore’s office, the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, and more! The line is filled with amazing details and sets the story for the ride. The ride itself is a combination of 3D-projection scenes and giant physical sets. The robotic arms give riders the illusion as if they’re flying through the scenes and simulator sections on “enchanted benches”. Though the 3D scenes are awesome, the real impressive sections of the ride are the giant and detailed physical scenes that include a variety of animatronics. Riders will be impressed with the dragon scene, the Forbidden Forest scene, the Whomping Willow scene and the Chamber of Secrets, just to name a few. Overall this is a much welcomed ride in California, and together with the rest of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter has turned Universal Studios Hollywood into a full-day park with plenty of magic awaiting guests. Due to the impressive ride experience Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey placed in spot #10 in this year’s California Top 50!
The beloved Northern California super star. Everyone in Northern California loves their Medusa, and we for sure love it too! Medusa is still the largest coaster in Northern California and is a highly-ranked B&M Floorless Coaster due to its great layout. Medusa opened in March of 2000 and marked the Oasis Plaza expansion at the then Six Flags Marine World (Now known as Six Flags Discovery Kingdom) and stands a 150 feet tall. The ride’s first drop has an identical height and is one of the select few B&M Looping Coasters that features a straight drop. The drop leads into the 128 ft tall loop, which was the largest loop in the World at the time of opening. The ride features other standard B&M Inversions such as a Dive loop and a Zero-G-Roll. But after the Zero-G-Roll, the ride’s unique element comes in, which is the World’s only Sea-Serpent Roll! This is arguably the best element on the ride and is followed by the ride’s mid-course brake-run. Medusa’s second half of the ride layout is also quite unique. Unlike a lot of B&M floorless coasters that feature a set of Interlocking Corkscrews, Medusa dives out of the MCBR straight into a corkscrew, which is followed by an elevated helix, another high-speed corkscrew, and then a very small, tight helix into an S-curve back to the station. The reason this great ride is in the #9 spot of this year’s Top 50 is due to the fact that it rivals with the World’s best Stand-Up Coaster Riddler’s Revenge, that, despite Medusa’s great layout, has an even better layout!
8. Riddler’s Revenge
Riddle me this. Riddle me that. We often forget about it, but it’s one heck of an amazing ride… The Riddler’s Revenge is the World’s tallest, fastest, longest, and most-inversions filled Stand-Up Coaster. The 156 feet tall B&M coaster features several typical B&M elements, including one of the World’s tallest loopings, wrapping around the ride’s lift-hill. The ride also features 2 large Dive Loops, an Inclined Loop and two Corkscrews. The ride’s 4,370 feet long and has a very fun layout that deserves more recognition in our opinion. The drop out of the first corkscrew, the airtime hill, helix, and quick transitions make for one of the best layouts out there. The Riddler’s Revenge opened in 1998 and does not exactly live up to some of the newer rides out there, but nonetheless is one of the best coasters the state has ever seen.
7. Full Throttle
After the hit-ride Superman Ultimate Flight at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in 2012, Full Throttle came along in 2013 at the Southern California Six Flags park. Along with a great new interactive ride-plaza, this Premier coaster features three launches (2 forward, 1 backwards), the tallest loop on the continent, and a ‘special effects tunnel’. Which is the only thing that can be optimized to better the ride! The hang-time in this gigantic loop is simply incredibly. A can’t miss when at Six Flags Magic Mountain.
6. Superman: Ultimate Flight
Superman: Ultimate Flight was the first of its now many sibling around the world. Despite capacity issues, this ride has been continuously cloned and that is because it’s spectacular. From moments of insane ejector airtime, crushing positive Gs, and one of the World’s best hang time filled inversions, it certainly packs a lot into a little bit of time. The three launches that throw you into this beast are all striding in their own way, giving Superman: Ultimate Flight no wasted track. It is one of the three very-strong coasters in Six Flags Discovery Kingdom’s line-up.
Xcelerator opened in 2002 as Intamin’s first Accelerator coaster, and features a hydraulic launch. This then-new technology allows for the 50’s Chevy-themed trains to reach speeds of 82 MPH in 2.3 seconds. Which to date, is still in the top 10 of quickest accelerating coaster-launches. Thus the name Xcelerator is quite fitting for this 205 feet tall monster. The ride itself (in addition to the launch) features an unsupported Top Hat, 2 over-banked turns and an intense break-run, to be more interesting than some of the taller and faster Accelerator coasters that followed. The ride launches out of the station right into that wonderful Top Hat. It’s the best launch in the state, if not the country. This ride heavily relies on its launch and Top Hat elements, the next four rides in the top five have more stand-out elements.
The world’s tallest, fastest, and longest Flying Coaster also features the world’s tallest pretzel loop, and is the only Flying Coaster to feature a zero-G-roll! The ride is a terrain hugging master piece that shows you all sides of the park in many different ways. Flying like a dragon, you’ll fly high above the park’s mountainous terrain, and you’ll dive down several times to almost become one with the ground beneath, such as when the trains navigate the world’s tallest Pretzel Loop. This exhilarating coaster is a fan favorite at the park, and around the world. Tatsu is also a perfect coaster to ride at night, ranking as our #1 coaster to ride in the dark. Overall this 2006 addition to Six Flags Magic Mountain’s thrilling line-up remains to be one of the best coasters in the state 10 years later.
3. The Joker
Also new in California this year is one of Rocky Mountain Construction’s newest hybrid coasters; The Joker at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. The park’s famous wooden coaster “Roar” was closed on National Roller Coaster Day in 2015 to be transformed into a funky high-speed hybrid coaster. The ride’s original twister layout allowed for RMC to create a very unique hybrid coaster out of The Joker, and the results did not disappoint. This 100 feet tall hybrid coaster features a 78 degree steep drop that twists about a 130 degrees to the right. Right after the drop is the World’s first Step Up Under Flip (Upward Roll), which inverts you on the way up, then levels at 270’ degree angle to drop down and into the Zero-G-Stall on the ride. Other highlights of the ride are the Breaking Wave Turn, the multitude of airtime hills, the Asian Camelback, the Dive, and the Zero-G-Roll. Overall this ride is incredibly well paced and is a perfect marriage between lateral elements and airtime. The reason The Joker hasn’t placed higher is simply because X2 is X2 and is always a crazy insane experience that we love to the moon and back, and if the Joker isn’t warmed up, it may feel underwhelming compared to the bigger hybrid coaster: Twisted Colossus.
X2 has been a favorite of ours for years, and will likely continue to be a favorite for years. It’s the one ride that even intimidates avid coaster riders. (You know who you are!). The ride opened as the World’s first 4D coaster and since its relaunch in 2008 has been dubbed as 5D by the park, as new trains, fog, fire, and audio effects improved the ride experience. The 215 feet tall coaster may be rough around the edges nowadays, but the flipping seats on the side create one of the most amazing coaster experiences around. From falling out of the sky head first 215 down, to flipping forwards and backwards as the train navigates the rides various elements. We all know X2 is a beast, and like most of the audience riding it, we love it! X2’s historical significance and unmatched crazy experience has led us to believe its #2 spot in the 2016 California TOP 50 is just where it belongs.
1. Twisted Colossus
And our #1 spot has again been taken by Twisted Colossus. The World’s longest hybrid coaster. This ride set Six Flags Magic Mountain apart in 2015 when it opened. The ride is crazy, amazing, filled with airtime, but most importantly… FUN. It’s incredibly FUN. Besides the thrilling aspects of never-ending ejector airtime, head-choppers, and two quality inversions, the ride is just filled with spectacular entertainment when the trains race. The ride features two amazing ‘first drops’ as riders experience both sides of the coaster during their ride, and also features airtime filled elements such as the Double Down, the Double Up, the drops leading into the High-5 element and the 18 airtime hills along the ride. We believe Twisted Colossus is the best ride in the state, RMC has shown Californians what real airtime is. I’m sure many agree with us, that Twisted Colossus is deserving of the #1 spot on this list.