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 20-11 in the California TOP 50 of 2016!
The TOP 20 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 part FOUR, enjoy!
20. The New Revolution
The New Revolution, or “Revolution” to some, remains to be one of our favorite coasters around. The classic coaster was the first to feature a successful vertical loop and opened in 1976 at Six Flags Magic Mountain. For many years the ride featured both lap bars and OTSRs, which left many riders banging their heads in odd-transitions. However, earlier this year, the park added new trains, which feature lap bars only, and the ride is back to being the classic ride we all love. The reason why The New Revolution holds a spot in the top 20 is not just that it’s classic and historically significant, but it’s also a long coaster that travels around the park’s mountainous terrain and through the vegetation. In addition, the ride features plenty of drops (not necessarily offering airtime), a tunnel, and a personal favorite: the slope leading to the loop. Speaking of the loop, which is considered to be the highlight of the ride, the loop remains to be one of the best in the world, a perfect mix of forces all the way through. The New Revolution is a classic ride you can’t miss when at the park. If you don’t feel like waiting through the VR line, there’s a single-rider/non-VR line near the exit of the ride. The current VR will be swapped out for the Santa’s Magical Sleigh Ride VR for Holiday in the Park later this year.
19. Batman: The Ride
“Wow” you think. Why is this B&M Batman Clone in the Top 20…? Well, Batman: The Ride is one of those action-packed rides that short but intense and doesn’t slow down in pacing. From the moment the train releases from the lift, there’s non-stop intensity ‘til the harsh final brakes. This model may exist at 12 parks around the world, but there’s a good reason for their popularity. The rides have a well-designed small layout that have the snappy old-school B&M feel to them. In addition, a lot of the Six Flags versions feature great theming, which is always a plus in our book. For that reason, our Batman at Six Flags Magic Mountain deserves a spot in the Top 20.
Coaster enthusiasts dislike Goliath when compared to other hyper coasters, and there’s a valid argument. Goliath was built for its height and air, but it’s very unimpressive when it comes to that. The reason we find Goliath in the Top 20 is simply due to the fact that, even though the ride lacks airtime and drops, it’s a solid large attraction, and the closest to a hyper coaster that we have here in California. The ride is forceful enough, yet smooth, to create a powerful experience. Which does mean that the qualities of the ride are found during the second half of the ride, which features banked turns and the 540’ degree helix that leaves many riders greyed out. If you like a quick intense ride that’s smooth and offers nice views from the park, Goliath is a great ride. If you go for the airtime, it is not. Nonetheless, in the grand-scheme of the airtime-less-state that is California, it’s a popular and lovely ride. Thus its #18 spot in this year’s Top 50.
17. Montezooma’s Revenge
Schwarzkopf Shuttle Loops are slowly disappearing and only a select few are still left. Montezooma’s Revenge uses a flywheel launch system to launch a train of 28 riders into its classic Schwarzkopf box-track loop at a speed of 55 miles per hour. The loop is forceful and what we’re used to from this manufacturer, and levels out rather oddly, to then fly up a tower, to do it over again backwards! The ride is very simple, but the classic launch with the forwards and backwards spikes, the intense classic loop, and the setting surrounding Knott’s Berry Farm’s Jaguar!, Silver Bullet, and Sierra Sidewinder creates an unconditional love for this classic shuttle loop.
If you’re an avid reader of our site, this #16 on the list should not surprise you. SCREAM! Is part of this year’s top 20 as it’s a solid, inversion-filled floorless coaster that deserves a lot more recognition than it gets. Scream! Does not stand out in a coaster line-up as amazing as that of Six Flags Magic Mountain, but the ride is a modern version of a solid looping coaster. Though it is our least favorite Floorless Coaster around, elements such as the Zero-G-Roll and the Interlocking Corkscrews are highlights of the ride that we’ve always loved. The ride also has great curb appeal, towering over the park’s parking lot and close to the freeway, the bright orange and blue coaster looks impressive from outside the park as well. Now, it’s definitely not a highlight coaster at the park, but it’s a solid inversion-based coaster that operates without too much trouble and is rerideable.
15. Silver Bullet
Back to Knott’s Berry Farm… we have the newest B&M Inverted Coaster in California: Silver Bullet on spot #15. Though the ride is nearly 12 years old already, the 147 feet tall Inverted Coaster offers a rather unconventional layout, which is exactly why we love it. The ride is rather force-less compared to some other Inverted coasters from this manufacturer, nonetheless, the layout and lineup of elements on the ride make for a fun experience. The vertical loop offers a fun pop of air, but the following over-banked turn is one of the hidden gems on the ride! There’s a small pop in the center of the train, and a great drag in the back. In addition, the ride features some other great elements such as a Cobra Roll and a Zero-G-Roll, which is followed by a banked turn over the park’s iconic Ghost Town leading into the first corkscrew of the ride, followed by a small swing towards the right, and then another corkscrew and final helix! The reason it’s at spot #15 is not due to its intensity, or lack thereof, but due to the fun elements and overall layout of the ride.
14. Flight Deck
Now, an Inverted Coaster from B&M that’s in this in this Top 20 for both intensity and layout is… Flight Deck at California’s Great America! The ride is an older B&M coaster and features snappy inversions and transitions, our favorite Zero-G-Roll, and a corkscrew over the water, followed by a helix over the water. The reason that Flight Deck ranks better than Silver Bullet is due to the fact that the layout is great, though incredibly short, and powerful, with an even more amazing setting. It’s one of the very few B&M Invert that has a smaller/shorter custom layout, which creates a very fun quick ride experience.
Gaining more popularity lately is the always-awesome Manta. This Mack coaster is the official proof that we need more Mack coasters in the United States (preferably California, of course). The ride is often considered a family-coaster, and people seem to quickly forget about a ride when it’s for “families”. But despite being a family coaster, it offers one of the best ride experiences in the state. This Dual Launch coaster is built with respect to the terrain as there is a local 30 ft. height-restriction. The ride still features a 54 ft. tall drop, water effects, two launches, and… pops of airtime. All we can ask for right? Well there’s more. The theming is visually stunning for people standing by, waiting in line and for riders. The multi-media launch tunnel for example creates an element to the ride experience other coasters wish they had. Family coasters can be awesome top 15 quality rides too. And Manta is the prime example, being one of our favorite coasters overall. And definitely the best Family Coaster in California.
12. Gold Striker
Gold Striker, though still amazing, is no longer the best Wooden Coaster in California since GhostRider reopened this year. Though it was an incredibly close call, Gold Striker has a rough day here and there and doesn’t deliver the out-of-control laterals and airtime that GhostRider offers. Nonetheless Gold Striker does offer an amazing layout with lots of quick pops of air, non-stop banked turns and twists and is perfectly paced the entire way through. This Great Coaster International Coaster is still considered one of the best coasters in the state and could’ve easily taken the #11 spot. This 108 feet tall, 3,197 feet long wooden coaster is the highlight attraction at California’s Great America and can not be missed.
GhostRider reopened this year after being entirely retracked. GCI came in to restore the ride and added some new banking, got rid of the Mid-Course Brake-Run and equipped the large wooden coaster brand new Millennium Flyer trains! The ride is now airtime and laterals filled, and with its impressive 4,533 feet of track length is an amazingly long experience that doesn’t let up. Though it lacks the banked turns and quick twisty layout of Gold Striker, the non stop lateral turns and continuous collection of airtime hills, make GhostRider a non-stop experience that is chaotic and intense the whole way through, while still offering the prime forces we all love so much: airtime. As mentioned above, it was a very close call, but with GhostRider being smoother and a large-coaster experience that is just as good in the front (if not better) as in the back, it takes the lead and thus the statement on the side of the GhostRider station (“The Best in the West”) is once again true!
Thanks for checking out the California TOP 50 of 2016 Part 4. We’re launching the final 10 spots in Part 5 next week, and it will be incredibly exciting as we narrow down some of the most amazing rides ever created and get to a final top 10! Check out spots 50-41 , 40-31 and 30-21