Greetings, all! Fresh on the heels of our latest Ohio adventure (and with another one impending to cap our 2020 regional park season), we decided it was time to publish our 2nd annual ranking of Ohio’s coasters!
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But first, a disclaimer: This is our list. Coaster Kings’ list. Ours. The consensus of our team’s impressions of Ohio coasters is what built this list. This is not a list of the most popular coasters in Ohio. This is not a list of Ohio’s enthusiast-obsessed coasters ranked by power of obsession.
This is a list that we, based on the experience of our team – over 1000 unique coasters ridden in over 20 countries over 30+ years – have outfitted with rides that still stand out to us; rides that still make a strong impression after countless parks visited and rides ridden. Having said that, we also hosted Instagram polls to gain some insight on what people want to see on this list. At the end of the day, we want to produce content that is enjoyable to read, and listening to the masses helps us accomplish that. As always, we thank you for your feedback and love to hear your input.
With that said, let’s commence!
10. Gatekeeper – Cedar Point
Let us start by saying that we think B&Ms are as hit-and-miss as any other company out there; they may be the most consistent firm as far as reliability goes, but the fulfillment end of B&M runs the gamut from glowing (Fury 325) to grotesque (Valravn). Per feedback from our readers, as well as our experiences with a variety of B&M wing coasters in the US, Europe, and China, we feel comfortable saying that Gatekeeper is one of Cedar Point’s best overall rides. It might be a bit on the gentle side, but it’s a well-designed, stylish ride that stands proudly with social media favorites like Wuxi Sunac Land‘s Falcon and Chimelong Ocean Kingdom‘s Parrot Coaster.
9. Top Thrill Dragster – Cedar Point
Perhaps more than any other ride, Dragster remains the quintessential Cedar Point experience. You might find sharper Blitz coasters than Maverick, better Gigas than Millennium Force, and less garish RMCs than Steel Vengeance, but even Kingda Ka‘s superior performance and Red Force‘s unparalleled efficiency can’t take away the distinct Cedar Point-ness of Top Thrill Dragster. The lap bars, the fruit-inspired train hews, the concrete, getting Republika’s Ready to Go stuck in your head while you await the passing of an inevitable stint of downtime – if you can’t say you shot the gap between two breakdowns to get your Dragster fix, did you even go to Cedar Point?
8. Mystic Timbers – Kings Island
This is one that took time for us to come around to; absent from last years list, we couldn’t help but leave the conversation at “overrated” while considering what possessed Kings Island to sign off on such a laterals-devoid GCI for their “bridge” coaster between marquee B&Ms. “Why did they do this? What is this nonsense with “the shed”? Also, why is it this slow?” Our admitted jadedness was softened when we revisited a faster, wetter Mystic Timbers, whose lack of lateral forces felt like a break from Beast’s hip-shattering transitions this time around. The shed is still a non-starter for us, but it’s not without its charms – now if they could just pour that kind of energy into a reskin of Boo Blasters…
7. Millennium Force – Cedar Point
Another first-timer on our Ohio list this year is Millennium Force, who, on its 20th birthday, finally seems to have crossed over into “classic” territory, both in terms of age and nostalgia. This was the year we stopped asking ourselves “why is there no airtime hill before the last turnaround?” and admitted to ourselves that the final straightaway is weird enough to merit existence without interrogation. This year, a coveted backseat ride despite the “no seat requests” era of CoVid19, airtime on the first drop, and laterals on the first overbank were enough for us to take the no-airtime-hills and shuffling meanderings over Forbidden Frontier for what they are – pleasant and inoffensive (with the right expectations). Is it Steel Dragon 2000? No. But being Millennium Force, despite its flaws, happens to be enough.
6. Orion – Kings Island
We’re ready to make enemies: Orion is the best Giga in Ohio, better than Leviathan, and better than Diamondback. In fact, this is it – this is the last B&M on this list for us. Orion takes top honors for being an utterly bizarre 6th whack at the giga concept that lefts us with more questions than answers – but the good kind of questions. “Whose idea was that helix? Where did my shirt go? Are these good vibrations going to turn into bad vibrations like they did on Kings Islands’ other two B&Ms?” (which, we want to clarify, are comfortably among the worst of their respective breeds – if you want us to elaborate, get at us on social media) Orion is an exercise in not concerning yourself on how the unorthodox choices came to be, but appreciating that they made the final product at all.