Hello everyone! We hope you’re enjoying the penultimate month of 2020 to the best of your ability.
After the launch of our Ohio Coasters TOP 10 article in August, we teased a follow-up article where we similarly scrutinize the coasters of Pennsylvania to compose a similar list. Then we forgot about it. Then, in the wake of regional-park-off-season, we remembered again! So, without further ado, we bring you our Pennsylvania Coasters TOP 10:
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10. Great Bear – Hersheypark (Hershey, PA)
Kicking off our list is an overlooked hero of B&M’s early canon. Admittedly, Great Bear was a key shift in B&M’s progression of inverted coasters – the steady trend of larger, faster, loopier inverts reached its peak with Alpengeist – consequently, its value accrued slowly over time instead of at the onset. The years have been good to Bear, with growing trees and blossoming surroundings contributing to the ride’s already superbly unconventional layout and splendid pacing – the latter feeling stronger than ever in 2020.
9. Flying Turns – Knoebels Amusement Resort (Elysburg, PA)
Ahh, Flying Turns – the coaster that perseverance built. Ever clairvoyant, Knoebels’ rabbit was finally out-of-hat-pulled when Flying Turns opened in 2013 after almost 7 years of intermittent troubleshooting. The plucky contraption was worth the wait; even the most stubborn of critics can’t help but blush at the sensation of gliding in one of Turns‘ shopping-cart-esque biplane formations – its kinetic gait best described as a large roller skate meandering down a lacquered pinewood gutter.
8. Candymonium – Hersheypark (Hershey, PA)
Twenty-two years (and three square Intamins later), Hersheypark finally became a two-B&M coaster – and two hyper coaster – park, amid much head-scratching. There’s nothing quite like watching a major theme park operation admit a gross miscalculation, and nowhere is this more applicable than Hersheypark’s announcement for the remarkably unremarkable B&M Candymonium just a mere 7 years after the opening of their Intamin hyper coaster, Skyrush. Aside from simply being their *newest* coaster, the marketability of Hersheypark’s Mako-à-deux rested precisely on the polarizing reputation of the exceedingly violent Skyrush. Though not mentioned in so many words by the park itself, Candy‘s glowing feedback from coaster snobs and coaster casuals alike can be acutely abridged by noting its un-Skyrush-ness.
7. Thunderbolt – Kennywood (West Mifflin, PA)
Few rides have achieved a cult following to the magnitude of Thunderbolt, whose aura spins a web of varied feedback to this day. Ricocheting between “overrated” and “underrated” status by riders of differing tastes, ages, and passport stamps, it helps to focus on features of intrinsic value: three National Amusement Device Century Flyer trains (yay) – whose front facing lampbulb sockets have been covered with colored plywood (boo) – satisfactorily navigating such obstacles as a ravine and a composite hyper coaster (yay) all the while the ride itself jubilantly swings from 1924 intuition to 1968 morbid curiosity and back again (big yay). You love to see it.
6. Lightning Racer – Hersheypark (Hershey, PA)
As the practicality of dueling/racing coasters at regional parks leads to troublesome operations and, more recently, retirement and demolition, there’s no time like the present to appreciate a good double-track coaster. Lightning Racer withstands as Great Coasters International’s first true masterpiece, with adroit creative manifestation oozing from every detail of the almost ballet-like daily performances of Lightning and Thunder. Racing component aside, everyone’s a winner who experiences the serendipity of Lightning Racer first hand.