The 5 Best Coasters in California That Opened In The ’90s

20140726_171437 (Large)The theme-park industry is always changing, every decade again record-breaking coasters push the limits of technology and that of riders in new innovative ways. Coasters become more massive, taller, faster, and longer by the years. A very important transition period in the coaster manufacturing industry was the 90’s, the usual coaster was well-established and the usual coasters were increased in size, new ways of designing them were invented, and new kinds of coasters made the rounds. For example Bolliger and Mabillard seperated from Intamin and created some coaster kinds the world hadn’t seen before, such as the Inverted Coaster. Let’s take a quick look around the state and see what the 5 Best Coasters in California That Opened in the ’90s are! 


5. Roar

Roar, despite now being defunct, was built in 1999 making it the newest coaster on our list. It was one of the first coasters built by the now famous Great Coasters International, and was the first ever to use the cleverly nimble Millennium Flyer trains. Being a GCI it focused more on turns, banking and overall twisty-ness, providing tons of lateral force. In addition, there are a few hops of airtime spread throughout which is a rare commodity in this state. It ran very smooth and very fast. Combine that with a well paced and well forced layout that riders travel a speed that seems much faster than it really is, Roar is a 90’s coaster we couldn’t leave out. DSC_0732 (Large)

4. Flight Deck

Flight Deck was built and opened in 1993 under the name of Top Gun, and was one of the first custom B&M inverted coasters. Despite its 20 plus year age, it still holds up very much today. Although it’s track length is only in the 2000’s, not a foot is wasted is this relentlessness face paced ride. Riders are pretty much glued to their seat the entire ride from some of the most forceful positive g-force, as well as some excellent laterals in one of the best zero-g rolls out there. In addition, it’s short but sweet layout is much different from most other coasters of it’s kind including an awesome finale over a small lake. From start to finish, you won’t get a chance to catch your breath, thus Flight Deck’s spot on our list.DSC_0428 (Large)

3. GhostRider

GhostRider opened in late 1998 as the longest wooden coaster in California, or the West Coast for that matter, and was an instant hit. With a 108 ft tall drop and reaching speeds up to 56 MPH, GhostRider was claimed to be one of the best roller coasters in the world by many enthusiasts. The combination of 14 hills, 10 cross overs and 3 bridges (to accommodate the large ride at the relatively small park) meant for an airtime filled experience with the occasional goof twist and turn. The ride opened with 3 Philadelphia Toboggan Company trains, that ran up to its closure in September of 2015. The trains ran well for the first few years, the heavy trains slowly tore up the track and GhostRider became one of the roughest coasters out there. The ride is now closed ’til summer 2016 to be totally retracked, and new Great Coaster International Millennium Flyer trains will be added to the ride to recreate that amazing 1998 ride experience, rightfully reclaiming its title ‘Best in the West’! 20140806_161106 (Large)

2. Viper

Viper opened as the world’s tallest, fastest, and longest looping coaster in 1990 with the highest elevated looping in the world. The first loop is just about as big as the others but elevated to be 144 feet up in the sky. The ride was one of the three Arrow Dynamics 7-loopers, and was the bigger ‘custom’ one of the three. The other two were located at Six Flags Great America and Six Flags Great Adventure. Viper is the only one to remain standing today. The ride opened with 4 trains, all green with a different color Viper logo and stripes (yellow, orange, red, brown) only three of those trains remain today as one is now a parts-donor. The ride also features one of the best drops you’ll find on any coaster, a 171 feet tall drop curving in an interesting way. Overall the ride combines 3 loops, a Batwing, and a double corkscrew at top speeds of 70 MPH for one heck of a ride. This was one of the largest coasters of the 90’s and was definitely an important factor of Six Flags Magic Mountain’s continuing success.VIPERedit002 (Large)

1. Riddler’s Revenge

Many will not be surprised by our #1 on this list, it couldn’t be any coaster but the almighty Riddler’s Revenge. The Riddler’s Revenge opened in April of 1998 as the World’s Tallest, Fastest, and Longest Stand-Up Coaster, with the most inversions of any Stand-Up Coaster in the World. As of 2016, 18 years later, it still holds that record. Besides the impressive record it holds, the ride overall is impressive. The ride is very smooth and though Stand-Up coasters are known to age badly, Riddler’s Revenge is still a very smooth coaster, except for a few minor rattles and shakes. The ride features one of the World’s tallest loops surrounding the lift-hill, two Dive Loops, and two Corkscrews in addition to a helix, an airtime hill and a Inclined Loop. Riddler’s Revenge is one of the largest rides Six Flags Magic Mountain has ever opened and is a can’t miss when visiting the park! 20131103_150846 (Large)


Thanks for checking out this list of 5! COMMENT what your favorite ’90s coaster is, or what you thought of the list!

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7 Replies to “The 5 Best Coasters in California That Opened In The ’90s”

  1. Great list! I’m happy to see Viper rank well, it’s receiving a lot of unnecessary hate sometimes. As the coaster that opened in the first year of the 90’s, it was absolutely incredible, and I still believe it’s one of the most intense rides out there. Some real arrow love.

    1. Although I don’t mind the occasional viper ride, I wouldn’t necessarily call the hate unnecessary, as it makes many riders uncomfortable, and although I understand this is due to the rides intensity, many of the gp don’t understand this.

  2. It’s a good list, but I think Invertigo should’ve been in here instead of Flight Deck. That ride was definitely a lot more fun than Flight Deck and was much more popular as well.

  3. I’m glad to see Roar on here, it really was quite underrated. It ran much better than Apocalypse towards the end of its life.

  4. I am happy to see Viper ranked as number 2, but I think it really was the number 1 roller coaster in California in the 90’s. When The Riddler’s Revenge opened, it was great by being the world’s tallest and fastest standup coaster with the most inversions and extreme smoothness; however, its reputation for being a scary ride wasn’t quite as great as Viper’s reputation. Viper was a still a little taller and a little faster. Although Viper was plagued with severe roughness, when you look back at the time it opened, Viper was the more intimidating ride; it was the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the park and was the second tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world (Magnum XL-200 at Cedar Point was the tallest and fastest in the world, but with NO inversions). Viper was the ride that took Six Flags Magic Mountain roller coasters to the next level. Viper was seven stories “taller” than the former tallest coaster “Colossus’, and Viper was this first roller coaster at Magic Mountain to have “more than one” inversion. Although The Riddler’s Revenge was and still is a great roller coaster, Viper was still greater during the time of opening.

    1. Yes, smoother definitely. Also keep in mind for standards of that time, it was definitely not considered rough. Coasters age, and newer rides are designed with newer technology and are smoother.

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