In Top 10 Coasters, ride designers and park managers explain the features of these incredible scream machine. Enthusiasts are also interviewed, including NAPHA Representative Greg Van Gompel of Minneapolis, MN, and American Coaster Enthusiasts Vice President Carole Sanderson of Cleveland, OH. "Top 10 Coasters" will take viewers for a front-seat ride aboard the following coasters:
No. 10 Nemesis at Alton Towers in England
European Coaster Club Founder Justin Garvonovic of Middlesex, England, explains how this inverted roller coaster that dangles its riders in ski-lift like seats to simulate the sensation of flying through the air while experiencing "inversions" that loop and twist the riders every which way but loose! Due to local height restrictions, Alton Towers built this coaster within a giant ravine so riders say they always feel like their feet are going to scrape the sides of the cavern walls.
No. 9 The Comet at The Great Escape in Lake George, NY
No. 9: The Comet is a legendary roller coaster that was originally built as the Crystal Beach Cyclone in Canada in 1927. It was rebuilt as the Comet in 1947 and then risked extinction when the park closed down in 1989. General Manager John Collins explains how The Comet found its new home at The Great Escape in 1993, where it now ranks among the best coasters in the world because of its historical significance, elements of hills and drops, and terrific "air" time giving riders the sensation of floating out of their seats.
No. 8 Steel Force at Dorney Park in Allentown, PA
No. 8: Steel Force is a 200-foot "hypercoaster" designed by Morgan Manufacturing of La Selva Beach, CA. Morgan's design engineer Steven Okamoto explains how Steel Force speeds riders at 75mph — faster than they can go in a car! Then enthusiast Derek Shaw of York, PA, shows viewers why Steel Force made NAPHA's Top 10 list the first year the coaster opened in 1997. Shaw takes viewers for a ride aboard Steel Force, and explains how its out-and-back configuration, "air" time, and incredibly banked turns make it a great wild ride.
No. 7 The Beast at Paramount's Kings Island near Cincinnati, OH
This mammoth coaster is the enthusiast's idea of heaven because it's the world's longest wooden roller coaster, offering one of the longest ride times in the world: 4 minutes and 50 seconds. Enthusiast Allen Ambrosini of Chicago, IL, takes riders for a furious ride aboard the Beast, built in 1979, and set in the woods. Its incredible 7,400-foot track features not one but two lift hills, and an unforgettable helix finale!
No. 6 The Raptor at Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH
The Raptor is a 3,790-foot long and 137-foot high inverted coaster located at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, a park that's nicknamed "America's roller coast" because it's home to a record 13 roller coasters. Cedar Point's General Manager Don Miears details what made Raptor the world's longest, fastest and tallest of its kind when it opened in 1994.
No. 5 Megafobia at Oakwood Coaster Country in Pembrokeshire, Wales
No. 5: Megafobia is considered Europe's best wooden coaster. Andrew Hine, Chairman of the Roller Coaster Club of Great Britain, explains how this ride delivers sensational "air" time and never lets up. Park Director Patrick McNamara explains how the coaster has been a terrific addition to this family-owned park that was once a country farm. Then local British enthusiast Ryan Hackett takes viewers for a great time aboard this ride with its very treasured feature: the only brakes on Megafobia are at the very end, just before you return to the station!
No. 4 Steel Phantom at Kennywood near Pittsburgh, PA
No. 4: Steel Phantom is an intense scream machine that delivers G-forces greater than those experienced by NASA's Space Shuttle astronauts during launch! Pittsburgh's Langley High School Physics Teacher Ed Henke steps aboard the terrifying coasters, and uses a home-made g-force measuring device to measure its intense gravitational pulls.
No. 3 Cyclone at Astroland in Brooklyn, New York
No. 3: NAPHA Representative Richard Concepcion of Astoria, New York, explains the historical significance of the Cyclone, which was built during the heyday of Coney Island's popularity in 1927. The ride broke records in speed, height and fright, and still continues to attract new fans! Coaster enthusiast Bill Galvin, from Relay, MD, takes us aboard this national historic landmark, the world's most famous roller coaster, and the most imitated roller coaster in the world. Yet nothing can compare to the original when it comes to its unparalleled 58.6 degree first-drop, its amazing speed of 60 miles per hour, and incredibly banked turns that make riders feel like they're going to fly right off the tracks. "Cyclone" Colleen Whyte of the Bronx tells viewers how she typically goes for a spin aboard the Cyclone after work, calling the coaster her "martini" after a long day at the office!
No. 2 Magnum XL-200 at Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH
Magnum XL-200 is actually the No. 1 or best steel coaster on the steel coaster list. Built by Arrow Dynamics of Clearfield, Utah, Magnum was the first coaster in the world to break the 200-foot barrier when it opened in 1989. Alan Harris, Chairman of Arrow Dynamics, explains how Magnum's scenic view overlooking Lake Erie gives it a special charm, how it reaches speeds of 71 miles per hour, and delivers the out-of-your-seat "air time" thrills that enthusiasts love.
No. 1 Thunderbolt at Kennywood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
The Thunderbolt was voted the No. 1 wooden coaster. Local NAPHA member Ty Fluharty explains the historical significance of the ride, built originally in 1924 as The Pippin by legendary coaster designer John Miller. Then Andy Vettel, Jr., of Kennywood, explains how his father reconfigured the coaster in 1968, when it was reborn as the Thunderbolt. Local coaster fanatics Edd Fairman and Lisa Siegel take a spin aboard this wonderful scream machine. One of the unique features of the coaster is that as it leaves the station, unlike most other rides that ascend a hill, Thunderbolt drops riders straight into a ravine. Another feature that makes the Thunderbolt so beloved is the fact that it's a coaster "classic," still relying upon hand-operated brakes in the main station, and lacking modern ride constraints like seat dividers or head restraints, so riders today can experience the same scary thrills that classic, old-fashioned wooden coasters delivered in bygone years.
Top Ten Coasters logo courtesy of Termite Art Productions. Copyright 1999, all rights reserved.