#5 - The Cyclone, Coney Island, NY. This roller coaster is the only wooden one in my top 5. My daughter and I visited Coney Island over Spring Break last month and it overwhelmed me. It was much more fun than I had anticipated, and much longer. It was typically rickety, but that's what makes the wooden roller coasters as scary as they are. Other great wooden roller coasters I've been on include the Thunderbolt at Kennywood in Pittsburgh, the Rebel Yell at Kings Dominion near Richmond, VA, and the Hurler, also at Kings Dominion. But the Cyclone was pretty special.
#4 - Manta, SeaWorld, Orlando, FL. Manta is very unique, in that you actually ride this roller coaster on your stomach. I had never been on anything like it. It was just wild enough that the unique position made it really enjoyable, with a nice mix of hills and turns. We only rode it once, unfortunately, but it was certainly memorable enough to make my top 5. I hope to return to SeaWorld to try it again.
#3 - Apollo's Chariot, Busch Gardens, Williamsburg, VA. Apollo's Chariot was the first of the so-called hyper coasters that I had ever been on. These coasters seem designed more for speed than the fast turns and loops associated with too many steel coasters nowadays. I prefer the speed coasters, with many high hills and plenty of Gs. This one is one of the best. I may be a bit biased since I believe Busch Gardens is the best amusement park in the USA.
#2 - The Loch Ness Monster, Busch Gardens, Williamsburg, VA. Nessie has long been my favorite roller coaster. It was the first steel coaster I ever rode, and the first that took me upside down, as well. I know I've ridden this coaster more than any other, and I still get a thrill from that first drop. It is a classic roller coaster, with interlocking loops and a gorgeous design, using the topography of the park to good use. This would be my #1 coaster if I hadn't been to Cedar Point a few years ago...
#1 - Millennium Force, Cedar Point, Sandusky, OH. I have already established that I love the hyper coasters, ones that reach incredible speeds. Apollo's Chariot was the first I had ever ridden. About ten years ago, my brother and I decided to make a trip to Cedar Point to check out the dozen or so roller coasters there, and we had a blast. But Millennium Force blew everything else away. It was easily the best ride at the park, and after riding it a few times, it was unlike anything I had ever been on. It was similar to Apollo, but so much higher and so much faster! It was just an incredible ride. I'm looking forward to returning to Cedar Point later this summer so my daughter can experience it, too.
Have a great evening, everybody!