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Mitch Hawker 2010 poll


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I personally had The Voyage as my number one wood coaster, although keep in mind I have only ridden 40 something wooden roller coasters. I haven't yet had the opportunity to enjoy other great wooden coasters such as El Toro or Boulderdash. I thought Voyage was a fun ride, despite being rough, it was pretty intense and had some of the best air I've experienced on a wooden roller coaster. Also keep in mind I'm more of a GCI fanboy anyways and had Renegade and Prowler as my number 2 & 3.

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I haven't been on the Voyage yet, but to me it has always looked like a really good ride, but not the best out there. This summer, I will be riding Voyage (plus Holiday World's other two coasters), Boulder Dash, and El Toro for the first time all within two weeks. I have no clue what I'll think of these rides, but it will be interesting to see.

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A few random thoughts from the thread:

 

Personally, I've never quite gotten the massive appeal of Phoenix. Sure, it's a great ride, and tons of fun, but it's not quite intense enough for me to make it a top tier ride, or even a second tier ride. But it's still my #21, out of 143 currently standing woodies, which is pretty damn good.

 

Well, I guess I can intellectually understand it. It probably better than any other coaster hits that "sweet spot" between intense enough to keep someone like me happy and not too violent for people who don't like that sort of thing. And it's probably one of the most pure FUN coasters out there.

 

I didn't get it either until my last PPP. It had been slowly climbing up my rankings, but was in the 10-15 range. It's upside was that it's amazingly consistent and really never offers a bad ride, but seemed to lack the special something that kicks a ride into "amazing." Then I got an amazing ride on it. It hits just a little harder on the hills, the floater air becomes ejector air, and it gains an attitude, much like Shivering Timbers used to get in the last hour of Timbersfest, when you started dreading the final bowl and stopped trying for one-click lapbars on the 3rd hill.

 

I think I see what people see in Phoenix. It's like pizza -- it's never bad, and on occasionally, it's really amazing. It certainly never has the doldroms El Toro has early in the day or in the season, and it's capable of just as much violence. I'm not saying it's my #1, but I understand the argument.

 

Most of us did think that the original Voyage train was running slightly faster and slightly more smoothly than the "Ravage" train was.

 

Really? I thought the Ravage train was noticeably smoother.

 

On another note, for those wondering why Aska ranks as highly as it does...Honestly, it probably should rank even higher than it does. The problem is that it was nearly impossible to get good rides on it, unless you were going with a coaster group -- for much the same reason it's tough to get good rides on Hellcat in the Wisconsin Dells these days: the park was always DEAD...If I remember correctly, Nara Dreamland closed before any of the full TPR trips to Japan, right? I know that Robb and Elissa went with a few friends, but they never got more than nearly empty trains. Luckily, I went during the ECC/ACE trip. And it was INSANE. Especially in the magic row 2 with ejector lateral airtime at several spots on the ride! And we left the park before 2 PM, so it hadn't even fully warmed up yet! The only woodies I rank higher are Voyage and Tremors, both of which I've ridden around midnight during ERT sessions.

 

I'm increasingly of the opinion that Mitch's poll simply doesn't work that way. More popularly ridden coasters also have wider riding audiences, and a higher ratio of detractors. It's harder to win all your comparisons with 300 riders than with 30. (It's harder to lose them all, too -- it's the volatility that's the issue)

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^Lol. But seriously, the speed can be affected by the weather, weight of riders and temperature. In optimal vs. worst conditions, speeds could vary a lot.

For example, if you ride El Toro by youself in a morning in december or at the end of the day with a full ACEr-laden train at the end of an august day. I think most of you know what I'm talking about.

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^Bas, the only flaw in your hypothesis is that ACErs wouldn't fit on El Toro - the tum-tum wouldn't let the lapbar go down far enough.

 

Other people's opinion's don't really affect my enjoyment of a coaster - not like I'm going to rate Voyage higher because the Children of the Corn like voyage fanboys wank about the coaster. Though respected opinions may highlight coasters I haven't ridden that may be worth checking out.

 

Looking forward to the steel poll, I've got plenty of food for thought including several additions to my steel top ten.

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^Bas, the only flaw in your hypothesis is that ACErs wouldn't fit on El Toro - the tum-tum wouldn't let the lapbar go down far enough.

 

Other people's opinion's don't really affect my enjoyment of a coaster - not like I'm going to rate Voyage higher because the Children of the Corn like voyage fanboys wank about the coaster. Though respected opinions may highlight coasters I haven't ridden that may be worth checking out.

 

Looking forward to the steel poll, I've got plenty of food for thought including several additions to my steel top ten.

 

Aren't the fat ACEr jokes old by now? I mean, I've only occasionally read this site over the years, so I've only caught a tiny percentage of the jokes, but there's such a thing as beating a dead horse. And a time for new jokes!

 

As to your own opinion of Voyage not changing, well that should be obvious. But maybe it would get you to check it out during midnight ERT some time. Because until you do, you haven't really experienced what Voyage can really do.

 

One thing I've noticed about this discussion both here and or RRC is that most of those who thought that it WAS running well this year were at HoliWood Nights. Most of those who thought that it was not running well this year were not. I don't think that's a coincidence.

 

For some reason, the pre-fab Intamin woodies I've been on (only Colossos and El Toro so far) didn't seem to pick up as much speed as the day and night went on as Gravity Group, CCI and even GCI coasters seem to. Maybe I just didn't notice it as much, but that's how it seemed to me. Maybe with the pre-fab tracks, they just don't "break in" as much as the others do? Or maybe they're already more optimized for speed and performance at any time? But on some coasters, it's extremely noticeable. And Voyage is definitely one of them. And it's not just a phenomenon that coaster enthusiasts imagine, or an illusion of going through the woods in the dark. It's actually measurable by timing the coaster circuits. I know Holiday World maintenance used to time their coasters, though I'm not sure that they still do.

 

I've always felt that the best thing about both of Mitch's polls is that they expose many of us to great coasters that we might otherwise not have known about. Or at least it highlights them and brings them more to the forefront in ways that other polls don't. To me, anything in the top 50 or so on either poll is actually worth travelling to.

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Aren't the fat ACEr jokes old by now?

Are repetitive discussions about wooden coaster rankings?

 

 

And for the record, I rode Voyage again this past season at night during Holiwood Nights. It was brutal, and it sucked....unlike several years ago. If I would have bothered to fill out a poll, Raven would've had it beat by a mile or so.

Edited by BeemerBoy
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^^I agree with you about the Hawker poll--it is a very valuable resource for letting people know about rides they may not have considered before. As for ACE members I encountered two extremes during one day at BGW a few years ago: one was huge and chowing down on pizza, while the other was a veritable "beanpole" sipping on a beer at Grogan's. I've never been a member of ACE, myself.

 

As for Voyage and night rides, well, I can understand where you're coming from, but I've never been to Hoilwood Nights. That being said, I can only base my opinion on what sorts of rides I've had on it. (The vast majority of the park's guests aren't going to get nighttime ERT.) El Toro, to my mind, delivers a consistently great ride throughout the season--does Voyage? Not in my experience, which I admit is less than yours.

 

But perhaps I'll got to Holiwood Nights sometime and see for myself.

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For some reason, the pre-fab Intamin woodies I've been on (only Colossos and El Toro so far) didn't seem to pick up as much speed as the day and night went on as Gravity Group, CCI and even GCI coasters seem to. Maybe I just didn't notice it as much, but that's how it seemed to me. Maybe with the pre-fab tracks, they just don't "break in" as much as the others do? Or maybe they're already more optimized for speed and performance at any time? But on some coasters, it's extremely noticeable. And Voyage is definitely one of them. And it's not just a phenomenon that coaster enthusiasts imagine, or an illusion of going through the woods in the dark. It's actually measurable by timing the coaster circuits. I know Holiday World maintenance used to time their coasters, though I'm not sure that they still do..

I'm in the camp that says a coaster should be able to perform well in normal conditions to get a top spot. You wouldn't knock a ride down because you visited the park on a slow day and only had half a dozen riders on the train, right? Why do the opposite and base your rating on a ride on non-normal conditions such as midnight ERT?

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I'm in the camp that says a coaster should be able to perform well in normal conditions to get a top spot. You wouldn't knock a ride down because you visited the park on a slow day and only had half a dozen riders on the train, right? Why do the opposite and base your rating on a ride on non-normal conditions such as midnight ERT?

 

Actually, if that's the only time I rode it, then that's how I'd have to rank it. I can't rank a coaster based on hypothetical rides I've never gotten.

 

If I'd ridden it before, I'd try to take both situations into account, especially if nothing major has changed on the coaster. That's actually the situations for most of the woodies in the second half of my big US trip last year. The parks were dead, which was great, but it also meant that the woodies were very much under-performing, since most of them were quite empty. But the main goals of the trip were to get to HWN and to get in a bunch of the new coasters I hadn't been on. Getting some more rides on the woodies I had been on (like the ones at Kings Dominion, Hershey and others) were just a bonus.

 

As to your last question of why I'd base my rankings on non-normal conditions, because that's the ONLY time I've ever been there? Which makes it normal enough for me! Seriously. Every time I've ever been to Holiday World, it's been for Stark Raven Mad, an ACE Convention or HoliWood Nights. Those were very deliberate choices. The same could be said of Alabama Adventure, Silverwood, Knoebels and a bunch of others. For most parks, it's not that big of a deal to get there for an event and/or to get nighttime ERT. But for some parks and woodies, I'd consider it a must.

 

And because I would try to only plan trips to ride world-class woodies if I could get the most optimum riding conditions possible. I mean, if we're talking about a number 30 or lower coaster, then no, I'm not going to make my plans around it. but for the top rides and the top parks, I go out of my way to be sure to get there when there are events, or at least when the park is open as late as possible. After all, it doesn't matter to me in the slightest how it runs when I'm not riding it, right? I'd honestly rather have one night (or two nights in the case or HWN) every few years of legenrdary rides that were among the very best I've ever had on any coaster than get 3 or 4 days of very good, but not the best, rides on other trips.

 

For all of the woodies in my top 13, I've been there either for ERT, or when the park was open quite late, or at least when it was open until 9 PM or later. The only exceptions are Aska, since I was on a group trip and didn't have any control over the schedule, and Ravine Flyer II, because it was part of a larger trip the revolved around HWN, so I sacrificed it for nighttime ERT on Voyage as well as much shorter lines at all of the other parks, including Cedar Point, Kings Island and more. And yes, that's probably why I rate Ravine Flyer lower than it probably deserves. But that's how it goes. For a few of the top woodies in Europe (mainly Tonnerre de Zeus and Megafobia), I got ERT after closing, but it was still pretty early. But that's because those parks are never open late, so there isn't much I can do about that, obviously!

 

It's kind of like how some people will give a coaster more points if it runs better in the middle of the train, or take off points if it doesn't. I'd rather wait for at least the first or last car and get a few fewer rides, but know that I'm getting the best rides I can get. So if I'm not riding there, then why should I care what it's like there?

 

Maybe that's a bit of a selfish point of view. But it's my list. And my favorite coaster rides are only going to be based on the rides that I actually get on them, not on hypothetical ones that I don't get on them.

 

And I'm not trying to sound arrogant here. I just try to give each coaster its chance to show me what it can really do and to absolutely shine. If it does so, then I'll base my ranking -- and my memories of the coaster -- on those top rides.

 

Of course, anyone can rank their coasters as they see fit. It's YOUR list, after all! But this is how I choose to rank mine. I'm just offering my personal reasonings.

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^ I wasn't really talking about when the shitty rides are the ONLY rides you've had (and wasn't very clear on that), then yeah, I can understand that. I'm all about an Olympic-style scoring system, throwing out the best and worst rides to get what would be *my* average rides. If all you had was sublime midnight rides, then congrats.. allow my shitty daytime and 50 degrees rides to balance that out

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^But shouldn't you probably expect a ride in 50 degrees to be nowhere near as good as a ride on a regular day? Let's face it, if I go to a park and it's cold, I'm not exactly thinking I'm going to be having epic rides. I went to SFGAd on a cold, rainy day last June and El Toro wasn't running anywhere near as good as it was just before Labor Day weekend 2009. But I didn't drop it in my rankings because of that.

 

I could understand ranking a coaster lower because it was running poorly on a normal day, but doing so because it was running poorly on a day with bad weather doesn't make sense to me.

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^[@ Steve] That was basically what I was getting at.. why would it be any better to rate rides under incredible, once-or-twice a year conditions? Again.. I'm all about olympic scoring if I have multiple samples to go on*.

 

(for the record, I didn't fill out a ballot this year, or last year even, as I just don't ride much anymore. I had no impact on this year's results. But I am definitely one who is always interested in the poll and its results)

 

* I actually want to fill out a steel ballot this year, since I did pick up a few long-time wanted credits last year.. I'm still debating how to rank Olympia Looping (drunken ride vs soberish ride )

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I'm glad I'm not the only one that struggles with this stuff. Let's see now...I had 50 great rides on it 10 years ago, and 2 crappy rides two years ago--but I hear it's gotten better again, so....

 

On the few occasions I've not participated in this poll, that sort of thing (on my part) has been why.

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It all just boils down to experience and personal opinion--everybody has their own way of "ranking" coasters. You can only "go with what you know."

 

Agreed.

 

^So then you wouldn't rank it at all if those were the only rides you took on the ride?

 

I haven't had that situation too many times, but I think I would probably be more lenient with a coaster if I felt the rides were probably not as good because of the weather. I definitely wouldn't give it a horrible ranking if I felt it could have been a much better ride under better conditions. Let's be real here, no coaster is OMFG good every single day, just like no coaster is OMFG bad every single day (well......maybe some are).

 

I try to be as reasonable as possible when ranking coasters, but obviously rankings are all in the eye of the beholder, anyway.

Edited by Skycoastin Steve
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* I actually want to fill out a steel ballot this year, since I did pick up a few long-time wanted credits last year.. I'm still debating how to rank Olympia Looping (drunken ride vs soberish ride )

 

I think you should rank it based on both; that is, provide two rankings. Adjusting for the type of beer being drunk before the ride would be desirable, too. For example, "Lager makes this ride better. Hefeweizen, not so much."

 

This could be the beginning of an entirely new poll based on Oktoberfest rides.

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I keep my lists simple. I have three categories for both steel and wood: "Great" / "Meh" / "Will never step foot on it again." And it really doesn't matter to me where they end up in the polls, because for instance, it's not like I'm sitting around waiting for the steel poll results to determine whether I'm going to Deep South Bash or anything.

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I keep my lists simple. I have three categories for both steel and wood: "Great" / "Meh" / "Will never step foot on it again."

I like this, mostly because I also use similar classifications for my women

 

This could be the beginning of an entirely new poll based on Oktoberfest rides.

LOL! I would love to see someone rate the fun houses on parameters like "difficulty of drunken navigation" and "ability to induce paranoia"!

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