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Mitch Hawker 2010 poll

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Restraints can be a huge deal.


Agreed. While a lot of people have no problem with the Intamin OTSR's, if Maverick were to go with the I-305 restraints, that coaster would easily jump into my top three.


But getting your head and ears slammed on the quick transitions is enough for it to drop in my rankings. The other one's I have ridden at Hershey have never been a problem, but I seem to always crack my ears on Maverick, which isn't fun!

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There is no way that the B&M coasters should be lumped together.


The reason there are "fave X" categories are because of production model coasters that have the same stats and layout. The B&Ms are similar in that they have lots of hills and no loops, but are otherwise very different. If you're going to lump all of them together, you might as well add Magnum, Bizarro, GeForce, etc into that group as well and call it "Fave non-looping steelie"


As for me, I know it would be a bit more intimidating, but I'd prefer not to have those groupings at all. Just because a coaster is one of several that share the same stats and layout, it doesn't mean that the ride experience is similar enough to pick just one of them and toss the rest out.


A good case in point is Vekoma boomerangss. Just choosing my favorite boomer for the list makes it seem totally skewed in Vekoma's favor. The one at Fiesta Tx is actually a pretty good ride. Headbanging is minimal, the setting is nice, the trains are (somewhat) comfy, and it ranks somewhere in the 50s on my list. Others, however, like the one at SFOT are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down on my list. Not only do I not like them enough to hit the top 100, I don't even like them. But when I put out my list for the poll, there's "Fave boomerang" right there in the 50s with no way for me to indicate how much I loathe those rides in general.


First off, "a bit more intimidating"? Speak for yourself! It would add something like 100-300 listings to my ballot! (I'm not even gonna try to figure out a guestimate to how many it would actually be!) Even with their use of the grouping method (which I use for the bottom 2/3 of my ballot), imagine how many more lines it would add to Robb's or Elissa's ballot?


A little history here. I remember back when Mitch was first making the wood and steel polls. He solicited a lot of input on what should and shouldn't be listed on the steel poll. The problem was that his computer and program could only handle a certain number of items. So that's where the whole grouping thing came in. The idea was to get a whole lot more coasters in, while staying within the limits of the programming. That's why you not only see production model coasters like Vekoma Boomerangs listed, but you also see all spinning mice and all steel wild mice listed together, even though different models from different manufacturers can differ quite a bit. (It's also why so many individual -- but not terribly special -- coasters aren't listed at all.)


And let's be honest. Does it really matter where the clones sit on the poll? I mean, the only clone to crack the top 100 are the Batmen, which place (shamefully low for such great coasters!) at #76. And only three other production model coasters -- Zacspin at #147, X SC 2000/3000 at #166, and Half Pipe at #195 cracked the top 200. And theoretically those are for the very best of each model/type (or at least the very best one you have ridden).


So say, that Mitch didn't lump all the Boomerangs together. You're right that it's the perfect example. Even with it being listed as the FAVORITE Boomerang, rather than the TYPICAL Boomerang, it still ranked at #298 out of 342 ranked coasters. So, maybe your ballot has it skewed favorably. But, honestly, would it really make much of a difference if you didn't count the best one in the 50's and had it in the 100's? Even if it dropped a dozen or more notches, does anyone really care exactly where in the bottom half of the poll it ranks? I don't think that Vekoma would get upset -- or sell any fewer coasters -- if the Boomerang dropped down from #298 to #333. Nor would anyone get terribly excited if it suddenly jumped from #298 to #254. For the record, I personally think that Boomerangs -- when they are well-built and well-maintained -- are actually quite a decent design. I ranked them in the first tier outside my top 100, which is still in the top half of my list.


Honestly, the only coaster type for which you could make a good argument for NOT lumping them together, since they rank relatively decently would be the Batmen. And even then, does anyone actually care enough to bother? Is there really THAT much of a difference between them anyways? I used to keep a separate personal steel list - apart from the one I submit to Mitch -- with every single steel coaster ranked. But once it got above 100 or so, I just couldn't be bothered any more. It's just too much effort for too little interest.


But it would mean that I'd have to rank another 2 dozen or so coasters -- and that's just counting this one model! If you separated all of the "fav" categories out, I'd have to add several hundred other coasters. And most likely, most of them would all fall in the same general range anyways, with one or two ranking particularly higher or lower. I guarantee you that I would not bother to take the effort, and probably wouldn't bother to take the poll at all. I suspect that most others would do the same. It's already enough of an effort to fill out the steel poll! Let's not make it any harder!

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^ I think that actually the number of riders who rode it last year is not actually relevant to the poll. But only 6 people ranked it this year. Last year it had 13 people rank it. The minimum for a coaster to be counted is 9 riders.


Coasters also now need to have at least 275 valid comparisons (admittedly a somewhat arbitrary figure), which Eagle's Fortress actually had. (Mainly because most or all of those 6 people who voted for it were experienced coaster travellers like yourself.) That last criteria is a good reason for everyone to at least take the time to mark off all of the coasters you'd list, even if you give all of the lower ones a 500 ranking. That way, coasters can have more valid comparisons.


If at least three of the 7 others who ranked it last year (or three others) had voted and ranked it this year, then it would have placed in the official rankings.


There were 63 steel coasters with some riders and comparisons, but not enough of both to meet the criteria. And another 37 coasters with no riders at all.

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It looks like Mitch did something he hasn't done in past years.

Introducing The Wood vs. Steel Results!


Out of the 900+ ballots received for the two polls in 2010, there were approximately 200 people who voted in both polls. If the steel and wood ballots for those people are combined and analyzed, some interesting data can be extracted.


Mutual rider comparisons for specific wood vs. specific steel coasters can be teased from the data if it is assumed that e.g. the "Favorite Wood Coaster" in the steel poll is indeed the wood coaster that they rated highest on their wood poll ballot.


Due to the unequal way in which coasters gained valid comparisons (for example, T-Express gained few if any), a combined ranking is not forthcoming.


However, the 4 MB Excel spreadsheet contains mutual rider data between all 440+ coasters, the most interesting of which are probably the comparisons between the top tier steel and top tier wooden coasters. For example, it can be seen that two wooden coasters ('El Toro', 'The Voyage') beat every steel coaster they were compared against. 'Boulder Dash' tied 'Expedition GeForce', but beat all other steel coasters it was compared against.


Where it gets a bit strange is that all the wooden coasters lost to the generic 'My Favorite Steel'.


The top three steel coasters lost mutual rider comparisons to three, two (and a tie), and five wooden coasters, respectively. Two of the three also lost to the generic 'Favorite Wood Coaster'.


Perhaps you can glean more info nuggets of interest to you from the full mutual rider spreadsheet.


The spreadsheet should be read from left to right along the line for each of the top coasters listed at the left. For instance, it can be seen that co-#1 Wooden Coaster 'El Toro' won the comparison with the #1 Steel Coaster 'Bizarro' with 25 mutual riders preferring 'El Toro' and 14 preferring 'Bizarro'.

You can find the full Spreadsheet here.



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^ At some point, I'll probably check it out in some more detail for some points of interest, but without rankings, it would take a while to glean too much from just a spreadsheet.


One thing that might actually be interesting would be to see how Superman at SFNE fared vs the top steel coaster before the Bizarro makeover, vs after it. But that would mean taking the ballots from 2008 and running this program again.

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Hope its not too late to kick this thread up and join the discussion. These past two days I read through the Mitch Hawker poll threads for 2009 and 2010. There was so much in both about Voyage.


Voyage is my favorite coaster--by far. In fact, I would find it hard to believe someone out there is a bigger fan of the ride than me. I have not been on a pre-fab, but they look awesome, and I am sure I would love them. I do understand why some don't like Voyage. What I don't get is why those who do not like Voyage cannot believe that people who like it, actually do. It is not fanboyism. It's not the park it's in. If we happened to get better rides at HWN; that's because we know what we like and how to get it.


I have been on Voyage every year its been open except 2008 and this season (will be at HWN next week). Of the years I have gone, I have been to HWN each year, but I have also had 2 trips there that were not an event. I did not go while it was being trimmed.


I get that Voyage is too much coaster for many people. It's often interesting to me how it affects people because I will see harden enthusiasts sitting out complaining about it, and small girls just tall enough to ride laughing the whole way the same day. I don't mean this as a dig against people who cannot enjoy the ride. It is just evidence to me that the ride negatively affects a certain type of person.


I have had the pleasure of taking several coaster novices to HW to ride Voyage and some loved it, one only loved it after taking some left over pain meds she had, and some cannot handle it. If you are prone to headaches from jostling, this ride is not for you. I know several people like that, can empathize without experiencing what they are going through, and thankfully I do not share their pain. Last year I dated the girl I took to HWN for about 2 months after. In our last fight she was still screaming at me for taking her in the back seat of Voyage for her first ride!


So the question is how can I like a ride that is so painful? First off, it does not hurt me even though I 100% believe that it hurts those who claim it does. I don't believe however the trouble it that it is a bad ride. It is one thing for an over-breaked Mean Streak to bounce around like a jack hammer while going 15 miles per hour, and quite another for a ride to toss you around like a rag doll because it is going faster than most coasters would over the track it has (takes the elements much faster than you would expect it to). A term I coined to describe Voyage when it first opened was "violently aggressive". That is much different to me than just rough. There is nothing aggressive about Mean Streak or Son of Beast. They are just terrible rides.


There were times where part of the ride were somewhat rough as well when I rode it. The bunny hop at the end of the turnarond was a brace yourself moment till they fixed it, as was the hop before the final 90 degree turn. I have been there when there was some extra rattling at the bottom of the big hills too. It was not really that bad to me, but I will concede it may have been worse when I was not there. I don't think this is the main problem with the ride for most people however.


The turnaround on this ride is insane, and the return trip after the first cross-under takes you into a world never before seen in the coaster community. These parts are too much for many people, and they are also exactly why I love the Voyage. Sure Voyage has a lot of air. So do many coasters. What sets it apart is the insanity that most coasters don't even hint at, but Voyage supplies with an excessive helping. The last part of Raven after drop 5 is insane as well, but so little in comparison with Voyage.


If Phoenix was a by-the-book well measured mixed drink, Voyage would be a glass of Captain with a shot of Coke. If Thunderhead was sex, Voyage would be great rough sex. After riding it, all other coasters seem so vanilla.


Please keep in mind there is something a little wrong with people who crave the ridiculously strong drink or rough sex, but they really do like it. You don't have to question them on that.


Somewhere in this thread, the question was asked if Voyage would be ranked so high if it were in a Six Flags park. The obvious answer is no because Six Flags would not repair the track like HW does, they would trim the fun out of it, and they may even reprofile parts. If Six Flags hypothetically forgot all their normal behavious and kept the ride just like HW does, I think it would rank about as high. Some people would not go back as much due to the park, but the ride would still stand on its own merit. This is not shot at just Six Flags. In my opinion, Voyage is too much for corporate parks, and most private parks too.


At the beginning of this post, I pretty much claimed to be the biggest fan of Voyage. This ride completely changed me. Before Voyage was built, I was going out and riding new rides all the time. Now I keep going back to HW. I even stopped buying season passes to my homepark. The Voyage was so good that it somewhat ruined other rides for me. It took me forever to get to Cedar Point to ride Maverick, but I finally did. There are so many other rides that I really have to get to. Now I want to get back to riding more things even though I do have a HWN trip next week. I've a lot of catching up to do.


I do understand why some people don't like it. If it gives you headaches or makes your body sore, I get that. Also, when someone tells me that being stapled on El Toro hurts them due to their body dimensions, I get that too even if I don't think I would have the same opinion. I can understand why some people would rate pretty much every coaster low for one reason or another. Claims of "rigged ballots" just due to an unpopular vote do not meet my standards for agreement.


What I do not understand is questioning a high rank as misguided or deluded. If I am only kidding myself that I like Voyage because it is in HW, maybe you are kidding yourself that a ride with a midcouse 15 seconds after the first drop is all that because it is in a location only cool people can make it to. Both arguments are equally nonsensical to me.


When I read through these threads, some of the negative comments of Voyage went a bit too far. Some of the positive ones did too. I like to read differing opinions without feeling like those who disagree with me think I'm a fool. Sometimes it is an intellectual exercise. Sometimes you take a little of what you hear. Sometimes you may even do a 180 eventually...but only if you get the message in a respectful way.


Will the new trains fix Voyage? Yes and no. It will probably and hopefully mean less track work for HW. Hopefully the intensity of the ride will not be reduced. It will not help those who rank it ninety-something because it will still be designed to throw you around like a rag doll.


If one lap on the Voyage gives you a migraine and ruins your day, please by all means rank it last on your ballots each year or wherever you think it deserves to be. The polls are an average of opinions and experiences and yours are just as valid as mine. However, when I tell you that I can ride it 20 times in a row without a bruise, headache, or soreness today or tomorrow; please do not suggest that I or people like me are deluded and really in a lot of pain. I am not that dumb. If I have to go to the hospital after Voyage ERT, it is because my you know what lasted longer than 4 hours.

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If Phoenix was a by-the-book well measured mixed drink, Voyage would be a glass of Captain with a shot of Coke. If Thunderhead was sex, Voyage would be great rough sex. After riding it, all other coasters seem so vanilla.


I don't know if I've ever been so disturbed by a coaster description in my life...

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If I recall correctly, when Voyage came out Mitch did an interim poll to see where Voyage would place. I wonder if he might do an interim poll for Texas Giant, which is certainly a very significant new step in coaster re-modelling.


The wood - steel comparison is interesting, I'm not a fanboy either way I just either like a coaster or not. That being said my top 4 are all wood coasters (Toro, Balder, Phoenix, Dash) - 3 of them definitely provide an experience that would be difficult to replicate on a steel coaster.

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^^^This is just getting me excited for HWN next weekend. It will be my first visit to Holiday World. I am expecting quit a lot from the Voyage, since my current top two coaster are 1. Ravine Flyer II and 2. The Beast. The two rides are polar opposites, and it even surprizes me sometimes that I rank them right next to each other. Out of the Voyage, I am expecting almost a cross between the two, an aggressive race through the woods but with a ton of airtime.

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