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Mitch Hawker 2011 Wood Coaster Poll!


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You know, I went back and looked at my ballot and I had forgotten that I had El Toro ranked as the highest GCI on my list. (Came in at #17 overall).

 

Interesting to see that I have the following GCI's all ranked pretty much right next to each other:

 

El Toro

Joris and the Draak

Thundercoaster

Troy

Ozark Wildcat

Kentucky Rumbler

American Thunder

Apocalypse

 

IMO, I really feel like GCI delivers a REALLY SOLID "B+" ride. I kind of wish they would go a bit more aggressive with airtime, but that's also coming from someone who ranks "Abrupt Airtime" as my favorite feature of any coaster. I guess I can totally see why someone who is less into extreme airtime and more into changes of direction or the sense of speed would rank Plohn's El Toro or some other GCI's a bit higher.

 

--Robb "Who would rather ride most GCI's over the last decades worth of B&M's..." Alvey

Edited by robbalvey
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I think one reason German El Toro did so well is that unlike most GCI designs, it focuses more on airtime hills instead of twists and swooping turns. Its remoteness may have bumped its rank a little more than it should've, but I don't see why everyone is so doubtful of it, especially if they haven't ridden it. It's easily one of the top GCIs, IMO. I rode it and Troy on the same trip, and felt, despite its much smaller size, El Toro was a far better ride. Every little hill has a great pop of air, and there wasn't a dull spot on the ride. For a domestic comparison, it's probably closest in size to Apocalypse, except the entire ride delivers, instead of just the first 1/2 as on Apocalypse.

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Congrats to El Toro for being #1, it really earns this spot.

 

I agree with everyone else with ranking the other El Toro high, it just seems like a regular GCI, it's like ranking American Thunder (SFStL) in the Top 10.

 

 

How can you say that if you never rode it? By a video, pictures or hearsay? Your assessment might be right, but you need to leave opinions about German El Toro to those who actually rode. We have plenty of people of TPR who have ridden it.

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How can you say that if you never rode it? By a video, pictures or hearsay? Your assessment might be right, but you need to leave opinions about German El Toro to those who actually rode. We have plenty of people of TPR who have ridden it.

 

^Because everyone has an expert opinion on the internet, duh!

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You know, I went back and looked at my ballot and I had forgotten that I had El Toro ranked as the highest GCI on my list. (Came in at #17 overall).

 

Interesting to see that I have the following GCI's all ranked pretty much right next to each other:

 

El Toro

Joris and the Draak

Thundercoaster

Troy

Ozark Wildcat

Kentucky Rumbler

American Thunder

Apocalypse

 

IMO, I really feel like GCI delivers a REALLY SOLID "B+" ride. I kind of wish they would go a bit more aggressive with airtime, but that's also coming from someone who ranks "Abrupt Airtime" as my favorite feature of any coaster. I guess I can totally see why someone who is less into extreme airtime and more into changes of direction or the sense of speed would rank Plohn's El Toro or some other GCI's a bit higher.

 

--Robb "Who would rather ride most GCI's over the last decades worth of B&M's..." Alvey

I totally agree with you about GCIs. I love abrupt airtime as well and El Toro is a great example of a coaster with abrupt airtime. But GCIs have that smooth feeling that you don't get on many wooden coasters. And they're great family rides too. But besides that, GCIs are great smooth coasters that are just plain fun!

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I say forget about the Disney Around the World trip that we've been talking about for years...Let's do an Intamin Woodie Around the World trip!!!

 

::drool drool drool:: I'd totally be in on that one.

 

I haven't ridden that many wooden coasters but I'm glad to say I've been on 6 of the top 12!!

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This years results seemed pretty much around to my experiences.

I never take exact placements to heart, but the around about ranking are far more important for my trip planning

So i was intreged to look up some of the polls from the riders with high counts. Especially "the other" El Toro as that one hadn't caught my eye as being so highly thought of.

 

So off i went scrolling through the some submitted polls for anyone over 100 coasters.

Didn't take long to find someone who had ridden 177 woodies.

Awesome i applaud them, lets see what they think...

 

My Favorite Steel Anypark Anywhere **,y,n,1

Phoenix Knoebel's PA,y,y,2

Wooden Warrior Quassy CT,y,y,3

El Toro Freizeitpark Plohn DE,y,y,4

Mammut Tripsdrill DE,y,y,5

Boulder Dash Lake Compounce CT,y,y,6

Zippin Pippin Bay Beach WI,y,y,7

 

El Toro SFGAd NJ,y,n,48

Ghoster Coaster Kings Dominion VA,y,n,72

Son of Beast (SBNO) Kings Island OH,y,n,151

 

Tonnerre de Zeus Parc Asterix FR,y,n,170

White Canyon Yomiuriland JP,y,n,176

White Cyclone Nagashima Spaland JP,y,n,177

The Voyage Holiday World IN,y,n,178

 

 

They seem to have a dislike or unusual placement for many coaster, OK thats there opinion even if i strongly disagree.

 

Hey hang on im sure ive seen that persons name before in coaster net land. Lets google them..here they are quoting on a trip to Yomiuriland.

 

Yomiuriland was very HOT. The coasters were much better than I expected. I liked the White Canyon, reminded me of the Riverside Cyclone, with the Morgan trains. The Bandit was actually quite fun.

 

 

Thankfully the poll didnt seem to have too many of these fools wanting to brag about something.

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^ While I am admittedly not the biggest Voyage fan in the world, I would have to question someone who ranked it dead last out of all the coasters they've ridden in the world, and this ballot (I looked it up myself), claims to have ridden quite a lot of really, really, really terrible coasters!

 

Even as someone who doesn't "get" The Voyage, I wouldn't be going out of my way to put it dead last. That ballot does seem to be either totally an attempt to skew the poll, or someone who just really "has to be different." And trust me, I've known people who've come off The Phoenix and proclaimed it was "terrible", just to be the odd man out of the group.

 

But really, Wooden Warrior was GREAT! But better than Boulder Dash? Better than El Toro? It's one thing to say you have an opinion, it's another to have such a sharp contrasted opinion that makes it impossible for you to be believed.

 

And to put The Voyage below Son of Beast, Mean Streak, The Bandit, Anaconda, Magnus Colossus, and Coaster Express? C'mon. I'm not a fan of it either, but I wouldn't do that to it. That's not having "an opinion" that's "being spiteful."

 

That ballot has to be fake, or at least clearly someone with a personal agenda.

 

--Robb

Edited by robbalvey
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Thanks Rob

This one just stood out as i 'd seen & read that persons reviews before & went looking for their reasons why they would have these ratings, seeing as they seemed very expeienced, not to show them up as being so obviously foolish.

 

Any other coasters other than "El Toro" that havent been mentioned being unexpectedly higher or lower rated?

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I would consider GCI to be the midpoint between Intamin and Gravity Group. Intamin wood coasters are very graceful with plenty of airtime, while Gravity Groups tend to be rougher, but have some very quick airtime and direction changes. GCI's do not deliver the laterals and ejectors of Gravity Groups, nor the graceful but strong airtime of Intamins. They are smoother than Gravity Groups, but not as smooth as Intmains. Thus, GCI's are allowed to rank highly because thy can appeal to a wider audience. GCI's are the compromise between grace and out of control.

 

Although, Knight Valley's GCI might serve as a turning point for the company. maybe we can see more intense coasters from them in the future?

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One of my favorites

 

Rolling Thunder SFGAd NJ y n 126

Grt Am Scrm Mach SFoG GA y n 127

Mean Streak Cedar Point OH y n 128

El Toro SFGAd NJ y n 129

 

Yes, Rolling Thunder is better than El Toro. Right. Sorry, but if you don't want to recognize El Toro as a wood coaster, then just leave it off your ballot.

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Another 100 plus pollster too. hmm.

You would think these riders more than others, who have taken the time out to do the poll after riding so many widespread coasters, would want to actually share something close to their true opinion that they obviously have a passion for.

 

El Toro was still number one & Voyage clearly was not number one.

Wasted effort, time & votes & who would really respect their opinion/s now even if they have ridden 100 plus coasters.

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I totally agree with you about GCIs. I love abrupt airtime as well and El Toro is a great example of a coaster with abrupt airtime. But GCIs have that smooth feeling that you don't get on many wooden coasters. And they're great family rides too. But besides that, GCIs are great smooth coasters that are just plain fun!

Even the GCI I felt easily had the most airtime, American Thunder, still seemed "gentle" rather than being intense or thrilling. But I love all kinds of airtime (though my preference is decidedly for ejector), so it's still one of my favorite coasters. Overall, nearly all GCIs offer something I like, whether it's speed, intensity (Prowler), or slight-to-moderate airtime. I've always liked how GCI claims to make the "most twisted" wooden coasters and I'd really love to see more truly compact twisters like American Thunder. I take it Thunderbird is even better?

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^Agreed. Although people are entitled to their own opinion, I don't see how anyone who has ridden Balder can prefer Voyage. But many people taking the poll haven't ridden Balder.

 

I have! Although I last rode Voyage in 2010. And they're not even close, in my book.

 

I think the thing with Balder is that it's very repetitive. It's just airtime hill after airtime hill, with not much else going on at all. And most of it is floater air, rather than real ejector air (or somewhere in between.) While I know that that's coaster nirvana for many people, that's not normally my thing, to be honest.

 

That said, I liked it a LOT more than I expected to. It does what it does VERY well. In fact, it was easily my favorite ride session of the ACE Scandinavia trip, thanks to nighttime ERT, and en enthusiastic group and ride ops. (Although I'll say that I think that Twister was the better ride overall, IMHO, mainly because of the variation.) I'd expected/guessed that I would place Balder somewhere in the 20's on my list, based on my usual tastes. But it impressed me enough to rank it at 12. Admittedly, the whole experience probably biases it slightly in its favor, giving it a notch or three that it wouldn't have otherwise gotten. But I only rank coasters based on my enjoyment and experiences on them.

 

Whatever you think of of Voyage and its roughness, it's a very diverse ride, trying to do a whole lot of things over its long course. And few coasters even come close to the out-of-control feeling that Voyage creates. And that is exactly what I love in a great coaster. Nothing even comes close for me.

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I know Balder is ranked very highly all things considered, but does anyone have insight as it why it was so "low" this year? Has it gotten a bit rough? Or do some of the voters who've ridden it simply have different preferences?

 

Remember that the poll also takes into account whether or not you rode the coaster this year that you're voting for. I don't think a lot of the voters rode Balder this year, so that hurts it. I'm sure you'll see it go back up when a group trip takes a decent amount of people there to ride it.

 

Actually, Mitch's main poll doesn't take that into account at all. He used to do a separate ranking just counting this year's riders, to get a sense of how the ride might be ranking based on just this year's rides. But it was never terribly accurate because there were so few valid ride comparisons. But you could at least get some sense if a ride was running much better or worse than it used to.

 

One of the problems with any coaster poll is that I think that people tend to rank coasters more highly when they first ride them and experience something new for the first time. After a few visits, the sheen wears off somewhat, and we tend to drop most rides at least a bit on our lists.

 

While I tend to be somewhat like that, in the short terms, I'm actually the opposite. Almost any coaster will benefit on my list from multiple rides on the same visit. It's usually only after 5+ rides that I really "get" a coaster and appreciate what it does. The problem with wooden coasters is that when you ride them on slower days to get more rides, then the trains are likely more empty, which produces bad rides. (Heavier trains run faster, thanks to having more momentum.) So, going on a trip or on a tour will usually give the highest rankings for me, especially if there is nighttime ERT. Which is why I probably ranked Balder slightly higher than I might have otherwise.

 

As to Balder, ACE was there this year with over 100 people. And we had a great nighttime ERT session on it. People seemed to be having a great time on it, although there were some comments about it being quite repetitive. I'm not sure how many of the ACE crowd participate in Mitch's poll these days, though.

Edited by David H
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This years results seemed pretty much around to my experiences.

I never take exact placements to heart, but the around about ranking are far more important for my trip planning

So i was intreged to look up some of the polls from the riders with high counts. Especially "the other" El Toro as that one hadn't caught my eye as being so highly thought of.

 

So off i went scrolling through the some submitted polls for anyone over 100 coasters.

Didn't take long to find someone who had ridden 177 woodies.

Awesome i applaud them, lets see what they think...

...

 

They seem to have a dislike or unusual placement for many coaster, OK thats there opinion even if i strongly disagree.

 

Hey hang on im sure ive seen that persons name before in coaster net land. Lets google them..here they are quoting on a trip to Yomiuriland.

 

Yomiuriland was very HOT. The coasters were much better than I expected. I liked the White Canyon, reminded me of the Riverside Cyclone, with the Morgan trains. The Bandit was actually quite fun.

 

Thankfully the poll didnt seem to have too many of these fools wanting to brag about something.

 

I know the enthusiast in question. Not only is she local to me, but I've been on quite a few trips with her. And knowing her, I can easily see this being her honest ballot. She is older and has very little tolerance for rough rides, and genuinely hates Voyage. She and her husband are VERY well traveled enthusiasts who take several international trips per year. So, it's very possible that she went back to the park, felt that White Canyon was way too rough, and dropped it way down as a result. If there is one thing that all of those low coasters on her ballot share in common it's that they are all rough (at least at times.) In fact, I was with her at Park Asterix when we rode Tonerre, and it was running quite rough then. I didn't mind it as much as many, but a lot of people did.

 

Knowing her, I honestly believe that these are her actual opinions.

 

Also, as to the person noted above who ranked El Toro that low, knowing him, I could see that as well. He's a larger guy who hates being stapled. (I wouldn't even be surprised if he wasn't allowed to ride, and is punishing it that way.) And he is somewhat of a purist, so maybe that hurt his opinion, too. I'll admit that the stapling cost it a dozen or more notches on my first visit, when it was especially bad. But again, I don't think he's trying to deliberately throw the poll.

 

I think we should be careful about calling out individual ballots, especially when we don't know the people in question. There are a lot of enthusiasts in the hobby with vastly different opinions than ours (or even than most others in the hobby.) Their opinions are just as valid as ours. Well, no one's opinion is as valid as mine, but that goes without saying!

 

That said, there was some talk of deliberately throwing the poll this year by stuffing the ballot box by some people with an axe to grind against Robb and TPR. They apparently think that Robb tries to "fix" the poll to somehow get more people to go on the TPR trips (despite the fact that next year's overseas trips are pretty much sold out already!) But it was quickly shot down after some people (myself probably most vocal among them) spoke out against the idea, and the group organizers chastised them. Most of them limit their protest to just not participating in Mitch's poll any more, which is fine, if childish.

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This years results seemed pretty much around to my experiences.

I never take exact placements to heart, but the around about ranking are far more important for my trip planning

So i was intreged to look up some of the polls from the riders with high counts. Especially "the other" El Toro as that one hadn't caught my eye as being so highly thought of.

 

So off i went scrolling through the some submitted polls for anyone over 100 coasters.

Didn't take long to find someone who had ridden 177 woodies.

Awesome i applaud them, lets see what they think...

...

 

They seem to have a dislike or unusual placement for many coaster, OK thats there opinion even if i strongly disagree.

 

Hey hang on im sure ive seen that persons name before in coaster net land. Lets google them..here they are quoting on a trip to Yomiuriland.

 

Yomiuriland was very HOT. The coasters were much better than I expected. I liked the White Canyon, reminded me of the Riverside Cyclone, with the Morgan trains. The Bandit was actually quite fun.

 

Thankfully the poll didnt seem to have too many of these fools wanting to brag about something.

 

I know the enthusiast in question. Not only is she local to me, but I've been on quite a few trips with her. And knowing her, I can easily see this being her honest ballot. She is older and has very little tolerance for rough rides, and genuinely hates Voyage. She and her husband are VERY well traveled enthusiasts who take several international trips per year. So, it's very possible that she went back to the park, felt that White Canyon was way too rough, and dropped it way down as a result. If there is one thing that all of those low coasters on her ballot share in common it's that they are all rough (at least at times.) In fact, I was with her at Park Asterix when we rode Tonerre, and it was running quite rough then. I didn't mind it as much as many, but a lot of people did.

 

Knowing her, I honestly believe that these are her actual opinions.

While I hear you, and I can relate to what you're saying, because I rank Voyage lower for almost the exact same reasons, it's one thing to rank it low because you don't like rough rides, it's another thing to rank it the absolute, OMFG, worst most abominable coaster in the freakin' world!

 

I don't care how much you might not like roughness or whatever, there is no way that I would believe that any "seasoned" coaster enthusiast would think the ride is dead last. Just in the sheer appreciation for what the ride does, the construction of it, and what the park has been able to do with it, I give them huge kudos.

 

If that is really their opinion, then my opinion is that their opinion is stupid. And thankfully the way the poll is set up, one ride won't suffer too much due to someone else's stupid opinion. And that fact that she ranked coasters like Lake Compounce's Wildcat and The Beast, two insanely rough rides, ahead of El Toro, one of the smoothest rides in the world, also makes me call shenanigans on her ballot! Sounds to me like she's just some old fart ACEr that doesn't want to like what the "young kids" like. Stupid.

 

That said, there was some talk of deliberately throwing the poll this year by stuffing the ballot box by some people with an axe to grind against Robb and TPR. They apparently think that Robb tries to "fix" the poll to somehow get more people to go on the TPR trips.

These people are also stupid!

 

If anything, TPR helps validate the poll by taking MORE people out to some remote coasters to increase the sample size. Anyone that has been on our trips can tell you, we don't ever try to change anyone's opinions. Even when we go to Holiday World, we promote the Voyage, and encourage people to get night rides on it. (Although I do tell them to get night rides on Raven too, so I guess you can say the only coaster at Holiday World we don't promote is Legend? My bad!)

 

Seriously, though. We promote the poll because we believe in it. It's not a "popularity contest" poll where the option with the most votes wins, which is why we like it so much, and we're happy to help increase the fairness in the results.

 

--Robb

Edited by robbalvey
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I totally get that people have different opinions. Heck, my (non-enthusiast) boyfriend rode El Toro, Thunderhead, and Gwazi for the first time this year and liked Gwazi the best. He also likes Ghostrider better than El Toro. And we had night time ERT on El Toro at the ACE Riding of the Bull event. And he was not stapled into his seat. There are always going to be some people who have opinions that we think are weird or crazy, but that doesn't mean they're trying to intentionally throw the poll. I think that a few honest votes that are way off the norm are good to have in the poll because it reminds us that not everyone has the same likes or things they look for in a coaster. Plus, it's not going to impact the poll THAT much.

 

I also think people that say TPR try to throw the poll are funny... cause if you don't vote, then you really don't have a say in the matter do you??

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