Keeping Count

Whenever people find out what my hobby is, the first thing they do is ask me how many coasters I’ve been on. The next thing they do is go ‘Wow, you must have almost ridden all of them then?’ and then the NEXT thing they do is gasp when I tell them how much of the coaster-verse I’ve yet to explore. People are baffled by quite how many coasters there are on the planet, and wonder how I even know some of them exist.

Let’s face it, everyone in the UK is familiar with the Merlin parks and to a larger extent ‘classic’ places like Blackpool, and regionally places like Paulton’s Park, Drayton Manor and Flamingoland are known. Then you’ve got the Florida parks, chuck in a handful of people who’ve visited Port Aventura in Spain and maybe Parc Asterix and Europa Park. But beyond that, the general public aren’t really that clued up on the awesome parks all over the world, so it’s easy to understand why people are so gobsmacked when you tell them there’s over 4000 coasters on the planet.

And that’s a big number, how the hell do you keep on top of a thing like that? Well, prepare yourselves because I’m about to expose the secret world of coaster-counting and how we all manage to keep such close tabs on it.

So, first up, you need you have your go-to websites. These are my fav:

RCDB, the Roller Coaster Data Base. Pretty much every coaster in the world that has ever been or ever was formatted into an incredibly up to date index. Sometimes I feel quite weird and unique in my hobby, but then I see that somebody has spotted a Big Apple in Cambodia or something and I realise that there are coaster enthusiasts all over the world, living among us like regular people. Weird.

Coast2Coaster. I’ve spoken about this site before. It’s essentially a map with the location of every known coaster plotted. Makes things like trip planning super easy as you can physically see where clusters of coasters are and the distances between them for if you fancy a road trip.

Coaster-count. A community of box-checkers where you can create a list of every coaster you’ve ridden. I’m a little wary of it because I don’t agree with some of their reasoning as to what counts as a coaster, but I like to have it as a back up just in case. Plus it’s a great place to keep tabs on other enthusiasts and where you rank among them (I’m currently top 20 UK, if you were wondering).

CoasterForce, my first love and the reason for my enthusiasm as it is today. A forum for like minded geeks to gather and discuss extremely important subjects such as whether i305 is better than Skyrush or why Flamingoland sucks. Things can get pretty heated, but having a group of such passionate people altogether in a little corner of the Internet means it’s never too long before somebody is updating us on the latest coaster info.

Screamscape. Kind of a holy grail for all theme park and coaster news. It’s reliable and usually right, careful to highlight if something is confirmed or just a rumour and a good place to double check before you throw your toys out of the pram at the latest ridiculous decision some theme park chain has made.

Twitter. Let’s face it, nowadays no news site can ever hope to communicate new info at the lightning speed of Twitter. It’s also great for venting your OUTRAGE when Disney announce something obscene like retheming Tower of Tower to Guardians of the fucking Galaxy.

So that’s the keeping-up-to-date-with-geeky-coaster-stuff starter pack. I check these daily because, if you haven’t noticed by now, I’m a nerd and these things interest me. The second thing, and probably the most important tool I use for keep tracking of my coaster-count is my spreadsheet.

Ah, coaster enthusiasts, we sure do love a spreadsheet. They’re a beautiful thing. How satisfying to scroll through pages of ridden coasters, all deliciously arranged into alphabetical order by park. But, why stop there? Why not add a tab to arrange coasters by opening date? Or ridden date? Or manufacturer? I know I’m not the only one who has lost countless hours meticulously listing endless facts about all of my ridden coasters, but there is just something so…fun about listing them all!

Finally, and this is probably the most important one, talking to my fellow coaster-geeks about the latest in the coaster world really solidifies my knowledge. That and debates-a-plenty about this coaster vs. that coaster and why coasters in Asia are soooo much better when really we all know that it’s just because everyone else hasn’t been there yet. There’s a friendly rivalry, but one you can’t help but get sucked in to and one I don’t plan on stopping for some time yet!

Talk later xo,