Ranking Every New Coaster I Rode On My US Road Trip

So I've been back from my US road trip for a few weeks now but it still feels like I'm processing everything. This whole summer has been a bit of a whirlwind for me in all honesty, I can't believe I'm preparing to head to FRIGHT NIGHTS and Shocktoberfest literally next week! What is time? Anyway, when I went to Orlando I did a 'most anticipated attractions' post that ended up being a bit of a curse as we didn't end up doing a lot of the things I was excited for. So for this I thought I'd take a slightly different angle and instead rank all of the new coasters I managed to get on instead. Spoiler alert - there was zero spite in this area so obviously the universe prefers that I don't count my chickens before they hatch!

As this trip involved me going back to a lot of parks I've visited before, the cred haul wasn't huuuuge but a respectable +14, which when you're going back to places you've already been to isn't too shabby in my opinion. It's a real mix too - everything from alpine coasters and kiddie creds to giga coasters and RMCs. Let the ranking commence!


14. Ski Lift Shoot Out Coaster - Rowdy Bear's Smoky Mountain Snow Park

This was basically an inverted dark ride thing, but outside, with guns. But...the targets didn't really do anything when you shot them and it was either too slow to enjoy as a coaster or too chaotic to actually shoot anything on target. Meh. 



13. Whistlepunk Chaser - Dollywood

I actually kind of forgot this existed until we walked around the corner and saw it. It was actually a fun little ride, these Zamperla family things ride like an old school funfair whip ride in my opinion so they're a hoot. The ride op was visibily exasperated to see a group of adults wanting to get the coaster but we chose to pay him no mind and enjoy ourselves regardless. 


12. Spinning Parrot - The Island, Pigeon Forge

I'm actually quite the fan of an SBF Visa but you know what's not fun? Riding one in the blistering Tennessee sun whilst yet another judgemental ride op makes you feel awkward about wanting a simple +1. 


11. Goats on the Roof

I love me an alpine coaster, I love goats, so what could be better than combining the two! OK so the coaster is goat-adjacent and they actually mill about on the roof of the gift shop waiting for you to feed them but the coaster is pretty fun too in itself. We were the first group of riders of the day too so were able to whizz down at high speed which is always a bonus when it comes to alpine coasters. 


10. Dragonflier - Dollywood

Vekoma suspended family coasters are the perfect kind of family coaster in my opinion - they're like a stepping stone between proper kiddie creds and something more intense, but still manage to pack a punch all the same. Honestly, I wasn't impressed with the new Wildwood Grove land. It felt a little cheap but I guess in a few years once things have grown out a little it might look a little more polished. But the coaster was fun for sure, but nothing majorly special to report back on. 


9. Avalanche Snow Coaster - Rowdy Bear's Smoky Mountain Snow Park

Now this is more like it! Weird that there's one of these in the UK but I managed to get onto the one in Tennessee first. This was so fun, I loved how the rider had control of the speed, much like you would an alpine, but with the vehicle set up it all just felt a bit more substantial. The best part was the final dip down off the hill, mad little pop of airtime and that's exactly where they take your ride photo so you can imagine some of the expressions that get captured there. 


8. Copperhead Strike - Carowinds

Man oh man this coaster. It's just...not very good at all. Don't get me wrong, it LOOKS gorgeous. The theming is so beautiful and I particularly loved the station and pre-launch section. But the launch was...everything I hate about a Mack launch, then it kind of trundles through the (seemingly endless) layout. If you like hangtime and slow, drawn out transitions then this is certianly one for you, but for me it's the opposite of everything I love in a coaster so it was disappointing in my opinion. 



7. Lightning Rod - Dollywood

My god, I don't know what they did to this coaster but it's certainly not the life-changing experience those who rode before it was retracked/slowed down. The launch reminded me of Space Mountain at Disneyland Paris, it uses loads of effort to get up the hill and for what? To lose all that momentum as it peaks. The bit that you can't see out the back is extremely rough, which I should never be saying about a coaster as young as Lightning Rod but sadly it is the case. The quadruple down and final turnaround is certainly very fun and full of airtime, but it's not enough to make up for the rest of the coaster sadly. 




6. Blue Hawk - Six Flags Over Georgia

8 years in the waiting for me to get this cred as it was down when I last visited the park in 2014, but man it was worth the wait! I love this big old Vekoma/Arrow inverting beasts, and was so sad to see Vortex removed from Kings Island (I know they're not the same thing but they're in the same category in my head so I tend to bunch them together). Blue Hawk is a lesson in how to do inversions right - not too nauseating or sickly or repetitive and just long enough to pull into the station wanting more. Plus it looks incredible off-ride too!



5. Sky Rocket - Kennywood

I was soooo sad to find that Sky Rocket was SBNO when I first visited Kennywood back in 2019. For some reason it's a coaster that's always fascinated me - anything that's a smaller launching coaster tickles something in my brain for some reason! Anyway, it was open this time and wow what a fun little coaster. It's so, so smooth and the last little weaving bit of track is great fun, plus it's littered with airtime throughout. I wish the park wasn't so busy so we could get a few more rerides in, but such is life. It'll still be there when I return. 



4. Fury 325 - Carowinds

OK so after being bitterly disappointed by Leviathan I boarded Fury 325 with baited breath. We rode front row for our first ride and yep, I was disappointed. I just got no force, no airtime, even the speed wasn't that amazing for me? But we left the park for a few hours that day to go spooky shopping (heheheh) and returned in the evening once it had warmed up a bit. This time we opted to sit more towards the back of the train and hell yh, completely different experience. The first drop was great but for me the best bit is the dive down into the LED tunnel after the turn around. I still prefer hypers overall and the airtime focus over speed but Fury 325 is a fantastic coaster no doubt about it. 



3. Orion - Kings Island

After riding Fury 325 I boarded Orion much more open minded. After learning from Fury that front row seems to be a bust for giga coasters we headed straight to the back and oh my GOD that first drop is absolutely sublime. I could replay that feeling of pure freefall over and over again, it's absolutely incredible. I'll be honest...I don't actually remember the rest of the layout because every time I rode it I was in such ecstasy from the drop that I was in a trance for the rest of the layout. But that drop alone parks it in third spot for me. 



2. Twisted Cyclone - Six Flags Over Georgia

I'd heard nothing but bad/disappointing things about Twisted Cyclone so I took my seat not really expecting much. I think we rode first row for our first go and I loved how, even as we crested the hill into the first drop, you have no idea which direction you're about to head off into. It's a compact layout, but it managed to pack all that RMC madness in just the same. It's by no means the biggest or most intense RMC but was it does have is a huge rerideability factor. We'd ridden Storm Chaser the day before and I once again found it to be a little too sore/intense to have a lot of fun riding over and over again, whereas Twisted Cyclone gets it just right!



1. Steel Curtain - Kennywood

Now I know I am going to cause some sort of stir for this one because I was the only one in our group who loved it the way I did, but that's what this hobby is all about. I cannot tell you the JOY I had riding Steel Curtain. Looking at it, I thought it wasn't going to be my sort of thing, but it absolutely was and more. I feel like as I get old I've got a new found apprecite for a really well placed knot of inversions, and Steel Curtain has that in shedloads. Then, out of nowhere it has bursts of airtime too? And the cars are shaped like American footballs, and it has an NFL theme? I found the whole thing very camp, something about it feels like something a drag queen would make a costume out of and I was 100% here for it. Much like Sky Rocket, I wish we had more time to get in a reride but the park was rammed that day so sadly it was the one back row ride, but that was more than enough for me to know I loved it!


So that's it, fourteen new coasters for me and I've finally been on bloody Fury 325 so I'm no longer basic. 

Talk later xoxo,

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