Category Archives: Top Lists

Periodic columns where Theme Park Archive evaluates the best the theme park industry has to offer


Top 10 Inverted Roller Coasters


Inverted roller coasters distinguish themselves by their style where you fly underneath the track.  B&M, Intamin, and Vekoma are the primary manufacturers of inverted roller coasters, each has their own distinct track and train styles.  These are the inverted roller coasters we believe distinguish themselves from the rest:


 

Honorable Mention: Batman the Ride at Six Flags Great America
In the 1990’s, this model of inverted roller coaster seemed to pop up in every (Six Flags) park.  The layout is a winner.  While short, this ride provides one of the most intense experiences on any roller coaster.  Lately Six Flags has begun to reinvigorate the ride by adding backward facing trains on the ride.  We’ve given the award to the original ride, but clones can be found in Six Flags Great Adventure, Six Flags over Georgia, Six Flags over Texas, Six Flags St. Louis, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, Sea World San Antonio, La Ronde, and many more parks.


10: Great Bear at Hersheypark
Great Bear is a custom layout roller coaster by B&M on which you soar over Comet Hollow.  While relatively short, Great Bear’s interaction with other rides including superdooperlooper and Coal Cracker make the ride experience special.


9 : Volcano at Kings Dominion
This Intamin inverted coaster launches you two times.  The second time vertically out of a fire-spewing volcano.  The ride is very unique and earns this recognition through its excellent use of theming as well as a thrilling ride experience.


8: Afterburn at Carowinds
This underappreciated ride at Carowinds has a very intense layout featuring one of the rare Batwing elements on a B&M roller coaster.  This ride was originally dubbed Top Gun by Paramount Parks.


7: Nemesis Inferno at Thorpe Park
This UK roller coaster is inspired by the classic: Nemesis at Alton Towers.  The theming on this ride and queue surpass that of almost all of the other competitors.


6: Dragon Challenge at Universal Islands of Adventure
This ride is an engineering masterpiece by B&M.  This is actually a pair of completely different inverted roller coasters themed to Harry Potter lore: Hungarian Horntail and Chinese Fireball that contain 3 near miss moments and 5 inversions.  Chinese Fireball provides the slightly more intense and better experience in our experience.  Unfortunately the ride no longer duels due to safety concerns dropping it down in the rankings.  This ride was originally known as Dueling Dragons.


5: Raptor at Cedar Point
The tallest and fastest inverted roller coaster when it opened, Raptor built upon the foundation created by Batman the Ride to create an intense ride experience with 6 inversions.  This was the first inverted coaster to feature a cobra roll.


4: Montu at Busch Gardens Tampa
Montu one ups Raptor with a 7th inversion.  This ride contains two strong ride halves, the second half taking you underground several times.  This ride is found in Busch Garden Tampa’s Egypt section.


3: Alpengeist – Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Built a year after Montu, Busch Gardens Williamsburg introduced what is still the world’s tallest complete circuit inverted roller coaster.  Themed after a ski ride gone wrong in Germany, Alpengeist swoops you in and out of the River Rhine valley.


2: Banshee – Kings Island
Opened in 2014, more than 20 years after the first inverted coaster, Banshee reimagines the inverted coaster.  Built by B&M on the site of the former Son of Beast, this roller coaster layout brings back the intense layouts the company used to design in the past.  What sets Banshee apart is its modest theming package, excellent pacing, and track length.  Banshee is the world’s longest inverted roller coaster.  It utilizes a new train style similar to that found on wing-rider coasters that contains much more open over the shoulder restraints.


1: Nemesis – Alton Towers
The title of best inverted coaster goes to the UK, and it isn’t close.  Nemesis bills itself as the world’s most extreme ride experience.  While that is probably not true, the layout of this ride is one that is literally impossible to be duplicated.  Almost the entire ride is situated below ground level where riders gets turned upside down 4 times.  All the time soaring through caverns and rushing through rock blasted quarries.  This is one ride not to miss.