Tag Archives: Busch Gardens Tampa


Top 10 Launched Roller Coasters


Roller coasters these days are not always propelled by a lift hill.  Launches can provide a more thrilling way to start a ride.  They provide differentiation for the parks that have them.  Launches come in all different methods from using magnets (LIM or LSM) to hydraulic launch, to more primitive methods such as a winch, weight drop, or tires.

These are the launched roller coasters that we believe are the best in the business today:


Honorable Mention: Incredible Hulk Coaster at Universal Islands of Adventure
Incredible Hulk Coaster starts with a very unique lift hill tire launch found nowhere else.  The launch ends in a barrel roll inversion that starts the ride on a very exciting note.  For 2016, Universal Studios is performing a full track replacement of this ride.


Honorable Mention: Verbolten at Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Verbolten is the successor to Busch Garden Williamsburg’s Big Bad Wolf coaster.  Verbolten is a very unique coaster including several launch segments, an indoor ride portion, and a finale consisting of a dive off a rickety bridge into the River Rhine valley.


 

10: Full Throttle at Six Flags Magic Mountain
Full Throttle, built by Premier Rides, is known for its unique backwards-then-forwards launch mid course as well as containing the world’s largest loop that you both go through and then over.


9 : Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
This is a wonderfully themed Vekoma launched coaster where you sit in a stretch limo and race through the streets of Hollywood to make it in time for an Aerosmith concert.


8: Revenge of the Mummy at Universal Studios Florida
The Florida version of Revenge of the Mummy is one of the most impressive indoor roller coaster experiences out there today.  This attraction features several launches and great fire effects.


7: California Screamin’ at Disney California Adventure
While not the most intense roller coaster, California Screamin’ does set itself apart based on its modern reinterpretation of a boardwalk wooden roller coaster.  Containing two launches, on-board audio, insane capacity, and a signature loop, this ride is loads of fun.


6: Thunderbird at Holiday World
In 2015, Holiday World surprised everyone when they successfully introduced the first magnetically launched B&M roller coaster.  Thunderbird sets itself apart with its unique layout that disappears into the woods.


5: Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure
If you are looking for the most intense launch experience, look no further than Kingda Ka.  This ride is one of the fastest and still the tallest roller coaster in the world.


4: Cheetah Hunt at Busch Gardens Tampa
Cheetah Hunt is one of the most scenic roller coasters out there.  The ride stays low to the ground and contains several launches allowing its riders to experience what it is like to prowl like a Cheetah.


3: Powder Keg at Silver Dollar City
Perhaps one of the more under-appreciated rides, this air launched coaster was reworked to remove its problematic water ride elements.  What resulted was an even more fun launched coaster diving in and out of the foothills of southern Missouri.


2: blue fire Megacoaster at Europa Park
Great theming, great pacing, and super smooth ride.  blue fire proves that Mack can make launched roller coasters too.


1: Maverick at Cedar Point
This seemingly unassuming roller coaster due to its height, makes it to the top of our list.  Maverick combines the best elements of other roller coasters into one package.  This includes a launched lift hill, quick transitions, air time hills, inversions and a second launch under the station.  Don’t miss this ride.




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.