Coaster101 Roundtable: Ask Us Anything

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A few weeks ago, we posted a contest on social media (inspired by our friends at CPFoodBlog) for a chance to win a 16×20 print of Steel Vengeance.

The contest was simply: Ask Us a Question. The print would go to the asker of our favorite question.

But what’s the point of asking questions if they don’t get answered? The Coaster101 team took a stab at some of the questions that were asked, and our answers are below!


Facts & Stats

Raveena Minor (Facebook): Who invented roller coasters? What was the purpose of them?

Andrew: The world’s oldest roller coasters descended from the “Russian Mountains,” which were specially constructed hills of snow located in the gardens of palaces around the Russian capital, Saint Petersburg, in the 18th century. Check out more here!

Dan Whalen (Facebook): What is the airspeed velocity of an unlaiden RMC train?

Andrew: Uh…7? (Physics was never a strong suit of mine. Sorry Dan!)

Chris Bentz (Facebook): When did six flags first begin operations?

Andrew: The original company was formed in 1957. Their first park, Six Flags Over Texas, opened in 1961.

Matt J DeHollander (Facebook): How many new pieces of wood were installed to transition Mean Streak to Steel Vengeance?
Niall Killin (Facebook): How many planks of wood are holding up Steel Vengeance’s track?

Andrew: I think at the Coastermania Q&A, they said approximately 40% of the original structure was utilized from Mean Streak. Not sure if that number is accurate. My short answer is “a lot.”

Vic Bright (Facebook): How many brakes are used for speed control?

Andrew: Depends on the coaster. Some more than others.

Regina Lynn Casto May (Facebook): Was Demon Drop transferred to another park or dismantled?

Andrew: It’s currently operating at fellow Cedar Fair park Dorney Park in Allentown, PA.

Our Favorite Things

Jessica Fortenberry Taylor (Facebook): What is your favorite giga coaster?

Andrew: Fury 325. It’s got everything I love about roller coasters in one 6,602’ long package.

Eric: I’m choosing not to answer this. Too hard to compare. Both Fury and MF are great (I’ll learn how I305 compares later this summer!)

John: Intimidator 305. The speed of the lift, the drop, the pacing, the snapiness of the transitions all combine to keep I305 at the top of my list.

Mike: I’ve only been on the two Intamin gigas, and even after multiple rides on Millenium Force this year, my favorite still will have to be I305. Like John said, the lift speed, drop, and high speed twists and turns are unrivaled for me.

Kyle: This is truly a toss up for me between MF and Fury. I like each of them for their own reasons, but I think if I had to pick one I’d go with Fury because of the twisted airtime dive at the turnaround. The feeling of being completely sideways while getting airtime is quite something!

Jessica Fortenberry Taylor (Facebook): What is your most favorite part of Steel Vengeance?

John: There are so many great elements on Steel Vengeance. For me, my favorite would have to be the “twisted snake dive.” It begins somewhat like a zero-g roll, but then stalls upside down while simultaneously dropping. It’s fun and very disorienting.

Nick: All of it? Seriously, there are too many to choose from. What surprised me the most was the double up into the mid course brake run. The airtime was crazy powerful in those two spots!

Mike: Can I just say the entire second half of the ride? Especially at night. It was completely disorienting, in a good way. At one point, I lost track of what direction was up!

Eric: I basically agree with exactly what Mike said (and that makes sense, we were riding it together). I loved coming out of one of the barrel rolls and literally not knowing which way was up.

Kyle: I think I would have to pick between the banked airtime hill or the overbanked turn underneath the lift hill. The airtime hill was just totally unexpected and a new type of element for me. The overbanked turn seems to just whip you out of it when you are coming down (especially in the back), almost like a launch.

Trevor Scott Pearce (Facebook): What’s your favorite type of roller coaster?

Andrew: B&M Hyper or Giga with a bunch of airtime.

Eric: Man, this is also really hard to choose. I have a soft spot for wooden coasters. I think the best coasters are really well paced, and GCI does that really well consistently.

John: Yeah, this is a tough one. In terms of consistent quality, I would have to go with B&M hypers for steel and RMC for wood.

Mike: For a while, it was B&M hypers for me. But the RMC hybrid coasters have overtaken B&M this year after riding Wicked Cyclone and Twisted Colossus. They’ve really pushed the edge on how extreme a coaster can be.

Kyle: I love a smooth B&M as much as anyone, but give me a great woodie and I’ll choose it all day.

HangTime (Knott’s Berry Farm)

James Rutledge (Facebook): What’s your favorite Gerstlauer Coaster?

Andrew: Is it weird to pick one I haven’t ridden? HangTime at Knott’s because of the lighting package.

Eric: HangTime is the only one I’ve ridden, but I was a fan. I definitely want to ride more (and for Gerstlauer to build more. One sure would fit nicely at SFDK…)

Mike: I’ve only ridden two: Dare Devil Dive at SFOG and Mystery Mine at Dollywood. The theming of Mystery Mine puts it on top for me.

Kyle: I’ll have to go with Mystery Mine too. While it is a little rough, it’s a really fun ride and like Mike said, the theming really sets it apart.

J_c344 (Instagram): What has been your favorite geek moment regarding coaster tech so far? I’m referring to the piece of new coaster tech that has amazed you the most.

Andrew: Maybe not specifically “coaster tech,” but I love the ability to choose your own soundtrack on Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit.

Eric: I haven’t actually ridden one yet, but I love the idea of drop tracks. I can’t even imagine the reaction people had the first time they experienced one of those, what a cool trick to put a totally unique experience on a ride.

Nick: The 4D coasters like X2. The fact that the spinning is controlled up a second set of rails that transform linear motion into rotational motion was so cool to me.

Mike: I have to also go with X2. That was the coaster that pushed me over from coaster fan to full-on coaster enthusiast. I couldn’t stop talking about it after my first visit to SFMM. When I’m telling everyone I know how the rack and pinion gear on a second rail makes the seats on the train spin, I think that qualifies me as a certified coaster geek. Honorable mention goes to Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Curse at Universal Islands of Adventure. Not technically coasters, but I can talk about the technology behind those two rides all day.

Kyle: I think RMC’s breakthrough with restoring old, worn-out woodies takes it for me. Being able to bring life back to coasters that otherwise would be torn down is important to preserving their history, but also creating new, remarkable ride experiences. I am praying that in the future, my beloved Beast at Kings Island will have its chance… but I hope that day is still far away.

Hauzmuzik (Instagram): What is your most favorite roller coaster in the world and how many times have you ridden it?
Joshwendtracing (Instagram): What coaster is your favorite?

Andrew: Fury 325 at Carowinds, ridden it probably close to 60 times in the last 3+ seasons.

Eric: I’ve decided I’m too indecisive to rank coasters, especially across categories. Instead, I prefer to think of them in categories. There are a few coasters out there I’d consider 5-star rides that sit at the top.

Mike: Favorite coaster that I ride frequently has to be Montu at Busch Gardens Tampa. Can’t count the number of times I’ve been on that ride. Favorite overall is still Maverick at Cedar Point, but RMCs like Steel Vengeance, Wicked Cyclone, and Lightning Rod are right there. My favorite roller coaster experience was El Toro at SFGAdv. I was in no way prepared for how much airtime that ride had to offer.

Kyle: Like I’ve said previously, I love woodies and The Beast is my all time favorite ride. It has speed, tight turns and low to the ground fly-bys. But my all time favorite coaster moment is on this ride: the double helix finale. I have probably been on The Beast around 70 times.

Blh0930 (instagram): What is your favorite and most successful product?

Andrew: Most successful would mean most parks have them…I’ll go with a Ferris Wheel. If we’re looking at something that’s not amusement-specific, I’m going with Twitter. It’s a fantastic way to communicate with people in short bursts.

Kyle: I will say the Carousel. It’s a timeless attraction that you can find in a lot of places that aren’t amusement parks. I also love to just look at carousels and photograph them. The older, classic ones are pure works of art and craftsmanship; there’s so much to be appreciated in them.

Ben Haas (twitter): What’s your favorite dark or thrill ride, and why?

Andrew: Men In Black Alien Attack at Universal Studios Florida, because of the level of detail that went into it, and the countless times I’ve tried unsuccessfully to max out my score.

Eric: Hmm, does Journey to the Center of the Earth count? If not that, probably the DisneySea Tower of Terror. Eh, let’s just assume it’s whatever at DisneySea that counts.

Mike: Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man at Islands of Adventure. As I mentioned before, the technology behind that ride is incredible, from the 3D effects, to the attention to detail in the environments (check out that Jacob’s Ladder special effect on your left during your encounter with Electro!). And to top all of that, it’s SPIDER-MAN taking on the Sinister Syndicate. What more could you ask for as a Spidey fan?

Kyle: Hands down Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios. I remember riding it 13 times in a row as a five year old.

William.Romanowski (instagram): What is the most photogenic roller coaster?

Andrew: Griffon at Busch Gardens Williamsburg or Fury 325 at Carowinds.

Eric: Maverick sure seems to make for pretty pictures. And, admittedly I’m very biased, but I love taking photos of (and looking at) RailBlazer. How many coasters can you see from pretty much every side?

Mike: Manta at Seaworld Orlando. Its setting in the middle of the park, uniqueness as a flying coaster, and theming make it one of the most attention grabbing coasters I’ve ever seen.

Kyle: I think Wildfire at Silver Dollar City deserves some recognition here. From the exit platform you can see the whole layout and it looks out over the Ozarks and lakes below.

Experiences

Trey Blea (Facebook): What was the first roller coaster you thought you were going to die on?

Kyle: Phoenix at Knoebels. Don’t get me wrong, this is one of my favorite woodies, but the first time I rode it I stood up completely during one of the airtime hills and I definitely wasn’t expecting that!

Six_farms (instagram): What was the most terrifying experience you’ve ever had while riding a roller coaster?

Andrew: I don’t consider it a roller coaster, but when I was younger, I rode a Ring of Fire (Larson Loop) at the North Carolina State fair. That was actually the last time I rode anything at the State fair.

Eric: Haha, I’ve never ridden super sketchy coasters, so nothing where I actually thought I was going to die (at least not since I was little). But, the first time I rode a dive coaster (Sheikra), and was in the front row, man was the hold as you’re looking over the edge terrifying. I’m also pretty sure I would be closing my eyes and holding on tight if I was on a roll back on an Intamin hydraulic launch coaster.

Nick: Anyone remember the Looping Star at Beech Bend?

Mike: I don’t recall ever feeling like I was going to die, but riding Wicked Cyclone this year did make me think that the coaster was deliberately trying to kill me, if not for the restraints. And I loved it.

Kyle: Not terrifying per se, but painful. Riding Predator at Darien Lake was possibly the worst roller coaster I’ve ever been on. I remember my back feeling like it was about to shatter for the duration of the ride.

Josh Batts (Facebook): What is the total number of miles of coaster rack the Coaster101 staff has ridden to date, not including re-rides.

Andrew: I love this question because largely useless numbers fascinate me. I’ve ridden 197 different coasters, and was able to find the track lengths for all but four of them. I’m at 100.24 total miles not including re-rides right now.

Nick: Since I started tracking coasters in 2010 with my coaster counter spreadsheet, I’ve ridden at least 168.5 miles (including re-rides).

Lightning Rod quadruple down

Tim Savina (Facebook): What’s the longest time you would be willing to wait in line to ride your favorite roller coaster?

Andrew: I’ve said before that I hate waiting in line, and my favorite roller coaster is Fury 325. If Fury’s line is longer than 30 minutes, I’ll probably skip it at that point, unless it’s for a night ride.

Eric: Yeah, man, I’m too old for these lines. I think the longest I’ve waited for anything in recent years is about 2 hours, and I’m always a little unhappy about that. An hour is pretty much my cutoff.

John: With age, my patience for waiting in line has dwindled. But there are exceptions. I would wait two hours for a new ride, especially if I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to ride it again in the near future. And I’d certainly wait an hour for some of my favorites: Intimidator 305, SkyRush, Lightning Rod, among others.

Nick: Yeah, I’m over lines. I think we waited about 1.5 hours for Steel Vengeance which was fine, I wouldn’t want to do much longer. Now, if the kids are in line with me? No more than 20 minutes.

Mike: The 1 to 1.5 hours I waited for Steel Vengeance this year is the max I’m willing to do for an entirely new coaster, and that’s ONLY for special occasions like CoasterMania!. Max I’m willing to wait on my favorite rides that I’ve already ridden? If it’s over 30 mins, I’m coming back another day. And if it’s a park I had to travel to, then I make sure I buy whatever fast pass system that park offers. My time is way too valuable, plus it’s the only way I can convince my wife to ride with me. She’s definitely not waiting in any long lines.

Cody Rowe (Facebook): Have you ever been on a coaster that has stopped on a lift hill or valley-ed?

Eric: Haven’t valley-ed, but Disneyland’s Space Mountain did get stuck while I was on it once. Got to walk off of it with the lights on, which was a great way to finally figure out what the layout of it looks like (I promptly forgot what I saw, though).

John: I actually got to experience an e-stop on Expedition Everest’s second lift hill during its soft opening in March of 2006. It was very cool to be able to walk through the ride’s first half:

Kyle: The only time I can remember being stopped on a lift for any amount of time was on The Beast probably 12 years ago and it was only for about 10 minutes.

Joey Ross (Facebook): Which coaster lives up to the hype and which coaster is overrated?

Andrew: Fury 325 lives up to the back-to-back best steel coaster golden ticket awards. To me, Millennium Force is overrated. *ducks*

Eric: I think for something that lived up to the hype, I’ve got to go with my first RMC, Twisted Colossus. It’s still my favorite ride at Magic Mountain, and one of my favorite coasters period. Now, I could make Andrew mad by saying Fury was overrated, but it was his own fault for hyping it up so dang much to the rest of us. More seriously, Magnum XL-200 is the first that comes in to mind. Did it really get the #23 Steel Coaster in the 2017 Golden Tickets?

Mike: Millenium Force was overrated for me. After seeing how many golden ticket awards it has won over the years, I was expecting it to knock my socks off. But Maverick ended up being my favorite ride at the park, easily. As far as living up to the hype, it has to be Lightning Rod for me, even with its initial reliability issues.

Jackson_wazny22 (instagram): Have you ever vomited on a roller coaster and seen it go backwards?

Eric: Never been sick, or had someone be sick on me. Thank goodness.

John: Thankfully I’ve never gotten sick on a ride, but I have had someone get sick on me after a ride. That was not a fun day.

Nick: I almost got hit when someone tossed their breakfast on Gemini during Coasting for Kids. The only time I’ve ever seen someone actually throw up on a ride. Maybe it was the free breakfast?

Eric: Man, I don’t think I could ever ride something again if I almost got hit by someones barf on it…

Kyle: I’ve never had this happen to me or someone I was riding with, however my dad was on The Beast when he was younger and had a close call. The guy in front of him puked, it flew over my dad’s head and hit the guy behind him!

Isak.the.coaster.enthusiast (instagram): What causes people to get better rides than others when they were on the same train?

Andrew: I think “better” is a relative term, and depends on way too many factors to give a quick answer.

Eric: I like to ramble more than Andrew, so I’ll take a stab at it. The forces that riders experience will differ in different parts of the train. So you might get more airtime towards the back or more acceleration, but you might also experience more roughness or something. When designing a coaster engineers can try to tune the design to give as close to a similar experience across all seats, but there will always be some difference. It’s kind of like how you might be more likely to get motion sick in the backseat of a car vs the front seat, or turbulence will feel stronger in different sections of an airplane. And sensitivity to these forces varies from person to person, so for some people even the same seat will “feel” different.

Of course, there are also non force factors involved. Riding in the front of a B&M Invert will always be my favorite just because of how much the sensation of seeing nothing in front of you and feeling the wind rushing against your whole body can add to the excitement.

I remember “Thrill Factor” did an episode where they tried to determine the best seat on Hades 360. I don’t remember the result, but they did take a scientific(ish) approach that can help explain it some more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ygmqab0k_Q

John: Like Andrew said, “better” is definitely a relative term. There are so many factors involved: both internal and external. I can have a so-so ride on a coaster in the morning, but then have an amazing ride later in the day, even in the same seat.

Mike: Depends on what you are looking for. The best way I like to explain it is riding a B&M hyper coaster, such as Mako at SeaWorld Orlando. When you are going up to the top of an airtime hill, the front car is travelling faster at that point then when the rest of the train gets to the top, so the momentum from cresting the top of the hill lifts you out of your seat, giving you “floaty” airtime as the front of the train is decelerating at the top of the hill.  On the other hand, when you are sitting at the rear of the train and reach the top of the same airtime hill, the front of the train has already started accelerating down the hill, so the rear of the train feels like it is being quickly yanked over the hill. This gives you “ejector” airtime since the rear of the train has started to accelerate at the top of the hill since the front of the train is already dropping. That’s just an example of how forces are exerted on different parts of the train.

Brent_in_pdx (instagram): how many hours collectively have you waited to ride Steel Vengeance?

Andrew: However many hours its been since August 16, 2017 when it was announced until right now. (I haven’t ridden it yet.)

Nick: At Coastermania five of us waited about 1.5 hours at most.

Coaster101.com/The Coaster101 Team

Joey Munding (Facebook): What made you want to become involved with the coaster community?

John: Visiting parks like Libertyland and Opryland USA (both sadly no longer with us) as a kid sparked my interest in roller coasters. Once I was old enough to start using the internet, joining the community to discuss my passion for roller coasters with others seemed like a no-brainer.

Andrew: After I moved away from Florida, I needed something to quench my theme park thirst. Started listening to podcasts and posting in forums, and it kind of grew from there.

Michael Wilcox (Facebook): What was your vision and expectations when you created Coaster101, and has the following you have exceed your expectations, and if so why do you think? Also, do you think roller coaster popularity has increased or decreased since Coaster101 was created and why?

Andrew: I wasn’t around for years 1-8, so I can’t speak to the first part of the question, or the expectations part. When I came on board in 2013, the site itself is drastically different from what it used to be. I think as more and more people find us (our year-over-year traffic has significantly increased each of the 5 years since I’ve been writing for Coaster101), the site will continue to grow. I’m always a little shocked by the following we have, honestly.  So far in 2018, we’ve had at least 300 unique “sessions” on our site from 30 different countries and territories. (We have at least one “session” from 173 countries and territories overall this year).

I think the popularity of roller coasters and the amusement industry as a whole continues to grow, which for us, well, me at least, feels good that we’re growing at the same time.

Parkerbudreau (Instagram): How did you become coaster enthusiasts?

Andrew: I took my first ride on Incredible Hulk in 1999, and caught the coaster bug immediately. Started reading as much as I could, and it went from there.

Eric: I’m not sure I actually fully think of myself as an enthusiast, but I’ve always love roller coasters. I think one sort of turning point was shortly after college, after talking about doing it for years, my brothers and I made a trip from California to Cedar Point (and Kings Island). It was the first time I traveled somewhere just to ride roller coasters, and it was great. I sort of figured, hey, why not do this more often.

Nick: I think it started as a childhood love of trains and evolved from to anything that runs on rails, specifically roller coasters.

Mike: I actually used to be afraid of going upside down on coasters growing up. It was only when my older brother forced me to ride Batman: The Escape at Six Flags Astroworld when I was 14 that I realized how fun coasters could be. I then started playing catchup on the coasters I’d missed out on up to that point. After I graduated from college, I landed a job that had me constantly traveling. Thus I got to experience coasters in different parts of the country. Soon after that, I started dating my now wife and she liked theme parks too, so we started taking coaster trips across the country.

Kyle: Credit goes to my parents for taking me to parks for as long as I can remember. I grew up going to Camden Park in Huntington, West Virginia and Kings Island. I always was fascinated by parks and reading about them. I think every research paper I had in school was on amusement parks or roller coasters, from elementary school through college haha.

Evang2323 (instagram): How old is Coaster101?

Andrew: We just celebrated our 13th birthday a few weeks ago!

Aatrains512 (instagram): Why did you make your site? What would you say made it expand to the following it has now?

Eric: Only John can answer the first, but obviously the answer to the second part is him getting a bunch of ridiculously talented people to write content for his site. (I’m kidding, we’re not that talented)

John: I started Coaster101 as a Freewebs (now just Webs) website. I wanted a place to share my love of roller coasters and theme parks with the world. My best piece of advice in regard to expanding and growing it is to build a team of talented writers who share your passion. There’s no way C101 would be what it is today without the talented team of writers who contribute to our wide range of content.

Andrew: Without trying to sound arrogant, I think we do a great job with content that you can’t find other places, but is still relevant to people’s interest in the industry. Our “Coasters 101” series is great, and the interviews we conduct are also pretty interesting.

Ian N. Christensen (Facebook): What does one have to do to become a part of the Coaster101 team?

Andrew: Blood Oath. 

But seriously,  You can apply — we’re currently looking for people in a variety of regions, who have a passion for the amusement industry and a talent for writing, photography and/or video.

Eric: We also try to generally take a positive approach, even when we’re being critical. So not being a jerk is important along with the talent for writing or photography or video. Oh, also, if you’ve got cool ideas for features (and the interest in making them)!

Nick: Sell us on yourself. How can you provide value to our site and community? We’re always willing to bring on more staff if you have the right attitude and can add or improve our site.

What Do You Think/What Would You Do?

Prince Clinton (Facebook): What is that makes roller coasters so special? Do you think it is something deeper that connects us to beyond just the initial thrill?
Matt Crossman (Facebook): What makes a coaster special to you?

Andrew: I think it’s the memories involved with the coaster that make it special for each person.

Eric: Man, this is deep. Obviously is the thrill side of things. Roller coasters allow people to experience something that most people never will. The kinds of speed and forces that we get on roller coasters aren’t something folks outside of jet pilots or race car drivers usually get to experience. But, like Andrew said, I think the memories are part of it, and more generally I think it’s something that sort of lets us, even as adults, experience some childhood like joy that we don’t often get to have (like shouting “wheeee” at the top of our lungs).

As for what makes an individual coaster special to me, I think there are two big things. First, to me the most important part of a coaster is pacing. A ride that never feels like it lulls until it pulls into the station, even if it isn’t the biggest for fastest, will always feel like a good ride to me. Second is the sort of generic answer of being unique. Special coasters stand out. An example I’d cite is being a big fan of Silver Bullet, and just sort of thinking of the various “Batman” inverts as good but nothing special. Silver Bullet is kind of a unique layout and design for an invert, and even if it isn’t necessarily objectively better, it stands out in my mind for that uniqueness.

Nick: When I’m riding a roller coaster I’m only thinking about the ride. I don’t have to worry about what’s for dinner, or what project I need to complete at work, etc.

Mike: Controlled thrills. Unless you happen to be a fighter pilot, roller coasters are the only way you can experience high speed inversions, twists, turns, launches, etc. Plus being an engineer, I always marvel at the different technologies that coasters utilize. Plus understanding how coasters are designed and knowing how much safety is factored into them, I love the feeling of letting my body lay freely and experiencing all a coaster has to offer (hands free is the ONLY way for me to ride, granted the ride isn’t rough).

Frank Jaenisch (Facebook): Has Cedar Point gotten to the point they can’t expand anymore, so we’re only going to get reworked/rebuilt coasters?

Andrew: I feel like there’s *always* room for expansion at Cedar Point.

Eric: Rob Decker, Cedar Fair’s VP of Planning and Design, actually brought this up when I was talking to him at the Hang Time opening at Knott’s Berry Farm. I asked him about space constrained parks and he used Cedar Point as an example. He didn’t say anything specific about any rides, but he said that sometimes they can look for places they might be able to infill (basically, is there area of the park they could squeeze something in) or get creative with layouts like shooting over the gate (see GateKeeper); But, he also said “you really have to take a hard look at your business and say what’s not being utilized or what’s expensive to maintain.”

So I wouldn’t say CP is only going to get reworked/rebuilt rides, but we may see more rides removed as rides are put in than maybe in the past.

Nick: Land wise, no, they have plenty of space. They just knocked down a hotel so there is a pretty empty space there among other areas. See Blackpool Pleasure Beach to see how much you can squeeze into tight areas. But the real question is can they add more rides without closing existing rides? I don’t think so, at least not without increasing the ticket price. The maintenance budget is only so great.

Kyle: I don’t know if it will ever happen, but many, many years down the road I wonder if we will see expansion into the parking lot and the start of bussing people in from a new parking lot on the mainland.

Spike Inventor and Maurer Rides CEO Jörg Beutler going for a test ride.

Ted Kirby (Facebook:) Single Track Coasters, like at California’s Great America and Six Flags Fiesta Texas are the new coaster phenomena right now. What would you say the next phenomena in roller coasters will be? What ideas are being worked on right now?
Sean Peace (Facebook): With limits and designs getting pushed every year, what do you see as the next big thing?

Andrew: I think once we see an actual T-Rex track in existence, I think that will start a new coaster resurgence.

Eric: I still think there’s potential for VR, or some kind of multimedia even if they’re not quite there yet. My experience with New Revolution was pretty positive even with the issues it had. Plus, we’ve already seen Cedar Fair putting a lot more emphasis on theming their new coasters, right?

I also think that we’ll eventually see something that gives riders some kind of “control”, like the idea on the Spike coaster that Maurer was developing. And in the more just thinking about things, why haven’t we seen a flying wing coaster from B&M yet? Someone must have thought about that idea, right?

Nick: Hah, I don’t know if we’ll be seeing a lot of Spike coasters. I think we’ll see a lot of compact “big” steel coasters like GaleForce and Hangtime. I also think we’ll see a lot more coasters with multiple launches to get going, like Star Trek, Soaring with Dragon, the Sky Rocket IIs. More creative lightning packages.

Sarah Cochran (Facebook): If you could change any coaster train at Cedar Point, which one and why?

Andrew: Steel Vengeance, I’d like to fit on it.

John: I’d love SkyRush trains on Millennium Force.

Nick: Swap Valravn trains for the ones with the old style over the shoulder restraints.

Kyle: I’d like to see swinging trains (Seven Dwarfs Mine Train style) on Cedar Creek Mine Ride. I think it would make the fun little coaster a little more interesting!

Gianni Deblaere (Facebook): Why are some roller coasters less liked than others? What makes coasters good?

Andrew: I’ll answer both questions with one word, experiences.

Nick: Everyone has their own opinion?

Mike: I’ll have to say that personally, how well I like a coaster has to do with how comfortable it is to ride. The most panned coasters that I have experienced are either incredibly rough, have uncomfortable seating or restraints, or just weren’t designed well. Personal preferences also play a factor into it. Some people enjoy airtime, while other people might despise airtime but love inversions. Some people may like rides to be as extreme as possible, while others prefer smoother rides.

Officialinsanecoasters (instagram): Is there a coaster/model that when you saw it for the first time, you genuinely thought, how is this possible?

Andrew: Smiler. That’s a ton of inversions.

John: Steel Vengeance and Outlaw Run both come to mind.

Nick: Hades. Looking at the layout I wondered how it had enough momentum to make it through the layout.

Mike: Outlaw Run. I still marvel at how the trains can coast along the sides of those hills.

Rollerjoaster_88 (instagram): If Cedar Point wasn’t named Cedar Point, what would the park’s name be?

Andrew: Sandusky Shores, Peninsula Point, or Erie Excitement. Gotta throw some alliteration in there.

Nick: Cedar Flags.

Kyle: Unsinkable Island

Marc35571 (instagram): If you could reimagine any classic flat ride and put a modern twist on it, which ride would it be?

Andrew: I’d “RMC” Dorney Park’s Demon Drop, and have it feature a smooth barrel roll bunny hill. 

coastergram1000_2.0 (instagram): When will there ever be a large scale amusement park in Arizona?

Andrew: With the heat, it’d be tough to pull off, in my opinion.

Eric: I have long been confused as to why there isn’t a park near Phoenix. Huge metro population, potential for year round ops, lots of land. I don’t think it gets THAT much hotter than Texas or the deep south, does it (certainly less humid)? Could always make it partly indoors like Motiongate in Dubai.   I wonder if developers just think it’s too close to Southern California?

Nick: That’s a good question. Or at least the world’s largest waterpark or something like that?

Jam_wit_da_stache (instagram): Should smaller RMC Topper Clones be made for smaller parks?

Nick: Yes. More RMCs for everyone.

Mike: Yes. Yes. Yes. It doesn’t even have to be RMC Topper Clones. White Lightning and Mine Blower at Fun Spot America in Orlando is proof that even the smallest parks can have world-class coasters.

Californ.ian (instagram): Following how Arrow revolutionized the roller coaster industry through the 1980s and 1990s, what do you think has been the most impactful innovation in roller coaster engineering in the 21st century?

Eric: If it was just the 2010s, I think you’d have to say RMC’s I-Box track (and the related ones they’re making now like the Raptor tracks). Obviously the tech RMC developed has changed what the new generation of rides can do.

Looking further back, I’d think Hydraulic launches would have to be up there. It changed the way we think about how fast and how tall a roller coaster can go, and led directly to a bunch of broken records. Related, the proliferation of launch coasters in general (which sort of started in the late 90s with Premier) I think has changed a lot about what is possible/expected in the roller coaster world, both on how a track can be laid out, and what parks can get what kinds of rides.

Nicktheflick0764 (instagram): If you could design your dream coaster, what park would you put it in?

Andrew: Carowinds. There’s no way I’m building my dream coaster in a park that’s mostly inaccessible to me.

John: Dollywood. It’s the park I visit the most, and as a terrain-coaster lover, I drool over the thoughts of what could be done with that landscape.

Nick: Jungle Jack’s Landing because it’s the closest to me. Busch Gardens Williamsburg would also have some sweet terrain to work with.

Mike: Busch Gardens Tampa. I don’t think I could take the lines at Disney or Universal if they were to get my dream coaster. Plus I’ve always been a fan of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.

Kyle: Camden Park. I’d love to be able to revitalize this park and a new world-class coaster would definitely help draw in the crowds.

Cdjets11 (instagram): Do you think there will ever be a coaster better than Steel Vengeance? If so, which park would it go to?

Eric: I mean, Steel Vengeance isn’t my favorite coaster, soo…
But, even if it is your favorite, I think there will also be new things that will get take over the spot of “best” or “favorite”. Coaster companies are always trying new things and breaking new ground, I don’t see any reason to think we’ve “peaked”.

John: While I love RMC, we haven’t really had the chance to tell whether or not these hybrids will stand the test of time. The industry is changing so rapidly, it’s hard to predict what will be the “best” in 10 years.

Timothy D Gering (Facebook): Is there anything special going on the week of August 12th-19th?

Andrew: Thursday, August 16 is National Roller Coaster Day. It’s also been the day that Cedar Fair has announced their 2019 projects for the last few years. In that week, it’s also National Left Hander’s Day, National Creamsicle Day, and National Thrift Shop Day.

SFGAm_Archives (Twitter): What about the amusement park industry has you most excited and most nervous for in the coming 5 years?

Andrew: I’m excited to see how Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge affects the rest of the industry on a trickle down basis. There should be a ton of lessons in crowd management and immersive entertainment.

Eric: Yeah, Star Wars Land has gotta be the most exciting thing to be happening from an attraction point of view. How is Disney going to handle the crowds for that. And I’m kind of nervous I’ll be too impatient to actually visit (either of them) while its super mobbed for the first however many years.

Doug Hubbuch (Facebook): I will be riding SV next week for the first time. Will it repair the damage done to my spleen riding Mean Streak for 25 years?

Andrew: I’m not a doctor, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

Worth A Shot, Right?

Mike Troise (Facebook): Can I have the print?

Andrew: Worth a shot, but no.

Monthehoops.1888 (instagram): Will you take me to Disney World?

Andrew: Another good question, but probably not.

Eric: Man, I haven’t even been to Disney World. Want to take me?

Mike: Don’t know if I’ll take you to Disney World, but let me know when you’re in town and maaaaaybe I’ll join you? (Huge maybe.) ????


As someone who is fascinated by largely meaningless numbers (and also the photographer/keeper of this prize), my favorite question is Josh Batts’ about the total number of miles we’ve ridden collectively. Josh wins the print, and we’ll be in touch about shipping your prize! – Andrew.

Thanks for the great questions. We’ll probably do this again sometime soon, but as always, if you have any questions for us — feel free to send them via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. You can always email info[at]coaster101.com as well.

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