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Coasters & parks that mean a lot to you

Matt N

Well-Known Member
Hi guys. By this point, I'd imagine many of us have been visiting parks for years; we've seen some of the best stuff we'll ever see. But even though some of us have come so far, are there still coasters and parks that will always mean a lot to you, no matter how far they may slide down your top 10 list? This doesn't necessarily have to be your favourite coasters or favourite parks, but the ones that will always have a special place in your heart for certain reasons. So, I'll get the ball rolling with my personal choices in terms of both coasters and parks:
Coasters
  • Runaway Mine Train at Alton Towers - The first coaster I ever rode! I'll always have a soft spot for this 1992 powered classic no matter how many coasters I may eventually ride! It packs a surprising punch given its speed, and I'll always remember how I laughed going round the helixes and corners for the first time!
  • The Smiler at Alton Towers - Even though it is not a specific milestone to me, The Smiler is a large part of why I am a theme park enthusiast. The construction of this record-breaking ride was the very thing that brought me into this wonderful community in the first place, from when me and my sister heard of SW7's construction back in June 2012 and Googled the ride to get a better idea of what it was going to be. I then went back to it in early 2013 and followed the late stages of construction before finally riding it in September 2013! That first ride on it also represented one of the first rides I was properly apprehensive about at the time; Alton Towers' PR machine worked a little too well on 10-year-old me, as I was genuinely concerned that I'd get marmalised at the time!
  • Mako at SeaWorld Orlando - I know I said above that the rides that mean a lot to you didn't necessarily have to be your favourite coaster, but I'd be lying if I said that my first ever ride on Mako back in August 2016 wasn't one of the most poignant coaster experiences of my enthusiast journey! I actually remember being quite nervous going up the lift hill, as I'd never experienced anything like it before and I'd never had such exposed restraints on such a large coaster before! But as soon as that phenomenal first drop yanked me out of my seat for a sustained period of awesomeness and airtime, I knew that Mako would be a special ride for me. I know I'm going to get criticised for this, as Mako is a B&M hyper and B&M hypers apparently don't have ejector, but Mako's airtime felt closer to ejector than anything else I've experienced to this day! I was literally almost standing up for a good 3 or 4 seconds over each of the airtime hills, and it was blissful! I'd been on coasters that had wowed me before and I'd obviously had number 1s before, but Mako was the first coaster where I'd ever come off with an overwhelming WOW feeling, and that's why it means so much to me!
  • There are probably many more, but those are some of the particular standouts!
Parks
  • Alton Towers - The first theme park I ever visited, and still arguably my favourite to this day! It's the theme park I grew up visiting and I now know the place like the back of my hand! I know that "magic" is a cliched term often used in relation to Disney parks, but I'd say Alton Towers provides me with more magic than any Disney park I've been to, despite how amazing they can be!
  • The Universal Orlando parks - I know that Disney is the main draw of Central Florida for most tourists, but until our 2019 visit where we properly did Disney for the first time, every Florida holiday my family and I went on had to include Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure in some capacity! Those parks have some of the best rides I've ever experienced and hold some of the best memories I've ever had with my family, so they will always mean a great deal to me! To be fair, I could probably include all the others in Florida too, but Universal in particular stuck out to me as we've visited it on all but 1 of our Florida holidays!
  • As I said for coasters, there are probably many more, but those are some of the particular standouts!
But what rides and parks mean a lot to you guys?
 

emoo

New Member
Walibi World (Holland) has a special place in my heart as I did it very early on in my coasting world and had loads if firsts for me - none of which I was aware of ahead of time as only went here given it had an English website.

First
Wooden Coaster
Boomerang (was so happy to see a real one)
SLC (which I just knew as a 2 across inverted at the time)
Launched Coaster (didn't realize until the train was in a dark tunnel and a blind rolled up in front)
Launch Tower
Massive sign for a coaster (GOLIATH in 3D word art)
International park
Park from RCT2 I went to in real life

Other Moments
Finding out that Top Spins and Wild Mouse coasters were not all that unique to Chessington
My love for non inverting tall nippy rides became a thing here


Yes there are plenty of better places around and will only gush on the Live if Untamed is too good - but this park helped me sort out my life by giving it direction.

Also, Nemesis as I was even younger and very impressionable by some good ****.
 

Coaster Hipster

Active Member
Goliath at Walibi Holland - My first Intamin, and the coaster I've ridden the most (220+ times). Other, newer rides have pushed the boundaries much further, but I still love the classic, effective layout, and its majestic setting over the lake. The bunny hops at the end are exhilarating to this day!

Lech Coaster - I just think the layout design is so clever. Packs so much punch into a small footprint - airtime, crushing G+, snappy forces. The twisted beyond vertical drop and roll over the station are flashy elements that also make the coaster very enjoyable to watch off-ride. Being in Poland, near Katowice of all places, it definitely scores well on the Hipster meter too! It was my first Youtube review that really got me noticed, so truly Lech means a lot to me :)

Hope to add Anaconda, Gold Reef City soon to this list... ^^
 

.Ac.

New Member
Dreamland and The Scenic Railway

Neither are anything special in the scheme of things but the park is the first one i can remember visiting and the Scenic was first roller coaster i remember going on. ( Circa Mid 90's at approx age 9 / 10 ).

In hindsight the park and the coaster are probably not my first however if you can't remember them, do they really count ?

Looking forward to going back to Dreamland next Sunday for trip down memory lane and get to ride another Wacky Worm Cred ... Yippee!
 

zazobo

Member
Europa Park

It was my first park outside of the UK and my first proper experience of a park that places such a huge emphasis on themeing and over all guest satisfaction. Having only been to places like Thorpe, Chessie and Alton before I was totally floored by the attention to detail and quality of the park and hotels.
 

Niles

Member
Paultons park: My home-ish park, i grew up here and it was my favourite place to visit as a kid, as i grew up i came less and less until 2008 when i stopped. I revisited in 2018 to see the changes and i was amazed at how far its come, it brought back so many memories and with the future seeming bright for this park with the care they put in, i have a soft spot for it and cannot wait to go again.

Stinger/Cat-o-pillar: One of my earliest memories is my dad putting paper in my shoes so i was tall enough to ride, there a video of my parents sitting watching me go round and round for half an hour enjoying each time round. Going on it again was great and i loved how they have re themed it and keep it going. Also back row over the main drop you do get a pop of air😁

 

MakoMania

Member
The Smiler:
This is the ride that first got me into theme park enthusiasm and was the first coaster I ever followed from plans thorough construction to opening and the pre-opening hype has still not been matched for me by any other coaster. I'll always have a soft spot for it.

SeaWorld Parks:
I've been very fortunate as a marine science & biology student to do a lot of work experience at the SeaWorld parks in Florida & Texas. I will always have a special connection with these parks and it's been so horrible to watch the misinformation that has been spread about them over the last few years. The staff are the most passionate I've ever seen and many would genuinely lay down their own lives for their animals. It's inspiring to see.
 

GuyWithAStick

Captain Basic
Staff member
Moderator
Social Media Team
Goliath SFGAm: Man, this ride is one for the books. I remember opening day, wearing the super exclusive Goliath Sweatshirt they had(despite it being like 75 degrees outside) and waiting some 3-4 hours for the thing. The line was so long they had to put up a temporary queue that filled up the entire train station plaza next door(and that plaza was pretty big, so it was quite a wait). As we approached the station, the lift hill came into view with the most intimidating look. It was right there, man! You could easily jump the rail and get onto the lift. The station itself had to be extended from Iron Wolf in order to fit the train on, which was pretty cool. They also had this really epic gladiator music playing in the station to really hype you up. When we got to the station, the grouper put us in the back row for my first ride, and holy hell did it not disappoint. Instantly became my #1. The height, the speed, the smoothness, the inversions, the freaking airtime on that thing! God damn it's such a rush. Since then, the ride has grown so much on me, especially the past two years. Last year I was able to be a part of the team that ran it, and now I am helping maintain it every day. It really is my baby and I will cherish it for the rest of my life.

Six Flags Great America: Goliath was a very particular case, but this whole park in general will always hold a place in my heart. I've lived right next to it for my entire life, so it has had a huge part in shaping who I am. I have very fond memories of going there after school and just chilling out with my friends, riding stuff, and having a laugh. No matter where life takes me, this place will always be home.
 

CanobieFan

Active Member
Yankee Cannonball! While not my #1 coaster or the best coaster... it's eternally been one of my favorite coasters. Definitely one of the rides that started my obsession and one I'll always love.
As far as park's go, I'd say Canobie... but the park isn't today what it was in my childhood and while I still love it, it's not the same. I was trying to explain this to a friend the other day. The park was definitely in its prime in the late 90s and early 2000s... but now I feel it's slowly losing some of its charm as it continues to evolve, a lot of what made it special (to me, as a kid) is slowly disappearing... but progress is inevitable and without it, things like the water park or Untamed wouldn't have happen.
 

Alex B

Member
Steel force-This was my first thrill level ride and brings back very good memories

Nitro- i have been on this ride more then any other with hundreds of rides on it and me and my freind who you may know on coasterforce as "eltoro fanboy" like to marathon this with excellent opertions and over half my nitro rides are at night

hydra the revenge- My first inversion was on the jojo roll 1 hour after riding steel force i got the courage for this one to and is currently my favorite B&M floorless note only rode Bizzaro,hydra, and rougaro.

Steel vengeance- while it isnt my number one it contended! a sundown ride in the back row after waiting 2 hours just felt like a dream and what made it better was that i watched top thrill dragster roll back right at the top before the drop.With this being said it forever solidifies steel vengeance in my top 3

El toro- we get to my current #1 i love every second of this ride from the cable lift to the "Oh ****" hill there is no ride quite like this ive ever ridden however i may visit hershey park in the fall and ive heard some insane **** about skyrush's second hill
 

exodus

New Member
Viper at Magic Mountain gets some grief and isn’t entirely enjoyable anymore, if I’m honest, but that was my first big coaster and I hope it’s there forever. Most picturesque coaster I’ve seen, still. (Objective opinion, obv.)
 

Coaster Cinema

New Member
Coasters:
Rollo Coaster - first coaster
Lightning Racer - coaster that turned me into an enthusiast
SooperDooperLooper - first looping coaster
Big Bad Wolf - first suspended coaster
California Screamin' - first launched coaster
X - first 4D coaster
Goliath - first hyper
Millennium Force - first giga
Top Thrill Dragster - first strata
Hydra: The Revenge - #100
Fury 325 - #200
Desert Storm - #250
Voyage - #300

Parks:
Idlewild - childhood favorite
Dutch Wonderland - see above
Kennywood - I can't imagine Pittsburgh without it
Hersheypark - home park for 12 years
Six Flags Magic Mountain - current home park
Dollywood - my favorite park ever
 
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Howie

Active Member
Nemesisssssss... obvs.
I was there opening week, might have even been the opening weekend, can't remember for sure, but it was definitely very soon after it opened.
Thanks to the ingenious marketing campaign beforehand, anticipation for this thing was already huge. All that top-secret, something-has-been-unearthed, military presence type stuff was really unheard of in a pre social media 1993.
And that sure was a big-ass hole they were digging in Forbidden Valley (or Thunder Valley, as was).
And then there we were, after a long and lonely closed season it was finally time to ride it. The monorail offered tantalising but all-too brief glimpses of what lay ahead. As you walked towards Forbidden Valley, you could hear that (now familiar) B&M roar all the way from Katanga Canyon. Can you imagine what that was like, kids? No.... you probably can't actually, but let me tell you, it was very intimidating indeed. Back then we lived in a world of Vekomas, Arrows and Schwarzkopf's - coasters that rattled and rumbled - but here was this monstrous thing that was actually roaring!
Just what the Hell had Alton Towers built in that pit??
The queue took about 40 minutes, during which time we got all those amazing, up-close views of the train hurtling overhead and around us, close enough in parts to feel the wind from it as it passed, blood-red waterfalls cascading into the pit below.
Are you getting the picture here? This was all completely unprecedented stuff, unchartered waters for any theme park outside of Orlando... and people were quite literally floored by it.
Of course, It helped that the ride experience actually delivered on that promise... and then some, but it was the way whole project was packaged and delivered that really set it apart and what makes it special to me. There has been nothing quite like it ever since then and even after all this time it still remains firmly in my top 5.
 

Edward M

Well-Known Member
Parks: Tokyo Disneysea was a transcendant experience for me. I'd hyped it up so much in my head that it seemed there was no way it could live up. Yet, it somehow exceeded those expectations. I spent so much time there and got to know the park inside and out. Will always love it <3

I'd also add Magic Kingdom to the list, though I like it less and less with each visit. However, I probably wouldn't be on this site if it weren't for all the time I spent there. I remember riding the Barnstormer for the first time during the Halloween event after being so scared of it. The fireworks had started, and I just rode it over and over.

Coasters: Space Mountain WDW. Something about this always brings me unadulterated childhood joy. The tight turns and little ejector airtime moments mixed with that amazing environment, just brilliant. It's one of the rides that gives me the biggest, goofiest smile every time I ride.

I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention Millennium Force. While I don't think it's necessarily the best coaster anymore, it was what brought me fully into the coaster community and, more importantly, here! Somehow, 7 years later, I'm typing this out on a train in Sweden, heading for another park.
 

JoshC.

Active Member
Only really one thing that springs to mind: Thorpe Park.

First visited when I was 6 weeks old (which I, of course, remember so vividly...). Home park all my life, the park that started my enthusiasm, etc etc. Worked there for 3 years too, so holds sentimental value in that respect too.


There's nothing else which really 'means' a lot to me. Like yeah, I remember my first visit to certain parks, my first time on certain rides, I have soft spots for stuff etc, but that's all they mean to me. Thorpe is the only thing which actually means something to me in a greater respect of just being my first/favourite/turning point.
 

emoo

New Member
From Thorpe, Wicked Witches Haunt and the original X theming got me into dark rides. not pleased with how either turned out. (Professor burp got me into fountains)

Then later Collossus was my first Cobra roll so they have had some significant moments, back when the future held excitement.

Nemesisssssss... obvs....

The queue ... got all those amazing, up-close views of the train hurtling overhead and around us, close enough in parts to feel the wind from it as it passed, blood-red waterfalls cascading into the pit below.
Are you getting the picture here?
Yes, yes I am. I remember sustained excitement through my first queue and In awe of everything. Plus I was late to the party, about 1998 and was both giddy and terrified that its finally happening.
 

ATTACKHAMMER

Social Media Team
Staff member
Social Media Team
For me, Space Mountain at WDW. It has fascinated me since I was a ten year old with around 20 creds. I love the design of the building, hearing the music and the feeling of walking towards out of space. I have always loved the ride and look forward to riding it again in a few weeks.
 

Serena

Miss CoasterForce 2016
Staff member
Social Media Team
Nemesis was the coaster that made me an enthusiast. I was there in 1994 as well, I remember that feeling of awe just seeing and hearing this beast in operation.

But in 94 I was too small to ride it, so I just watched it go round, fascinated by this alien looking structure. And thus my obsession with coasters was born, helped massively by finally riding it in 1998 and being blown away by the experience. That being said, I really miss how the area used to look: rivers of blood, overturned burnt out busses, rusty black and red colours, Ripsaw tearing into the sky. It was so consistent and cool, and now I feel kinda sad when I walk into FV now.

Efteling means the world to me. It's my happy place. I feel a stir of emotions everytime I walk up to the entrance. It's also where my ex proposed to me, but trying to forget about that!
 

Kw6sTheater

Member
Coasters
Kumba, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay - This coaster was the one that got me over my fear of inversions. I like to pretend that it was the first looping coaster I rode, but unfortunately it wasn't - that honor goes to SooperDooperLooper at Hersheypark. I still remember the fear I felt walking up to Kumba before my very first ride. I was quite afraid at first, but I knew all along that this ride was going to be worth it. After getting off, my obsession with roller coasters grew exponentially as I tried Montu and SheiKra on my next visit to Busch Gardens Tampa, then heading to Six Flags Over Georgia for my first coaster enthusiast event ever, and a few months later whisked off to Carowinds for my first taste of a truly record-breaking coaster - Fury 325. I still love Kumba to this day, as it's remained a top ten coaster four years after my first ride on it in February 2015.


Parks
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay - I grew up with this park, and Kumba was the coaster that got me over my fear of inversions (as seen above). I'm extremely sentimental towards Busch Gardens Tampa since it's one of the few remaining places where I can relive my childhood. Although I was much too old to be climbing on the play structures at Jungala, I still had a blast for old times' sake. I remember a lot of the park before it was changed - as evidenced by my memories of walking through King Tut's Tomb before it was converted into the queue for Cobra's Curse, running for the hills when Tangiyaka Tidal Wave's boats hit the splashdown pool, and most sacredly of all enjoying the now-defunct Rhino Rally. I could go on and on and on about how much I adore this park, but I'll keep it short and sweet here.

Knoebels - When I entered Knoebels, I didn't expect this park to be a lot more than a cluster of carnival rides with a few coasters here and there. I came out with a new #1 favorite amusement park, and learned that a great park didn't entirely rely on an all-star coaster lineup. Knoebels has great food, lots of kitschy charm, and rather surprising amount of rides - the icing on the cake is that it's all at fantastic prices! The most expensive rides here are Phoenix, Twister, Impulse and Flying Turns - a mere $3.00 apiece. Rather unexpectedly, Knoebels even had my favorite (albeit very rare) flavor of ice cream, black raspberry. I had an amazing day here, and I can't wait to hopefully come back to Knoebels again for Coaster Con in 2020!

I'll add more to this list when it comes to my mind.
 
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