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Coasters that don't look like they should be particularly great (but are?)

Rupert

New Member
Apologies if a thread exists similar to this but I couldn't find one from my scan.

As I'm sure many of us do, I often look at coasters from satellite view, RCDB and POVs, especially before a trip, to get a feel for what they're like - including seeing what elements they have, potential airtime spots, layout quality etc. I find though that some coasters just don't look especially amazing, even in cases where they have great reputations. This builds on Coaster Hipster's old thread 'POVs that do not do justice to the ride - at all', but includes looking at satellite views and other pictures to think objectively something like 'I can't see this being a particularly good coaster?', but then finding out you're broadly wrong.

I've thought of a few examples that I haven't ridden, have heard great things about, but can't quite work out what is the special thing about them.

Ride of Steel (Darien Lake/SFA)
This has plenty of height, but barely anything else. A good-looking first drop but then into one of the widest turns of all time. Luckily an airtime hill appears but then again you face an incredibly drawn-out helix, followed by a long dead straight section before another airtime hill. The worst part looks to be yet another really wide helix, but upwards! Just to kill what little speed and thrill appears to remain. The saving grace is the series of classic Intamin airtime bunny hops at the end. Is this coaster as uninspiring as it seems? For all the good-looking airtime moments, there appears to be twice-as-much dead time where there is either no force or a consistent force (the helices and straights).

Lightning Run (Kentucky Kingdom)
This Chance coaster has a reputation for great airtime and you can feel it from the POV. However the layout seems pretty bizarre - some of the drops pull-up quite a bit higher than you'd expect, so not getting as much speed as it could, and then some of the turns appear pretty janky, especially with that track type (bogies inside rather than outside).

Maverick (CP)
One of the very best coasters in the world by reputation, and one I'm incredibly excited to ride in about 6 weeks. But I'm trying to work out what makes it so good (and with all of these I'm probably overthinking and should just enjoy it, but this is a coaster forum). Is it the couple of pops of airtime (there don't seem to be that many)? The high speed turns (these do look great)? The couple of well-profiled inversions? I'm assuming it's the combination of everything to make this a really well-rounded coaster of which there aren't that many, but from satellite view in particular it doesn't look like the world's best layout.

I can also think of coasters I've now ridden that I wasn't sure where the hype was coming from, but do now (Colorado Adventure comes to mind as something that's pure fun but really difficult to judge before riding).

Obviously the three above are quite varied in how good I expect them to be (getting progressively better), but I'm curious if you agree or have your own examples. What are the coasters you can think of that are surprisingly great despite appearances?
 

GotsFancyPants

New Member
Kumba looks pretty average from a POV and I thought it was the first time I rode in front row. Head to the back and my mind and testicles both exploded in excitement. Thing pulls some intense positives, crazy laterals and an ejector hill. Each inversion whips you around while remaining completely comfortable and I laughed my booty cheeks off the entire ride. Love that thing.
 

oriolat2

Member
Biggest sleeper hits for me:

- Phoenix. I think it boils down to the restraints but omg, that ride had airtime like you would not expect in America.

- Skyrush: I thought it would be Rita on a wingrider with a 200 feet drop. Boy was I wrong. My current #1.

- Maverick: the stats didn't look impressive but the whole package sure is a beast. Loved it!
 

Snoo

The Legend
Staff member
Social Media Team
Cornball Express - Indiana Beach: Hella good airtime all over that puppy. Always been a favorite of mine since I rode it years ago.
Lightning Run - Kentucky Kingdom: I think the track gives it that "Uh oh.. it's looks like an Arrow pain machine" look but in reality? Smooth as a goose and MURDERS you with airtime. My favorite. :D
 

Matt N

Well-Known Member
Some top candidates in this category for me include:
  • Mine Blower at Fun Spot Kissimmee - This coaster's pacing is absolutely unreal given its size! The POVs of this coaster imply a reasonably fun wooden coaster, but nothing that would blow you away. When you're on it, it feels pretty fast as far as woodies go with some great moments of abrupt airtime! I I'll admit it's not the smoothest of coasters, and I don't rank it quite as highly as some, but I reckon that's literally down to the fact that I don't have the acquired taste for woodies that some on this site have; as far as wooden coasters go, it's fantastic!
  • Wicker Man at Alton Towers - I think Wicker Man still goes down as one of the most surprising attractions I've ever ridden! Going in, I was expecting a fun family coaster akin to Thirteen, but nothing that would make my very top coasters. However, when I got off Wicker Man for the first time in March 2018, I was blown away, and if anything, it's grown on me since that first ride! The coaster's pacing is amazing, and much better than POVs imply (I'd actually say it doesn't feel much slower than Mine Blower), and it just feels really fast from start to finish! There's a very good reason this coaster went into my top 10 when I first rode; it was amazing, and a huge pleasant surprise!
  • Slinky Dog Dash at Disney's Hollywood Studios - Going in, my expectations of Slinky Dog Dash were low, even as far as family coasters go. Reviews haven't been great, and the POVs don't really make for promising viewing, I must admit. However, I thoroughly enjoyed Slinky Dog Dash! For a family coaster, I thought it was well paced for the most part, other than one or two sections where it could have gone a bit faster. It also had some gentle pops of airtime and was overall a very enjoyable coaster!
 

TPSou

New Member
Twister at Grona Lund for me. It looks small and unassuming but was really fantastic and much more intense than I could have expected. One of my favourite wooden coasters and goes to show what can be done with a tiny footprint and not much height.
 

Snoo

The Legend
Staff member
Social Media Team
What the actual? How many smooth Geese have you stroked?
You're right about Lightning Run though, looks painful but smooth as a chicken.
Listen. Just accept my past for what it is and move on. I didn't criticize your public admission of licking a mouse when we were together but here we are!
 

Hutch

Active Member
Ride of Steel (Darien Lake/SFA)
This has plenty of height, but barely anything else. A good-looking first drop but then into one of the widest turns of all time. Luckily an airtime hill appears but then again you face an incredibly drawn-out helix, followed by a long dead straight section before another airtime hill. The worst part looks to be yet another really wide helix, but upwards! Just to kill what little speed and thrill appears to remain. The saving grace is the series of classic Intamin airtime bunny hops at the end. Is this coaster as uninspiring as it seems? For all the good-looking airtime moments, there appears to be twice-as-much dead time where there is either no force or a consistent force (the helices and straights).
But is there anyone that actually thinks this ride is great though? Your thoughts seem to sum up the ride perfectly.

Some good ones have been said. Particularly like Kumba and Skyrush. Kumba just looks like a routine floorless layout, except it rides like a powerhouse. And Skyrush... when looking at the POV you may think "Looks too short... only three airtime hills?". Nah, those hills try to murder you, and those unassuming turns/transitions are even more ruthless.

Some others...

Boulder Dash & Beast for similar reasons. Boulder Dash actually has a pretty wonky first half... filled with awkward turns and even some straight sections. And of course Beast is basically just turns and straight sections. But they ride so well and the rush through the forest is so fun.
 

DelPiero

Well-Known Member
Listen. Just accept my past for what it is and move on. I didn't criticize your public admission of licking a mouse when we were together but here we are!
More power to you bud, I wouldn't get close enough to a goose to stroke the bastard anyway.
I'll stick to the smooth ostrich at the local zoo.
 

Rupert

New Member
Haha so I've just found @HeartlineCoaster’s thoughts on Superman at SFAmerica in his great trip report:
On to this hilarious piece of steel. I believe this is my last in the set of unique Intamin Mega/Hyper layouts and what a layout!

The sequence of events still makes me laugh now. It starts by presenting you with what a hill looks like. Then a glorious straight line and a giant helix. A giant, rattling, speed losing, pointless helix.
Another glorious straight line.
Another hill that does nothing.
Another giant helix, this time in the upwards direction.
It just leaves you sitting there watching what's going on around you and not really 'riding' anything in the true sense, thinking what the hell were they thinking.

A couple of hills happen at the end of mild significance. Intamin at their finest.
:D

Another one I've thought of:

The Ultimate, Lightwater Valley
Trains look ridiculous, a first half that has a few triangular hills before a series of flat track then the slowest bunny hops in the world before the second lift. But after this, the most insane section of a coaster that you just wouldn't expect, from the high-speed, barely-banked slalom through the woods getting your face taken out by trees, and then once you think you're safe on a flat section, out of nowhere the most violent bunny hop in the world appears to destroy what's left of your kneecaps. I can't describe it well but it's captured beautifully by this review from Roller Coaster Philosophy.
 
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SilverArrow

Active Member
Haha so I've just found @SilverArrow's thoughts on Superman at SFAmerica in his great trip report:


:D

Another one I've thought of:

The Ultimate, Lightwater Valley
Trains look ridiculous, a first half that has a few triangular hills before a series of flat track then the slowest bunny hops in the world before the second lift. But after this, the most insane section of a coaster that you just wouldn't expect, from the high-speed, barely-banked slalom through the woods getting your face taken out by trees, and then once you think you're safe on a flat section, out of nowhere the most violent bunny hop in the world appears to destroy what's left of your kneecaps. I can't describe it well but it's captured beautifully by this review from Roller Coaster Philosophy.
That's not my trip report it's @HeartlineCoaster's one.
 

SilverArrow

Active Member
Whoops sorry my mistake! ‍♂ Fixed!
haha, thanks. I found my review from my trip report anyway for jokes "This was the worst of it's kind that I have done by quite along way. It was quite rough and half the ride is either a helix or a flat straight section. Not sure why it is so different from all of the others????" so, obviously it is a great ride :cool::rolleyes:
 

CrashCoaster

Well-Known Member
For me, probably Revolution at BPB and Fforest Coaster (which I count as a +1). Revolution has such a simple layout and doesn't look that good to me, but it's a smooth, intense coaster with some great positives on the loop and some nice negatives on the front and back going down the drops, and I enjoy both the forwards and backwards section. Also, the restraints are always really loose on me which is a bonus. Fforest Coaster was my first Wiegand Alpine coaster which I rode a few months back. I didn't think it looked too fantastic, but I was pleasantly surprised! Out of my three rides, two of them I managed to go down full speed. If you trim just a little speed off the corners before you dive through them, it won't autobrake you, which meant some great laterals and speed going through the woods!
 

Kw6sTheater

Member
I was pleasantly surprised by Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster back in October 2016; it was my first Alpine Coaster, and my favorite alpine coaster (out of it and Rowdy Bear Mountain Coaster) that I’ve done so far. It’s such a fun ride, letting you zip past the trees like a breeze on a summer’s night — Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster has quite a long ride to its name, as well!
 

Rupert

New Member
I agree with Revolution @CrashCoaster , I also didn’t expect the airtime particularly on the backwards section into the drop.

Whilst we’re on BPB though, The Big One would be my prime contender for ‘Coasters that look like they could be ok (but are actually the worst things in the world and should be melted down)’.
 
Mystic Timbers- Next to the beast it just looks so puny, but it is a far more thrilling ride for me

Revolution- I would agree with the above about this one, doesn't look too great but is a very intense and fun ride and in my opinion ( without going on icon) the best in the park

Thunderbolt (kennywood)- Looked at this and thought this just looks like it will be a typical old rough woody, but it was nothing sort of brilliant and for its age is just so much better than the other coasters of its age and a lot of modern ones too.
 
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