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Have your tastes in coasters changed over time? If so, how?

Matt N

Well-Known Member
Hi guys. As many of you know, we all have different things we like in a coaster. Some of us crave the most intense machine in the world that makes you grey out countless times and makes you have to sit out for hours before a reride. Others crave insane ejector that would chuck you straight back towards the park entrance if you didn't have a restraint. Some just crave anything as long as it has track and a train. But my question to you today is; has your taste in coasters always been the same? Have you always had that appetite for airtime, or that itch for intensity? Or is it something that you've developed over time; somewhat of an acquired taste? Is it sort of like how your taste buds for food sometimes change as you get older, but in terms of coasters?

As for my answer to this question, my tastes have definitely changed since I became an enthusiast and rode my first big thrill coasters back in 2013. And in some ways, they have changed quite drastically!
Disclaimer: The story below is extremely long.
To start our journey through my taste in coasters over time, let's rewind right back to 28th September 2013; my first time riding the big thrill coasters at Alton Towers, the park I grew up visiting. I loved experiencing these rides for the first time, but there was one in particular that wowed me like no other on the first ride. Now, given my present day top 10, I'd imagine you're all expecting me to say Nemesis. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely loved Nemesis, and it was probably my firm 2nd or 3rd favourite in the park at that time, roughly tied with The Smiler. But it was actually Rita! At the time, I remember thinking that that 61mph hydraulic launch was the best thing I'd ever experienced; I came off it breathless! Even though it was actually the 7th coaster I rode at Alton Towers, I'd say it was my first proper number 1. I'm afraid I went off Rita as the years went on and it's now my #54 out of 64 coasters ridden, but that's a story for another day.

For about a year after that, I was mad for anything with a launch. During this phase, Rita and Stealth both had stints as my number 1 coaster at some point (albeit Stealth's was only for a matter of hours, but I'll get onto that later), and I seem to remember thinking very highly of Incredible Hulk at IOA when I first rode it. Rides like Kingda Ka and Top Thrill Dragster shot straight to the top of my bucket list, and I had a craving for quick acceleration at that point in time. However, all was about to change...

For the next stage of my story, let's fast forward to 27th July 2014; my first ever visit to Thorpe Park. As I mentioned earlier, I rode Stealth that day, and its 80mph launch in 1.8 seconds shot straight to the top spot. However, that only lasted a matter of hours, because a ride that I hadn't seen coming was The Swarm. Cloaked in all of its post-apocalyptic themed glory, this B&M beauty shot straight to the top spot after I rode it purely because it was lovely and intense, but it was also so much fun! I absolutely loved how smooth it was, how forceful it was, and I just genuinely loved it so much that it simply had to top Stealth for me! So from that moment on (and still to quite an extent now), I craved a nice balance between smoothness and thrill. I wanted a coaster that was intense enough for me to find thrilling, but also comfortable and smooth enough for fun and rerideability. For me, The Swarm became my number 1 because it ticked all of these boxes, and I still hold it in extremely high regard (at the #6 spot, to be exact!) to this day!

The Swarm then stayed at my number 1 spot for just over 2 years. It kind of shaped the sort of taste I have now, as I'd say that I still have that sort of taste very much engrained within me. However, my story isn't quite over yet. As I started to read forums and watch YouTube videos more, I noticed that one thing most high-profile enthusiasts all seemed to love and crave was airtime. Now at this point in time, I wouldn't say I was entirely convinced that airtime topped inversions and intensity. I'd ridden Thirteen in the back row; the sustained airtime on the drop was really fun, but it definitely didn't top inversions. However, I rode Megafobia on 18th July 2016 and thought "Hey, I can see why they all like airtime so much! This is really good!". But despite how good Megafobia was, its airtime still didn't quite top inversions and intensity for me. But that all changed around a month later when I went to Florida. On 23rd August 2016, to be exact; the day of my first visit to SeaWorld Orlando.

Now, I had actually gained a new top 2 the previous day at Busch Gardens Tampa in the form of Montu and SheiKra; both amazing rides, but very much in line with my acquired taste from The Swarm, so I won't talk about them now. But the day after, I rode a highly anticipated ride for me; Mako. It was my first ever B&M hyper, and I was actually quite nervous climbing the lift hill in case Mako didn't meet my expectations. But my lap bar was nice and loose... and I was absolutely ejected out of my seat for a good 3 or 4 seconds plunging down that 200ft first drop, even though I was in row 2! Then came the first hill; more ejector action! This trend was repeated on the hills that followed, and if there was one word to sum up that first ever ride on Mako, it would be WOW! That coaster combined the comfort and decent forces of a ride like The Swarm with outstanding sustained airtime that finally won me over to the airtime camp that most enthusiasts are in. I could gush about my rides on Mako all day, and I knew coming into the brake run that Mako had to be a new number 1 for me! It still is to this day, in fact, and that ends my story of how my tastes in coasters evolved from a lust for launches to my present day craving for a balance between smoothness and thrill with some airtime chucked in there too!

I apologise for the really long-winded story, but have you guys' tastes changed over time?
 

Kw6sTheater

Member
Ever since I got over my fears on Kumba, intense coasters have always dominated my lists of favorite coasters. But just recently I’ve grown to appreciate wooden coasters more, as The Voyage has been my #1 since June 1, 2018, and tolerate as well as even learn to love the rougher ones out there. Thunderhead is a genuinely Great Coaster (pun intended ;)) and while Lightning Rod may be a better ride statistically I still enjoy Thunderhead just as much if not more. It’s a good, old fashioned, rough-and-tumble wooden coaster with that out of control feeling I now actively crave — similar things could be said about The Voyage, as it combines Thunderhead’s wild feel with the ballistic airtime and amazing intensity of something like (dare I say) Skyrush! :)
 

Coaster Hipster

Active Member
I think my tastes have mostly remained the same throughout the 15ish years I've been an enthusiast. One notable evolution could be my experience on Taron. The amazing back-to-back-to-back snappy twists of that ride really made me strive for more twistyness on coasters ever since.
 
I've mentioned on here before, Taron gave my coaster enthusiasm a second wind. That sideways ejector airtime hill has provided the motivation to ride more good coasters, and not waste time/money on the same old boring parks.

Previously I'd look for several inversions on a coaster and Colossus, The Smiler, Dragon Kahn were among my favourites. Nowadays my priorities are...

1. Minimal restraints
2. Airtime

And that's about it really, plus maybe a good forceful launch.
 

Snoo

The Legend.
Staff member
Social Media Team
Before I went to the US and rode my first airtime machine it was height and sense of speed, so Stealth, Oblivion and Nemesis reigned supreme.
Once I rode Skyrush everything changed.
Similar but once I rode MORE in the states, my feelings changed. As I had only really been to Geauga Lake, Cedar Point, and Kings Island in my rookie days.. with no real airtime machines.. once I got nuked with ejector with El Toro.. I knew what I loved. That has remained since and my Top 10 reflects that.
 

HeartlineCoaster

Active Member
Definitely. The more I ride, the more I pick up on the little things that make me enjoy rides the most, the stuff that makes them more standout and unique.
Stuff goes up and down in my estimation based on other rides I experience too, they change my perception on others and what I appreciate.
I'm often quoted by my friend for getting off of Wildfire the first time and immediately saying Karnan is better than I was giving it credit for.

I'd love to knock out some sort of order of significant events like your one (which was great to read by the way), but that may have to wait for another time and would depend on what I can remember.
If only I had graphed/kept data for rankings over time... there's a regret. Time to tinker with the spreadsheet.
 

Snoo

The Legend.
Staff member
Social Media Team
Definitely. The more I ride, the more I pick up on the little things that make me enjoy rides the most, the stuff that makes them more standout and unique.
Stuff goes up and down in my estimation based on other rides I experience too, they change my perception on others and what I appreciate.
I'm often quoted by my friend for getting off of Wildfire the first time and immediately saying Karnan is better than I was giving it credit for.

I'd love to knock out some sort of order of significant events like your one (which was great to read by the way), but that may have to wait for another time and would depend on what I can remember.
If only I had graphed/kept data for rankings over time... there's a regret. Time to tinker with the spreadsheet.
We have some topics in here that help. :D
 

SilverArrow

Active Member
I think my manufacturer preference changed. When I'd just done Orlando and the UK I used to think B&Ms were king because the UK has some of the worst intamins but after doing maverick, ttd, mf, skyrush, stormrunner, kk etc my wishlist is now mostly intamins with some big woodies thrown in. Now I fond B&Ms, bar a few good ones (Montu, Nemesis, Black mamba, shambhala) to be quite samey. Having said that the hypers are always a good time. That trip last year definitely changed my perspective on creds in general. I'd say going to Europe raised my appreciation of gerstlauer's too from Karnan, Karacho etc.
 
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