Amusement Today, a monthly periodical featuring news relating to amusement parks, has announced the winners for its 20th annual Golden Ticket Awards.
Even theme parks get awards.
Amusement Today is a monthly periodical featuring news on amusement parks and rides, but it's best known for handing out the Golden Ticket Awards.
Each year, the Golden Ticket Awards ranks the best steel and wooden roller coasters out there. It also does our accolades for things like the best theme park food and best water park.
We decided to limit our focus on the Golden Ticket Awards' ranking for best steel roller coasters as amusement parks compete to offer faster and taller rides than ever before.
Here are the best rides this year:
Built in 2003, the Top Thrill Dragster is a 17-second thrill ride that cost $25 million to build. It reaches a height of 420 feet and a top speed of 120 mph, which is nothing to sneeze at. You can find it at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio.
The Twisted Colossus was only unveiled two years ago and it has already claimed its spot in American hearts. It's one of the longest hybrid roller coasters in the world with 5,000 feet of track and features an insane 116-foot drop at 80 degrees.
The ride at Six Flag Magic Mountain in Valencia, California was originally a wooden coaster named the Colossus. But Six Flags converted the old ride into the steel Twisted Colossus in 2015. The original Colossus, which opened to the public in 1978, cost $7 million to build. It's unclear how much the steel renovations set Six Flags back.
If you're wondering why we skipped 15, it's because Amusement Today drew a tie for the spot! Wicked Cyclone stands 10 stories high and reaches a top speed of 55 mph. Like the Twisted Colossus, the Wicked Cyclone was originally a wooden roller coaster that opened in 1983.
The original ride only cost $2.5 million, but the renovations set Six Flags New England back $10 million.
Tied with the Wicked Cyclone is Goliath, a hyper coaster with a 170-foot drop followed by a 175-foot plummet. Located at Six Flags over Georgia, the ride reaches a top speed of 70 mph and features a 540-degree spiral! It opened in 2005 and cost $20 million to build.
It's called "Intimidator" for a reason: this ride in Kings Dominion is one of the tallest roller coasters on the East Coast. It stands at 305 feet at its highest point and reaches a top speed of 90 mph. It cost $23 million to construct.
This ride gets extra points for the spooky name. It has a maximum drop of 232 feet and reaches a top speed of 85 mph. It cost $4.6 million when it first opened in 1991, but has since undergone renovations. You can ride it at Kennywood in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania.
Apollo's Chariot has nine drops, the highest being 210 feet. Measuring 4,882-feet long, the roller coaster reaches a top speed of 73 mph. It cost $20 million to build when it opened in 1999 at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.
The Maverick is full of twists and corkscrews so definitely don't eat anything before you ride. It reaches a height of 105 feet and a maximum speed of 70 mph. You can ride it at Cedar Point after trying out the Top Thrill Dragster! It cost $21 million to build.
The Texas Giant got a $10 million facelift for its 20th anniversary in 2011. The hybrid coaster starts with a 153-foot drop at 79 degrees and reaches a top speed of 65 mph. You can check it out at Six Flags Over Texas.
Clearly, Ohio is the state to visit if you're looking to get a solid mix of terrifying roller coasters. The Diamondback is at Kings Island in Mason, Ohio and is 5,282-feet long, which is crazy. It even hits a top speed of 80 mph. The monster set Kings Island back $22 million.
If you like extreme heights, the Nitro is for you. The roller coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey reaches 233 feet: high enough to see Philadelphia. The hill is followed by a 215-foot drop. It cost $20 million to build.
Not all the best roller coasters are in the US! The Leviathan is located at Canada's Wonderland and has a staggering 306-foot drop at an 80-degree angle. It reaches a top speed of 90 mph! It opened in April 2012 and cost a whopping $28 million to build.
One of the largest roller coasters in Germany, the Expedition GeForce reaches 174 feet and a top speed of 75 mph. You can try it out at Holiday Park.
The Iron Rattler looks like a truly terrifying experience. It features one 171-foot drop at 81 degrees and four over-banked turns. You can ride it at Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio. The ride underwent a $10 million renovation in 2010.
With a staggering 221-foot drop, this ride is not for the faint of heart. The winding red track measures 5,400 feet and the ride reaches a top speed of 77 mph. The ride was introduced in 2016 as part of the park's $40 million expansion.
You have to commit to riding the Millennium Force as it lasts an entire 2 minutes, which is fairly long for roller coasters. It reaches a terrifying height of 310 feet and reaches a whopping max speed of 93 mph. It cost $25 million to build.
That brings us to our grand winner! The Fury 325 is located at Carowinds in Charlotte, North Carolina. It is definitely the tallest option on this list with a peak height of 325 feet at an 81-degree drop. It reaches a top speed of 95 mph and measures 1.25 miles long. It cost roughly $30 million to construct.