2013 was an exciting year for coaster enthusiasts, with the emergence of both new and revamped coasters – although I got to ride only two of them, Outlaw Run and Gatekeeper. I missed Iron Rattler by two weeks, having booked a flight to San Antonio in anticipation of its being open by the time I got there (it wasn’t and the airline was going to charge me $300 to change my flight) and missed Hades 360 because the airline changed my itinerary at the last minute. (As a result I gave up on the idea of going to Wisconsin Dells and instead went to Kings Dominion, where I got in 20 roller coaster rides in one day, a new record for me.)
As to my best ride experience of the year, this was a tough one and a toss up between a new coaster (Outlaw Run) and an old one (Boulder Dash). While both are pretty spectacular, Outlaw Run gets a slight edge for both the novelty and thrill factor. From the effortless ascent of the lift hill to the delectable double barrel roll, Outlaw Run proved to be a real winner and justification for going all the way to Branson, MO. The record-breaking first drop – a record which will be broken when Goliath at Six Flags Great America opens in 2014 – was as good as anticipated and the rest of the ride was a blast. The overbanked turn early on in the ride came close to an inversion (I don’t agree that there are three inversions, as hyped) and the double barrel roll almost blew me away. One thing I remember as clearly as if it happened yesterday is racing through open terrain, literally holding onto my shirt, which was practically flying off over my head; the airtime was that good. It doesn’t get much better than this. What do you think? What’s your best ride experience of 2013?
See what Joel from The Coaster Critic, Arthur from About Theme Parks Guide, Brian from Domain of Death and the Coaster 101 team have to say about their best ride experiences of 2013: