We’ve rated and reviewed many coasters over the last few years, and although we’re usually not fans of listing/ranking rides or parks, we do create an annual California TOP 50! You might, and likely will, disagree, and that’s totally fine! That’s what this TOP 50 is all about! Of the many rides in the state, we selected the 50 we think are best! Here are places 40-31 in the California TOP 50 of 2016!
We would like for you to understand that all rides in our TOP 50 went through our own rating/ranking system that created a TOP 50, the way we think the rides are ranked best! By the time the entire TOP 50 has been published, our minds may have changed, because with this much variety and top quality rides in CA, it’s insanely hard to get to a ranking. We’ve ridden all the rides again in 2016, and thus our list differs from previous years. Here’s part TWO, enjoy!
40. Sierra Sidewinder
Sierra Sidewinder is a Mack spinning coasters, and is an excellent family ride. Once the train reaches the top of the 62.3 ft tall lift-hill, the train’s cars will unlock their awesome spinning feature, and there is no stopping to ’till the end. Between the array of over-banked turns, reverse banking, and helices, this family coaster has a thrilling after taste. It packs a larger and swifter punch than most spinning coasters, and it one of Knott’s Berry Farm’s most underrated attractions.
39. Mass Effect: New Earth
Mass Effect: New Earth is new for 2016 at California’s Great America, and what a brilliantly constructed experience it is.Themed to the popular video game franchise, Mass Effect: New Earth immerses passengers into a stunning sci-fi world. The visuals are both meticulously animated and wonderfully (thanks to the world’s largest 3D Led screen).The audio is incredible, and the seat movements pair naturally with the action happening on screen. The live actor only helps to further bring guests into the journey they have embarked on. Mass Effect: New Earth delivers in every department. It is not just one of the parks great attractions, but it rivals experiences and much more highly attended parks with bigger budgets. For these reasons, Mass Effect: New Earth comes in at number 39.
Demon, located at California’s Great America, is one of the older coasters on this list. The ride is a classic Arrow looper that opened without the Vertical Loops in 1976 as Turn of the Century. The ride got repainted, rethemed and received two Vertical Loops to become Demon in 1980. The ride, like a lot of older looping coasters from Arrow, has several terribly rough transitions. Nonetheless, the coaster is running quite well for its age and overall is a fun ride. The corkscrews toward the end of the ride are some of the best out there, as the train flies through it at the perfect speed. Demon usually doesn’t have a long line, so make sure to check it out when visiting California’s Great America.
37. Journey to Atlantis
Journey to Atlantis is a MACK water coaster located at SeaWorld San Diego. This coaster perfectly combines a water ride with a roller coaster and unique theming. Though the ride could benefit from a bit more theming, the ride generally has a great look and alternative experience. The coaster is 95 feet tall, starts with a small laterals-filled pre-drop, after which it descends down a 65 feet tall drop and turns into a flume. The ride also features a unique elevator, after which a coaster section brings the car/boat back to the back side of the ride for another splash down and finale flume section. The ride has an awesome capacity (dispatching three boats of 8 riders at once) and features an aquarium exit. It’s a can’t-miss ride on a hot day at SeaWorld San Diego.
Apocalypse is a Great Coasters International wooden coaster that opened at Six Flags Magic Mountain in 2009. This twister-layout wooden coaster is 2,877 feet long, has a top speed of 50 MPH, and stands 96 feet tall. The ride is one of the more action-packed wooden coasters around, with tunnels, fire effects, station fly-by and a well-themed line and pre-show. Why is it this low on the list? It’s gotten terribly rough. To the point where the heavy vibrating of the trains causes headaches to many riders. The layout is not “rough-friendly” and the little retracking that has be done only slightly helped. Apocalypse is a great coaster, but due to its current state, it’s simply not as highly ranked.
35. Splash Mountain
Splash Mountain is one of the more popular attractions at Disneyland Resort and for good reason. This collaboration between Hopkins and Walt Disney Imagineering is one of the state’s most impressive themed attractions. Following along with the story of Brer Rabbit, riders are treated to incredible show scene after show scene featuring dozens upon dozens of animatronics and immersive theming in every direction. Of course, the famous soundtrack only helps to enhance the experience. The multitude of drops keep this lengthy ride well paced and interesting, and both the drop and hop in the dark, and the final drop are decently thrilling. Between the theme and screams, we can’t help but love Splash Mountain.
34. Jurassic Park- The Ride
Jurassic Park- The Ride is a fan favorite attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood that was a 110 Million dollar ride and one of the most expensive theme-park attractions ever added. The ride was created while the original movie was being filmed and many guests will find lots of touches from the movie. The ride features giant dinosaur animatronics and one of the world’s largest water-ride drops, of 84 feet.
33. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is an excellent example of the famous Disney family-thrill, and this is one of the world’s best family roller coasters. The setting of the faux desert alone is enough to make this ride stand out, and whisking through genuine looking desert puts the mine in mine train. The ride features a low to the ground layout, with an array of helices, turns through the rockwork and into the dark, and the occasional drop and pop of airtime. The updated final blasting scene on the second lift hill gives the ride a great finale, really rounding it out. There’s not too much else to say, Big Thunder Mountain is an excellent themed family roller coaster, so here it is at number 33.
Matterhorn is one of our favorite ‘old’ coasters. As the world’s first tubular steel roller coaster this ride is significant not only in the Disneyland Resort line-up, but also in the coaster world in general. Matterhorn’s located through and around a man-made mountain, and the actual coaster tracks reach a height of 80 ft. There’s two sides, the left side being a bit more thrilling than the right, and features the abominable snowman. The ride is rough around the edges, but it’s the charm of the ride and this 1959 coaster is one of the rides that best represent the original Disneyland image. It doesn’t quite live up to the modern thrill machines, but it’s a fantastic ride nonetheless!
31. V2: Vertical Velocity
Vertical Velocity is an often forgotten and ridiculed ride. It originally opened with the standard 186 ft tall layout, but due to local height restrictions, the ride was altered drastically. As a result, V2 now features one vertical tower at a height of 150 ft, and one tower at a 45 degree angle, also 150 feet tall. The latter includes a twist in the middle, meaning riders will actually invert up to 6 times depending on their position in the train. This unique element gives our version of V2 some extra flavor, in addition to the powerful launches and vertical spike/drop. Not everyone loves V2, but is is one heck of unique and intense ride, and for that we gave it the number 31 spot.
Thanks for checking out the second part of the 2016 California TOP 50! Spots 50-41 can be found here! The next 30 spots will be published in the next couple of weeks!
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