This past summer Alex, Sean, and Sven recorded an episode of Coaster Kings Radio discussing attractions they consider the weakest link at many major theme parks. Inspired by this episode we’ve decided to expand the concept to more parks starting with the Cedar Fair chain. Do note that we’ve decided to exclude kiddie coasters/rides while they might not be the best attractions, they do serve an important role at most parks.
– In the past, many of our images have been posted, featured, and shared on forums, social media platforms and websites around the web. We work hard to provide the coverage that we do, and we encourage our audience to share our content and use our images, BUT ONLY IF proper credit is given to thecoasterkings.com. Thank you! –
Grizzly – California’s Great America
We’re starting with an easy one. Grizzly is far from the worst coaster in the world, but it certainly might be the most boring. Grizzly takes up precious real estate and pales in comparison to the region’s classic Giant Dipper and the phenomenal Gold Striker. While I hate to condone the removal of any wooden coaster this is one that I think most will not miss. I’d be curious what RMC could do with this coaster but with Joker nearby I’d much rather see something new for the back of the park. Might I suggest a mini B&M dive named “The Edge”?
Flight Deck/Time Warp – Canada’s Wonderland
The proximity of these weak coasters makes them hard to seperate. While Cedar Fair has done a lot to improve the quality of Canada’s Wonderland’s coaster line up it has done nothing but make these two lazy Paramount additions all the more mediocre. I’m not as spiteful towards Vekoma SLC’s as some, but Flight Deck is certainly among the worst and the Zamperla Volares deserve their notoriety. While a B&M invert seems to be a popular option to replace these rides, I think a Mack or Intamin multi-launch would do more to support the park’s line up. Intertwine it with a well themed flume and you’ll have me waiting at the border!
Vortex – Carowinds
Like Canada’s Wonderland, Carowinds is a park that suffers from a drop in quality after its headline coasters. Despite this, its thrill ride collection seems pretty complete, especially with Copperhead Strike providing the park a much needed launch and modern sit-down looping coaster. The lack of a water ride is the most glaring weak spot in the park, especially one located in the Carolinas. I’d also happily sacrifice the park’s B&M standup Vortex in exchange for a modern flume ride. The ride’s lakeside plot seems perfect for the return of the Powder Keg flume.
Cedar Creek Mine Ride – Cedar Point
I love a good Arrow mine train but the Cedar Creek Mine Ride is one of the weakest built. It also contributes little to the park’s lineup. It shares a 48” height requirement with its Arrow siblings Gemini and Iron Dragon which both serve the family demographic far better. The removal of Cedar Creek Mine Ride would open up significant space for expansion in the back of the park. While I know everyone is thirsting for the next big coaster I think a high capacity modern woodie would do wonders in making the 20 minute walk to the back of Cedar Point more worth it.
White Water Landing – Dorney Park
Dorney Park might have some weak coasters but I don’t think it can afford to lose another. The weakest among its major attractions is White Water Landing. This giant Arrow Shoot-the-Chutes is certainly impressive but it has a limited appeal in a park with much more thrilling coasters and more family friendly water rides. Removing White Water Landing would also free up a nice plot of land next to Hydra for a new attraction. I think many people would love a modern woodie for this park, be it the rumored Gravity Group shuttle or a more elaborate full circuit model.
Boo Blasters on Boo Hill – King Dominion
While I love a good dark ride, King’s Dominion’s watered down shooting dark ride is not good. Opening in 2004 as Scooby-Doo! And the Haunted Mansion this simple Sally dark ride was never especially robust, but the lack of a compelling IP or story concept has made it a pretty weak experience. While a Peanuts-themed refresh could be nice, I think the rides proximity to the park’s refreshed Jungle X-Pedition area makes it a great spot for something completely new, be it a new dark ride, enclosed family coaster, or even a jungle-themed indoor play space.
Congo Falls – Kings Island
Kings Island is a park with one of the most solid ride line-ups in America. While its Boo Blasters is equally watered down, I think it’s omnimover system makes it more ripe for retheming than its Kings Dominion counterpart. (I think it’s finally time we got a Peanuts themed dark-ride) For Kings Island’s weakest link we turn to its weakest themed area, Action Zone, and its classic Intamin spillwater ride, Congo Falls. Originally named Amazon Falls, this ride’s lush landscaping harkens back to the area’s previous life as Adventure Village. I think this area is in desperate need of a refresh and the removal of congo falls could allow for a robust collection of flat rides to anchor a newly themed land. My vote remains that this area takes a cue from Bat and Banshee to become a spooky-themed corner of the park.
Pony Express – Knott’s Berry Farm
Knott’s Berry Farm is a park that’s location has made real estate for expansion increasingly rare. This has resulted in coasters that utilize space in remarkably creative ways. From the world’s first hydraulic launch coaster to a Zeirer family coaster that threads the eye of vertical loop, Knott’s has always found interesting solutions to their space problem. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Pony Express but it is a coaster that always leaves me wanting more. Its small figure eight layout certainly uses a small amount of space, but it does little to make the most of it. Pony Express’s novel but awkward seating system and the resulting low throughput don’t help its case. While the rumored Giga doesn’t seem to take the space occupied by Pony Express, its plot combined with space above the park’s Calico River Rapids could allow for an interesting coaster addition. This would not mean the end for Pony Express. I think it would be a perfect addition for some other parks in the chain.
Wolverine Wildcat – Michigan’s Adventure
At a park with such few coasters it seems criminal to suggest removing a coaster, but this is about weakest links and Michigan’s Adventure only has so many to choose from. While Corkscrew and Thunderhawk run somewhat rough they still provide important experiences for park guests. Wolverine Wildcat is Dinn woodie that reminds us of why so many of its brethren are defunct. Modeled after the legendary Phoenix at Knoebels, it is amazing how little airtime this coaster provides. It also shares a park with the euphoric airtime machine Shivering Timbers. Wolverine Wildcat is the perfect candidate for the RMC treatment and I think a RMC IBox, GCI twister, a compact Gerstlauer looper, or even a relocated Zamperla Moto Coaster would serve Michigan’s Adventure’s ride line up better.
Excalibur – Valleyfair
This one hurts. Excalibur remains a wonderfully quirky coaster that delights both enthusiasts and the general public. The problem lies in its placement in the park. It’s plot is just perfect for a much-needed water park expansion. It doesn’t help that 2007’s Renegade provides the park with a modern wooden coaster experience that Excalibur just can’t compete with (and yes I know it’s a hybrid). While it’s unlikely, I would love to see this coaster moved to a location or park where it can be fully appreciated.
Boomerang – Worlds of Fun
I tend to be a Vekoma Boomerang defender. They offer an intense, six-inversion experience in a very compact footprint. The problem with Worlds of Fun’s Boomerang is that it sits in a park that desperately needs a signature coaster. Boomerang opened in 2000 on the site of the park’s legendary Schwarzkopf Zambezi Zinger and acted to replace not only that coaster, but the park’s Arrow custom looper Orient Express, which closed in 2003. Since the closure of these two coasters Worlds of Fun has struggled with making an impact in the coaster world. The large plot left by Zambezi Zinger and Dinosaurs Alive would allow for some amazing coaster layouts. I think a Mack or Intamin multi-launch would not only provide the park with a signature coaster but give the park its first launch coaster in its 50 year history.
I hope you enjoyed this list of the “weakest links” in the Cedar Fair parks. Is there a park or set of parks you’d like to see in the next “weakest links” article? let us know in the comments below.