Our Top 10 Biggest Surprise Coasters of 2019

Alexander: We’re very fortunate to have ridden as many coasters as we did this calendar year – from America to the Netherlands to China, we covered a lot of ground for some highly sought-after credits.

Some rides, however, really blew us away despite their unassuming nature – we didn’t plan trips around these great rides, and yet, they stick out in our minds as some of the best coasters we hit this year.

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10. Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure – Universal’s Islands of Adventure

As luck would have it, one of the year’s biggest surprises happened right in our backyard: Orlando’s 2019 coaster contribution, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. While our expectations were high, a deliberate lack of research on the project kept the ride’s surprises a secret for us until opening day – as it turned out, Universal was poised to deliver magic of both the thematic and technical variety with Hagrid’s.

9. Copperhead Strike – Carowinds

Mild launch sequences notwithstanding, Copperhead Strike offers a stronger ride than we anticipated – and one that grew on us as the day passed. Head-turning characteristics like the wavy 2nd launch and the jo-jo roll weren’t the on-ride highlights we expected them to be, but Copperhead more than compensates for its shortcomings with strong forces and solid airtime.

8. Wings of Glory – HB World

Following several rides on the good-not-great, mega B&M Wing Falcon at Wuxi Sunac Land the day before, our expectations we somewhat dampened for HB World’s significantly more modest Wing. However, Wings of Glory performed well above expectations and earned favorable comparisons to B&Ms early, compact designs.

7. Mine Train Coaster – Happy Valley Shanghai

It’s easy to get overshadowed when you share a park with more than couple marquee coasters, but nothing we rode at Happy Valley Shanghai captured our attention quite like their unique Intamin Mine Train Coaster. The fast, well-paced ride made us wonder why Intamin’s mine train line has so few installations, but whatever the reason, Shangai’s Mine Train Coaster is all the more valuable for it.

6. Time Traveler – Silver Dollar City

I want to start off by saying that spinning coasters aren’t usually my gig – a cascade of popular reviews wasn’t enough to convince me that a spinning, launched, looping coaster would be an enjoyable experience. We soon found out, however, that whether your expectations are high (like Sean’s) or cautiously low (like mine), Time Traveler is shockingly charming, keen on turning the biggest spin-coaster critics into bewitched believers.

Find the top 5 on page 2!

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