The Best & Worst Roller Coasters

Roller coasters have become a mainstay at amusement parks around the world. As coaster technology has become more advanced, the quality of the rides has steadily risen. Due to these improvements, there are many roller coasters that qualify as the best rides in the world, featuring jaw-dropping heights and unique thrills. On the other hand, there are some coasters that either haven't delivered the promised excitement or simply haven't kept up with the changing times.

  1. Best Wooden Roller Coaster

    • Almost all the new roller coasters are made of steel, but there are still some new wooden roller coasters that rate highly with critics. "The Voyage," a 170-foot-tall coaster at Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana, was voted the best wooden roller coaster on the planet in a 2010 poll on the Holiday World website. "The Voyage" opened in 2006 and has been ranked number one for four consecutive years. The ride is 1.2 miles long and has five underground tunnels and three 90-degree turns.

    Best Steel Roller Coaster

    • The title for best steel roller coaster is open to dispute, since critics have not agreed on a single ride. But two of the highest-rated steel coasters are "Bizarro" at Six Flags New England and "Kingda Ka" at Six Flags Great Adventure. "Bizarro" was rated the best steel coaster by Amusement Today five times since 2003 and it continues to be a favorite of coaster critics. The ride drops passengers 221 feet and climbs to speeds of 77 mph during its trip through fog tunnels and fire effects. "Kingda Ka" was rated the best by "Time Magazine," but is a different type of coaster, blasting riders 456 feet into the air and then diving vertically into a 270-degree spiral. The coaster holds the world record for speed, traveling up to 128 mph.

    Best Flying Roller Coaster

    • Flying roller coasters are steel coasters that are ridden underneath the track to give passengers the illusion of flight. These coasters have become popular in recent years, but the title of highest-rated flying coaster goes to "Manta" at SeaWorld Orlando. Unlike most flying coasters, "Manta" holds riders in a face-down position to simulate the flying motion of manta rays in the water. The ride is not as fast as an upright coaster, clocking in at just under 60 mph, but it offers the experience of gliding through the air and down to the water. During one of the dives, the ride train skims the reflecting pond below, causing a wave.

    Worst Roller Coaster

    • The worst roller coaster, as voted by 730 roller coaster fans, is "The Grizzly" at California's Great America in Santa Clara, says the LA Times. "The Grizzly" was built in 1986 and was modeled after the original "Wildcat" ride at New York's Coney Island. The 2009 last-place ranking marked the 15th year in a row that "The Grizzly" was named the worst roller coaster in the world.

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