The race for roller coaster supremacy is a never-ending quest with each legacy-minded thrill machine determined to be faster, taller or longer than the last. As the 2010s draw to a close, let’s take a look at the 11 best new roller coasters from the past decade.
The 11 best new roller coasters of the decade
1) Formula Rossa
Formula Rossa wasn’t satisfied with merely being the fastest roller coaster in the world. The 2010 Ferrari World ride is so fast it crushes the next closest competitor by more than 20 mph.
At a stunning 149 mph, Formula Rossa blows the doors off of the 128 mph Kingda Ka at New Jersey’s Six Flags Great Adventure, the last coaster to hold the “world’s fastest” title. It is so fast that the United Arab Emirates theme park requires riders to wear safety goggles to keep the desert sand from getting in their eyes.
The hydraulic launch coaster built by Switzerland-based Intamin and themed by JRA, accelerates to its top speed in a mere 4.9 seconds. The speeding Formula 1-themed train needs 1.4 miles of track just to slow down, also making it one of the longest coasters in the world.
2) New Texas Giant
Rocky Mountain Construction changed the theme park landscape forever in the 2010s with a string of spellbinding new wood-steel hybrid coasters.
In 2011, Rocky Mountain converted an ageing wooden coaster at Six Flags Over Texas into the New Texas Giant. The $10 million IBox track conversion served notice to fellow ride makers that RMC had come to play. A 79-degree drop sent riders racing 65 mph through turns banked at up to 115 degrees.
Amusement Today awarded New Texas Giant the Golden Ticket Award for best new ride of 2011. A 2013 fatal accident resulted in modifications to the restraint system on New Texas Giant.
3) Outlaw Run
Idaho-based Rocky Mountain Construction took the traditional wooden coaster concept and turned the idea on its head in 2013 with upside-down inversions that thrilled ride enthusiasts.
Purists debated whether to call the RMC rides wooden coasters, but riders didn’t seem to care as they lined up for each new jaw-dropping creation.
The built-from-scratch Outlaw Run at Silver Dollar City in Missouri was the game-changer. The $10 million Outlaw Run included an overbanked inversion and a double heartline roll — something never seen before in a “wooden” coaster.
Outlaw Run picked up the Golden Ticket for best new ride in 2013.
Next on the list of the best new roller coasters is Alton Towers‘ Smiler. This holds the record for the most inversions on a roller coaster: 14. The $23 million Gerstlauer Infinity coaster was built in 2013 at the United Kingdom’s Alton Towers. Smiler’s spider web of track includes corkscrews, sidewinders, dive loops and a heartline roll.
A 2015 collision on the Smiler coaster left five riders seriously injured and forced the closure of the ride for several months.
5) Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
One of the best new roller coasters of the 2010s utilizes motion-based ride vehicles, projection screens, detailed sets and special effects. Not the sort of things you expect to be associated with a roller coaster.
Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts debuted in 2014 as part of the second phase of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at the Universal Orlando Resort.
The Intamin roller coaster-dark ride combo is the flagship attraction in Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida. Scenes from the Potter films appear on large projection screens alongside detailed physical sets as riders travel through Gringotts Bank.
6) Raptor single rail coaster
A pair of revolutionary new attractions debuted a month apart in Summer 2018. These redefined what a roller coaster track looks like and how riders experience the ride.
Rocky Mountain Construction built the first Raptor single-rail coasters at California’s Great America (Railblazer) and Six Flags Fiesta Texas (Wonder Woman Golden Lasso). Passengers sit in an inline-style train with their legs straddling a monorail I-beam track.
Railblazer and Golden Lasso have similar lengths (1,800 feet), top speeds (52 mph), drop angles (90 degrees) and inversions (3).
7) Hades 360
The addition of a corkscrew inversion on the Hades wooden coaster at Wisconsin’s Mt. Olympus theme park got overshadowed in 2013 by the debut of the award-winning triple-inversion Outlaw Run at Silver Dollar City.
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The spotlight would have been on Hades 360 if Mt. Olympus had asked Ohio-based Gravity Group to add a 360-degree inverted roll to the coaster just a summer sooner.
The renovation turned a run-of-the-mill wooden coaster into a must-ride looping thrill machine. A corkscrew inversion and 110-degree overbanked turn replaced an ordinary hill in a segment of Hades track built on an island in the Mt. Olympus parking lot.
8) Fury 325
Also on our list of the 11 best new roller coasters of the decade is Fury 325. This towering ride knocked a couple of legendary coasters from their lofty perches when it debuted at North Carolina’s Carowinds in 2015.
The $30 million high-speed steel giant from Switzerland-based Bolliger & Mabillard ranks as one of the fastest (95 mph), tallest (325 feet) and longest (6,600 feet) coasters in the world. Fury 325 ousted Japan’s Steel Dragon 2000 as the world’s tallest giga coaster. This is a designation for coasters over 300 feet tall.
Fury 325 also nabbed the Golden Ticket award for best steel coaster in 2016. And, it has held onto the title ever since. The Carowinds coaster took the top prize from reigning champ Millennium Force at Ohio’s Cedar Point.
9) Batman: The Ride
Six Flags slaps the Batman name on all sorts of rides. But the Fiesta Texas coaster named for the Caped Crusader truly belongs on this list of the best new roller coasters of the decade. The first-of-its-kind 4D Free Spin coaster by Utah-based S&S Worldwide features a track manufactured by Idaho-based Rocky Mountain Construction.
The Batman fourth-dimension roller coaster debuted in 2015 at Six Flags Fiesta Texas. It has seats that spin forward and backwards as the train navigates a zigzagging track. The ride also includes undulating straightaways and free-fall drops.
Batman: The Ride looks like a demonic pachinko game. It has a snaking 1,000-foot-long track that slithers back and forth on a compact footprint.
The Intamin ride combined a traditional steel coaster with a dark ride-style surprise. This is designed to shock riders even when they know it is coming. Alton Towers billed the superstition-themed ride as a “psychoaster,” with the coaster’s official name stylized as Th13teen.
The freefall drop element takes place in a darkened crypt with audio effects and air blasters. The train and track segment initially drops a foot followed by a longer drop of approximately 15 feet. The train exits the crypt backwards into a helix.
11) Flying Turns
Finally, we finish our list of the 11 best new roller coasters of the decade by highlighting Flying Turns. With this, Knoebels amusement park brought back a ride in 2013 that coaster enthusiasts long thought had been left for dead.
The Flying Turns trackless toboggan coaster features a wooden chute. Here, the train glides freely like an Olympic bobsled through a twisting course at a top speed of 25 mph.
The family-run Pennsylvania park spent eight obsessive years building and rebuilding a faithful replica the coaster. This slow, squat and serpentine ride had disappeared decades earlier from the amusement park landscape.
The first Flying Turns bobsled coaster was built at Ohio’s Lakeside Park in 1929. The last wooden bobsled coaster at New York’s Coney Island was demolished in 1974, according to Roller Coaster Database. Knoebels based the reborn ride on old plans, grainy photographs and the recollections of a few Flying Turns veterans.