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Looking back at the 2010s


Mountain monkey
Staff member
2019 is about to be wrapped up, and in a couple of days the 2010s will be over. I figured it would be nice to discuss how the coaster scene has changed over the past decade. In my opinion, the 2010s have been quite eventful for amusement parks. To illustrate, let's compare some coaster rankings from 2009 and 2019. Here is the top 25 list from CF's favourite coasters 2019:

  1. Steel Vengeance (Cedar Point)
  2. Taron (Phantasialand)
  3. Helix (Liseberg)
  4. Lightning Rod (Dollywood)
  5. Voyage (Holiday World)
  6. Skyrush (Hersheypark)
  7. El Toro (SFGAdv)
  8. Untamed (Walibi Holland)
  9. Fury 325 (Carowinds)
  10. Wildfire (Kolmården)
  11. Maverick (Cedar Point)
  12. Nemesis (Alton Towers)
  13. Taiga (Linnanmäki)
  14. Expedition GeForce (Holiday Park)
  15. Intimidator 305 (Kings Dominion)
  16. Zadra (Energylandia)
  17. Shambhala (Port Aventura)
  18. X2 (SFMM)
  19. Hyperion (Energylandia)
  20. Storm Chaser (Kentucky Kingdom)
  21. Twisted Colossus (SFMM)
  22. Boulder Dash (Lake Compounce)
  23. Twisted Timbers (Kings Dominion)
  24. Millennium Force (Cedar Point)
  25. Top Thrill Dragster (Cedar Point)
While these were the top 10 steel coasters from the 2009 Mitch Hawker poll:
  1. Bizarro (SFNE)
  2. Eagle's Fortress (Everland)
  3. Expedition GeForce (Holiday Park)
  4. Diamondback (Kings Island)
  5. Goliath (Walibi Holland)
  6. Piraten (Djurs Sommerland)
  7. Nemesis (Alton Towers)
  8. Katun (Mirabilandia)
  9. Kawasemi (Tobu Zoo)
  10. Millennium Force (Cedar Point)
Mitch Hawker ranked steel and wood coasters separately, so here is the 2009 wood list:
  1. Voyage (Holiday World)
  2. El Toro (SFGAdv)
  3. T Express (Everland)
  4. Boulder Dash (Lake Compounce)
  5. Ravine Flyer II (Waldameer)
  6. Prowler (Worlds of Fun)
  7. Balder (Liseberg)
  8. Phoenix (Knoebel's)
  9. Wooden Coaster Fireball (Happy Valley Songjiang)
  10. Aska (Nara Dreamland)
Of course, these polls aren't entirely comparable (I suspect the ElloCoaster poll would be a better comparison to Mitch Hawker, but the 2019 ranking isn't complete yet), but they still paint a quite clear picture. We've had some pretty sweet new coasters built over the past ten years, and coasters that were considered world-class and ubiquitous in top 10 lists back then are rarely talked about these days. For instance, what happened to the constant praise of Bizarro (now again Superman) at SFNE?

What do you think were the most notable things to happen regarding parks and coasters in this decade? To begin, here are some suggested talking points:
  • What were the most notable trends to emerge in the 2010s? Coaster types, new technologies, industry fads, etc.
  • In what ways are the coasters of the 2010s different from those built before? What were the improvements, if any?
  • How did your home park(s) change in the 2010s? What about your home country as a whole?
  • Which manufacturer evolved the most? Or alternately, the least?
  • Which park (that existed back in 2009) changed the most?
  • If you could tell a coaster fan from 2009 something about the coming decade, what would surprise them the most?
  • How did you, personally, experience the coaster scene in the 2010s?


New Member
I think the biggest changes to the theme park industry as a whole is an increased focus on intellectual property and making more immersive, interactive experiences where you have a part to play. Coaster wise it's become more about crazy coaster with lapbars, with both RMC and Vekoma seeing major changes in this decade. For me personally, I have become an enthusiast in this decade (from around 2013) so that has meant my roller coaster credit count has increased from probably 2 to 45.

Matt N

Well-Known Member
If there's one key thing that has properly emerged this decade, it's RMC. They have pretty much redefined the sort of coaster that parks are buying, and many manufacturers such as Intamin are even inspiring their designs on RMC's work, so I'd definitely cite RMC as one of the key changes to the theme park industry between 2009 and today.


Slut for Spinners
Social Media Team
Without a doubt, RMC owned the decade and it wasn't even a close contest. They completely altered the entire amusement landscape when they built New Texas Giant - everyone NEEDED one of these crazy hybrids after that. RMC forced everybody to get better to keep up. Think about how many companies changed how they design coasters because of RMC - Intamin, Vekoma, and S&S are the clearest examples, but even B&M showed they could hang by building Fury. Hell, every wooden coaster builder evolved their product in an attempt to keep up with RMC. The Gravity Group was the first to do so (well, they were best positioned since they were already building the most exotic wooden elements and had Timberliners in the field) with their inversions and overbanked turns. PTC also revealed a new train that better articulates twisted track a few years ago. Even GCI - the group that's proud of their traditional roots - revealed a new train, a new track concept, and an inverting coaster concept. It's actually fascinating to witness this new renaissance that's taken place.

I think back to the previous decade and the rides we were all excited for and there really isn't a comparison at all. We watched a slew of safe, standard B&Ms open (the Paramount hypers, inverts like Black Mamba, Patriot, Silver Bullet, etc...not necessarily bad rides, but relatively conservative in hindsight), a few accelerator coasters opened (which aside from the launch were slightly disappointing), and everybody and their mother HAD to build a beyond vertical drop coaster even though the rides ended up alright at best. Maverick was the clear outlier: a foreshadowing of what we would see soon enough. Maverick was seven or eight years ahead of its time - it's amazing that 13 years after opening, it hangs on in so many people's top ten lists with all these RMCs and audacious machines that have been built since. But aside from Maverick, it seemed like roller coaster additions were treated as a chore: "oh, we have some extra capital and guests liked the last ride, I guess we should build another." It's amazing how the previous decade of safe, standard, conservative, and almost boring trends gave way to what we're seeing today. There's no doubt that its a wonderful time to be an enthusiast.


New Member
For me the 2010s mean quite a few things for enthusiasts depending upon which country or continent or even park I look at.


The Good:
I am extremely pleased that parks are developing more coasters which are focused on providing thrills rather than trying to break records or out-do other parks. Rides like the Smiler and Formula Rossa appear to outliers, and I'm pleased to see rides like Taron, Lost Gravity, Baron 1898, Wicker Man etc. being opened.

Generally mainland Europe's parks have been doing well with some of my favourite major parks expanding with an array of different ride types and not just coasters. The likes of Symbolica, Popcorn Revenge, Maus Au Chocolat, Pulsar and Chiapas suggest that other rides are improving, not just coasters.

The Bad:
The UK....oh, the UK. It's not been great has it? The 2010s have been bad over here. There have been great coasters added to some parks (Wicker Man, Icon), but on the whole the 2010s have been about the closure of classic rides and the decline in quality of others. Many of those lost were already butchered in the 2000s (Bubbleworks), whilst others were ruined and closed within the decade (Loggers Leap). Alton Towers was the only park to see successful major additions, whilst others saw mostly rethemes or the odd coaster. Compared to the 1990s boom (2000s boom for Thorpe) this was pretty shocking.

The Ugly:
I hope the trend of VR dies with the decade. Derren Brown's Ghost Train was at first an admirable disaster as it attempted something new, but now it has declined within 3 years to become an utter catastrophe of a ride. VR additions to other rides have also added very little beyond cheap CGI and longer wait times.


RMC was definitely the defining feature of the 2010s in coasters, if you had to choose one thing to represent it.

It definitely brought on a sort of "wilder" more chaotic style of design with less "orthodox" elements compared to the more constrained style of the 90s and 00s likely kinda from B&M influence. There is a lot less pressure now for tall and fast or most inversions, etc., and more for original and creative/unusual elements and features.

Evolution: I think all of the manufacturers evolved a considerable amount but particularly Mack (haha) is really coming into its own and more of a major player in the big ticket coaster space. (Yeah they were always huge in flat rides and some minor coasters in Europe but yeah)

My two home parks, SFMM and Cedar Point, got a lot less insecure about each other and that was much to their benefit and IMO quality and creativity plus RMC has really kept the lineup additions strong rather than acting like it will be death if one outcoasters the other so quick clone something in our parking lot.


I Lied About My Age!
Staff member
Social Media Team
I took a gander at my Mitch Hawker rankings in 2009, which was worthless - so much change in a decade!

The end of the 00s was something of a downer: Intamin and B&M had seemingly ran their course of innovation, wooden prefab wasn't really taking off, and the industry had seemingly hit a lull of creating world class attractions. While RMC entered (honestly quietly) with the Iron Horse conversion of Texas Giant, very few would have predicted how meager that conversion was in hindsight vs. what has occurred over the subsequent years.

It's also been great to see small coasters continue in having a trend, compared to the Coaster Wars of the 1990s and 2000s where bigger always equalled better. With that spirit, I am very excited for the 2020 decade, as Vekoma, Mack, and other second tier manufacturers have revitalized their product offering to quickly shorten the quality gap with other manufacturers. The secret, it seems, to making a quality coaster is out, and just about anyone can build the best coaster in the world with the right budget and plot of land.

Also, FWIW, this is what CF American Lives looked like 10 years ago. :p

I rode so many coasters this decade both in America and abroad, I've also gone from less than 100 to over 300 coasters ridden!

Top 20 Coasters (2009)
1. Millennium Force - Cedar Point
2. Maverick - Cedar Point
3. X - Six Flags Magic Mountain
4. Top Thrill Dragster - Cedar Point
5. Diamondback - Kings Island
6. Beast - Kings Island
7. Lightning Racer - Hersheypark
8. Goliath - Six Flags Magic Mountain
9. Raptor - Cedar Point
10. Cornball Express - Indiana Beach
11. Storm Runner - Hersheypark
12. Magnum XL 200 - Cedar Point
13. California Screamin' - Disney's California Adventure
14. Wild One - Six Flags America
15. Mind Bender - Six Flags Over Georgia
16. Fahrenheit - Hersheypark
17. Great Bear - Hersheypark
18. Big Bad Wolf - Busch Gardens Europe
19. Gemini - Cedar Point
20. Blue Streak - Cedar Point

Top 20 Coasters (2019)
1. Fury 325 - Carowinds
2. Lightning Rod - Dollywood
3. El Toro - Six Flags Great Adventure
4. Voyage - Holiday World
5. Millennium Force - Cedar Point
6. Phantom's Revenge - Kennywood
7. Storm Chaser - Kentucky Kingdom
8. Twisted Timbers - Kings Dominion
9. Skyrush - Hersheypark
10. Twisted Colossus - Six Flags Magic Mountain
11. Bizarro - Six Flags New England
12. Maverick - Cedar Point
13. New Texas Giant - Six Flags Over Texas
14. X - Six Flags Magic Mountain
15. Intimidator 305 - Kings Dominion
16. Top Thrill Dragster - Cedar Point
17. Kingda Ka - Six Flags Great Adventure
18. Outlaw Run - Silver Dollar City
19. Phoenix - Knoebels
20. Lightning Run - Kentucky Kingdom
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