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What impressed you the most in the past year?


Strata Poster
Could be a new park you went to, a new cred you acquired, a piece of news, some cool theming that was built, a new flower bed at Busch Williamsburg. What has impressed you the most in the past 12 or so months?

For me it was Flight of Passage, which I was expecting to not be a fan of. Pandora itself was about how I expected, but woah did I enjoy Flight of Passage something special. It has plenty of flaws, but I think the ride experience itself is the closest I've ever been to a true willingness to suspend disbelief. It was breathtaking and thrilling and in spite of some glitches, gelled together the physical elements with the events on screen. They took something I hated - Avatar, screen based attractions, flying theaters and made me like them. So yeah, I was hella impressed.

Kings Dominion's Twisted Timbers was the most impressive new cred for me of 2018. Both in terms of new acquisitions and new for 2018 coasters. I guess mostly because it's so refreshing to see KD get something legitimately good and fun and not just good in a "well, it's WEIRD and that's cool?" way. Wonder Woman at Six Flags Fiesta Texas impressed me way more than I was expecting - another thing I was prepared to hate, but nope! It was weirdly intense and thrilling and the seating made it vulnerable.

Matt N

Strata Poster
Great thread idea @Joey!

For me, the main candidate has to be Wicker Man at Alton Towers. As much as I preferred Icon at Blackpool Pleasure Beach (that became my favourite UK coaster and my overall #2!) in terms of new rides I rode this year, my expectations for that were sky-high anyway, so I'd certainly say there were rides that were bigger pleasant surprises than Icon. With Wicker Man, however, my expectations were far lower, and I'd say I was optimistic for it compared to most! During the construction phase, I expected something similar in thrill level to Thirteen, and I expected Wicker Man to slide in no higher than my top 20; I certainly expected to come off preferring Megafobia (the only other wooden coaster I'd done at that point in time) to it. However, when I came off Wicker Man for the first time on 25th March 2018, it absolutely obliterated any expectation I had for it! The ride was utterly wild throughout, the transitions were great and it was overall a really fantastic wooden coaster! It slid straight into my top 10 at the #9 spot and overtook Megafobia as my favourite wooden coaster! It's still my #10 and my favourite wooden coaster now, even after visiting places like BPB and Drayton Manor for the first time, and if anything, it's grown on me as I've ridden it more!

Your very positive review of Flight of Passage also makes me excited for when I experience it for myself in April; I'm purposely avoiding any spoilers! I'm pumped; only 7 weeks to go now! I'm personally interested to see how Flight of Passage compares to the Potter dark rides and some of my other favourite attractions in Florida (e.g. Mako, Bilge-Rats, Spiderman, Montu, SheiKra) in terms of enjoyment.

Coaster Hipster

Giga Poster
So mainsteam, but seeing Cedar Point's skyline for the first time in real life was quite a sight. So. Many. Huge. Rides!!

Ride experience wise, X²'s drop is one of the very rare coaster elements that made me 'WOW!' and truly delivered sensations I never felt before on a coaster!


Mega Poster
As a born and bread Sangronian it's got to be Icon. Even though I have lived 20 minuets away from the Pleasure Beach for years I have spent more time at Alton Towers. I hadn't been to any parks for about 2 seasons and just had to try Icon last year. I got my very first season pass as soon as last season ended! Every time I went to Pleasure beach before it just lost it's magic for me (Something Alton Towers has lost even though I'm 30 this year). Icon has made the pleasure beach somewhere I want to go again, and the best thing is I can just pop on it once after work everyday now!


Captain Basic
I'm gonna be basic and say Steel Vengeance here. It deserves all the hype and then some. The air on that thing is utter bonkers! The step up into the midcourse, the dive into the structure, the finale, it has it all. I had some fantastic rides on this past summer, some of my favorite coaster memories of all time. I really want to get back to it sometime. <3


Hyper Poster
Joris at Efteling. Well most of Efteling tbh, but Joris took me completely off guard. The park was dead, and we spent the last hour, in the dark, whoring the back row of Joris to the point where we stayed in our seats for about 8 consecutive rides.

Considering its size, it's almost a perfect wooden coaster. There's a couple of genuine ejector moments, and the racing element really adds to it.

'Pound for pound' it's the best GCI in Europe for me.


Giga Poster
Overall I think I was most impressed by how Helix was still the best thing ever by a significant margin on a return visit, after so many other things. I've reached the stage where I'm always doubting my old opinions, but it couldn't have proved me more right.
The moment of that re-realisation, first go, at night, mid zero-g, is one of my new all time favourite moments.

For new creds, Twisted Colossus.
Fun fact: it became my best of 2018 around 7pm on 31st December. Fashionably late.


Strata Poster
Going to Cedar Point for the first time and walking down the midway I've looked at pictures of for the past 18 years.

Overall I think I was most impressed by how Helix was still the best thing ever by a significant margin on a return visi
Helix definitely surprised me as well! Was really not expecting it to be as good as it was and Liseberg as a whole was amazing as well. I can't wait to go back (and not just because I need the Valkyria credit).


The Legend
Staff member
Social Media Team
I'm gonna be basic and say Steel Vengeance here. It deserves all the hype and then some. The air on that thing is utter bonkers! The step up into the midcourse, the dive into the structure, the finale, it has it all. I had some fantastic rides on this past summer, some of my favorite coaster memories of all time. I really want to get back to it sometime. <3

This guy as well as Mine Blower. Both rides were great, SV in obvious ways and MB in who saw that coming ways. Both earned their spot in my Top 10.


Strata Poster
Wonder Woman was absolutely shockingly good. This was the first steel coaster I had been truly excited about in a long time, and damnit it produced. As Joey said, the seating alone makes you feel super vulnerable and just the out of control experience in such a small area. So amazing.

Another one was Kraken and the maintenance that Sea World Orlando has. That thing is as old as it is, but still smooth, intense, and just an absolute blast. Didn't expect anything good tbh.

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk


Hyper Poster
Hate to give the cliche/obvious answer but just gotta be truthful: Steel Vengeance was a work of art. Absolutely perfect, and insane. The perfect blend. It wasnt just all air and crazy elements, but had a perfect layout, no wasted or awkward moment, great pacing. Long ride.
Honorable mention to the Voyage which I wasnt entirely sure what to expect but totally blew me away, and Lightning Run which was awesome but I already heard it was.

What surprised me the most was Mystic Timbers. Didnt really expect much just a typical fun woodie but wow, of my midwest mini trip (KI, KK, Holiday World) it was probably the most flat out fun ride. Hell it was one of the most fun rides of the year. Leaving the lift to hitting the breaks was just element after element, lots of fun, lots of air, and being not so violent/intense as the others I could've ridden it all day. We tend to (and I absolutely am guilty) over analyze for the sake of ranking or judging but Ive started to re appreciate just having fun on a ride even if its not technically the best and Mystic Timbers was crazy fun


Roller Poster
Symbolica @ Efetling - not a huge fan of dark rides but the execution and everything to do with this ride absolutely blew me away.

Joris at Efteling.

This was surprising how much I enjoyed it (favourite ride at the park for me!) but I couldn't put it above Troy/Wodan even considering the size differences. I think it's the triple up, it just doesn't add anything to the ride for me after a great first drop whereas those two don't have a stand out poor moment.


Hyper Poster
Like Dan above, I am a "lucky local" with Icon.
I treat the park as my private drinking club, with rides attached.
Icon is great, more than happy with the ride that will smoothly take me into retirement and beyond, but what impressed me more than anything?
The Icon queue times and reliability...absolutely spot on.
Something that Mr Whicker at the Towers could not compete with.
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Giga Poster
Bazyliszek at Legendia probably takes the crown for me. Well themed, well told dark ride, and despite an unusual shooting system, a ton of fun. Indeed, Legendia as a whole impressed me, and despite a fair amount of rubbish, clearly has a bright future.

Tiempo de Fuego at Phantasialand seriously impressed me too. The projection mapping is beautiful, and the fire is, well, FIRE. Equally, Chiapas remains my all time favourite ride, and it impresses me how much I love it all the time, and how I still notice something new most times.

And to be a downer / salty geek, the reaction to Wicker Man impressed me. I don't get how one of the weakest GCIs out there, with one big piece of theming and some nice-but-standard styling around the area is getting such high praise. It's great for the park, of course, but still mever fails to leave me surprised.


Giga Poster
Gonna have to be basic and agree with Hipster, GWAS and JJ - Steel Vengeance all the way. Like, we all knew it was gonna be good, but I don't think any of us were quite prepared for how good it is. Expectations were huge, and the fact that SteVe not only delivered on those expectations, but in most cases exceeded them is very impressive indeed.
Shout out also to Silver Dollar City for overall guest experience, in particular the food and dining options. Superb! (Nowhere else in the world has funnel cakes like Fanny's. ;) )


Roller Poster
Cedar Point's commitment to opening SV with 2 trains at Coastermania. We got there about a week early, went to KI and the Dayton Air Museum after getting our ride on. We got back a few days early, and they worked on it around the clock for what seemed like 3 days straight. We stayed at Lighthouse Point, and I could hear that lift hill (Detroit could hear that lift hill) all night.


Hyper Poster
Oh why do I always tempt fate and mess things up with my big fat mouth.
Mention Icons queuetimes and reliability...breaks down after a one hour queue.


Giga Poster
HangTime at Knotts. It's rare for me to find a coaster that a poop my pants on, however the hold on the first drop, joined with the clam shell restraints.... **** Central up in that back row!
Mine Blower at Fun Spot was a super decent surprise, too. Intense amount of airtime and the inversion is just sex. Just a shame you have to take a mortgage out to ride it, though.
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Staff member
Social Media Team
Good topic.

I've got a few, I think. In vague chronological order from the year. This reads similar to a "highlights of the year" post, but I suppose that's inevitable. I've also tried to think about these from the perspective of "impressed" rather than just "surprised". Overlap in places, for sure, but they are different.

Pirates (Shanghai): I mean, really?! This thing is absolutely incredible. I don't need to say more. TRON was great, as was Soaring, but Pirates just blew me away.

Dinoconda: I was expecting X2 ramped up a little bit. This thing makes X2 look like a little bitch. I'm impressed it hasn't killed anyone... or itself. Yet.

Soaring with Dragon: I'd heard good things, but I don't think I'd heard quite HOW good. An awesome, awesome coaster and it's really exciting to see Intamin planning more of these triple-launch-monsters.

Seabreeze: Oh isn't this place just lovely. Made better by brilliant company, but really loved the charm of the place.

Steel Vengeance: Don't need chapter and verse on why this is impressive. If you've seen only one picture of it, you'll have a pretty good idea why.

Vliegende Hollander: Crossing the line between surprised and impressed a little, but this was actually really impressive.

Probably a few more than impressed me - thinking some of the Fantawild/Oriental Heritage dark rides or Goliath or La Ronde - but I can't post them all. :p


Hyper Poster
Of course, Steel Vengeance was the star attraction this year. But it wasn't the ride as a whole that just surprised be, but elements on the ride. The airtime hill going into the MCBR really caught me off guard. The outer-banked hill was another winner in terms of my favorite elements on Steel Vengeance! I rode plenty of new rides this year, but I don't think any were as unnerving as Steel Vengeance.

I know Steel Vengeance was amazing, but Twisted Timbers was the ride that really blew my overall expectations! Steel Vengeance was the talk of the town for the entire year, even leading me to forget about Twisted Timbers in ways. I was much more interested in seeing things about SV than TT over the off-season, but when I rode it, I thought that it needed much more attention and media than it was getting!

Another ride that surprised me was Flight of Passage. I had watched many POVs of this ride, but they honestly do nothing to show how good the ride really is! I had pretty high expectations for this ride, and every single one of them were demolished.