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Wicker Man vs Megafobia

Wicker Man or Megafobia?


  • Total voters
    29

Matt N

Well-Known Member
Hi guys. Here in the UK, we have somewhat of a shortage of modern thrill wooden coasters. In fact, we only really have 2 (unless you count Antelope, but I’d argue that that’s more of a family/kids woodie, personally); Wicker Man at Alton Towers and Megafobia at Oakwood. Even though they are two quite different rides, they’re the only thrill wooden coasters in Britain that I’d really call “modern”, so I’d be intrigued to know; which one do you personally prefer, if you’ve done both?

I know it might be a controversial take, but I personally prefer Wicker Man, and that’s not because of Wicker Man’s theming. I mostly judge my coasters based on track and train as opposed to theming anyway, so even if you take Wicker Man’s amazing theming out of the equation, I’d personally say that Wicker Man comes out streets ahead of Megafobia within my rankings, personally. Even though Megafobia is bigger and longer, I just prefer the general feel of Wicker Man; it generally feels a lot more dynamic and thrilling, and I also think it maintains its pace throughout the ride, whereas I feel like Megafobia does peter out somewhat towards the end of the ride, and does have a couple of dead spots. One area where Megafobia does admittedly better Wicker Man, in my opinion, is airtime; there’s generally more of it, and in the back row, the drop is absolutely phenomenal, and easily outweighs any individual airtime moment on Wicker Man for me. However, the airtime in the front of Megafobia isn’t as strong, and if I were to compare the airtime on the front of Megafobia to the airtime on the front of Wicker Man, I’d oddly say that Wicker Man’s airtime feels quite a bit stronger in terms of strength, even though Megafobia has more moments. Even though the back of Megafobia has stronger airtime, I find the very back a bit too rough to fully enjoy, while the front and middle are perfectly fine, whereas Wicker Man doesn’t really vary row to row smoothness wise and is a bit smoother and more comfortable in general.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Megafobia, but I don’t rate it anywhere near as highly as I rate Wicker Man, personally, simply because I think Wicker Man feels a lot faster and more dynamic, and is also more comfortable with the articulated trains and smoother transitions. While Megafobia in the front and middle was enjoyable, I found the back a bit too rough for my liking, and while I admittedly haven’t done Wicker Man on the very back, it doesn’t seem to vary as much from row to row as Megafobia does. In general, while I’ve had some fun rides on Megafobia, I don’t think I rate it as highly as the status quo, and I possibly rate Wicker Man a bit more highly than the status quo.

But which do you prefer?
 
I haven't been on Megafobia since 2009 so my memory is faded. From what I remember at the time I thought it was well paced and was far smoother than the Blackpool woodies, it's a good coaster, but it didn't blow me away or anything, I preferred Speed which surprised me. I don't remember loads of airtime although I think I was sat near the front on my two or three rides on it. I may go back on it one day and be blown away, but currently it sits at number 10 in my UK coasters.

As for Wicker Man it delivered on my expectations, it felt exactly how I thought it would. Some nice pops of air, a few lateral moments and that GCI pacing we all love. Not my favourite GCI, but not my least favourite. Of course what really makes Wicker Man is it's theming and storytelling which is probably the best for any coaster in the UK.

It's a tough one, but I'll go with Wicker Man as it is fresher in my memory and I came off more impressed because of the "whole package" as it were.

Wicker Man sits at number 9 in that ranking so that is how close it is for me.
 

Nitefly

Member
Megaphobia and Oakwood are (obviously but unfortunately) located on the very far side of Wales. I’ve never been because it just seems such effort... is it worth the trek?

Wickerman has grown on me in recent times. Lots of charm on a woody. I do wish they would omit the ‘screens’ on the statue though.
 
I only ever rode megafobia during an ECC event which included day and night ERT on it which may well bias my opinion, but megafobia is way better than wicker Man. Riding it in the dark in the back seat with a very loose lap bar as meteorites streaked across the sky is one of my best coaster memories. I kind of feel like wicker Man doesn't have enough space to so what it needs to do, as as soon as you go over an element your forced to turn around and the ride loses speed. The ending of the man from Wick is also really lackluster. The theming is it course way better on Alton's coaster, but megafobia is by far the better ride.
 

Hixee

Flojector
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It's really tragic that these are the choices, isn't it? :p

Haven't done Megafobia in years, but I think Wicker Man would take it. I remember not enjoying Megafobia much.

Although that's not to say that Wicker Man is actually good, mind.
 

Matt N

Well-Known Member
I’d be intrigued to know; for those of you who voted for Wicker Man, did you vote for it on the basis of the overall package, or are you basing it exclusively on track and train? I seem to be one of the few people banging Wicker Man’s drum on a track and train basis; most people’s praise for Wicker Man seems to be exclusively due to the theming.

I’ll admit that I was a bit scared to make this thread, as I wasn’t sure if people would be happy with the fact my preference lies with Wicker Man. Part of the reason I made this thread (not the entire reason, though; I was just intrigued in general!) was because of Coaster Crazy’s recent Oakwood vlog, where Andy comes off Megafobia and says that “all the real enthusiasts know that Megafobia is better [than Wicker Man]”, and I was starting to doubt whether I was a “real enthusiast”, so I wondered whether I was the only person to prefer Wicker Man on a track and train basis. It would appear that my opinion might be just as uncommon as I’d thought.

The thing about Megafobia for me is that as much as I want to really love it, and I did still enjoy it on my last rides in 2019, I don’t think I really dig that more “raw” (for lack of a better word) style of wooden coaster like a lot of enthusiasts do, and I personally felt that while Megafobia definitely had its moments, it also had a few notable dead spots, and didn’t seem to track quite as smoothly as Wicker Man, while Wicker Man is a lot more comfortable, rerideable and consistent in terms of pacing (it seems to maintain its speed all the way through to the end, even on the front!), while still providing some of Megafobia’s notable pros in the form of intensity and great airtime (although I’ll admit that Megafobia’s back row first drop still beats any airtime moment on WM for me). I even went back on Megafobia in 2019 expecting to possibly like it more than Wicker Man (I did ride Megafobia for the first time in 2016, and at the time, it was actually my first ever wooden coaster, but that was 3 years ago by the time 2019 rolled around, and I partly assumed that WM was just higher due to recency bias), but if anything, I’d say the gap between the two grew, as I’ll admit that the ride didn’t seem quite as remarkable to me as it did in 2016, and it’s probably grown even more since then, as WM seems to be getting more fun with age for me!
 

Hixee

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It's not an easy question to answer. If they were both built in 2017, Megafobia's first drop alone would beat Wicker Man hands down. It's got a better layout, simply put. The problem is, you're comparing two rides with a nearly 20 year age gap. Megafobia is older and rougher, and I can completely understand why people prefer Wicker Man - heck, I do. Trains is a tough one - frankly as nice as the GCIs are, they're not the game changer here.

As an "overall package" Wicker Man is in theory better, but again it's far from perfect. Cut out of Towers considered in isolation, I actually think it's rather fantastic. My gripe is that is sits in an awkward position - is it Katanga Canyon, Mutiny Bay, Gloomy Wood? Oh, it's none of those? Right...
Megafobia just has a nice setting by the lake.

I will take objection to this though.
I’ll admit that I was a bit scared to make this thread, as I wasn’t sure if people would be happy with the fact my preference lies with Wicker Man. Part of the reason I made this thread (not the entire reason, though; I was just intrigued in general!) was because of Coaster Crazy’s recent Oakwood vlog, where Andy comes off Megafobia and says that “all the real enthusiasts know that Megafobia is better [than Wicker Man]”, and I was starting to doubt whether I was a “real enthusiast”, so I wondered whether I was the only person to prefer Wicker Man on a track and train basis. It would appear that my opinion might be just as uncommon as I’d thought.
You want to know how you know you're a real enthusiast? You've made this ****ing thread. You're here discussing this ****. Don't listen to some random person on the internet to tell you - that's an awful trap to be heading towards. You prefer Wicker Man (for any reason at all)? Good, you're allowed to. Others might disagree? Good, they're allowed to. That's why we're here, isn't it?

Plus, that expression "all real enthusiasts..." is usually just flippant sarcasm anyway - I'm afriad something we have evidence of you not quite picking up from time-to-time. ;)
 

gavin

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I think I can (kind of) compare these fairly. I rode Megafobia in its opening year and Wicker Man in its second year, so I think it's fair to say I got them both at their best. I haven't ridden either since those first visits either.

Not taking into account age or any developed roughness, Megafobia is the better coaster by absolute miles.
 

Matt N

Well-Known Member
I just found a really interesting blog post from Lift Hills and Thrills about this topic: https://www.lifthillsandthrills.com/megafobia-the-uks-best-wooden-coaster-i-think-not/

Do you guys have any thoughts? I don’t personally agree with the notion that Megafobia is completely boring after the first drop, as I do think there’s some other sections of Megafobia that are really good fun, but I do agree that Megafobia does have some notable dead spots in its layout, and I agree with the reviewer in ranking Wicker Man substantially higher than Megafobia. As much as Megafobia is bigger and longer, and arguably has a stronger base layout than Wicker Man to a certain degree, I personally felt like Wicker Man felt faster and more consistently paced, had stronger pops of airtime (first drop on the back row aside; that beats any individual air moment on Wicker Man for me) and I just generally had far more fun on Wicker Man on my last ride.
 

HeartlineCoaster

Active Member
I just found a really interesting blog post from Lift Hills and Thrills about this topic: https://www.lifthillsandthrills.com/megafobia-the-uks-best-wooden-coaster-i-think-not/
Your own paragraphs at the start of the topic are far more interesting, analytical and equally based on personal experience so don't sell yourself short on this 'valid opinion' nonsense.

I want to like both, but struggle to get excited about either.
Wicker Man is obviously the better concept, though I find it rather flawed and just not that thrilling. I have big expectations for GCIs these days and it's a total wet blanket of an attraction against my personal tastes, as you've probably heard from me 100 times already.
Megafobia isn't trying to be anything but a big scary woodie, and it probably delivered on that, in it's particular location, at the time of being built. Now it's old, tired and in need of a bit of love (sounds familiar) and while I appreciate what the layout is going for, the intended sensations have likely lost their edge over time. CCIs are still a largely unknown quantity to me, so I don't know whether to expect better from them or not, although if the refurb of GhostRider is anything to go by there's a ton of untapped potential still in there.

But as things stand right now, that makes the question of which do I prefer rather hard to answer. If I had to sit on one today I think I'd go for Megafobia, just for that woodie feeling of being roughed up a bit. I've missed that.
 

Matt N

Well-Known Member
Out of interest @HeartlineCoaster, what do you mean when you say that “the intended sensations have lost their edge over time” on Megafobia? Do you mean that the ride has grown weaker with age, or do you mean that the sensations produced aren’t considered exciting now in the way that they may have been in 1996?

In fairness to Megafobia, I may have had a more favourable view of it had I been able to ride it in its earliest years. I should point out that my first ride on it was in 2016, by which point it was already 20 years old and had likely already aged significantly. 4 of my 5 rides on it happened in 2019, when the ride was 23 years old. With Wicker Man, on the other hand; I rode that for the first time on its opening weekend, when it was brand new, and straight out of the box with everything in polished new condition! Even now, the ride is 17 years younger than Megafobia was when I first rode it.
 
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'fobia gives standing airtime on the back row so that's the winner for me. Incredible first drop.

It's a pretty uncomfortable experience though whereas Wicker is perfectly fun and a much smoother ride.
 

HeartlineCoaster

Active Member
Out of interest @HeartlineCoaster, what do you mean when you say that “the intended sensations have lost their edge over time” on Megafobia? Do you mean that the ride has grown weaker with age, or do you mean that the sensations produced aren’t considered exciting now in the way that they may have been in 1996?
Weaker with age. General roughness can drown out or distract from what should be your standard airtime, laterals or positives. It also slows the whole thing down by a factor I imagine. It depends how well it was designed to begin with as to whether this helps or hinders the experience, but I'd say CCI knew what they were aiming for, unlike say, RCCA.
 

vaugc002

Member
From watching a POV of Megafobia filmed in 1996 vs a POV filmed in 2019, there's no slow down in the ride duration once it left the lift hill. In fact it was one second faster now based on the video I chose at least.
 

Will

Well-Known Member
Like a lot of people, I don't think I've been to Oakwood in the last 5+ years, so I'm not sure I could make a fair comparison, though if I could ride one tomorrow, I'd pick Megafobia out of curiosity.

Perhaps to state the obvious though, age can be unkind to wooden coasters - Big Dipper was probably my favourite wooden coaster when I was 16 and I think I can say it's aged even worse than me since then - I can hardly stand to ride the thing now!
 

SilverArrow

Active Member
If Megafobia was retracked it would likely be much clearer winner but as it's got rough the decision is less clear. Without a doubt Wickerman is more re-rideable than Megafobia but Megafobia just has that much more kick with a better layout so I've gone with that. Wickerman never seems to properly get going. Both coasters are quite different in style and age so it's hard to compare.

Anyone who vlogs or blogs an opinion has no more authority over anyone else's opinion so I really wouldn't worry about whether or not you're "wrong". For every hyped up coaster they'll always be people who "don't get it". It's fun to debate it but at the end of the day it doesn't really matter.
 

CrashCoaster

Well-Known Member
I'm just not a fan of woodies personally, the GCIs and CCI I've ridden were relatively forceless. When Paultons build their GG woodie in a few years I think it'll be clear what the UK's best woodie will be.
 

Niles

Member
I think both coasters are good but neither is to special, the better coaster from what I can remember is Megafobia ( last ride 10yr ago ), but the better experience is Wicker man for me, so its hard to pick one over the other as they both do a good job at different things.

When Paultons build their GG woodie in a few years I think it'll be clear what the UK's best woodie will be.

If Paultons were to get a GG woodie 🤞 along the lines of say Mine blower or Timber with there level of themeing they are doing I think it would easily be the number one woodie in the UK, the GG coasters I have done have great air, layouts and are smooth so I would love one here. However if they did they would have eight coasters which is kind of nuts for a family park but I can dream ☺️
 
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