Hi guys. Looking through the forums, there seem to be a lot of threads about "biggest disappointment" and "most overrated coaster", so I thought I'd try and spread a little positivity and make a thread about those rides that exceeded expectations! So, what have been your biggest positive surprises? I actually have quite a few:
- Wicker Man (Alton Towers) - Now, during 2017 when Wicker Man was being constructed, I was probably more enthusiastic about it than most people. I thought it had the potential to be a pretty good family coaster, but I'll be honest; I wasn't really expecting it to be much more than that. I was just sort of expecting a Thirteen-esque thrill level at the highest, and I certainly wasn't expecting it to be my new favourite ride at Alton Towers by a long way. So imagine how surprised I was when I first stepped off it in March 2018 and it was actually a pretty fantastic wooden coaster! Even though the airtime was somewhat lacking, the pacing was fantastic and overall, I just thought it was a really fun and surprisingly forceful coaster! The thing that was even better was that I managed to have 3 rides on it during the course of the 2018 season, and it somehow managed to grow on me with each further ride I took, to the point where it is now my overall #8 and only 1 spot behind Nemesis in my overall rankings! So if I manage to grab a ride towards the back in 2020 now that the ride has worn in a little, I could potentially see it usurping Nemesis as my favourite ride at Alton Towers! Now that's an outcome I wasn't expecting in 2017!
- Slinky Dog Dash (Disney's Hollywood Studios) - I managed to ride Slinky Dog Dash for the first time in April 2019, and it was perhaps one of the biggest surprises of my entire 2019 season! I went in with quite low expectations, as the reviews weren't fantastic, but I thought it was a fab little coaster for what it was! Sure, there are some places where it could go a touch faster, but I found it to be surprisingly nippy and well-paced for most of the ride with some fun little pops of airtime! It reminded me of a mini Icon; I liked it a lot more than I'd expected to, and it does actually make the lower end of my top 25 coasters (#24, to be exact, out of 67 ridden). I may have preferred rides like Tower of Terror and Rock'n'Rollercoaster within Hollywood Studios, but if the queues had been shorter, I would have loved to have reridden Slinky Dog Dash!
- Kraken (SeaWorld Orlando) - This was another example of a ride that didn't have brilliant reviews when I went to ride it. I was expecting a very rough ride with little forces based on the reviews, but when I rode Kraken for the first time in August 2016, I thought it was brilliant! The ride had surprising power and pace throughout its long layout, and I didn't think it was anywhere near as rough as reviews suggested; I would probably have said it only had a slight rattle, and it was probably the smoothest of the 3 sit-down B&M loopers in Florida (Kraken, Hulk & Kumba). Overall, I enjoyed Kraken more than expected, for sure, and it still sits at #9 in my top 10! Combined with my overall #1 coaster in Mako, SeaWorld Orlando certainly has a strong one-two punch in Mako and Kraken, in my opinion!
- Shockwave (Drayton Manor) - Now, I went in to Drayton Manor with very low expectations for Shockwave. The standup coaster ride type doesn't tend to receive particularly glowing reviews in general, so I wasn't sure I'd enjoy my first standup coaster that much. However, while I did admittedly find the position strange, the coaster itself exceeded expectations, with the first half of the layout especially being stronger than expected! Admittedly, it did grow a bit shaky towards the end of the ride, but it was smoother than expected for the most part! Overall, while Shockwave was far from my favourite coaster (#33 in my rankings, to be precise), it certainly wasn't anywhere near as bad as I was expecting!
- If we're allowed to include parks, then Epcot would definitely make the list; I went in with low expectations, but it was very close to being my favourite WDW park!