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The Top 10 Roller Coasters in the United States of America

Manta at SeaWorld Orlando
SeaWorld Orlando's Manta is one of dozens of incredible coasters at the USA's theme parks.

There are literally hundreds of roller coasters in the USA, spread across dozens of top-class theme parks. Theme Park Tourist's detailed park guides currently list no fewer than 264 coasters in the country, with many different models, designs and construction types on offer.

With coaster fans often having wildly different tastes, how does one begin to put together a list of the top 10 roller coasters in America? Well, we thought using our readers' attraction ratings would be a good start. The list below was put together by looking at the average ratings given to each of the coasters by Theme Park Tourist's readers.

We'll aim to revisit this list of stunning coasters in the future. If you want to influence the position of your favorite ride, head on over to our theme park guides section and start adding your own ratings and reviews!

10. Manta (SeaWorld Orlando)

Manta

SeaWorld Orlando opened Manta to huge crowds back in May 2009. As with all of the park's attractions, Manta has an aquatic theme – in this case, the coaster aims to simulate the gentle gliding of Manta rays through sea water. To achieve this, SeaWorld selected Bolliger & Mabillard’s flying coaster system, which was first used for Air at Alton Towers and has since been replicated around the world.

The roller coaster is a beast – stretching some 3,359 feet, reaching a top speed of 56 miles per hour and featuring a 98 feet tall first "pretzel" loop. However, SeaWorld Orlando’s ambitions with Manta went beyond simply adding a new thrill ride – the park created a lavish new centrepiece that draws in visitors as soon as they enter the park. Manta swoops and glides through a stunning artificial oasis, in a mysterious dance that captivates guests.

Full details: Manta guide

9. El Toro (Six Flags Great Adventure)

El Toro

Source: Dusso Janladde, Wikimedia Commons

Opened in 2006, El Toro featured the steepest drop of any wooden roller coaster in the world at the time - an intimidating 76 degrees. It is one of the tallest and fastest rides of its type in the world, hitting a top speed of 70 miles per hour at the base of its 176-foot first drop. Uniquely, a cable lift is used in preference to a chain lift to get to the top of this hill.

Dominating the Plaza Del Carnival area of Six Flags Great Adventure, El Toro features a lengthy 4,400-foot circuit. It is renowned among coaster enthusiasts for the extreme amounts of "airtime" that it offers, and frequently places highly in "world's best coaster" polls. However, due to its restrictive restraints, larger guests may have trouble fitting into its cars.

Full details: El Toro guide

8. Millenium Force (Cedar Point)

Millenium Force

The first roller coaster to top the 300-foot mark when it opened back in 2000, Millenium Force remains a firm favourite among Cedar Point fans and coaster fanatics around the world. The speeding, slaloming layout never relents throughout its 6,600 feet circuit, with riders applauding each and every time at the brake run.

While its height record no longer stands, Millenium Force still has several claims to fame. It was the first roller coaster to use a cable lift in place of a traditional chain lift system, and is the second-longest roller coaster in the US behind Kings Island's The Beast.

Full details: Millenium Force guide

7. Dragon Challenge - Chinese Fireball (Islands of Adventure)

Dragon Challenge - Chinese Fireball

Image © Universal Orlando Resort

The Chinese Fireball half of the Dragon Challenge roller coaster shifts the focus to speed and graceful, oversized inversions during its two-and-a-half minute course as it dives and twists while suspended riders battle for the Tri-Wizard Cup.

Full details: Dragon Challenge - Chinese Fireball guide

6. Incredible Hulk Coaster (Islands of Adventure)

Incredible Hulk Coaster

One of the first sights that guests see on reaching Islands of Adventure's lagoon is the stunning Incredible Hulk Coaster, which features both impressive comic book-theming and seven massive inversions.

After a high-speed launch up a ramp at nearly 70 miles per hour, the coaster's trains twist and turn through a circuit that stands over the lagoon itself. With blinding green track and a dramatic splash accompanying the ride's pass over water, the Incredible Hulk is a force to be reckoned with.

Full details: Incredible Hulk Coaster guide

5. Top Thrill Dragster (Cedar Point)

Top Thrill Dragster

Image © Cedar Point

The first ever roller coaster to break the 400-foot height barrier, Top Thrill Dragster places riders in a drag racing train. Red-yellow-green, the car accelerates to a blinding 120 miles per hour. As tears whip from eyes, the train careerns upward to a staggering 420 feet, then spirals back to earth and crosses the finish line. It's 17 seconds of bliss.

Full details: Top Thrill Dragster guide

4. Intimidator (Carowinds)

Intimidator

Image: Martin Lewison, Wikimedia Commons

This new-generation B&M Megacoaster sends riders over perfect parabolic hills and helices with incredible twisted turns. At over 200 feet tall, it joins its fellow parks' m-egacoasters on the list of the best twenty-first century thrill machines.

Full details: Intimidator guide

3. Diamondback (Kings Island)

Diamondback

Diamondback is a steel hypercoaster built by Bolliger and Mabillard and is one of ten Mega Coaster models designed by the group. As in all B&M Mega Coasters, the emphasis of Diamondback is placed on airtime hills meant to create a sensation of weightlessness.

Diamondback is 230 feet tall and travels at a maximum speed of 80 miles per hour. Notably, it features a "scoop"-created splashdown in a concrete pool, a feature that is otherwise present only on B&M's Dive Machine models.

Full story: Diamondback guide

2. Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride (Universal Studios Florida)

Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride

Image © Universal Orlando Resort

"The world's first psychological thrill ride" will leave you screaming for more as you hurtle backwards and forward through a cursed tomb on this launched roller coaster full of special effects. And just when you think it's over...In the words of the Mummy: "Your end shall be my beginning."

Full details: Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride guide

1. Expedition Everest (Disney's Animal Kingdom)

Expedition Everest

What's this? A Disney roller coaster rated as the best in the US? Hardcore coaster fans may beg to differ, but Expedition Everest has so far received few ratings of less than 5/5 from Theme Park Tourist's readers.

Opened as Disney's Animal Kingdom's first major coaster and first ride to feature a mythical animal, Expedition Everest is a forwards / backwards mine train coaster in which guests encounter the legendary Yeti through special effects and a stationary animatronic figure. While the special effects have declined somewhat in recent years - particularly the Yeti himself - the ride remains one of Walt Disney World's top draws.

Full details: Expedition Everest guide

What do you think?

Disagree with the rankings above? Why not indicate what your favorite coasters in the US are by exploring our park guides and adding your own ratings and reviews.

There are 4 comments.

Using your readers'

Using your readers' attraction ratings is definitely a flawed way to determine the top 10 coasters in the US. The only reason that Expedition Everest comes in at #1 is because Disney Parks see more visitors every year. Your #2 coaster Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride is something that Universal has been talking about changing for well over a year. #3 Diamondback & #4 Intimidator I can't dispute since I've never been on either one. #5 Top Thrill Dragster should definitely rate higher. #6 The Incredible Hulk great ride one of the best that Orlando has to offer. #7 Dragon Challenge has to be like your #1 & #2 high attendance numbers at these parks means more ratings. How else can #'s 1,2,6,7 rate higher than my #1 Millenium Force? I'm not saying these aren't good coasters but there are 2 coasters in Central Florida that didn't even make this list: Cheetah Hunt & SheiKra (both @ Busch Gardens Tampa) that should be rated over Disney & Universal coasters.

Millennium Force should

Millennium Force should definitely take the number one spot with X2 a close second. 3. El Toro 4. Kinda Ka 5. Boulder Dash 6. Intimidator 7. Bizarro 8. Maverick. After these, there is not a lot of coasters that have much of a thrill factor. I've been to most of the major parks on the east coast and It's been a while since I've been to Florida but I can't see Incredible Hulk still making the top ten. My husband and I thought Diamondback didn't live up to all the hype it got. We were incredibly disappointed with it. I agree with the previous reader that some parks are visited more often or people are only voting on the coasters at the one or two nearby parks they visit.

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That's your personal opinion,

That's your personal opinion, which you're quite entitled to.

Your argument is a bit flawed, though. If more people have been on a particular ride, that doesn't necessarily lead to higher average ratings (in fact, in some cases, it can lead to a lower score). Plenty of people have been on (and rated) SheiKra and Cheetah Hunt - and while I agree that they are both great rides, they don't score as highly as the others on this list. It seems that not everyone shares our opinion of them.

That's probably because a lot of theme park visitors place more emphasis on theming than on coaster design. I've no doubt that if this survey was exclusive to members of coaster clubs etc., the results would be different - but it's not, it's a survey of ALL theme park fans. The simple fact is that a lot of people would rather ride the Mummy than Millenium Force. Does that make it a better ride objectively? Maybe not, but I think using multiple people's opinions to determine a list like this is more valid than using just my own or those of a handful of hardcore coaster fans.

I couldn't agree with this

I couldn't agree with this list more, but a couple of corrections. Expedition Everest: Legand of the Forbidden Mountain, although it does fit the description of a mine coaster, is a tea train that they use to get to the summit of everest. And number 2, the Yeti is a girl, not a boy. And she was named "Betty" by the cast members who help operate the attraction.

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