Top 10 Most Overrated Roller Coasters in North America

  • 01 of 09

    Number 10 Most Overrated Roller Coaster: Millennium Force

    Millennium Force coaster
    ••• Cedar Fair Entertainment Company

    The top 10 most overrated roller coasters aren't necessarily terrible coasters. In fact, some of them offer fine rides. But they are overrated in the sense that they don't meet expectations. Maybe the parks overhype them. Or, perhaps a coaster has not been maintained well, and its current condition doesn't live up to its legendary status. Whatever the reason, these are the 10 roller coasters in North America that leave me the most disappointed.

    Number 10 Most Overrated Roller Coaster: Millennium Force

    Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio

    We know, we know. Many ride enthusiasts love Millennium Force, and quite a few place it at or near the top of their favorite coasters lists. There's no denying the ride's impressive stats, including a 300-foot drop and a top speed of 93 mph. But it's precisely for those reasons why Millennium Force lands on my most overrated coasters list.

    The hype surrounding it is deafening, and the first time we boarded Millennium Force, we were...MORE expecting one of the great rides of my life. Instead, we got a very tall and very fast coaster that, to my amazement, delivered little-to-no airtime. At every point where we expected to pop out of my seat -- and there were many of them -- we instead got...nothing.

    To make matters worse, we experienced a brief moment of gray out at the bottom of the first drop. It wasn't nearly as bad as the gray out punishment another coaster on this list delivered, but it still was not expected or pleasant.

    we think Millennium Force is a decent coaster. It is just, in my opinion, vastly overrated. Sorry Cedar Point fans. For a "Giga-Coaster" (one that breaks the 300-foot threshold), we prefer Intimidator 305 at Kings Dominion.

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  • 02 of 09

    Number 9 Most Overrated Roller Coaster: Kingda Ka

    ••• Kingda Ka/Getty Images

    Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ

    The world's tallest coaster (and the fastest when it debuted), Kingda Ka has naturally generated loads of hype. But the ride isn't so much a roller coaster as a thrill machine designed for bragging rights. The launch -- 128 mph in no time flat -- literally and figuratively took my breath away. But the entire ride was over in no time flat and left me wondering what just happened.

    If the best coasters, such as Nitro at Six Flags Great Adventure, are designed like elegant pieces of music with great pacing and a symphony of lows, highs, and piercing crescendos, Kingda Ka is like a heavy metal onslaught. It's just amplifiers turned up to 11 with ear-piercing feedback for a few seconds.

    It could probably be argued that similar rocket coasters, such as Top Thrill Dragster or Xcelerator should be included in an overrated coasters list, but as the tallest and fastest standard-bearer, Kingda Ka nabs the spot. Also, coming down Kingda Ka's...MORE tower, I have experienced some unexpected rough spots that caused its train to shudder a bit -- roughness we did not notice on other rocket coasters.

    Read this review of Kingda Ka.

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  • 03 of 09

    Number 8 Most Overrated Roller Coaster: Raging Bull

    ••• Patrick McGarvey/Getty Images

    Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Illinois

    This is another case of dashed hopes. The Swiss coaster manufacturing mavens at Bolliger & Mabillard create some of the world's greatest thrill machines. Many of its hypercoasters, such as Apollo's Chariot at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, are especially wonderful. That's why I was expecting great things from Raging Bull. In terms of layout and specs, it would appear to be quite similar to other B&M rides.

    But it was missing one critical element: airtime. That sweet out-of-your-seat sensation is the hallmark of all other B&M hyper coasters I've had the pleasure of riding. But Raging Bull, while it had plenty of raging speed, had virtually no pops of gravity-defying air. It seemed that the ride may have had trim brakes added, which may have trimmed the airtime in the process. If so, that's a bunch of bull.

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  • 04 of 09

    Number 7 Most Overrated Roller Coaster: Viper

    Viper Coaster Six Flags Great America
    ••• Six Flags

    Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Illinois

    Oh oh, another coaster from Six Flags Great America? I don't want to seem to be picking on the park. To be fair, it includes some incredible rides such as the wild wing coaster, X-Flight. And the previous entry on the list, Raging Bull, isn't all that bad. It's just lacking airtime. Viper, on the other hand, is a ride that apparently has not aged all that well.

    The wooden coaster has a lot of fans. Through the years, it has generated plenty of positive reviews and high grades from riders. Again, I was primed for a great coaster experience. Again, I was disappointed.

    This time, it was an excessively rough ride that caused my disappointment. A rough and tumble ride is expected for a wooden coaster. But a woodie that is not maintained well -- and that would seem to be the case here  -- can go from pleasantly rough to just plain rough and mean. When I rode it (in 2014), Viper had far too much bite and not nearly enough slithery smoothness.

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  • 05 of 09

    Numbers 6 and 5 Most Overrated Roller Coasters: Dark Knight

    Dark Knight Coaster
    ••• Six Flags

    Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ and Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, IL

    Yeesh. Six Flags Great America is really going to think I'm picking on them. But, I'm really not. Besides, there are identical Dark Knight rides at both the Illinois Park and at Six Flags Great Adventure. So why are the Batman-themed coasters on the list?

    Timed to debut around the 2008 release of The Dark Knight movie, Six Flags tied its hype bandwagon to the Hollywood hype machine. Billed as indoor, themed coasters, the park chain forgot two essential ingredients: the theme and the coasters. Except for a so-so pre-show, the attractions hardly feature any effects. The few onboard effects are mostly lame. And the rides are fairly standard -- and tame -- Wild Mouse-style coasters.

    A third Dark Knight coaster was supposed to open at Six Flags New England, but the project was canceled and the coaster opened at Six Flags Mexico instead.

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  • 06 of 09

    Number 4 Most Overrated Roller Coaster: Goliath

    Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, CA

    Goliath is another really tall, really fast ride that I couldn't wait to try. It generated a lot of buzzes when it first opened, and lots of fans had rated it highly. It was a miserable experience for me, however. I nearly passed out from Goliath's extreme G-forces.

    Granted, most riders do just fine on the hyper coaster (although I've heard from plenty of passengers who had a similar gray out experience). But even if I had been fine, I still find the layout of the ride puzzling. It drops 255 feet, reaches an impressive speed of 85 mph, and then slams into a series of punishing helixes. Instead of coasting along at breakneck speed and including some fun elements, it delivers high and sustained positive G-forces that are unpleasant at best and gray out-producing at worst. While I haven't ridden it, it's likely that the very similar coaster, Titan at Six Flags over Texas, would offer a similar ride.

    You can read more about the...MORE Magic Mountain ride in my review of Goliath.

    By the way, don't confuse the same-named coasters at other Six Flags parks. They are all different, and some of the other rides, especially the incredible Goliath at Six Flags Great America, are great.

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  • 07 of 09

    Number 3 Most Overrated Roller Coaster: Roller Coaster (Manhattan Express)

    New York, New York Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, NV

    Despite its low-key, nondescript name, Roller Coaster (which used to be known as Manhattan Express -- a much better name), has a formidable presence on the famed Vegas Strip. Even in one of the most hyped-up places on the planet, the casino's faux New York City skyline, with its Statue of Liberty and other landmarks, is quite a sight. Screaming riders aboard Roller Coaster cause a stir as they ride through and around the Manhattan cityscape.

    So how's the ride? In a word: OUCH!

    It's rare for a coaster that surpasses 200 feet to include inversions. The Roller Coaster offers a compelling reason why it's not a good idea. The ride's over-the-shoulder harnesses include head restraints. When it reaches high speeds, passengers' heads careen back and forth in the restraints like unwitting audience members at a tennis match. Flipped to and fro, heads banging unmercifully, it's a relief when the ride ends.

    Read more in...MORE this review of Roller Coaster at the New York, New York Hotel & Casino.

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  • 08 of 09

    Number 2 Most Overrated Roller Coaster: Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit

    ••• © Arthur Levine.

    Universal Studios Florida in Orlando

    The high-profile coaster, which lets passengers choose their own musical soundtrack as they ride, seems to generate two responses. People either love it, or they say it's too rough and loathe it. Because of the split opinions, fans have surmised that some of the trains have developed problems which result in rough rides for a percentage of passengers.

    Like the Roller Coaster in Las Vegas, Universal's ride looks great. It climbs high into the sky and snakes around near the front entrance of the park. It makes an appearance in CityWalk as well. It also makes a dramatic entrance when it soars through one of the buildings in the park's New York backlot area. But looks can be deceiving. We find it uncomfortable, bordering on painful, to ride.

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  • 09 of 09

    Number 1 Most Overrated Roller Coaster: The Beast

    The Beast coaster Kings Island
    ••• Cedar Fair Entertainment Company

    Kings Island in Ohio

    The Beast often shows up on coaster fans' top-10 lists; some are rabid about their affection for the classic ride. There's no denying it's one of the world's most famous wooden roller coasters. But I think The Beast is the single most overrated coaster on the continent. Read why in this review of The Beast.