Monday, October 26, 2015

The Listing Hop - Best Theme Parks

Hosted by Bish Denham to celebrate 8 years of blogging and co-hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh.

My list is of favorite theme parks, with three dream parks thrown in, and their roller coasters.

Universal Studios’ Island of Adventure

Located in Orlando, I’ve been there twice now and get to go again next year. We’re staying on site with fast passes for all rides. The park boasts two great coasters - Incredible Hulk and Dragon Challenge (which I still call by its original name, Dueling Dragons.) I almost fell asleep on the
Incredible Hulk once while waiting for it to launch! With seven inversions, it’s a smooth B&M coaster.

Add in Universal Studios itself, and there are three more coasters - Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket, Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster, and Revenge of the Mummy. (Technically not a coaster, but close.)

Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Tied with Islands for my favorite, I’ve visited this park four times! It’s the most beautiful park in America, with shows and animals along with the rides. It now boasts seven coasters - Loch Ness
Monster, Alpengeist, Apollo’s Chariot (my most favorite coaster!), Griffon, Grover’s Alpine Express, Verbolten, and Tempesto.

It was also home to several now defunct coasters, including the Big Bad Wolf and Drachen Fire. The latter was the first coaster I ever fell in love with and I’m glad I got a chance to ride it before they tore it down.

Paramount’s Kings Island

Home to the world’s longest wooden roller coaster, The Beast, this is Paramount’s best park. Located in Ohio, it is home to 13 coasters - Banshee, The Bat, Invertigo, Backlot Stunt Coaster, Vortex, Firehawk, Flight of Fear, Adventure Express, Flying Ace Aerial Chase, The Great Pumpkin Coaster, Woodstock Express, Diamondback, and The Beast.

Its most famous defunct coaster was Son of Beast, the first wooden coaster with a loop. Not sure why it failed, but I was fortunate enough to ride it before they tore it down.

Sea World Orland

If you love animals, Sea World is one of the best parks. You can see orcas, feed the seals, and pet the dolphins. We’ve been twice and seeing or foster daughter Ashely pet a dolphin was the greatest joy.

It’s home to two coasters, Kracken and Manta, with a third, Mako, opening summer of 2016. With seven inversions, Kracken is probably the most intense B&M coaster you will ever ride.

Paramounts’ Kings Dominion

Located in Virginia, this park has some unique coasters, including the Anaconda, which dives underwater, and the Rebel Yell, which you can ride forward or backwards.

Its 12 coasters are the Dominator, Grizzly, Hurler, Rebel Yell, Ricochet, Anaconda, Avalanche, Backlot Stunt Coaster, Flight of Fear, Volcano the Blast Coaster, The Great Pumpkin Coaster, and Woodstock Express.

My dream parks are:

Six Flags Magic Mountain

Located in California, Magic Mountains shares the title of Roller Coaster Capital of the World with Cedar Point in Ohio. (Sadly, I’ve been to Cedar Point and was very disappointed.)

Its 19 coasters are Apocalypse, Batman: The Ride, Canyon Blaster, Full Throttle, Gold Rusher, Goliath, Green Lantern: First Flight, Magic Flyer, Ninja, The Riddler's Revenge, Road Runner Express, Scream!, Speedy Gonzales Hot Rod Racers, Superman: Escape from Krypton, Tatsu, The New Revolution, Twisted, Colossus, Viper, and X²


Located in Spain, this park has seven coasters - Dragon Khan, Furius Baco, Stampida, Shambhala, Tomahawk, El Diablo-Tren de la Mina, and Tami-Tami.

Shambhala is Europe’s tallest roller coaster at 249 feet with a 256 foot drop. However, the coaster I most want to ride is Dragon Khan. Boasting eight beautiful inversions, it’s been dream coaster of mine ever since I got a coaster video featuring a ride on the beast.

Nagashima Spa Land

Located in Japan, this park features 11 coasters: Acrobat, Children Coaster, Corkscrew, Jet Coaster, Looping Star, Peter Rabbit Coaster Shuttle Loop, Steel Dragon 2000, Ultra Twister, White Cyclone, and Wild Mouse.

The top coaster is Steel Dragon 2000. When it was built, it was the tallest (318’) and the fastest (95mph), just beating out Cedar Point’s Millennium Force. It would be my first ride of the day if I visited!

Have you visiting any of these parks? Which park is your dream theme park?

The Realms Faire is coming in just two weeks! I’m hosting The Unicorn Hunt, and there are almost a dozen games with tons of prizes. You don’t want to miss it.


  1. You're the perfect one to make this list! And much braver than I am.

    Carowinds didn't make it, I see. Was wondering what you thought of the Fury there?

  2. Wow! That last roller coaster in Japan looks terrifying to me! Thanks for listing with me, Diane and I'm looking forward to participating in The Unicorn Hunt!

  3. Thanks for the list. Amusement park rides sadly make me sick so no way could I go on those scary roller coasters.

  4. Of those you listed I have only been to Sea World which I loved. I wouldn't go on a roller coaster these days, but I went on lots when I was younger.

  5. Obviously, I LOVE Islands of Adventure. I went on the Dragon Challenge back when it was Dueling Dragons. And I recall going on Drachen Fire during a high school band trip. I'm sad to think it isn't there anymore.

    And I've been to Sea World twice now. The first time was so long ago (another high school band trip) there were no roller coasters. The second time was this past summer, but I had to skip the rides. I did like hanging out with the dolphins, though.

  6. I should have guessed this would be your list! That Son of Beast is beautiful and massive.

  7. I'll go for the shows and easy rides but pass on the coasters.
    Thanks for participating in the blog hop!

  8. I'm scared of roller coasters, so not a huge theme park fan. But I LOVE Universal Studios theme park! :) Great topic for a list!

    Morgan @

  9. We took our young friend to Orlando this year and she loved the roller coasters there. I just can't do them anymore. You're so brave.

  10. Awesome list! I haven't been to a theme park in so long. My little guy is almost at that age. I can't wait!

  11. Cool, list. My favorite so far has been Busch Gardens, but I have not visited Universals Harry Potter yet. I hear its awesome.

    Juneta Writer's Gambit

  12. I'd almost forgotten about your love of the coaster rides. I'm not a fan of amusement parks mostly because of the crowds. And perhaps because we live three miles away from Hershey Park.

  13. The only reason I would go to Islands of Adventure is for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter...I don't like roller coasters.

  14. Gosh, it's been so long since I've been to a theme park. Kind of not my thing like it used to be. I've been to both of the parks in Virginia but that would have been about 30 years ago. I used to have a cool Loch Ness Monster t-shirt depicting the roller coaster, but I guess that shirt is long, long gone.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

  15. Oh, you've been to some good ones! I love roller coasters.

  16. A fun list! Not sure I'm adventurous enough to try all of the roller coasters, though...


  17. Elizabeth, I've only been to Carrowinds once and they didn't have the Fury at that time.

    MJ, it's sad they tore down Drachen Fire. The curling loop on the first drop was so unique.

    Christine, he would love Islands of Adventure with its Dr, Seuss area.

    Susan, I would have season passes to Hersheypark for sue.

    Lee, I still have mine, plus one for the Big Bad Wolf.

  18. As someone who grew up in Ohio, as a kid I went to King's Island and Cedar Point frequently. I haven't been to King's Island in quite a while, but have been occasionally to Cedar Point. They have TONS of coasters there. :)

    I like your list. This was unique and fun!

  19. I bet that wooden coaster with the loop was taken down because of shaking. The wooden coasters are so rickety. I've been to Universal, but was too chicken to get on the big coasters. If we go back, I'll try the Harry Potter dragon ones.

  20. Great list!
    You are much braver than I am!
    Could not do any of those now, I'm too old and rickety! :)

  21. Nope. Never catch me on these! I am NOT a coaster person, but my kids are! You know what they call roller coasters in French? "Montagnes Russes" Russian Mountains! Thanks for dropping by!

  22. Fun list idea! Congrats to Bish! Eight years is a long time to be blogging. We've been to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg - I agree, it's a beautiful park. I'm not a roller coaster fan, but my kids are and they had the privilege of riding the Big Bad Wolf, Drachen Fire, and Alpengeist, and also a few of the newer ones.

  23. Ooh! I love lists!

    I went to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg back when I was about six. I seem to remember having a lot of fun there, although I didn't get to go on any big rides. :)

  24. I knew you'd have a rollercoaster list!
    You are sooooo brave, Diane!
    Have you done bungee jumping? I'm sure you have.

  25. I loved roller coasters as a kid, but get squeemish just looking at the pictures now.

  26. Hope you get to visit your favorites.
    The rides look awesome.

  27. Should have guessed your theme!! Fun - but I'm too much of a wimp :)

  28. Can I just say how happy I am you listed King's Dominion? That's the park we used to go to when we lived in Maryland, and no one I talk to has heard of it (I live in Colorado now.) I went on the Grizzly with a back injury as a teen, and was out for the rest of the day. I didn't learn until adulthood that the back injury was actually a fractured spine, so I'd say I got really lucky that the ride didn't destroy my back even more. Or paralyze me. Still, I remember it fondly.

  29. My idea of pure bliss is to go to Disneyland, sit on a bench, write, move to another bench (in the shade) and write more.

  30. We are such copycats in Oz. We have a Sea World (which is amazing!) and a Magic Mountain (not so much!) Now that my kids are grown, I don't get to go to theme parks anymore, but I should. They are such fun. Disneyland is on my bucket list. I've been to EuroDisney in Paris, but I'm sure that falls well short. So small!

  31. I remember the hype about Magic Mountain's Colossus. It was, at one time and for a while, the biggest roller-coaster in the country. Or at least in CA. Right? Now, sounds like it's a kiddie-ride in comparison. I worked myself up to conquering my roller-coaster phobia one year, starting on the small coasters and eventually riding Colossus. I was very proud, though I need not do it again. You're much more of a thrill-seeker than I am, Diane.

  32. Those rides look terrifying. I'd like to go on more of the tame rides. I have no excuse since I'm in Florida and Orlando is a car ride for me. I do like the theme park experience.

  33. Tamara, I'm not sure why they took it down. The design just didn't work though.

    Lisa, and those Russian Mountains were the very first "roller coasters."

    Michelle, my husband won't let me. I would like to try hang gliding though.

    Shannon, you are fortunate. The Grizzly is one of the roughest wooded coasters I've ever experienced.

    Denise, have you been to Disney World? So much bigger than Disneyland.

    Robyn, I didn't get to work up to big. My husband took me to Busch Gardens and dumped me on the Loch Nest Monster first thing. Scared the crap out of me, but I kept trying and then fell in love with Drachen Fire.

  34. Hi Diane! I'm stopping by from the List Hop list :)

    I used to LOVE roller coasters and rode as many as I could, as often as I could. Not any more. Too many back problems. Plus I don't like crowds. I'm probably better off staying as far away from theme parks as possible...unless it's Harry Potter world. That's my dream park!

    Have a great week!

  35. You definitely have to go to Magic Mountain - it won't disappoint!
    Great list!

  36. There are a couple of really cool theme parks in Germany too. Try the Heide Park in Northern Germany (it's got 3 or 4 roller coasters maybe more since I haven't been there in years).

  37. I didn't see Disney World anywhere in that list! We like Universal too, although the angst in the air is a bit much.

  38. I've visited Paramounts' Kings Dominion and Busch Gardens Williamsburg. I love Apollo's Chariot, and when I was little, I almost flew off the Grizzly. Good times! I really want to go to the Hogwarts Theme Park at Universal. One of these days.

  39. I've not been to any of those, but I do love roller coasters. Huzzah for RF!

  40. Hi, L. Diane....

    FUN list. I am not a ROLLER COASTER type person because sadly I get motion sickness... HOWEVER, I LOVE theme parks and have been to a few on your list.

    I am a HUGE ORLANDO fan and frequent Universal/Islands of Adventure and Disney... I also greatly enjoyed boing back to Busch Gardens in Tampa a few years ago. Hope to get back there soon....

    Congrats to Bish.... such fun hop!

  41. I used to really enjoy roller coasters and then one trip to an amusement park made me realize that all the coasters felt the same. Sure some lasted longer than others and all the twists and curves were different, but after I'd ridden a coaster once, I'd lost the desire to ever ride it again. When I was younger, I'd stand in the same line over and over to ride a coaster. After a few years a staying away from them, I tried again only to realize that the sensation was the same. :(
    I'm glad that you enjoy them and hope you do so for a long time. I miss them.

  42. I used to love roller coasters! Now . . . I still like them, but I've developed fear o_O lol

    Love this list ;)

  43. Wow, you remind me of my first coaster ride. I was told I was chicken. Yes, it ruffled my feathers and the only way to cure that was to climb on a coaster. The last one looks amazing, but so tall. Yikes, I still get scared, but once in awhile you just need to face it and gooooooo-oh!

  44. Wow. You've been to a ton! Fun idea for a list.

  45. I love Universal Studios!! So much fun!
    I visited Magic Mountain once and tried out their old rattler at the time. I think the ride shook the bones from my body. Yay for new modern roller coasters.

  46. Hi Diane - I wanted to read this list and eventually got here. I've always not enjoyed roller coasters ... I manage the baby ones with my god-daughter aged 5 or 6 - that was enough! It's great you enjoy them so much .. a fun read and listing .. cheers Hilary