The Selling Feature: Rocky Mountain Construction is familiar with building airtime hills - in fact, the majority of their coasters have more airtime hills in them than any other coaster in the park! However, Storm Chaser's airtime hills will exceed the size of an airtime hill on the average RMC coaster - Storm Chaser will have extreme airtime hills, larger than the medium size that produces a fun pop of air. Judging by the tall, parabolic hills with a sharp cresting angle, riders should be able to expect an extreme airtime experience, much like the famed airtime hills found on El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure.
#4 A vicious vertical drop served up by Valravn (Cedar Point, Sandusky, OH)
The Selling Feature: I could say the best feature is the 90 degree drop that takes passengers down 200 feet, but in the amusement industry these days, that's typical. The thing about Valravn is that it isn't that special of a layout or ride - it's how it will be themed and executed that makes this coaster special. Through the years, Cedar Fair has proved themselves by making their new attractions sleek, comfortable, and overall good ride experiences (for example Banshee in 2014 and recently Fury 325 in 2015), and I have no doubt Valravn will be a fun ride as well. Cedar Fair's current trend is to perfect a type of ride, and in this case it is the dive coaster. While the layout is not innovative, the new styled trains with vest restraints will provide riders with a better ride experience, thus enhancing the actual ride. Also, the progression of elements looks to fit right in with a clear two act show; the first act featuring majestic elements such as the largest drop and a massive dive loop, and the second act incorporating smaller, yet more interesting elements to expand on the ideas already presented to riders in the first act. I would say the last two inversions and the airtime hill will be the showstopper elements, with the most thrill present in this area - riders will face another dive loop, then glide through a slowly inverting barrel roll maneuver, and lastly thrust over a quick hill that will (hopefully!) provide some airtime before the slide into the brakes.
#3 Lofty air hills and a glass smooth ride on Mako (Sea World Orlando, Orlando, FL)
The Selling Feature: Just like Valravn, since the layout of Mako does not exceed the norm of hyper coasters, there is something more to this ride that makes it land at spot three. Yes, the drop and hills will be fun, but most likely not something to write home about. However, I do think that aboard sleek trains, and the backdrop of the lake, as well as Sea World's dedication to theming, Mako's experience will be elevated upon. The layout is solid, and should be ready to deliver thrills not found anywhere else in the park, such as a spectacular, long lasting night ride filled with ups and downs as well as twisting dives found in the second half of the layout.
#2 The Joker's maniacal twists, turns, and loops (Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, San Diego, CA)
The Selling Feature: The drop. It's only 100 feet tall, but it holds a fine crest angle and a slight right turn to it, which will have riders in the back rows of the train being whipped over the peak and suddenly yanked to the right - a dual thrill experience. This twisting type of drop is very reminiscent of the one found on Expedition GeForce in Germany, which happens to be one of the most hyped rides in the roller coaster community, mostly made famous for its first drop and airtime hills, something that the Joker both has.
#1 The slick hot rod vehicles that whisk riders away into the forests on Lighting Rod (Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, TN)
The Selling Feature: Well, this one is tough . . . it's almost too hard to decide for a coaster like this that looks to have a perfect layout with a dozen thrilling elements, but if I had to say, the elements that seem to be the best would be the launch and the quadruple down maneuver. The launch is a given, as this is the first wood coaster to launch, but it doesn't appear to be gimmicky. The launch's incline and top speed of 45 miles per hour should provide a thrill; it's the right way to start off the coaster - smoothly accelerating into the sky and inevitably diving into the forests of Dollywood. Now, the quadruple down airtime element comes into play in the second half of the layout and marks the change from the larger, showy elements to the true, climactic thrill of the ride. At this point, the coaster becomes more aggressive, as it charges at full speed and the elements draw slightly smaller, meaning more force and more thrill for the riders. Terrific airtime will follow as the train starts to make its way back to the front of the hill where the coaster is situated upon. With great speed, four drops in quick, rapid succession will leave riders breathless as they coast each hill and find a burst of air present. RMC is known for placing countless airtime moments on their coasters, but with this element, they have created an airtime thrill like none other.
Well, that wraps up my take on the top five roller coasters for 2016, but what do you think will be the best thrill of 2016? Vote in the poll below for the coaster you would most like to ride in 2016!