In the hyperbolic battle for the self-proclaimed title of "Roller Coaster Capital of the World," Six Flags Magic Mountain will jump out to a seemingly insurmountable lead this summer as rival Cedar Point continues to fade in the race for amusement park supremacy.
The Valencia, Calif., and Sandusky, Ohio, parks have fought for decades over the grandiose title bestowed on the park with the most coasters. The current score: Magic Mountain 19 and Cedar Point 16 (or 17, depending on who's counting).
Speedy Gonzales Hot Rod Racers, a 14-foot-tall Zamperla kiddie coaster with a top speed of 14 mph, won't quicken the pulse of any ride enthusiasts -- but it will count as Magic Mountain's 19th coaster.
"Introducing our 19th coaster this year clearly establishes Six Flags Magic Mountain as the thrill capital of the world," says Six Flags Magic Mountain President Bonnie Rabjohn.
Cedar Point's 2014 addition, a Zamperla Disk'o dubbed Pipe Scream that travels along a halfpipe track, won't be classified as a coaster by Roller Coaster Database, keeping the official count at 16. As you might expect, Cedar Point sees things differently and will count Pipe Scream as the park's 17th coaster.
"We've got the best rides in the world and we like to say we're the roller coaster capital of the world," says Cedar Point spokesman Bryan Edwards.
The coaster crown has bounced back and forth between Valencia and Sandusky ever since Magic Mountain snatched the laurels from Cedar Point around the turn of the millennium after adding a coaster per year during a building binge that stretched from 1997 to 2003. Cedar Point retook the prize in 2008 following the removal of two Magic Mountain coasters. A brief tie in the neck-and-neck race was broken in 2011 when the Six Flags park added the Green Lantern vertical coaster.
If recent history is any indicator, the pendulum isn't likely to swing back toward the park on Lake Erie known as "America's Roller Coast" anytime soon. Over the last decade, Magic Mountain has built triple the number of coasters as Cedar Point, according to the RCDB.
In fact, Cedar Point could drop to third place this summer if the new dark ride-coaster combo debuting at Canada's Wonderland qualifies as a roller coaster. The RCDB, the official arbiter of the debate, is waiting to see if Wonder Mountain's Guardian includes any drops, which would make it the Canadian park's 17th coaster.
Other contenders are also nipping at Cedar Point's heels, with Kings Island adding its 14th coaster this summer and Carowinds expected to do the same as early as 2015. Kings Dominion is also sitting on 14, with speculation starting to build about a 15th coaster in 2015.
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