Which wooden roller coaster is the largest in the world?

Tourist Attractions

By Kristy Tolley

The World of Wooden Roller Coasters

Wooden roller coasters hold a special place in the hearts of amusement park enthusiasts. Unlike their steel counterparts, they offer a raw, visceral experience that harkens back to the early days of thrill rides. The sound of the tracks, the creaking of the wood, the feeling of being thrown around at high speeds – all of these elements combine to create a unique and unforgettable experience.

Over the years, wooden coasters have evolved and grown in size, with designers pushing the limits of what’s possible. Today, we take a closer look at the largest wooden roller coaster in the world, and explore what makes it so special.

The Criteria for Determining Size

When it comes to determining the size of a roller coaster, there are a few different factors that come into play. One of the most important is the length of the track. This is measured in feet or meters, and takes into account all of the twists, turns, drops, and other elements that make up the coaster.

Another important factor is the height of the coaster. This is measured in feet or meters, and refers to the highest point of the coaster. The drop height is also important – this is the vertical distance from the highest point to the lowest point of the coaster. Finally, the speed of the coaster is also a key factor in determining its size, as faster coasters require more track length to accommodate their speed.

The Current Record Holder: Voyage

As of 2021, the largest wooden roller coaster in the world is Voyage, located at Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari in Santa Claus, Indiana, USA. This coaster was designed by The Gravity Group and opened in 2006.

Voyage measures 6,442 feet (1,964 meters) in length, with a maximum height of 159 feet (48 meters) and a drop height of 154 feet (47 meters). The coaster reaches a top speed of 67.4 mph (108.5 km/h) and features three separate sections of track, each with its own unique elements.

Voyage at Holiday World: At a Glance

Voyage at Holiday World is a wooden roller coaster that offers an intense and thrilling ride experience. Riders are taken on a journey through the woods, with multiple drops, twists, turns, and tunnels along the way. The coaster is designed to feel fast and out-of-control, with moments of airtime that will leave riders feeling weightless.

One of the most striking elements of Voyage is its use of underground tunnels. These elements are not only visually impressive, but also serve to enhance the ride experience by creating a sense of speed and disorientation. The coaster also features multiple moments of extreme banking, which add to the sensation of being thrown around at high speeds.

The Elements that Make Voyage Unique

What sets Voyage apart from other wooden coasters is its use of terrain. The coaster is built on a hillside, and designers took advantage of the natural topography to create a ride that feels like it’s part of the landscape. This means that the coaster features multiple moments of elevation change, with drops that follow the contours of the land.

Another unique element of Voyage is its use of wooden supports. Rather than using traditional steel supports, the coaster features wooden beams that are notched and stacked together. This gives the coaster a more organic, natural feel, and helps to create the illusion that the ride is a part of the surrounding woods.

Other Giant Wooden Coasters Worth Mentioning

While Voyage is currently the largest wooden roller coaster in the world, there are other coasters that come close to matching its size and intensity. Some of these include:

  • Beast at Kings Island (Ohio, USA): Measuring 7,359 feet (2,243 meters) in length, Beast was once the largest wooden coaster in the world. It features multiple drops, helices, and tunnels, and remains a fan favorite to this day.

  • Colossos at Heide Park (Germany): Colossos was once the tallest and fastest wooden coaster in the world, with a height of 197 feet (60 meters) and a top speed of 73 mph (117 km/h). It has since been closed for renovation, but is set to reopen in 2021.

  • El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure (New Jersey, USA): El Toro is known for its steep drop angle (76 degrees) and intense airtime. It measures 4,400 feet (1,340 meters) in length and reaches a top speed of 70 mph (113 km/h).

The Top 10 Giant Wooden Roller Coasters

For those looking to ride the largest and most intense wooden coasters in the world, here are the top 10 based on track length:

  1. Voyage at Holiday World (Indiana, USA) – 6,442 feet (1,964 meters)
  2. Beast at Kings Island (Ohio, USA) – 7,359 feet (2,243 meters)
  3. White Cyclone at Nagashima Spa Land (Japan) – 6,561 feet (1,999 meters)
  4. Colossos at Heide Park (Germany) – 4,288 feet (1,307 meters)
  5. El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure (New Jersey, USA) – 4,400 feet (1,340 meters)
  6. T Express at Everland (South Korea) – 5,838 feet (1,779 meters)
  7. Phoenix at Knoebels Amusement Resort (Pennsylvania, USA) – 3,200 feet (975 meters)
  8. Boulder Dash at Lake Compounce (Connecticut, USA) – 4,672 feet (1,424 meters)
  9. Outlaw Run at Silver Dollar City (Missouri, USA) – 2,937 feet (895 meters)
  10. Goliath at Six Flags Great America (Illinois, USA) – 3,100 feet (945 meters)

The Challenges of Maintaining Large Wooden Coasters

Maintaining a large wooden coaster is a daunting task, as these rides require constant upkeep and attention to ensure they remain safe and functional. One of the biggest challenges is keeping the wooden track in good condition, as wood is prone to warping, cracking, and rotting over time.

Designers and engineers must also consider the forces that the coaster places on the wooden structure, and make sure that all of the supports and connections are able to withstand these forces without breaking or failing. This requires regular inspections, testing, and maintenance, as well as the occasional repair or replacement of worn-out components.

The Future of Wooden Roller Coasters

While wooden coasters may not be as popular as they once were, there is still a demand for these classic rides. Many designers and park operators are looking for ways to innovate and evolve the wooden coaster experience, while still maintaining the raw intensity that makes these rides so special.

Some of the emerging trends in wooden coaster design include the use of hybrid elements (combining wood and steel), the incorporation of high-tech features like virtual reality and on-board audio, and the use of more sustainable and durable materials. These changes are aimed at improving the ride experience and making wooden coasters more appealing to a wider audience.

As technology continues to advance, designers are finding new ways to push the boundaries of what’s possible with roller coasters. Some of the emerging trends in coaster design include:

  • Trackless coasters: These rides use advanced technology to create the illusion of a free-floating coaster car, without the need for a physical track.

  • Multi-dimensional coasters: These rides feature cars that can rotate or flip, adding a new level of excitement and unpredictability to the ride experience.

  • Launch coasters: Instead of relying on gravity to propel the coaster, launch coasters use powerful motors to accelerate the car to high speeds.

  • Flying coasters: These rides suspend riders face-down, creating the sensation of flying through the air.

  • Dive coasters: These rides feature a vertical drop that takes riders straight down, often into a tunnel or other elaborate element.

Tips for Riding the Largest Wooden Coasters

If you’re planning to ride a large wooden coaster like Voyage, there are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, be prepared for a rough and intense ride. Wooden coasters are known for their bumpy and jarring track, and you’ll want to make sure you’re securely fastened in your seat.

Secondly, be aware of the forces that the coaster will place on your body. You’ll experience moments of extreme G-forces, which can cause you to feel weightless or pinned to your seat. Make sure you’re in good physical shape and are comfortable with these sensations before hopping on the coaster.

Finally, take a moment to appreciate the ride itself. Wooden coasters offer a unique and thrilling experience that can’t be found on any other type of ride. Enjoy the sound of the wood, the feeling of the wind rushing past you, and the adrenaline rush that comes with each twist and turn.

Conclusion: The Thrill of the Ride and the Love for Wood

Wooden roller coasters may not be the fastest or most high-tech rides out there, but they continue to capture the hearts and imaginations of amusement park enthusiasts around the world. From the record-breaking Voyage to the classic Beast, these rides offer a unique and unforgettable experience that can’t be found anywhere else.

So if you’re looking for a thrill ride that combines raw intensity, natural beauty, and a touch of nostalgia, hop on a wooden coaster and enjoy the ride. You won’t be disappointed.

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Kristy Tolley

Kristy Tolley, an accomplished editor at TravelAsker, boasts a rich background in travel content creation. Before TravelAsker, she led editorial efforts at Red Ventures Puerto Rico, shaping content for Platea English. Kristy's extensive two-decade career spans writing and editing travel topics, from destinations to road trips. Her passion for travel and storytelling inspire readers to embark on their own journeys.

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