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Roller Coaster Capital: Cedar Point or Magic Mountain?

July 27, 2011|By Brady MacDonald | Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Wicked Twister (Cedar Point) versus Deja Vu (Six Flags Magic Mountain) - The open-ended inverted shuttle coasters were built a year apart by different manufacturers just after the turn of the millennium. While the ubiquitous boomerang design of Deja Vu can be found at numerous parks, the double-twisting U-shaped Wicked Twister is much rarer and more interesting. Winner: Wicked Twister. Score: Magic Mountain leads 6-5.

Top Thrill Dragster (Cedar Point) versus Superman: Escape from Krypton (Six Flags Magic Mountain) - The vastly different Intamin launch coasters, built a few years apart, share two similarities: Both top 400 feet and 100 mph. But as any Cedar Point fan will tell you, Top Thrill Dragster is a little taller and a lot faster. Winner: Top Thrill Dragster. Score: Tied, 6-6.

Wildcat (Cedar Point) versus Canyon Blaster (Six Flags Magic Mountain) - Neither of these standard-issue family coasters, built two decades apart by different manufacturers, will quicken the pulse of any die-hard ride enthusiast. Magic Mountain actually had a similar Schwarzkopf-built coaster called Mountain Express that it removed in the early 1980s. But that was yesterday. The off-the-shelf wild mouse-style Wildcat is taller, longer and faster than Canyon Blaster. Winner: Wildcat. Score: Cedar Point moves ahead 7-6.

Millennium Force (Cedar Point) versus X2 (Six Flags Magic Mountain) - While unconventional, this showdown pits Cedar Point's top coaster against Magic Mountain's best. Each ride is unique. Both were built around the same time just after the new millennium by different manufacturers. While the Millennium Force giga coaster is taller, longer and faster, the fourth-dimension X2 with 360-degree rotating seats is more revolutionary. Winner: X2. Score: Tied, 7-7.

Maverick (Cedar Point) versus Green Lantern: First Flight (Six Flags Magic Mountain) - In another unusual match-up, these Intamin-built rides face off in a battle between each park's newest coaster. While both rides are about the same height (100 feet), Maverick is twice as fast and five times as long. On the other hand, the vertical Green Lantern gives Magic Mountain two cutting-edge, fourth-dimension coasters -- twice as many as any park in the world (and 100% more than Cedar Point). Winner: Maverick. Score: Cedar Point pulls out in front, 8-7.

> Unrelated Coasters

Blue Streak (Cedar Point) versus Viper (Six Flags Magic Mountain) - The final two contests match coasters that have no similarities. But what can you do? In a head-to-head competition, I'd take the classic 1964 Philadelphia Toboggan-built wooden Blue Streak over the dated 1990 looping and corkscrewing steel Viper any day. Winner: Blue Streak. Score: Cedar Point up, 9-7.

Disaster Transport (Cedar Point) versus Scream (Six Flags Magic Mountain) - In the 1980s, Magic Mountain briefly had a steel toboggan coaster called Sarajevo Bobsleds, built by the same manufacturer. While Magic Mountain wisely realized the error of its ways, Cedar Point tried to literally cover up the problem by enclosing its puttering bobsled coaster and adding an aptly appropriate disaster theme. That means my nod goes to the parking-lot-themed, floorless Scream coaster, which was built so quickly in 2003 that Magic Mountain famously refused to even paint over the parking spaces on the pavement below. Winner: Scream. Score: Cedar Point holds onto the lead, 9-8.

Tatsu (Six Flags Magic Mountain) - With one more coaster, the final round naturally goes to Magic Mountain. The flying Tatsu coaster, Japanese for "flying beast," would be hard to beat anyway, with its 124-foot-tall pretzel loop and 103-foot-tall corkscrew. Winner by default: Tatsu. Final score: Tied, 9-9.

It certainly doesn't get any closer than that – a hopelessly knotted tie. Clearly, one match-up could have changed the outcome.

To break the draw, Cedar Point fans can argue that their park has a more picturesque waterfront locale and a richer coaster history stretching back to the 1892 Switchback Railway.

But Magic Mountain can point to the cold, hard numbers: 35 inversions, 13 more than any other park in the world and 23 more than Cedar Point. And of course, the most important number of all: 18 coasters, one more than Cedar Point.

We'll just have to wait for the next coaster to sever the deadlock.

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