402! Another personal milestone broken!

Hello. My name is Ryan. And I'm a ride-aholic.
For my regular readers, you know that last week's trip involved a lot of amusement parks. I knew it would happen on the trip, just not when - I have broke the 400 count mark for number of different roller coasters I've been on!
I wish I knew where to put my blame for my love of roller coasters. I claim to have four hobbies in my life: card collecting, photography, travel, and riding roller coasters and other amusement rides. I love the thrill and I haven't really met a coaster that really scared me. That is, when I finally started riding them!
As a child, I was scared to death of rides. I remember really wanting to go to Great America, near my home in Santa Clara, every summer. But I never really rode many of the rides. Instead, I spent my time climbing on the jungle gym-type of play areas. Of course, I eventually outgrew those.

After moving to Georgia when I was 13, I returned to California and spent a day at Great America with my childhood friend. Eventually it came time to ride a roller coaster, and we jumped on Greased Lightnin', a coaster that shot forward through a loop, up a spike, and back down through the loop. I was really nervous but I didn't want to seem like a wimp so I braved the ride. That's a lie - I had an absolute blast.
We walked around the park riding several more rides, including the somewhat-new Vortex stand-up coaster (one of my favorites). Of course, I was hooked, and when I returned to Atlanta I had to go to Six Flags. That started my lifelong love of coasters.

I returned to California frequently as a teenager, and always made a pilgrimage to Great America and later Six Flags Discovery Kingdom to ride those rides. I was a Six Flags season pass holder in high school, and drove out to the park in Georgia several times a year once I got my license. I worked at the park for two summers after graduating high school.
I've spent the past twenty years of my life traveling around America and parts of the world, and I've made it a point to visit as many amusement parks as possible. When I went to Europe for a couple weeks in 2002, about half my time was spent at parks in several different countries. Almost all of my vacations in America were spent somewhere I could experience new amusement parks. One of my big reasons (not the biggest) for coming to Japan was the abundance of roller coasters.

Since arriving in Japan six months ago, I've done what I can to get to theme parks. I've made only a small dent in the country's offerings, and I haven't even been on all of Tokyo's offerings yet! I've been on 38 of Japan's coasters, but the "important" ones are out of the way - I conquered Fuji-Q in April.
But one of my goals was to ride over 400 coasters. When I set that goal, Japan was just a country on the other side of the world and I was stuck around 200 coasters. It had taken me at least 15 years to get that far, and I thought it would be another 15 before I doubled that number. But in the past couple years, I have had some extraordinary opportunities and my coaster count grew by leaps and bounds.

But 400 was still a little ways away. With summer in Tokyo comes crowds, and I had put riding in the region on hold for other important things anyway. My trip to Taiwan was coming up, though! I left Tokyo two weeks ago at 387 unique coasters. By the end of the trip, I had been on 15 more. 402!
There was no ceremony. I didn't even think about it at the time. Coaster 400 happened at E-Da World, on a little dark ride nestled in the building. The coaster really is called Dark Ride, in English. It can be seen in the picture above, as it comes out of the dark to go up the hill back into the station. I'm glad I took this shot, otherwise I wouldn't have any photos of a milestone ride, as small as it is.

I discovered long after my riding mission began that the coaster community loved to count coasters. In the past, I just remembered that I had been to such-and-such park and liked such-and-such coaster. But a few years ago I came across a website called Coaster Fanatics (it still exists, though it hasn't been updated in nearly two years) which I started using to track my ride counts. Since Coaster Fanatics isn't updated anymore (and doesn't include any Taiwanese parks), I found a replacement just today - Coaster-Count. It's maintained by people connected to RCDB, probably the most-respected coaster database in existence. And you can visit it by clicking on the banner below, which will also let you see an up-to-date count and list of my coasters.

Looking at the rankings, I'm 222nd in my coaster count. I'm not trying to be the best of course. But with the reaching of one goal I have to set another. I would like to reach 500 coasters before leaving Asia. A tough task, for sure, but there are 217 operating coasters in Japan alone, of which I've been on only 38. China has nearly 600 working coasters! By the way, I'm at 402 if I count all coaster types, while removing those which some might not considered coasters puts me at 387. For simplicity, I use the big number.

I'm not just interested in roller coasters. I love all kinds of thrill rides, but there is no way to really keep track of the other kinds of rides (normally called flat rides). In fact, my favorite rides are mostly non-coaster rides.

I'm not sure where my next coaster trip will be, though I am hoping to take a short trip to Osaka next month!

Until then...


  1. Congrats, Ryan, on reaching this big milestone! Keep on coasting...

  2. That's only about 390 more than me. Nice going.

  3. I've never thought about coasters in Japan. Not that they shouldn't have them, I just never thought about them.

    Come to Dollywood. There are more curves there than most other places in Tennessee. And some good coasters.