Between Disneyland, Six Flags, SeaWorld, Knott’s Berry Farm and Universal Studios, California has some of the best roller coasters and thrill rides in the world.

Each theme park you visit likely has its own unique attractions and experiences for families and park-goers looking for a day of lighthearted fun. But if you’re a thrill-seeker who craves quick acceleration, stomach-churning drops and loops, you have plenty of rides to choose from as well.

KTLA wanted to know: Which is the best thrill ride or roller coaster in California?

We posted a poll on social media and asked our audience to chime in.

Out of 750 people who voted for their favorites, here are the top five:

5. Twisted Colossus (Six Flags Magic Mountain)

Twisted Colossus (Six Flags Magic Mountain)
Twisted Colossus at Six Flags Magic Mountain seen in this undated photo (Six Flags)

The crown jewel of Magic Mountain, Twisted Colossus took the place of the legendary Colossus coaster that put Six Flags on the map. Colossus was, at the time of its debut, the tallest and longest wooden roller coaster in the world.

The original coaster closed down in 2014, caught fire, and was replaced with Twisted Colossus. The new coaster features much of the original coaster it replaced, but now includes both steel and wood in its design.

According to Six Flags, it’s the “longest, most innovative hybrid coaster in the world.”

The theme park says Twisted Colossus offers the best of both worlds and calls it a “modern marvel” of roller coaster history.

4. The Incredicoaster (Disney California Adventure)

Riders take on the Incredicoaster at Disney California Adventure Park in this undated photo (Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort)
Riders take on the Incredicoaster at Disney California Adventure Park in this undated photo (Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort)

One of the newer coasters on our list, the Incredicoaster debuted in its current theme in June 2018 and introduced Disney California Adventure visitors to the Parr family, aka, the Incredibles.

Originally opened to the public in 2001 as California Screamin’, the Incredicoaster launches riders at a speed of 55 mph from a complete standstill.

It’s the only ride at Disneyland Resort that features a full loop, and the thrilling ride is accompanied by performances from the original voice cast of “The Incredibles,” as well as an original score by the composer Michael Giacchino, who also composed music for “Incredibles 2.”

If you’re looking to ride, keep in mind that some nights the attraction closes early for California Adventure’s famed World of Color water show.

3. X2 (Six Flags Magic Mountain)

X2 at Six Flags Magic Mountain. (Six Flags)
X2 at Six Flags Magic Mountain. (Six Flags)

If thrill is what you’re seeking, perhaps no ride on the list offers more excitement than X2.

Considered a “Maximum” on Magic Mountain’s thrill-meter, X2 features 360-degree rotating seats and head-first, face down drops.

The ride goes up 200 feet in the air and careens down the rails at over 75 mph through twists, flips and half loops.

The ride is so extreme that all loose items, including phones, hats and purses, are required to be left in a locker with a non-rider.

2. GhostRider (Knott’s Berry Farm)

Riders brave GhostRider at Knott's Berry Farm (Knott's Berry Farm)
Riders brave GhostRider at Knott’s Berry Farm (Knott’s Berry Farm)

Wooden roller coasters are in many ways a relic from the past, but they’re also an unmistakable part of theme park history. Perhaps no coaster represents that fusion of new and old better than GhostRider at Knott’s.

GhostRider is the longest, tallest, and fastest wooden roller coaster on the West Coast, according to Knott’s Berry Farm’s website. It stands at a towering 118 feet over the Ghost Town section of the park and is the largest attraction at what is an impressive array of ride offerings at the Buena Park theme park.

The ride is themed after a mining expedition with 14 hills and a max speed of 56 mph. The track is 4,533 feet and the ride lasts for nearly three minutes of thrills.

“Knott’s Berry Farm has been providing fun for the whole family for decades, and GhostRider, the longest, fastest and tallest wooden roller coaster on the West Coast, plays a huge part in that,” said Kristen Saldivar, spokesperson for Knott’s.

GhostRider came just shy of eclipsing Space Mountain with 29.4% of the vote.

1. Space Mountain (Disneyland)

Space Mountain is seen from the exterior at Disneyland in this undated photo (Disneyland Resort)
Space Mountain is seen from the exterior at Disneyland in this undated photo (Disneyland Resort)

Disneyland is as California as it gets, and it should come as no surprise that its most thrilling ride tops our list.

“Space Mountain is a thrilling, high-speed, turbulent, roller coaster-type ride in the dark that includes sharp turns, sudden drops and stops.”

If you’ve ever waited for a prolonged period to ride our No. 1 roller coaster, you know those words well.

Space Mountain takes riders through “a vast futuristic space station” in a sleek flight vehicle that makes you feel like you’re truly flying through space.

The ride is fully enclosed inside an iconic futuristic structure and features thousands of flickering lights, projections and an original composition by the aforementioned Giacchino that is arguably as recognizable as the ride itself — although we love the Dick Dale version, too.

“As you hurtle forward into infinite darkness, your rocket darts and twists in the void, speeding faster and faster. Feel the g-force as you careen into the unknown,” reads the ride’s description on the Disneyland website.

Space Mountain was the top vote-getter with 30.4% of users picking it as a favorite.


Don’t see your favorite ride listed? Here’s a breakdown of all the rides that made our list – we can only assume that Peter Pan’s Flight is included in the ‘Other’ section.

(Users were allowed to vote for multiple rides.)

What’s your favorite thrill ride or roller coaster in California?% of voters
1Space Mountain (Disneyland)30.4%
2GhostRider (Knott’s Berry Farm)29.4%
3X2 (Six Flags Magic Mountain)25.9%
4The Incredicoaster (Disney California Adventure)23.6%
5Twisted Colossus (Six Flags Magic Mountain)23.2%
6Tatsu (Six Flags Magic Mountain)22.5%
7Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout! (Disney California Adventure)19.5%
8Goliath (Six Flags Magic Mountain)19.1%
9HangTime (Knott’s Berry Farm)15.1%
10Full Throttle (Six Flags Magic Mountain)12.1%
11Wonder Woman Flight of Courage (Six Flags Magic Mountain)5.8%
12Other5%
13Manta (SeaWorld)3.3%
14Batman: The Ride (Six Flags Discovery Kingdom)2.4%
15Superman: Ultimate Flight (Six Flags Discovery Kingdom)1.9%
16Medusa (Six Flags Discovery Kingdom)1.3%
17RailBlazer (California’s Great America)1.2%
18Flight Deck (California’s Great America)0.9%
19Gold Striker (California’s Great America)0.8%