(CNN) – For the hard-core amusement park crowd, nothing satisfies like a good roller coaster. Long drops, high speed, lots of airtime, and adrenaline rushes are what they crave. The only thing that can top a great roller coaster is a bunch of them in one place.
Impressive collections can be found in many parts of the world, but which park currently holds more roller coasters than any other?
You might think with good reason it would be in a burgeoning Asian market. But the distinction belongs to a park about 35 miles (56 kilometers) northwest of downtown Los Angeles that has been around for decades.
Martin Lewison, an associate professor of business management at Farmingdale State College on Long Island, New York, is big on Magic Mountain’s collection. Known as “
Professor Roller Coaster
,” he’s ridden around 2,260 of them worldwide. So he knows his stuff.
“I think there are a lot of great rides at Six Flags Magic Mountain,” he told CNN Travel recently. The park “has definitely tried to be a cutting-edge leader and pushing the envelope in terms of what kinds of coasters it builds. And it has a really good eclectic mix of rides. ... I would say that it ticks both boxes, doing well in quantity and quality.”
How Magic Mountain climbed to the top
There are currently 27 parks under the Six Flags umbrella. How did Magic Mountain beat out the others in the chain, much less other parks all over the world?
“For a number of years, there definitely was a tit-for-tat where each theme park tried to build one more coaster to get ahead of the other,” Lewison said. “But there are some other more fundamental reasons for why Six Flags Magic Mountain has so many roller coasters.”
Location, prosperity, and weather all played roles, he said.
“A large theme park is more likely to thrive in an area that’s highly economically developed. Right? And if you're talking about Southern California, you’re talking about probably one of the most prosperous regional economies in the world.”
Then there”s Southern California’s weather – warm and sunny most of the year. A longer season means more revenue, Lewison said. A park in more wintry climes simply can't stay open as many days and finds it harder to compete.
Finally, rivalry with Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, and others have kept Magic Mountain and all the Southern California parks on their competitive toes for decades, he said.
The quantity competition is fierce.
Cedar Point in Ohio
sports 18 coasters, for instance. And a relative newcomer to the amusement park world is breathing on both their necks.
Ready to ride? Strap in for quick looks all 20 coasters at Magic Mountain. The statistics on height, length, speed and year opened come from the RCDB. The thrill levels and descriptions come from Magic Mountain.
This runaway mine train coaster pays homage to California's gold frenzy has been with the amusement park since opening day. (The park opened as Magic Mountain 1971 and was owned by Newhall Land and Farming Company; Six Flags took over in 1979.)
Lewison likes the classic mine-train rides and says this is a great one for the whole family. It's a great coaster for kids making their first steps toward more daring coasters, he said.
“Over the years, they’ve gotten a bit rough, but they’re just so much fun. They’re fast, they’re twisty.”
Even though the height of this hypercoaster is 235 feet, it actually features a 255-foot drop thanks to an underground tunnel. This steel monster features moments of weightlessness and forces of 4.5 G's. Lewison said it’s one of favorites.
“This kind of roller coaster has no inversions, so you don't go upside down. But it has really big drops, lots of airtime. A ride like Goliath is really exciting.”
This gentle coaster for the kids, which has seen various names and themes over the decades, has been with the park since the beginning.
No coaster is too small to pique Lewison’s interest – but the Magic Flyer remains evasive. “I'm still waiting to meet the person that I have to bribe to ride the children's roller coaster known as Magic Flyer.”
The coaster accelerates from 0 to 100 mph in just seconds and features 6.5 seconds of weightlessness. While the height of the structure is 415 feet, the drop is 328 feet.
“It’s really unique,” Lewison said. “And there are two sides. So it does like a racing thing or, you know, they shoot together. It sounds like a jet engine taking off when that thing launches. And that's just a fun ride to watch and even better to experience.”
You have your wood coasters. You have your steel coasters. And then your have hybrids like Twisted Colossus, which has both. This is the favorite SFMM coaster of the YouTube channel
World of Immersion
This racing coaster features two side-by-side tracks with four individual, high-speed, magnetic launches and 14 track crossovers.
This newcomer is another Lewison favorite: “You’re racing another car, but you’re in fact on the same track. And those tracks are definitely playing with each other, like racing each other. And that’s a really exciting thing. Any kind of racing coaster is a lot of fun.”
While shaving off points for lackluster theming and general upkeep at Magic Mountain, YouTube channel
World of Immersion
said West Coast Racers and other top coasters still make it a must for coaster junkies.