SFGA or Canada's Wonderland - Help me pick

Hello All,

I haven't posted in a long time because I thought my coaster riding days were over. After several years of nerves being burned off coming from my spine and numbing agents, I strengthened my core and am ready to venture back into my love of coasters.

I plan on going to Cedar Point, has been over 8 years, during the first week or two of opening. That one is set in stone. But I also saved for another park trip. I will be driving from the Detroit area and am going solo. The other park I first planned on was SF Great Adventure. However, recently I have been looking at Wonderland and see some coasters I really would love to try. I'm torn between the two, SFGA and Wonderland, and having a hard time picking. Some thought breakdown is below.

Dragster and KK - I have been on Dragster but never on KK. I don't see this being that big of an issue as the rides are very similar. Does the extra height and hill on KK make it that much better than Dragster?

Wonderland has two amazing looking coasters in the +200' cat, their hyper vs SFs Nitro but SFGA doesn't have a Leviathan type coaster which looks amazing in video. Wonderland seems to have the advantage here.

Superman Ultimate Flight is a question mark for me. The only flyer I have ever been on was X-Flight at the defunct SF Ohio/GL. I wasn't all that impressed with X-Flight and thought flyers seemed very limited just from the nature of the position you are in. I could be way wrong on and maybe I should give a newer flyer a chance to wow me?

El Toro seem to be in a class of it's own and I don't see any woodie at Wonderland coming near this one. I also have never been on an Intamin wood coaster.

Neither SFGA or Wonderland have a RMC so this point is mute. Wonderland does have the highly anticipated Youkon Striker opening but will Valraven be good enough to cancel YS out? Discuss.

I hate stand-up rollercoasters and saw them as a gimmick for the time when Mantis opened. I love flourless coasters but have already been on CPs version when it was Mantis. Bizarro looks rather interesting and fun to me. Of course I will still go on Green Lantern as even my most disliked style of coaster is still worth trying and the track credit.

Batman vs Raptor doesn't look like much of a contest. I also didn't see anything that looked in Raptor's league from Wonderland and to a lesser extent, Batman at SFGA.

The Joker or a 4D is a coaster style I have never been on. I can't remember if it was this coaster or not that was closed down for good at SFGA or a different park.

Zumanjaro looks to have all the drop rides beat at Wonderland and CP. One of the scariest style rides for me are the drop towers.

Intangibles - Rides, park atmosphere, things I haven't thought of. Would love to hear people's opinion on this and all other sections I covered.

Food, treats, games, all other subject matter - Which park is better overall with the items I mentioned. Any areas buzzers think of I haven't or thoughts?

NOTE - I probably already know the answer to this but recently received a small GoPro with 1000 different mounting gadgets. Probably not allowed on any of the coasters but I would love to get some footage, safely secured of course, of not the ride in front of me but my reactions or video of me going through each coaster or ride. Anyone have experience with this? Was thinking of using a wrist mount in this situation.

Who better to get opinions on this subject than from the CB community? You all seem to know your stuff rather well.

Tommytheduck's avatar

Is SFGA or CW part of the same CP road trip, or a standalone trip? Your post is unclear in that regard.

In favor of CW:

CW is half the driving distance of SFGA from Detroit. The Ohio and PA turnpike fees will run you over $100 alone. Admission and parking already covered by a Cedar Fair Platinum Pass. The obligatory sidetrip recs: If you're going to CW from CP (unclear) you can stop at Waldameer for a few hours and get Ravine Flyer II. Also directly on that drive route is Fantasy Island (Silver Comet) and Marineland. (May or may not exist in the future, and Dragon Mountain is a MUST RIDE before it gets scrapped.)

In favor of SFGA:

The side trip is the only justification I can give. If you take the northern route to avoid the PA turnpike, you can hit Knoebels. If you do this, budget a minimum half day. You don't want to miss Knoebels. I know "might as well go to Knoebels while you're at it" is a trope here on CB, but in this instance I feel it's justified. Other than that, I cannot think of a reason to choose SFGA.

I did not offer my opinion on ride collections because that's for you to decide. You already seem to have the info you need and turning this into a coaster vs. coaster thread is just other peoples biases.

Good luck.

Last edited by Tommytheduck,

Ahh..Yes, I didn't make that clear. I was thinking of doing both in one trip. However, I might be able to go to SFGA the last couple days of April in a stand alone trip. I was not aware tolls run that much going to SF from Detroit. I could still afford it, just would need to budget a few extras out at the park. I guess the only reason I was leaning towards SF was El Toro, drop ride, and Bizarro. But now I'm thinking Wonderland because I just love multiple large drops on coasters. I'll just combine CP and WL into one road trip. Thanks for the info.

OhioStater's avatar

Do you have (or are you getting) a Platinum Pass?

Promoter of fog.

You know Ohio, I was just looking at that. Looks like I would get into both parks with that pass if I understood everything. Also early ride time sounds way cool. I plan on going to CP at least three more times after this trip. Haven't done the math yet on everything. But who knows, maybe I would go a few more times solo if I did get that pass. Seriously considering it. Family and friends think I'm weird for going alone at all. But I went to Vegas years ago by myself. Best vacation ever. I also was going to open a youtube channel, yet another coaster site, but with my own original twist on it.

OhioStater's avatar

Having been to both parks, the only ride that really sticks out for myself at SFGA (when compared to CW) would be El Toro. That said, CW has a really, really impressive lineup, and you also mentioned overall park atmosphere and food as being qualifying factors; Canada's Wonderland wins both of those easily in my opinion.

As for one ride-specific comparison, Top Thrill Dragster is a superior experience compared to Kingda Ka. Yes, KK is taller and a bit faster, but it also has terrible over-the-shoulder restraints; the freedom of TTD's restraints allows for a much better experience.

The Platinum Pass pays for itself in just 3 park visits, not to mention all the perks it comes with (especially if you stay off-property, early entry is probably worth it alone). Combine that with your plans, and it seems like a no-brainer.

You asked for advice, and I can't even begin to construct an argument for choosing SFGA, unless you had been to CW many times and SFGA would simply be a new experience.

Last edited by OhioStater,

Promoter of fog.

Bobbie1951's avatar

Canada's Wonderland is certainly a lot more magical than Great Adventure although I wasn't really that impressed with the coaster lineup except for Leviathan (which I prefer to Fury 325) and Behemoth. The two woodies struck me as pretty lame. El Toro is probably the best woodie in the world so that's an argument in favour of GADv. As for Nitro, I would rank it as one of the best hypers out there, better than Diamondback or Apollo's Chariot. I'm probably one of the few who prefer Kingda Ka to TTD and it's because of the OTS restraints. I got banged up around the elbows on TTD due to the comparatively minimal restraints. It's a tough call as to which park takes precedence. If Yukon Striker is open in time for your trip - last I heard they were testing the trains and CW has been advertising 1st rides on April 24 - then I say CW all the way. Valravn is good but YK is bound to be much better.


SFGAdv is my second favorite park due to their awesome collection of coasters. While CW might have a few really good coasters, too many of them are horrible. I think the worst coaster at SFGAdv is Joker. CW has an SLC, some flying rat cage, 2 horrible woodies and Behemoth which is very inferior to Nitro. NOTHING at CW beats El Toro.

I agree with much of what Bobbie1951 stated about Canada's Wonderland. It's a nice park but its coaster lineup is just ok (getting better, however). Leviathan is amazing, Behmouth is my favorite B&M Hyper, and Vortex is incredibly fun. Other than that, I did not find the remaining coasters memorable, (many I didn't even find enjoyable although Yukon Striker will certainly be "world class"). Also worth noting, Canada's Wonderland is often uncomfortably crowded. If you can only make it to the park on a Saturday or Sunday, I recommend you not go. We've had some success avoiding large crowds on a rainy Sunday in early May , but more often than not, summer days are insanely and uncomfortably crowded at Canada's Wonderland. I suspect that it'll be even worse this year with the marketing push they've provided for Yukon Striker.

Last edited by urumqi,

tall and fast but not much upside down

Indecision has crept back in. What a couple of you stated was what I was thinking about CW. With YS, it appears they would have three solid coasters. I'm going to CP no matter what so Valraven will be my first drop coaster and I don't think YS is leaps and bounds superior. So I would just be going to CW for two rides that do look rather amazing. SFGA has a wide range of coasters that don't all compare much to CP coasters. I'm debating about going to SFGA next week or the week after. All my trips in the past were always weekday trips in the early part of the season to avoid the larger lines. I'm hoping that is still consistent with how it was before. YouTube videos of SFGA during weekdays in the opening month and half make the park look almost deserted. Okay, I'm back on the SF wagon, for now anyway.

OhioStater's avatar

I would have to agree with Bobbie about Nitro. Having been on my fair share of B&M hypers, there is something about that ride that puts it a notch above the rest.

Aside from the back row of Diamondback. That might be a tie.

At the end of the day, you're probably in a win-win. El Toro is in a class of its own indeed.

The only rule now is that you have to write a trip report after you go on your adventure. :)

Happy to hear that you are back to new coaster adventures after thinking those days were over.

Promoter of fog.

I'm 44 but am feeling like a 24 year old again, eagerly waiting for trip day to come. Might not feel that way after a day of coaster riding but once a coaster addict, always a coaster addict. The last time I went to CP Maverick was the new coaster. I will 100% give trip reports and youtube reviews of SF and CP.

ApolloAndy's avatar

If you're looking for that one singular, unique, transcendent coaster experience, El Toro is it. It is truly the best of the best. If you're looking for a lot of very good to great rides, CW has a better collection. I thought TTD was better than KK, Behemoth is better than Nitro, Leviathan is good in the day and really good at night, Yukon Striker will probably be really good but not that much different from Valravn. CW also has some really interesting flats. I don't think there's much at SFGAdv. other than El Toro that I'd be super interested in. This may be because I had it as my home park for 3 years, but it's a lot of clones.

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

IMO the safari off road adventure is by far the best ride at gradv its the one ride that keeps me going back to the park.

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While I found Behemoth to be awesome when it was brand new, I find it to be one of the more boring B&M hypers out there. Too many trims on it. Nitro is only barely trimmed by the MCBR. When comparing CW's coaster line up to GAdv's line up, there is no comparison. GAdv has really good to excellent coasters while CW has too many horrible ones. On the same trip where I went to Kings Dominion on the Saturday after the 4th of July and waited less than 15 minutes to ride I-305, all day, the following weekend, on the Sunday, CW was so busy I never even got on Leviathan because the entire queue was full. I only managed 1 ride on Behemoth and after marathoning Nitro a few days before, found Behemoth very boring. The 2 days I was at GAdv, I got to sit on El Toro for the last hour of each night. And that was after sitting on Nitro for the hour before that on each night. I've been to GAdv, at least 8 times and I've pretty much done that same ritual every time, even on a Saturday night during Haunt. And they actually encourage you to stay on.

A huge problem with CW is that they have a huge population living nearby but there is no real completion within several hours drive from Toronto.

Thanks for all the opinions. I did notice the numerous trims on Behemoth. Made me think back to when they installed a trim on the first drop of Mantis. Is that trim still used after its conversion? I watched POVs several times but can't hear it or tell if its slowing the train. I guess atmosphere isn't as important as I had thought and my gut was telling me CW was ahead in that area. Your crowd reasoning sounds logical to me and makes sense. For some reason I really want to hit SFGA now. It has been decided and I will give TR when I return. You guys rock!

Winston - one thing that was not mentioned in discussion is your size. that can be a major factor in deciding on where to go. Some newer coasters can be very restrictive. I have not been on El Toro, but have heard that it's not easy to get on.

You did mention going on TTD, so that's means you not too big. Hopefully you haven't gained in the years since your last ride. Myself, I haven't been on coasters for several years and have gained weight since I cannot do anything due to back issues.

I haven't been to SFGAdv, so I can't give a comparison. But I will say that I love visiting CW, even though I agree their coaster lineup is not the greatest. Behemoth, to me, is worth the trip alone! Love that ride! Leviathan is just meh. I love the landscaping/scenery of the park. Of the old Paramount chain, CW was my fav just because of that. I love how the rides interact with the mountain in the center. With YS diving in water and intertwining with Vortex, it should be that much better than Valravn.

Jerry - Magnum Fanatic
Famous Dave's- 206 restaurants - 35 states - 2 countries

Thanks for the look out. I don't have any issues in that area. 5'9" 190lbs.

Last edited by Winston,

Winston, you will be wrong if you don't take a 2 hour detour to Waldameer to ride Ravine Flyer 2 on your to SF Great Adventure.

tall and fast but not much upside down

urumqi- I live 2.5hrs from Waldameer and drive through Erie, PA several times each summer on the way to and from CP and KI. I’ve never been to Waldameer. Somehow I don’t feel wrong.

But then again, what do I know?

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