Every roller coaster enthusiast probably has thought at least once that they don’t live in the right place to enjoy their hobby to the fullest. Imagine being a roller coaster enthusiast born in Yakutsk (Siberia, Russia), your home park PKiO imeni Gagarina would only offer two wacky worm roller coasters to you. In that case it is not a shame to dream away and imagine living in Orlando (Florida, USA), a theme park Walhalla according many theme park enthusiasts.
Not everyone has the possibilities to travel around the world and ride roller coasters all around the globe. You can always decide to leave everything behind and move to a new country, closer to theme parks and roller coasters. But where should you go? On which place you’d wish you were living as a roller coaster enthusiast? And on which place you wish you weren’t born?! With the help of RCDB and Coast2coastermap we searched the best and worst places to live as a coaster fanatic.
We only took theme parks with at least one roller coaster into account, since roller coasters are the rides that pull people to the parks. They are the main rides of a theme park. Of course we don’t look at roller coasters who are broken down or are standing but not operating. We use the numbers that RCDB provides, which could mean some dueling or racing roller coasters that are counted as two roller coaster credits, are only counted as one roller coaster. Think of Cedar Point’s Gemini roller coasters, it are two roller coasters racing each other on separate tracks but are counted as one roller coaster on RCDB.
The Walhalla continent of roller coasters
If you would plan a trip around the world to ride every existing operating roller coaster at the moment of publication, you would end up with more than 4000 roller coasters on your counter! How many exactly isn’t exactly clear, when you search on RCDB for roller coasters on the world he’ll tell you there are 4.345 roller coasters to ride. However if you search the amount of roller coasters per continent and count them together, you’ll end up with 4.334 roller coasters. That aside, on which continent can you ride the most roller coasters?
When we say roller coaster Walhalla, we often think to America and the United States of America more specifically. But is that justified? We won’t deny the USA has a lot of great roller coasters and theme parks to offer, but on hard numbers the North-American continent only ends up on the third place with 867 roller coasters that are currently operating today.
The leading continent when it comes to roller coasters, is Asia! If you want to increase your coaster counter fast, planning a trip that covers all Asian roller coasters will add your counter with a total of 2.053 roller coasters. That is more than double from North-America! Being the biggest continent in the world, having more than half the world’s population it shouldn’t be a surprise Asia is the roller coaster capital of the world.
How about Europe? The old continent is the second smallest continent in the world, only Australia is smaller, but has 1.152 roller coasters to offer. Therefore it’s the second best continent, beating North-America but still far away from Asia. So when it comes to hard numbers, the American roller coaster enthusiasts should envy their European fellows instead other way round…
- Asia 2.053 roller coasters
- Europe 1.152 roller coasters
- North-America 867 roller coasters
Hell on Earth
We’ve talked about Asia, Europe and North-America as the top three continents. But there are four other continents left, what about those?! Well, from these four we can immediately scrap Antarctica. The Antarctic climate makes it impossible to run a theme park with a roller coasters and since the most southern continent has no permanent inhabitants, it would be pretty useless too.
And we haven’t talked about the second biggest continent in the world yet. For sure if the biggest continent, Asia, is the world’s roller coaster capital, then the second biggest one should have a lot of roller coasters too, right?! But the amount of roller coasters in Africa only has two digits! A roller coaster tour in Africa will only add a disappointing 67 roller coasters on the counter. Well, at least the African continent doesn’t end up last in the ranking but being the second biggest continent in the world, the amount of roller coasters isn’t really in proportion.
South-America is a bit the gray mouse in the ranking. When it comes to surface and population, it ends up in the middle. And the same goes for their amount of roller coasters. A total of 169 roller coasters isn’t really that big but it could be worse too. Because the continent with the least number of roller coasters (besides from Antarctica which we aren’t taking into account) is Australia. They only have 26 roller coasters standing and operating on their continent! To place this in the right context, Australia is the smallest continent in the world and only contains four countries.
- South-America 169 roller coasters
- Africa 67 roller coasters
- Australia 26 roller coasters
What about area?
We summed up the hard numbers. But just the amount of roller coasters per continent is not enough. To give it more context and really get to know the best place to live when it comes to roller coasters we also have to take in area and population. Which continent has the best density of roller coasters? Which continent has the most roller coasters per person?
When it comes to area, the ranking doesn’t change much. There are only two changes, Europe moves over Asia to the number one spot and Australia changes the last place with Africa. No big surprises over here. Europe has the second biggest amount of roller coasters but is the second smallest continent. A lot of roller coasters and a small area gives a pretty high density of roller coasters. Europe has on average one roller coaster per 8.836,81 km². To visualize how dense this is, draw a line on Google Maps or Google Earth that’s around 94 km long. That is the average space between a roller coaster in Europe.
Let’s illustrate this by driving time. Let’s just assume you could drive in a straight line from each roller coaster to roller coaster with an average speed of 120 km/h, without traffic jams or other stuff that usually makes you lose time in traffic. In this case, there would be a 47 minute drive between every roller coaster! That means that the closest roller coaster would be only a 23,5 minute drive away for every European, maximum. Of course these conditions we’ve set are too perfect and not realistic, but it gives a good idea how to interpret the density of roller coasters when looking at the area.
Between Europe and the second in this ranking, Asia, there’s quite a gap. Asia does it with one roller coaster per 21.344,37 km² better than North-America, but only just. Following our driving time illustration every Asian would live a 36 minutes drive away from the closest roller coaster. North-America just follows with one roller coaster per 28.246,83 km². Or a 44 minute drive to ride the closest roller coaster.
From then, the gaps are bigger. South-America is still in the fourth spot with one roller coaster per 105.562,13 km², translated into a maximum 81 minute drive to the closest roller coaster. That’s almost double as much as their Northern friends. But it could be worse, like in Australia for example. With one roller coaster per 346.480,76 km², the Aussies have to drive 147 minutes to find the nearest roller coaster, that’s almost 2,5 hours!
But the worst student in class, is Africa. Not quite a surprise when you already could read in this article that the second biggest continent only has 67 roller coasters. That translates into one roller coaster per 453.283,28 km² or a 168 minute drive to ride a roller coaster. Just imagine you had to drive almost three hours in the morning to ride one roller coaster and to drive almost three hours back to your home.
- Europe one roller coaster per 8.836,81 km²
- Asia one roller coaster per 21.344,37 km²
- North-America one roller coaster per 28.246,83 km²
- South-America one roller coaster per 105.562,13 km²
- Australia one roller coaster per 346.480,76 km²
- Africa one roller coaster per 453.283,28 km²
Taking population into account
Now we’ve talked about area, we can take population into account. Simply said, how many people does one roller coaster cover on average. We get this number by dividing the population of each continent by their amount of roller coasters. And this gives a quite interesting ranking.
Europe is also taking first spot in this ranking, with 641.009 persons per roller coaster. If you would want to let every European to ride a roller coaster and let every roller coaster take the same amount of riders, each roller coaster would have to take on 641.009 Europeans.
The gap with the second is not that big. North-America finally moves up a spot. With 661.796 persons per roller coaster the difference with Europe is really little, the smallest gap in this ranking. It proves that North-America is not totally unjustified called a coaster Walhalla. But on the third spot is the real surprise in this ranking. Australia ended up in the two last spots in the previous rankings but when it comes to persons per roller coaster it moves all the way up to the third spot! The Australians have 1.512.731 persons per roller coaster. That is more than double from North-America’s result but who would have expect that Australia could beat Asia?
Asia ended up in the two highest spots but now drops to a fourth place. Not really a surprise because almost 60% of the world population lives in Asia! That translates into 2.139.940 persons per roller coaster. With the sudden increase of Australia on the ranking South-America drops a place. They have 2.476.018 persons per roller coaster.
Yet again, Africa takes the last spot. It’s not only the second biggest continent when it comes to area, but also on population. With the very low amount of roller coasters they have we get the shocking number of 17.704.149 persons per roller coaster. Imagine the queues in the African theme parks when every African should decide to visit a theme park…
- Europe 641.009persons per roller coaster
- North-America 661.796 persons per roller coaster
- Australia 1.512.731 persons per roller coaster
- Asia 2.139.940 persons per roller coaster
- South-America 2.476.018 persons per roller coaster
- Africa 17.704.149 persons per roller coaster
Europe is the place to be
On two of third rankings, Europe ended up on the first spot. While Europe does not have the most roller coasters in the world, you’re nowhere closes to a roller coaster than in the old continent. It also offers the least persons per roller coaster. So if you want to move and live somewhere near roller coasters, Europe’s your best choice.
For the second best spot, you’ll have to decide between Asia and North-America. Asia is just a bit more dense when it comes to roller coasters but they have more persons per roller coaster than North-America. In that last ranking North-America ended up really close to Europe. On the rankings Asia ended up just a bit higher than North-America but the difference is so close you can call it a tie. With the Asian market booming the choice could be made easier in the coming years, but for now they are up to par with North-America.
Africa is not a paradise for roller coaster enthusiasts
Africa ended up last in two of the three rankings, so it is pretty clear the African continent is the least interesting place to live as a roller coaster enthusiast. The continent is huge as is their population, but there almost no roller coasters. I’m sure Africa is very interesting on other areas, but for roller coaster enthusiasts Africa ends up last on their list.
South-America didn’t excel in any of the rankings. It ended up in the low middle spots. They do a lot better when it comes to the amount of roller coasters and their density than Australia. But when it comes to persons per roller coaster, Australia excelled and even beat Asia on that part. That makes it close, but with 143 roller coasters more to offer and a better density South-America is the better location than Australia. However, both continents are far from dream locations from a roller coaster enthusiast.
In this article we only looked at hard numbers and their interpretation. We made interpretations using averages but of course there are more factors to decide which is the best place to live for a roller coaster enthusiast. In upcoming articles we’ll talk about every continent separately and look per continent what the best location is and where you can find the better roller coasters.