Kingda Ka and Top Thrill Dragster are currently the world’s only strata roller coasters, and they both promise real thrill and adrenaline rush with their extreme heights and speeds. So, which one is the best roller coaster? Continue reading below to see the comparisons between Kingda Ka vs Top Thrill Dragster!
About Kingda Ka
Kingda Ka is currently the world’s tallest and the world’s second fastest roller coaster. It is one of Intamin’s steel accelerator roller coasters, and was the second strata roller coaster ever built. “Strata” is a classification of roller coasters according to their heights; belonging to this classification are the tallest roller coasters of the world. It was constructed by Stakotra, which is a subcontractor to Intamin, and was opened for the first time on May 21, 2005.
Kingda Ka is located in in the Golden Kingdom park section of Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey, United States. You have to be at least 54” (137 cm) tall in order to get on the train. There are four trains with five cars on this roller coaster; the seats for the riders are arranged two across in two rows, excluding the last car, hence the total number of seats available per train is 18.
Kingda Ka has received multiple awards and broken the world’s top records, which were previously held by Top Thrill Dragster. Since its opening, Kingda Ka has held the titles of the world’s tallest complete circuit roller coaster as well as the world’s tallest roller coaster, and also the world’s tallest roller coaster drop. It used to be the world’s fastest roller coaster, too, but this title was succeeded by Formula Rossa on November 4, 2010.
About Top Thrill Dragster
Just like Kingda Ka, Top Thrill Dragster is also a steel accelerator roller coaster constructed by Intamin. So far, Top Thrill Dragster and Kingda Ka are the only strata roller coasters in the world. Hence, unsurprisingly, both Top Thrill Dragster and Kingda Ka are extremely popular, and people often get confused whether they should head to Top Thrill Dragster or Kingda Ka for the best thrill and experience.
Top Thrill Dragster is located at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, United States. It opened for the first time on May 1, 2003, and opened for the public on May 4, 2003. It gained lots of attention because it was the first ever full circuit roller coaster to exceed 400 ft (120 m) height. The tagline showcases the spirit very well, “Race for the Sky”. Today, Top Thrill Dragster is still extremely popular because people really love the theming, view, and overall ride experience.
It has six trains with five cars. As usual, the seats are arranged two across in two rows, excluding the first car. Each train can carry up to 18 riders at once.
When Top Thrill Dragster first debuted, it immediately set four new world records as the tallest complete circuit roller coaster, the tallest roller coaster, the tallest drop, and the fastest roller coaster. However, all of these records have been surpassed by Kingda Ka. Now, Top Thrill Dragster is the world’s second tallest, second-highest drop, and third fastest roller coaster.
If we compare only the numbers of Kingda Ka vs Top Thrill Dragster, it is obvious that Kingda Ka is more superior. However, there are other factors that decide whether the ride is going to be fun or not, such as the theming. The theming of Kingda Ka is good but not great. The ride was actually named after a tiger which is now not on exhibit anymore, and the placement is not very convenient. The trains just have little colors and designs. The entrance is at the edge of the park, which is a little hard to reach. In this corner of the park, there is nothing else to look at besides Kingda Ka and Zumanjaro.
Top Thrill Dragster has a much better theme and placement. You simply just can’t ignore the roller coaster as people shoot past you, blazing down the length of the midway. And it even has a grandstand, in which people really sit and watch. As you sit in the dragster-shaped train, you prepare yourself to the race the dragstrip down once the light hits green. The theming is just perfect for a ride that is all about speed and acceleration.
The Surrounding View
The next difference between Kingda Ka vs Top Thrill Dragster is regarding the surrounding view. Kingda Ka does not offer much. The surrounding view only has concretes and trees. There aren’t many things to look at while you are up there. This is the reason why, despite the ride being the tallest and all, some people think the overall experience is rather boring. Well, to be fair, it isn’t as bad as it sounds; on a clear day, you can actually see Philadelphia and New York City from the top.
On the other hand, Top Thrill Dragster offers precious moments once you reach the top. From here, you can see a breathtaking view of the park’s other attractions. Of course, from the top of the hill, you can also enjoy the expansive view of the lake that surrounds Cedar Point. You can also see Canada on the north horizon.
The Ride Experience
You probably will not notice a real difference between the heights and speeds of Kingda Ka vs Top Thrill Dragster. Indeed, Kingda Ka is taller and faster, but you will not really notice such differences when you are on the seat and blazing forward. However, Kingda Ka does have a second hill which can give some airtime on certain seats. Kingda Ka has over-the-shoulder restraint, which firmly secures you in place.
On the other hand, Top Thrill Dragster uses lap bar restraint, which gives you more freedom. Don’t worry; the safety feature is effective. Since the lap bar allows more movement, you will get the illusion of danger, as if you are hanging loose on your seat. You will feel the thrill and adrenaline rush.
All in all, Top Thrill Dragster is still the winner! Although it is no longer the world’s tallest and fastest roller coaster, it still offers the best overall experience, thanks to the perfect theming, outstanding view, and great ride experience. Kingda Ka is taller and faster, but this ride can’t beat Top Thrill Dragster on other aspects.