Top Thrill Dragster vs. Kingda Ka | Roller Coaster Showdown

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Kingda Ka - Six Flags Great Adventure - Roller CoasterTwin Peaks: Kingda Ka vs. Top Thrill Dragster
One of the most common comparisons in enthusiastland involves the two tallest and fastest roller coasters on Earth. It’s like Everest and K2. They are very similar strata coasters that launch riders from 0 to 100+ miles per hour in a matter of seconds. They both take riders over 400 feet into the air only to send them spiraling back down to Earth.

Since Six Flags Great Adventure’s Kingda Ka was built second, it bested Top Thrill Dragster’s 420′ peak by 36 feet and added a second 129′ hill. Thanks to a rainy day at Cedar Point, Top Thrill Dragster closed before I was able to ride it. So I really can’t give a clear cut winner from my ride experience. But I’ll compare and contrast what I’ve observed of the two rides.

Theming the Sky Scrapers
Kingda Ka’s Golden Kingdom is nice, but Top Thrill Dragster’s dragster-inspired trains, station, and observation area take the cake.
Edge: Top Thrill Dragster

A View from a Hill
On a clear day you can see New York City and Philadelphia from the top of Kingda Ka. TTD’s view of Lake Erie and Canada(!) is probably more memorable.
Edge: Top Thrill Dragster

Ride Experience
Again, the rides are pretty similar and I seriously doubt the additional 18 feet on Kingda Ka’s drop is perceptible. Ditto for the heights at about 42-stories and 45-stories and the speeds at 120 mph and 128 mph. Kingda Ka does boast that second hill which does offer some airtime in certain seats.
Edge: Kingda Ka

Verdict
You decide! I’m sure some of my readers have ridden both Kingda Ka and Top Thrill Dragster. Which ride gave more airtime on the top hat, felt faster or smoother? Which did you just enjoy more? Leave a comment below.

Founder of CoasterCritic.com. My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.

325 Comments

  1. I’ve never been on either, live in georgia, I believe CP is closer, which one is more scary? It would decide if I would go on TTD or KK.

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  2. Why do people argue about this so much? Both of these rides suck! There was absolutely no feeling of an actual coaster, only 17 seconds up and down the tower. I was disappointed getting off both of these rides. Go ride something with the slightest bit of substance on the ride.

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  3. I have been riding coasters for 40+ years…and I have never been more ‘omg’ then front seat on TTD, just as you are over the crest of the hill. You literally cannot see where you are going and feel like you are going to fall out of the seat.

    And the only coaster in 30+ years that I unknowingly lowered my hands back from the normal ‘arms up’ position to grabbing the lap bar for dear life. Of course, that only happened the first time 🙂

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  4. Okay I have read SO many of these comments I have ridden both rollercoasters and I would give the edge to TTD. I love KK and the air hill is a nice touch but personaly TTD in my opinion is more reliable a better seat meaning the lapbar vs shoulder thing like on the mavrick I also like the theming more and to me and I like the veiw. Also the whole 16 ft taller thing and 8 mph faster is such a knockoff I mean think about it could you tell if it was 16 ft taller I mean really so I give the edge to TTD the origanle coaster

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  5. and NOOOE person I really disagree I mean they are fast and tall isn’t that enough??? They are both fun anyway

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  6. I mean NOOONE

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  7. I also agree with coaster maniac in that mellenium force is better it has good lap bars and is very smooth fast nice and long and also very very fun!!!!!

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  8. I also find it annoying that people say that KK is unexpected launch the lights on TTD light up in under a second and once I timed how long it took and once it was 17 seconds the next 21 seconds

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  9. Also I am sorry for commenting so much but people it is rude to say “oh this one sucks because some people really that coaster so just don’t

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  10. This is only somewhat related to the topic above, but I couldn’t think of anywhere better to put it. If you want to Feel your heart slowly shatter into a thousand fragments in your chest I would suggest watching this list of “Top 68 Rollercoasters in the world” (I’ve linked the second part of the video, so If you are really interested and would like to see the worst offenses)

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  11. I have rode both and I grew up in Ohio and I love Cedar Point. Top Thrill Dragster was my favorite coaster until I rode Kingda Ka. KK was just a little higher, faster, and longer. Love them both but like KK just a little more. There is a roller coaster in Japan, it is called Vanish it goes under water and looks crazy and amazing. I also like a coaster called Sheikra at Busch Gardens in Tampa and Firehawk at Kings Island. Check out a coaster in China called Dinaconda, it looks wicked.

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  12. TTD is better because the restraints are far superior… Also on the top of Top Thrill Dragster there is a beautiful view of Lake Erie, Millennium Force, and the rest of the park. Also you can walk completely under the track and there are even bleachers to sit right by the launch and watch people’s expressions. Though Kingda Ka is the tallest and slightly faster, it doesn’t make a huge difference and Top Thrill Dragster will always be better.

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  13. For all of you that say KKRIESEL isn’t a knockoff because it is a little taller and faster, but CP is owned by Cedar Fair and six flags and cedar fair have an ongoing rivalry an cedar point came out with TTD FIRST! Then six flags made KK plus TTD has a better theme and view in my opinion and I like the lap bar on TTD.

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  14. Which is better? I haven’t ridden either.

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    • If you read through the post and the 322 comments, maybe you could draw a conclusion.

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  15. Top thrill dragster all the way. The launch on Kingda Ka very rough compared to silky smooth on Top Thrill. Biggest difference is seat restraints on Top Thrill also giving a more open experience . If you do not want to ride your friends and family can watch you from the stadium seating on the side of strip. Don’t get me wrong I love KingdaKato just prefer Top Thrill.

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  16. Top Thrill Dragster is better in every way imaginable. Kingda Ka now has Zumanjaro slowing down the capacity but even before that, Kingda Ka was slower at processing riders than Dragster. The foundation the coasters are built on is much better under Dragster than Kingda Ka. Kingda KA is built on swampy wetlands thus creating a very bad foundation. Over the years they have added more supports to Kingda KA to help make it run sturdier as the tower sways back and forth after every launch. This is clearly the reasoning for Dragster running much smoother than Kingda KA. once you get over 100 mph on Kingda KA, the ride is significatnly rougher than Dragster. Dragster does however get rough but thats once you get a couple hundred feet up the tower but by then you’re starting to slow down. These trains way several tons so containing the forces of them being launched over 120 mph each isn’t an easy task. But the foundation and lighter trains of dragster give it the edge engineering wise. The lap bars also help create faster capacity and they’re equally as safe as the shoulder harnesses on Kingda KA., we’re also not even talking about how Dragster is in the center of Cedar Point and viewed as a centerpiece to all of Cedar Point. Kingda KA runs along the parking lot, and before Zumanjaro was made, you couldn’t really get anywhere near Kingda Ka outside of the station. Zumanjaro I’d argue the case, is the better ride of the 2 that share the same structure. It’s 415 feet tall, it’s very smooth, and it’s extremely fast. and it’s capacity is outstanding and Kingda Ka must yield to it’s dispatch. Dragster would never yield to anything on it’s structure because Cedar Point wouldn’t allow it.

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  17. Kingda ka all the way the air time hill is just great

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