Top Thrill Dragster vs. Kingda Ka | Roller Coaster Showdown

Best Of Roller Coaster Showdowns

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

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.


  1. I've only been on Dragster (Kingda Ka was a lawn ornament when I went) but I would think the location and lack of OTSRs would put Dragster ahead. I can't wait to ride both.

  2. I just went to Cedar Point and the people who say TTD is better…. I'm not sure what they're thinking. First off, to the people who say TTD is more reliable, I got on TTD twice after three tries and four breakdowns …. it was ridiculous. KK has been much more reliable this season. Second, both rides are just as rough as each other. Third, the seats on TTD are much more uncomfortable than Kingda Ka's. For those of you Cedar Pointies who don't know, KK's restraints are like Maverick's. On TTD, my head banged between the headrest, and I was thrown around on the way down the drop, so much so I couldn't put my hands up. On KK, I can put my hands up without a problem. Also, KK's second hill makes a difference because you feel less "ripped off" when you get off the ride, and TTD is just a one-trick pony. I also think KK's theme is more original, because most of the accelerator coasters are car-themed. Golden Kingdom BY FAR beats out the TTD, so I'm not sure you gave Golden Kingdom a fair rating.

    • The key to the Dragster is to stay in line no matter what. If the ride "breaks down" wait in line until they get it running again. Nine times out of ten, it will only take 15 minutes, and by that time all the impatient people have left and you are magically at the front of the line. It truly is a beautiful thing.

      • I use the same tactic whenever I ride Kingda Ka. It works very well, even though it feels a little long.

  3. I never rode king da ka but #1 makes a good point.. dragster only uses a seatbelt and also the veiw is amazing on dragster.. I dont know if its just me but also the lights make it more suspenseful and my palms starts to sweat for me. I dont know I rode Dragster for about 11 times since there was barely a line the day i went there and i never got sick of it..

  4. I plan on riding bolth this summer but every coaster website and top ten seems to prefer ttd and from what i have seen kingda ka looks better with the suprise start and faster exleration, the restraints dont look as good though

  5. I waited 6.5 hours the first time I rode KK. The whole time I was in line you could not watch any of the trains because of fences and trees. Cedar point allows for great visibility of the ride for those waiting in line. Also friends and family can watch your facial expressions on TTD. I have ridden the front middle and back on both TTD and KK. TTD is way better. TTD has a better view, theme, restrains, and more comfortable seats. As for the roughness of the ride, I would say both rides can be smooth and rough depending on the weather and time of day. I learned in one of my engineering classes that the temperature and humidity highly influence a roller coasters speed and smoothness. One final thing no one has mention is the speed radar sign that shows TTD rides the speed of the trains as they pass the end of the launch. Although I think trees now block the sign.

  6. I have only been on kingda ka so i can't really give a full opinion, but from my experience, kingda ka was amazing. Personally I prefer jungle to dragster because it feels like you are taming the beast, enhanced by the fact that you walk by four tigers on the way to the queue. Also, I felt an accomplishment after riding kingda ka because of its records. And also, for those of you ripping on kingda ka for being a rip off of TTD, they were both made by the same company so its not one copying another, its the same company trying to outdo itself. Finally, I like being able to go for multiple insane thrills in one day by going from kingda ka to el toro to the great american scream machine to dare devil dive. so kingda ka has those advantages in my opinion, so i'd like to see how dragster measures up.

  7. i have been on the ttd but not the kk Cedar point in general is a thrilling place to go for coasters the ttd the wicked twister is great too

    • I must agree: Wicked Twister does not get nearly enough love. And how 'bout Raptor?

      • don't forget Maverick

  8. i have ridden neither. this is what i have to say.

    i am very scared or roller coasters and i have to say that TTD is a little bit more appealing. it has a much cooler theme and is more reliable. it is well known and original. but again, i havent ridden either one, so i cant give that good of an opinion.

  9. I have not ridden Kingda Ka (what does that name mean anyway?). I have ridden Top Thrill Dragster twice.

    I can't say that I have much sympathy for copycats and let's face it: whichever ride you think is better, KK is clearly a copycat. Built by the same company for a park that wanted only to buy the title of "tallest" and "fastest" because "most original" was no longer available.

    Having said that, I do believe that OTSR vs lap restraints is a valid point. What is the purpose of a coaster if not to trigger your body's survival reflex? Coasters subject your body to unnatural forces – that's the point. When prehistoric man experienced "free-fall" it was followed shortly thereafter by the experience of "death." Coasters trigger that adrenaline reflex – safely (one hopes). As I sat there with the dragster SFX blaring in my ears, my hands were reflexively scurrying about looking for the best way to restrain myself against the seat – survival instinct at its finest. And that is why I would have to give an edge to the first and original, Top Thrill Dragster.

    Plus did I mention that Kingda Ka is a copycat? 🙂

    • Kingda Ka is the name of the biggest tiger in the Golden Kingdom.

  10. I have been on both… TTD is wayyyy better!

    TTD is scarier and has a better theme. You think you can really feel the extra 30 feet!? You can't

    I have been front seat on both of these rides, and KK just feels cheesy.


    • i cannot wait until my trip to cp at the end of august coming all the way from jersey. Ive been on kingda ka 35+ times and i love it i always keep my hands up and it feel awesome theres nothing like the first row….. i will be sure to ride the first row of ttd with my hands up of course!

      • brian, not to sound like a jerk, but try a new handle. I already exist lol.

        That being said, you'll love CP. It's a steel coaster Eden.. Terrible woodies though :(.

        Ps- TTD stomps the poop out of KK. Enough said.

  11. Obviously Top Thrill is better.

    First of all, CP is a much better environment. KKs view is of a parking lot, how memorable (not). Secondly, top thrills theme is so much better! (Ex:) Top fuel dragsters go really fast so it makes sense making one of the fastest rides in the world that! Then you have a jungle, wtf. Thirdly, dragsters seat restraints WITHOUT A DOUBT beat KKs. No questions asked. Also, Dragster is an ORIGINAL. You can't beat an original, by adding 36 ft & a little hill. I'm assuming the people a SF saw the attention TTD was getting & wanted to bring in some tourists to SFNJ. But why waste the time and money when you can get a better ride experience, & get to ride many other rides also @ CP?! Plus dragsters smoother by far:P

    Oh & for whoevers saying you can't put your hands up on TTD, I'm a 13 year old GIRL. And my hands were up the whole time. Either your a liar, or just very OLD.(;

    Good day.

    • Good point. I don't get KK's jungle theme. it's so unoriginal. That's real believable. a 125mph ride zipping through a jungle. really. TTD actually looks in its place.

      • How is the jungle theme unoriginal? TTD has a racing car theme for goodness sake!

        • Yeah, race cars tend to be the theme of most racing coasters (and by that I mean side-to-side woodies) , many launch coasters, and the Intimidators.

          I'll give a virtual cookie to anyone who can name another jungle themed ride. (and when I say "virtual cookie" I mean nothing at all)

  12. ttd ftw! lap bars, good view, more intense launch, better ligths at night, ttd all the way!

    • What do you mean more intense launch? TTD's luanch goes from 0 to 120 in 4 seconds. KK's launch goes from 0 to 128 in 3.5 seconds. Maybe you should do your reasearch, or, come to think of it, Actualy ride it.

  13. I have gone to many amusement parks and ridden many roller coasters and extreme rides, including the Top Thrill Dragster at Cedarpoint. I really liked riding the Kingda Ka. Six Flags Great Adventure had some lousy handicapped policies though, so you might want to consider this before visiting this park if you have someone with special needs. The special needs policies at Cedarpoint, Busch Gardens, Hersheypark, Knobels, etc are a whole lot better. I wish that CedarFair or some other company would buy the park. Also, I've never seen an amusement park with so many broken rides before. It seems like rides at Six Flags brake down constantly!

    But Kingda Ka was an excellent ride. I'm not sure how much airtime there was, but there was a lot of nice wind in our faces. It was a very smooth ride, even smoother than the Top Thrill Dragster. Kingda Ka wasn't as scary Top Thrill Dragster because there was no initial "going up to speed" session before going up the hill. I couldn't tell when the first hill ended and the additional hill began. We had so much fun on Kingda Ka that we rode it five times before leaving the park.

    Also, the theming of a ride really doesn't mean too much to me as they make me take off my glasses when I enter the ride's line. I can't tell whether the trains and tracks are supposed to resemble dragsters or cars or snakes or bears or what!

  14. I have been on both coasters and I can say without a doubt that Top Thrill Dragster is a better ride. While Kingda Ka's launch is slightly more intense, Dragster offers the better overall ride experience. I have no complaints about Ka's restraints as they are pretty comfortable, but I prefer Dragster's lap bars because their not as restricting. The views from the top of both rides are spectacular and the height difference is negligible, but I prefer the view from the top of Dragster because Lake Erie is much more picturesque then SFGAdv's parking lot. The front rows of both rides are insane, and the wind is incredible, but Dragster is smoother. Nevertheless, their both great coasters.

  15. I just rode bolth within the last five days and top thrill was wayyyyy better the expiriance and the turning and the restraints not taking anything away from kingda ka it's a great ride but the turning isn't quite there and on dragster the lights are a great addition it also probably helped that I rode front on dragster and did not on ka

  16. Let me just say that Kingda Ka is better. The shoulder restraints dont even matter. None of these are the best coaster. The best coaster by far is Bizarro at SFGA.

  17. I like kingda ka better i know it has otsr but thats the only thing intamin offfered they had no choice plus i bte you some poeple have only rode one or some none and just looking at other comments to choose i nkow cedar point has really good rides but i cant really explain it but i like kingda ka better

  18. I've been on both rides and was on Top Thrill Dragster first before Kingda Ka. TTD and KK are both essentially the same ride and with the speed you are going down, up and over the top of the track, the small difference in height and difference in speed didn't really make a difference to me.

  19. I found them both to be rather boring, in that they're both one-trick ponies. (Okay,KK has a second hill.) All that energy (and cash) wasted. Storm Runner is less than half as tall but is actually a full-fledged coaster and a much better ride for my money. Until both of them dwindle to a 15 minute wait or less, I'm not wasting my time on riding either of them again. Give hill some hills, curves, multiple airtime and a few surprises any day.

  20. im sorry to say but kings dominion intimidator 305 is better than both of these rides without a doubt lol who agrees with me on that one.
    for sheer excitment and feeling forget that its a diifferent type of coaster is it better?

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