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.

322 Comments

  1. kingda ka is soooooooo much better

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    • IKR!

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  2. kingda ka is actually much better. i’ve been on both twice. personally, no comparison. restraints mean nothing. yes, ttd is in a much better location (cedar point. also, the launch track is like right in the midway while kingda ka’s is way outside where people are walking. u have to go through the queue line to get a very good view of the launch. trains are better themed on ttd too and the whole dragster thing is very cool while no one really knows wat kk is), with a much better view, much better theming, but the ride itself is not as good.

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  3. KK is 60 seconds, TTD is 30 seconds, my vote is for KK!

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    • Actualy, from launch to brake stop, KK is 28 sec. and TTD is 20 sec.

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  4. the dragster is better for many reasons
    1.it has lap bars rather than over the shoulder restrants.
    2. it stupid that intamin made an identical ride the dragster was first
    3.all they did was mad it a little bigger and faster and painted it green and added one more hill
    4.the dragster broke the world tallest and fastest record
    5.cedar broke many records and is the best park in the country.but there really the same

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    • We're comparing coasters, not theme parks. Also, three of your reasons were close to the same exact thing. I think that's more like two reasons.

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      • I am compareing coasters and so what does it matter

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  5. I have had the chance to ride both and I have to say Top Thrill is the best. I love the lap restraints and I prefer zooming by people and other coasters than trees thirty feet away.

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  6. Hey how do you know that you can see NYC, and Philadelphia from the top of Kingda Ka?

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    • To be honest, I'm not sure it's confirmed. That's just what I've heard. I didn't see much of anything on my rides on Kingda Ka. If someone else can confirm it, please do.

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  7. I know they are made by the same company, but when KK sais "Arms down, head back and hold on" isnt that just a total copy of TTD. I mean it could at leats have a different saying.

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  8. Kingda ka is sooooooooo much better. I went on both and that one was good but not as better as kingda ka

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  9. Ok, so this debate is old news… But I'm about to finally make it to Six Flags Great Adventure, and I stumbled upon this, trying to predict whether the experience on Kingda Ka will surpass TTD, will equate to it, or be slightly disappointing.

    I do have to touch on a major point that surprisingly nobody has commented on.. Ok, Lap bars vs. OTSR, The Extra 8.5% height and 6.7% faster – I will have to experience it to decide. Better name? Pshhh who gives a s***? I've never not rode a coaster because I didn't like the name. The view from the top? You barely have time to realize you're >400ft off the ground, let alone "enjoy the view"..

    But one major problem I experienced at least once on TTD that honestly ruined the experience is a general problem in Cedar Point: BUGS!

    Ok, so I've only been to Cedar Point 3 times and all of them were in May or 1st weekend of June, and maybe had I come later on in the drier part of the season, it wouldn't be as prominent of a problem. But I guess since it's on lake Eerie, and especially that when I've been there was soon after it rained, there are trillions of little bugs everywhere – ESPECIALLY at night.

    It's so annoying that it literally ruined my experience on my all time favorite ride. Like, last time I was there, we rode TTD 2wice – the 1st time 2 of my friends rode in the front row, and my other friend and I were right behind them. After not having ridden it in 7 years, it surpassed everything I could even remember.. It was an intense, amazing feeling that to me personally puts every other coaster at the park to shame, besides maybe Maverick. But here – let me compare the two ride experiences:
    The first time, which was earlier during the day, and I was sitting in the 2nd row, I remember exactly the crazy launch, and I was screaming "Holy F***!!! Oh My GOD!!" over and over. I remember going up the hill, and briefly seeing Millenium from 110ft above, and thinking of how insane this ride is. I remember falling down the other side and screaming again, and passing through the "finish" sign and saying how amazing and awesome it was.

    The 2nd time was later in the afternoon, probably around 6:30, where my friend and I who rode in the 2nd row were gonna ride in the front, and our other 2 friends were gonna wait with us and time it so that they ride in the 2nd row on the same train. Having already ridden the ride that day, I was SO stoked. But all I remember from that ride is the 1st half of the launch where I was like "OH MY GOD THIS IS AWESOME!!" But as soon as I thought that I started feeling little things crashing into my face and the back of the throat, in the same frequency and consistency as rain drops. I immediately knew what it was, having experienced that on CP rides before, and I completely don't remember going up the hill, or the brief view from the top, and all I did as soon as the train came to a stop was wiping nasty bugs off my face… My friend who was sitting next to me didn't realize those were bugs, and as soon as we got off the ride, we pointed out the smashed bugs on her face and chest… So anyway that was my point. Sorry for the long post. But if Kingda Ka is just as good but without the bugs, it might beat it for me.

    Anyone's feedback? Is it not the case at CP later in the summer?

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    • It ideal to go to CP at the end of the Season, preferably during HalloWeekends in mid-September to October. It's not too hot, there aren't many bugs. In fact, there really aren't any bugs at all. And there are Haunted Houses included in the standard admission. BONUS!

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  10. I've never ridden KK in the front row, but I have at night. I didn't notice any bugs, and I've never heard anyone talk about getting hit by bugs on it. I have however, heard about bugs on Dragster. I don't think you're the only person who's expeirienced this.

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  11. Quil your always disagreing with poepls coments and getting alittle irratating

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    • Why do you say that?

      He just answered my question, and actually, he agreed with me! He said he has heard of people complaining about bugs on Dragster, which is exactly what I experienced, and then he went on to mention that this was NOT the case on Kingda Ka, which is what I had hoped!

      Cut him some slack 🙂

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  12. Kingda Ka for sure. It actually runs most of the time while Dragster always seems to have some sort of issue that keeps it from running the entire day!

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  13. Robb, Formula Rossa at Ferrari world uses lap bars, so Intamin must be working on it

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  14. I've been lucky to have ridden both, various seats including front row on both. In keys ways, they offer very similar ride experiences – the sensation of continuous acceleration for around 4s at the start of both rides is amazing and a totally different sensation to all the gravity coasters. I didn't find the few extra feet and miles per hour on KK made a noticeable difference compared to TTD. I enjoyed them both.

    There are some differences between them, which makes enough of a difference to differentiate between them. KK is definitely rougher, to the extent that I'm worried that my glasses will fall off when I ride it, despite having a sports strap to secure them. The over the shoulder harness feels restrictive (I like to raise my hands on coasters) and at the top of TTD, you get a better sensation of being 'out of control' due to only having a lap bar. Lastly, you do get some airtime at the end of the ride with KK due to the hill which is missing with TTD.

    TTD has great theming and I like the spectator area. Still haven't really worked out what the theme for KK is.

    My verdict is that they're both great rides which offer a completely different sensation to the other rides in their respective parks, so ride them. Being an airtime junkie, I usually ride in the back seat but for KK and TTD, front seat is the place to sit with an amazing view.

    Incidentally, in my humble opinion, neither KK or TTD are the best rides in their respective parks. I prefer Nitro at SFGAdv for its smooth ride and amazing airtime (my favourite coaster of all time across 4 continents). At Cedar Point, I prefer Millennium Force for that unbelievable first drop.

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  15. I dont know why everyone insists dragster is better. Yeah, the lap bars are more comfortable than kingda ka's otsr (over the shoulder restraint.). However, kingda ka is taller, faster, and has an extra hill. Plus, for people that are scared of roller coasters i assume(i am not afraid of them) that otsr feel safer than a lap bar to them. Dragster takes the cake in comfort, but ka takes it in thrill factor.

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  16. TTD!

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  17. Kingda Ka is waay better

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  18. Now that I've ridden both I go with Top Thrill Dragster. I believe it's been mentioned before but there really isn't that much difference in the speeds or height of the rides and the lapbar is much more comfortable and gives a more dangerous feeling to the ride. Essentially they are the same ride with minor differences.

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  19. I'd give the nod to Top Thrill Dragster – just. I think it generally looks better than Kingda Ka and the theme is better suited. The overheads on KK were not a problem for me, although the lap bars do give a bit more of a "isolated" feeling. Saying that, they are both great rollercoasters and are pretty much the same.

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    • i agree with you, the kingda ka is just stupid and i think it needs some work.

      TTD is awesome, full of excitement and very interesting to ride.

      yayz for TTD!!!!!! 🙂

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  20. I havent been on any one of them, but I would love to get on them both they look so much fun! Cedar Point and Six Flags Great Adventure both boast some pretty sweet rides too. From Maverick to Nitro to Millenium Force to El Toro. 😀

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