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. I vote TTD. Well, yeah it has alot of rollbacks, but that makes it better. Kingda Ka barely ever has a rollback, that makes it the same every single time. With TTD, you dont know if its going to rollback, and if it has a rollback… You get a free ride!

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  2. I've been on both rides a ton of times each. The rides are very similar. TTD wins in the categories of theme, seating, and location. TTD is also a much smoother ride. It generally has more airtime due to the lack of the over the shoulder restraint. RATING: 9.5/10
    Kingda Ka has a solid theme as well and I love the look of the stratacoaster too. Kingda Ka is taller and faster but I felt little difference when riding the two. KK lacks airtime with the over the shoulder restraint. I was able to see Philly and New York from the top of KK. RATING: 9/10
    Overall TTD is a better ride by a hair. Both rides are great.
    But the best coasters in my opinion are Millennium Force and Bizarro at Six Flags New England!

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  3. Hey Guys.
    I live near Philadelphia, and I just got back from taking my kids to Cedar Point just to ride Millineum Force, and Top Thrills Dargster. I drove to Cedar Point in 2003 when TTD debuted just to ride it. I waited over 3 hours in line because anyone who knows the history of this would know that it broke down while we were in line.

    I have been on both TTD and KK and If you read my first paragraph, obvioulsy I prefer TTD over KK. and here's why.

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    • (1) Although, KK is Higher and faster, it is still sloppy seconds. You always remember you first, and this was nothing more than a copy cat, intended for bragging rights. TTD was the first to pop that cherry.

      (2) The restraints for TTD (just a lap bar and seat belt) is far better than KK's (OSTR'S). KK's restraints are for the faint at heart people that probably shouldn't be riding a coaster like this anyway. I must say that, I did have to lose about 30 pounds to ensure that I would be able to ride TTD because of the restraint system. So, if you are a big guy (like me) and you can't suck your waist down to 42 inches, then KK may be your only choice. 🙂

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      • (3) The Name, Top Thrills Dragster says it all for this type of ride. Kingda Ka is stupid. What the Hell is a Kingda Ka anyway? That says nothing about speed to me.

        (4) The Theme. TTD's theme is great. First you you cruise out onto track where you can look to your right and see bleachers with family and friends (that were to chicken to ride) watching you just before take off. All the while you can here the roar of that (Dragster) engine reving with anticipation. Then, you here that famous phrase "Arms Down, Head Back, and Hold On". Next, you can here the air pressure release and the brakes drop, as you back up slightly. Now, your watching the Red, Yellow, the Green light, then you hear the Tires Squeel and your off Baby!!!!!!!!. KK doesn't even come close to this.

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  4. (5) Location. TTD is in the perfect location for CP. Right where everyone can see this monster. KK is tucked in the woods of Six Flags. The only thing that KK has is that little speed bump as your coming into the home streatch. But, that's hardly enough to eclipse TTD as the ultimate roller coaster experience.

    Plain and simple, When someone lives a few minutes away from KK, but drives his children 8 hours away just to experience TTD that has to tell you something.

    And for the record, my children LOVED TTD!!!!. they rode this ride twice a day for 6 days straight. No line was to long. It was the last ride we rode before we packed up and went home. Which, shows how far CP came with keeping this ride operational and improving its reliability.

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  5. I think that top thrill dragster is better then kingda ka for these reasons. Dragster was thefirst strata coaster and kingda ka was a complete copy except the hill at the end but still dragster is original. I think that top thril
    Dragster is a cooler name than kingda ka. They make you wear a harness on Kingda Ka so it is harder to put your hands up and on dragster it is a T style lapbar. Top thrill is also a WAY cooler theme than Kingda Ka and it has the KEEP ARMS DOWN, HEADBACK, AND HOLD ON!!! And kingda ka says it a boring matter and don't forget that CP is the roller coaster capital of the world not magic mountain

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    • Amen Brother!!!! Straight and to the point.

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  6. One thing I should say. If you haven't ridden both TTD and KK in your life time, you shouldn't have an ex-stream opinion on this topic. Your views or opinions are completely speculative. You should have ridden both rides to have a vote that counts. Just my opinion.

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  7. Wow Im shocked you found KK's ride expiriance over TTD. Thats the thing that I love about Top Thrill is that the rush you get I have never gotten on any other roller coaster. Still my second favorite behind Bizarro at SFNE. It seems that the rush you get on TTD is limited on KK. The over the shoulder harness is a far cry from the freedom of TTD imo, I just much proffer Top Thrill Dragsters ride expirience. Kingda Ka seems like it has to much rattle, and idk why. Im sure you guys have noticed the rattle on KK to

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  8. First of all, you shouldn't be telling us about the edges of the rides if you haven't even been on Kingda Ka. Anyways I've been on both I honestly hated kingda ka. The theme is very lame. I honestly thought that kingda ka was some kind of jungle ride. As for Dragstar you know right away that it's a fast top thrill ride. I love the stoplight on dragstar, that's the best part. The view is also amazing on TTD and there's only a lap bar which is more fun. On KK you just line up and go. Yippee! Very boring. You also have a shoulder restrain. TTD is in the dead center of the park. KK is by the parking lot. KK was down for most of the day I went on it right before I left. TTD was made for a thrill and a great ride, KK was just made to break the record and be more popular. In my opinion TTD is more popular and WAY BETTER!!! Cedar point and TTD ALL THE WAY!!

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  9. Top Thrill Dragstar:
    Better theme
    In a better park
    Center of the park
    Better view
    A real thrill, not for a record break
    No shoulder restrain
    Kingda Ka:
    Just for a world record
    A little faster and taller
    2nd hill makes absolutely no difference
    A little more force
    TTD ALL THE WAY!!!!

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  10. Ok ttd SUCKS the theme is stupid!! Kingda ka is TALLER AND FASTER then ttd. Kingda kas golden kingdom theme is better plus ttd is NOT SAFE cuz there is only a bar holding u down!! Plus kingda ka has an extra hump at the end which ttd does NOT have!!!!! Kingda ka goes 128 mph n it is 428 ft tall!!!!!ttd does not deserve to exsits n it is just a WANNA BE Kingda ka- kingda ka all the way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! TOP THRILL DRAGSTER SUCKSSSSSSS!!!!!!!! U could also purchase cool gifts saying i survived kingda ka n it takes ur picture!!!!!!!! Does ttd do that uhhhhhhhhhhh exactly!!! So all u freakin idieots out there that say top thrill dragster is better SHUT UP i bet half of u didnt even ride kingda ka n ur just saying top thrill dragster is better cuz its the only one u rode!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!u no im right!!!!!!! and kingda ka is not a copy of top thrill dragster six flags didnt even know about ceder points ttd top thrill dtagster is a mini version of kingda ka. Going back 2 the themes ttd race car theme is stupid i mean its a racecar goin up a hill how dumb n ohhhh theres a traffic light n finish line im dying of excitment here SO STUPID at least kingda kas golden kingda theme makes sense so that is y kingda is better then top thrill dragster

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    • I can't believe you just said that. Cedar Point said that they were planning Top Thrill since 2000 3 years before and kingda ka was planned after dragster so that means copy! On top thrill the seatbelt and lapbar are super tight. Then why also did Millennium Force the #1 coaster in the world beat out the tallest in the world on insane coaster wars? Also a 8mph difference at 36ft difference with the same layout except one more hill. Also Top Thrill Dragster beats out KK every year. Top thrill dragster is 99999999999999999999999 times better then KK. Kingda Ka is a want to be copier.

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    • You should know that on Top Thrill Dragster they also take your picture….. I’ve been on both and it sounds like you’ve just been on Kingda Ka. And how did Six flags not know about Top Thrill when it was the tallest and fastest coaster in the world? Also, Top Thrill Dragster and Kingda Ka were built by the same company, so they had to know about dragster. And honestly I would think that a jungle Kingda theme doesn’t make sense with the tallest coaster and 2nd fastest in the world. A race car makes more sense to me. And actually the stop light at th beginning is great because on Kingda Ka you just wait till you tKe off. So there’s more thrill.

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    • I rode both and TTD does take your picture. Both Rides have certain characteristics that the other lacks. Kingda Ka may be taller and faster than TTD but it has a better view at the top of the hill than Kingda Ka. TTD's theme makes more sense the KK because an extreme acceleration coaster should have some sort of racing theme. Because when you think of racing you think of speed. And that's how Cedar Point has got that theme. Kingda Ka is supposed to be a mythical tiger… I mean what does a mythical tiger have to do with the extreme speed and height. But I do like the name Kingda ka better than Top Thrill Dragster Kingda Ka's name seems more original but I like KK's second hill though. TTD to me has more of a thrill and Kingda ka offers a better riding experience. On TTD they get you more pumped for the ride with cool sound effects and seeing the trains race past you when you are waiting in line. kingda ka doesn't offer that. But n the other hand KK's theme has a more mysterious feel to it. So I like them both the same. Even though I live only an hour from Cedar Point. P.S. Have you ever rode Top Thrill Dragster? If you haven't rode it, you should visit Cedar Point and ride it before you decide which is better… You might like the both equally…

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  11. Wow!!!! Rachel. That's probably the dumbest post I've seen yet. Your spelling is aweful, your facts are inaccurate, it's perfectly clear that you have no clue what the hell your talking about. If you want to post on this board , at least be intelligent and have you facts in order.

    If you had a clue as to what your were saying you'd know that Kingda Ka is 454 feet tall (not 428). Furthermore, how can you state that TTD is "NOT SAFE". No one has ever fallen out of the ride. And, why would the ride be able to legally operate if it was deemed to be UNSAFE. The lap bar simply add to the thrill of the ride. it doesn't decrease the safety of the ride in any way. Both Kingda Ka and TTD are perfectly safe to ride.

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  12. Next, how the hell can you say that "TTD is a "WANNA BE" Kingda Ka when TTD was built first. That's the most Ridiculous statement that i"ve seen on this board. It makes no sense.

    Lastly, if your gonna call people idiots, maybe you should learn how to spell the word. "Idieots", is not the correct spelling. So, who's the idiot?

    P.S. I have been on both Kingda Ka and TTD. And, Kingda Ka can't even compete.

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  13. kk is better cuz its in a betta park faster n taller it was on tv safer better train design starts unexpectly extra hill longer takes ur pic cool gifts u could buy after more reliable doesnt get stuck at the top liker ttd has done 3 times KINGDAAAAAAAAAAAAA KAAAAAAAAAAAAAA RULESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS TTTD SSSUCCCKSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

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    • 6 Flags New Jersey is not a better park, last time i checked did they have three coasters that formerly held speed and height records? No. Also, TTD takes your picture and has its own gift shop. Both are perfectly safe, the reason TTD has only a lap bar is for better thrills. Lastly, who cares about being stuck and having rollbacks. I would pay to have those happen and also a extra ride without the wait.

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  14. kingda ka is better!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i have rode both n kas just so unexpected

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  15. kingda ka alllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll the freakin way

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  16. ka is totally better than ttd ttd is slower all thise sluts that keep sayin ka copied ttd they didnt dumbos ka n ttd were built by the same coaster compines

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  17. ttd sucks

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  18. kingdaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa kaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

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  19. I love kk it is so much better you might think the height don't make a difference but it does six flags can say they own the tallest rollar coaster in the world and ka is so much more popular there where people from china and Japan they are lucky they came to the right park AND FOR THE PEOPLE THAT SAY TTD IS SMOOTHER THEY MADE KINGDA KA LIKE THAT FOR THE THRILL IT'S SCARYER AND FUNNER Ps. you can get an awesome rollback on kk not ttd

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  20. I just rode them both for the first time this month. Ka 2 weeks ago and TTD over the past few days. I got front left and front right on Ka and front right and 2nd row left onTTD.
    I'd have to go with TTD by a hair. Ka has a better and noticeably faster launch, and a longer run into the also noticeable taller top-hat.
    TTD just has more things going for it in my opinion. I did not understand some of the opinions about the lack of OTSR's until I experienced it for myself. It does make the ride much scarier. After Ka I said… " I did't even notice the OTSR's." I can now tell you that I certainly noticed not having them on TTD!
    The location of TTD is a huge plus. Ka is mostly hidden whereas with TTD you can walk around about 99% of the ride. You can get any angle you like for viewing or filming. Being able to stand near the cable spools while they scream during the launch is "Freakin Awesome!" The bleacher viewing area is also great. Standing directly under either the up vertical or the down vertical get's you very psyched up to ride! The theming is way better for TTD it plays into the ride perfectly and the racing motor sound effects that they play when you launch add a lot to the ride. I like the flat finish on TTD more than the hump finish on KA. Ka's hump is kind of stupid because of how they ruin the airtime you might have gotten by hitting the brakes right away on the backside of the hump. TTD carries way more speed through the "Photo Finish."
    A huge factor in my opinion is the difference in the ride operations. Ka had 2 trains going on a super busy Thursday. They launched a train about once every few minutes. TTD had 5 or 6 trains going on a busy Tuesday, Wednesday, and not as busy Thursday. They seemed to launch a train about once a minute.
    I feel TTD wins because it's scarier, and you won't have to wait nearly as long as you would for KA.

    I think it's important for me to mention to all the TTD haters that Great Adventure was my old home park and my old favorite park. I grew up with Great Adventure, I was 4 when it opened in 1974 and went there every year that I lived nearby on Long Island until I moved away in my early 20's. I still go every few years when they get a new coaster.
    I am very glad to now have King's Dominion as my new home park. Their rides almost NEVER breakdown. When I was at Great Adventure every single important ride broke down. Some for short and others for long periods. [Toro was down for more than half of the day] I say Important coasters because I don't consider Superman or Green Lantern important. Those 2 were the only coasters that did Not breakdown. I hate coasters that are slow to load, and therefore have very long slow moving lines.

    DRU

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