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The World’s Tallest, Fastest Roller Coaster: Kingda Ka – New Jersey

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After my rainy trip to Cedar Point and the subsequent closing of Top Thrill Dragster, I was looking forward to getting to Six Flags Great Adventure. Not only does Great Adventure have the only other Strata Coaster on the planet, they boast the world record holder for height (456 feet) and speed (128 mph) in Kingda Ka. Top Thrill Dragster and Kingda Ka launch riders in excess of 120 mph. Riders then climb a 40-story hill at 90-degrees only to drop back down, spiraling back to Earth.

Loading was very slow going and the park was only running two trains while two more were set off to the side. If I hadn’t had a Flash Pass I don't think I would have waited for a second or third ride. Waits were two hours or more, but with the pass I waited no more than 15 minutes.

While I didn't get to ride Top Thrill Dragster thanks to the rain, I do prefer its theming and integration into the park to Kingda Ka's. The launch area was near a footpath, but exotic foliage partially blocked the view of the launch section. There were onlookers and you could see the launches, but why not highlight them instead of hide them? Six Flags dropped the ball in that regard.

Any Last Words?
Kingda Ka's intimidating launch and ridiculous height had quite an effect on the park-goers. In the station and aboard the trains people were saying their goodbyes. "If I die, you can have my girlfriend," said one teen-aged rider to a much older gentleman in line.

One girl frantically told her boyfriend that she loved him just before the launch. She begged him to put his arms down for fear that they might be dislocated by the intense launch. Some baggy-clothed onlookers standing near the launch area were yelling to their scared friend waiting to be launched.

"When you hear the click you got five seconds [left]!" They laughed for a moment at the double meaning. If I could have taken excerpts from what people were saying, you would think we were in a war zone, not an amusement park. It was silly, but entertaining at the same time.

Kingda KaA Rocket Coaster Indeed
On my first ride they sounded a horn. On my two later rides there was no horn, just the train shifting backwards a few feet and a small clicking noise. It was the only warning before we started tearing down the long straight track. The faster it got I realized my head was pinned to the headrest and my cheeks were being pushed back. The train felt like it was going too fast.

The experience was unreal! Over in the new Plaza del Carnival section people heard what sounded like thunder, but it came from the ground instead of the sky. As we hit top speed (128 mph), the train was rattling like it might come apart and then you begin your ascent.

The View From the Top of the (Coaster) World
Cresting the top was awesome. The view was amazing and the quietness was in direct contrast to the mayhem from seconds earlier. From certain seats I got a little pop of airtime at the top. Really about as much as you would want when you're 45 stories up. Extreme El Toro-like airtime at that height would be pretty terrifying. I had heard that on a clear day both New York City and Philadelphia are visible from the top.

Call me stupid, but I didn't expect the drop to be that great; maybe because I've scoffed at other ultra steep, 90-degree drops offered by coasters like Hypersonic XLC and SheiKra. Kingda Ka's drop is fun. You feel yourself dropping and you get that nice twist on the way down. Vehicles in the parking lot below looked like ants.

As we picked up speed on our way back down to Earth, the ride became pretty rough again. The train crested the second hill and then smoothly decelerated. I think I was sitting towards the front when I got a little lift on that second hill. It was nothing to write home about, but perceptible.

An Awesome Thrill Ride and a Great Coaster
If I were rating thrill rides, Kingda Ka would get a 10! As a roller coaster, it's way too short and pretty rough in some seats. It has a reported time of 28 seconds, but it felt even shorter. Six Flags really needs to work on the capacity and loading time. If they have four trains, then they should use them. I also hear that breakdowns are very common. I experienced a brief amount of downtime during my trip.

I'm giving Kingda Ka a very weak 8 out of 10. The points are for the insane experience that the launch provided, that unforgettable view, and the long drop. It's an awesome experience, but not a great overall roller coaster. Kingda Ka is still worth the trip to Six Flags Great Adventure if you don't mind a long wait, if it doesn't rain, and if it doesn't break down.

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About The Coaster Critic

  • Coasterfreak

    “Hands down, Heads back, Hold on.” you’ll have just enough time to think “aw, crap…” and wonder what happes next, and then… …You are 139 metres up in the air, and you can see the entire park. After that awesome drop, you have a little bit of airtime before smoothly coming to a stop in the station. absolutely awesome.

  • Alyx

    I’ve been on EVERY rollercoaster in Great Adventure, but I’m still too much of a chicken to go on Kingda Ka! I’m going to go on it at LEAST one time this season… No matter how scared I’ll be.

  • Ari Rosenbloom

    Kingda Ka is da best ride eva! From 1-10 I rate kingda ka 1,000,000!

  • Jason Mosley

    The ridiculous height is what grabs hold of your fears and anxiety while waiting to board this ride. What I never considered is that to go from 0 to 128mph in under 3 seconds is pushing the positive G experience to the limit. Just know that the feeling of blood being extruded out of the brain and organs for that time is not exactly pleasant but once the climb begins, the body has adjusted. The rest was absolutely riveting. Go on a Monday and get that ride out of the way before technical difficulties emerge- which tend to happen later as the day goes on.

  • Liiizzzziiiee

    OMGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!! dis friday [6/5/10] im goin 2 six flags !!!!!! im so excited yet agin nervous. im goin on all da roller coasterz !!!!!! n most of them im goin front row but im scared n
    realy badly wanna go on kingda ka but i already made mi decision n i might be goin 3rd 2nd or 1ST ROW!!!!!!!!! LOLxZ!!!!!!!! OMG!!!!!!!!!! wish mi luck :z

  • Amy

    OMG i went to six flags for free about 12 times, each about weeks apart… and evrytime kingdaka WAS CLOSED! I WAS SO PISSED OFF!! buts it’s huge and looks like major FUN!

  • emma

    I’m not from or been to new jersy but the ride looks awsome!!! I love roller costers!!!!!!!!

  • mmlilmama4eva

    wow i can’t believe that any one would build or ride a roller coaster as big as that ’cause it looks pretty scary and breath-taking

  • ashley

    i would love to ride that.. but im saying that just because i havent seen it. haha. my dad prolly would. idk. but i know its pretty cool sounding.

  • Cant wait until the new Rockit Flip ride opens, looks awesome

  • t

    what up

  • Carissa

    I absolutly love rollar coasters, my friend used to work there, I’m trying to get him to take me there so I can go on it!

    I live in Maine, and well, we don’t really have any good rollar coasters, the only one I know is jsut a wooden one, I mean it’s the best on in maine, but still haha. I was to go on some more huge ones XD


  • Emily

    i went on a ride just as good in ohio except 8 fett shorter and nothing at the end it is called top thrill dragster at cedar point

  • lucii

    go to thorpe park and go on stelth

  • lucii

    OMG u should go 2 chessington world of adventures and go on ramesis revenge AND dragons fury

  • shivani

    OMG!!!!!!!! i wwent on king adda yesterday i was so dizzy …. i was so scared i never stopped screaming
    you should try it even though it is the fastest and the tallest roller coaster on the earth it is VERY FUN!!!!!!!!

  • jessica

    i went on kingda ka today and it was the scariest thing i have ever done. i opened my eyes twice, each time for less than a second. the first time i saw the sky at a 90degree angle, and the second, the parking lot at a 90 degree angle. scary scary shit.

  • emma

    i love u

  • I wish I could. Alton Towers has some great looking rides.

  • liam in cov GB

    Listen i know you guys in the states have godd rollercoasters but serious comer to england and check out a place called Alton Towers

  • Kingda Ka is at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ.

  • swiitgrl

    where is kingda ka

  • Your car ride to the grocery store is more hazardous than a ride on Kingda Ka. There’s a much better chance you’ll get t-boned in an intersection than injured on a roller coaster. Thanks for reading!

  • These entertainments are hazardous to health!