The biggest roller coaster in the world is a matter of some debate among enthusiasts and experts. Determining which coaster is the biggest depends on criteria, such as height, or length of the ride's track. Although the title of biggest roller coaster in the world is indeterminable, several worthy coasters deserve merit for their extraordinary size.
In any conversation about the biggest roller coaster in the world, Kingda Ka is quickly brought up. Built in 2005 at New Jersey’s Six Flags Great Adventures Park, this ride took the records for tallest and fastest coaster in the world. At its highest point, Kindga Ka reaches 456 ft (139 m) into the air, topping its nearest competitor by 36 ft (9 m). It also features the tallest drop, a stomach-plummeting 418 ft (127 m). By all accounts, Kingda Ka is a monster coaster.
In terms of track length, the heavyweight of the field is across the world from Kingda Ka, at Japan’s Nagashima Spa Land Amusement Park. Steel Dragon 2000 lurks in this theme park, opened in 2000 and boasting the longest roller coaster track in the world at 8133 ft (2479 m). Impressively in the fast-paced field of roller coaster technology, Steel Dragon 2000 has defended its title for nearly a decade, making it a clear contender for the title of biggest roller coaster.
Both Kingda Ka and Steel Dragon 2000 are steel coaster, capable of becoming much larger than traditional wooden coasters. Yet wooden coaster fans will not be undone, and records for tallest and longest wooden track are still impressive. As of 2008, the longest wooden coaster in the world is The Beast at Paramount’s Kings Island in Ohio, spanning 7400 ft (2255.5 m) and holding the title of longest wooden track since 1979. The tallest wooden coaster in the world, Son of Beast, is at the same park, rearing an incredible 218 ft (66.4 m) above the ground.
The world of roller coaster records is a fickle one, and new technology may bring an end to the reign of at least one of these giants. Set to open in 2009, a German coaster called Ring Racer will smash Kingda Ka’s long-held speed record, and may threaten other records as well. With all of the competition, the biggest roller coaster in the world may never be truly determined, but the thrills brought by the competitors are sure to keep visitors screaming for years to come.