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What is the Biggest Roller Coaster in the World?

The title of the biggest roller coaster in the world is held by Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey. Towering at 456 feet, it's a true titan of thrills, offering a heart-stopping drop and speeds of 128 mph. But what makes a coaster 'big' isn't just its size—dive into the nuances of roller coaster greatness with us. What's your ultimate ride?
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

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.

A roller coaster.
A roller 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.

A closeup of a roller coaster.
A closeup of a 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.

Roller coaster records are quite fickle, as technology and ambitious designers allow for new standards to be set.
Roller coaster records are quite fickle, as technology and ambitious designers allow for new standards to be set.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the biggest roller coaster in the world?

The title of the biggest roller coaster in the world currently belongs to Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey, USA. Standing at a staggering height of 456 feet (139 meters), it is the tallest roller coaster in the world and was also the fastest when it opened in 2005, reaching speeds of up to 128 miles per hour (206 km/h) in just 3.5 seconds.

How tall is the drop on Kingda Ka?

The drop on Kingda Ka is an exhilarating 418 feet (127 meters). Riders experience a weightless sensation as they plummet down this near-vertical drop at speeds that can reach up to 128 mph, making it one of the most thrilling experiences for roller coaster enthusiasts around the globe.

Are there any roller coasters taller than Kingda Ka?

As of my knowledge cutoff in 2023, no roller coasters have surpassed Kingda Ka in height. However, there have been plans for taller coasters, such as the proposed SkyScraper in Orlando, which was designed to be over 500 feet tall, but as of now, Kingda Ka retains its record as the tallest roller coaster in the world.

What are the safety features of Kingda Ka?

Kingda Ka is equipped with a range of safety features to ensure the well-being of its riders. These include over-the-shoulder restraints, a computer-controlled braking system, and constant monitoring by trained ride operators. The coaster's design and construction adhere to stringent industry standards, and regular maintenance checks are performed to maintain its safety record.

How long does a ride on Kingda Ka last?

Despite its imposing size, a ride on Kingda Ka is quite brief. The entire experience lasts about 50 seconds from the moment the train launches until it comes to a stop. This short duration packs an intense punch with its rapid acceleration, towering height, and swift descent, providing an adrenaline rush that keeps thrill-seekers coming back for more.

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a WiseTour writer.

Learn more...
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a WiseTour writer.

Learn more...

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Discussion Comments

pleonasm

@Mor - At one point a few years ago I believe Cedar Point, in Ohio, had quite a few of the tallest and fastest titles for different kinds of roller-coaster rides, so if she went there she probably did. The article author is definitely right in that theme parks are constantly trying to one-up each other in having the biggest and the fastest coaster though.

Mor

@KoiwiGal - I don't think it's the drops that are that bad. They are usually my favorite part. It's other parts of the roller coaster that tend to be painful. The worst bruise from a ride I ever had was from a coaster that had a very sudden start, which was intended to make the whole ride very fast, but just ended up making it too jerky.

I haven't been on all that many though and I'd love to go on more. My sister once did a backpacking tour where she basically went to every major theme park in the US and it sounded like a blast. I'm not sure if she went on any of the largest roller coasters though.

KoiwiGal

I think you're probably getting your money's worth more with a long coaster than a tall one. I've been on a lot of roller coasters over the years and I actually think there's a point at which they get too fast to really be fun. And I'm not talking about the fear factor. Most of the really fast roller-coasters I've been on have been painful to ride and actually left me somewhat bruised at the end of them. Which would be fine if the biggest roller coaster drop in the world was proportionally more fun than one that isn't quite as big, but after a certain point I don't think they get any scarier or more thrilling to be a few feet higher.

I'd rather go on one that lasted more than a minute after a hour of waiting to get on. That seems like it would be more fun.

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    • A roller coaster.
      A roller coaster.
    • A closeup of a roller coaster.
      By: Sura Nualpradid
      A closeup of a roller coaster.
    • Roller coaster records are quite fickle, as technology and ambitious designers allow for new standards to be set.
      By: Bastos
      Roller coaster records are quite fickle, as technology and ambitious designers allow for new standards to be set.