What Are the World’s Fastest Roller Coasters?
The world’s fastest roller coasters are steel roller coasters.
Roller coasters come in two basic varieties — steel and wood. When it comes to fast roller coasters, nothing can touch the top speeds of steel roller coasters.
Wooden roller coasters have their own advantages — people say they “feel” like a real roller coaster as opposed to the smooth ride you feel on steel. Aesthetically, a wooden roller coaster is pleasing to the eye, and no matter how much flash steel roller coasters come with, they can’t match the look of real wood tracks. But if you’re looking for a really wild ride, you’re after a steel coaster.
For example, the fastest wooden roller coaster (Son of Beast at Kings Island in Mason, Ohio) reaches a top speed of about 79 miles per hour. That’s still a full five or six miles per hours less than number ten on our list of the world’s fastest roller coasters. That’s how much faster you can go on a steel coaster.
The Ten Fastest Roller Coasters in the World
1. Kingda Ka Roller Coaster
As of May 2005, the fastest roller coaster in the world is New Jersey’s “Kingda Ka” at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson Township. Reaching a blistering top speed of 128 miles per hour, Kingda Ka is also the world’s tallest roller coaster, making Six Flags Great Adventure a must see for roller coaster enthusiasts. If you want to feel what it’s like to go from 0 to 128 mph in under four seconds, or if you’re the type of rider that enjoys a 45 story free fall, Kingda Ka is the thrill seeker’s holy grail.
2. Top Thrill Dragster Roller Coaster
The current world record holder for “most roller coasters in a park” is Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. Two of their coasters make this list, and we’re starting off with a real doozy, “Top Thrill Dragster”. Boasting a top speed of 120 miles per hour, before Kingda Ka premiered in 2005, this coaster was the fastest in the world. Featuring a 420 foot free fall after an eye-bruising blastoff, Top Thrill Dragster is easily the fastest and most brutal ride at the coaster-crazy Cedar Point park.
3. Dodonpa Roller Coaster
Travelling from 0 to 100 mph in under two seconds, Dodonpa in Japan’s Fuji-Q Highland park hits its top speed before most riders realize they’ve taken off. Dodonpa opened in December 2001 and held the record of “world’s fastest” for two years before Cedar Point took the title back with Top Thrill Dragster. The ride’s designers tell us that riders of Dodonpa experience 2.7 g’s. The name comes from a style of Japanese drumming, and the sounds of those drums are nicely incorporated into the ride banter. I’m not crazy about the wole “false countdown” shtick, but this ride is definitely on my bucket list.
4. Tower of Terror Roller Coaster
Another international roller coaster selection, this one from Dreamworld in Queensland, Australia. Compared to the top few coasters on our list, 100 miles per hour may seem a bit slow. But back in 1997 when Tower of Terror opened, it was a major feat in coaster design. This reverse free fall coaster is the fastest “tower style” coaster in the world. Riders will experience 4.5 g’s during their run in with Terror.
5. Superman: The Escape Roller Coaster
For years, Superman: The Escape shared the title of “world’s fastest coaster” with Australia’s Tower of Terror. Located at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California, this iteration of Superman travels up to a top speed of 100 miles per hour. This ride is almost identical to Australia’s “Tower of Terror”, and this is no surprise. They were both designed by the same firm — the first designers to push a coaster to 100 mph.
6. Steel Dragon 2000 Roller Coaster
Located at Nagashima Spa Land in Japan, and launching riders up to a top speed of 95 miles per hour, Steel Dragon 2000 has a lot of bragging rights. It is the tallest roller coaster using a traditional chain lift, and it is also the longest roller coaster in the world. Though it was temporarily shut down for almost three years after an accident involving a lost wheel, Steel Dragon 2000 remains a super popular mega coaster. Steel Dragon 2000 is easily the most expensive roller coaster ever manufactuer — because of the threat of earthquakes in the region, more steel was used on this coaster than any other in history. The final price tag for the world’s longest and costliest coaster? Over $50,000,000.
7. Intimidator 305 at Kings Dominion in Doswell, Virginia. Top speed: 94 miles per hour
8. Millennium Force at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. Top speed: 93 miles per hour
9. Pepsi Max Big One at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in Blackpool, UK. Top speed: 87 miles per hour
10. Three-way tie at 85 miles per hour
Goliath at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California.
Titan at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, Texas
Phantom’s Revenge at Kennywood in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania.
This list of best roller coasters may have a new addition as soon as September of 2010. In Abu Dhabi, a massive park just opened called Ferrari World. A roller coaster is in the works there, temporarily named simply F1 Coaster, that could land Abu Dhabi at the top of the “world’s fastest roller coaster” list. According to officials at the park, this roller coaster will travel at top speeds over 125 mph, with some coaster designers reporting tests of up to 150 mph. That would make it the world’s fastest coaster for years to come, as designers in America are hesitant to push speeds any higher than Kingda Ka’s 120 mph.
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