Photo by Tim Larsen AP
Topping out at 128MPH, Kingda KA at Six Flags NJ is the fastest coaster in the USA. Just for comparison, Apollo’s Chariot, which the fastest at Busch Gardens, only reaches 73MPH.
via USA Today
There are many things to love – or fear, depending on where you fall on the wimp scale – about roller coasters: They soar to crazy heights, they deliver butterflies-in-your-stomach negative G-forces, and they toss us upside down. But mostly, they go fast.
And some coasters go really fast. As in take-no-prisoners, what-have-I-gotten-myself-into, eeeeyaaaahhhh! fast. Which ones are the fastest? Buckle up and hang on for dear life as we count down the top 10 speed demons on the continent.
10. Bizarro at Six Flags New England in Agawam, Mass. and Behemoth at Canada’s Wonderland in Vaughan, Ontario (77 mph)
We’re only at number 10, and we’ve already exceeded the legal speed limit. Known as hypercoasters, which surpass 200 feet and are designed to go fast, both of the rides pour on the speed yet are wonderfully smooth. It may not be the fastest, but with its near-perfect symphony of elements, I rate the Superman-themed Bizarro as the country’s top steel coaster.
9. Nitro at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, N.J., Diamondback at Kings Island in Mason, Ohio, and Desperado at Buffalo Bill’s Resort & Casino in Primm, Nev. (80 mph)
Located along the highway between Las Vegas and Southern California, Desperado was among the world’s first hypercoasters. It might not have aged as gracefully as some, but it still gives one heck of a fast ride. Nitro and Diamondback are more recent entries, and are butter-smooth as well as loaded with airtime. The Kings Island coaster, especially, offers a refined ride that includes some intense free-floating moments.
8. Xcelerator at Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, Calif. (82 mph)
Instead of a traditional lift hill, this SoCal screamer uses a hydraulic launch to rocket riders out of the station at 82 mph in no time flat. The trains then navigate a 205-foot, 90-degree top hat tower.
7. Titan at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, Texas, Phantom’s Revenge at Kennywood in West Mifflin, Pa., and Goliath at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, Calif. (85 mph)
Kennywood renamed and modified the original Steel Phantom to remove its inversions and focus on its (considerable) speed. Spanning a massive 5312 feet of track and dropping an impressive 255 feet, Titan lives up to its name. Goliath also drops 255 feet, and uses its pent-up energy to navigate a series of punishing helixes.
6. Intimidator 305 at Kings Dominion in Doswell, Va. (90 mph)
The NASCAR-themed ride was so fast when it first opened in 2010 that some riders were complaining about blurred vision and “grayouts” after its first drop. Intimidator indeed! The park has since altered the track to help quash some of the intensity, but Intimidator 305 still races at dizzying speeds.
5. Leviathan at Canada’s Wonderland in Vaughan, Ontario (92 mph)
The second speed demon at the Canadian park rises a mighty 306 feet and travels a lengthy 5486 feet of track. Dropping at a near-vertical 80 degrees at such an insane speed makes for one monster of a ride.
4. Millennium Force at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio (93 mph)
The Ohio thrill park welcomed the year 2000 with a ride for the ages and coined the term, “giga-coaster,” to describe its 300-foot threshold buster. Millennium Force clocks in at a breakneck speed that takes passengers’ breath away.
3. Superman: Escape from Krypton at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, Calif. (100 mph)
The first coaster (along with a similar ride in Australia that debuted the same year) to break the 100-mph barrier, Superman uses electro-magnetic propulsion to send its twin trains up, up, and a-way up an L-shaped 415-foot tower. Riders experience prolonged sensations of weightlessness before the trains plummet back down the tower.
2. Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio (120 mph)
Similar to Xcelerator, the Cedar Point ride also uses a hydraulic launch system and features a 90-degree top hat tower. Dragster, however, screams out of the starting line at an attention-grabbing 120 mph and climbs a lofty 420 feet, leaving its California counterpart in the dust.
1. Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, N.J. (128 mph)
Not to be outdone in the coaster wars, Six Flags roared back a couple of years after Dragster debuted with its own chart topper. Kingda Ka was the king of the coaster jungle as the world’s tallest and fastest coaster until a faster ride in the UAE knocked it off its throne. It still holds the height record, though. (For now. Parks and ride manufacturers are always scheming to build ever more thrilling coasters.)