The Coaster Critic v.s. The World Champ 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′) and speed (128 mph) in Kingda Ka. Loading was very slow going and the park was only running two trains while two more set off to the side. If I didn’t have a Flash Pass I don’t think I would have waited for a second or third ride. Waits were 2 hours or more, but with the pass I waited about 15 minutes at most. While I didn’t get to ride Top Thrill Dragster thanks to the rain, I do prefer it’s theming and integration into the park over Kingda Ka’s. The launch area was near a foot path, 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 gun enthusiasts standing near the launch area were yelling to their scared friend waiting to be launched. “When you hear the click you got 5 seconds [left]!” They laughed for a moment at the double meaning. If I could have taken excerpts from what people said you’d think we were in a war zone of some kind, not an amusement park. It was silly, but entertaining at the same time. A 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 small click. 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. It was unreal! Over in the new Plaza del Carnival section people just heard what sounded almost like thunder, but it came from the ground not the sky. As we hit top speed (128 mph), the train’s 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 air at the top. Really about as much as you’d want when your 45-stories up. Extreme El Toro-like airtime that high would be pretty terrifying. Call me stupid, but I didn’t expect the drop to be that great. Maybe because I’ve scoffed at other ultra steep drops offered by coasters like Hypersonic 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 your way back down to Earth the ride became pretty rough again. You crest that second hill and you smoothly decelerate. 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 just perceptible. If I were rating thrill rides, Kingda Ka would get a 10! But as a 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 break downs are very common. I experienced a brief amount of downtime on my trip. The points here are for the insane experience that the launch provided, that unforgettable view, and the long drop. It’s a great experience, but not a great overall coaster. I’m giving Kingda Ka a very weak 8. Final Rating – 8.0 (Great) Check out the rest of my rating scale here. Video could never do 128 mph justice, but here’s a professional roller coaster video of Kingda Ka. Note – This video was filmed by a professional with permission from the park. For safety reason, please DO NOT take a camera on a roller coaster. Kingda Ka is rated ‘EX’ for Extreme. It’s a 5 out of 5 on my Thrill Scale for of its insane height and ridiculous speed. What’s Your Take? What do you think about Kingda Ka? Leave a comment below. 31 Responses Newer Comments » Anonymous June 26, 2008 This is a super fun ride, especially if your an ambassador from Nevada and get unlimited rides with no lines. Reply chris5858 July 31, 2008 I just went on Kingda Ka for the first time yesterday. Overall, I thought it was incredible. Maybe not as good as El Toro, but amazing. If I remember correctly from the launch (after the 5 seconds) the ride is 18.5 seconds according to the staff. I was very happy with the wait time (I had no Flash Pass) and the speed of boarding. When I got on line the wait time was at the 30 minutes point. But it ended up being 20 minutes or less. All four trains were running. That is until I got on. My train (the orange train) had a problem with one of the seats (i'm not sure exactly what the problem was). I know this website is a roller coaster critic, but I must say the way the staff handled the problem was just terrible. They were constantly unlocking and locking the seat belts (while everyone was on it)and then pushing them in so hard just for them to be unlocked within a minute. I wouldn't doubt me having permanent bladder damage from that. What really bothered me though was that they didn't clear the train. After being stuck on the train in the station for 15 minutes or so they finally realized they couldn't find/fix the problem so they decided to take the train off. The people who were waiting in line and were on the faulty train should have been able to be first or next on one of the other three stations, but no. All they did was say "We have to take off the orange train please use a different station. So I had to wait once more to get on the ride. After I finally got on the ride and got launched it was all worth it.On a scale of 1-10 I would give it a 9. Reply bunky666 August 2, 2008 I'm with you on the weak 8, Coaster Critic! For the first time since middle school, I found myself punking out of this ride the first two times I went to Great Adventure this summer. I finally rode it with my good friend this Friday. While I was super thrilled by the power and speed of this ride, the roughness limited me to three rides in one day (had the Gold Flashpass, so I never really waited). I had a pounding, throbbing headache after the first ride and the second ride. The only non-rough ride I got was my last ride of the night in the back seat of the light green train. Apparently you can get pretty smooth rides from the orange train, but that train was not available to the Flashpass riders. I'm glad I did it, I will continue to ride it when I'm at Great Adventure, and I liked it very much, but I could never love this the way I love my El Toro. 🙂 I am curious to see how Top Thrill Dragster rates because I have heard it is much better and MUCH smoother. Reply Anonymous August 19, 2008 THOUGH A BIT HIGHER AND A BIT FASTER ( NOT ENOUGH TO NOTICE DIFFERENCE ), THE TOP THRILL DRAGSTER AT CEDAR POINT IS FAR SMOOTHER THAN KINGA KA. JUST RODE EL TORO. GREAT NAME FOR ONE OF THE MOST ROCKING COASTERS EVER. WELCOME TO "BEST OF WOODIES" AND one of "GREATEST COASTERS" lIST. Reply Anonymous October 19, 2008 this ride is very overrated. Reply Ken in Charlotte January 5, 2009 New site is an awesome improvement. Great job. Reply The Coaster Critic January 5, 2009 Thanks Ken. I know you'll be interested in that new Ring°Racer coaster that's going to set a new speed record. Check it out: Ring°Racer | New World's Fastest Coaster Reply Tim June 7, 2009 I'm going to go on this next week and I'm really looking foward to it and I'm only 9. Reply Matty June 10, 2009 This is a pretty cool ride, but a little overrated. Nitro is the best. Kingda Ka Breaks down CONSTANTLY and it's really frustrating. It seems like it runs for 30 minutes, then breaks down for 45 minutes. It also doesn't run when it's raining out, or showers are in the area. It's definitely a MUST-ride, but there are better, more reliable coasters in the park. Reply Kayla July 12, 2009 I recently went to Six Flags specifically to ride Kingda Ka. But when I got there they informed everyone Kingda Ka was closed for the day. This coaster makes it seem like all that, when half the time they are closed because something broke down on it. I have yet to actually ride Kingda Ka, but so far it has been almost half way through the summer and it is not running. I have heard about Kingda Ka being struck by lightning, but I recently read that it would be open a week after 4th of July, but Six Flags offical website still posts that it is temperarilly closed. I would like to ride this coaster before summer ends, but now it seems like any day that I take off to travel an hour away, Kingda Ka will be closed. I have seen videos and people have told me that the ride is a lot of fun, so I would assume that the coaster is enjoyable. But I really hope that Six Flags gets there act together so they don't have Kingda Ka, one of their main attractions, shut down (or at least running off and on) for the whole season. Reply Matthew July 12, 2009 Hey Kayla, i never heard about that. Did lightning strike the top of kingda ka. Well its so tall, but that can really mess up the technical stuff on that ride. I hope they reopen this ride because i want to go on a launch coaster..and the tallest and fastest one on the planet…..YES! Reply QB3 August 29, 2009 Kingda Ka was awsome, its launch was a little rough i have to admit, but the air time at the top and the view fused to gether make it one of my favorites. also, even though the second hill dosent offer much for air time the lift stretches out the G`s made from pulling up from the drop ad the speed from the hill make up for it. some thing that i`m suprised that most people fail to mention the hieght of the seconed hill when your on top of it its nothing compared to the skyscraper of a first hill but it gives you a prettey nice view of the jungle-theamed Q and the rest of the golden kingdom including the tiger cages! overall, it was prettey cool PS i also rode Kingda Ka when i was 9 Reply JaMeS October 28, 2009 2 things: 1: Does anyone know if it re-opened yet? 2: C.C., this page could be updated a little on the world record part Reply JaMeS October 28, 2009 According to this link, theres gonna be a new world record for fastest coaster already next year! http://www.ferrari.com/English/Ferrari_TV/Pages/F… Reply Mike May 21, 2010 Went to SFGA yesterday just to ride Kingda Ka (well EL Toro and Nitro also) and was very pleased. Despite a lot of negative things i've heard about staff and operations at Six Flag parks everyone seemed to be really hustling and working hard to get trains loaded and people off. They were running 4 trains and it only shut down once for around 20 minutes when i was waiting. I did get the flash pass and it was worth it. I got 4 rides on this and would completely agree that this is about an 8 rating as a coaster but 10 for the thrill! Reply Merle August 14, 2010 Im going on bolth (ttd and kingda ka) this trip I will make sure to tell you my opinion on which is supperior Reply Sir Coaster September 6, 2010 I have a strange problem about the Strata Coasters… I REALLY want to ride them, but at the same time, I'm TERRIFIED to get on them…I want to experience the sheer power and intensity of riding it…Yet, I'm scared out of my mind about that first launch and the climb up the top hat… CC, can you give me any assurance about the first launch and the incredible ascent into the sky on Kingda Ka? Reply Lilac September 19, 2010 OK this rides was was worst experience of my life. I hated it. I thought i was gonna die. My vertebras are hurting! Reply Robert April 21, 2011 Finally, after 30+ rides on Kingda Ka, I got a rollback today! Going backwards down that tower was amazing! And the best part was that it was my friend's first time on the ride. I told him beforehand that sometimes the ride didn't make it over the hill, but I assured him that it was very rare, and I'd only seen it happen once. But once we started going backwards, he was like "You've got to be kidding me!" His reaction was priceless, and now I consider him to be my good luck charm. Reply Kelly May 5, 2011 I am in sixth grade, and am going on Kingda Ka tomorrow for a class trip! I am not to sure about it after seeing the video at the top! Can anyone assurwe me that it i worth it, safe, and I will survive! Plaese get back to me asap! Reply The Coaster Critic May 5, 2011 Everyone who's ridden has survived so far. Think of it that way. 🙂 Reply Quil May 6, 2011 If you're afraid, try to ignore your fear. The ride is fast, and it's over with in what seems like seconds. If all else fails just follow the Nike catchphrase: Just Do It. PS-I'm not sure how many other people there are in your grade who are going to be riding this, but simply knowing of the bragging rights I would earn after riding was enough to motivate me to ride this thing. Good Luck. Newer Comments » Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.