Scare the Hell Out of the Kids

Courtesy of Six Flags

The Ride Kingda Ka, the latest addition to Six Flags Great Adventure’s suite of roller coasters in New Jersey.

The Design Brutally simple: a green, phallic spire that towers 456 feet, or 45 stories, high. You ride up one side, then plunge into a corkscrew, 90-degree nosedive down the other. There’s only one other roller coaster like it—the Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, which is a mere 420 feet tall.

The Speed 128 mph on the launch; 120 mph on the descent—8 mph faster on the way up than any other roller coaster in the world.

When It Opens Due to technical difficulties, Kingda Ka was temporarily shut down shortly after opening in late May (a common occurrence with new roller coasters). It will reopen this summer.

Time the Ride Lasts 52 seconds.

Time You’ll Wait in Line Three hours. Longer if you want the front seat.

Physical Effects Head pain from sudden changes in air pressure; watery eyes; momentary eye pain; hyperfluttering eyelids and cheeks; leaking nose; messed-up hairdo.

Cautionary Notes If you’re shorter than four-six, head for the bumper cars, because you’re not getting on. Kingda Ka is closed on rainy days—not because of potential malfunction, but because the rain would whip against your face.

Expert Opinion
“Kingda Ka is one giant highlight. Just like in the movies, you don’t want any dull spots. It has cut out the flab of all the other roller coasters in existence. It just gives you the crescendos. It’s like an extreme sport for the masses.”
—Steven Urbanowicz, 46, author of The Roller Coaster Lover’s Companion

“When you launch, you feel like you’re soaring in air. On the way down, you feel like you’re going to fall out. It’s absolutely amazing.”
—Zachary Castellanos, 13

“It’s so fast I was pushed back into my seat. I definitely would go on again.”
—Dan Kuzevski, 14

“Because it’s so fast and so high, you’re psyched when you come off.”
—Ian Michael Eckholt, 15

“You feel like, Oh my God, you’re going to die. At the top it feels like you’re falling off a building. It was out of control.”
—Kirun Mir, 25

See Also
Wild Rides
Calling all thrill-seekers: Six heart-pounding, scream-inducing, stomach-churning rollercoasters in close proximity.

Scare the Hell Out of the Kids