A few years ago, the roller coaster wars were in full swing with manufacturers and parks routinely one-upping each other with taller, faster, and wackier thrill machines. Lately however, the sheer number of new coasters debuting each season has dropped, and, with the exception of Cedar Point's record-setting Top Thrill Dragster in 2003, the brinkmanship entered a period of detente. Until now. Six Flags Great Adventure has unleashed Kingda Ka, a record-shattering rocket coaster, for the 2005 season. The coaster is part of a new, highly themed 12-acre Golden Kingdom land in Six Flags' New Jersey park that includes a tiger exhibit, a giant interactive play structure, new children's rides, and a new stadium show.
- Type of coaster: Hydraulic launch rocket coaster
- Height: 456 feet (tallest in the world in 2005)
- Top speed: 128 mph (fastest in the world in 2005)
- Location: Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey
- Coaster elements: 456-foot tall top hat tower, with 90-degree ascent and descent
- 129-foot second hill designed to provide free-floating airtime.
- Ride Review
- Onboard Video
- History Channel Video Clip
- Opening Photo Gallery
- How Kingda Ka Works
- Kingda Ka Malfunctions
- Preview Photo Gallery
Like Ohio's Dragster and other launched coasters, Kingda Ka climbs a top-hat tower at 90 degrees. In this case, the apex of the tower reaches a staggering 456 feet, or 36 feet taller than Cedar Point's former champ. We're talking over 45 stories in the air. Riders don't have much time to either appreciate the view or get freaked out, however. The trains crest the tower and plummet 418 feet straight down the other side before entering into a 270-degree vertical spiral.
Kingda Ka uses some of its incredible height and speed to deliver some of that delirious airtime that coaster lovers crave. After the top hat, it climbs a 129-foot tall hill designed to induce weightlessness. Then it's back to the station.
To meet huge demand, the rocket coaster accommodates four trains and has two loading platforms in its station. Manufactured by Swiss ride manufacturer Intamin, the thrill machine uses an over-the-shoulder safety restraint system.
The 12-acre Golden Kingdom land borrows some of its themeing from Six Flags' adjacent drive-through Wild Safari. A 1000-seat Temple of the Tiger stadium presents rare Bengal tigers in an educational exhibit and show. Other animals, including pythons, monkeys, and cockatoos are on display in the park. Five new children's rides and a huge wet and dry interactive play structure also debuted in the Golden Kingdom in 2005.