Top Thrill Dragster

Standing 420-feet tall and featuring a maximum speed of 120 MPH, Top Thrill Dragster became the world's tallest and fastest roller coaster when it opened in May 2003.

Designed by Intamin AG, the ride utilizes an incredibly powerful hydraulic launch system, similar to Xcelerator at Knott's Berry Farm.  The ride features six 16-passenger trains, which are designed to resemble top fuel dragsters.

The atmosphere around the ride is very alive.  The grandstands are usually packed with guests, the launch track is located very close to the pathways, and the massive top-hat dominates the skyline.


Once the restraints are checked, the train slowly advances into the launch area.  Once the fins drop, the train catapults forward, accompanied by smoke and sound effects.

The launch is simply indescribable... definitely one of the most intense experiences I have ever had on a coaster.  The extreme speeds and the wind cause your face to distort, making for a very interesting on-ride photo.

Also, a large speedometer lets you catch a glimpse of how fast you are traveling; on our particular run, we hit 123 MPH.

Speeding towards the base of the top-hat, you don't have much time to prepare yourself for the 420-foot ascent.  Within moments, you are racing to the top.

The journey up seems almost endless, but is extremely rewarding.  While enjoying the massive amount of airtime at the top, take note of the extraordinary view; it is definitely one of the best in the park.

The 400-foot, 270 degree spiraling drop comes next.  Although it is very intense and disorienting, I think the descent would have been much more thrilling if it only twisted 90-degrees ala Xcelerator.

From the bottom of the top-hat, you race through the finish line with incredible speed.  Within a few seconds, you slam into the magnetic brakes, which abruptly bring you to a halt.  After a brief moment, the train is advanced to the unload platform.


Top Thrill Dragster is an amazing thrill ride that must be experienced.  Every element is a blast, particularly the launch.  The ride's only major shortcoming is its reliability, but that should improve over time.

With the addition of Top Thrill Dragster, Cedar Point is definitely one of the top destinations for roller coaster enthusiasts.

Rating: 9/10


  • Powerful launch
  • Incredibly fast
  • Airtime and view from the top-hat
  • Very smooth


  • Reliability