Get ready for the fastest 17 seconds of your life. At Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, the Top Thrill Dragster stands at 420 feet, 110 feet taller than Millennium Force! Built in 2003, Top Thrill Dragster was built as the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world creating a whole new type of roller coaster, the Strata Coaster. A Strata Coaster is any roller coaster that ranges from 400 to 499 feet. No matter if you enjoy it or hate it, you will definitely not forget this ride.
Themed to drag racing, Top Thrill Dragster delivers an amazing ride. The ride will launch you from a standstill to 120 miles per hour in just 3.8 seconds. Thanks to its hydraulic launching mechanism, it’s able to accelerate to that speed in that amount of time. The launching system is very much like launching from an aircraft carrier. After you race down the launch track, you’re going to go up...420 feet...at a 90 degree angle...with a slight twist. Crest the top of the hill and prepare yourself for the trip down...400 feet...at a 90 degree angle…with a more than 360 degree twist. Return to the straight drop and come out of the hill, flying into the brakes. The magnetic brakes will bring the speeding train to almost a complete standstill. The front seat is the best seat on this ride. On most roller coasters, the back is the best place because of the airtime, the floating feeling. But on this ride, the front is the place to be. You really feel the acceleration when the ride launches.
Despite the great ride experience, Top Thrill Dragster does have serious downfalls. First of all there is the line. On a busy day, the line could get up to two hours. This has caused me to become very frustrated. Also, being an extremely advanced piece of technology, it has serious failures sometimes. Every now and then, a launched train will not make it over the hill and come back down backwards. All this means is that the train will be launched again. But more seriously is its launch mechanism. The cable that launches the train very rarely frays, but when it does, it causes injuries, serious mechanical issues and ride closure. This year, the ride closed down was closed for almost a month. It was reported that it would stay closed for the rest of the season, but luckily, it opened back up.
Although Top Thrill Dragster occasionally fails to operate, it´s still a great ride. The great experience overrules the mechanical failure and long lines. I would highly recommend that you try to get on this ride at least once in your life. It’s the ultimate experience for a roller coaster fanatic or just a casual person going to Cedar Point.