What is the Biggest Roller Coaster in the World?

Jessica Ellis

The biggest roller coaster in the world is a matter of some debate among enthusiasts and experts. Determining which coaster is the biggest depends on criteria, such as height, or length of the ride's track. Although the title of biggest roller coaster in the world is indeterminable, several worthy coasters deserve merit for their extraordinary size.

A roller coaster.
A roller coaster.

In any conversation about the biggest roller coaster in the world, Kingda Ka is quickly brought up. Built in 2005 at New Jersey’s Six Flags Great Adventures Park, this ride took the records for tallest and fastest coaster in the world. At its highest point, Kindga Ka reaches 456 ft (139 m) into the air, topping its nearest competitor by 36 ft (9 m). It also features the tallest drop, a stomach-plummeting 418 ft (127 m). By all accounts, Kingda Ka is a monster coaster.

Roller coaster records are quite fickle, as technology and ambitious designers allow for new standards to be set.
Roller coaster records are quite fickle, as technology and ambitious designers allow for new standards to be set.

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In terms of track length, the heavyweight of the field is across the world from Kingda Ka, at Japan’s Nagashima Spa Land Amusement Park. Steel Dragon 2000 lurks in this theme park, opened in 2000 and boasting the longest roller coaster track in the world at 8133 ft (2479 m). Impressively in the fast-paced field of roller coaster technology, Steel Dragon 2000 has defended its title for nearly a decade, making it a clear contender for the title of biggest roller coaster.

Both Kingda Ka and Steel Dragon 2000 are steel coaster, capable of becoming much larger than traditional wooden coasters. Yet wooden coaster fans will not be undone, and records for tallest and longest wooden track are still impressive. As of 2008, the longest wooden coaster in the world is The Beast at Paramount’s Kings Island in Ohio, spanning 7400 ft (2255.5 m) and holding the title of longest wooden track since 1979. The tallest wooden coaster in the world, Son of Beast, is at the same park, rearing an incredible 218 ft (66.4 m) above the ground.

The world of roller coaster records is a fickle one, and new technology may bring an end to the reign of at least one of these giants. Set to open in 2009, a German coaster called Ring Racer will smash Kingda Ka’s long-held speed record, and may threaten other records as well. With all of the competition, the biggest roller coaster in the world may never be truly determined, but the thrills brought by the competitors are sure to keep visitors screaming for years to come.

A closeup of a roller coaster.
A closeup of a roller coaster.

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Discussion Comments


@Mor - At one point a few years ago I believe Cedar Point, in Ohio, had quite a few of the tallest and fastest titles for different kinds of roller-coaster rides, so if she went there she probably did. The article author is definitely right in that theme parks are constantly trying to one-up each other in having the biggest and the fastest coaster though.


@KoiwiGal - I don't think it's the drops that are that bad. They are usually my favorite part. It's other parts of the roller coaster that tend to be painful. The worst bruise from a ride I ever had was from a coaster that had a very sudden start, which was intended to make the whole ride very fast, but just ended up making it too jerky.

I haven't been on all that many though and I'd love to go on more. My sister once did a backpacking tour where she basically went to every major theme park in the US and it sounded like a blast. I'm not sure if she went on any of the largest roller coasters though.


I think you're probably getting your money's worth more with a long coaster than a tall one. I've been on a lot of roller coasters over the years and I actually think there's a point at which they get too fast to really be fun. And I'm not talking about the fear factor. Most of the really fast roller-coasters I've been on have been painful to ride and actually left me somewhat bruised at the end of them. Which would be fine if the biggest roller coaster drop in the world was proportionally more fun than one that isn't quite as big, but after a certain point I don't think they get any scarier or more thrilling to be a few feet higher.

I'd rather go on one that lasted more than a minute after a hour of waiting to get on. That seems like it would be more fun.

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