Gather up your courage and hold your breath, this ride isn’t for the weakhearted. If you want a truly electrifying roller coaster experience, then Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point most definitely fits the bill.
Cedar Point has its fair share of tall, over-the-top, and scary rides.
Top Thrill Dragster, however, takes the prize for the most heart-stopping, lung-crushing and scream-worthy ride in all of Cedar Point.
That seems like a bit of an overkill considering that it lasts a mere 17 seconds.
Yep, you read that right. And I would bet a whole lot of money that those 17 seconds would be scariest 17 seconds of your entire life.
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What Makes Top Thrill Dragster Unique?
Top Thrill Dragster is a steel strata roller coaster located in Sandusky, Ohio.
The thing that sets this Cedar Point attraction apart from the rest is its mind-blowing acceleration.
One minute you are sitting stationary and the next you are propelled up to the top of a 90-degree incline.
In this guide I will tell all my fellow solo ThemeParkHipsters all there is to know about the ride that has been rated ten out of ten on the Hipster Scream Scale.
After reading this you will be prepared to face this monster head on!
Alright, pack up your courage and let’s go!
History of Top Thrill Dragster
Cedar Point calls itself the Roller Coaster Capital of The World and I do not disagree. Cedar Point has 70 spectacular rides, eighteen of which are incredible world-class thrill roller coasters.
For my resident adrenaline junkies, this sounds like nirvana.
And it is.
The Roller Coaster Capital of The World Celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. Even though it has faced many obstacles, it remains one of the best theme parks in the world.
Top Thrill Dragster was one of its progenies, born in 2003. At the time it was the world’s tallest and fastest roller coaster.
Today, it stands at an intimidating 420 feet tall– a reminder that it is still one of the top ten tallest roller coasters in the world.
The construction of Top Thrill Dragster was part of the venture to make Cedar Point the ‘Disney of the Midwest’.
And it indeed became the Disney of the Midwest– if Disney had tattoos and lip piercings, and stomped around in edgy clothes and hobnail boots.
Jokes aside, Top Thrill Dragster is one of the only two true strata roller coasters in the world. This makes it not only one of the most unique roller coasters but also the most thrilling.
Top Thrill Dragster’s appeal lies not only in its speed, height or even its acceleration, but in its simplicity.
While other rides offer various turns, inversions and rolls, Top Thrill Dragster has no time for such frills and fancies. It keeps the ride brutally simple– up and down.
But oh boy, what an up and down!
I don’t think anyone can be truly prepared for what happens after you strap yourself into the seat. If you go for the front row in your first time riding the beast, you truly have a heart of steel.
Now remember folks! This is one of the fastest accelerating roller coasters in the world.
In just 3.8 seconds, this beast of a roller coaster accelerates up to 120 miles per hour.
You will be jerked out of your stationary position and thrown up 420 feet where you can literally feel the wind pulling at your skin
If you thought that you would get a brief respite at the top, you are highly mistaken.
There is a 270 degree turn at this point (420 feet up in the sky) after which you dive straight down that 90-degree angle once again.
Has it been 17 seconds or a lifetime?
The design of Top Thrill Dragster is pure technological ingenuity.
As if taking a 12,000 lb. train up a hill in less than four seconds was a hard-enough task, factoring in the eighteen passengers and their weight in building the roller coaster could have proven to be impossible.
Cedar Point brought out the latest roller coaster technology which involved using pure kinetic energy to feed the beast.
They ditched the use of the traditional linear motors to provide riders with the thrill of scaling a mountain in mere seconds.
Sixteen large hydraulic motors power the Top Thrill Dragster.
How Does Top Thrill Dragster Technology Work?
The ride computer analyses the roller coaster’s statistics after every ride and tweaks it to ensure a better and safer ride.
The computer monitors the amount of energy each ride uses and how much time it takes to increase or decrease it to reach the ideal values.
Why Does Top Thrill Dragster Roll Back?
Another built-in security feature is that if the energy is not enough to propel Top Thrill Dragster over the mountain, the train simply rolls back onto the launch pad.
This keeps the passenger safe while they still enjoy a good ride.
You can watch the full video of this ride here.
Stats and Fun Facts About this Cedar Point Roller Coaster
- It is only 2800 feet long, quite short when compared to the average roller coaster. But considering that this distance is covered in about 17 seconds, how long is long?
- It is a whopping 420 feet tall and is still considered one of the tallest roller coasters in the world.
- You, on the other hand, need to be at least 52 inches to ride on this mammoth roller coaster.
- It is one of two existing strata coasters in the entire world. Is the word ‘strata’ a pun about reaching the stratosphere? Your participation is the only one way to find out!
- Although it was built in 2003, it remains one of the most popular roller coasters at Cedar Point.
- The ride uses a combination of linear induction motors and hydraulics to fuel its insane acceleration.
- Speaking of acceleration, this roller coaster goes from zero to 120 miles per hour in just 3.8 seconds.
- In the second half of the ride, the ride is fueled by nothing by sheer gravity.
- The turn at the top of the ride is a 270-degrees which is almost a full circle!
- Top Thrill Dragster train itself weighs 12,000 lbs.
7 Best Tips for Your Cedar Point Visit
1 – Review the Cedar Point Rules
As this is not your usual roller coaster, you might want to review all the rules once again. Cedar Point is extremely strict about their loose articles policy.
Do you wear glasses? Put them away.
For safety reasons, purses, backpacks, beverage containers or any other loose articles may not be taken on this ride.
2 – Secure our Glasses
Even if you can see absolutely nothing without them, you have to put them away. The only type of glasses allowed at this ride are the ugly ones with an elastic band that goes around your head.
Now, I presume your sense of fashion will not allow you to commit such blasphemy and you will just have to enjoy Top Thrill Dragster without them.
3 – Bring Sunscreen
Carry sunscreen with you to protect your skin from the rays of the sun.
4 – Visit in the Fall
I recommend visiting the park in the fall since the crowd is more manageable and the atmosphere of fall in Ohio is absolutely gorgeous.
5 – Use the All-day Dining Plan
Cedar Point has an All-day Dining plan allows you to eat all day for one affordable price!
6 – Take a Break at Hotel Breakers or the Beach
One thing I liked about the Cedar Point property was the variety of restaurants and scenic rest stops in and outside of the park.
You will find many popular franchises such as Famous Dave’s, TGI Fridays, Chick-fil-A, and many more!
The coolest thing is the ability to grab your lunch and head out to the majestic shore of Lake Erie.
There you can spend your park break relaxing next to one of America’s most naturally beautiful lakes.
Book your next trip at Cedar Point’s Hotel Breakers!
7 – Take Your Time and Discover the Park
I know you’ll want to conquer every incredible roller coaster and thrill ride, but put some time in your Cedar Point itinerary to discover all the nooks and crannies of the park.
And just have fun!
Final Thoughts on Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point
You are officially ready to ride the beast!
And I promise that each and every one of those seventeen seconds will be engraved in your mind.
Don’t be afraid to let out a scream (or screech) of pure exhilaration as everyone will be doing the same anyways!
Until next time, Happy Park Hopping Hipsters!