Type: Roller Coaster
Specific Type: Steel, Hydraulically-Launched, Strata-Coaster
Seating: 6 Sit-down, 2-abreast, 12-passenger trains
Height: 420 feet
Drop: 400 feet
Angle: 90 degrees
Speed: 120 MPH
Length: 2,800 feet
Duration: 17 seconds
Manufacturer: Intamin, AG
Color Scheme: Yellow supports / red / white track
Opening Date: 2003
Imagine going from 0 to 120 mph in just four seconds. That is what riders experience on Top Thrill Dragster. Dragster’s theme is similar to that of a drag race. Throughout the queue, guests will see many posters comparing the stats of Top Thrill Dragster to real dragster racecars. Before launching, riders will hear the sounds of a racecar engine and will also see the “Christmas tree lights” go from yellow to green which is very similar to the starting line at a real drag race. Standing at 420 feet tall, Dragster is not for inexperienced coaster riders.
Intamin, one of the most famous roller coaster design companies, manufactured Top Thrill Dragster. Dragster uses a hydraulic launch system similar to what is used to launch fighter jets on an aircraft carrier. This technology was a first for both Intamin and Cedar Point so there were many complications with the ride in its inaugural season.
Dragster officially opened in May of 2003. However, due to the many complications the ride was having, it was closed for almost all of the 2003 season in order to fix the bugs that were keeping the ride from running properly. In May 2004, Dragster opened for good but still experienced a lot of down time. This seemed to be the case for the next few seasons until further maintenance was done to the Dragster trains that finally seemed to make the ride more reliable.
There are 6 Dragster trains, each a different color. The colors consist of red, gold, green, blue, purple and black cherry. Each train can hold a maximum of 18 riders. The original Dragster trains had a spoiler on the back with very large wheels adding to the drag racing theme. This extra theming seemed to be one of the main reasons Dragster was experiencing a lot of down time.
On a launched roller coaster like Top Thrill Dragster, there will be times the ride will not make it all the way up the 420ft tall hill. When this happens, the ride will fall backwards and return to the original launch position. This is what many people call a rollback. Before the ride operators are able to re-launch the ride, they must often reset the ride system causing the ride to momentarily shut down. After further testing, it was proven that the extra theming on the back of the Dragster trains is what caused the frequent rollbacks. The spoiler and giant wheels were removed and the Dragster is now experiencing far less rollbacks.
Dragster is one of the most thrilling and popular rides in the park. While the ride is only 17 seconds long, it is well worth the wait. There aren’t many amusement parks that have a ride where you can experience such a high speed.