Sunday, June 13, 2010

Kingda Ka

This week I had my first "summer Friday" off from work. As such, it seemed like a good idea to celebrate by going to Six Flags in New Jersey. Since school isn't out yet, I reasoned that going on a weekday would make for shorter lines. What I didn't know is that at the end of the school year in New Jersey, busloads of teenagers are trucked in as some sort of end-of-the-school-year reward. My high school never did this, so I guess there are some perks to growing up in New Jersey after all. At any rate, the lines were still reasonably short, but man are teenagers in large groups ever annoying.

The highlight of the park is what Six Flags claims (and wikipedia verifies) is the tallest, fastest roller coaster in the world: Kingda Ka. I would have thought Dubai would have been all over that by now, and I wonder how long they'll be willing to be bested in anything by New Jersey of all places. Naturally, Kingda Ka is also the most popular ride in the park, so we waited in line for about an hour for it. Of course, because it reaches speeds of 128 miles an hour, it's also the shortest ride--the entire thing lasting slightly less than 30 seconds. So in terms of a waiting time to ride time ratio--not your best bet. That said, waiting in line is probably part of the experience. You get to watch the ride go about 100 times and wonder time and time again if shooting straight up 45 stories in the air and then plummeting straight back down to the ground is really such a good idea physically or psychologically. Also, the pressence of helpful signs reminding you that sometimes the roller coaster can't quite make it over the top, that this is a perfectly normal occurance, and that the ride is designed to roll safely back down to be relaunched are mildly disconcerting. On the one hand, I realize that it is important to have these signs in the rare event that this happens, so that people don't have heart attacks when the ride starts rolling (safely, of course) back down 45 stories, the way it came. On the other hand, my first thought on reading the sign was: "really? shouldn't it be engineered to make it over, you know, every time?." Not inspiring much confidence in your design, Kingda Ka.

Some mild trepidation aside, I made it to the front of the line and rode the thing. I must admit, despite the shortness of the ride compared to the wait, this was easily the best ride I rode all day. I was going to post a point of view video that some kid, clearly ignoring the safetly warnings to stow all cameras and belongings, took. However, it was, not surprisingly, pretty shakey. Here's something someone firmly resting on the ground took instead:

I was going to try to embed that video, but I realized I don't know how to do that yet. One day, I hope that this blog will be advanced enough to use simple technology. One day.


  1. I rode that ride a couple summers ago. It's crazy!!

  2. Whoa! Maybe I should've come up last weekend. I've never been to a Six Flags before. Although, I probably would've chickened out on riding Kingda Ka. I'm lame, I know.