Cedar Point to relaunch its fastest coaster with Top Thrill 2

August 1, 2023, 10:23 AM · Top Thrill Dragster will return to Cedar Point for the 2024 as Top Thrill 2. The park announced details for its redesigned Strata coaster today.

Cedar Point has turned to Zamperla Rides to redesign the coaster, which will use the original, 420-foot-tall Top Hat element from the Intamin-built Top Thrill Dragster. Top Thrill 2 adds a spike element and a multi-pass LSM launch to propel Zamperla's "Lightning" trains up to 120 miles per hour for their trip up and over the Top Hat.

"Top Thrill 2 will be the boldest and most advanced roller coaster Cedar Point has ever introduced. It’s another one-of-a-kind that could only be built at Cedar Point," Cedar Point Vice President and General Manager Carrie Boldman said. "Our stamp on the industry is in roller coaster innovation, and today, that's solidified as we redefine the strata coaster into a mega-thrill that our guests will come from far and wide to experience."

Top Thrill 2 will launch riders 74 miles per hour down the coaster's track toward the original Top Hat. That won't be nearly enough speed to clear that tower, so riders will fall back through the second pass of the LSM, which will push them backward up the new spike at 101 mph. That will lead into the third pass through the LSM, which will push riders to the ride's 120 mph top speed.

The original Top Thrill Dragster opened in 2003 as the tallest and fastest coaster in the world. Those records have since been broken by Six Flags Great Adventure's Kingda Ka and Ferrari World Abu Dhabi's Formula Rossa, but the hydraulic-launch coaster remained an icon at the Point until the park closed Top Thrill Dragster in August 2021 after a failure injured a waiting park guest. Park officials last year promised a new experience to take Dragster's place for the 2024 season.

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Replies (16)

August 1, 2023 at 10:31 AM

This the most disappointing announcement (for me) in a long time. The best part about TTD by far was going 0-120 in 4 seconds, and now it only goes 0-74 in those same 4 seconds. I am also surprised they didn’t try to recapture the records from Six Flags. It seems to me that, much like Orion, Cedar Fair mailed this one in. I’m sure it will be a fun ride but it won’t have the same magic as the 0-120. Like I suspected though they had an agenda when taking out Wicked Twister as they basically turned TTD into an impulse.

The name doesn’t bother me at all, it’s a famous internationally known coaster that’s been all over the media for 20 years, so it makes sense to capitalize on that.

August 1, 2023 at 10:46 AM

IMHO, Good Gravy looks far more appetizing than this redesign. I think I'll be planning a trip to Holiday World in 2024 instead!

August 1, 2023 at 10:57 AM

I agree the_man2, and that's unfortunately what happens when the media and fans are clever and observant to the point where it's difficult to keep big plans under wraps. However, my biggest concern with this is that it's from Zamperla, a company known more for carnival-style attractions, not world-class roller coasters (though it does explain the installation of Wild Mouse this year). This is a massive step up for the company, and for their sake I hope the can deliver. The fact that they spilled the beans a day early on their website (including the name) does not garner confidence that they are ready for the "big time".

I do like the new train designs with lap bars that appear to be far more accommodating than the 1st generation Intamin trains, but even with the fast-switch track they're debuting here, the capacity on the coaster will be reduced due to the longer ride time. Here's hoping that seat belts won't be needed here to accelerate loading and unloading to keep capacity as high as possible.

Also, considering the length of the launch track on TTD (that will be lengthened further with the reverse spike), I expect that initial launch to be very underwhelming, but getting a much longer stretch of track to experience 120 MPH on the third launch might make up for it.

As far as the name, I also agree that it would have been silly to jetison a name that's widely recognizable. However, the least they could have done is added something like "Recharged", "Relaunched", "Reformulated", "Electrified", or some other tag more creative than "2" to make this a bit more exciting.

August 1, 2023 at 11:08 AM

That is a good point about Zamperla. Its been a long time since i've worked on a Zamperla but I can confidently say that Italian engineering is garbage. Zamperla is to rides like what Fiat is to cars, chintzy plastic junk. According to them the trains have no welds therefore easier on maintenance and smoother ride, which is probably what sold Cedar Fair on this, knowing Zamperla its not a risk I would take but best of luck to them.

August 1, 2023 at 11:10 AM

Yawn .....

After this, all I can say is bring on Falcon's Flight.

August 1, 2023 at 12:00 PM

Seriously, this is a bit much. Not holding my breath for it to open. As for Zamperla, they did a creditable job with Thunderbolt at Luna Park. Their spinning coasters are highly entertaining, especially Rockstar at Fun Spot in Kissimmee. (The same cannot be said for Time Warp at Canada's Wonderland, which is absolutely dreadful.) However, Top Thrill 2 strikes me as somewhat beyond their scope. But who knows? Thunderbolt falls into the category of extreme so they may be able to pull it off.

August 1, 2023 at 3:45 PM

Well we do get a guaranteed "roll back" on every ride(now a feature), a spike (back seat riders rejoice) and its multi-launch. So 2.5 new features. Maybe 2.8 features. But we loose the 120mph initial launch. I do worry what capacity will look like since you really cannot have more than one train on the course not counting load/unload areas. Any train "ready" will have to wait until the active train has cleared the tower after the 2 extra launches. Then again the load process may even things out. Sorry thinking out loud.

August 1, 2023 at 4:28 PM

Totally agree on the name. "Top Drill Double Launch" is another one. So many better options then "2".

August 1, 2023 at 5:22 PM

Honestly, I've got zero confidence in this project being an improvement on the original ride. I'll just list out my issues...

-Zamperla is an unproven manufacturer in pretty much all areas related to this, and their previous larger scale work has not produced great results. Even if Cedar Fair didn't want to use Intamin, there are other companies with experience in LSM swing launch tech that could have scaled up their designs. While something of this scale is going to be ambitious for anyone, I'd have far more confidence if someone like Mack or Premier were attached to the project.
-Swing launches by their nature have inherent reliability issues due to requiring both precise programming and multiple moving parts. Based on what I've seen from other rides that utilize them, I'm not confident this will have significantly better reliability than the old version of the ride.
-The launch on this ride is going to be extremely weak. By my calculations, Top Thrill Dragster's launch pulled approximately 1.4 g. Assuming the same length of launch track, Top Thrill 2 will have an average acceleration of just 0.5 g.
-Keeping the name and theme are going to invite comparisons to the original version of the ride, which may or may not be favorable.
-Capacity is actually not a big concern of mine. The old coaster could theoretically run 60 trains per hour seating 18 riders each and had a theoretical hourly capacity of 1,000 riders, but actual capacity numbers were typically in the 800-900 range. By my estimation, this ride should be able to cycle at least 45 20-passenger trains per hour theoretically, which would give a theoretical capacity of at least 900 riders per hour. If it indeed proves more reliable, there's a chance the actual throughput will increase with this renovation.

Personally, I feel like it would have been smarter and cheaper to just replace the hydraulic launch with an LSM system and run lighter trains to compensate. However, I get that Cedar Point wanted something more marketable than that, and this was what they chose to go with. I'm unsure if I'll be making it out to Cedar Point next year, but I can't say that what I'm seeing really makes another trip out there a higher priority. However, I am curious to ride it whenever I next happen to visit, as I'd love to know whether my skepticism is misplaced or whether Cedar Fair did destroy a ride I considered a top 50 coaster.

August 1, 2023 at 6:23 PM

I do think the name is a bit lacking... but look forward to that 3rd launch spurred by the drop from the spike. Should be fun to experience that straightaway for a longer distance than the original.

Whether the gamble on Zamperla is worth it or not... let's come back in a year and see how things turned out. The new wild mouse at CP is a fun family coaster.

August 1, 2023 at 11:00 PM

So naming it Top Thrill 2 has ensured that the following conversation will happen about a billion times in the years to come:

“You want to go and ride Top Thill 2 at Cedar Point?”
“What happened to the first Top Thrill?”
“Oh they had to shut it down after a part flew off and nearly killed a person in line and left with her permanent brain damage.”

Not exactly the best way to try and let that episode fade from the public consciousness.

August 2, 2023 at 7:58 AM

As someone who rode the original many, many times I am disappointed with the loss of the 120 mph launch. This was the reason I rode.

I understand the redesign from a safety standpoint. If the launch fails at 74mph vs 120mph the pieces will be (hopefully) flying off at a lower speed. Also, 3 launches are better than 1 as far as the ride experience (I guess).

I would like to point out one safety aspect that I can't tell if it's been addressed in the official video. The queue line used to actually pass under the launch track. It then snaked in between the 2 parallel pieces of track. I don't think you were ever more than 25 feet from either side of the track and at some points in the line, you were right next to the launch track. Have they redesigned the queue to keep those in line further away from the mechanism and have they done away with the grandstand that also used to be right next to the launch?

I agree with TheOldCream about the name. Top Thrill 2 just makes people ask what happened to Top Thrill 1?

August 2, 2023 at 8:33 AM

A guaranteed roll-back every time, a backward 101 mph launch up a 400ft. spike, then forward at 120 mph. up and over the original top hat. How boring! Plus a less-than-ideal name. I won't bother riding it - I'll just stick to Corkscrew and Iron Dragon.

(now I'll take off my sarcasm)

August 2, 2023 at 10:41 AM

@James - Yeah, a guaranteed roll-back, but only from about halfway up the tower, so not the same as the occasional roll-back on the original TTD (and yes, I've experienced that).

It does look like they're adding covers to the queue area, but it's difficult to tell whether they're fabric or something more rigid.

Again, I think a lot of the frustration here comes from the fact that everyone knew this (reverse spike, triple LSM launches) was going to be the result, and that the name offered nothing imaginative or exciting to create any sort of renewed interest in the coaster.

I did kind of like Sea World's tweet trolling this announcement.

August 3, 2023 at 9:16 AM

Ehhhh, no bunny hill on the launch?

August 3, 2023 at 11:59 AM

Let's be clear ... there is no rollback. It's a weak first launch, not even past the upward curve. Now if it had been 100+ and got the train past the spiral, then yes, you could possibly call it a rollback. Let's not forget, the TTD rollback was from the crest of the top hat.

It's a basic 3 launch coaster, with a tall spike !!

They could have done so much more. Sad really. Once the Ooo & Ahaaa factor wears off, everyone will be reminiscing about the 120mph launch, that potentially had some lucky riders rolling back from the top. Ah yes, the good old days.

I'm with AJ, this isn't on my "must go back to CP and ride" list, as I hoped it would be.

And good on SeaWorld for their spoof post. In reality it's just a bigger Ice Breaker.

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