|The top hat element on Top Thrill Dragster, which reaches a height of 420 feet.|
|Description||A complete-circuit roller coaster that is 400 feet to 499 feet tall.|
|First||Top Thrill Dragster - 2003|
|Newest||Kingda Ka - 2005|
A strata roller coaster is any complete-circuit roller coaster with a height between 400 feet and 499 feet tall. Only two strata coasters have been built worldwide, both of which were designed by Intamin and are located in the United States. "Strata coaster" is a term invented by Cedar Fair in order to advertise Top Thrill Dragster. "Strata coaster" is not a definition by law, as most of the word uses the metric system. The same applies for hyper coasters and giga coasters.
The first roller coaster to break the 400 foot barrier was Superman: The Escape, which opened at Six Flags Magic Mountain in 1997. While the height of its structure is 415 feet, riders do not reach this height as it is a shuttle roller coaster, nor is the drop 400 feet or larger. For this reason, Superman: The Escape is not a strata roller coaster. Also, the giga coaster Orion at Kings Island is 287 feet tall, but Orion is a full-circuit roller coaster and its drop is 300 feet. For these reasons, Orion is considered a giga coaster.
Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point became the first true strata roller coaster when it opened on May 4, 2003, at a height of 420 feet. Unlike all prior full-circuit roller coasters to break the height record, Top Thrill Dragster uses a launch to propel riders over its top hat at a top speed of 120 mph. Two years later, Kingda Ka opened at Six Flags Great Adventure on May 21, 2005. Kingda Ka also uses a launch and a top hat, but adds an airtime hill at the end. Reaching a height of 456 feet and a speed of 128 mph, Kingda Ka remains the tallest roller coaster to this day.
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