Top Thrill 2 Review: Back and Better Than Ever

One of the most highly anticipated roller coasters of 2024 has finally arrived – Top Thrill 2 at Cedar Point opens to the public on Saturday, May 4th. Two members of the team had the chance to preview the ride and are here to give you the inside scoop on the reincarnation of this Lake Erie icon and answer the burning question: is Top Thrill 2 better than Top Thrill Dragster?

top thrill 2 media day

Kyle and Nick at Top Thrill 2 media day

While the original Top Thrill Dragster (2003 – 2021) had one powerful hydraulic launch, Top Thrill 2 has three LSM launches. First you’re propelled forward partially up the top hat from 0 to 74 mph, then backwards up the spike at (Coaster)101 mph, and finally 120mph forward up and over the top hat before the ride comes to a conclusion. This is accomplished by having a track switch that allows the multi-pass launches while more trains can be in the load and unload stations.


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What were your first impressions upon seeing Top Thrill 2 in the Cedar Point skyline?

Kyle: It was 4:40 am as we turned the corner onto the Cedar Point causeway and were greeted with a glowing park, with none other than Top Thrill 2 shining above all of the other huge rides. The obvious and most notable change is the massive 420 foot spike. It almost comes to the edge of the park and it’s hard to ignore. Cedar Point is known for doing things the biggest and the best and Top Thrill 2, visually, hits all of the marks.

Later during the day we were able to admire the new paint job and it is sleek! The bright white track dotted with red sections is eye-catching against the dark grey supports. The station is an electric blue that can’t be missed.

Nick: I don’t usually get scared riding roller coasters anymore but staring up at those monster 400 foot towers you could say I was feeling a bit nervous with anticipation.

top thrill 2 tophat

The 420 foot top hat on Top Thrill 2

How has the theme changed and what has the park done to update that section of the midway?

Nick: The entire midway has been refreshed. I love the racing fence and barrier along the launch track. Top Thrill 2 is very much a spectator ride and I love how close you can get to it. The classic grandstands are still there but now you get the added bonus of being able to stand under the towering spike as brave passengers experience several moments of hangtime before they come hurtling back to earth.

Kyle: I believe the theme in itself hasn’t changed, but the way it has been executed has. Dragster was very much the classic flames-and-checkered-flag vibe while Top Thrill 2 has the feel of a modern (or even futuristic) racing environment. I love how they’ve created a whole brand of racing behind the coaster, CP Racing. The merch possibilities are endless and the park already has more themed souvenirs than you can imagine! As a graphic designer I really appreciate the thought and detail that went into the whole area.

What was going through your mind after your initial ride on Top Thrill 2?

Kyle: It was a complete whirlwind and it took a minute to wrap my head around what had just happened. But, WOW. That was about all I could utter to Nick as we sat on the brake run. I think the sheer intensity of the ride coupled with the fact that it was 5:30 in the morning in a very brisk 37 degrees, left little room for any quick rational review of the ride (we’d need to get on again and again for that).

Nick: Same, just trying to wrap my ahead around what just happened. So much action is packed into a short time period it really is mind blowing. The biggest surprise for me was just how powerful and incredible the airtime is going over the top hat.

How many times did you get to ride and did your impression of the ride change throughout the day?

Nick: Our first two rides of the day were early, when it was still dark out. Morning night rides if you will. Our next seven rides (for a total of nine) were in daylight which I think I liked better because you could see farther and got a better sense of just how high up you go on that spike tower. We were able to try several rows and out of the ones we experienced there wasn’t a bad seat.

Kyle: Like Nick said, we were able to get a good number of rides in which really gave us a good feel for the coaster as a whole. For me, as the day went on I was able to appreciate each element more knowing what was coming next and how the ride progresses. Top Thrill 2 is broken into several sections, each with its own special feature. They come full circle and make for a really incredible ride.

What about those new trains? Are they comfortable? How was the boarding process?

Kyle: Visually, they are stunning! The wheels are enormous—50 pounds each! The largest roller coaster wheels at Cedar Point. The way the seats are designed you really get a great view while you are on the ride, no matter where you are sitting. The chairs themselves are quite comfortable and I felt that the over-the-head lap bar did not cause any thigh discomfort or arm immovability.

Nick: I think the seats on the new Zamperla trains sit higher than the original Intamin ones. You get whipped around those twists going up and down the top hat in a way I don’t remember from the original. But they are very comfortable which made for a very re-rideable ride. I think the second rows have a bit leg room than the front row of each individual vehicle.

Thoughts on the no-loose-article policy?

Nick: After riding, I completely understand the loose article policy. That airtime over the top hat is no joke and the spike goes over top of Iron Dragon. What I don’t understand is why they didn’t plan for the no loose article policy from the beginning. But now that we’re here, I don’t see a quick fix this season – there are separate load and unload areas and the (wheelchair accessible) unload is on the opposite side of the track, so lockers in the queue or a bin system just doesn’t seem feasible without major changes.

Kyle: Top Thrill 2 is one of the most intense roller coasters out there. I totally get why the rule was made. While it may be frustrating that you can’t even use a zippered pocket, there are major safety concerns and you don’t want anything loose flying around at 120 mph! Grab the locker, it is so worth it.

What was your favorite element on the ride?

Nick: Easy for me – the top hat. First you get the whipped through the ninety-degree twist then as soon as you hit the top radius you’re flying out of your seat with the top of your legs pressing against the restraint. Depending on the row, it starts letting up then you hit the drop and you’re yanked out of your seat all the way down while twisting around. So awesome.

Kyle: This is a tough one. After a day to think about it I’ve got to give the edge to the reverse spike. From the ground it may not look like much is happening, but let me assure you that is not the case! You enter the reverse spike at 101 mph, an insane speed to travel backwards upwards of 400 feet. The feeling is unlike anything I’ve experienced on another coaster.

The best part is the roughly 5 seconds of sustained airtime. From the moment you start to slow down, through the stall, and until you reach the bottom of the hill you get to experience some crazy floater air. Simply amazing. For the best stall experience, hope for the back seat. And watch out for that head chopper!

Here’s the question everyone wants to know… Top Thrill Dragster or Top Thrill 2?

Kyle: If you had thought that Top Thrill 2 would be anything like Top Thrill Dragster, you are wrong (including myself). Let’s not disregard Dragster, for at the time the coaster was a state-of-the-art, world-record-breaking ride. It also was a one trick pony. The intensity of going from zero to 120 mph in a matter of a few seconds is what made Dragster what it was. The top hat was a great turnaround feature, but the ride was over way too quick and you were left wanting more.

Top Thrill 2 has been completely reimagined. It is a totally different animal. While the forceful first launch may not be there, the coaster makes up for it in length and G’s. Turning essentially two elements into four, Top Thrill 2 doubles the ride time and value of waiting in line. You not only get one, but three launches, still maintaining that insane top speed of 120 mph! If I was given the choice between the two I would choose Top Thrill 2.

Nick: Yeah, the intensity of the initial launch on the original Top Thrill Dragster was unprecedented. But after that, Top Thrill 2 excels in every other aspect for me: the theming is better, the restraints are better, the airtime is better, etc.. It’s a more complete experience well worth waiting in line for.

See even more pictures on our Facebook page.

Top Thrill 2 Video

Listen to the sound of those launches!

Top Thrill 2 Stats:

Height: 420 feet

Max Speed: 120 mph

Three Launches: 74 mph, 101 mph (backwards), 120 mph

Track Length: 2,800 feet

Ride Duration: Appx. 2 min

We’d like to give a big thank you to the Cedar Point Media Relations team for having out for their Media Preview event and a shout out to everyone including the Zamperla team for exceeding our expectations in every way!

If you are a coaster fan, you have to get to Cedar Point this summer and check out Top Thrill 2. Give us a shout and let us know your thoughts if you find yourself in the park!