8 Most Expensive Roller Coasters Ever Built

| |

Not everyone loves roller coasters, but the biggest, longest, highest, fastest, and most expensive in the world draw millions of visitors for a reason. The contest for the most elaborate roller coaster is always changing, with the most expensive ever built having been completed in May of this year.

Continue reading to learn about the full list of the most expensive roller coasters in the world and why you may want to put them on your bucket list of thrills.

8. The Smiler

Cost: $21.8 million
Location: United Kingdom
Park: Alton Towers
Opened: May 31, 2013
The Smiler
photo source: Alton Towers

The Smiler is a rollercoaster in Staffordshire in the United Kingdom, at a park called Alton Towers. It was built by Gerstlauer as their first infinity coaster. It features 14 inversions, giving it the world record.

The coaster has a track 3,838.6 feet long and a max speed of 52.8 mph. It was built for a construction cost of 18 million pounds, or around $21.8 million, though some sources place it as high as $27 million.

The infinity coaster design by Gerstlauer focuses on longer trains that travel on a magnetic rollback system. There are now 11 coasters with this design, starting with The Smiler and including one later on this list.

Did you know?

Alton Towers is an amusement resort that has been open since 1860 as a country estate and since 1980 as the theme park it is now. The park is seasonal, only opening from March to November. The rest of the year, Alton Towers focusing on running its hotels and other travel amenities like a spa and mini golf complex.

7. Kingda Ka

Cost: $25 million
Location: New Jersey
Park: Six Flags Great Adventure
Opened: May 19, 2005
Kingda Ka
photo source: Six Flags

Kingda Ka is a roller coaster that opened in 2005. At its debut, it was both the fastest and tallest roller coaster in the world, designed by the engineer Werner Stengel using the Accelerator Coaster Model.

It was also the second strata coaster ever built after Top Thrill Dragster in Cedar Point in Ohio.

This coaster is still the world’s tallest at 456 feet, using a hydraulic launch mechanism to reach 128 mph and drop the coaster 418 feet. The entire ride only lasts 28 seconds.

This behemoth cost $25 million to build from the manufacturer, Intamin, and is located at The Golden Kingdom, a section of the park at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey.

Did you know?

Kingda Ka had its speed record broken in 2010 by Formula Rossa, a rollercoaster built in Abu Dhabi in the UAE at the park known as Ferrari World. It blasted the record apart with a top speed of 149 mph. However, Kingda Ka is still the fastest in North America and still the tallest in the world.

6. Fury 325

Cost: $30 million
Location: North Caroline
Park: Carowinds
Opened: March 25, 2015
Fury 325
photo source: Carowinds

Opened on March 25, 2015 in the Thrill Zone section of the park, Carowinds, in North Carolina, Fury 325 packs a punch. It’s a 6,602-foot-long roller coaster with a maximum height of 325 feet, making it one of the longest and highest roller coasters in the world.

In fact, Fury 325 is fifth place when it comes to height and first place when it comes to the height of chain lift coasters.

The coaster was built by Bolliger & Mabillard for $30 million, securing it a place on this list of luxury coasters.

Did you know?

Carowinds is an amusement park in Charlotte, North Caroline that has been around since 1973. It’s basically the Disney of the Carolinas, owned by Cedar Fair. They own not only the amusement park but also Carolina Harbor, a water park.

5. Thunder Dolphin

Cost: $37 million
Location: Japan
Park: Tokyo Dome City Attractions
Opened: May 1, 2003
Thunder Dolphin
photo source: Wikimedia Commons

This ride is a part of the entertainment complex in Bunkyo, Tokyo known as Tokyo Dome City (formerly Big Egg City). The ride opened in May 2003 and is a mega coaster built by Intamin, designed by Werner Stengel, a German engineer.

With a max height of 262.5 feet, Thunder Dolphin is the tenth tallest continuous circuit coaster in the world. It cost $37 million to open the ride and became an instant hit.

It includes 3,500 feet of track that goes through a hole cut into the LaQua Building and even dives through a Ferris wheel known as the Big-O.

The Big-O is the first Ferris wheel in the world built without a center, engineered specifically to accommodate this fantastical coaster.

Did you know?

A long bolt detached from the ride and hit a 9-year-old rider, causing the ride to close for three years from December 2010 to August 2013.

4. Steel Dragon 2000

Cost: $52 million
Location: Japan
Park: Nagashima Spa Land
Opened: August 1, 2000
Steel Dragon 2000
photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Steel Dragon 2000 is a rollercoaster in the Mie Prefecture in Japan, in a park called Nagashima Spa Land. The coaster was built by Morgan Manufacturing and designed by Steve Okamoto. It is one of the oldest roller coasters still considered the most expensive, opening in 2000 for a price of $52 million (over $91 million in 2022).

This coaster is the world’s second “giga coaster” after Millennium Point, a coaster at Cedar Point in Ohio. The ride includes two tunnels and is the fifth tallest steel roller coaster in the world, reaching 318.3 feet in height.

Did you know?

Steel Dragon 2000 also has the fifth longest drop in any rollercoaster at 306.8 feet. Its high production costs stem from its location. Since that area of Japan is frequently hit by earthquakes, more steel than usual was required to build the ride safely.

3. Expedition Everest

Cost: $100 million
Location: Florida
Park: Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Opened: January 26, 2006
Expedition Everest
photo source: Wikimedia Commons

The ride Expedition Everest was the world’s most expensive rollercoaster since it opened in 2006 until 2019 (see below). It is located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and had its soft open for annual Disney passholders on January 26, 2006 and to the general public a few months later on April 7.

The ride achieved the Guinness World Record in expensive rollercoasters in 2011. The ride features a climb up a façade of Mt. Everest after a queue full of mysterious yeti siting information and folklore accounts. The ride ends with a near-miss by an animatronic yeti as it reaches for the train.

The ride cost $100 million to build.

Did you know?

The Yeti animatronic had a full range of motion using 19 actuators that controlled its movement. Unfortunately, shortly after the ride opened, the frame holding up the yeti split, threatening to break the structure of the building if it continued moving.

John Rohde, who built the yeti, unfortunately was not able to fix it since the robot is attached to 46 feet of wired tower built into the building itself. Since then, the yeti has not moved and simply stands at the end of the ride.

2. Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

Cost: $300 million
Location: Florida
Park: Universal’s Islands of Adventure
Opened: June 11, 2019
Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
photo source: Discover Universal

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure is of course based on Harry Potter and was the sixth such attraction built at Universal’s Islands of Adventure in Florida for their Wizarding World park segment. Specifically, this ride is in Hogsmeade, replacing the Dragon Challenge suspended rollercoaster.

The ride features real trees in its open track but also uses story elements to enhance the experience.

The riders face off against many famous Harry Potter creatures, including pixies, skrewts, devil’s snare, a centaur, and Hagrid’s three-headed dog, Fluffy.

The ride opened for a construction cost of $300 million in June 2019, making it the most expensive rollercoaster in the world at the time.

Did you know?

The ride car is shaped like Hagrid’s motorcycle, which was originally owned by Sirius Black. It appeared in the films, The Sorcerer’s Stone and The Deathly Hallows – Part 1.

1. Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

Cost: $500 million
Location: Florida
Park: Disney’s EPCOT
Opened: May 5, 2022
Guardians of the Galaxy
photo source: Blog Mickey

The most expensive rollercoaster ever built is Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. The attraction is also the newest ride on this list, opening for Florida residents on May 5 of this year and opening for everyone on May 27. It was delayed to EPCOT’s 40th birthday celebration due to COVID closures.

Vekoma Rides Manufacturing designed this enclosed cinematic rollercoaster based on the Disney Marvel property.

The queue shows off the world-building right away with a pre-show “Galaxarium,” a planetarium narrated by a super computer called World Mind. The cast of the films returns to their roles, including Chris Pratt as Star-Lord/Peter Quill.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind cost a reported $500 million to build, making it the most expensive rollercoaster ever made at the time of writing.

Did you know?

The ride is in the visitor’s center of Disney’s EPCOT, which is the area of the park unrelated to its “World Showcase.” The ride’s location is at the site of the Universe of Energy Show building, which used to house Ellen’s Energy Adventure until 2017, a combination theater show and ride that featured Ellen DeGeneres, Jamie Lee Curtis, Bill Nye the Science Guy, and animatronic dinosaurs.


Head of Content at Rarest.org


8 Most Expensive Houses Currently for Sale in Iowa

8 Most Expensive Geodes Ever Sold


Leave a Comment