How Much Does A Roller Coaster Cost To Build?
Roller coasters are the necessary amusement rides in all kinds of theme parks and they have become more and more popular nowadays. Almost every amusement park have at least one roller coaster.
However, have you ever wondered how much it costs to build a roller coaster?
As one of the professional roller coaster manufacturers, MCC will give you an answer.
Roller coaster price range vary when it comes to how big or small a roller coaster is. For example, roller coasters like the ones that you see in small theme parks or malls cost about $1-2 million. But roller coasters like Kingda Ka, in New Jersey, cost about $25 million dollars! That is a lot of money, isn’t it? Nevertheless, that is not even the craziest it gets! Expedition Everest in Disney World’s Animal Kingdom takes the top spot for the most expensive roller coaster: “Walt Disney World in Florida made the 2011 Guinness World Records for most expensive roller coaster, a title which hasn’t yet been broken” (Morrow). The price of this very advanced ride: $100 million dollars! And the thing is, it’s a pretty average coaster. What made it so expensive was its track system. The roller coaster ride goes both forwards and backwards, and has a set design like no other. The bigger and more advanced a roller coaster is, the more money it costs to build. Roller coasters have gotten super expensive to build. Back in 1927, Switchback Railway in Coney Island was built “with $175,000 ($2.3 million in 2014 dollars), the coaster was 25 cents to ride and saw nearly 1,400 riders an hour at its peak operation” (Crockett). Those were super advanced in their day, and people thought it couldn’t get any better than that. If you want to build a fast roller coaster, be expected to pay more for how fast you want it to go. Steve Boney, a German thrill ride manufacturer, said that “‘There is a law of diminishing returns. As the magnets get bigger, they get heavier and much more expensive, and this pushes up the construction costs. Achieving an extra 50km/h [31mph] costs an extra three to four million euros [£2.5m-£3.5m]'” (Wall). The same can be said for Steel Dragon, the worlds longest steel roller coaster, located in Japan. This giant ride is more than 8,000 feet long! Since it was built in Japan “it required far more steel than other roller coasters because of the necessary earthquake protection, putting its cost at more than $50 million” (Levy).
From that you can see, roller coasters cost a lot of money to build!
Now let’s talk about how much money the people who build these things make. Mechanical engineers make from $50 to $100 thousand dollars a year. That is a nice amount of money. To be a mechanical engineer, you “must display a knowledge of multiple engineering disciplines, which is why roller coaster engineers are usually mechanical engineers” (Bigelow). You must have a bachelor’s degree, but can go on to earn more advanced degrees throughout your career. When designing a roller coaster, engineers spend a lot of time analyzing safety and performance, among other things. They also have to supervise the making of the ride model and its construction in order to get funding. They don’t get to invent a crazy expensive coaster either: “The mechanics of roller coaster design must also take into consideration the cost of building the machine” (Bigelow). However, as always, the number one priority is safety.