The roller coasters are a thrill to ride. And how does riding one which goes through inversions right in the heart of Sin city? Come the Big Apple Roller Coaster in the New York New York hotel and casino, right here at the Las Vegas strip in Nevada America.
Big Apple Coaster Las Vegas is essentially a full-fledged roller coaster sitting on the roof of a Casino. The New York New York hotel is themed after the city. It spots a hotel buildings with traces of the Manhattan skyline. Also, the hotel blocks are even cleverly disguised over a variety of buildings styles. Moreover, you get a scale mock-up of the statue of liberty and Brooklyn bridge sitting at the front of the establishment.
Literally a roller coaster on a building
additionally, you can tell that the entire casino is built around the roller coaster. You can notice throughout the casino floor overly thick steel supports. There are even a couple sticking out on the ground floor by the Casino grounds, shops and F&B outlets, such as a Hershey’s store and the Shake Shack burger joint we visited.
Interestingly, when walking about the Casino and shops, it is not uncommon to hear screams and the thundering roll of the roller coaster outdoors. Also, the ride ends in a brake run back ride over the casino floor, above the F&B outlets.
The entrance of the roller coaster is located on the second floor of the building in the big apple Arcade.
The arcade is a sizable. With a full assortment of modern gaming machines, a line of claw machines and even a small bowling alley. Tucked in a corner of the arcade is the small conspicuous entrance to the roller coaster.
Moreover, the $25 million looping roller coaster is of a steel sit-down type, with a custom track layout adapted to the building it sits on. The roller coaster is built by Japanese roller coaster manufacturer TOGO. It is a steel hyper coaster with a hill lift maximum height of 62 meters in height.
Also, notably, it is the only roller coaster built by TOGO still in operation right here in North America. Here, it bring riders through 2 Inversions over a total track length of 1,456 meters. Trains hit a top speed of 108 km/h over a 2:40 ride duration.
A ride of three names
Furthermore, the thrill ride was previously known as Manhattan Express, it took the name on its opening day on January 3, 1997 till 2006. Thereafter, it was simply renamed to the Roller Coaster from 2007 -2015. Henceforth it is known as the Big Apple Roller Coaster till today.
Interestingly, the ride’s station is themed to a New York City Subway station. Similarly, going on this theme, the train cars are themed to old-school New York City Manhattan taxicabs. It comes complete with hot rod exhaust pipes sprouting out of its hood. Moreover, there are 3 coaster trains available, with 2 trains operating at any given time.
In addition to regular rides, there is a virtual reality element. Riders can request for a VR-headset (Samsung-VR) to ride on the roller coaster at the station (for an additional fee paid at the counter). It simulates flying through over the New York-New York Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip
The ride experience
The 22 year old roller coaster starts with a slow entry into the cable hill climb located outdoors out of air-conditioned comfort into the dry heat of the Nevada dessert. Up here, you get great views of Excalibur hotel and casino in front of you, as well as the adjacent T-Mobile Arena to your right.
Thereafter, it enters through a hyper-coaster style speed hill following the 44 meter first drop after the chain lift tower. You enter into the speed section, peaking over two crests which runs past the attraction hotel main lobby drop-off point. The hotel is themed after old school New York hotels complete with red carpets.
You get two drops and crests on this high speed element, with the second one being a 23 meter drop. Henceforth, before entering into a trickier and meandering course from mid-course onwards. Moreover, this custom section is very compact, with most track of the roller coaster sitting on the roof top of the New York New York Hotel and casino.
It is not long when the coaster leaves the high speed element by bleeding its speed into a vertical loop. The roller coaster offers a mix of speed and intertwining turns and inversions in two separate sectors of track.
After the loop, the train enters a maze of twisted intertwining tracks including traversing the second of the two inversions, namely a dive loop (twist and dive element). The train here train performs a 180-degree spiral and then performs a half-loop maneuver. The ride ends through a series of bunny hops and bumpy helixes before hitting the brake run back into the indoor station for unloading.
Grab a pass if re-riding
Currently, the ride costs $15 per individual ticket ($20 with virtual reality) and $8 for a re-ride. A combination regular/VR ride ticket costs $28 and an all-day wristband pass can be bought for $26. Hence, if you plan to do more than 2 rides and desire more value for your buck, it is recommended to grab the day pass. Your ticket is valid for the entire day from opening to closing at 11pm.
Also, if you desire more value, and see yourself going to 3 or more MGM attractions here during your stay in Vegas, you can consider the $57 MGM 3 attraction bundle. The Big Apple all-day pass is available as one of the ticket redemption.
Getting the day pass was quite a no-brainer for a coaster fanatic like me. We, within humanly possible means, rode the roller coaster 8 times during my visit. If I were to do the ride al-la carte, it would had costed me $71. Hence, it strongly justified the payment for a wristband.
Generally, you are good for 15 minutes in the Big Apple Roller coaster as the queues are pretty fast moving. One thing worth noting is after your ride, you can signal to the staff showing your wristband and you can renter the ride boarding platform without having to leave via the gift shop and re-queue in the entering ticketing crowded.
Lastly, do note there are no areas in the platform to store your belongings, recommend to use the paid lockers near the platform. It costs a dollar and accepts only quarters.
A great ride nonetheless
All in all, the Big Apple Roller coaster ride has a high excitement rating without being too intense. The starting speed section is good, though the train does rattle quite abit on the end of the second crest and near the end of the ride before the helixes. Otherwise, it is actually not a bad ride, considering it being over 2 decades old. It is, if not, the best roller coaster in Vegas at the moment, even rivaling the offerings in Adventure Dome.