Big Apple Roller Coaster in Las Vegas: A Complete Review

Big Apple Coaster at New York New York in Las Vegas

TripSavvy / Elliot Jonch Garcia

It's unusual for a hypercoaster (a coaster with a height of about 200 to 250 feet) to include head-over-heels inversions and the Big Apple Coaster shows why. When the coaster cranks into high gear, its somewhat rough ride can be disconcerting–especially when passengers get tossed upside-down. For riders caught in the high-speed high-jinx, this is one New York minute that can’t end too soon.

Quick Facts

  • Thrill Scale (0=Wimpy!, 10=Yikes!): 6.5.
  • Ride Elements: High lift hill, fast speed, inversions
  • Type: Steel looping hypercoaster
  • Height: 203 feet
  • Highest drop: 144 feet
  • Maximum speed: 67 mph

Design of the Big Apple Coaster

The setting for this ride is surreal, in typical Las Vegas style. The faux New York City skyline along Sin City’s famed Strip, with its Statue of Liberty, Chrysler building, and other landmarks, is both enchanting and unsettling—particularly with the “Eiffel Tower” looming just across the street. The roller coaster’s red track snakes through the mock-up of Manhattan and creates quite a scene on Las Vegas Boulevard.

It would have been so much more apropos to build a classic white wood coaster in homage to Coney Island’s famed Cyclone (or at least a steel coaster made to look like a woodie, such as the Incredicoaster at Disney California Adventure). The casino’s designers, however, opted for a steel looping hypercoaster with trains painted NYC cab yellow with a checkered black and white design.

What the Ride Experience Is Like

Instead of doubling the fun, The Big Apple’s hypercoaster heights and looping inversion elements cancel each other out—and cause some pain to boot. Rather than being built for height and speed, the coaster climbs over 200 feet, but (to accommodate the inversions?) only drops 144 feet and reaches a relatively puny top speed of 67 mph. In place of the graceful inversions of most looping coasters, the ride’s jarring twists and turns are worse than a cab ride during rush hour in midtown Manhattan.

In fairness, with the addition of new trains in early 2021, the ride experience has improved. The Big Apple dished out an even more painful experience for the first 24 years of its existence. Its original trains provided a rough ride from day one and only seemed to get more ornery over time. In particular, its over-the-shoulder safety harnesses included large padded restraints. When the ride really started rolling, the lateral forces would cause passengers’ heads to ping-pong side-to-side like human pinballs; their ears would get constantly boxed by the unforgiving restraints.

In January 2021, New York New York replaced the trains with new ones from Premier Rides. While we have not had a chance to try The Big Apple with the new trains, the consensus seems to be that the ride is at least a bit smoother. Significantly, instead of the bulky over-the-shoulder restraints, the new Premier trains incorporate more flexible vest-like restraints that, generally, do not box riders’ ears.

Ride Location

To get to the Big Apple Coaster you'll first need to walk through the maze of a casino floor at New York, New York. If you make a beeline for the escalators next to the Century Tower elevators from the front entrance, the loading station and arcade will be on the second floor next to Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs.

Ticket Prices and Add-On Experiences

New York, New York has the nerve to charge $19 per ride, and that already exorbitant price jumps to $23 after 6 p.m. For less than twice that amount, you could spend an entire day at some smaller amusement parks. For the, ahem, bargain price of $49, guests could get a ride-all-day ticket and a discount on a ride pg. Why anybody would want to board this thing more than once, however, is beyond us. If you need a thrill ride fix, you might want to check out other Las Vegas roller coasters.

In 2018, New York New York added virtual reality to the coaster. Passengers have the option of donning VR goggles and experiencing a virtual experience in which they chase an alien along the Las Vegas strip. The visuals are synced to the motion of the coaster. A few years ago, Six Flags and other parks introduced the concept of VR coasters. Most of them have since abandoned the fad. Whether passengers choose VR or not, their Big Apple ride would still be rough.

The Final Verdict

We must admit that the sight of the coaster careening around Lady Liberty, particularly at night, is striking. Our advice: Skip the ride, and watch it from the Strip for free.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How much is the Big Apple Coaster?

    A ride costs $19 from open until 6 p.m., after which a ride costs $23.

  • What time does the Big Apple Coaster close?

    On Monday-Thursday, the ride stops operation at 8 p.m. Friday-Sunday it closes at midnight.

  • How tall is the Big Apple Coaster?

    The roller coaster is 203 feet tall.