Rye Playland’s Dragon Coaster


Into the fiery breath of the beast, rocketing like there’s no tomorrow- the dragon’s hair-raising joy ride turns grown-ups into screaming children. Listen to the gasps and squeals as these fearless daredevils brave the perils of blazing reptilian inferno.

The Dragon Coaster was built during PLAYLAND’s first season. Know as a “scenic Railway” ride, because it travels on tracks, the coaster uses inertia to hurl riders back as the cars careen into a tunnel resembling the mouth of a dragon.


American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) recognizes Playland’s Dragon Coaster as an ACE Roller Coaster Landmark, a designation reserved for rides of historic significance.

Opened on May 1, 1929, the 85-foot high wood coaster is one of only three remaining examples designed by Frederick A. Church (1878-1936) still in operation and the only Church design left on the East Coast.

Built at the end of the “Golden Age of Roller Coasters,” Frank Darling, Playland’s chief designer and general manager, worked with Church to create a beautiful v-shaped out-and-back design, to complement Church’s legendary Airplane Coaster, which had opened during Playland’s inaugural season on 1928.

Filled with an extensive collection of drops and turns along its impressive 3,400-foot long course, the coaster offers a unique ride layout, with a 75-foot high initial drop and a curved station with a classic art deco entrance. With the removal of the more intense Airplane Coaster in 1957, it quickly became the park’s signature attraction, celebrated for its dragon-shaped tunnel that appears to swallow the train midway through the ride’s course. Even though the original two-bench articulated cars that Church designed were replaced in 1988, Dragon Coaster continues to thrill riders of all ages.

ACE salutes Playland, a National Historic Landmark, for continuing to operate and preserve Dragon Coaster for a whole new generation of fans to enjoy.

Presented by the American Coaster Enthusiasts
During Dragon Coaster’s 80th Anniversary Season
August 8, 2009


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