The roller coaster ride was filmed several times using "short ends" and the complete circuit contains two skilfully edited takes. It was directed by Michael Todd Jr.. At the time, Todd was a 21-year-old college student on vacation from Amherst. Apart from salaries, the sequence cost $33 (rental of a station wagon and the cost of bolts to fix the cameras to the roller coaster). Todd Jr. also directed most of the European footage.
The Cinerama aspect ratio was 2.59:1. It is frequently - and erroneously assumed to be 2.77:1, wider than M-G-M's Camera 65 (the process that Ben-Hur (1959) was filmed in), but it actually is not. The "you are there" effect resulted from the three strips of film running at once and from the deep curvature of the screen, a more extreme curvature than Todd-AO or IMAX.
Cinerama technicians were working on the system right up to the last minute. The was no time for a trial run. It wasn't until the actual premiere in front of an audience that the entire presentation of this film, from start to finish, took place.
Some members of the creative team wanted to use the famous roller coaster sequence as the finale. It was producer/co-director Merian C. Cooper who insisted that it appear first (after the prologue) in order to grab the audience from the start.