Hosts Banks Lee and Elisa Rodriguez bring you this week’s theme park and attraction news. On this week’s episode: [Read more…]
King’s Island Halloween Haunt will start September 23 and run every Friday and Saturday night through October 29.
Halloween Haunt at King’s Island will run from 6 p.m. until 1 a.m., except for September 24 when the Mason, Ohio park opens to the public at 7 p.m. The event features 11 haunted mazes, three outdoor scare zones, three live stage shows and more than 600 assorted clowns, ghouls, vampires, werewolves and zombies, plus 20 rides including the Banshee, Beast and Diamondback roller coasters.
New this year is Field of Screams, a 10,000-square foot outdoor maze experience. Returning haunted attractions include: Backwoods Bayou, Blackout, Board to Death, CarnEvil, Kill Mart, Madame Fatale’s Cavern of Terror, Slaughter House, Sorority House, Urgent Scare and Wolf Pack.
The live entertainment lineup features Blood Drums, a percussive blood bath of rhythm and music; Hot Blooded, a seductive after-life revue; and Monster Rock, which features the music of Journey, Foreigner, Bon Jovi, Aerosmith and others.
Tickets for Halloween Haunt start at $30.99 when purchased in advance online at visitkingsisland.com/haunt or the Kings Island’s mobile app, which Android and iPhone users can download for free. Admission to the event is free for Gold and Platinum season passholders.
Guests can add Fright Lane with Skeleton Key for as low as $40, which allows them to bypass waiting in line to experience 10 of the haunted attractions. The Skeleton Key unlocks a secret extra room inside of five of the attractions: Kill Mart, Madame Fatale’s Cavern of Terror, Slaughter House, Sorority House and Urgent Scare. In addition to the five mazes with a secret extra room, a new standalone Skeleton Key room, The Viewing, has evening services each night of Halloween Haunt.
Parents, be advised. Halloween Haunt includes graphic scenes, suggestive themes and intense imagery and is intended for mature audiences.
For younger guests, the all-new Great Pumpkin Fest, presented by the Hershey Company, takes place every Saturday and Sunday in October to provide fright-free fun. Kids can trick-or-treat, play in a foam pit, visit a petting farm, enjoy Halloween activities, participate in a costume contest and meet characters from the Peanuts gang. Guests can also watch “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” in honor of the show’s 50th anniversary.
For further King’s Island thrills, watch this ride-through rendering of Mystic Timbers, a new wooden roller coaster coming to Kings Island theme park in spring 2017:
By Andy Guinigundo
Mason, Ohio – If one thing can be said about the people of Southwest Ohio, they surely are coaster enthusiasts. Amazingly, guests began to queue up over two hours before the announcement of the new major attraction to be opened in April 2017 in Kings Island theme park.
What was all the excitement about? This was all based on the assumption (or wishful thinking?) that the new attraction was to be a new roller coaster, although this was never certain. Prior to the 2D blueprint being released a few weeks ago, people were guessing everything from giga-coaster like sister park Carowinds’ Fury 325, to a new log flume like the Kenton Keelboat Canal ride that formerly stood in the spot.
If you guessed a wooden coaster, and many did, you win, well, a new wooden coaster! The coaster is being built by Great Coasters International, a Sunbury, Penn. company which specializes in the design and building of wooden roller coasters. Some you may recognize are Thunderhead at Dollywood, Gold Striker at California’s Great America, and Orlando’s White Lightning at Fun Spot. Just this past year, they refurbished several older coasters including Holiday World’s The Legend and Knotts Berry Farm’s GhostRider. Kings Island Vice President Greg Scheid mentioned Worlds of Fun’s GCI coaster Prowler in particular as an attractions he has wanted at Kings Island ever since its debut in 2009. Prowler may be Mystic Timber’s closest “cousin” in features and layout.
Mystic Timbers will fit nicely into Kings Island’s soon-to-be 16 roller coaster line-up. They have their share of steel: DiamondBack, Banshee, Stunt Coaster. They have legendary wooden coasters like the record holding longest coaster in the world, The Beast, and classic duel racing coaster The Racer. Mystic Timbers will be a lower to the ground, airtime beast. It will be nestled in-between The Beast and The DiamondBack, but in the woods, taking advantage of the classic Southern Ohio landscape.
Two other things they teased at the announcement: At the ride’s end, it enters a shed. What is in the shed? This is anyone’s guess. They additionally stated that in August, they will have another big announcement.
More details for Mystic Timbers
The ride is themed to an area surrounding a lumber company becoming overrun by a mysterious medusa-like overgrowth of vines as nature reclaims its land.
Mystic Timbers will be 3,265 feet in length, reach 109 feet in height and weave along steep cliffs, down ravines, cross over water and go through an extreme S-turn, among a forest of trees, at speeds up to 53 mph.
The ride will feature a total of 16 airtime hills, a mid-course tunnel and interact with parts of the Kings Island & Miami Valley Railroad and White Water Canyon attractions.
Three trains will accommodate 24 passengers each (four riders per car and six cars per train) with a capacity of 1,200 riders per hour. Guests must be at least 48 inches tall to ride. The ride experience will last more than two minutes.
By Andy Guinigundo
The year was 2009. My 7-year-old budding coaster enthusiast asked to ride Son of Beast at Kings Island amusement park in Ohio. It wasn’t too many years prior that I had ridden that particular wooden coaster – once. I am a huge fan of The Son’s predecessor, The Beast. Ask anyone who grew up around southern Ohio and they’ll tell you the same thing. We all love The Beast and swear it is the best wooden coaster ever. Unfortunately, The Son of Beast never lived up that same promise and expectation. I rode Son of Beast, looped its wooden loop, had my teeth nearly rattled out of my head and decided the attraction was not something I had to subject myself to ever again. So fast-forward a few years, the loop was gone and heavier cars were being run on the Son of Beast. My daughter and I rode the Son of Beast and honestly, it wasn’t terrible. It was rough, but normal wooden coaster rough. There was no loop, but it pulled some great Gs and provided some nice thrills. My daughter and I declared that The Son would be entered into our coaster rotation. Two weeks later, however, the coaster closed forever.
In the fall of 2012, Son of Beast was finally, mercifully dismantled. The site was cleared and last summer, the speculation began. I think I went up the park’s Eiffel Tower more times last summer than all years prior. The replica French monument offered the only view into the construction zone. Footers. That’s really all there was for months, footers. Rumors were rampant. It will be a winged coaster. No way, too close to Cedar Point who just opened GateKeeper. It will be a 300-foot giga coaster. No, while the Diamondback is not a giga, it doesn’t make sense to make something so much like it. I personally wanted a Gravity Group wooden coaster. Gravity’s home office is less than 15 miles from Kings Island. I wanted the promise of a wicked-great wooden coaster fulfilled. But, it was not meant to be.
Early last August, all speculation ended when hundreds of coaster enthusiasts showed up for the big announcement. Banshee would be the longest inverted coaster in the world. An animated video shown at the announcement depicted a coaster imploding into rubble while The Banshee rose from the ashes. While many had correctly speculated it would be an inverted coaster, others scratched their heads over the decision. It had been nearly 10 years since a new inverted B&M coaster had debuted in the U.S. Arguably, most of the best B&M inverts had opened in the ’90s. Raptor at Cedar Point, Alpengeist at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, and Dragon Challenge at Universal’s Islands of Adventure had all opened in that era. It was as if the Kings Island folks turned all the way to the back of the B&M catalog pointed to a black and white photo as said, “Can you make one of these for us?”
When I was 10, there was a coaster I never was able to ride at Kings Island. In the early ’80s, The Bat was an early attempt at an inverted coaster, but it failed miserably due to constant mechanical breakdowns. There had been talk that The Banshee was to have been called The Bat. Kings Island did end up retheming the inverted Flight Deck coaster to The Bat with a fresh coat of orange paint and new signage. Fittingly, it sits just a few hundred yards from Banshee. The Banshee name itself is a throwback of sorts. The Mantis standing coaster at Cedar Point was to have been called Banshee. At that time, however, the public was not ready to have a new coaster named for a female harbinger of death and the name was changed.
Finally, after the snowiest winter in memory, Banshee Media Day arrived last Thursday. I had the distinct privilege of attending with my now two young coaster enthusiasts. The two already have a deep coaster pedigree, having ridden the aforementioned inverts Raptor, Alpengeist, and both the Chinese Fireball and Hungarian Horntail at Universal Orlando. So, what did we think? All of our expectations were surpassed. I was no longer thinking, why an invert? I was thinking the speedy lift hill is the last time in 2:40 that you take a breath. One gets the feeling that each and every twist and turn was thought out and planned. However, rather than feeling contrived or robotic, it felt exciting, exhilarating and relentless. When I ask my girls how the ride compares to other inverts they have been on, they want to jump to trying to decide if it is the best coaster they’ve ever ridden.
The Son of Beast might have been relegated to distant memory except for the rather large tribute near the entrance of the ride. A “memorial” with the wordless Son of Beast eyes logo with the dates 2000-2009 and an eternal flame atop sits as a reminder of what came before.
The Banshee stats:
Length: 4124.1 feet, a record
Height: 167 feet
Speed: 68 mph, reached in the second half of the ride
Ride time: 2:40
Features: vertical loops, dive loop, zero-G roll, pretzel knot (dive loop followed by an Immelmann), heartline roll.
Restraint System: Lap bar and vest
Capacity: 32 riders/train, 1,650 riders per hour
Designer: Bolliger & Mabillard (B&M)
Investment: $24 million, the most in park history
Video ride-through of Banshee at King Island:
• Andy Guinigundo is the author of the Out of The Loop column in “Orlando Attractions Magazine”. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with his wife and three daughters. He grew up frequenting theme parks around Ohio and making trips to Orlando with his family. While for most of the year, he’s out of the Orlando loop, he tries to visit Florida at least once a year. You can follow Andy on Twitter at @AttractionsOOTL.
By Andy Guinigundo
Definition: The banshee: (in Irish legend) a female spirit whose wailing warns of an impending death, usually seen as an omen of death and a messenger from the Otherworld.
I have seen countless attraction announcements over the years, but this one seemed special. Kings Island is the theme park of my youth. [Read more…]
By Andy Guinigundo
Mason, Ohio – It was 41 years ago this spring that the amusement park near Cincinnati, Ohio opened. Kings Island premiered on April 29, 1972. About a year later, at perhaps the height of its popularity, “The Brady Bunch” sitcom filmed an episode at the park. [Read more…]