In an effort to get Kings Island reopened to guests, the park’s parent company Cedar Fair is suing the Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton and the Warren County Health District.[Read more…]
Cedar Point and the LeBron James Family Foundation are giving park guests the chance to be the first public riders on the new hyper-hybrid roller coaster, Steel Vengeance. [Read more…]
A new virtual fly-through of Cedar Point Shores Waterpark highlights the blend of thrills and relaxation that are set to officially open on May 27, 2017. [Read more…]
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
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…]
By Andy Guinigundo
Sandusky, Ohio – “Orlando Attractions Magazine” debuted in 2007. That same year, Cedar Point’s 17th roller coaster debuted, the wild-as-the-wild-west Maverick. The Intamin linear synchronous motor launched coaster features a steeper than vertical initial decent and is the first coaster to integrate a “twisted horseshoe roll”. It was the first coaster debut we covered. Fast-forward to 2013 and we are (finally) talking about another incredible coaster debut by Cedar Point. GateKeeper is Cedar Point’s 16th roller coaster. [Read more…]
By Andy Guinigundo
In 2003, the Top Thrill Dragster coaster debuted at Cedar Point on Lake Erie in Sandusky, Ohio. Ridiculously, that was the last time I was at Cedar Point. I say ridiculous since I live in Cincinnati, a short four hour drive to Sandusky. [Read more…]
Guest editorial by Marc Tyler Nobleman
Today, Six Flags holds the license for DC Comics superheroes, but SeaWorld had it first. And what they did with it is still considered (at least by many of the participants) to be the best water skiing show of all time. [Read more…]
By Andy Guinigundo
So what’s the secret to good health into one’s 8th decade of life and beyond? Is it eating right? Staying off the booze and cigarettes? Exercise? Apparently for one 88-year-old, the answer is frequenting an amusement park and hopping on her favorite coaster. In this case the park is Kings Island near Cincinnati, Ohio and the favorite coaster, The Diamondback. [Read more…]
By Andy Guinigundo
Kings Island near Cincinnati, Ohio is my hometown amusement park. I grew up and still reside in the area. I believe all folks deserve a gas tank amusement park to tide them over until they can get to Orlando or other amusement destinations. A gas tank amusement park is a park that one can get to and get home from with a single tank of gas. Kings Island has gone through changes over the years and 2010 is no exception.
In 1972, Kings Island opened with a children’s area that was eventually named Hanna-Barbera Land. You may recall some of the more popular Hanna Barbera characters: Scooby-Doo, Jetsons, Flintstones, Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound and others. You may even recall the Brady Bunch episode that featured the Brady kids roaming around the park. Mike Brady, their TV father, was an architect. He was in a meeting with Kings Island executives to unveil new plans. When it came time for the big reveal, it was a poster of Yogi Bear rather than the plans. Hi-jinks ensued. Oh, good times.
The kid coaster in Hanna Barbera Land was initially the Scooby Doo Roller Coaster. I don’t remember specifically riding the coaster at that time. It’s a simple figure-eight woodie with Philadelphia Toboggan Company coaster cars. I do remember climbing on board when it was re-themed as The Beastie. This opened in 1979 to coincide with the opening of the wooden classic coaster The Beast. While the graphics on the cars of The Beast feature body-less clawed paws bound by chains, the red cars of The Beastie showed clawless smaller paws bound by rope. Along with a fresh coast of Beast-red paint for the wood coaster, a tunnel was included at the bottom of the initial hill to complete the theme.
In 2006, the whole area was themed as The Nickelodeon Universe. SpongeBob, Dora the Explorer, and The Backyardigans are among Nick’s more popular characters. The same coaster evolved into The Fairly Odd Coaster themed after the The Fairly OddParents cartoon. Pink and purple paint abounded and the tunnel was removed. The kid-coaster count eventually swelled to four including a suspended coaster, a ramp coaster, a little kid coaster and the Fairly Odd Coaster – the most of any children’s themed area in an amusement park. Nickelodeon Universe has won several awards including the last several “Golden Ticket” Awards for the best kid-themed area.
Now, in 2010, the area is getting a complete make-over as Planet Snoopy. The 38-year-old little woodie continues on with yet another fresh coat of paint: baby blue and white this time. The as yet unnamed coaster will continue to thrill the park’s smaller guests, and make memories.
Stay tuned this spring for a complete before and after photo shoot of Planet Snoopy. I photographed the “before” the final weeks of Nicklodeon Universe during Kings Island’s Halloween event.
• Andy Guinigundo is the author of the Out of The Loop column in “Orlando Attractions Magazine”. Out of the Loop keeps you up-to-date with attraction news outside of Central Florida. Andy 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.