Theme Park of the Day: Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom

Son of Beast coming down, finally.

Kings Island: Kings Island has made a decision and they're removing what you could call a failed coaster. What do you think? What could replace it?

From Bradley Keith
Posted July 30, 2012 at 10:26 AM
I am pretty bummed out about this. I wanted to see what GCI could do or a possible Texas Giant treatment. I guess they've decided too much money has been invested already, and besides, it will cost quite a lot to remove such a coaster. Maybe wooden coasters do have their limits, but Roller Coaster Corp. of America is no GCI, so you never know. I've heard people say they'd like to see a stand up coaster go up to replace it, but B&M thankfully hasn't built one since 1999. Bringing back the stander would be like bringing back Harry Traver's Cyclone. That brings up the obvious question. What will be there in 5-10 years? The land is so big I can see a B&M giga. I'd love to see Kings Island taking back their longest coaster record. A giga would ruin it for Diamondback, like Behemoth now looking up at Leviathan. In reality, maybe the land isn't that big, so I guess a wing coaster or another woodie. Maybe something Intamin. I think nothing will happen quickly. You?

From Mike Gallagher
Posted July 29, 2012 at 4:04 PM
Does this mean I have to change my e-mail address?

I've been on record as being one of that minority that enjoyed the ride. I considered it my favorite ride until Toro opened in 2006. I'm not sure when my last rides were, but they were good. I'll miss the ride, but join in the chorus of those for whom a new wood coaster is on the wish list.

On the bright side, I believe this leaves my boy El Toro as the tallest, fastest(?) wood coaster with the longest and steepest drop. Not 100% sure.

I posted this to the blog flume, but I guess Bradley beat me to it. Oh, well. At least I wore my SOB t-shirt yesterday!

R.I.P., S.O.B., my old friend.

From James Rao
Posted July 29, 2012 at 4:56 PM
Fastest in the world and tallest in the US (third tallest in the world), Mike.

It also means that if the new woodie being built at Silver Dollar City does indeed have an inversion, as folks speculate, it will be the only standing "wooden" coaster with such an element (granted SOB lost the inversion sometime ago, but it still had that reputation for having HAD an inversion at one time).

From Jeff Elliott
Posted July 30, 2012 at 7:55 AM
^ The coaster at Silver Dollar City doesn't have a full is 30 degrees shy of a full inversion.

Son of Beast is not getting the Iron Horse treatment because of the condition of the infrastructure of the coaster. When it was built, the company putting it together used substandard wood and was sued into oblivion by Cedar Fair. The reason why the wood was so important was because the trains on SOB were much heavier than regular coaster trains, since they had to be overbuilt in order to withstand the inversion and the extreme heights and speeds. The coaster was delayed in opening so that the structure could be reinforced. It ran for several years and then had structural failure, which was again repaired. This happened twice more before they decided to take the loop out in order to lighten the trains, but the damage to poor quality wood had already been done. At the point that they are at, they could probably run SOB for another couple of years before it had a structural failure again and hurt some people, but it is a risk that Cedar Fair is unwilling to take. The Iron Horse track is dependent upon a good infrastructure to support a heavier track and slightly heavier trains, something that is not to be trusted on Son of Beast. The Iron Horse conversion costs around 10-15 million and at that price you could get a fairly sizable new coaster that doesn’t have the risk associated to it. Cedar Fair doesn’t want to have to take down SOB any more than any of us want to see it go, but it is much too risky to ride anymore and it should come down to make way for something new.

Back to your main question, I have not heard anything new about what King's Island is going to put up in place of SOB, but I would guess that it will not be a wing coaster as many parks around there have them (Dollywood, Chicago's Great America, Cedar Point). If I were to make a guess on what they need, it would go with a dive coaster with a taller and longer layout than the Busch Gardens parks. The have a 300+ft tall drop tower right there, so they could at least go that high....

From Don Neal
Posted July 30, 2012 at 8:21 AM
I would love to see them put in a really solid B&M. Decent hill size, speed, couple of inversions. It doesn't need to be the biggest or the fastest but should give them something really solid. With Flight Deck, Vortex, and others showing their age lately, it would be nice to have something really solid there.

From Jeff Elliott
Posted July 30, 2012 at 8:25 AM
^ Kings Island has Diamondback which is a solid B&M. I don't know what would be the benefit behind another similar coaster.

From Mike Gallagher
Posted July 30, 2012 at 9:35 AM
If it's to be a B&M, an invert might work. I have nothing to back this up, but KI has to be one of the few, if any, major parks without an invert.

From Bradley Keith
Posted July 30, 2012 at 10:23 AM
I could see an invert. And, I agree, I never found SOB extremely rough and it easily made my top ten list. There was a tombstone in front of The Beast reading "My unloved son" 2000-20 and the last two numbers blurred out. I took this as that the old unloved one would be renevated, but I certainly loved it. I was at KI on the 20th of June and I saw workers on the tracks and I was overjoyed, but they decided it was simply in too poor condition, I guess. Action Zone sure isn't Action Zone, anymore. As I said on the Flight Deck reviews, I see it coming down too, to give the extra room for a replacement. You'd think it'd be one where you might get to the station and wait one train, but you don't. In my past visit in June, man, I was one of three on the whole train, and the ride operators looked bored to death. The coaster's condition seems pretty bad, too. Another suspended Arrow will take the axe in the next years, I'd say. And Jeff, that dive coaster seems like it'd certainly work, they have the room for just about anything.

From Don Neal
Posted July 31, 2012 at 10:42 AM
@Jeff: I should have elaborated. I think a B&M with decent hills and speeds but some good inversions and twists. Maybe even a launch take off to set it part somewhat.

From Nick Orlando
Posted August 1, 2012 at 1:05 PM
I also loved SOB and I am sad to see it go. Honestly I consider the end of SOB when they removed the loop- it lost it's spunk.

I personally hope they do build a wing coaster- maybe not on the SOB spot, but somewhere. In place of SOB Kings Island needs another great woodie, so something from GCI, Intamin, or Iron Horse would be great (a wild GCI gets my vote). I also love the idea of a mega dive coaster for Kings Island!

From Mark Hollamon
Posted August 1, 2012 at 1:06 PM
My wife and I rode Son of Beast just one time. It was the worst wooden coaster ever built. From the very first day people were complaining of injuries. I had bruises on the insides of my elbows from just one ride. While we stood in line for our only ride I saw hundreds of people exit after riding and not one of them were smiling. That's a pretty good indicator right there.

It was the biggest waste of wood and other resources I have ever seen.

Good riddance to this one!

From Derek Potter
Posted August 1, 2012 at 10:59 PM
Annnd...down it goes. I can't say I'm surprised, because one of the biggest problems of the ride has always been it's support structure. There's no use doing an Iron Horse treatment if the supports aren't up to par. I actually enjoyed the last ride I had on SOB with the newer trains too. Just too bad.

Looking toward the future though, this leaves a ton of room for expansion. Hopefully Kings Island and the new Cedar Fair management will do some great things with that massive amount of room.

From James Rao
Posted August 2, 2012 at 1:49 PM
@Jeff Rumors abound, including a possible leaked layout, that SDC's "The Outlaw" will have a double barrel roll. If so, that would make it the only standing woodie (or mostly woodie) with an inversion. Of course, we need to wait for the official announcement in about a week to be sure....

From Karly Tenney
Posted August 2, 2012 at 2:31 PM
I've never been on son of beast, but I heard people died and got seriously injured when it had the loop.

From Mike Gallagher
Posted August 3, 2012 at 7:44 AM
"Go ahead and ride a woddie"

Todd wins Typo of the Week!!!

From James Rao
Posted August 3, 2012 at 1:42 PM
Typos aside, the coaster at SDC is a hybrid, so the wooden supports with steel track should be able to accomplish some inversions without hurting or killing anyone. I hope.

From Nick Orlando
Posted August 3, 2012 at 1:44 PM
Todd there have never been any reported accidents, injuries, or deaths on the Bat-- technical difficulties prevented it from running the majority of its life span. Do you have a reference for the claimed train derailing, or are you maybe thinking of another ride?

The loop on SOB was plenty safe, as many have stated the problem with SOB was in the structure's foundation. I hope outlaw does have inversions- that would get me out to ride it!

From Nick Orlando
Posted August 6, 2012 at 7:03 AM
The loop was removed in order to allow lighter trains to run on the track. The lighter trains were needed due to the structural problems with the coaster, however these trains would not be able to manage the inversion- so it had to be removed. It all goes back to the faulty support structure- that is where the safety concerns originated from.

From Bradley Keith
Posted August 6, 2012 at 3:16 PM
True. If there was a possible massive renevation, the supports would have to go, and that leaves nothing, so, demo I guess, was a must. The new coaster at SDC looks cool, but I don't get it. The iron horse was for saving old jerky woodies, as I thought. What's the point of using wood if it wasn't already there?

From Carrie Hood
Posted August 6, 2012 at 4:31 PM
The loop was removed because of complaints and injuries from people who can't understand "This ride is probably rough as hell but still fun" and for no other reason. After the loop was removed, it's well documented the ride was never entirely "right" again. You can't remove a key feature and expect things to work right without fully redesigning everything after that element. The loop was key piece of that coaster which helped to slow the trains to a correct speed to handle to rest of the ride. The new trains where a "band-aid" to try and fix the problems which happened after removing an element rather then doing what they should have done all along.
Right around this same time was when the "G-Force Blackouts" where happening with various extreme coaster across the country. If you look at the timeline it's suspicious in my opinion.

Frankly, I'm not surprised they decided to remove it. You can't take a key piece from a ride then expect it work property ever again without a full re-design of the coaster from all points AFTER that element. Worse yet you can't expect a wooden coaster, in Ohio, to sit for several years without key maintenance and expect it to be hunky-dory when you finally decide "maybe we should try to re-engineer this thing to work right".

From James Rao
Posted August 6, 2012 at 8:54 PM
Bradley, when I rode the New Texas Giant last year, it had all the raw energy of a wood coaster, but the smooth gracefulness of a steel air time machine like Apollo's Chariot. So, with wood supports and steel track you get the best of both worlds.

Besides, wood is cheaper than steel, so by using wood for the supports SDC saves major $$$!

From Bradley Keith
Posted August 7, 2012 at 3:14 PM
I didn't think about that, and the inversions do look pretty amazing anyway. And the hybrid is nothing new (Gemini and Excaliber come to mind) so I can't wait to come over to SDC for the first time and ride that thing (but it won't be a while. They're getting like Dollywood, becoming major parks that can compete with some of the "big boys."

From Zack McDonald
Posted August 13, 2012 at 3:09 PM
I no that most people didn't like Son of Beast but I did and it bugs me tht they are taking it out.

From Bradley Keith
Posted August 13, 2012 at 3:21 PM
I know! It'll take a heck of a replacement to get me back to Kings Island. I guess I'm going on strike... Not like they're going to go, ope, keep it. There's a guy that says he won't go back because of it! But it seems the park won't be the same without it. (Even though they have been for the last 3 years.) Now the park seems like an average Six Flags. One great coaster, the rest average. I really can't think of a good replacement, because it needed to stay. But the supports were the problem. The wood was crap. Maybe the removal of my once favorite woodie is good for the park overall.

From Adrienne McDonald
Posted September 16, 2012 at 8:29 AM
*Sigh* yet another coaster I never got to experience. It'd be nice to see a smaller but fun coaster there like an equivalent to Dollywood's Mystery Mine, not a copy mind you, just something similar & fun that the whole family could enjoy. Just b/c a large piece of land is being left behind, doesn't mean that smaller rides couldn't be installed instead...doesn't HAVE to be one large coaster.

OR they COULD rescue the Ozark Wildcat from Celebration City if it's still there...if it's still there SBNO, why NOT rescue it and use it?? Or perhaps rescue another SBNO coaster? Just a thought.

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