by Danny Miller
Though I have only been lucky enough to visit Kings Island once in my life back in 2008, I have been one of the lucky (or unlucky) people that have been able to experience Son Of Beast. When I rode, the loop had already been removed, and the lighter trains from the former Myrtle Beach Hurricane were being used. It was a rough ride indeed, and one that has had more than its fair share of issues.
If you are reading this looking for a Son Of Beast history lesson, I will not be going through that here. Instead, I highly recommend you take a look at this editorial done by our own Mike Strobel, a Kings Island local and expert, a few years ago. Rather, I will go through a few options I think Kings Island would be likely to consider when deciding what will replace Son Of Beast.
Since the announcement regarding the removal of Son Of Beast, there have been a few things people have speculated that Kings Island will add in its place. The most likely for me would be a custom-designed inverted coaster from B&M. So far, the park has Invertigo, a Vekoma “Invertigo” model, and Flight Deck, an Arrow suspended coaster that is still a very fun ride. These two rides along with Son Of Beast all sit in the same area of the park, so some have said it would be very odd to see another “hanging” coaster added there.
I will counter that by pointing to my own park, Dorney Park, which has Stinger, an “Invertigo” model, and an Intamin “Impulse” coaster, Possessed, literally right next to each other. We have certainly seen stranger things, and the one thing Kings Island is missing since the addition of Diamondback is a standout inverted coaster, and we know that B&M is the company that can provide that. An inverted coaster would also nicely compliment Vortex, Kings Island’s Arrow looper.
The next option I wouldn’t be surprised to see is a B&M floorless coaster. Until last season, we had thought that the floorless concept has just about died out, but with the addition of Hair Raiser at Ocean Park in Hong Kong, it seems that B&M hasn’t completely moved on from them just yet. Although I think an inverted coaster is more likely, a floorless coaster would be another signature looping coaster on the opposite end of the park from Vortex.
B&M has built many floorless and inverted coasters, and generally speaking, a lot of them feature the same types of elements in different orders and with slightly varying transitions. The giant plot of land where Son Of Beast is located would be a great opportunity for B&M to add a little bit of spice with one of these types of coasters, much like they did with Hydra at Dorney, widely considered to be the most unique B&M floorless coaster.
Another type of ride that may be slated for Kings Island would be one of the new wing rider coasters, although I think this is by far the least likely of the B&M styles I have mentioned thus far. These rides are just too new and unproven yet for a park like Kings Island to test the waters with one. Kings Island is a park that really needs to keep momentum going from Diamondback, and they could do it with another B&M that is of an proven style. Some have said that they hope for a B&M giga-coaster like Leviathan. Kings Island would be following in the footsteps of Canada’s Wonderland here, adding two similar B&M rides only a few years apart. I can’t personally see the park doing it just because the giga-coaster from B&M is a style they have only tried once, although I would still say it is more likely than a wing rider just because the gigas are similar to the hypers, a style that B&M has tons of successful experiences with.
In the “Kings Island Future” forum topic, Mike has said that Kings Island has always shied away from “experimental” rides under Cedar Fair ownership, and with the wing rider coaster being a brand new concept, I couldn’t see the park replacing a problem-ridden coaster with something that may not work. He also pointed out how the Paramount parks always added a lot of prototype coasters, and that seems to be a rout that Kings Island doesn’t want to go again, as they have become famous for the Bat suspended coaster that failed, and now they have failed with Son Of Beast. Cedar Fair would almost be foolish to risk striking out a third time and subsequently earning a reputation as a park where all the news rides go to fail and fix problems.
Of course there are lots of options out there, but I will go back to saying that the most obvious choice in my opinion would be a B&M inverted coaster. Most, if not all of the existing ones perform very well, and have very little downtime. They are intense rides that still are very smooth and very enjoyable to ride. Kings Island is the perfect fit for another B&M coaster, especially with the success of Diamondback, and a ride like that would put the park on the map even more than it already is.