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This is going to cause me some pain to admit. You see, Kings Island always has and always will have a special place in my heart. My first roller coaster and lifelong love affair with them was born there. So, please understand that this brings me no joy. I hate that King’s Island is always late to the party. By now, most of us have seen or heard about the land clearing and leaked plans for the 2020 Kings Island project X. While you may be thinking that I am going to go into a rant about this coaster. I want to dive way deeper.
Instead Let us go back to 1993, the beginning of the Paramount years. Kings Island unveils Top Gun, now The Bat. Why revisit tradition instead of push innovation? Who wanted an Arrow suspended coaster? After Batman: The Ride came out in 1992 all Arrow suspended coasters virtually became obsolete overnight. B&M inverts were the flavor of the month, the enthusiasts and the general public were going gaga over them. It wasn't until August 8, 2013, that Banshee was announced. The Kings Island faithful erupted with glee, the rest of the enthusiast community yawned. It had almost been a decade since a B&M invert had been built! Banshee's failure at the gate, only proved that an invert doesn't excite the general public anymore. Had the B&M invert arrived on time, 2013 could have been the year for a giga. With two years head start on Fury 325 and the experience of Leviathan this could have been the best ride in the world for its time.
Let us jump forward in time to 2005 for the next missed opportunity. Son of Beast by this time is starting to circle the proverbial drain and needs replacement. The park is falling further behind Cedar Point, at the time a competitor. The park installs The Italian Job Coaster, now the Backlot Stunt Coaster. The theme was an odd choice for a family coaster as the movie was rated PG-13 and not a movie that is for the whole family. The more prudent choice at the time could have been to wave the white flag on trying to keep Son Of Beast limping along and write it off. That plot of land just screamed for Great Coasters International twister layout. In 2005 GCI was the hot new toy and would have been a great replacement for SOB, while being innovative and building on the parks tradition. In 2016 Kings Island did install their modern GCI wooden coaster, but did they learn from the past? No, not even close. In 2016 Rocky Mountain Construction was the new flavor of the month and a tasty one at that. 2016 could have been the year Kings Island built a signature ride to rival Outlaw Run, Goliath, and Lightning Rod. This would have been a move towards the future instead of a nostalgic look back.
Let us play what if and look at Kings Island's coaster line up with the correct choices. I do understand that some of these coasters were not Cedar Fair's doing, but close your eyes and imagine this skyline. The Bat could have been a B&M Invert. Son of Beast/Backlot Stunt Coaster could have been a modern G.C.I with a twister layout. Diamondback, good choice! Banshee could have been the giga. Mystic Timbers could have been an R.M.C. woodie. That would open Project X to be something new, different, and join a killer line line up of varied coasters that were innovative when built.
Now the 2020 project has begun there will be debate over the layout, stats, blah, blah, blah. No, my friends what I want to know, and what we should be asking is. "WHY CAN'T KINGS ISLAND BUILD THE RIGHT COASTER AT THE RIGHT TIME FOR THE LAST 25 PLUS YEARS?"