The first wooden coaster that included a loop is now a memory as Son of Beast at Kings Island Amusement Park has been completely torn down. In an era that is bringing back wooden coasters going upside down and involving multiple inversions, the father will now be only a memory. Kings Island officially brought down the lift hill this past week which was the final piece in the puzzle. According to Cincinnati.com, workers brought down the 215 foot lift hill. The project took over two months to complete and the next phase of the future has begun.
According to the article, Cedar Fair had spent three years weighing all of the options on what to do with the massive structure. The ride had been closed for a few years after several problems over the course of its history. The ride started with a loop but was soon taken out after there was a change in the trains. There were numerous lawsuits and court hearings which took its toll on the ride and the company. The park ultimately decided to close the ride and then the next phase was what to do with the structure. After three years of planning, they decided to tear the structure down and develop the land for a new ride coming in the future. Park relations director Don Helbig said in a statement, “There’s plenty of room to work with and we’re excited about that opportunity as we look towards the future.” The park has claimed that is will have to do extensive planning for what will be added in its place, but the tear down has created about 12 acres of open space to work with.
The park offered pieces of the ride to the public as mementos for up to $99. According to the park, the sales were decent and the memory of the ride will live on. Even though the ride will become a distant memory, the coaster world will always remember the first looping coaster that transformed the way the world looks at woodies today.
While word of Son of Beast’s demise has come and gone for many months now, questions lingered as to how long the coaster would remain standing before its final demise. Many predictions saw the coaster coming down after the park’s Halloween Haunt season, toppling after the park was closed, but that is not to be. Son of Beast is coming down NOW.
Last week, cranes began rolling in on the site of the Standing But Not Operating (SBNO) Son of Beast following announcements of its final demise. Over the weekend, pictures from sites such as kicentral.com began pouring in with images of parts of the coaster now being toppled to the ground.
After being shut down in 2009 after an accident, the once tallest, fastest, and only looping wooden coaster has sat dormant and waiting. Despite the iconic structure standing high in the back of Kings Island, the massive ride was missing on the park’s map for years, and indecision led to years of dilapidation due to not maintaining the ride. Finally reaching the breaking point, the park announced on July 27 that the coaster’s story would come to an end before 2013. The ride’s destruction frees up a massive tract of land, which could open up as much as 25 acres of expansion in the future.
Son of Beast will soon be entirely no more, as the tall, wooded structure is being slowly toppled to the ground for removal.
After a successful run since opening its new coaster, Diamondback, for the 2009 season, Kings Island has come upon the first mishap of the season.
Allegedly, on May 31, a woman reported to have gained a head injury on Son of Beast after riding it. However, the complaint wasn't filed to the Ohio Department of Agriculture, which oversees amusement park operations, until June 16th. The park has since voluntarily closed the ride due to the inspections upon the woman's complaint, and the park also states that mechanical reasons called for the ride's closure. It is now known at the moment how long Son of Beast will be down for this incident.
Son of Beast is no stranger to long closures and accidents. The ride was plagued with delays when it first opened in 2000, and in 2006, a damaged piece of track in the first helix sent a train load of 27 passangers to the hospital, prompting the use of new trains and the removal of the signature loop that once had the ride claim to be the world's only looping wooden roller coaster.
While the recent closure has prompted rumors on the ride's removal, Kings Island has not revealed public intentions to perminately close the ride.
Kings Island is happy with progress towards reopening the world's largest, fastest wooden coaster to its crowds.
Just under a year after an accident left 27 riders with neck and back pain, Son of Beast runs test after test on a modified coaster to ensure that the July 8, 2006 incident is its first and last.
Yesterday, a trainload of humans joined the water-filled plastic test dummies that formerly held the sole privilege of experiencing nearly 7,000 feet of track. However, the park is careful not to set a reopening date in stone just yet.
"The progress on Son of Beast is coming along very nicely," Marketing Communications Coordinator Josh Hackenberg said. "We are committed to opening the ride this season."
Kings Island's daily operation ends August 26, but the park remains open for the 2007 season on weekends through October 28. That provides a window of exactly four more months to reopen Son of Beast this season.
The investigation into last year's accident discovered a cause of cracked timber giving way several inches as a train passed over the ride's sweeping double helix.
While one of the goals of the past off-season was inherently to strengthen the structure, another was to find lighter trains. The park was successful in purchasing two trains manufactured by German company Gerstlauer that formerly ran on Hurricane at the now-defunct Myrtle Beach Pavilion.
However, the use of lighter trains required a major sacrifice in the form of the ride's signature track element: its vertical loop.
The loop has long been one of the park's most unique bragging rights. In Son of Beast's 1999 press release, then-Paramount's-Kings-Island advertised "the tallest, fastest and only looping wooden roller coaster in the world." That title rang true until this winter's modifications.
In July of 2006, Paramount’s Kings Island’s wooden roller coaster, Son of Beast, left riders injured after an accident involving the ride’s support structure partially failing. The accident itself occurred just after all of the Paramount Parks, including Kings Island, all of which were owned by CBS at the time, had been sold to the Cedar Fair Entertainment Company. This now left Cedar Fair with the decision of what to do with the Son of Beast wooden roller coaster.
The State of Ohio’s Department of Agriculture was brought in to inspect the ride for obvious safety reasons, and a final report was recently released. This report describes the outcome of the incident and contains information about the near future of Son of Beast.
Son of Beast opened in 2000 as the world’s tallest and fastest wooden roller coaster, and it also became the world’s only looping wooden roller coaster. Well this massive wooden coaster will lose that title in the future months as construction crews make modifications to the 218-foot tall ride, including the removal of the 118-foot tall loop.
Kings Island plans to reopen Son of Beast next season, but not until the park is completed the project of reinforcing the ride’s wooden structure, removes the vertical loop, and installs lighter trains. Using these trains should reduce the load and create a more comfortable ride experience.