Son of Beast-Defunct
Specific Type: Wooden, Looping, Terrain, Mega-Twister
There once was a savage beast that lived deep in the woods where no man was willing to travel alone. The creature had no name; he was known simply as the Beast. The Beast had his territory, and he made it known that no one could enter it without consequence. Yet still, it is said that sometimes thousands invaded his domain every day in the summer months when the neighboring civilization known as Kings Island hosted millions of guests from all parts of the land. The curiosity of these people found them following the Beast's tracks deep
into the backwoods where he lurked, and some experienced the creature's haunting fury as he took them on a tempestuous rampage deep into his lair. This stayed on for one score and one year before the end of the age approached and it became known that a fury far more unspeakable was about to be unleashed. The Beast's son was about to arrive to seek family vengeance, and before a new millennium dawned on the world, the whispers were that Kings Island would never be the same again. The Beast may have inspired reverence, but the Son of Beast, as he became known, would nigh put the legend of his father to shame.
Wooden beams rose over the Kings Mill, Ohio landscape. It was the 1999 season at Paramount's Kings Island, and in the midst of a vast land clearing, a wooden superstructure was rising above all other coasters at the theme park. The Beast had thrilled riders since 1979 and put the park in the international
spotlight with unprecedented records, but Son of Beast was going to do what its 'father' ride did and more. This new beastly offspring was going to do go where no wooden coaster had gone before and do what no wooden coaster in the modern world had done before. While reaching heights of some 218 feet, the new ride would become the first wooden mega-coaster ever and put a margin of four stories between it and the second-tallest wooden coaster in existence: Rattler at Six Flags Fiesta Texas. Of course, a 214-foot first drop would also generate record-breaking speeds, at seventy-eight-point-four miles per hour. But that wasn't the only thing that would have minds turning in disbelief. Son of Beast was also slated to feature something so unconventional that it hadn't been attempted in nearly a century; it would loop 360 degrees in the first vertical loop ever attempted on a modern wooden ride. Though the loop's structure was manufactured of steel, Son of Beast would indeed pull off this simple element that had for years seemed beyond conception for a wooden coaster's layout after tragically-failed attempts at loops on primitive wooden rides.
Bringing the new coaster to life was no easy task, but the Roller Coaster Corporation of America and Werner Stengel's design firm worked with the park to achieve statistically and collectively the most impressive wooden coaster in history. The months of construction to assemble one-point-six-five million board feet of southern yellow pine finally came to an end and Son of Beast brought serious bragging rights back to the Cincinnati-area park. After the newly-born addition to the Beast family arrived on May 26th, 2000, the father would continue to thrill as he had for years, only under the shadow of a new great ruler of the
wooden coaster world. The new generation's coaster dwarfed his dad by 108 feet in height; practically twice as tall, with a third drop longer than the largest drop of the 1979 coaster. As for speed, the son roars ahead of his father fourteen miles per hour faster, after ripping down a first drop over ten degrees steeper than the Beast. However, Kings Island was kind enough to leave the father ride with a 368-foot advantage on his son for track length, and a one-minute, twenty-second advantage for duration. The addition of Son of Beast would also help the park make the claim to most wooden coaster track feet on the planet, some 22,612 feet with the help of four other wooden coaster tracks: the parallel dual tracks of the 1972 Racer and kids' Beastie (which now resides as Woodstock Express) junior coaster, and of course the original Beast.
In 2006 and 2007, after an accident caused by structural problems closed Son of Beast, Kings Island made the call to remove the centerpiece vertical loop in order to run lighter trains. Although the former signature element was no more, the ride reopened on July 4, 2007 to rave reviews for a smoother-running track and overall more enjoyable ride.
The ride was closed yet again in 2009 after an incident where a women was injured during the ride. The ride has remained closed to this day. Though the Ohio Department of Agriculture (who oversee park operations in Ohio) cleared the ride as safe, Greg Schied, the GM of Kings Island, said he wasn't satisfied with the ride as-is. King's Island has since said it has no decisions regarding Son of Beast.
And after three years since the second closure, recent pictures now show the structure that caused the first accident. The diagonal beams in between the vertical supports were not in a straight, diagonal line up the structure to the track, but a jagged, crooked, and poorly built diagonal line.
The Roller Coaster Corporation of America built three coasters previous to Son of Beast (White Canyon at Yomiuriland, Montezum at Hopi Hari, and Bandit at Movie Park Germany) and two following (Magnus Colossus at Terra Mitica and Coaster Express at Parque Warner Madrid). All of these coasters look similar in structure to Son of Beast, but not to the same extent of the structural problems.
Adventurers may have to follow the Beast's clawprints to find the father's realm, but the Son of Beast's mammoth wall of wood prominently announces its presence on the park skyline. Anyone wanting to go on an expedition to hunt down this new creature enters the line for Son of Beast in Kings Island's Action Zone section and makes their way up forty feet to an elevated station building. Once inside, the next fraction of 1,600 riders an hour surrender themselves to the creature's control by boarding a Premier Rides-manufactured train holding three-dozen at a time by only lap restraints. When the train starts rolling from the station, it makes its way under the giant structure for the lift hill and then immediately gets moving with a plunge to the ground curving ninety counterclockwise degrees. A turnaround brings the train to the base of the mammoth lift hill to begin carrying the victims towards the peak of a raging beast's lift hill. While the chain lifts them skyward, riders have plenty of time to watch all other coasters in the theme park sink far below out to the right. Meanwhile, the train nears the pinnacle straight ahead and tops out at 218 feet. But Son of Beast doesn't get right to the drop. No, the anticipation builds further as the train dips, gathers speed, rounds a 135-degree curve, and then climbs to the top of the major plunge. This savage beast is about to prove its might like no other wooden coaster ever has.
At fifty-six degrees, the wooden track aims earthward and sends screaming riders back to the ground while reaching over seventy-eight miles per hour. On the pullout, the track comes within feet of the ground, then speeds on its way up the second climb. Riders are sent around an L-turn to the right at the top of sixteen-story heights before being thrown down into the diving double helix. Son of Beast furiously plunges 164 feet at forty-three degrees and banks to the left in its own extreme version of its father ride's famous finale. Half way through the helix, passengers find themselves at the top of a third major climb while continuing on the counterclockwise motion. A 150-foot, thirty-seven-degree descent travels to the bottom of the inclined helix again, then sends the train on its way back up and through the helix's structure. A block zone straightaway follows at the coaster's midway point, but the train leaves with plenty of speed.
After a slight curve to the left, the wooden track dives to the ground where the 118-foot vertical loop formerly maneuvered riders upside-down. Instead, the track meanders to the left at sixty-five miles per hour while climbing parallel to the first drop and then gets back to all of the horizontal action. Inside of the top turnaround, the track curves to the right to complete a second helix. Diving past supports with a "head-chopper" effect, the helix wraps around and wraps up after over 360 degrees. Now running parallel and against the direction of the lift hill, Son of Beast sends its victims over a camelback hill to provide some quick airtime. On the other side of the hill, the track curves to the right again, this time 270 degrees in a final carousel curve. Crossing under the lift hill, the track hops onto the final brake run and completes a U-turn leading back to the station after a two-minute, twenty-second ride experience.
On June 27th, 2012, Kings Island announced the ride would come down during the summer, stating they extinguished options to save the ride and want to look to enhancing Action Zone.
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