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Updated: 9:45 a.m. Friday, Aug. 9, 2013 | Posted: 10:41 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013

Kings Island to offer new coaster for 2014

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Banshee @ Kings Island photo
Photo: Kings Island
The World's Longest inverted roller coaster will open in 2014 at Kings Island. The ride is named Banshee. Photo courtesy: Kings Island
Kings Island to offer new coaster for 2014 photo
Banshee is the new steel roller coaster that Kings Island will offer in 2014, park officials said Thursday night, Aug. 8, 2013. (Photo courtesy of Kings Island)

By Lot Tan

Staff Writer

MASON —

Kings Island on Thursday night announced the details of its newest attraction for 2014, what it’s calling the “world’s longest inverted coaster.”

Banshee is being touted by the park as the world’s longest inverted roller coaster at 4,124 feet of steel track.

“The new attraction will be available next year when we open the park in April of 2014,” said Don Helbig, spokesman for Kings Island.

The thrill ride — the 15th roller coaster at Kings Island — hits a top speed of 68 mph and will be located on the same site as the former Son of Beast roller coaster, Helbig said.

Park officials said Banshee will also offer seven mind-bending inversions during the 2-minute, 40-second ride. Built over hilly terrain and incorporating the most exciting features of the very best inverted roller coasters in the world, Banshee will feature several unique elements that distinguish the ride from others.

The ride begins with a lift taking riders up to the maximum height of 167 feet. After plunging down 150 feet, riders will go through a dive loop, followed by a vertical loop, zero gravity roller, two batwing inversions, a second vertical loop and a 170-foot long heartline finale.

Two of the most unique features about Banshee are the massive size of every loop, and unlike other roller coasters, the top speed isn’t reached until halfway through the ride’s course.

Since Banshee’s lift hill is on a higher elevation of terrain than the other side of the ride that goes down into a valley, the total elevation change is 208 feet from the highest point at the top of the lift hill to the lowest point, which is the bottom of the batwing between loops four and five.

Passengers will be seated in cars four across. A total of three trains, each containing eight cars, will enable Banshee to accommodate approximately 1,650 riders per hour.

Banshee will be the 15th roller coaster at Kings Island, which is home to some of the top-ranked roller coasters in annual industry and enthusiast polls including The Beast and Diamondback, and represents the biggest new product investment in the park’s 41-year history at $24 million.

Banshee was designed by Bolliger and Mabillard of Monthey, Switzerland, one of the premier leaders in roller coaster development.

It’s the first female-inspired thrill ride at a Cedar Fair Entertainment Company amusement park, officials said.

Construction of the new attraction began April 22 in the park’s Action Zone, according to park officials.

The dismantling of Son of Beast began around Labor Day 2012 after park executives decided to shut it down in 2009.

When Son of Beast opened it 2000, it was promoted as a “sequel” to the park’s most famous ride — the Beast. When it opened, Son of Beast set world records as the tallest wooden roller coaster at 218 feet and fastest wooden coaster with top speeds of 78 mph. The coaster also contained a mammoth 118-foot loop, a rarity for a wooden roller coaster.

The ride was beset with problems from the start. Then-Kings Island owner Paramount fired Roller Coaster Company of Ohio, the company hired to engineer and build the ride, before the construction was completed and had to make several design corrections in the ride’s initial year.

According to estimates, more than 7 million people rode Son of Beast in its nine-plus seasons of operation.

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