Friday, August 18, 2000

How do you top Son of Beast?

Talk of new Kings Island ride has thrill seekers wondering

By Kevin Aldridge
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MASON — The buzz surrounding Son of Beast hasn't even died down, and officials at Paramount's Kings Island already are whispering about a new attraction for next year.

        In about a month, park officials are expected to unveil plans to add at least one new attraction in 2001. How much it will cost, and whether it will be another roller coaster, park officials aren't saying.

        “My lips are sealed,” park spokesman Jeff Siebert said. “We are still trying to iron out some last-minute details.”

        On one Web site for thrill-ride lovers, the rumors suggest that it will be either a “giga-twister coaster,” standing more than 378 feet tall and reaching speeds of more than 100 mph, or a water roller coaster similar to the Flying Super Saturator at Paramount's Carowinds in Charlotte, N.C.

        “The (giga-twister coaster) would be a surprise, especially on the heels of a ride like Son of Beast,” said Bill Linkenheimer, president of American Coaster Enthusiasts, a group that crisscrosses the country sampling roller coasters.

        “After a big project like Son of Beast, Kings Island traditionally has come back the next season with a softer, more family-oriented attraction.”

        Mr. Linkenheimer thinks the Flying Super Saturator would be more likely. He said the coaster, suspended from an overhead track, got rave reviews this season at Carowinds. He also noted Paramount parks have a tendency to copy and then improve upon versions of newer rides at their sister parks.

        Joe VanDenBerghe, president of Setpoint Inc. of Ogden, Utah, which designed and built the Super Saturator, didn't name Kings Island specifically, but said he has been in contact with a number of Paramount parks about the ride.

        “It's a very popular ride and a lot of parks have been asking us about it,” Mr. VanDenBerghe said. “Kings Island is aware of the ride and they certainly know what it could do for their park.

        “Coasters are great, but taller, faster and scarier tends to alienate some guests. We wanted to come up with something that everybody who walked through the gate could ride if they wanted to.”, a Web site for amusement park enthusiasts, listed a few possibilities, including a version of the Super Saturator.

        Other rumors say Ohio's busiest amusement park is supposed to build the tallest, longest, fastest coaster in the world. The “giga-twister coaster” would be between 9,500 and 10,000 feet long. It would be taller and faster than the current record-holder — the Millennium Force at Cedar Point in Sandusky, which is 310 feet tall and hits 92 mph.

        When asked about the Internet speculation, Mr. Siebert just laughed.

        “You just never know what we are going to come up with next.”

Site fenced off

               The new attraction most likely will be located in the park's Rivertown theme area next to the Kings Mills Log Flume water ride, but could expand into other areas of the park.

        Park officials said work should begin soon at the site. The area has been fenced off.

        Mr. Siebert said he has seen people “trying to pull open the gate, peek through holes and stand on benches to see what's behind that fence. ... I tell guests just be patient.”


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