Son of Beast was heralded as the world’s tallest, fastest and only looping wooden roller coaster when it opened at Kings Island in 2000. The track climbs to a 218-foot peak, followed by a 214-foot drop; its trains would reach speeds of 78 mph.
As the dismantling of the coaster gets underway, questions remain about what will happen to all those parts and the 12-acre space the ride leaves behind.
KI spokesman Don Helbig speaks with Masonbuzz about how the massive coaster will be brought down and how fans might be able to get a memento of the ride.
ANSWER: It took 15 months to construct it. (Demolition) started in mid-September and it’s probably going to take till early 2013 to totally dismantle the ride. The dismantling of the ride started in the middle of the structure and they’ll work toward the back end. One of the last pieces they’ll break down is the big lift, which is 215-feet high, and you’ll see that within the last several months. That will be the last part they’ll take down.
Q: How is the ride being brought down?
A: There’s a lot of different ways they’re going about bringing the ride down. One way is they’re cutting different pieces of the ride and they’re kind of pulling it to bring the ride down. They may use the wrecking ball in some areas. In some other parts of the ride, it may be the same way it was built, where they’re just going to undo the bolts. It depends on what section of the ride they’re in and how much structure is there. They may keep the station for the Wolf Pack maze (in Halloween Haunt). It’s one of our most popular mazes.
Q: Many fans are disappointed that the ride could not be saved. What’s your response to them?
A: We know the ride had its fans who were very interested to see what would happen to the ride. We appreciate their interest in the ride and they kept in touch with us the past three and a half years to get an update on what would happen to the ride. After a thorough evaluation of all the alternatives, the decision was made to dismantle the ride for future expansion.
Q: Any idea on what that future expansion might entail?
A: We’re really going to have to wait until the ride comes down. Once the ride has been removed, probably in early 2013, we’ll begin the process then of surveying the land and looking at all the ideas and different concepts and all the things we can do. There’s plenty of room to work with and we’re excited about that opportunity as we look towards the future.
Q: What will happen to all of the parts? Some fans have suggested you make them available as mementos.
A: Different parts of the ride may be salvaged and reused. We received a lot of phone calls and emails from fans interested in getting a piece of the ride, whether it’s a piece of wood or track. Once the ride is dismantled or more of it’s down, we’ll look at that and we’ll probably make some pieces available and will have that information at a later date.