Thirty-three years to the day it was first introduced in 1980, Kings Island officials announced this week The Bat ride will fly again.
The 364-acre amusement and water park located off Interstate 71 in Warren County is changing the name and colors of the Flight Deck roller coaster to The Bat in time for the 2014 season.
“There was a lot of passion and enthusiasm around this name change by our guests,” said Greg Scheid, Kings Island’s vice president and general manager. “They told us they wanted to bring it back.”
The name fits the characteristics of the ride: Similar to a bat in flight, riders soar through the air, swooping, circling and diving unexpectedly.
The original Bat had a short and troubled run at the park, only operating for parts of three seasons from 1981 to 1983, giving 1.8 million rides. In 1985, the park dismantled it because of persistent mechanical problems, although no injuries were reported.
The revamped Bat also will resemble its predecessor as a suspended roller coaster with tracks above the trains. When the coaster train turns a corner, the cars are designed to swing out to the side, sometimes swinging riders parallel to the ground.
The new color scheme for The Bat will feature black trains and an orange track with two shades of charcoal for the columns and structure.
Designed by the Arrow Dynamics Company, the ride was custom designed for Kings Island when it debuted as Top Gun in 1993. Riders soar over the tree tops and through a hilly wooden terrain and a series of sharp turns on this seventh generation steel roller coaster.
The attraction celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2013, giving its 20-millionth ride in June.
The Bat is one of 15 roller coasters at Kings Island now, including the new world record-breaking Banshee set to debut in 2014.
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