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Inside the Demise of the Record-Breaking Roller Coaster that Went Too Far

Have you ever made a mistake? Have you ever gotten the feeling that what you were doing simply wasn't going to work out the way you hoped? How far down the path do you go on a project, relationship, or job that's sure to fail? Imagine it on a theme park operator's scale: How much time would you be willing to invest in a venture that seemed doomed? A year? Five? Ten? How much money? $20 million? $30 million? $40 million?

As part of our Lost Legends series, we've explored dozens of famous (and infamous) rides that are gone but never forgotten. In one of our favorites, we took a trip to Kings Island – a world-class park outside of Cincinnatti, Ohio – to explore TOMB RAIDER: The Ride. One of the most immersive, mysterious, and innovative thrill rides to ever exist, Tomb Raider was closed after barely a decade, in a way you have to read to believe. We recommend starting with that in-depth Lost Legends entry.

The lost tale of Tomb Raider: The Ride is haunting enough, but if you can believe it, today we're going to return to that same park to unravel the almost-unbelievable story of one of the most wild rides the world has ever seen: a cinematic sequel to a beloved roller coaster taken a step too far. Just two years before Tomb Raider, Paramount's Kings Island debuted SON OF BEAST, the tallest, fastest, and only looping wooden roller coaster on Earth. Imagine it: towering over the skyline, Son of Beast shattered records and nerves.

And like Tomb Raider, just a decade later the abandoned skeleton of Son of Beast stood 218 feet over one of the most visited theme parks in North America, destined to never operate again. What kind of bad luck saw two of the most impressive rides in the world last barely a decade? The story of Son of Beast is as wild and violent as the infamous coaster, and we want to make sure this most unusual of tales is preserved for future generations who simply won't believe how ahead of its time Kings Island was when it pulled out all the stops to shatter world records.

So, did the sequel stand up to the original? That depends who you ask... 

The park

Kings Island opened in 1972 as one of the first generation of true, purpose-built “theme” parks determined to borrow Disneyland’s formula for success: cinematic, themed lands radiating out from a central icon standing at the end of a lavish entry land, as seen in the opening year map. Replace Main Street with International Street, a towering castle with an even-taller Eiffel Tower, and Disney’s cast of cartoon stars with the animated cavalcade of Hanna-Barbera (The Flintstones, the Jetsons, Scooby-Doo, Yogi Bear, and The Smurfs to name a few) and you’ve got the gist of it.

Image: Jeremy Thompson, Flickr (license)

Among its many opening day offerings, the highlight of Kings Island’s line-up was the Racer, a red-white-and-blue wooden coaster wonder. The classic ride is known the world over by thrill ride enthusiasts for its historic role in reigniting what’s often called the Second Golden Age of the Roller Coaster, ending a decades long slump in construction that had lasted since the Great Depression. (It may be just as well known for its starring role in a 1973 episode of The Brady Bunch entitled “Cincinnati Kids,” which was filmed on location at Kings Island and featured the family’s ride on The Racer as its most thrilling scene.)

Nearly 45 years later, The Racer is still around, thrilling guests. But it didn’t take long for the ride – once the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world – to be dwarfed.

Kings Island was determined to stun the roller coaster world again, and just a few years later, they did.

The Beast looms

Kings Island was always intended to be a replacement for Coney Island, a midway-style park dating back to the 1880s located right on the Ohio River in Cincinnati. Like many riverside midway parks, Coney Island was no stranger to flooding. But one particularly devastating flood in 1964 covered the park in 14 feet of water, prompting discussions that would eventually lead to the opening of Kings Island, where Coney’s rides could be safely relocated.

Fittingly, Kings Island was due to become home to a replica of the Shooting Star roller coaster from Coney.

But when designers took a good hard look at the rolling, forested hills they’d acquired in Kings Island’s 1,600 acres, the concept of cloning the Shooting Star was shelved. With practically limitless land and gorgeous terrain, a new idea emerged: to internally design and build a roller coaster through the dense forests east of the park following the natural hills and valleys of the terrain. The result was more than anyone could’ve imagined.

On April 14, 1979, The Beast opened. It was, of course, the tallest, fastest, and longest roller coaster in the world, slaloming along the forest floor at 65 miles per hour, roaring through tunnels and darting along hillsides. Famously, the Beast is still isolated among 35 acres of forest, meaning that riders can’t see any of The Beast except the length of track they’re currently on. Fans rave about The Beast at night, when seemingly the only light for miles comes from the top of the ride’s lift hill above the trees. With a ride time of over four minutes, The Beast today is still the longest wooden roller coaster in the world, considered one of the best classic coasters on Earth.

What could tarnish the legacy of a world-renowned and famous roller coaster landmark? How about an offspring with a bad temper?


The Beast opened in 1979. Now, let’s flash almost two decades ahead and a state away. In 1997, a small family thrill park near Louisville, Kentucky went up for sale. The park – owned by a man named Ed Hart – was sold to a theme park operator called Premier Parks for $64 million. Premier Parks folded Kentucky Kingdom into its portfolio of parks that included Darien Lake in New York, Elitch Gardens in Colorado, and Ohio’s Geauga Lake.

But Premier Parks wanted to grow. In 1998, they purchased a down-on-its-luck Six Flags Theme Parks Inc. from Time Warner for $1.86 billion. With control of the Six Flags name, Premier renamed itself and its parks, and Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom was born. The new Six Flags was eager to expand its brand and build out its portfolio, and had particularly high hopes for the Kentucky park.

Image: Jeremy Thompson, Flickr (license)

Allegedly, Six Flags was poised to supercharge Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom by aggressively expanding to build a Gotham City area, re-branding two of the park’s existing rides into the DC Super Hero brand, building a new river rapids ride, and installing two brand new headlining roller coasters: a B&M floorless coaster with a half-dozen inversions and an Intamin launched impulse coaster with spiraling towers.

In other words, Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom was going to be a contender.

A pre-emptive strike

Image: Jeremy Thompson, Flickr (license)

Meanwhile, just a few hours north near Cincinnati, Kings Island had changed owners, too. As Six Flags moved toward ambitious plans for Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom, Paramount’s Kings Island allegedly caught wind. Now under the control of Viacom and backed by Paramount’s brands and identities, the park simply couldn’t allow a rival just a few hours away to grow into a threat.

In 1999, Paramount’s Kings Island launched a pre-emptive strike against the radical growth of Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom with an aggressive $40 million two-year expansion plan that would give the park an entirely new themed "land." Built around the existing Congo Falls and Top Gun: The Jet Coaster, this new area was meant to resemble a bright, kinetic, fast-paced studio backlot where an action film might be shot. It was called the Paramount Action Zone.

Image: Jeremy Thompson, Flickr (license)

The new Paramount Action Zone was stocked with loud, brash, bright rides perfect for the looming 21st century. In time for the land’s 1999 opening, it had added Drop Zone: Stunt Tower (the tallest gyro drop in the world, 315 feet tall with a revolving disc of 40) and FACE/OFF (above, an inverted boomerang coaster with flipped seating requiring that riders look right into the eyes of their friends as they race through three inversions forward, then fall backward through them again), all centered around a studio-style water tower (hosting an action-packed "impromptu" secret agent show) and a restaurant called Stunt Crew Grill, offering food for the on-set "extras" (that's us).

But Drop Zone and FACE/OFF alone would not win Paramount’s Kings Island victory against Six Flags' own plans for the region. If Kings Island were put a stop to Kentucky Kingdom's growth even before it started, it needed to go big... Very big. Perhaps appropriate for Paramount’s movie studio styling, their plan was wildly cinematic: a sequel. 

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There are 67 comments.

I was fortunate enough to be able to ride Son of Beast 3 times. 2 times with the loop. The Ohio winters were not good to this coaster. The first time I rode it was great. The second time it was getting really rough. The last time in 2008 without the loop it gave me a headache that lasted the rest of the day. That being said.... I would still ride it again if I could.

As impressive as large wooden roller coasters are as an engineering feat, they simply are not necessary. Every wooden coaster gets rougher year after year until the ride is simply unbearable. See "Mean Streak" at Cedar Point, "The Raven" at Holiday World, or "Timberwolf" at World's of Fun.

But isn't that like saying, "Why do we even grow avocados? They rot so quickly and are so hard to grow. Apples are just as delicious as avocados and more people like apples than like avocados, so we should let avocados go extinct and just grow more apples instead."

You've named three wooden roller coasters that are infamous for their roughness, but not all wooden roller coasters age poorly. They DO require more upkeep and care than steel ones. But they continue to be built, rehabilitated, and reborn today precisely because they have a place. Steel and wooden roller coasters are compliments to one another in my mind. Have you ridden The Beast? The same ride made out of steel would be horribly boring – long, flat straightaways hugging hillsides. The fact that the ride is wooden gives it personality.

Just as wooden coasters can't do what a steel coaster does, a steel coaster can't do the things that a wooden one can.

Growing up in Cincinnati, I saw Son of Beast being built, saw it running, saw it sitting unused for years, and saw the skyline of Kings Island change once it was torn down. I personally only rode it one time, with the loop. It was by far the roughest and most terrifying ride that I've ever been on. It was downright painful and gave me a headache that lasted the entire rest of the day. I also remember Tomb Raider. That thing was terrifying. Kings Island has changed so much over time since its days of being affectionately known as "PKI" to me. I will still always say that The Beast is my favorite ride of all time, especially in the dark. Ridden it too many times to count. Such a classic. The Son of Beast and Tomb Raider rise and fall stories are both unfortunate.

Kentucky Kingdom never had a floor less or an impulse. They had a stand up (chang) and a Schwartskoph shuttle (greeted lightning).

The floorless and impulse were at six flags world's of adventure (Geauga lake)

Yeah, the article says that Kings Island's expansion in Action Zone was a preemptive strike to STOP Kentucky Kingdom's expansion. It worked and Six Flags put the planned expansion at Six Flags Ohio instead. That's how those coasters ended up in Ohio and not Kentucky.

Not true...KK wanted to expand, but they were landlock AND the land was owned by the state fair board. After a couple injury suits, SFKK entered into Bankruptcy....Amid a corporate bankruptcy, on February 4, 2010, Six Flags announced the park would cease operations immediately due to the rejection of an amended lease by the Kentucky State Fair Board. This left the fair board and Six Flags to negotiate the ownership of rides and attractions. On July 25, 2010, this dispute was settled with Six Flags receiving a ride of their choice (Road Runner Express), and $2.8 million in lease related payments owed by Six Flags were forgiven in exchange for Six Flags' property rights (which included the offices, furniture, fixtures and equipment relating to the park, and all intellectual property). The Kentucky State Fair Board also used $2.35 million from Ed Hart to purchase Six Flags' 20-acre (8.1 ha) stake in the park. Six Flags removed all of the Looney Tunes and DC Comics/Batman related content from the park along with inner tubes, overhead shades from rides, and some parts from rides to use at its other parks.

Except it IS true, Ray! A planned expansion in the 1990s would've built-out Kentucky Kingdom. Paramount saw that the Kentucky park was readying for a growth spurt and launched a preemptive strike, building out Kings Island with $40 million over two years, adding an entire themed land with three mega-thrill rides including Son of Beast. Like the feature says, the plan worked; Six Flags all-but-abandoned Kentucky Kingdom and added practically nothing else to it for the rest of their ownership. Instead, they took the planned expansion and gave it to Six Flags Ohio.

Sure, a decade later, the story you (literally) copied-and-pasted from Wikipedia happened, and Six Flags' lease was rejected, ultimately closing Kentucky Kingdom until Ed Hart returned to re-open it. And THAT is an interesting story. But it's very much separate from the story told here, of a never-built expansion in the late 1990s. So to say "Not true" isn't entirely fair. The expansion never came to the Louisville park under Six Flags, but it DID go up north to Geauga Lake, which then became Six Flags Ohio with its own $40 million build-out... the one originally targeted at Kentucky Kingdom.

It's a very strange story to imagine how Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom, Son of Beast, and Geauga Lake are connected, but that's the way things work in the industry... A story isn't complete without a look at what ELSE was happening in the industry at that time! Those are the stories we try to tell. :)

Yes, it is true I quoted (though I didn't put the quotes on, my poor proofreading) from Wikipedia. I should have also provide additional sources on the fair board expansion rejections and financial troubles. Fact is, Premier Parks had a plan when they decided to purchase KK in 1998 and Kings Island responded. Which you did address. Not disputing that. I only took objection to " had successfully scared Six Flags away. Defeated, the company more or less let the Kentucky park wither." This implies, that was the ONLY reason SFKK met its demise. Which is not true, nor fair to say. Yes, I agree, Kings Island did scare them into trying to expand quicker, but was not the sole reason for their demise. IMHO, they were just too dumb to make sure the Fair Board approved ALL of their expansion plans before purchasing the park. I also think the injury lawsuit had significant impact as well. I’m sure you know how many injury lawsuits SF has received over their history. We maybe differing over semantics, that’s just my opinion. Like half full/Half empty  Other than that, I thought it was a GREAT article! Much like your SF Geauga Lake (Miss that place!) article. Again, great article.

He goes on to say that Kentucky Kingdom never followed through with the plan. I hated to see KK go by the wayside. lots of good memories there. do you remember the star chaser?

I remember that Kentucky Kingdom had T2 (themed around the 2nd Terminator movie), which became the Batman after Six Flags took over. The riders' legs dangled from that one. What would that be classified as?

Close! T2 opened at Kentucky Kingdom in 1995 (three years before it became a Six Flags park) and wasn't meant to be tied to Terminator at all. T2 stood for "Terror to the Second Power." It never became a Batman ride. The park was closed 2010 - 2014 and when it re-opened in 2015, T2 was renamed T3 (Terror to the Third Power) and got new trains.

That ride is an SLC (Suspended Looping Coaster) from a manufacturer called Vekoma. It's one of 41 near-identical clones at parks all over the world. It's sort of like a budget, off-the-shelf version of B&M Inverted roller coasters like Banshee or Raptor.

The B&M Floorless coaster that was planned for the park was instead built at Six Flags Ohio as Batman: Knight Flight. When that park became Geauga Lake, the ride was re-named Dominator. Then Geauga Lake closed altogether and the roller coaster was moved to Kings Dominion in Virginia where it still operates today as Dominator. Floorless coasters are unique, because you sit down just like a "regular" roller coaster, but the floor folds out of the way in the station so that you can see the track passing just beneath your feet.

I always thought it was supposed to reference the movie! lol

It was my favorite coaster at KK. It was red, and then they painted it black for the Batman (whether they actually got around to changing the name or not, I distinctly remember telling my friend that it looked better red). This was before the park closed... I haven't been there since the reopening.

I was lucky enough to stumble upon this ride with on one of my High school band trips in 2002. Never being to kings island before or even hearing about Son of Beast, I convinced one of my girlfriends to go with me. I LOVED it, I couldn't say the same for my friend as she would not go on another coaster with me. It's sad that I only got to experience it the one time, I would have ridden all day. Son of Beast has a very dear place in my heart as the only thing I remember from that band trip. I still tell my husband the story from time to time, about the wooden coaster with a loop.

I got to ride Son of Beast on a warm late summer evening the first season it was in operation, 6 times with out getting off the train. It started out rough, as it aged it got more rough. Once they replaced the cars and removed the loop is was just OK.

It was a pricey mistake, but it was great when it was shiny and new.

So one woman "claims" she was hurt and ruined it for all of us who would have loved to ride this!!! I bet she sued too and got a bunch of money!! It's not that she was hurt and didn't want to see anyone else hurt, she just wanted money! All these people getting "hurt" and filing lawsuits ruin so much good stuff.

You have no idea! I think this very possibly could have happened. That ride was so rough and painful. But I am sad it's gone.

(Facebook suggested this article for me, and I was so excited when I saw who wrote it! Great article, Brian! :-))

I experienced this ride in 2008. I had ridden The Beast earlier in the day and really enjoyed it. I guess I was expecting something more similar to The Beast, and didn't prepare myself for what was coming, because I was shocked at how rough it was, and was just wishing for it to end! At one point my head was thrown to the side and my neck cracked painfully! But I'm still glad to say I experienced it, the coaster junkie that I am. Maybe if I had been a little more well prepared and had braced myself a little better, it wouldn't have been so bad.

Again, great article! I am such an amusement park history nerd, and could read articles like this all day!

I got to ride Son of Beast with and without the loop. I loved it with the loop! Without the loop it was just...bleh...nothing more exciting than other wooden coasters. I was sad to see it get torn down. Of all the various theme parks I've visited the original Beast remains my favorite all time coaster!

I rode Son of Beast twice, both times with the loop. My train was stopped about half way up the massive hill were we all got a great view of the fireworks. Then we saw employees walking up the track double checking our restraints because something was set off. I rather be safe than sorry. I feel bad that people got hurt. The ride is well missed.

I rode Son of Beast 2 wks after it opened in the front seat. I was 19 and had been spoiled on Cedar point since i was young; it was my first trip to Kings Island. To be honest, i remember it as a LOUD, rough, visceral kind of ride. It was not a comfortable ride, but that was the fun; i was used to the tallest and fastest from Cedar point and i remember a few times having that slight pang of fear saying, "...was this a good idea?" Anyway im sad it is gone now.

That POV coaster footage bring shot on such a gray day makes it look like a grainy sepia horror flick. Pretty cool!

I rode son of beast its opening season. Wooden coasters at 50 mph are amazing - so many good ones around the Ohio/Kentucky area. But the magnitude of violence when cranking the speeds up to 80mph just cannot be overstated. It was hard to even focus on the ride experience because you were just getting beaten so badly. I was about 20 when I rode it, and I've never, still to this day, taken a break after a roller coaster, except for that one ride on Son of Beast.

It was awesome and set a lot of records, but the experience was just not to be repeated given how violent it was. I love wooden coasters, but I'm not sure 80mph is a good idea. That's for metal coasters.

I remember be a little kid "too young" to ride the coaster. Staring up at the massive tooth pick tower with my grandma and sisters as my parents ran off to ride the unforgettable thrill ride. Every season I would ask them if I could go yet and unfortunately the year I could was the first season without the loop. But even so it was the best day of my roller coaster riding life. Some people hate the thrill and adrenaline of roller coasters but my parent raised me to love them, so much that I eventually went on to work in rides at Kings Island and drive some the coasters.
No matter what anyone has to say the Son of Beast will always be my favorite ride in the park. It was a mandatory wait in line every visit that was definitely worth the headache. And yes, you couldn't get off the ride without one. But no matter how much my head pounded I would run back in line and do it over again. Those imperfections in the old style of wooden coasters are what make the ride. Yeah, you got thrown around and beat up but that was part of the thrill. The day the coaster was torn down was an extremely heartbreaking day for me. No ride has yet to replace the glory of the massive coaster in my heart and I doubt there will be one that will. RIP Son of Beast.

I had the chance to ride Son of Beast. The company I worked for had our yearly company picnic there for quite a few years. Son of Beast was the only coaster that I waited in line TWICE for to get on the ride....I loved it, and it also had the loops in it as well. It was exciting, had me screaming, but always wanting more. My body wouldn't be able to take it now, but its really sad of the rides was amazing!!!

I remember riding Son Of Beast 3 to 4 times. All day rides. (A friend of mine said riding at night going down the big hill was like jumping off a building).

While I rode, I remember it sounded like nails were flying everywhere. Even after I conquered my fear of roller coasters, Son of Beast was STILL the one coaster I feared to ride. Not because it was bumpy, but there was the fear that I wouldn't come back. If I could go back in time, I'd ride SOB more.

I was also fortunate to ride Son of Beast numerous times, with and without the loop. It WAS a rough ride and when going through the loop, I distinctly remember the sensation of my back being crunched down. While I wasn't injured, I didn't like it. S of B was one of those rides that you had to be aware of your position to get the best ride, which was a new concept to a lot of riders. I mentioned my ride experience to a friend who loved the coaster and he said, "Oh, you're not riding it right." We then went for a ride and he coached me through the ride. VERY different experience this time.

When the accident occurred, I was in the water park, which is at the southern end of Kings Island's property. This is where the employee entrance is located and also where outside emergency vehicles enter the park. I remember hearing the siren of the first ambulance, then another, and they kept arriving. We knew something pretty bad had happened.

Later, I learned that numerous people, more than had been on the ride that day, were calling the park, claiming injury. The number claiming injury later exceeded the capacity of the train. While there were video surveillance records to verify claims, this may have influenced KI officials as to the future of the ride. Why keep a ride that may cause problems in the future and open the park to real and fake liability claims?

I rode a post-loop Son of Beast last in 2007 and it was still a rough ride, but it had it's moments. Going through the second helix with that wall of timber bracing to the left will always be something I loved about Son of Beast.

Thanks for this tribute to a great ride! Your articles on Kings Island are always informative, especially on the history of the park. Sadly, KI fails to communicate and capitalize on the "backstory" of the parks many areas, seeming content to just operate rides while the theming fades into the past.

Wow, this article is really well done. I am from Cincinnati and have been going to KI since it opened in the 70s. I remember riding Son of Beast the year it opened and thought it was fantastic, yet painful. Sorry to see it go, but I still prefer The Beast. There's just no beating that ride.

I rode Son of Beast many times, but never without the loop. Reading this brings back so many great memories. The best one is when I was probably around 12 or 13. My aunt and I decided to ride in the front seat at night. I remember going up the first hill freezing my butt off because I only had a t shirt and shorts on. That hill, at night, in the front seat was INSANE and I'll never forget it. I think the helix, so they call it, was my favorite part, when you swoop down and feel those G's. I definitely miss this ride.

I stumbled across this post on Facebook, and I have to say, the amount of emotion I felt reading and reflecting on Son of Beast was almost staggering. When the ride was first built, I was a wee little tyke in first grade, and I couldn't wait to ride it. Fast forward to 2009, and it was an old friend. Volatile, and jarring at times, but a much loved addition to my memories at Kings Island.

I feel like I should clarify this. I lived maybe 20-30 minutes from the park. When there was nothing else to do, we went to ride roller coasters. I never cared much about how jarring or headache inducing the ride was, that was (in my opinion) part of the appeal. There was nothing better than the moment you stood up after it was over, and you felt shaky upon standing. The hardest part for me was saying goodbye to the Son of Beast. There was nothing I could do as they tore down my beloved coaster. One that grew up with me.

I understand that there were many structural issues, and I had no wish for anyone to get hurt because of them. That being said, I never pushed aside the rumors of death from the coaster when tourists would ask. I was young enough to know the magic of belief, and old enough to know the truth.

So what I would say for anyone out there about this ride; you never know what you have until it's gone. There was simply no compare for it, and perhaps I took that for granted. Living so close to the park made it easy to assume it would stand forever. There's simply nothing I would trade for the privilege I had riding it, and I know I'll remember it for years. Thank you for writing about Son of Beast. It made my day a little brighter, and made me reflect on a great number of things. God Bless.

SoB made me purchase season tickets in the 2000 season at KI. I rode it on opening day, and it was extremely rough. I rode it a couple more times that year even though it beat me up. The last time I rode it I got off, and told the operator something was wrong with the coaster, and somebody was going to get really hurt. I have rode Every wooden coaster mentioned in this article, and nothing injured my neck and back like this ride. The operator immediately told me that " i just wasn't used to riding wooden roller coasters" , and "that wooden coaster are supposed to be rough" I never rode it again. It was almost like they were coached to say that. The Beast is "rough" SoB was dangerous. I will say I enjoyed this article, and would love to hear about the days of the screaming demon and the bat. or the stories that led to the closing of flight commander and the zephyr. how bout the glory days of Star chaser and Thunder run at Kentucky Kingdom.

I rode Son of Beast numerous times while it was in operation. I have to confess that my brother and I talked my mom into riding (lucky we survived that action after climbing out of the car at the end of the ride). My mom was petrified of heights and this ride scared her to death and she exited the ride a sobbing shaking mess. My dad loved it. I do miss this ride and I enjoyed Tomb Raider too. The older I get I understand my mom's reaction...or bodies don't recover like they used to. There is still nothing like The Beast after dark (even in a light rain/fog).

Although I was very young (under 10), I was fortunate enough to ride this amazing roller coaster, both with and without the loop. Now, at 20, the memories of riding the Son of the Beast with my cousins brings a smile to my face. It was and will always be my favorite roller coaster. The final accident in 2009 was the reason my grandparents stopped giving my siblings and I a Gold Pass every year. Although the Beast is a phenomenal ride, nothing, in my mind, will ever compare to the Son of the Beast, in all its glory.

I was lucky enough to ride this ride for a few years before it was shut down. Living in the neighborhood right behind kings island and going to Kings right behind the park; I watched this mammoth coaster be built and I couldn't wait until it was opened and had a chance to ride it!! I absolutely LOVED this coaster!! The first time I rode it was in its opening year and it was at night when it was a bit cooler...needless to say because it was so rough i ended up with horrible bruises on the outsides of both my legs and i couldn't even lay on my sides because the bruises were so deep. If took me awhile to get the guts to get back on it but I did and my love for the ride was renewed!! I rode the ride with both the loop and without. It definitely lost its value when they took the loop out. I wish they would put Son of Beast back in!! The sky line of kings island isn't the same without it, but it's replacement Banshee is totally awesome and I HIGHLY recommend it to coaster enthusiasts!!!!

Very good read. If this story can get amended, I think it's important to note that the wait for the ride when it opened was somewhere around 6 to 8 hours, it just give the readers an idea as to how much people wanted to be a part of this new world record attraction.

My story: Born in the early 80s I grew up and watch Kings Island evolve into what it's become today. Including the rise and fall of SOB. I was really in the perfect age range (early 20s) when this was built. I know my dad would ride this with me, but it did a number on his body, just as today it would be rougher on my mid 30s body. Still, I have been to numerous parks, and have been on several rollercoasters; this coaster will always stand out as unique. I think that just knowing that you are privileged with the opportunity to frequently ride something that broke several world records; kind of makes you want to ignore the roughness of the ride and live in the moment. At the same time I understand life is precious and most people probably know their limits. If you don't have a high tolerance for coasters, this would definitely not be recommended. For safety purposes too, there are limitations on rides: some are too short, some are even too tall, and of course it's unfortunate but nowadays just being slightly overweight on a ride can make the difference between an enjoyable ride and an uncomfortable/painfull ride experience. That's why I say I was lucky enough to be in the right age and height range to fit in the restraints perfectly. As I mentioned before, I believe how strong your body is (i.e. age and size), both by weight and height is another key reason why a coaster of this magnitude would get mixed reviews.

So I will close and say that I do miss this roller coaster and perhaps with the new technology maybe they will think of a way to reinvent something in 2019 or 2020 (40th anniv Beast)(20th Since SOB) season, but I doubt it. The great thing about King's Island is it's ability to expand. So much unused area just waiting for another grand attraction like SOB.

I graduated high school in 2000 and couldn't wait for the Son of Beast to open. I had friends who rode it right after it was opened. A few weeks later I heard that a test run flew off the track and they had to stop allowing riders for a few weeks till it got it worked out, then it reopened. When I finally got to ride it, it beat me up and was terrifying. You really didn't know if you were going to come back from everything that you heard. It never was as good as the original Beast, but it definitely goes down in the record books for wooden roller coasters. It will be missed.

My BFF & I rode this in 2000....I had no idea that it was its first year. I do remember that my BFF had bruises all over her legs after riding it. We honestly thought at the time it was the sheer # of coasters we rode that day. We rode all of them & several including Face-Off & Vortex multiple times.

I remember my first ride I was 7 years old the year was 2004 and boy oh boy was I scared I remember waiting in line for over an hour with my cousin. I was nervous I had never been on a looping rollercoaster before. We finally entered the station platform we watched train after train exit the station until it was time. The gates swung open we climbed in I pulled the lap bar as far as it would go, and then we departed the station down a banked hill and over some small bunny hills flowing towards the hill. This hill struck fear into me more than anything I could ever remember. The slow crawl seemed like it would never end, as we approached the top I felt like I was on top of the world. We crawled through the first tiny hill up top letting the park know with the roaring sound this coaster made before it made the first drop. We flew down the first hill and up into the rosebowl before I even knew it I we where flying through towards the mid course break run. Then I saw it the loop it was menacing up close we flew through it smooth as glass, and hammered through the rest of the track, finally making our way to the final break run. It was over we had finished the son of beast. This ride holds a special place in my heart as the first big coaster I had ever rode. My first looping coaster I remember defending this coaster after the second accident look up save son of beast on Facebook I am still a member of the group anyways I hope you enjoy the read

What an awesome article! I have been going to PKI since I was a kid, living less than an hour away, we always had season passes. Son of Beast... omg! The anticipation for that ride was off the charts. I stood in line for hours! I rode it a total of 3 times. After 3 I was done. 1st time I rode, I was clueless and didn't think to take out my earrings. I have 7. When I got off the ride I was bleeding behind my ears. The head rattling was nuts. And the headache sucked. I was prepared the next time. No earrings and Motrin first. Still ouch!! The final ride I ever took, Motrin wasn't enough. My legs were covered in bruises and my head hurt so bad I couldn't ride anymore. I decided then I was clearly not tough enough for that ride. Even though I was only 22. I was sad, but not shocked when the ride closed. It was insanely rough and the negativity surrounding it after the accident & injury claim was a lot. RIP Son of Beast! Lol

A fiendishly vicious ride that was worth every moment. When it opened it was a complete monster that reminded me of the old days of its daddy. Since its demise and Cedar Fairs over protective ways, not only has The Beast been tamed to a shell of what it once was. But The Racer was squashed as well. Gone are the days of rides that took a little piece of you every time you rode them, I miss those...

Let me start by sharing that my favorite ride of all rimes is the Beast. it is at its best in the front car, and at night...nothing like it!

I rode SOB twice: once with the loop and once without. After each ride I swore I would never ride it again. I enjoy being scared but not injured. First ride resulted in a 6 inch bruise on my thigh. Second time was a serious headache. Head trauma is no joke. KI did the right thing. I was in my 20/30s and in great health.

The woman who suffered the brain annurysm did not sue. It is alarming how people jump to negative conclusions. Coincidentally, the main hill demolition (video posted) occurred on her birthday. Karma? I say justice ; )

As an employee in the entertainment department, I remember getting to play the role of one of many explorers during the shooting of the unveiling commercial starring Montel Williams. A notable coaster enthusiast and fan of Kings Island.
When SOB finally opened, as an employee of the park I ride it countless times and honestly never thought it to be any rougher than your traditional wooden coaster. Sure it was faster, but you pretty much know what you signed up for when you board a widen coaster. Other than the accident with the jolt, I think the removal of it was not the best decision and as you pointed out, it could have been fixed if they would have held on a little bit longer. The day it came crashing down was a sad day. Especially for those of us who got to watch with great anticipation every piece of wood put into place and to be a part of the life it took on in the park. It will always be a great memory for sure.

My son & I rode the SON OF BEAST Countless times.When it closed down we were heart broken. I wished I would have kept track of how many times we actually rode it. Even though it was Rough he always wanted to get back on it & ride again & again & again. We would try to get the front seat as much as possible. Back then Tuesdays were the best days to go because you could stay on & ride it twice without having to get back in line. He would ride it all day if he could. It would be the first ride we rode when we got there & be the Last before they closed. My husband went a couple times & rode it a couple times but he didn't like how rough it was. WE knew how rough it was so we braced ourselves the best we could. #LovedTheSonOfBeast #Memories

I have ridden every ride in this park from the kiddy park, the water park, and the regular park. I grew up with kings island I've had season passes since 1st grade and I just graduated college. My first job was even at kings island. I will say I enjoyed kings island more when paramount owned it the 2000s those were the best years and the best themes in that park. Son of beast was a jolting ride the loop was the calm before the storm and it was truly iconic. The beast has gotten rough over the years along with the racer but they are just classic you can't visit the park and not ride them along with adventure express. It's worth the bang up. Face off was by far my favorite coaster and the vortex was as rough as any wooden coaster. Top gun was a fan favorite for those just graduating from The beastie or now called something else planet snoopy. The newer rides may be smoother but they just aren't as fun or as amazing of a thrill as the wooden coasters. Kings island changed when cedar fair took over but for those of us who grew up there we will always remember the way PKI used to be

I was fortunate to be able to ride both Son of Beast(with loop) and the Tomb Raider ride. Son of Beast was the roughest and most uncomfortable roller coaster I have ever ridden. I'm glad I was able to experience it, but wouldn't ride again if I had the opportunity. I loved the Tomb Raider ride! It was so different, exciting, and lots of fun! Was sad to see it go.

I was lucky enough to enjoy both the wooden loop and the steel loop before it closed and was torn down.
It was a rough ride but each time you returned to the park you would stand in line with the anticipation of the thrill! It was always worth every second you spent in line! I still love the wooded roller coasters and enjoy the uniqueness of them! The authentic thrill and the bumpiness of the ride!!!
The Beast, The Son of the Beast and The Beastie will always be a fawn memory during my childhood, teen years and adult years...

I live right outside of mason. Its a 20 minute drive, so I had season passes growing up with all my friends. SOB was my favorite ride. I remember one year when they did the fear fest thing they do around halloween. No one was there to ride the rides, but they were open. Me and a buddy went to SOB to discover NO LINES. WE sat on that coaster and road it time after time without having to go through the line, we just changed seats at our leiser. We must have rode it 5 or 6 times back to back. Being so young (17ish at the time), we could handle the abuse it threw, and we loved it. It was sad to see it go. Im 29 now and its a coaster I wont forget.

I loved Son of Beast. I rode it on its inaugural weekend back in 2000, just after the birth of my little brother. I was 9 years old. I squeaked by the height requirement with socks placed in my shoes by my roller coaster junkie father. Hard to say how many times I rode it over the next several years. Dozens and dozens, easily. It was my first coaster over 200 feet and man, was it formidable as a 9 year old. I vividly remember climbing up that hill for the first time and thinking "OMG....this is TALL!"

Personally, I do not remember it as smooth. Nor do I remember it as rough. But I was young. I didn't think any ride was rough back then. However, I always considered Mean Streak to be the roughest coaster and I still believe that. SOB was an incredible ride. My heart aches for those who never got the opportunity to enjoy it. I am glad that it was front-and-center in my Kings Island-going childhood. Banshee is great, but it is no Son of Beast.

I was fortunate to have been beaten & thrown around on my ride of the Son and loved every moment of it!! Sad to see him go :(

I rode the Son of Beast when it first came out. It was Easter Sunday and rainy and cold. There was barely anyone at the park and my brother and I rode the ride over and over. In the beginning, it was smooth. After they took the loop out, I returned to the park happy to be there and ride this ride again. It was so rough that when I got off the ride, I couldn't move my neck. My shoulder was messed up for a year afterward. I was sad to see it go, but I totally understood why.


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