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Son of Beast roller coaster

The Son of Beast rollercoaster has been removed from Kings Island's 2010 park map, fueling speculation that it will remain closed throughout the coming season.

There have been conflicting reports over the future of Son of Beast, with some suggesting that it could reopen later this summer and others pointing to a prolonged or even permanent closure. The omission of the ride from the map, posted online ahead of the park's opening day on April 17, suggests that there are no plans to reopen it in the near future. Son of Beast also no longer appears in attraction listings on Kings Island's new website.

Son of Beast has been closed since June 2009, after a woman claimed the ride caused a blood vessel in her brain to burst. Ohio state investigators later ruled that the ride design was not at fault for the injury, but the park's General Manager Greg Scheid has since said that it will not reopen the coaster until it is "100% sure that [park guests] will enjoy their time on the ride".

This is likely to involve making significant and expensive updates to Son of Beast for the second time since its opening in May 2000. The first update added new, lighter trains and removed the ride's signature vertical loop after a 2006 incident which saw 26 people injured. During the incident, a support beam broke and caused the train to come to a juddering halt in the station.

According to a recent report, Kings Island is in discussions with engineering firms over potential changes to Son of Beast. Options under consideration are believed to include replacing the ride's entire wooden support system with a steel structure, or removing the two giant helixes which have caused many of its previous problems.

You can keep up-to-date with the latest confirmed and rumored temporary ride closures through Theme Park Tourist's "Rehab Watch", and by signing up for our weekly newsletter.

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Comments

As a local, it's my feeling that the coaster has seen its last riders. Here's what I base this on:

1. There is too much at stake for KI and Cedar Fair here. Any rider who suffers some minor bump or bruise will be poised to sue. More bad publicity on top of already bad pub. The map is very tell-tale. When The Bat was meeting its impending departure decades ago, they continued to list it as "closed for today" on the signs entering the park. Everyone knew it was gone.

2. They probably really are some major issues with the construction and integrity of the coaster. Last year, a state official blasted the park for the shotty construction. There were videos of nuts they were loose enough to be spun by hand. They have been numerous occasions of broken timbers. The state official was surprised that nothing more major had not yet happened.

Strangely, myself and my 7yr old daughter rode this a week or 2 before it closed last year and we loved it.

In reply to by Andy (not verified)

I guess it's a question of how much good money do you throw after bad, as Kings Island has already spent in excess of $30 million on Son of Beast. There must be a temptation to spend a bit more and try and get the ride back into operation. If there really are serious structural defects though then it might make more sense to tear it down and just build a replacement.

Having said that, there are some really violent wooden coasters still in action elsewhere. I love the Cyclone at Coney Island, but I was aching for days after riding it. Even Gwazi at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay can be pretty rough.

In reply to by Nick Sim

Yesterday I was speaking with a senior employee at kings island and I asked him what he knew about Son of Beast. He said Son of Beast will not be open at anytime during the 2010 season. He said that they will be doing work on Son of Beast that is similar to what they are currently doing to Texas Giant.  The ride will open in the 2011 season though he was unsure if it would open with the park. 

I thought you would appreciate this info.

Thanks for passing this on. I've seen this reported in a few places, but we'll have to wait for official confirmation from the park to see if Son of Beast really will avoid permanent closure.

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