Jump to content
pianoman

Son of Beast

Recommended Posts

Who had a chance to ride SOB before it closed? Did you like it? Did you ride it with or without the loop? Would you have ridden it again if it had reopened? Thoughts?

 

As far as me, I didn't ride it until August 2007. I never rode it with the loop. I also rode it a few times in 2008. I personally kind of enjoyed it. I know a lot of people thought it was too rough. But that is the nature of wooden coasters.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I rode it throughout all of its various incarnations. Overall I liked the ride but it was a very rough coaster.  Probably the only other woodie that I have been on that was that rough overall was Mean Streak.  I enjoyed the ride and would still ride it today if it was there but I don't blame the park for removing it.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I liked it too.

 

But what happened to Son of Beast was not the nature of wooden roller coasters. Sincere engineering missteps lead to two dozen people being injured at least once, and many many more physically suffered from the ride experience to varying degrees. 

 

As for "would you have ridden it if it re-opened?" I think I would've, but I was more naive 7 years ago haha. If it had re-opened, I would've felt sure that Cedar Fair had done its due diligence. In retrospect, despite all of our hopefulness, I don't think Cedar Fair ever seriously considered re-opening it in a form similar to the one it had closed in. I think for them, it was major, sincere, structural overhaul or demolition. 

  • Like 8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I never rode it. I moved in 2007, and in those remaining two years I was too short to ride. My dad did ride it and said he loved it. He always tells me that he wishes that KI still had it, but he agrees that Banshee is a worthy replacement.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I rode it with and without the loop but the only constant for the ride was how unbearably rough it was. Every now and then I would get a good ride that wasn't painful and it was good in those rare cases. The loop was fun but not really that different from something like Vortex and the first drop was good. The first helix was nothing but pain though. I remember liking the second half more.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I rode it all through its life.  I first rode it on a special season pass holder night that occurred later in the 2000 season due to its delays.  

 

2000-2006- I thought it was alright, but only in the first 2 rows.  Anything behind that wasn't worth it for me.  It was extremely uncomfortable- very rattly with a rough bounce.  The first drop and loop were the only redeeming parts of the ride.  Other than the rattle and a ton of laterals (all it had was the first drop, loop, 2 helices and a carousel curve).  It had absolutely no airtime because there were no hills dedicated to such, a major downside for a wooden coaster to have.  I only rode it once or twice a visit. 

 

2006-2009- I only rode it once post-loop removal and I absolutely hated it.  The pacing suffered from the lighter trains and that also meant it was way more rough.  It honestly felt like it was going to stall at any moment or if there was a good gust of wind.  

 

I'm very glad for the superb B&M inverted coaster in its place.  

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did ride it 3 times post-loop. All 3 times were on the night 3 days previous to SoB's final day, so I am very fortunate I got to ride. I loved that thing and would've ridden it so much more in the future, but unfortunately that can't happen. I do agree, however, that it was the roughest coaster I've been on besides Mean Streak.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had some good rides on it in the early days. If they put the budget in for it that it needed and listened to the experts when it was built it would still be there today. I find it hard to believe that anyone that helped build and maintain it is still working today.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^Uh...RCCA is pretty much disbanded and Paramount Parks is also no more.  Those are really the only 2 parties seriously involved with it, so I don't get what you said about those who worked on it still being in the business.  The individuals who were in CF at the time of the park's purchase were just trying to work with what they got and SOB was certainly a unique situation to try and salvage.  

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My first time on SOB was on August 1st, 2007. Then I rode it during Haunt of 2007. I loved the first drop out of the station to get everyone anticipated of what was to come. I rode it again in 2008. It was early June and the park was pretty empty so I rode it like 10 times in a row. I think Mean Streak was worse than SOB as far as being rough. Mean Streak would hurt my back but I never had pain on SOB.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, even if it were smooth, it was such a boring, force-less layout with nothing but really drawn out laterals.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I rode it the year it opened. Don't remember anything about it other than it beat the crap out of us and wasn't worth the pain. And that was back when I was young and could take the beatings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, even if it were smooth, it was such a boring, force-less layout with nothing but really drawn out laterals.  

I pretty much agree with you on this. I understand everybody has different things they like about a coaster. I personally like the first drop and height, i think all roller coasters first drop should always be a straight drop, no banking etc. and lots of hills that are similar with maybe  a few other elements. I myself find helixs mundane and boring. But thats my preference. I am sure there are people that like just the opposite. And thats fine.  But overall for me, SOB design and layout were horrible, the first drop and loop were the only things i liked, I also love just the overall beauty of looking at a good wood coaster. I was truly disappointed the first time i saw it in person. It could have been so much more....would love to have seen what RMC would have done with it given the chance. but i have a feeling that it might of been one that they may have passed on given the chance. but then again, maybe not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^Uh...RCCA is pretty much disbanded and Paramount Parks is also no more.  Those are really the only 2 parties seriously involved with it, so I don't get what you said about those who worked on it still being in the business.  The individuals who were in CF at the time of the park's purchase were just trying to work with what they got and SOB was certainly a unique situation to try and salvage.  

I said people that worked on it and I know of one that still works for the park. If you go back and do a little research on all the things that happened when it was built and the mess it became after you may think the same. It looked clear to me that someone had a big swelled head thinking they knew more than they did. It turned out that the ones that said it wouldn't work was correct. The report from the Ohio Department of Agriculture after the accident tells a lot as well.

 

If I am out of line here feel free to delete.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

^Uh...RCCA is pretty much disbanded and Paramount Parks is also no more.  Those are really the only 2 parties seriously involved with it, so I don't get what you said about those who worked on it still being in the business.  The individuals who were in CF at the time of the park's purchase were just trying to work with what they got and SOB was certainly a unique situation to try and salvage.  

I said people that worked on it and I know of one that still works for the park. If you go back and do a little research on all the things that happened when it was built and the mess it became after you may think the same. It looked clear to me that someone had a big swelled head thinking they knew more than they did. It turned out that the ones that said it wouldn't work was correct. The report from the Ohio Department of Agriculture after the accident tells a lot as well.

 

If I am out of line here feel free to delete.

 

Well, you were "around" to see much of the story unfold.  It actually kind of makes me feel old that some people only have vague memories of Son of Beast.  To me, it was just another chapter in the life of KI.  

 

What I think many of you don't understand is that the whole project was a mess from the beginning - this is what Capt Picard was trying to say.  Many manufacturers were approached about building the first wooden hypercoaster with the first modern wooden coaster loop.  Many wouldn't touch it.  You have to remember that, especially around 2000 during the coaster wars, lawsuits flew everywhere very often with experimental ride designs.   RCCA, who had never built a coaster in the US if I recall correctly, was willing to take it. They also couldn't build the trains to accommodate the loop.  That fell on Premier Rides (yes, the same Premier that brought us Flight of Fear and Backlot).  

 

Half way through the project in a classic "in over their head" situation, RCCA went bankrupt.  [Paramount's] Kings Island was left with a half-constructed wooden elephant-in-the-room.  Without the option to simply hire another roller coaster company, Kings Island was forced to take it on themselves.  It had nothing to do with people thinking they knew more than they did.  They had no choice.  There was no option to delay the opening of the ride until after the 2000 season.

 

After many delays, hiccups, and even a collapse during construction, Son of Beast opened to the public in the early season of 2000 - but still months behind schedule.  It was notably smooth (as all new coasters are) for the first few weeks, but got progressively more violent throughout the 2000 season.  

 

One lady claimed to have broken her neck on the ride, but there is some question of the legitimacy of that situation, so I'm not going to bother with that since it's not that relevant.

 

Major retracking work was done in the 2000 offseason.... and 2001 offseason... and 2002 offseason... and so on.  Certain sections of the ride would get better, but the results typically wouldn't last and the over all sum of all parts was still too rough and violent to be enjoyed by the average guest.  

 

Just days after Cedar Fair completed their purchase of Paramount Parks in 2006, an incident happened in which riders were given a "rougher than usual" ride due to a broken vertical timber that would not have been detected during the normal daily inspection procedures.  This caused the ride to be immediately shuttered the ride.

 

Much debate circulated about the future of Son of Beast after this incident.  It was determined that the Premier Rides trains, due to their weight, were responsible for the turbulence during the ride.  The size, girth, and weight of the trains were necessary for them to successfully complete the loop, so as a compromise the loop was removed.  

 

The ride reopened in July of 2007 with much lighter G-Trains, which were on a second life after being used on the now-defunct Myrtle Beach Hurricane.  Special alterations were made to the trains in order for them to meet the gauge of the massive Son of Beast track.  

 

In the years following 2007, Son of Beast had a new life with a much lower ridership.  Even on the busiest days, the ride never had a line.  This was until, in the wake of Diamondback's opening in 2009, Son of Beast was quietly shutter.  It was later revealed that a woman had reported to the park that she had suffered a head injury that might have been attributed to riding Son of Beast.  This was the final straw for the ride.  Park executives closed the ride and openly said that they did not know what the future of this record breaker may be.

 

Several members of the media attempted to contact the park in the time after the ride's closure in order to get the scoop on what was next for The Beast's rebel son.  The park very infamously repeated, "No decision has been made on the future of Son of Beast."  This went on for years.

 

In the Fall of 2012, it was announced on Kings Island's social media that after exploring all of the different options for Son of Beast, the ride would be removed for future expansion.  Demolition began immediately, and there were few traces of the ride remaining by the beginning of the 2013 season.

 

At the beginning of the 2013 season, a fence was erected in the area that once housed Son of Beast with information about increased surveillance due to "bone chilling screams" in the area... but that's another story.

 

Bonus fact:  Although Son of Beast was celebrated as the tallest, fastest, and only looping modern roller coaster, it also held a less celebrated record: the world's largest manmade wooden structure.

 

Bonus fact:  An original design for Son of Beast had an all wooden loop.... actually two of them.  The loops would slide side-to-side so one could be repaired on days that the other was in operation.

 

WLWT video of Son of Beast's hill coming down:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87EWEKg1MXc

 

For those who lurk and for the newbies, here is the Banshee announcement video that also celebrated the fall of Son of Beast:

  • Like 13

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing that really messes with me is how controlling was Paramount and RCCA to keep Werner Stengel, arguably the greatest roller coaster designer of all time, from making an absolutely incredible ride. Even if SoB was glossy smooth, it wouldn't be a truly great ride. It's got stats in aces, but it didn't do much at all.

 

Stengel designed both Superzaro: The Ride (Of Steel) and Millennium Force which both opened the same year as SoB, both of which are still absolutely loved today. So I believe he could've done a great job on designing a proper wooden hyper coaster. 

 

He even did Colossos the next year at Heide Park which is 197 feet tall and is still considered a great coaster. Seriously, if only Intamin was the manufacturer we'd probably still have a great, airtime packed, wooden hyper coaster.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

RCCA built The Rattler at Fiesta Texas, and helped design Great American Scream Machine at Six Flags Over Georgia. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Ohio Department of Agriculture had said that the work that was done trying to fix the ride didn't take into account what effects it would have on other parts of the ride. This is what I recall caused the 2006 incident. So if they knew what they was doing they did that intentionally.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Which part collapsed? When was this? How far along was this is the construction process?

 The top of the lift hill to the first drop is what collapse IIRC.

 

The most amazing thing about Son of Beast to me, was that the lift hill provided absolutely no air, no drop in your gut.  It really was a forceless ride.  Not to mention how brutal it was.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder if RMC was ever approached about converting "fixing" Son of Beast.. the New Texas Giant, opened a year before SOB's removal.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder if RMC was ever approached about converting "fixing" Son of Beast.. the New Texas Giant, opened a year before SOB's removal.

Doubtful, Son of Beast had structural issues not just being rough or uncomfortable

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sure RMC was considered but I ultimately think it was better for Cedar Fair to just nix the ride all together. RMC wasn't as well known or as reputable as it is now. The ride already had a bad reputation and caused significant pain to guests. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I enjoyed Son of Beast. I rode it with and without the loop. Typically, if you come back to the station with no riders in line, you can ask for a re-ride. I tried this a few times on SOB and was never allowed a re-ride. Ryan's post pretty much sums up everything there is to know about Son of Beast. I just wish they would remove the station if there are no plans for that area.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rode it in all of its forms.  The loop was the most glorious thing on any roller coaster I have been on.  Outside of that it was a fairly boring roller coaster with two large helix's that like to take you to the brink of your death. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I rode Son of Beast when it had the loop, after the loop was removed I didn't ride it as much, but yes even I have to say that Son of Beast was a pretty rough coaster.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Who had a chance to ride SOB before it closed?

I Did

Did you like it?

Yes

Did you ride it with or without the loop?

Yes

Would you have ridden it again if it had reopened?

At least once

Thoughts?

Epic Coaster and Great Thread

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I liked the idea of Son of Beast, but I really didn't like much of the ride itself. If you enjoyed it, I'm happy for you. Two of my friends absolutely loved the thing. I don't really get it, but different strokes for different folks! :)
 
I rode it many times in 2008 and a few times in 2009. I never rode it with the loop. In terms of the ride experience, everything from the station through the big drop after the lift* was alright. Fun, even. I think I'm plagiarizing a post from bkroz from a long time ago when I say that the immense speed of it felt "wrong," but in a really fun way. As you plunged down the HUGE drop, you'd pick up speed in a way that just didn't feel "proper" for a wooden coaster--and that's just because there was nothing like it. It was generally smooth, but the little jostles you'd get at that tremendous speed just made it feel powerful in a way that's kinda hard to describe. It's just my imagination, but there was something unintentionally theatrical and dramatic about that that I really haven't ever found in another ride. There really wasn't airtime on the first drop--at least not with the Gerstlauer trains, anyway--but I don't really fault it for that. Beast doesn't really have any, either, so I didn't mind its "sequel" not having any. The feeling of speed on the first drop wasn't unlike what people appreciate about Millennium Force, except with wood.
 
(* I say "big drop after the lift" because technically the first drop was the one right out of the station. The turnaround after the lift was a small drop, so I can't just say "the drop after the lift" because technically it was the second drop after the lift. Back in the day, people around here used to give people who'd talk about Son of Beast's "first drop" a hard time because of that. I'm sure some wiseguy around here might bring it up, so I'm just being careful! :P )
 
Unfortunately, that's about where my enjoyment of SoB ended. When I watch POVs of it online, I can literally remember the way the jostling felt on that subsequent fan turn--the whole train would rock back and forth, and you could feel the guide wheels finding the left rail, then the right rail, then the left rail, and so on with side-to-side jerks. You'd make it over that hill and shimmy your way down into the most rattling series of turns I've ever experienced. The only two rides I've been on that have ever come close to that amount of shaking were Gwazi and Boardwalk Bullet, but those still aren't/weren't quite the same. On Gwazi and BB, the jackhammering was brief because of the briefness of the turns; on Son of Beast, you'd spend multiple seconds shuddering your way through the bottoms of the helices. It literally made my chest ache for a bit after getting off. You'd have a brief moment of peace when you pulled onto the MCBR--before the brakes caught you and brought you down to a near stop, anyway. Then it was down, over the jolting hop where the loop was, up into more shaking in the second double helix and around that last turn. You'd hop back up to the final brakes, where, without fail, I'd always hear:
 
CHK-CHK-CHK-CHK-CHK-chk-chk-OOF!
 
The "OOF," of course, coming from the riders who just went from 40 miles per hour to 0 in 2 seconds. Honestly, I think the sounds of that ride are what I'll remember most--especially the LOUD lift and the chk-chk-chk-oof of the final brakes.

 

All that being said, there are two ways I have to compliment Son of Beast:

 

1. I did have one memorably good ride on it. It was a pretty damp night during the summer of 2008, and there was a light mist coming down. I want to say I rode in the last car? I can't remember at this point. Regardless, the ride was absolutely flying, and the roughness really wasn't that noticeable. It was sincerely fun from start to finish (chk-chk-chk-oofs notwithstanding.)

 

2. The idea of Beast having a "sequel" or "son" is just a cool idea, and it's definitely symptomatic of Paramount's way of doing things at the time. The period in which Action Zone, Son of Beast, and Tomb Raider: The Ride came to be, in my opinion, is probably the "golden era" of the Paramount years. (At the very least, those are the years that I remember the most and started forming memories of the park, and I do get nostalgic for them.) It was the time for big budgets, big movie themes, big media days, and big risks that may or may not have worked out. It makes sense that a movie studio would make a sequel out of their star ride. There's something kinda magical about that to me. I'm sure there are people here who cringe at how much the park changed around that time. Like I said, different strokes!

 

It's just a shame that a lot of the rides and experiences from that era mostly didn't work out. TR:TR, SoB, and Italian Job (in its original form) weren't sustainable; Action Zone's plans for guests to get caught in the middle of a movie suffered from very poor timing and were quietly cancelled; and the park changed hands and shifted into "cheap and cheerful" expansions until Cedar Fair finally purchased Paramount Parks. It's fun sometimes to think about what could have been if those things had worked out--what if one of the other manufacturers who placed a bid for Son of Beast (like CCI) had gotten the job; what if Tomb Raider had a big enough impact to it to be kept up with... It's been said around here before that Tomb Raider was a test for Paramount to see if they wanted to drop that kind of money into more rides. (Or something to that effect?) If those had worked out, would we be talking about Cedar Fair's ownership today? Would we have gotten Diamondback, a different B&M invert somewhere else, or Mystic Timbers? Would Kings Island look more like Cedar Point or Universal? I'm sure there are thousands of ways to think about it. It's just fun to wonder sometimes.

 

One last thing: if Kings Island ever decides to use the area currently occupied by Son of Beast's station and queue for something else, I really hope they'll reconsider the flow of that area. It was a little awkward when Son of Beast was open, and it's almost just as awkward now. When Son of Beast was open and when Wolf Pack is open, you've got two "on" ramps towards rides and two "off" ramps converging in the same area. It's really not intuitive, and the extended queue formerly for Son of Beast seems very out-of-the-way and afterthought-y. The signage during Haunt helps, but it's still weird. I know it's complicated because that service road runs overhead and ADA-compliant paths have to fit in somewhere, but wowee. There's gotta be some way of simplifying that area down. It's not quite as awkward as that point at Holiday World where the path to Thunderbird meets the former path to Pilgrim's Plunge and the current path to Hyena Falls, but it's close.

 

EDIT: I forgot to answer one of the questions: if Son of Beast reopened somehow, of course I'd ride it. Who wouldn't? Even if you hated it, you know you'd try it again after this many years to see if you still disliked it.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Did you ride SOB before it closed?

- Yes

Did you like it?

- Yes. Much more earlier on, and then a bit less after a few years.

Did you ride it with or without the loop?

- Both. Without the loop just wasn't the same.

Would you have ridden it again if it had reopened?

- Probably at least once. But it was pretty brutal the last couple of times I rode, so maybe not too often.

Thoughts?

- Banshee is better.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not me...

 

Every past ride has its moments of me missing it: King Cobra, Nick Slime Zone, Flight Commander... I've never had a moment when I was like, "I could really go for a Son of Beast ride right now."

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...