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hotrodyoda

Remembering King Cobra

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KC WAS a classic; an amazing stand up.  Fantastic airtime, great intensity, and tons of "holy sh!t" moments.  It was a much better ride than Delirium & SlingShot combined.  But, sadly, "end of service life....."

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19 minutes ago, hotrodyoda said:

KC WAS a classic; an amazing stand up.  Fantastic airtime, great intensity, and tons of "holy sh!t" moments.  It was a much better ride than Delirium & SlingShot combined.  But, sadly, "end of service life....."

When speaking with Jeff Gramke years ago, according to him around 2000 the ability to test metal fatigue accurately was just coming around and the metal on King Cobra was terrible to begin with so it had reached a point where it couldn't really withstand running year round anymore. Hence why the other two togo's lasted so much longer. The park wanted to get more years out of it, it just wasn't feasible and was somewhat a shock at how far gone it was. 

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11 minutes ago, Bdd127 said:

When speaking with Jeff Gramke years ago, according to him around 2000 the ability to test metal fatigue accurately was just coming around and the metal on King Cobra was terrible to begin with so it had reached a point where it couldn't really withstand running year round anymore. Hence why the other two togo's lasted so much longer. The park wanted to get more years out of it, it just wasn't feasible and was somewhat a shock at how far gone it was. 

Interesting.  It was always my understanding that the park tried to sell the ride, even after CF bought the parks.  

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13 minutes ago, BeeastFarmer said:

Interesting.  It was always my understanding that the park tried to sell the ride, even after CF bought the parks.  

I can confirm that what @Bdd127 said is accurate—Jeff Gramke told me almost the exact same thing. There is an interesting tidbit about trying to sell it that I’m saving for my book.

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Not that I'm being accused of this, but want to be clear: I wasn't ridiculing KI for making the decision to remove the King Cobra.  It was the right call.  But I'm still sad it's no longer there.

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56 minutes ago, hotrodyoda said:

KC...It was a much better ride than Delirium & SlingShot combined.  But, sadly, "end of service life....."

“End of service life”...reminds me of a classic Twilight Zone episode “The Obsolete Man”...maybe that’s the term a doctor should use instead of dying...I’m sorry to have to tell you Mr. Jones, but you’re at the end of your service life”. :rolleyes:

7 minutes ago, KIghostguy said:

There is an interesting tidbit about trying to sell it that I’m saving for my book.

He’s such a “coaster tease”. (I know, groan.)

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1 hour ago, KIghostguy said:

I can confirm that what @Bdd127 said is accurate—Jeff Gramke told me almost the exact same thing. There is an interesting tidbit about trying to sell it that I’m saving for my book.

I imagine it kinda like an old car, it might be crappy and not worth much, but they want to recoup their loses. Still it does seem a bit odd that they wouldn't just scrap a ride that was clearly past its expiration. 

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20 hours ago, flightoffear1996 said:

One day soon Vortex will be nothing but a memory. Soon a new ride shall be erected in its place and Vortex will mostly be forgotten. Kind of like King Cobra. 

King Cobra may be gone, but I will NEVER forget it.  I wish it was still around for my kids to ride  :(

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I have pictures on my computer for my background of KC. It was my first stand up coaster.

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For posterity - King Cobras removal...

img536 SOI.jpg

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6 minutes ago, Shaggy said:

For posterity - King Cobras removal...

Such a great photograph. Any chance you have more to share? Specifically, any shots of queue line? I completely blank on what that was like

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Also, on the subject of King Cobra pictures, I found this web site a few years ago and bookmarked it because it because the guy has some nice pictures from the years 2000 & 2001 at Kings Island. Now-defunct rides included in these images include King Cobra, Son of Beast, Vortex (with horrible paint in 2000 and half-painted in 2001: this was a interesting time for the ride, at least in terms of how it looked), and Kenton's Cove Keelboat Canal. The OG Antique Cars and Flying Eagles are not included directly but can be seen in some of the shots focusing on other rides. And while not a ride, there are also some good shots of International Street with the OG Pedestals still in place. 2001 has more photos than 2000 does though.

2000

http://www.casabrian.com/parks/pki2000.html

2001 (Includes KCKC Demolished pics as TR:TR was about to be built, and half-painted Vortex)

http://www.casabrian.com/parks/pki2001.html

I also found this video on Youtube, it is by PsycloneSteve and posted in 2014 and it has some great footage of King Cobra in action.

 

 

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43 minutes ago, Gordon Bombay said:

Such a great photograph. Any chance you have more to share? Specifically, any shots of queue line? I completely blank on what that was like

Here's the King Cobra segment of the old Coastermania VHS. It sort of shows the station/queue line.

 

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1 hour ago, Gordon Bombay said:

Such a great photograph. Any chance you have more to share? Specifically, any shots of queue line? I completely blank on what that was like

Looking thought the KIC archives, this is the best picture we have of seeing the station.

 

KingKobra_wide.jpg

Entrance Sign and you can see the station.

Mar08_23.jpg

Someone in the queue taking a photo of KC.

 

KingKobra_LastArea.jpg

 

Here is the rest of the photos of KC on KIC. https://kicentral.com/history/photos/thumbnails.php?album=1

@malem and I are working on a new galleries page we hope to launch soon.

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For the record- I never did get to ride King Cobra- when I visited Kings Island for the first time in 2000 (not sure what day or even month, I think it was August but not sure) I was scared of roller coasters, especially ones that go upside down. But I VIVIDLY remember standing on the midway near what is now Sling Shot and watching King Cobra go over its turn, down the first drop, and into what seemed live a massive loop to a 10-year-old me, with the even more massive Son of Beast looming behind it with a even bigger loop (which I could only spot from the Eiffel Tower)!

I would not return to Kings Island until 2009, but by then, King Cobra was scrap metal. And Son of Beast went SBNO about a month later (and I never got to ride that either because on my 1 trip in 2009 it was open, it broke down. I saw it do a few test runs afterward but it never re-opened).

Also on Shaggy's pic: that looks more like CONSTRUCTION than destruction, but you can tell it was the demolition because Son of Beast (opened 16 years after King Cobra) is standing in the background. They really were just taking the coaster apart to possibly sell it, rather than just rip it down for scrap. Awesome picture BTW.

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1 hour ago, Shaggy said:

For posterity - King Cobras removal...

img536 SOI.jpg

That was taken in February of 2002, I remember the day they removed the roof from the station, they were being careful with everything during removal hoping to sell the ride

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Actually, probably mid to late January.  It was taken by yours truly on a visit to KI before heading to No Coaster Con in Chicago.  :-)

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Growing up, King Cobra was always that one coaster that, when I finally rode it, meant that there would be nothing I was too afraid to ride. It was the most intimidating ride for me at KI when I was young ('80s and early '90s) even if it wasn't the tallest. I just remember thinking "no way am I going on something that stands me up and loops me upside down." 

I finally tried it in the early '90s and the funny thing is, I remember thinking it was fairly tame. Never really had a scary ride; it was just a lot of fun. Vortex and The Beast were the tougher rides for me. 

But that's not to undersell KC because, as I said, it was a fun ride. I remember it not being the loop so much that put a smile on my face but the bunny hills, which had some fun airtime. The helix at the end was a lot of fun, too. I was really bummed when I took a few years off going to Kings Island (Cedar Point was our home park and after I graduated high school there were several years I couldn't make it on our family trips due to work/college) and then came back to find King Cobra was gone (this was before the days when we had a website like this to keep us posted. I have fond memories of it. I had one aunt who was the only other person in our family who would ride it with me. She passed away a little over a year ago, and my happiest memories of her were riding the King Cobra. 

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I might be in the minority but my favorite part was the bunny hills . . they were just fun.  But I remember the announcements and the first day of operation being on the radio.

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45 minutes ago, Shaggy said:

Actually, probably mid to late January.  It was taken by yours truly on a visit to KI before heading to No Coaster Con in Chicago.  :-)

You’re probably right but that was 18 years ago, I just remember removing all the ride control equipment in early February and the roof was still there... 

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Unfortunately I never got to ride King Cobra considering I was 4 when it closed, but I will say I grew up riding Shockwave at Kings Dominion and I went into it knowing the bad reputation the Togo stand ups had and came off pleasantly surprised. The airtime was awesome. Like standing airtime? It was so fun and I'd take the little Togo stand ups to the B&M's any day. I truly miss them. They weren't perfect by any means, but they were unique. 

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1 hour ago, pkiridesmaint said:

That was taken in February of 2002, I remember the day they removed the roof from the station, they were being careful with everything during removal hoping to sell the ride

It's sad that they never found a buyer. However, its legacy does live on with Freestyle (SkyRider) in Italy. It's a perfect clone of King Cobra. I do have to wonder how they keep a TOGO coaster that old running though.

 

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2 minutes ago, CorkscrewMcPuke said:

It's sad that they never found a buyer. However, its legacy does live on with Freestyle (SkyRider) in Italy. It's a perfect clone of King Cobra. I do have to wonder how they keep a TOGO coaster that old running though.

 

Gotta say if they set of fireworks and streamers just for riding the dang ride THAT IS MONEY WELL SPENT!!!!!

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1 minute ago, Klabergian Empire said:

Gotta say if they set of fireworks and streamers just for riding the dang ride THAT IS MONEY WELL SPENT!!!!!

If I'm not mistaken, it's the park's crowning jewel as of now. It's a perfect ride for a small local park like that.

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I got to ride all 3 Togo standup coasters in the Paramount Parks.  Skyrider and King Cobra seemed to be the best of the 3. I liked Shockwave just didn’t have a good ride.

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1 hour ago, CorkscrewMcPuke said:

It's sad that they never found a buyer. However, its legacy does live on with Freestyle (SkyRider) in Italy. It's a perfect clone of King Cobra. I do have to wonder how they keep a TOGO coaster that old running though.

 

There is a company in California that refurbishes coaster wheels including a lot for Kings Island... other than that the park has to make custom parts... uremet.com

 

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I never got to ride King Cobra for because I was not tall enough (I was only ten when it was removed) and I was scared of coasters during that time. It's one I wish I could have ridden. It was my mom's favorite ride at Kings Island and I bought her a King Cobra shirt for her birthday a few years ago.

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For those of us too young to even remember KC (I was born in 2000), what was the whole experience like? How would you compare a TOGO stand-up to a B&M? Was KC smooth? Also, I'm not quite sure where the entrance was. Was it right where Delirium's entrance is now? From early trip reports on Coasterbuzz I've seen that the lines for KC even during it's last few years were quite long. Was it actually popular or more a result of capacity issues?

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk

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23 minutes ago, tuxedoman52 said:

For those of us too young to even remember KC (I was born in 2000), what was the whole experience like? How would you compare a TOGO stand-up to a B&M? Was KC smooth? Also, I'm not quite sure where the entrance was. Was it right where Delirium's entrance is now? From early trip reports on Coasterbuzz I've seen that the lines for KC even during it's last few years were quite long. Was it actually popular or more a result of capacity issues?

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
 

Speaking in terms of Shockwave, since I didn't get to ride KC. The ride was completely different from a B&M. First off there was actual sustained airtime which is really weird to experience on a stand up, but it was so fun. Especially in the back row. Don't get me wrong the ride was a bit rough, but it was fun and the what I'd want in a stand up. It wasn't to forceful to hurt your legs like the B&M's. It was the perfect length for a stand up. Provided a good mixture of positive and negative g-force and was a unique experience. Again I can't speak for cobra, but Shockwave seemed to have pretty short lines at the end of its life. It still seemed reliable though 

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The lines were capacity issues for sure.  There were 2 restraints- 2 that were on the side that acted like a OTSR and then one at your waist and there was a bicycle seat.   The entire seat also adjusted up and down to accommodate a height variations.  I don't recall if it had an actual height restriction on the high side like Drop Tower and Delirium do (as in, riders being too tall to ride). 

The ride itself was almost like riding a slightly smoother Arrow coaster standing up.  The transitions were a tad smoother, but also pretty abrupt at spots, particularly cresting any of the hills after the first drop and the trick track section.  The banking in the helix was pretty high, too.   It did have some jerkiness to it as well.  There are only 4 stand up coasters on my resume- King Cobra, KD's former Shockwave, Mantis, and Green Lantern at SFGAdv.  I will say that Shockwave and KC didn't turn my legs to Jell-O like Mantis did, though GL does have smoother transitions than even Mantis (especially after their respective MCBR's) had and GL is currently my favorite stand up.  KC was pretty good in the front seat, though.   That was one thing I'm glad I did before they removed it. 

The queue started about where the ice cream stand is in AZ.  You went under the drop after the helix, under the lift, entered a switchback area with wood work similar to Beast's lower switchbacks between the brake run and station, then took stairs up to the station.  The drive box was over the track (as it was on Shockwave).  The exit took you through some sort of shop IIRC.  

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