Manufacturer: Togo Inc.
Model: Stand-Up Coaster
Length: 2,000 feet
Cost: $3 million
Vehicles: Six car trains with four guests per car. At some point(s), the ride operated with five car trains.
Description: King Cobra was a stand-up roller coaster. Riders would navigate a vertical loop and a series of banked turns while in a standing position.
History: King Cobra was the first roller coaster in the United States manufactured by Japanese firm Togo, Inc. The ride was built in its entirety at the company’s Tokyo, Japan plant before being disassembled and relocated to Kings Island. The ride model was marketed as an Astro-Comet by the company.
The ride’s name and logo were first announced in January 1984 at an American Coaster Enthusiast convention in Chicago, Illinois. The snake theme fit the Adventure Village area, as it was home to a collection of live animals.
Although marketed as the world’s first stand-up looping roller coaster, that claim is debatable. The year prior (1983), Missouri park Worlds of Fun installed stand-up trains on their pre-existing looping roller coaster, Screamroller. The ride was renamed EXT, or Extremeroller. Similar conversions had also been performed on other Togo attractions overseas. Kings Island’s ride was the first roller coaster manufactured from the ground-up with the intent of being a stand-up roller coaster, however.
King Cobra malfunctioned during August of its first year. A wheel assembly broke off the last car of the train, allowing the car’s frame to rub against the track and slow it to a stop. This placed riders parallel to the ground, seven feet up. An analysis by three independent laboratories later determined that the wheel assembly fell off because the spindle had failed to hold it in place.
Another incident occurred in July 1990 when an 18-year-old park employee was seriously injured by the ride. The employee was struck by a wheel housing of a passing car while standing adjacent to the track, where he had been looking for a guest’s lost article.
King Cobra received a spiffy new paint job in 1999. It retained its green color, but now with alternating yellow and green rails to better match its snake theme. Later that year, a death on a similar roller coaster at Paramount’s Kings Dominion in Richmond, Virginia resulted in the temporary closure of Kings Island’s ride, pending investigation.
King Cobra’s last year at Kings Island was 2000. By opening day 2001, the majority of the ride had been removed. The ride was listed for sale for $1.1 million on used rides websites like italintl.com and usedrides.com, but the attraction was never purchased. The track remained in storage at the park before being scrapped in late 2006. The trains remained longer before being shipped to sister park Kings Dominion for use on their similar coaster in 2008. Before being relocated, the trains were stored in Flight of Fear’s building and a couple were used as FearFest props in 2006.
Delirium opened in 2003 on land formerly occupied by King Cobra. Many of the old roller coaster’s footings remained, including some tall ones on the maintenance road near Adventure Express. Most of the remaining footings were removed with Banshee’s addition in 2014, but the foundations for the turn-around at the top of the lift remain. They are next to Adventure Express and now overgrown by foliage.