Top 10 retired Kings Island rides we miss the most on National Roller Coaster Day

Some retired rides at King's Island include the Son of Beast, The Bat, and King Cobra.
Some retired rides at King's Island include the Son of Beast, The Bat, and King Cobra.
Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 12:05 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER) -Amusement parks play an endless game of one-upmanship, always searching for the tallest and fastest new thrills. However, for every Orion (which opened in 2020), places like Kings Island lose a Vortex, according to our media partners at the Cincinnati Enquirer. And some of those retired rides are still fondly remembered.

To celebrate National Roller Coaster Day Tuesday, Aug. 16, here are 10 popular Kings Island attractions that are sorely missed.

Screamin’ Demon

Opened: 1977

Closed: 1987

Location: Wild Animal Safari (now Action Zone)

What’s there now: Congo Falls

Also known as just The Demon, this was Kings Island’s first looping roller coaster, a then-new feature in tubular-rail coasters. Riders took a 50-foot drop into a loop and up a 50-foot incline, came to a dead stop, then returned on the track backward. As the park’s first “scary” coaster, it led the way to more thrill rides in the years to come.

After 10 years, the ride was relocated to Camden Park in West Virginia, where it was called Thunderbolt Express, and closed in 1999.

The Bat

Opened: 1981

Closed: 1983

Location: Coney Mall

What’s there now: nothing

There have been two rides at Kings Island called The Bat. The original, built by Arrow Development, was the first suspended roller coaster in the world in nearly a century. The cars hung from the track and swung with each curve. It had an extremely short lifespan – just three seasons – because mechanical difficulties attributed to design flaws led to frequent closures and an overhaul was too expensive. The Bat was replaced by Vortex.

Top Gun, another suspended coaster, debuted in 1993 and was renamed Flight Deck and finally, in 2014, The Bat to honor its predecessor.

King Cobra

Opened: 1984

Closed: 2001

Location: Adventure Village/Action Zone

What’s there now: Delirium

King Cobra was America’s first stand-up roller coaster (there were two in Japan that had been converted from standard coasters). After climbing a 95-foot hill, the stand-up trains dropped and immediately went into a loop, then a double-helix coil – like its namesake – that made riders stand nearly sideways.

King Cobra closed in 2001 after the manufacturer, TOGO, a Japanese company, went out of business and parts were difficult to locate.

Son of the Beast from Wiki Commons
Son of the Beast from Wiki Commons

Son of Beast

Opened: 2000

Closed: 2009

Location: Action Zone

What’s there now: Banshee

Touted as an offspring to the park’s world-famous coaster The Beast, Son of Beast had a difficult delivery. The tallest, fastest wooden roller coaster in the world, and the only one with a loop, opened late in 2000 and was beset by maintenance and fine-tuning issues its first season, resulting in Kings Island suing the ride designer. It was an extremely popular, but rough ride.

In 2006, a support beam cracked, causing the track to drop, which sent 27 people to the hospital. Cedar Fair, which purchased the park that year, spent millions of dollars to remove the celebrated 118-foot loop. But then another rider complained of a brain injury in 2009, and Kings Island settled with a rider from the 2006 incident after losing a court judgment. The ride closed, then was torn down in 2012.

Kings Island/Twitter
Kings Island/Twitter(WKYT)


Opened: 2007

Closed: 2018

Location: Coney Mall

What’s there now: Orion

Cedar Fair brought Firehawk over from Worlds of Adventure in Aurora, Ohio, where the coaster began as X-Flight in 2001. Located near Flight of Fear, this was the first “flying” coaster at the park. The seats tilted back into a lying position, and after going up a 115-foot lift, the train flipped so the riders were under the track, facing the ground, where they could experience the feeling of flight. After 12 years, Firehawk closed to make way for Orion.


Opened: 1987

Closed: 2019

Location: Coney Mall

What’s there now: nothing

The heartache is still fresh for this one. Vortex closed after 33 seasons due to it simply reaching “the end of its service life.” The record-setting steel coaster arrived in 1987 as the tallest coaster (148 feet) with the most inversions at the time – turning upside down six times in 2½ minutes. After a 138-foot drop, the track had a dizzying combo of two vertical loops, a 200-foot corkscrew, a boomerang turn (something like a bow-tie shape) and a 360-degree helix, churning the stomachs of 46 million riders.

Enchanted Voyage

Opened: 1972

Closed: 1991

Location: Happy Land of Hanna-Barbera

What’s there now: Boo Blasters on Boo Hill

Taft Broadcasting Co. built Kings Island in part to promote their Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters, like Scooby-Doo, Yogi Bear and Fred Flintstone, who were plastered all over the original kids’ area, the Happy Land of Hanna-Barbera.

The signature ride was the Enchanted Voyage. Much like Disneyland’s It’s a Small World, this was a gentle boat ride where guests of all ages floated into a gigantic television to meet a gaggle of animatronic Hanna-Barbera characters – “those happy friends who live in my TV,” as the catchy song said – like, um, Gulliver and Squiddly Diddly. At least the building was air-conditioned. In 1984, the diminutive blue Smurfs took over as Smurfs’ Enchanted Voyage. The boats were scrapped in 1991, and the building was refigured as the haunted Phantom Theater.

Days of Thunder (Action FX Theater)

Opened: 1994

Closed: 2013

Location: Coney Mall

What’s there now: nothing

Action FX Theater, located at the far end of the Racer, opened with Days of Thunder, a motion-simulation ride based on the 1990 Tom Cruise NASCAR racing film. It put riders in the driver’s seat of a 180-mph race car without actually going anywhere. The theaters (there were two) had enormous 26-by-59-foot screens that showed a frenetic Daytona 500 race up close. Each seat sat atop a motion base fitted with hydraulic cylinders that shook and pitched the seat to match the computer-synchronized video and audio.

Days of Thunder ran only until 1997 and was replaced by James Bond, SpongeBob and other shows until the theater closed in 2013.

Tomb Raider, 2001: Paramount King's Island unveiled a 42-foot by 28-foot display in July 2001...
Tomb Raider, 2001: Paramount King's Island unveiled a 42-foot by 28-foot display in July 2001 for the new attraction based on the movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.(Cincinnati Enquirer)

Tomb Raider: The Ride

Opened: 2002

Closed: 2011

Location: Rivertown

What’s there now: Madame Fatale’s Cavern of Terror

Tomb Raider, based on the movie based on the video games of Lara Croft, the adventurous archaeologist, replaced Kenton’s Cove Keelboat Canal. It was more heavily themed than most Kings Island rides. Visitors walked through a Cambodian tomb with details and effects worthy of a Disney attraction, then passed into a massive chamber where, after storing loose belongings in a locker, they boarded a top-spin ride where rows of seats were lifted by two arms that would spin and swing them to a set program. Riders were shot 80 feet in the air to face the angry god Shiva, then swung close to stalactites and dangled upside-down over lava pits for what seemed an eternity.

After Paramount sold the park to Cedar Fair in 2006, the movie theming disappeared and the ride was renamed The Crypt with most of its impressive details stripped away. The ride closed in 2011, but the building is still used for a seasonal Halloween Haunt maze attraction.


Opened: 1972

Closed: 1979

Location: From Oktoberfest to Happy Land of Hanna-Barbera

What’s there now: Adventure Express

Built in 1965 for old Coney Island, Skyride was brought over to Kings Island when it opened. The cable car gondola ferried passengers across the park and over the International Street fountain, providing spectacular photo opportunities. On April 24, 1977, Skyride malfunctioned when a sudden gust of wind pulled a cable off a guide wheel, stranding 45 people 95 feet above the park. It took nearly eight hours for fire department crews on aerial ladders to rescue all the passengers. Skyride was quietly dismantled in 1979, but one of the stations remains as a gift shop in Planet Snoopy.

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