Thursday, April 17, 2014

Banshee Media Preview and Ride Review

King's Island- Banshee Media Day Ride Review.

When we were invited to join the press for King's Island's newest roller coaster, Banshee, it was easy to say our excitement level went into orbit. We've been following this newest addition closely from it's announcement, through construction and initial testing. Our expectations were high and our hopes were higher yet for this new ride.

What we found lurking upon the grave of "The Son of Beast" was an amazing piece of steel and engineering. Imagine the perfect coaster storm, everything you could wish for on a ride and then have those dreams manifest in front of you. That is what we found...

Trip Date: April 17th, 2014
Ride Rating: 10 of 10
Opinion: Everything you could wish for and more!
Recommend Wait Time: Just wait, trust me on this one.  
Crew: Carrie, Kitsune, Alex and Special Guest: Abra

Photo Report
POV Footage and Youtube Videos

Banshee Specifications
Length: 4,124.1 feet
Height: 167 feet
Drop: 150 feet
Inversions: 7
Ride Length: 2:30
Speed: 68 MPH
Number of Trains: 3
Cost: $24 Million

When I said our expectations were high? I really do mean they were sent into orbit starting from the press conference that announced the ride last August. While sad to see the removal of 'Son of Beast', excitement brewed for a new roller coaster.  This inverted style isn't commonly built much anymore, the end of their popularity seemed to dry up around 2008 or so.

However, we LOVE them. To see a new steel monster which promised to be a world record holder going up? This is pretty much our version of a highly addictive drug! Eyes get wide, the grinning and giggling begins and happy dancing is involved. However, we were also cautious. Sometimes hyping something up in your mind lets you in for a let down.

So, after a 5 hour car ride and barely a 2 hour nap, we showed up in the frigid morning air at 5:30am to King's Island. Pointed to a side gate, we where given our passes, but then came some goodies! Media Day T-shirts, special coupons for on-ride photos and a nifty cut glass 'Banshee' logo.

Holy Cow! We hadn't even made it to the door yet and the red carpet was out. While in the very early hours some confusion of where to go and who to talk to happened, things quickly got sorted out. The fog was just rolling through the area, clinging low to the ground and giving this screaming beast of darkness a magical feel. The fog combined with the amazing lighting package made us all stop and stare- it was eerie and beautiful.

Enough of this 'waxing poetic' business (I'll get back to it later, don't worry) we needed to RIDE THIS THING- NOW!

Jumping in line, we where directed into the coasters 'fast lane' line. Happily surprised we had to stop and gawk, it was themed! Not just a little bit either- Fire, Fog, Tombstones, Gravel, Black 'wrought iron' fencing, Lighting, Ride Building- They went all out with this and covered the details often forgotten with coasters these days.

After that we forced ourselves forward, we wanted it badly. Climbing the stairs we headed towards the station, grinning like the bunch of lunatics we are and bundled up to our eyeballs. Freezing or not, the Banshee called to us.

Bloody Siren and her Screams!

Within five minutes we leaped into the queue for the back row, cold be damned! Boarding the train we found the newest B&M harnesses, which are a massive improvement on Inverted style coasters- they eliminate the element of "head banging" completely as you lack anything to smack your head into except your headrest.

Into the darkness of night we rode forth, half frozen and cheering with joy. The quiet non-chain lift hauled us upwards with notes of music drifting to us - Suddenly, the wicked lady of the night screams and your plunged into darkness before you can even fully comprehend you've reached the end of the lift hill! There is no "slight dip then a drop" on this ride, your thrown over the cliff without mercy.

Thank You. Just, Thank You.

We knew the elements involved with this ride but in the darkness of predawn combined with the speed and the amazing lighting, your brain was so flooded with adrenaline nothing completed focused.  Blinding speed which only intensifies with this coaster lacking the mid-course break run, you really do fly.  Pick a direction, you're probably going there or just coming out of it. While a true coaster fan won't take long to memorize it, that first run in the dark left you with the type of thrills you won't soon forget. Between the new "Pretzel Knot" element and the old favorites, this ride sucks up over 13 acres and uses every inch it was given to throw your world into chaos.

One unique feature of this inverted coaster is right in the station, no moving floor. You take a leap of faith into your seat and buckle down. Not having to wait for a moving floor or slow gate, the process time is cut in half. The crew working the Media Day Preview already knew what they where doing, they had it down to a fast oiled science.

We. Loved. It.

If possible we'd all probably have it's evil coaster babies. We'd build one in our backyards and glow with pride just to look at it.

This ride does everything right. Within moments of exiting, we were addicted. We needed this coaster to survive, it shot up into all our "Top 3 Roller Coaster" lists the moment we put our feet back on the ground. This is the coaster dream we'd always wished for, the thrill ride of our dreams and it was REAL!  Sweet Sugar, Mother of Cookies! The Coaster Overlords blessed us when this ride was built.

Yes, I'm waxing poetic. Because it's worth it. It's amazing in every sense of the word and went beyond our expectations, it surpassed them and spoiled us all in one ride.

Within a few hours we'd ridden it ten times. It wasn't enough, we doubt it will ever be enough. King's Island has struck gold with this ride and we can do nothing but offer them our most heart-felt thanks for it.  Anyone who considers themselves a coaster fan or simply a fan of thrills, or speed, needs to ride this, if it can jump into our "Top 3" spot after the first ride...

However, King's Island did something even smarter with this ride. Something that will please the fans and honor the ride which gave it's very soul for the Banshee to live.

Burning amongst the Irish themed tombstones you'll find a monument to the legacy of "Son of Beast". Flame alight, it sits there for fans to know and recognize. To show that King's Island understands the anger which happened at it's removal. On a plaque sits the dates of it's opening and demise, that alone shows some care and consideration. They know our anger and they understand it.

We're not just saying this either, we were honestly highly impressed. If you don't know anything about us, you can't "buy" our reviews for anything - we just don't work like that. To get a review this amazing from us, the coaster really is just that good.

That excellent. It's worth the time, effort, and money involved to ride it. Perhaps it's not everyone's 'cup of tea' but it surely is our's. Ride it and judge it for yourselves, I highly doubt you'll find disapointment here.

King's Island didn't skimp on the themed goodies for purchase either. Not counting ride photos they've got plenty! Unlike some parks, Banshee is fully represented in the shops with a good array of choices.  Not just a limited few like some other rides out there. There's at least a dozen choices of T-shirts alone that are up for grabs with even more choices when it comes to things like glasswear, hats, key-chains and other assorted coaster type goodies.

Stay tuned for our POV ride video, once it's uploaded we'll be linking to it here and other places as well!

It was our pleasure to ride and review Banshee. We fully expect to return again during the 2014 season to log more ride time on this magnificent coaster, we'll find the time and make the effort. It's simply worth it.

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