Banshee brings haunting screams to Kings Island

MASON -- Her shrill shriek is echoing throughout Kings Island.

Banshee has come to life.

The park was filled with fog as members of the media and roller coaster fan clubs were given the first opportunity to ride the new Cincinnati-area roller coaster Thursday -- one day before the park opens to the general public.

At 4,124 feet, Banshee screams to a new record as the world's longest inverted roller coaster. An inverted coaster (like Raptor at Cedar Point) is one where the riders are suspended below the track with their feet dangling freely.

Banshee, which is the first roller coaster ever inspired by a female character, slices through the sky with seven inversions at speeds up to 68 mph throughout its 160-second journey.

Themed to a wailing mythological messenger from the underworld with flowing white hair and gleaming eyes, Banshee features loads of pulse-pounding elements that will make coaster fans drool.

After plunging down 150 feet, riders go through a dive loop, followed by a vertical loop, zero gravity roller, two batwing inversions, a second vertical loop and a 170-foot long heartline finale. Two of the most unique features about Banshee are the massive size of every loop, and unlike other roller coasters, the top speed isn't reached until halfway through the ride's course.

PHOTOS | Banshee coaster at Kings Island -

Since Banshee's lift hill is on a higher elevation of terrain than the other side of the ride that goes down into a valley, the total elevation change is 208 feet from the highest point at the top of the lift hill to the lowest point, which is the bottom of the batwing between loops four and five.

Textured lighting and other effects bring the Banshee legend to reality, creating the ultimate night ride experience.

The queue line features new TV monitors and creepy extras like a twisted cemetery, to set the eerie tone before brave riders take their seats on Banshee.

Passengers are seated in cars four across. A total of three trains, each containing eight cars, will enable Banshee to accommodate approximately 1,650 riders per hour.

Banshee is the 15th roller coaster at Kings Island, which is home to some of the top-ranked roller coasters in annual industry and enthusiast polls including the Beast and Diamondback. It marks the first new roller coaster to be introduced at Kings Island since the park unleashed Diamondback in 2009.

In 1995, Cedar Point in Sandusky announced they were building a stand-up roller coaster named Banshee, but quickly changed its moniker to "Mantis" after complaints that "Banshee" carried negative connotations.

Bolliger and Mabillard of Switzerland is the company behind Banshee's design. It's the same company that also created GateKeeper, which debuted last year at Cedar Point.

Banshee is the largest investment in Kings Island's 41-year history at $24 million.

It took a total of 160 days to erect the ride after the first piece of track was delivered to the park on Aug. 16, 2013.

Banshee takes up the land formerly held by the Son of Best wooden roller coaster, which was demolished after sitting dormant for years.

RELATED | Cedar Point adds new rides, food for 2014 -


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