The longest inverted coaster in existence and the last one to be built in the USA, Banshee at Kings Island in Mason, OH opened in 2014 to critical acclaim. Built by B&M (Bolliger & Mabillard), it boasts 4,124 feet of track, operating with three trains seating four across in 8 rows for a total capacity of 32 riders. The restraint is an over- the- shoulder harness.
Layout, Theme and Setting
Banshee’s coiled red track with blue supports is situated on a plot of land previously occupied by the infamous Son of Beast and Thunder Alley Go-Kart track. As can be deduced from the name, Banshee is themed after a spirit from Irish mythology. It is in fact the first major coaster to be named after a female entity. The sign at the entrance features a rather macabre image of a banshee with outstretched hands that end in talons.
With a height of 167 feet and a maximum speed of 68 mph, Banshee includes seven inversions, in this order: dive loop, vertical loop, zero-g roll, pretzel knot, vertical loop and inline twist. Banshee is the only operating coaster to incorporate a pretzel knot.
A ride on Banshee begins with a left turn out of the loading station and ascent up a 167-foot chain lift hill. Once at the top riders can hear the shriek of a banshee before the train plummets 150 feet into a pretty steeply banked right turn. The sheer force of the drop both astonished and delighted me. Inverted coasters are not generally known for having such powerful initial drops so the forcefulness of the drop made quite an impression on me. After the drop, the train enters a dive loop and without wasting a second goes up into a vertical loop. This is followed by a left upward swing that leads into a deliciously wicked zero-g roll. From the zero-g there’s another swing up to the left before the train enters the pretzel knot and after exiting that inversion, goes up into the second vertical loop. A right turn leads into the inline twist, and what a treat that was. It proved to be the most intense inversion of the ride. The ride ends with a helix and turn into the loading station.
There is almost nothing about this coaster that I didn’t love. The loading process was remarkably efficient; the ride ops dispatched the trains so quickly that it wasn’t unusual to see two trains sitting outside the station after one was sent off on its journey. The restraint is tight to the point that I could feel it pressing on my chest but I can deal with that insofar as I felt perfectly secure and the restraint is positioned in such a way as to eliminate headbanging or jarring lateral movement. (I usually find the restraints on a coaster to be not tight enough; that was my experience on Diamondback, another coaster at Kings Island.) From start to finish, Banshee is forceful, exciting and wonderfully smooth. In a word, awesome.
Final Rating – 9.5 out of 10 (Excellent)
What’s your take? Have you ridden Banshee and if so, how would you rate it?
(Video courtesy of Kings Island)