Kings Island removing Vortex

Posted | Contributed by ShaneDenmark

From the park:

Roller coaster fans, it’s time to make plans to visit Kings Island to say goodbye before the Vortex rides into history Oct. 27, the final day of the fall season.

The Vortex has been a guest favorite since it debuted April 11, 1987 and it is sad to see it go... While it remains popular, the ride has simply reached the end of its service life.

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Jeff's avatar

There were a few comments in a general thread...

I'm kind of surprised at all of the nostalgia. That ride was always interesting to look at, but painful to ride. I think I did my first lap in 1990, and I remember how brutal it felt even then.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

Aren't Arrow loopers always kinda rough? Every one I've been on you need to keep your head from flopping around in the corkscrews but so what. What's next? The racer was rough the last time I rode it. Tear it down. Adventure Express tosses you around pretty hard on the turns. Maybe it needs to go too. The Beast sure bounces you around in that helix. Maybe...

Not going to lie, I am somewhat sad to see it go. Although if I were standing next to it and it was a walk on I would have to give it some thought if it is worth my time.

With Vortex I recall my first ride (90), back when it was still the only coaster to have 6 loops. Over the years the ride aged like most arrows and some years it was un-rideable and other years it wasn't as bad. My last ride was in 2017 and it was actually enjoyable (for an Arrow).

I half wonder why it is being removed. cost, ridership, terrible ride, future plans? Anybody have any insight? I am just curious.

There is no such thing as a terrible Coaster just ones that haven't been taken care of

Randall302 said:

Aren't Arrow loopers always kinda rough?

In my experience the only two that aren’t are Lockness Monster (benefits from no corkscrews, a break before it’s big helix, and pretty much never moves laterally at high speeds) and Tennessee Tornado (used computers in design.)

2022 Trips: WDW, Sea World San Diego & Orlando, CP, KI, BGW, Bay Beach, Canobie Lake, Universal Orlando

It's brutally rough, yet for some reason I'm sad to see it go. I always believed it has the best airtime in the park... the backseat on the first drop has insane ejector air. Part of me likes it for the nostalgia factor... I remember being in awe of it as a kid. And just a couple years ago it was my son's first looper. Now at 9 years old he just loves it.

I'm not surprised to see it go. People getting off the ride complain of how painful it is, and they're right. Any time I rode it I had to ride defensively, bracing myself for the bumps and jerks that I knew were coming. So why did I keep getting on? I have no idea... there was something about the layout I enjoyed, and I can't put my finger on it. Regardless, it will open up a nice area for something better and I certainly look forward to that.

Good riddens ...

Another rideable Arrow looper (older that KI Votex) is Wonderland’s Dragon fire. Quite enjoyable actually even through the corkscrew. The Bat’s Revenge.. err.. Votex was always brutal. Looking forward to what may fill that spot in the future.

Vater's avatar

The nostalgia for Vortex reminds me of my own for Drachen Fire. Granted, I never had a bad ride on the latter. Sure, it was jolting in a couple spots, but that was my favorite coaster for the few years it was open. Difference is, DF was unpopular; there was never a line.

I'd feel a little bit of loss if Kings Dominion removed Anaconda. I remember when it was built, and I rode it probably more than most other coasters there its first few years in the park. But I no longer have the sentimental attachment to coasters like I did when I was younger, and I'm sure its days are numbered as well.

Glad I got to ride Vortex once, it was one of those bucket list coasters I'd seen in photos for years. Started out good, but I remember the rest of it being much more violent than Anaconda in places.

Last edited by Vater,

Picture it: April 4th, 1987. After an off season of high anticipation and after a visit to Winterfest ‘86 to stand on tip toes trying to view construction over the fence of evergreens, RCMAC jumped in the car to attend KI’s dry run training day and take his first ride on Vortex.
It was an old trick of mine, that I did just about every year since KI’s debut in ‘72. The Saturday before opening, the park would train employees, opening up sections of the park at certain times throughout the day. They used each other for riders and friends and family were present too. It was casual, nobody checked anything, and the front gates were wide open with nobody in attendance. I frequently was amongst the first to see and (hopefully) try whatever new ride or attraction was coming by “sneaking in”, so to speak.
Well, on that morning I woke up early to a light snow. I got ready to go and noticed the snow was heavier. Hmmm. I called the park and disguised myself as somebody’s dad and asked if training day would take place. The voice on the other end assured me it would. So I went.
About half way down I 71 from Columbus the snow had gotten so deep my little Honda was struggling and visibility was terrible. I persevered though- they said they were having it and I was dying to see Vortex up close, in person. (And I was dummass crazy.)
I arrived at the parking lot and saw very few cars. I drove as close as I could to the gate, trudged through calf-deep snow and walked right in. The place was all but deserted and clearly, no training was taking place. I was determined to see the ride, though, so I made my way up the Coney Mall. Finally, there it was. Looking taller and loopier than anything I’d ever seen- and covered in snow. I didn’t stay long, but took tons of Instamatic pictures of the rare sight of coasters and flats all ready to go but buried in white, fluffy mounds.
I finally got out of there, feet and pants soaked and cold. I drove across the freeway and got an early supper at Frisch’s where the waitress said they were thinking of closing early. No doubt- I was the only customer. And I had yet to make the harrowing drive home. I made it, but about 4 hours later, and praying the entire time.
So that’s how I spent the great Ohio Blizzard of April 87. And I was relegated to go to KI a week later on the regular opening day for my first ride on Vortex. It was warm, and sunny, if I recall correctly.

I can’t say I’m going to miss riding the ride, anymore it's a skip, but I will say I will miss it being there if that makes any sense. And I have a great story about my failed attempt to be the first rider amongst all of us.

Last edited by RCMAC,
Jeff's avatar

Does anyone remember that Coastermania at Cedar Point, around the turn of the century, when Ron Toomer suggested that steel coasters could in theory run forever? I think we know better now. For the loopers, at least, this does not apply.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

^Yet the Matterhorn and FL Space Mtn live on. I fully expect both those rides to require a full track replacement soon. I know rumors abound about Space’s superstructure nearing the end of its viability.

2022 Trips: WDW, Sea World San Diego & Orlando, CP, KI, BGW, Bay Beach, Canobie Lake, Universal Orlando

Gosh, my head is already starting to hurt just think about at least two years of speculation and predictions.
I’ll start it off by saying a friend and I were talking just this morning about what a great location it would be for a dive coaster. But I agree that it would have to be done carefully- The Beast has lost enough of it’s mystery over the years.

I agree about the site. It’s at the place in the park where things start to go downhill (literally, not figuratively). The Bat and Vortex were kind of suspended over that little valley, not really taking full advantage of opportunities the terrain provided. Vortex is steel-heavy with really long legs holding up elements that don’t come close to the ground- today that would be ultra expensive.

And to Jeff’s point, in spite of Ron’s claim, the big Arrow loopers are a dying breed. I went to BGW last season and there was Loch Ness Monster, still rumbling away. In fact they were celebrating it’s 40th anniversary with a bit of a refurbishment and appropriate events. So for whatever reason, it may eventually be the last standing example of the old Arrow coat hanger designs, living long past Drachenfire and others we’ve lost.

matt.'s avatar

Re: steel coasters running forever, it more makes me think of Hulk at IOA. In the context of this: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~If it is supposed that the famous ship sailed by the hero Theseus in a great battle has been kept in a harbour as a museum piece, and as the years went by some of the wooden parts began to rot and were replaced by new ones then, after a century or so, all of the parts had been replaced. The question then is if the "restored" ship is still the same object as the original.If it is then supposed that each of the removed pieces were stored in a warehouse, and after the century, technology developed to cure their rotting and enabled them to be put back together to make a ship, then the question is if this "reconstructed" ship is still the original ship. And if so, then the question also regards the restored ship in the harbour still being the original ship as well.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The actual experience of riding Vortex is what it is. I will personally miss it dearly - it is, without a doubt, one of the most visually iconic coasters ever built - to this day the shot from in front of the batwing looking up at the corkscrews and double loops is used in publications all the time. It's just so pleasing and awe inspiring, even with the dated technology involved. And just the way it dominates the back of the park always endeared me to it - I can remember being being 4 or 5 years old and just watching it run obsessively, well before I was tall enough to ride it.

HeyIsntThatRob?'s avatar

My nostalgia comes from the people I associate with the numerous brutal rides we endured together on Vortex. And for that, seeing that enormous structure gone, along with associating those memories with it, is the loss I'll feel.

I'm with RCMAC in thinking that hill side being left behind from Vortex's removal is a prime spot for a dive coaster. Unfortunately, we are going to be inundated with NL2 creations of what 'should' go in its spot until 'something' opens in its spot. I don't mind creative speculation, I mind the same formula of news reel footage from past announcements spliced together with crappy techno music and an even crappier NL2 creation. But I digress.

I'll kind of miss it...

Even though it was a bit rough, I did enjoy it. There was something different about it that set it apart from the other Arrow loopers.Had a great 1st drop in back seat. Also, I really enjoyed the hangtime in corkscrews after MCBB!

I do hope they find a way to keep the station, as it was the station for The Bat as well.

Jerry - Magnum Fanatic
Famous Dave's- 206 restaurants - 35 states - 2 countries

I'd pour one out for Vortex, but I don't want to waste my beer over that scrap heap.

Don't get me wrong, when I was young and first rode it in ~1988, I thought it was amazing. I fully get why some people might even still like it.

Sadly, I got older, and so did the ride.

"You seem healthy. So much for voodoo."

This news makes me sad. At least I've had the opportunity to ride it.

Bobbie1951's avatar

I rode it just once, last year, to get the credit. I can't say that it was good but can say that it wasn't as awful as some other Arrow loopers, including the aforementioned Dragon Fire f/k/a Dragon Fyre, which ranks among the worst headbangers I've ever ridden. Still, there was no temptation whatsoever to ride it again. Last year when Kings Island announced that one of its coasters would be removed and there was speculation as to whether this would be Vortex or Firehawk, I was praying that it would be Vortex. Firehawk was a loss but IMHO the same cannot be said for Vortex.


coasterqueenTRN's avatar

I am not that surprised that it's leaving. I'll miss it, but more in a sentimental way. I always looked forward to riding it, especially when I was in my teens. I remember waiting in line for over two hours opening year. It was one of my favorite coasters until I became an enthusiast and travelled more. The last time I rode it was in 2005 or 2006. It just became way too painful.

RIP Vortex. Thank you for the memories!


Last edited by coasterqueenTRN,
Carousel Rabbit's avatar

I'm here to do my usual job and put a good word in for it. I don't know what it is about me but I've always loved the unloved coasters.

It has some headbanging issues for me due to the restraints, but it's also exciting (to me) and beautiful. I'm not sure I've seen a coaster as spectacular as Vortex when fall leaves are behind it. I also remember what an utter monster it looked like when I first saw it as a kid (a time when my nearest park, CP, had nothing like it). I am sad and considering whether I can manage an emergency trip to KI soon.

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