Son of Beast removal begins at Kings Island

Posted Tuesday, September 25, 2012 11:40 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Crews this week began dismantling the wooden roller coaster at Kings Island to make room for future park expansion. Son of Beast was heralded as the world’s tallest, fastest and only looping wooden roller coaster when it opened in 2000. The track climbs to a 218-foot peak, followed by a 214-foot drop; its trains would reach speeds of 78 mph.

Read more from The Cincinnati Enquirer.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012 2:09 PM

tAer it down!!111!!!!!1

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012 4:23 PM

Couldn't have happened to a more deserving coaster.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012 6:45 PM

So did KI get's its money's worth out of it or not?

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012 7:34 PM

That's hard to measure without attendance and revenue figures for the time period before and after installation. I would guess yes, if only because the ride initially appeared to be bringing the positive attention parks expect to receive when they first install a new major coaster. But that assumes that ROI is measured solely on what the ride can do to the bottom line in the seasons before the next new ride.

After so many years, most rides fade into obscurity when it comes to a customer's decision to go to a park or not. It's clear that people are still going to Kings Island, even though the ride hasn't operated for quite some time.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012 9:13 PM

bjames said:

So did KI get's its money's worth out of it or not?

Did they recover their investment? Probably. And with all the associated costs - infrastructure, land prep, installation, rebuilds, new trains, removal (and even some weather-related freakiness too during initial construction, right? Cursed treasure, LOL)...we're probably running a tab of around $50M for Sonny.

On the other hand, do they wish they'd spent that money, and used that land, for more productive uses? Definitely.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012 9:25 PM

Usually we would say RIP (rest in peace) to a major coaster such as this.............................This time; however, we are saying, "RIP IT DOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012 9:31 PM

I'm curious if one could measure the ROI of a specific ride. I would think the ROI would be the money guests paid to experience said attraction, but when you are not paying per ride, the ROI would be a fraction of the monies paid for admission, would it not? In that sense, how do you determine ROI for each specific ride? Total up the investment made in attractions, assign percentages of that total investment based on each ride's specific investments, and then divide that out of the total revenue the park generates?

Even taking that approach, though, it seems like you would never really be able to tell what a ride's ROI was until it was removed due to factors like MX and upkeep that take place over time. With that said, though, I do suppose you could reach a certain point where you could tell if your ROI exceeded your investment, even if you didn't know exactly what your ROI was.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012 9:58 PM

It's interesting to hear the investor conference calls from Six Flags and Cedar Fair. It seems like they are always breaking down ROI on capital expenditures to a simple question: How much better are we this year compared to last year?

However that seems like a simplistic view that ignores that each park makes money differently. You also have to consider what the goal is of the capital expenditure. $25 million for a coaster might be great for a 2 year boost in attendance, but I'm not sure that it translates to season pass sales the way $25 million in waterpark improvements does. On the other hand, season pass holders don't spend money as much money as ticketed visitors. It's all about what ways you want to grow your business.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012 10:04 PM

I rode Son of Beast many times, and I can honestly say I never enjoyed any of them. It about broke my heart, too, I so wanted it to be a fantastic ride. I'm not sorry to see it go.
The good thing about the Son of Beast saga is we all lived to tell the story. (Whether we thought we'd live through the ride or not!) As an enthusiast I've enjoyed looking back thru the years at rides that seemed like a great idea, but for whatever reason weren't. This will be one for our history books, in the Tried but Failed chapter.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012 10:11 PM

There's also the merchandise, which tends to be high margin, so that's probably where most of the ROI comes from, or hopefully so. With on-ride photos, its usually even better.

But with all the issues and associated costs, I would bet it didn't get much above even.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012 9:51 AM

Given that the ride only ran only 9 years, cost $20 million to build (and many more in repairs), I find it hard to believe it broke even on its ROI. If you think about a major capital investment like this, it probably is depreciated out over a period of at least 10 to 20 years.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012 10:36 AM

Texas Giant, Hercules, Rattler, Son of Beast. IMO there IS a LIMIT on how tall you can build a Wooden Coaster, bigger is not always better and parks are beginning to realise this. I would not be surprised to see Mean Squeak get the next makeover, if not removal.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012 10:51 AM

What about El Toro? Colossos? I don't know that there's a set limit. I think it more depends on how you build them as opposed to the material itself.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012 10:55 AM

^To be fair, those aren't "traditional" wooden coasters.

On the other hand, height is not that big a deal, IMO, it's layout-dependent. If you have a huge lift but then follow that with a series of airtime hills, you can bleed off some speed and provide a smooth and fun ride. Take a huge lift and follow it with a sharp turn or helix (Herc, Sonny) - and you can pretty much figure what will happen...

Height alone is not the death-knell of a wooden coaster...IMO.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012 2:06 PM

Walt, you bring up a good accounting question: How do you measure depreciation and value on something like a wooden coaster that is constantly being replaced?

Perhaps there was a tax advantage that would explain why they waited so long to remove the ride in the first place. It would appear that they haven't made major capital improvements to the ride since being de-looped, giving them a full 12 years of depreciation on the original equipment and 5 years depreciated value on the expenditures for the ride for re-opening in 2007.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012 2:53 PM

I'm with Gator, I don't think there is a necessary limit on size (height or length). Every 'big' coaster mentioned was built by either RCCA or Dinn, and to be honest, most of their smaller coasters suck as well. Poor design, poor rollingstock (at least comfort wise) on many of them, and poor layouts.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012 5:56 PM

Fun said:
Walt, you bring up a good accounting question: How do you measure depreciation and value on something like a wooden coaster that is constantly being replaced?

Perhaps there was a tax advantage that would explain why they waited so long to remove the ride in the first place. It would appear that they haven't made major capital improvements to the ride since being de-looped, giving them a full 12 years of depreciation on the original equipment and 5 years depreciated value on the expenditures for the ride for re-opening in 2007.

I'm not sure a wooden coaster is any different than any other piece of industrial equipment in terms of depreciation. Think of your car. It continually needs maintenance and repair. Occasionally you do larger repairs, but overall, it starts at a given value and then goes down. That's true with any piece of industrial equipment - bulldozers, cranes, train engines, a building, etc.

I'm not sure the tax advantage would cause them to wait to tear down the ride. If anything, I could see that hastening the decision to tear it down. Many buildings get torn down if they are empty just because the real estate taxes go down for a vacant lot versus a built on lot. And as long as the ride was standing, it was taxed at a value relative to its construction cost.

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Thursday, September 27, 2012 10:45 AM

I'm usually feel a little sad when I hear any coaster is being removed, if it is being removed for a good reason. But in this case, I say good riddance. The combination of a painfull ride with a boring layout made SOB a 'must skip' ride.

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Thursday, September 27, 2012 11:55 AM

Some folks have already hit upon this, but for SOB this is what now immediately comes to mind. Quoted from Wikipedia:

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Last edited by matt., Thursday, September 27, 2012 1:13 PM
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