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The Astro-Comet: Remembering King Cobra Roller Coaster at Kings Island

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The Astro-Comet: Remembering King Cobra

Kyle Kruthoffer

Video Content Producer 

In 1984, Kings Island was standing room only as King Cobra made its way into the spotlight of the Adventure Village area of the park.

Designed by TOGO, it was the first roller coaster in the world to be designed from the ground up as a stand-up. Other stand-up roller coasters that preceded King Cobra were sit-down models later modified to accommodate stand-up trains, so this made it truly the world’s first. The model was known as the TOGO Astro-Comet, and park officials traveled to TOGO’s Tokyo plant just to check the ride out for themselves, as it was built in their parking lot.

Kings Island wanted something unique and special, as 1984 was the 100th anniversary of America’s first roller coaster. The ride cost approximately $3 million to build and had 2,034 feet of track, a 95-foot tall lift hill, a 66-foot tall vertical loop, a 540-degree helix, airtime moments, and a "trick-track" segment.

F.R. Bush, Kings Island’s general manager at the time, stated, “We have always taken great pride in the coaster tradition at Kings Island. Each of our coasters have been innovative in the industry and the standing loop coaster certainly continues the tradition."

After Kings Island officials deemed it to be a worthy addition to the park’s world-class lineup of attractions, the ride was bought and dismantled, and all of the pieces were shipped over to the United States to start construction December 5, 1983.

As the winter months went on, the name of the coaster was chosen through a survey that guests were given. “King Cobra” was a natural fit with the way the ride looked to “slither and snake” around its course. The ride opened to rave reviews April 22, 1984, as guests finally got to experience this new sensation of standing while reaching a top speed of 50 mph. 

In the industry, parks must make sometimes difficult decisions if they want to continue to be in-touch with their guests and deliver on the most current, “best of the best” thrills they can offer. Thus, the decision to remove King Cobra at the end of the 2001 season was made. Many guests today still remember its incredible and unique sensation.

In 2003, Delirium sent guests for a spin, taking up the space where King Cobra’s eye-watering 540-degree helix was by the midway. In a matter of fact, Banshee’s first drop also incorporates some of the land this king once inhabited.

Sit back, grab the popcorn and pull out the memory book as you take a look at King Cobra testing at TOGO's facility in Japan!

 

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