Hundreds of roller coaster fans descended upon Kings Island Oct. 3-4, not to ride roller coasters but to get their hands on a piece of park history by purchasing a piece of track from the retired Vortex roller coaster.
As noted earlier in the week on the Kings Island Blog, quantities of Vortex track were limited and sold on a first-come, first-served basis at the Emporium store on International Street. By mid-afternoon on Oct. 4, all the available pieces had been purchased.
For $198.70, guests received a 1.5-inch piece of track capped with metal plates and mounted in a display stand. A certificate of authenticity signed by Kings Island’s vice president and general manager Mike Koontz and a limited-edition Vortex postcard set was also included in a nicely packaged kit.
The Vortex operated at Kings Island for 33 seasons from 1987 to 2019, giving 46 million rides. It was the tallest, full-circuit roller coaster with the highest drop in the world when it opened, and the first in the world to send riders upside down a total of six times.
The Vortex was designed exclusively for Kings Island by Arrow Dynamics and included the following succession of thrills that had never been incorporated into one steel roller coaster before:
- a 148-foot high lift and drop of 138 feet at a 55-degree angle
- two vertical loops
- one corkscrew
- one boomerang turn
- a 360-degree helix turn at the end
- a top speed of 55 mph
After giving its last rides on Oct. 27, 2019, crews demolished the Vortex prior to the opening of Kings Island’s 2020 season.