Review: Banshee at Kings Island

Roller Coaster Reviews

Overview

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.

Photo by Bobbie Butterfield

Elements

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.

Banshee’s pretzel knot – photo by Bobbie Butterfield

Ride Experience

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.

Banshee’s zero-g roll – photo by Bobbie Butterfield

Banshee’s dive loop – photo by Bobbie Butterfield

Final Thoughts

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. Video courtesy of Kings Island.

What’s your take?  Have you ridden Banshee and if so, how would you rate it?

Hi! I took up roller coasters late in life, 7 years ago at the age of 59 and am trying to make up for lost time. Most of my favorite coasters were made by Intamin and lately, Rocky Mountain Construction. I love Hersheypark not only because it's the sweetest place on earth but because the three major coasters are Intamins. In real life I work in the legal profession.

15 Comments

  1. Reply
  2. I’ve never been on a roller coaster before but i really wanna try it.

    Reply
  3. Yes indeed, Banshee is the best invert out there. Montu and Dueling Dragons (r.i.p) were great, but the sheer length of this one gives it an edge.

    Not sure if you knew this or not, but Banshee doesn’t hit top speed until halfway thru the course (following the zero-G roll as it dips into the ravine). That, plus the delightfully slow inline twist at the end make it a real winner in my book.

    Nice review!

    Reply
    • Thanks, Eric. No, I wasn’t aware that Banshee doesn’t reach its maximum speed until mid course. Good to know. Never rode Dueling Dragons but rode Montu within past 6 months and I agree that this tops it.

      Reply
    • I’m just wondering if you have ridden alpengeist when you say it’s the best invert out there

      Reply
      • Yep, rode both Alpengeist and Afterburn (formerly known as The Jet Coaster). Banshee’s still #1.

        Reply
        • Cool thanks for quick reply. It’s just another good reason for me to make my way out there I’m dying to ride the beast!

          Reply
  4. awesome post man

    Reply
  5. Hi Dru – hopefully you don’t have any loose fillings or back issues, because you will probably have both after riding. The Beast is the roughest ride I went on in a week-long 5 park trip (last week.) Maybe the roughest ride ever.

    Reply
    • Cool thanks for the heads up I guess I’ll start near the front then. Just got back from great adventure King da ka and El Toro were walk on until lunchtime it was amazing!
      That new drop ride is fairly awesome

      Reply
      • I can’t/won’t/don’t ride Top Thrill Dragster or Kingda Ka. Too much for me. I justify my choice by saying “those aren’t roller coasters.” 🙂

        I’ll be interested to hear if you enjoyed The Beast, or simply tolerated it. It’s an experience, but if it isn’t fun, why do it again?

        It sounds like you planned your visits like I planned our trip – school is not quite out yet for everyone, and all of the school trips for bands/choirs/drama club etc are all over.
        I’m not sure I will ever wait in a line again!

        Reply
        • I agree king da ka barely counts as a roller coaster only worth riding when I don’t have to wait too long. It was awesome walking on all morning although I was very surprised by how rough it has gotten towards the rear. My head has never rattled so hard I couldn’t see straight it was really something! the front is still smooth.

          Reply
    • Interesting that this has turned into a discussion about The Beast. I’m with you on this one, T2; The Beast is brutally rough. Not sure whether it was the position in the train or whether that ride has gone downhill – pun intended – in the past several years but I don’t remember its being anywhere near that bad when I first rode it 4 or 5 years ago. I was sitting near the front of the train and thought it was a pretty cool ride. In April of this year, however, when I was sitting in the back, it beat me up so badly that I couldn’t wait for the ride to end. One of the things people tend to like about The Beast is that it’s such a long ride but in this case it was agonizingly long.

      Reply
      • This is pretty disappointing for me I guess I’ll have to wait to make the long trek until they Refurbished or hopefully re-design like the new trend! I don’t like the idea of a coaster with brake runs all over the place anyway.

        Reply
      • Oh – yeah, sorry about that. This is about the awesome Banshee. 🙂

        Reply

Leave a Reply

All comments are reviewed and may not appear right away. Comments with inappropriate language or personal attacks will not be approved. Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Lost Password