MASON, Ohio -- It was a nice ride, Firehawk.
Kings Island officials made a highly-anticipated announcement Thursday morning that the park would bid farewell to its "flying coaster." Final rides will begin this weekend; Firehawk's last flight will be Oct. 28.
"While still popular with many guests, park officials state the ride has simply reached the end of its service life," officials said in a statement.
Enthusiasts had been speculating for days that the park would get rid of either Firehawk or Vortex.
The coaster community thought Firehawk would come down for a number of reasons:
- Firehawk is a complicated, high maintenance ride that is often down for maintenance. It is also very slow loading.
- Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville just announced a new ride coming next year called "Kentucky Flyer". Firehawk is considered a flying coaster. Kentucky Kingdom could pay for teardown costs, and have Firehawk reassembled with a new name, by next April. Kentucky Kingdom also has a height limit of just 200 feet, due to Louisville airport proximity, and Firehawk conveniently fits under that limit.
- Removing Firehawk, and combining its footprint with the neighboring Dinosaurs Alive exhibit (now closed), would open up 20 acres or more for construction of a new giga coaster at Kings Island.
- Kings Island never loved Firehawk anyway, as it was a hand-me-down from the now defunct Geauga Lake in central Ohio.
So, what's next? Will the park get its first giant, 300-feet tall giga coaster? Sister park Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, has one, but Kings Island does not.
Theme park forums like KI Central.com speculate the park will tease hints of a new giga coaster all next season, with an announcement coming toward the end of next year. That will keep us guessing for another full year!
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