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Kings Island’s new coaster will boost economy

Mystic Timbers one of two major announcements expected at park this year.

Kings Island’s new wooden coaster is expected to increase park visits and boost the area’s economy.

Mystic Timbers is set to be constructed through this season and off-season and make its debut in the spring of 2017.

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The new ride — Kings Island’s 16th roller coaster — will be 3,265 feet long, reach 109 feet in height and weave its way along steep cliffs, down ravines, cross over water and go through an extreme S-turn, among a densely wooded area at speeds of up to 53 mph.

It will feature 16 airtime hills, a mid-course tunnel and interact with parts of the Kings Island & Miami Valley Railroad and White Water Canyon attractions.

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Adding a thrill ride like Mystic Timbers will likely mean a tourism spike for Warren County, something that “really impacts the whole community in a positive way” by giving a boost to several different industries, according to Mary Fessler, director of marketing for the Warren County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Mystic Timbers Nick Graham

“When there’s a new big attraction, they’ll come from farther, and they’ll tend to stay longer,” Fessler said. “They’re more likely to stay overnight and visit other attractions in the area besides Kings Island then.

“Whenever we draw more people from out of town to visit Kings Island, there’s so many economies that get a boost around here: the gas stations, the restaurants, the hotels. For whatever reason, when people travel, no matter what the reason for travel, they shop, and so local retail stores will see an impact when we bring in overnight visitors.”

“People that stay overnight tend to outspend day trippers by about 3-to 1.”

Greg Scheid, Kings Island’s vice president and general manager, said while many guests know and love wooden-coaster The Beast, the park had “a bad experience” with its “offspring,” Son of Beast, which was torn down in 2012 after not being open for three years.

“We wanted to bring a wooden coaster in that had very high rideability so that you can get off that coaster and get right back and you’re not going to feel like you’re all shook up,” Scheid said of the coaster’s seemingly out-of-control speed. “It’s going to be a fun coaster from Day One.”

Park officials said they would have “another major announcement” for 2017 to publicize in the middle of August, but declined to elaborate.

Mystic Timbers is a custom-designed ride built for the topography of Kings Island by Great Coasters International, which most recently designed the new Thunderhead roller coaster at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

Three trains will accommodate 24 passengers each — four riders per car and six cars per train — with a capacity of 1,200 riders per hour. Guests will need to be at least 48 inches tall to ride.

A video clip that revealed the new ride to be a wooden coaster Thursday night elicited raucous shouts of celebration from the hundreds of Kings Island guests who lined up two hours before the 10 p.m. announcement

Griffin Hodges, of Cincinnati, said he stood in line for more than an hour to be among the first to learn about the Mystic Timbers, which he said will be a “fantastic” addition to Kings Island’s slate of rides.

“It really balances out the coasters here at the park,” Hodges said. “No inversions, which I think is a good thing. It’s look really fast-paced, (with) low-to-the-ground type turns. The fact that it’s wood (and) you’ve got GCI who’s designing it, it’s going to be a really smooth ride and a lot of fun.”

Kristopher Werner, of Finneytown, said he liked that the ride would have 16 airtime hills.

“I’ve been riding roller coasters ever since I was five years old, go around to different parks around the county, belong to a roller coaster group,” Werner said. “I’ve rode different types of rides — steel, wood, hybrids — and I think this is going to rank up there. It’s with GCI and GCI is known for making really smooth wooden roller coasters.”

The new coaster’s length will give Kings Island 18,804 feet of wooden track between four rides — The Beast, The Racer, Woodstock Express and Mystic Timbers — and allow it to reclaim a title it held from 2000 to 2009: the longest collective footage of wooden tracks in the world, according to park spokesman Don Helbig.

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