Kings Island has unveiled its newest roller coaster. Mystic Timbers is a 3,265-foot long wooden coaster that reaches speeds of 53 miles per hour with 16 drops.
Bonnie Heck is a member of American Coaster Enthusiasts and traveled from Wisconsin to be one of the first to experience the ride.
"I thought it was a really good ride," she says. "Because it's a wood coaster you never know if it's going to be rough but it was smooth. You think you're going to go one way and then you turn the other way and it has surprises throughout the whole ride."
With the addition of Mystic Timbers, Kings Island now boasts 18,804 feet of wooden coaster track, more than any theme park in the world.
Adam House is senior design engineer with Great Coasters. "We didn't go for the tallest. We didn't go for the fastest. We didn't go for the loopiest roller coaster in the world for a wood coaster. But we came out with a ride that's just all around fun to ride."
House says the ride's location in the park's River Town area provided some interesting challenges. "We had to work around two different rides out there including the White Water Canyon flume ride and the train, so to be able to integrate all these things together and really work to bring all this to life has been incredible."
House says wooden coasters got a bad reputation in the 1980s and '90s, but he thinks this ride is different. "You may go in expecting a shaky, bumpy ride experience, but this thing rides like any great steel coaster; smooth from start to finish."
The park opens to the public for its 45th season on Saturday.
A Special Day For Mystic Timbers Designer
Cincinnati native Jeff Pike fell in love with roller coasters at a very young age. He remembers walking off The Beast in tears, but also knowing creating coasters was what he wanted to do. "I remember asking my dad, 'How do you make roller coasters?' He says, 'I don't know, I guess you have to be an engineer.' Boom! I was seven years old and (decided) I'm an engineer. I spent the next 16 years of my life doing nothing but trying to figure out how to design roller coasters."
Pike is grown now and is president of Skyline Attractions.
"If you've been on a wooden coaster in the United States, chances are my company has somehow been involved with it at some point along the way," says Pike.
He's also one of the people behind Mystic Timbers.
"Coming back here now, having one of my designs here at Kings Island... I was walking in with my little girls telling them, 'I used to walk into this park when I was five and this was the most exciting thing to me, and now I have a roller coaster here.' It's just the coolest thing. It really is."