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Ride revamp, new coaster among changes planned for Kings Island

Kings Island is touting bats and banshees as two attractions park guests can expect in 2014.

The 364-acre amusement and water park announced this week plans to change the name and colors of its Flight Deck roller coaster to The Bat for the 2014 season, bringing back a popular ride name that hasn’t been used by the park in nearly three decades.

“The Bat” is a name that had been suggested by Kings Island guests every time it was in the process of building a new attraction since the original Bat was dismantled after the 1984 season, according to Don Helbig, park spokesman.

The new color scheme for The Bat, a 2,352-foot-long roller coaster, will feature black trains and orange track with two shades of charcoal for the columns and structure.

“With the addition of Banshee, combined with the interest and passion our guests had for the name, the timing was right to change the name of the ride to The Bat,” Helbig said. “Riders soar, swoop, circle and dive unexpectedly, and that’s exactly what a bat does.”

Kings Island in Warren County closed for the season on Sunday. Attractions at the amusement park, including roller coasters Diamondback, The Beast and Vortex, gave more than 24 million rides this year combined, park operators said.

Plans to revamp Flight Deck follows news from earlier this year that Kings Island will add its 15th roller coaster in 2014.

That ride, Banshee, is a 4,124-foot-long seven-inversion coaster set to debut in April 2014 as the longest-inverted roller coaster in the world.

Kings Island is owned by Sandusky, Ohio-based Cedar Fair Entertainment Co., which also operates the amusement park Cedar Point.

Attendance in 2012 across Cedar Fair’s 11 amusement parks, three outdoor water parks and one indoor water park totaled 23.3 million people, close to 2011’s record attendance of 23.4 million. Total 2012 revenues for the company were a record $1.1 billion.

According to trade publication Themed Entertainment Association, Cedar Point and Kings Island each had around 3.2 million visitors in 2012, making them the 14th and 15th most visited theme parks in the nation, respectively.

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