|Location||Mason, Ohio, United States|
|Owner||Cedar Fair Entertainment Company|
|General Manager||Greg Scheid|
|Opened||April 29, 1972|
|Previous names||Paramount's Kings Island (1993-2006)|
|Operating season||April through early November|
|Visitors per annum||3,206,000 in 2013|
|Area||364 acres (147 ha)|
Kings Island is a 364-acre (147 ha) amusement park located 24 miles (39 km) northeast of Cincinnati in Mason, Ohio. It is owned and operated by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company. The park first opened in 1972 by the Taft Broadcasting Company in an effort to move and expand Coney Island, a popular resort destination along the banks of the Ohio River that was prone to frequent flooding. After more than $275 million in capital investments, the park features over 80 rides, shows and attractions including 14 roller coasters and a 33-acre (13 ha) water park.
Throughout its history, Kings Island has appeared in popular sitcoms and has been highly publicized for its record-breaking attractions and events. One of the park's most well-known attractions, The Racer, is often credited with reviving worldwide interest in the roller coaster industry during the 1970s. Other attractions such as The Beast and Banshee set new world records including some that are still held. The park has also suffered through times of negative publicity particularly regarding the early demise of roller coasters The Bat and Son of Beast.
Kings Island is divided into several themed sections. The seasonal amusement park is open from April through Labor Day and reopens for a short time on weekends beginning in September for Halloween-themed events. In 2013, Kings Island was the second-most visited seasonal amusement park in the United States behind Cedar Point with an estimated 3.2 million visitors. It was third overall for seasonal attendance in North America which was led by Canada's Wonderland. Kings Island has won Amusement Today's Golden Ticket Award for having the "Best Kids' Area" in the world for thirteen consecutive years (2001–2013).
- 1 History
- 2 Areas and attractions
- 3 Fast Lane
- 4 Significant facts
- 5 Awards and recognition
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Kings Island was conceived as early as 1964 when Coney Island, a popular amusement park 10 miles (16 km) east of downtown Cincinnati on the banks of the Ohio River, suffered from a major flood that submerged the area in over 14 feet (4.3 m) of water. Although occasional flooding was common at the successful park, the flood in 1964 was the fourth highest on record and caused considerable damage. Faced with already-limited space for expansion and parking, the event triggered discussions within the organization about relocating the park.
Leading the way was Gary Wachs, son of Coney Island president Ralph Wachs, who with friends and family owned a majority of stock. He decided it was time to relocate the park to stay competitive. After years of research and traveling abroad, he presented ideas for a new theme park to the company's board of directors. Some board members opposed relocating, including significant stockholder Charles Sawyer. It wasn't taken seriously until 1968, when actor Fess Parker announced plans to build a theme park in Northern Kentucky – well within Coney Island's primary market that extended as far south as Louisville. The announcement highlighted the need for change and gave Wachs' proposal credibility within the organization.
Gary met with the president of Taft Broadcasting Company, a business interested in promoting its recently acquired Hanna-Barbera division, to discuss a possible merger. After receiving support, Fess Parker's efforts to secure financing fell apart along with his plans to build a competing theme park. In July 1969, Taft Broadcasting Company purchased Coney Island for $6.5 million and soon after purchased 1,600 acres (650 ha) in Warren County, Ohio, for $3.2 million. It still owns 773 acres (313 ha) of that purchase. The site is located between I-71 and the Little Miami River in what was then a part of Deerfield Township.
Taft Broadcasting and KECO (1970–1992)
Construction began on June 15, 1970. Later that year, a public contest was held to name the new park. "Kings Island" emerged the most popular for its recognition of the Kings Mills area as well as its predecessor Coney Island. Most of the former park's rides were relocated, while the rest were demolished. Coney Island's popular Sunlite Pool attraction remained open, however, and the original park was partially restored in later years.
Less than two years after breaking ground, Kings Island opened its gates to the public on April 29, 1972. It was the first of several preview events. The grand opening came the following month on May 27, 1972.
At the heart of the amusement park, visitors are greeted by International Street which lies just beyond the main entrance. The area's main attractions include the Royal Fountain, a 600,000-US-gallon pool (2,300 m3) capable of shooting 10,000 US gallons (38 m3) of water into the air each minute, and the signature Eiffel Tower, a 1/3 scale replica of the original which offers a view of the entire park to its guests. Also located here is Grand Carousel, Kings Island Theater and a variety of restaurants and souvenir shops.
Arguably, the most crowd-pleasing attraction featured at the park in its early days was The Racer, a wooden roller coaster consisting of two trains that race each other side-by-side on identical tracks. Designed by legendary designer John C. Allen, The Racer was an integral part of the roller coaster renaissance of the 1970s. Years later, it would be awarded the Roller Coaster Landmark plaque from American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) for its achievement. Other roller coasters present on opening day in 1972 were the Bavarian Beetle, a small steel coaster brought over from Coney Island, and a new junior wooden coaster in the Happy Land of Hanna-Barbera originally named Scooby-Doo.
Kings Island was nationally promoted in two well-known sitcoms on ABC. Each filmed an episode on location at the park: The Partridge Family in 1972 and The Brady Bunch the following year in 1973. The Brady Bunch was produced by Paramount Studios, a large Taft shareholder. In later years, Kings Island changed ownership several times. Taft sold its theme park division in 1984 for $167.5 million, to Kings Entertainment Company (KECO), a company formed by senior executives and general managers of Taft Attractions Group. Three parks—Kings Island, Kings Dominion and Carowinds—were involved in the sale. Taft invested in KECO to retain one-third interest. Three years later in 1987, Kings Island was sold individually to American Financial Corporation, led by Carl Lindner. The deal included a contract with KECO to continue managing park operations. KECO purchased Great America in 1989.
Paramount's Kings Island (1992–2006)
In 1992, Paramount Communications Inc. (formerly Gulf+Western) purchased Kings Island and the rest of KECO's parks for $400 million. Paramount formed a new division known as Paramount Parks. They bought out the remaining 80% stake in Canada's Wonderland in 1993, raising the number of parks to five. That same year, Paramount Parks began incorporating themes from its movies into the park. Viacom entered the picture after acquiring Paramount in 1994, paving the way for the appearance of Nickelodeon themes. First was Nickelodeon Splat City, followed by Nickelodeon Central and eventually Nickelodeon Universe.
In 1997, a year after leaving Deerfield Township, the city of Mason annexed most of Kings Island. A temporary measure allowed for some land to remain in Deerfield in an attempt to appease park officials and reduce the impact on the township. The rest would be annexed in 1999. On June 14, 2005, Viacom announced intentions to split into two companies (Viacom and CBS Corporation) with CBS inheriting Paramount Parks. Seven months later, on January 26, 2006, CBS announced that the theme parks were for sale.
Cedar Fair era (2006–present)
On June 30, 2006, Cedar Fair Entertainment Company purchased Kings Island and the rest of Paramount Parks for approximately $1.24 billion. With this acquisition, Cedar Fair owned all three major amusement parks in Ohio: Kings Island, Cedar Point and Geauga Lake (purchased from Six Flags in 2004). Kings Island kept the Paramount branding through the end of the 2006 season. Thereafter, Face/Off became Invertigo, The Italian Job Stunt Track became Backlot Stunt Coaster, Tomb Raider: The Ride became The Crypt and Top Gun became Flight Deck. Nickelodeon's presence remained in the park through 2009, when Cedar Fair changed the kids' area to a Peanuts theme.
In late 2009, the Mason City Council decided to put a measure on its 2010 ballot that would mandate a 3-percent ticket tax and a 5-percent parking tax at both Kings Island and The Beach waterpark. Council member Tony Bradburn argued that it was necessary for the city to help pay for infrastructure improvements, as well as cover police and fire expenses. This proposed tax hike was the center of debate for several months. Kings Island actively encouraged the public to write, email and call Mason City Council representatives to express opposition. On February 8, 2010, the Mason City Council voted 5–1 against the measure.
Areas and attractions
Action Zone opened in 1974 as Lion Country Safari, a 100-acre (40 ha) section of the park featuring a monorail ride that took guests on a safari-style tour through an animal preservation. It was later renamed Wild Animal Safari in 1977. In 1983, the area became known as Wild Animal Habitat and the entertainment side was renamed Adventure Village, it featured former rides such as Screamin' Demon, an early steel looping roller coaster from Arrow Development added in 1977, and King Cobra, the world's first stand-up looping roller coaster unveiled in 1984.
Early in its tenure after purchasing Kings Island, Paramount unveiled Top Gun, a suspended roller coaster built by Arrow Dynamics that opened in 1993 next to the habitat attraction. Titled after a film of the same name, it was the first ride to be added to the park with a Paramount theme. For the following season in 1994, Paramount rethemed the entire area as Adventure Village and removed both the monorail ride and animal habitat. In 1999, a two-year expansion initiative began with the area's renaming to Action Zone and the addition of two new attractions – Drop Zone: Stunt Tower and Face/Off. When it debuted, Action Zone resembled a movie stunt set featuring a water tower as the centerpiece. The water tower was originally part of a skit with stunts and special effects that imitated a live movie set with a director and stunt performers. The performance depicted a stunt crew on a tower coming under heavy gunfire and escaping on a zip line, with the final performer falling as the tower was exploding.
In the second year of the area's two-year expansion, Kings Island unveiled Son of Beast, the tallest and fastest of its kind and the first modern-day wooden roller coaster to feature a vertical loop. Due to a number of structural issues and two accidents, the ride closed for good in 2009 and was eventually demolished in 2012. Delirium, once the largest Giant Frisbee ride in the world, opened in 2003 and Banshee, the world's longest inverted roller coaster, opened in 2014 at the former location of Son of Beast.
|Ride name||Year opened||Manufacturer||Model||Description||Rating|
|Banshee||2014||Bolliger & Mabillard||Inverted Coaster||An inverted roller coaster with seven inversions located in the former location of Thunder Alley and Son of Beast. It is the longest of its kind in the world.||5|
|The Bat||1993||Arrow Dynamics||Suspended||A suspended roller coaster in which free-swinging cars are suspended below the track. Formerly known as Top Gun (1993–2007); Flight Deck (2007-2013)||5|
|Congo Falls||1988||Intamin||Shoot-the-Chute||A Shoot-the-Chute water ride with a 34' drop. The ride opened as Amazon Falls (1988–1999) and was later renamed Congo Falls after the Paramount movie Congo.||4|
|Delirium||2003||HUSS||Giant Frisbee||A Giant Frisbee ride that swings riders at an angle of 120° creating a maximum arc of 240°, lifting riders 137 feet (42 m) into the air. Riders reach speeds up to 76 miles per hour (122 km/h).||5|
|Drop Tower: Scream Zone||1999||Intamin||Gyro Drop||A rotating drop tower ride which at 315 feet (96 m) is the tallest of its kind in the world (although sister park Kings Dominion has one with a longer drop that does not rotate). Formerly known as Drop Zone: Stunt Tower (1999–2007).||4|
|Invertigo||1999||Vekoma||Invertigo||An inverted Boomerang roller coaster. Formerly known as FACE/OFF (1999–2007).||5|
|Xtreme Skyflyer||1995||SKY FUN 1 INC.||Dual Swing||Pay-per-ride Double Skycoaster with a dive of 153 feet (47 m).||5|
When Kings Island first opened in 1972, a section of the park was dedicated to its predecessor, Coney Island. The area was constructed to resemble the former park's carnival-style layout and featured many of its flat rides that were relocated. Originally called Coney Island, the area was later renamed Old Coney in 1980 and again to Coney Mall in 1986. In addition to rides, the area features game booths, arcades and concession stands reminiscent of state fairs and traveling carnivals from the early twentieth century.
|Action Theater||1994||A 3-D theater. It is used in conjunction with Dinosaurs Alive! Formerly known as The Paramount Action F/X Theater (1998–2008) and Days Of Thunder (1994–1997).|
|Backlot Stunt Coaster||2005||Premier Rides||LIM Terrain Following Coaster||A launched roller coaster based on a chase sequence in the 2003 film The Italian Job. Riders launch into a parking garage, dodge police cars, and are attacked by a helicopter which ignites fire all around riders before hitting a second launch section, sending riders into darkness. Formerly known as The Italian Job: Stunt Track (2005–2007).||5|
|Preston & Barbieri||Majestic Manufacturing (Azzurra)||Special 2-seater bumper cars from Italy with working headlights, taillights, rear-view mirrors and hazard flashers. Operated at Coney Island (1924–1971). Remodeled 1986.||4|
|Dinosaurs Alive!||2011||Dinosaurs Unearthed||Dinosaurs Alive!||This pay-per-entry attraction is the world's largest animatronic dinosaur park, stretching along a 4,000-foot (1,200 m) path featuring more than 60 life-sized dinosaurs. Four have interactive consoles that help show guests how scientists believe the animal moved. The attraction features a replica of an excavation site as well as a paleontological dig site for children.|
|Monster||1972||Everly Aircraft Co.||Everly Monster||Traditional Octopus ride that spins in three different circles at the same time. It quickly raises and lowers riders as their cars spin. Operated at Coney Island (1969–1971).||3|
|Scrambler||1972||Eli Bridge Company||Scrambler – Traditional Deluxe||Traditional amusement park Twist ride. 3 arms spin riders giving them the sensation of almost hitting the wall. Operated at Coney Island (1969–1971).||3|
|The Racer||1972||Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters||Wooden racing roller coaster.||The trains on one track were changed to ride backward in 1982, but in 2008, the original behavior was restored.||4|
|Vortex||1987||Arrow Dynamics||Mega Looper||A steel custom looping roller coaster that opened as the world record holder for most inversions, with six, but was superseded the following year by Six Flags Great America's Shockwave.||5|
|WindSeeker||2011||Mondial||Wind Seeker||A flat ride featuring two-person swings that slowly rotate and ascends the 301-foot (92 m) tower until reaching the top where speeds increase up to 30 miles per hour (48 km/h). After several delays, it opened June 21.||4|
|Zephyr||1986||Zierer||Wave Swinger||A suspended swing ride that rotates with a wave motion lifting riders up to 30 feet (9.1 m) in the air.||3|
This sub-area opened in 2007. Flight of Fear had existed previously, but with the addition of Firehawk, the area took on its own theme, centered around flight and propulsion. Although the area is designated by a sign, it is not listed on the park map and is officially part of Coney Mall.
|Firehawk||2007||Vekoma||Flying Dutchman||A (1018 m) flying roller coaster. Firehawk is located directly beside Flight of Fear. The ride carries the same theme as it did as "X-Flight," a government flight prototype looking for test subjects codenamed Firehawk. This ride was Kings Island's 14th coaster. Operated at Geauga Lake as X-Flight (2001–2006).||5|
|Flight of Fear||1996||Premier Rides||LIM Catapult Coaster||A launched roller coaster prototype. Over-the-shoulder harnesses were removed and replaced with lap bars in 2001. Identical to the same-named coaster that opened at Kings Dominion later that year. Formerly known as Outer Limits: Flight of Fear (1996–2000).||5|
International Street is the first themed area to greet guests entering the park. It was one of the park's original staples in 1972. Through its architecture, the area represents the cultures of Italy, Spain, France, Germany and Sweden. It has restaurants, souvenir shops, the Royal Fountain with light and water shows and a one-third-scale replica of the Eiffel Tower. The area features three family rides.
|Boo Blasters on Boo Hill||1992||Sally Corporation, D. H. Morgan Manufacturing||Ghost Blasters||A family dark ride experience where riders shoot laser guns at ghosts and ghouls. The building formerly housed Enchanted Voyage (1972–1983) and Smurf's Enchanted Voyage (1984–1991). The former boat ride was transformed into an Omnimover dark ride in 1992 and was named Phantom Theater (1992–2002). In 2003, the ride was re-themed by Sally Corporation and renamed Scooby-Doo and the Haunted Castle (2003–2009). During Hanna-Barbera's 2010 exit, the ride underwent minor changes and became known as Boo Blasters on Boo Hill.||1|
|Eiffel Tower||1972||Intamin||Paris Tower||An approximately one-third scale replica of the Eiffel Tower in Paris at 314 feet (96 m) and 450 tons. The tower was initially 331.5 feet (101.0 m), but the structure's top antenna was eventually removed. Kings Dominion has a near-exact replica.||2|
|Grand Carousel||1972||Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters||Carousel #79||The classic Carousel was built in 1926 and is painted with more than 20,000 sheets of 23-karat (96%) gold, 1,000 sheets of sterling silver and 48 hand-carved wooden horses. It features the Wurlitzer Organ #157. Operated at Coney Island (1926–1971).||1|
Oktoberfest, relating to the eponymous German festival, opened with the park in 1972. The area resembles a German town with timber-framed German-style architecture. The Festhaus is the central attraction, featuring live shows with several indoor eateries. A full-service bar is located atop a portion of Oktoberfest lake. Rides include one roller coaster, one thrill ride and one family ride.
|Adventure Express||1991||Arrow Dynamics
|A mine train roller coaster.||5|
(Fixed Foundation Slingshot)
|Pay-per-ride reverse bungee attraction that catapults riders 275 feet (84 m) in the air up to 100 miles per hour (160 km/h) in a steel cage that flips multiple times before returning slowly to the platform.||5|
|Swinging pirate ship ride.||3|
The area initially opened with the park in 1972 as The Happy Land of Hanna-Barbera and was later shortened to Hanna-Barbera Land. The upper part that borders Rivertown saw the addition of a kids' play area, stage and water attraction in 1995 and was renamed Nickelodeon Splat City. In 2001, Kings Mills Log Flume became The Wild Thornberrys River Adventure and Rugrats Runaway Reptar roller coaster was introduced. The expansion of this area into the lower part of Rivertown became known as Nickelodeon Central. At the start of the 2006 season, when Cedar Fair purchased the rights to the park from Paramount, Hanna-Barbera Land was gradually converted and renamed "Nickelodeon Universe". Nickelodeon-themed elements remained in the park until 2010, when Nickelodeon Universe was rethemed and renamed Planet Snoopy based on the comic strip.
Planet Snoopy contains many rides intended for smaller children, including four roller coasters, a skater coaster and a log flume ride. Amusement Today has awarded Kings Island with the Golden Ticket Award for Best Kids' Area in the World for the past fourteen years, 2001–2014. Kings Island's Planet Snoopy was also the largest in the Cedar Fair chain, until 2013 when Kings Dominion opened their expanded Planet Snoopy.
|Character Carousel||1982||Chance Rides
|Children's carousel. Formerly known as Hanna Barbera Carousel (1982–2005) and Nick-O-Round (2006–2009).||1|
|Charlie Brown's Wind Up||1992||Zamperla||Chair swing ride for children. Formerly known as Pixie and Dixie's Swingset (1992–2005) and Backyardigan's Swing-Along (2006–2009).||1|
|Flying Ace Aerial Chase||2001||Vekoma
(Suspended family coaster)
|Steel roller coaster for all ages. Formerly known as Rugrats Runaway Reptar (2001–2009). Its top speed is 26 miles per hour (42 km/h) and lasts for roughly 1 minute and 30 seconds.||4|
|Joe Cool's Dodgem School||1976||Jurgen Scmidt, Rivervaze, NJ||Children's bumper cars. Formerly known as Flintstone's Boulder Bumpers (1976–2005) and Jimmy Neutron's Atom Smasher (2006–2009).||2|
|Kite Eating Tree||2006||Zamperla
|A mini-drop ride that lifts riders 20 feet (6.1 m) into the air that bounces up and down as the ride eventually lowers to the ground. Formerly known as Plankton’s Plunge (2006–2009).||3|
|Linus' Beetle Bugs||1972||William F. Mangels
|Classic whip ride. Operated at Coney Island (1967–1971). Formerly known as Screecher, Funky Phantom, Alley Cat 500 (??-2005) and Swiper's Sweepers (2006–2009).||1|
|Formerly known as Danny Phantom's Phantom Flyers (2006–2007) and Phantom Flyers (2006–2009).||3|
|PEANUTS 500||1979||Venture Ride Manufacturer Inc.||Drivable car ride. Formerly known as Mr. Jinks Jalopies (1979–??), Kiddie Turnpike, Fender Bender 500 (??–2005) and Nick Jr. Drivers (2006–2009).||1|
|PEANUTS Off-Road Rally||1972||Hampton Amusement Corporation||Miniature carousel car ride. Operated at Coney Island (1969–1971). Formerly known as Pee Wee Raceway, Motor Mouse and Go Diego Go!.||1|
|Race For Your Life Charlie Brown||1972||Arrow Development/Hopkins Rides||Themed Log Flume ride modeled after the 1977 Peanuts movie. Operated at Coney Island (1968–1971). Closed during the 2000 season, it reopened under a new name and Nickelodeon theme in 2001. Formerly known as Kings Mills Log Flume (1972–1999) and The Wild Thornberrys River Adventure (2001–2009).||4|
|Sally's Sea Plane||1998||Zamperla
|Formerly known as Atom Ant's Airways (1998–2005) and Timmy's Airtours (2006–2009).||2|
|Snoopy vs. Red Baron||1992||Zamperla
|Themed after the comic strip featuring Snoopy Vs. the Red Baron. Formerly known as Dick Dastardly's Biplanes (1992–2005) and Blue's Skidoo (2006–2009).||2|
|Snoopy's Junction||1982||Mack Rides||Guided rail train cars. Formerly known as Quick Draw's Railway (1982–2005) and La Adventura de Azul (2006–2009).||1|
|Snoopy's Space Buggies||2015||Zamperla
|Surfboard themed ride that spins as it glides over a ramp. Formerly known as Avatar: The Last Airbender (2006–2009).||4|
|The Great Pumpkin Coaster||1992||E&F Miler Industries||A junior steel roller coaster that takes riders up a small hill through a series of dips and then circles back around to complete the circuit for a second time. The ride lasts for roughly 52 seconds. The queue area used to be the loading area for the Enchanted Voyage ride. Formerly known as Scooby Zoom (1992–1997), Top Cat's Taxi Jam (1998–2005) and Little Bill's Giggle Coaster (2006–2009).||2|
|Woodstock Express||1972||Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters||A family-targeted wooden roller coaster. The ride lasts for roughly 1 minute and 30 seconds. Formerly known as Scooby Doo (1972–1979), Beastie (1980–2005) and Fairly Odd Coaster (2006–2009).||4|
|Woodstock Gliders||2015||Larson International
|A flying eagles ride with eight carriages that each have a paddle, enabling guests to change the movement of their carriage.||3|
|Woodstock's Whirlybirds||1998||Caripro Amusement Technology||Helicopter-themed sky tram. Formerly known as Yogi's Sky Tours (1998–2005) and Lazytown Sportacopters (2006–2009).||1|
The area known as Rivertown has been in the park since its opening in 1972. The area adopts a western theme as a town with ranch-style buildings, old wooden signs and an old water tower. Swan lake was the centerpiece until Diamondback arrived in 2009. The area was originally going to be titled Frontier Land. It features two roller coasters and two family rides.
|Diamondback||2009||Bolliger & Mabillard
|A steel roller coaster that is 230 feet (70 m) tall and 5,282 feet (1,610 m) long with a top speed of 80 mph (130 km/h). Kings Island's first hypercoaster, Diamondback spans 10 acres (40,000 m2) of terrain and features a unique splashdown water effect ending.||5|
|Kings Island & Miami Valley Railroad||1972||Crown Metal Products Company
(3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge 4-4-0 Steam Train)
|A steam locomotive ride that travels in a 5,585-foot (1,702 m) loop that provides transportation between the main park and Soak City. Before the water park and its station were built, the train ride was a narrated excursion, traversing open fields and wooded areas with multiple props themed to the old west, small buildings and a fort. The trains are scale replicas of the famous 1800s locomotive known as The General. The two trains are named "Kenny Van Meter" (Blue Train, Engine 12) and "Lew Brown" (Green Train, Engine 19), formerly "Tecumseh" and "Simon Kenton" respectively. The Rivertown station is also known as "Losantiville Station".||1|
|The Beast||1979||Kings Island||A wooden roller coaster constructed and designed internally by the Kings Island's Engineering & Construction department which consistently remains a top roller coaster among many industry experts and enthusiasts. When it first opened, it held virtually every major record for roller coasters (tallest, fastest and longest). As of 2014, it still holds the record as the longest wooden roller coaster in the world according to Guinness World Records. The ride takes advantage of the hilly terrain and has two separate chain lifts throughout the course.||5|
|White Water Canyon||1985||Intamin
|River rafting ride that takes riders on a winding course through the densely wooded terrain in Kings Island's Rivertown. Riders are placed in circular inner-tube rafts that seat up to six. Whirlpools, hidden geysers and wave makers randomly soak riders along the route. It is one of the longest rides in the park at 5 minutes and 20 seconds.||4|
Included with park admission, Soak City is a 33-acre (13 ha) water park featuring two wave pools, several children's areas and a variety of water slides. It originally opened in 1989 as WaterWorks and has since been expanded several times. It was renamed and rethemed in 2004 to Crocodile Dundee's Boomerang Bay and in 2007, was again renamed to Boomerang Bay. On September 2, 2011, Kings Island announced that a $10 million expansion would take place in the 2011–2012 offseason and that the park would open in 2012 as Soak City.
|Venue||Year opened||Location||Current Show||Notes|
|Action Theater||1994||Coney Mall||Dinosaurs Alive! 3D|
|Festhaus||1982||Oktoberfest||The Boyz Are Back (2014–Present), Rock & Roll Never Forgets (2013–Present)|
|International Showplace||1972||International Street||Flashback: Totally 80's (2014–Present)|
|International Street Bandstand||1972||International Street||Playlist Live! (2013–Present) Peanuts Party in the Plaza (2011–Present)||Formerly known as Royal Fountain Bandstand|
|Kings Island Theater||1976||International Street||Cirque Imagine (2014–Present)||Formerly known as American Heritage Music Hall and Paramount Theater. Renovated in 2004 with new seating and digital projection.|
|PEANUTS Playhouse||2006||Planet Snoopy||Charlie Brown's Hoedown (2014)||Formerly known as Nickelodeon Theater (2006–2008), Putz HQ (2009)|
|Timberwolf Amphitheatre||1982||Action Zone||Formerly known as Stadium of the Stars (1982–??)|
Halloween Haunt (Seasonal)
Halloween Haunt, formerly known as Fear Fest from 2000–2007, is a Halloween-themed event at Kings Island that runs on weekends from late September until the last weekend of October. It features haunted houses, mazes, live shows, and most of the park's regular season attractions. It has been a yearly event at Kings Island since its debut in 2000. The following section contains the lineup of attractions for 2014.
|Carnevil (formerly Circus of Horrors 3D)||Indoor||2001||Planet Snoopy|
|Cemetery Drive||Outdoor||2014||International Street|
|Club Blood||Indoor||2006||Action Zone|
|Backwoods Bayou||Outdoor||2013||International Street|
|Board to Death(formerly Death Row, The Asylum, Maze of Madness, Mysteria)||Indoor||2013||Coney Maul/X-Base|
|Delta Delta Die (formerly R.L. Stine's Fear Street Nights, Massacre Manor)||Indoor||2013||Coney Maul|
|Kill Mart||Indoor||2014||Coney Maul|
|Madame Fatale's Cavern of Terror||Indoor||2012||Rivertown|
|Nightmare Alley||Outdoor||2014||International Street|
|Tombstone Terror-Tory (formerly Headless Hollow)||Outdoor||2005||Rivertown|
|Urgent Scare||Indoor||2008||Coney Maul|
|Wolf Pack||Indoor||2010||Action Zone|
|Blood Drums||Action Zone||A percussion, music, sparks and lights show.|
|Hot Blooded||International Showplace||A rock n' roll show.|
Fast Lane, introduced at Kings Island in July 2011, is a secondary queue system that offers shorter wait times on the park's most popular rides. In addition to the standard admission charge, visitors can bypass the standard wait line by purchasing a wrist band that grants access to the Fast Lane queue. A limited number of wrist bands are sold each day. The two options available for purchase are "Fast Lane" and "Fast Lane Plus". The standard Fast Lane offers access to 22 attractions, while Fast Lane Plus covers the same rides but also adds Banshee and Firehawk.
- 1977: Screamin' Demon debuted as one of the first forward- and backward-looping roller coasters in the United States. It was later sold in 1987 to Camden Park in Huntington, West Virginia, where it operated as the Thunderbolt Express until 1999. It was eventually dismantled in 2004.
- 1979: Kings Island unveiled The Beast setting records as the world's tallest, fastest and longest roller coaster.
- 1981: The park introduced The Bat, generally accepted as the first permanent modern-day suspended roller coaster. However, plagued with mechanical problems and downtime, The Bat was removed just three years later in 1984.
- 1982: Kings Island introduced Winterfest, a Christmas-time holiday event which ran from November 25 through December 31. The yearly event was held until 1992 and made a brief return in 2005.
- 1984: King Cobra opened as the first roller coaster to be designed from the ground-up as a stand-up coaster, even though others had been converted to stand-up designs. King Cobra was dismantled and put up for sale in 2002, when downtime and maintenance proved prohibitive.
- 1987: The Vortex was added to the park and briefly held a record with six inversions.
- 1989: WaterWorks debuted as a family water park featuring a wave pool, water slides and other attractions.
- 1999: Kings Island's "Adventure Village" area began the first of a two-year expansion to re-energize the area. Renamed Paramount Action Zone, the area was completely re-themed as a brightly colored movie studio backlot. Two new rides, FACE/OFF and Drop Zone: Stunt Tower, opened with the latter setting a new record for the world's tallest gyro drop.
- 2000: For the second year of the Paramount Action Zone two-year expansion, Son of Beast opened setting records as the world's tallest, fastest and only-looping wooden roller coaster. Billed as a sequel to Kings Island's own legendary roller coaster, The Beast, Son of Beast was also the park's first hypercoaster. In October 2000, Kings Island debuted FearFest which runs annually from late September through October (later renamed to Halloween Haunt).
- 2002: Tomb Raider: The Ride opened at Kings Island using an unorthodox marketing approach. The vehicle was by design concealed from view even as guests are being seated. Opening-day riders did not know what was going to happen as the ride started. Under the hood, the ride was based on a typical top spin model ride, except that this version was the world's first Giant variation to hold nearly twice as many riders as prior efforts. In addition, the ride operated indoors synchronized to a musical score, lasers, water effects, fog and theatrical lighting.
- 2005: Kings Island opened Italian Job: Stunt Track, a roller coaster that primarily focused on special effects to tie in with the film The Italian Job (sister park Canada's Wonderland opened one the same year).
- 2007: Kings Island unveiled Firehawk, a Vekoma Flying Dutchman roller coaster. The ride originally opened in 2001 at Geauga Lake under the name X-Flight but was relocated to Kings Island after the 2006 season. Its track colors were changed from neon green to red, while its supports were changed from dark gray to steel gray.
- 2009: A steel hypercoaster from Bolliger & Mabillard called Diamondback opened in place of the former Swan Lake.
- 2010: Planet Snoopy opened in place of the Nickelodeon Universe kids area. The Nickelodeon-themed attractions and characters from Hanna-Barbera's Scooby-Doo were completely removed. This change marked the first time since the park's debut in 1972 that Scooby-Doo was not present in the park.
- 2011: WindSeeker, a tower swinger ride manufactured by Mondial, was added to the Coney Mall next to the Vortex. Fast Lane. A Pay-Per-Use attraction called Dinosaurs Alive! debuted at Kings Island as the world's largest animatronic dinosaur park. It is located in Coney Mall near WindSeeker. Dinosaurs Alive 3D was also introduced to the Action Theater presented in Dolby 3D.
- 2012: Soak City was announced on September 2, 2011, as the new name for Boomerang Bay. The Australian theme was dropped and additions included a second, larger wave pool along with sand-volleyball courts and a completely revamped lazy river with new names all around.
- 2014: The longest inverted roller coaster in the world, Banshee, opened in the location previously occupied by Son of Beast within the park's Action Zone. The seven-inversion coaster was announced on August 8, 2013, and was built by Bolliger & Mabillard.
- 1972: ABC sitcom, The Partridge Family, filmed at the park in the episode "I Left My Heart in Cincinnati" which aired on January 26, 1973 (Episode #66 from Season 3).
- 1973: Another ABC sitcom, The Brady Bunch, filmed at the park in the episode "The Cincinnati Kids" which aired later that year on November 23.
- 1974: Sixty-nine-year-old Karl Wallenda broke a world skywalk distance record of 1,800 feet (550 m).
- October 25, 1975: Evel Knievel successfully jumped 14 Greyhound buses at Kings Island, setting an audience viewing record for ABC's Wide World of Sports, garnering a 52 household share when his performance was broadcast live. He landed on the 14th bus, but held on. This was one of his last big jumps.
- May 24, 2008: Robbie Knievel, son of Evel, successfully jumped over 24 Coke Zero trucks in the Kings Island Parking Lot. This was expected to be the last of Robbie's big jumps.
- July 4, 2008: High wire artist Rick Wallenda broke the world skywalk distance record of 1,800 feet (550 m) held by his grandfather, Karl Wallenda, by walking 2,000 feet (610 m) on a 75-foot-high wire (23 m) from Kings Island's Eiffel Tower to the park's entrance and back.
- August 31, 2008: Barry Williams, Susan Olsen and Mike Lookinland returned to Kings Island for A Very Brady Reunion, a four-show special of song, dance and Brady Bunch stories.
- August 15, 2009: Nik Wallenda completed a skywalk on a wire suspended 262 feet (80 m) above the ground that extended 800 feet (240 m). Although it didn't break any world records, it was the highest skywalk Nik had completed to date and was three times higher than the skywalk Rick Wallenda performed a year earlier.
- May 19, 2013: Former Brady Bunch stars Barry Williams, Susan Olsen and Christopher Knight returned to the park to "entertain park guests during four shows of singing, dancing and Brady Bunch anecdotes".
- Lisa Akey (actress)
- Curtis Cregan (actor) – Worked as a live shows performer and emcee for the Nickelodeon show at Kings Island.
- Jeff Day (director/producer) – Worked as live show performer 1983-1985
- Carmen Electra (singer) – Started her professional career in 1990 as a dancer at Kings Island in the show “It’s Magic”.
- Woody Harrelson (actor) – Wood carver at Kings Island during high school.
- Justin Jeffre (singer) – Part of quartet that performed throughout the park.
- Lewis Johnson (reporter) – Former rides supervisor on the Beast and Racer roller coasters at Kings Island (1981–87)
- Susan Kay Johnson – Miss Ohio 1987
- Nick Lachey (singer) – Part of quartet that performed throughout the park.
- Woody Paige (Around the Horn) -- Worked as a live show performer 1977-1979
- Dan Patrick (TV/radio sports host) – Worked on park's golf course grounds crew
- Susan Perkins – Miss America 1978 - worked at the park as a live shows performer.
- Rob Pottorf (film composer) – Worked as live show performer and starred in Kings Production's TV series, Pumpkin Creek
- Gigi Rice (actress)
Dogstreet cemetery is located at the north end of the Kings Island parking lot and is maintained by Deerfield Township. The historic cemetery dates back to 1803. The Warren County Genealogical Society documented nearly 70 grave sites in the cemetery, though as of 2005[update], only 52 headstones remained.
On January 11, 2012, the amusement park and cemetery were featured on season 8, episode 1 of Ghost Hunters entitled Roller Ghoster. The show investigated claims of haunted occurrences inside the park and around the cemetery, particularly of a ghost reportedly known as "Missouri Jane." Warren County Genealogical Society records document a grave for a Missouri Jane Galeenor, who died in 1846 at age five.
Kings Island resort
As part of the Kings Island resort, in 1972 Taft Broadcasting Company built a golf course, hotel and campground.
- The Golf Center at Kings Island - Designed by Jack Nicklaus with Desmond Muirhead, the 18-hole "Grizzly" and the 9-hole "Bruin" golf courses are located just across Interstate 71. The "Grizzly" was used for PGA and LPGA tournaments throughout the years. The Kings Island golf courses were formerly known as the Jack Nicklaus Golf Center, Jack Nicklaus Sports Center and The Jack Nicklaus Golden Bear Golf Courses.
- Kings Island Inn - Designed to depict a small alpine village, the 300-room inn. Also known as Kings Island Resort & Conference Center was located on Kings Island Drive across the street from the park. It featured a restaurant, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis court, sand volleyball, half-court basketball and a conference center. The inn was also featured in the Partridge Family's episode "I Left My Heart in Cincinnati" and the Brady Bunch episode "The Cincinnati Kids.". The inn and conference center closed in 2014.
- Kings Island Campground - The park used to offer a 45-acre campground. It had 350 sites plus overflow, 6 cabins, pool, game room and store. A free tram carried campers to and from the park. The campground closed in 2004 and the land, except for the overflow area, was sold to Great Wolf Resorts.
Kings Island greenhouse
The park has its own greenhouse just off of Columbia Road. It can be seen from the top of The Bat's lift hill. It produces the flowers and topiary for the park. Some of their notable work is the "Living Liberty Bell" topiary and working "Flower Clock" near the Eiffel Tower.
Awards and recognition
- Amusement Today – Golden Ticket Award for Best Kids’ Area (2001–2014)
- NAPHA – Award for best new attraction for 2009 (Diamondback)
- Themed Entertainment Association – 2013 attendance report ranks Kings Island third among seasonal amusement parks in North America
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- Ratings assigned per Kings Island's own system, where "1" is least intensity and "5" is most. See their "Guest Assistance Guide". Kings Island. for more specific details
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- Scheinin, Lisa (2007). "100 Moments in Roller Coaster History: The First Launched Coasters — 1977". RollerCoaster! Magazine 28 (2): 20–21. ISSN 0896-7261.
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- Baldwin, Tim (2006). "In Suspense, the Contemporary Suspended Coaster Celebrates a 25th Anniversary". RollerCoaster! Magazine 27 (4): 15–19. ISSN 0896-7261.
- "Diamondback | Fast And Full Of Venom | Kings Island". Kidiamondback.com. Retrieved November 14, 2008.
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- "Skywalks – Exceeding the Limits of Tradition". Wallenda Enterprises Inc. Retrieved June 17, 2012.
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- "High-wire acrobat to take thrills to new heights at Kings Island". Middletown Journal. July 21, 2009. Retrieved June 17, 2012.
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- Catch a Rising Star
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- "Dogstreet Cemetery". Warren County Genealogical Society. Retrieved January 23, 2012.
- "Roller Ghoster". Ghost Hunters — Syfy. Retrieved January 23, 2012.
- "Dogstreet Cemetery — Missouri Jane Galeenor". Warren County Genealogical Society. Retrieved July 10, 2012.
- "Golf Center at Kings Island — Grizzly — Mason, OH, USA — Nicklaus Golf Course Design". Nicklaus.com. Retrieved 2013-04-08.
- "Desmond Muirhead — golf course architect — golf courses built, articles, related information". Worldgolf.com. 2012-08-01. Retrieved 2013-04-08.
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