Kings Island

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Kings Island
KingsIsland-Logo.png
Slogan Thrills Connect
Location Mason, Ohio, United States
Coordinates 39°20′41.23″N 84°16′06.99″W / 39.3447861°N 84.2686083°W / 39.3447861; -84.2686083Coordinates: 39°20′41.23″N 84°16′06.99″W / 39.3447861°N 84.2686083°W / 39.3447861; -84.2686083
Owner Cedar Fair Entertainment Company
General Manager Mike Koontz
Opened April 29, 1972 (1972-04-29)
Previous names Paramount's Kings Island (1993–2006)
Operating season Spring through Fall
Visitors per annum 3,335,000 in 2015[1]
Area 364 acres (147 ha)
Rides
Total 47[2]
Roller coasters 15
Water rides 3
Website Official website

Kings Island is a 364-acre (147 ha) amusement park located 24 miles (39 km) northeast of Cincinnati in Mason, Ohio. Owned and operated by Cedar Fair, 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 fourteen roller coasters and a 33-acre (13 ha) water park.

Throughout its history, Kings Island has appeared in popular sitcoms and has received widespread recognition 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 roller coasters during the 1970s. Others, such as The Beast and Banshee, have set several world records including some of which are still standing. The park has also suffered through times of negative publicity, particularly surrounding 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 early spring through Labor Day in September, and then reopens for several weekends in September and October for Halloween-themed events. In 2015, Kings Island was the second-most visited seasonal amusement park in the United States behind Cedar Point, with an estimated 3.34 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 fifteen consecutive years (2001–2015).

History[edit]

Kings Island's iconic entrance with the Eiffel Tower

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.[3][4]

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.[3][4]

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.[3] 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.[5] Kings Island still owns 773 acres (313 ha) of that purchase.[5] The site is located between I-71 and the Little Miami River in what was then a part of Deerfield Township.[6]

Taft Broadcasting and KECO (1970–1992)[edit]

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.[4][5][6]

View from The Racer in the mid-1970s with the Zodiac (1975–1986) to the right

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 was held the following month on May 27, 1972.[6]

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 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.[7][8]

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 in 1973.[9] The Brady Bunch was produced by Paramount Television, a large Taft Broadcasting shareholder.[10] 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.[11] Three parks – Kings Island, Kings Dominion and Carowinds – were involved in the sale.[11] Taft invested in KECO to retain one-third interest.[12] Three years later in 1987, American Financial Corporation, led by Carl Lindner, purchased KECO for $150 million.[6][13] The deal included a contract with KECO to continue managing park operations.[6][14] In 1989, KECO acquired the business assets of Great America, an amusement park it was managing operations for.[5]

Paramount's Kings Island (1992–2006)[edit]

The Eiffel Tower and the fountains at night

In 1992, Paramount Communications Inc. (formerly Gulf+Western) purchased Kings Island and the rest of KECO's parks for $400 million.[13][15][16] Paramount formed a new division known as Paramount Parks.[15] They bought out the remaining 80% stake in Canada's Wonderland in 1993, raising the number of parks to five.[5][17] That same year, Paramount Parks began incorporating themes from its movies into the park.[5] 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.[18]

In 1997, a year after leaving Deerfield Township, the city of Mason annexed most of Kings Island.[19] 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.[20] The rest would be annexed in 1999.[21] On June 14, 2005, Viacom announced intentions to split into two companies (Viacom and CBS Corporation) with CBS inheriting Paramount Parks.[22] Seven months later, on January 26, 2006, CBS announced that the theme parks were for sale.[23]

Cedar Fair era (2006–present)[edit]

On June 30, 2006, Cedar Fair Entertainment Company purchased Kings Island and the rest of Paramount Parks for approximately $1.24 billion.[24] 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).[25] Kings Island kept the Paramount branding through the end of the 2006 season.[5] 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, which later became The Bat. Nickelodeon's presence remained in the park through 2009, when Cedar Fair changed the kids' area to a Peanuts theme.[26]

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.[27] 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.[28] On February 8, 2010, the Mason City Council voted 5–1 against the measure.[29][30]

Areas and attractions[edit]

Action Zone[edit]

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.[31][32] In 1983, the area became known as Wild Animal Habitat and included Adventure Village, a new area within the rebranded section.[32] Over the years, it featured rides such as Screamin' Demon (1977–87), the first steel looping roller coaster to run both forward and backward in the United States, and King Cobra (1984–2001), a stand-up looping roller coaster that was the first of its kind in the world.[18][33][34]

Early in its tenure after purchasing Kings Island, Paramount unveiled Top Gun, a suspended roller coaster from Arrow Dynamics, in 1993.[35] Located next to the habitat attraction, it was titled after a film of the same name and was the first ride to be added to the park with a Paramount theme.[35] The following year, the entire area was renamed Adventure Village coinciding with the removal of the animal habitat and monorail ride.[18] 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.[6][18] 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.[36]

Son of Beast opened in 2000, the second year of the area's two-year expansion. It was the tallest and fastest wooden roller coaster in the world and the first of its kind to feature a vertical loop.[37] As a result of a number of structural issues and two accidents, the ride closed permanently in 2009 and was eventually demolished in 2012.[37] Other notable rides include Delirium, which opened in 2003 as the largest Giant Frisbee ride in the world, and Banshee, the world's longest inverted roller coaster which opened in 2014 at the former location of Son of Beast.[38][39]

Name Opened Manufacturer Model Description Thrill rating[nt 1]
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)[40] 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.[18] 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
Timberwolf Amphitheatre 1982 N/A N/A Concert venue formerly known as Stadium of the Stars
Xtreme Skyflyer 1995 Sky Fun 1 Inc. Dual Swing Pay-per-ride Double Skycoaster with a dive of 153 feet (47 m). 5

Coney Mall[edit]

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 which were relocated, including Monster, Scrambler, and Dodgem. One of the flagship attractions during the park's inaugural year, The Racer, was located in this section.[41] In addition to rides, some of Coney Island's famous Ginkgo trees were transplanted, lining the middle of the walkway.[6] Originally called Coney Island, the area was later renamed Old Coney in 1980 and again to its present name Coney Mall in 1986.[42][43][44][45] The area also features game booths, arcades and concession stands reminiscent of state fairs and traveling carnivals from the early twentieth century.[46]

In 1975, Zodiac debuted in the Coney Island mall, which was billed as a "spinning, climbing double ferris wheel".[41][42] Manufactured by Intamin, the three-minute ride featured twelve gondolas on each of the two wheels which were mounted to a long, hydraulic arm.[47] It closed in 1987 and reopened at Wonderland Sydney in 1989.[48] In the 1980s, the area saw the additions of Skylab, Zephyr, and Vortex, a six-inversion looping roller coaster that briefly held a world record for most inversions.[6][49] Following Paramount's acquisition of the park in 1992, Coney Mall was further expanded in 1994 with Days of Thunder, a motion simulator ride in the new Action Theater attraction, and in 1996 with Flight of Fear, the world's first launched roller coaster to feature a linear induction motor (LIM).[6][49]

In 2005, one of the last Paramount-themed attractions to open at the park, The Italian Job: Stunt Track (now known as Backlot Stunt Coaster), was unveiled.[6][50] The roller coaster replaced the antique car ride Les Taxis.[51] Firehawk, a flying roller coaster previously known as X-Flight at Six Flags Worlds of Adventure, was relocated to Kings Island next to Flight of Fear in 2007.[49] The area housing both roller coasters became known as X-Base, a sub-section within Coney Mall that took on its own theme.[52] The most recent addition to Coney Mall was WindSeeker, added in 2011. The 301-foot foot-tall (92 m), three-minute swing ride features 32, two-person carriages that spin around a central tower up to 30 miles per hour (48 km/h).[53]

Name Opened Manufacturer Model Description Thrill rating[nt 1]
Action Theater 1994 N/A N/A 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
Dodgem 1972
(1986)
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,[54] 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.[55]
Monster 1972 Eyerly Aircraft Co. Eyerly 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).[citation needed] 3
Shake, Rattle and Roll 1975 HUSS Troika A classic spinning ride. Formerly known as Troika 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).[56] After several delays, it opened June 21.[57] 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

X-Base[edit]

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's not listed on the park map and is officially part of Coney Mall.

Name Opened Manufacturer Model Description Thrill rating[nt 1]
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[edit]

At the heart of the amusement park, visitors are greeted by International Street which lies just beyond the main entrance. As one of the park's original staples when it opened in 1972, International Street was designed by Bruce Bushman, a former Walt Disney Imagineering layout design artist.[46][58] The area's architecture and cultural themes represent Italy, Spain, Germany and Sweden.[46][58] To save on the cost of construction, the second story of each building was designed on a three-quarters scale, borrowing from a practice used by Disney throughout their theme parks.[59]

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,[60] and the signature Eiffel Tower, a one-third scale replica of the original which offers a view of the entire park to its guests. Grand Carousel, a classic carousel built in 1926 and originally located at Coney Island, is another International Street attraction.[61] Also located here is the Kings Island Theater and a variety of restaurants and souvenir shops.

In 1992, a dark ride attraction known as Phantom Theater was added to the park's lineup. It utilized an Omnimover system to transport riders through specially-themed rooms resembling a behind-the-scenes tour of a haunted theater. Previously, the building housed the Enchanted Voyage (1972–1983) and Smurf's Enchanted Voyage (1984–1991), both Old Mill dark rides that used unaccompanied boats floating along water-filled guideways. After a couple theme changes in 2003 and 2010, Phantom Theater became known as Boo Blasters on Boo Hill.[18][33][62]

Name Opened Manufacturer Model Description Thrill rating[nt 1]
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
International Showplace 1972 N/A N/A Entertainment venue
International Street Bandstand 1972 N/A N/A Entertainment venue formerly known as Royal Fountain Bandstand
Kings Island Theater 1976 N/A N/A Entertainment venue formerly known as American Heritage Music Hall and Paramount Theater
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[edit]

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 building is its central attraction, featuring live shows with several indoor eateries. Nearby is an outdoor bar that serves alcoholic beverages, with a portion of its seating area located above water bordering Oktoberfest lake. Rides within this section of the park include a mine train roller coaster called Adventure Express, which opened in 1991, and a swinging pirate ship ride called Viking Fury, which opened in 1982.[63][64] Sling Shot, one of two pay-per-ride attractions at Kings Island, is also located within Oktoberfest.[65]

Name Opened Manufacturer Model Description Thrill rating[nt 1]
Adventure Express 1991 Arrow Dynamics Mine train A mine train roller coaster. 5
Festhaus 1982 N/A N/A Entertainment venue and food court
SlingShot 2002 Funtime 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
Viking Fury 1982 Intamin Bounty Swinging pirate ship ride. 3

Planet Snoopy[edit]

Entrance to Planet Snoopy
See also: Planet Snoopy

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 area's flagship attraction was a junior wooden roller coaster named Scooby Doo (later known as Woodstock Express), which like The Racer was designed by John C. Allen. The portion of the area that borders Rivertown was revamped in 1995 with the addition of a kids' play area, stage and water attraction, and the new sub-section was named Nickelodeon Splat City. In 2001, the log ride Kings Mills Log Flume was updated with a children's theme and renamed The Wild Thornberrys River Adventure. The Rugrats Runaway Reptar inverted roller coaster was introduced the same year. This expansion into an area that was originally part of Rivertown became known as Nickelodeon Central. Hanna-Barbera Land was gradually converted over the next several years and eventually renamed "Nickelodeon Universe" in 2006.[18]

Following Cedar Fair's purchase of the park from Paramount in 2006, Nickelodeon-themed elements were eventually removed and replaced with Peanuts comic strip themes in 2010 – the children's brand marketed at other Cedar Fair parks. Nickelodeon Universe became known as Planet Snoopy.[26] The area features many rides intended for smaller children, as well as three family-oriented roller coasters and a skater coaster. Amusement Today has awarded Kings Island with the Golden Ticket Award for Best Kids' Area in the World for fifteen consecutive years (2001–2015).[66][67] Kings Island's Planet Snoopy was also the largest in the Cedar Fair chain until 2013, when Kings Dominion doubled the size of its Planet Snoopy section.[68]

Name Opened Manufacturer
(Model)
Description Thrill rating[nt 1]
Character Carousel 1982 Chance Rides
(36-Foot Carrousel)
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.[69] 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
(Jumpin' Star)
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
(Whip Jr.)
Classic whip ride. Operated at Coney Island (1967–1971). Formerly known as Screecher, Funky Phantom, Alley Cat 500 (1972-2005) and Swiper's Sweepers (2006–2009). 1
Linus' Launcher 2006 Zamperla
(Kite Flyer)
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
PEANUTS Playhouse 2006 N/A Entertainment venue formerly known as Nickelodeon Theater (2006–2008) and Putz HQ (2009)
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
(Crazy Bus)
Formerly known as Atom Ant's Airways (1998–2005) and Timmy's Airtours (2006–2009). 2
Snoopy vs. Red Baron 1992 Zamperla
(Mini Jet)
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
(Jump Around)
A circular flat ride on which vehicles attached to a central console bounce up and down. Built by Zamperla.
Surf Dog 2006 Zamperla
(Skater Coaster)
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.[70] 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.[71] Formerly known as Scooby Doo (1972–1979), Beastie (1980–2005) and Fairly Odd Coaster (2006–2009). 4
Woodstock Gliders 2015 Larson International
(Flying Scooters)
A flying eagles ride with eight carriages that each have a paddle, enabling guests to change the movement of their carriage.
Woodstock Whirlybirds 1998 Caripro Amusement Technology Helicopter-themed sky tram. Formerly known as Yogi's Sky Tours (1998–2005) and Lazytown Sportacopters (2006–2009). 1

Rivertown[edit]

Rivertown is an area within the park that features a western theme depicting a town with ranch-style buildings, old wooden signs, and one of the park's most iconic attractions, the Kings Island & Miami Valley Railroad. Originally intended to be named Frontier Land, the area was eventually named Rivertown when it debuted with the park in 1972.[72] The area included attractions such as Kings Mill Log Flume and Shawnee Landing, a canoe ride in a part of Rivertown known as Kenton's Cove.[8][59]

Throughout the 1970s, Rivertown saw the addition of several attractions including Kenton's Cove Keelboat Canal in 1973, which was an elevated log flume ride that operated through the 2000 season, and The Beast roller coaster in 1979.[33] Designed internally by Kings Island, The Beast opened as the tallest, fastest, and longest roller coaster in the world, and in addition to retaining its record length,[73] it remains one of the most popular wooden roller coasters in the annual Golden Ticket Awards from Amusement Today.[74][75][76] Other rides added over the years include a river rafting ride called White Water Canyon, which opened in 1985, and a heavily-themed, indoor flat ride called Tomb Raider: The Ride (later renamed The Crypt), which opened in place of Kenton's Cove Keelboat Canal in 2002.[33] The Crypt closed permanently in 2011.

In 2009, the park's first roller coaster from Bolliger & Mabillard, called Diamondback, opened in Rivertown. The 230-foot-tall (70 m) hypercoaster reaches a top speed of 80 mph (130 km/h) and features a splashdown water effect finale.[77] In August 2016, Kings Island revealed plans to build Mystic Timbers, a 109-foot-tall (33 m) wooden roller coaster set to open in 2017.[78][79] The new ride will add 3,265 feet (995 m) of track bringing the park's wooden coaster total to 18,804 feet (5,731 m), making it the most of any amusement park in the world.[80]

Name Opened Manufacturer
(Model)
Description Thrill rating[nt 1]
Diamondback 2009 Bolliger & Mabillard
(Hyper coaster)
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 splashdown water effect finale. 5
Kings Island & Miami Valley Railroad 1972 Crown Metal Products Company[81]
(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
Mystic Timbers 2017 Great Coasters International A wooden roller coaster that is 109 feet (33 m) tall and 3,265 feet (995 m) long with a top speed of 53 mph (85 km/h). 5
The Beast 1979 Kings Island A wooden roller coaster constructed and designed internally by Kings Island, which consistently remains a top roller coaster among many industry experts and enthusiasts.[74] 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
(Rapid Ride)
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

Soak City[edit]

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.[82] It originally opened in 1989 as WaterWorks and has since been expanded several times.[6] It was renamed in 2004 to Crocodile Dundee's Boomerang Bay, based on the titular character from the film "Crocodile" Dundee, played by Paul Hogan who was also hired to promote the revamped water park.[83] Following Cedar Fair's acquisition of Kings Island, it was later renamed Boomerang Bay, and all references to the film character were removed. On September 2, 2011, Kings Island announced a $10-million expansion of the water park for the 2012 season, as well as a plan to rename it Soak City.[84] Tropical Plunge, a seven-story water slide complex, was added for the 2016 season.[85]

Halloween Haunt[edit]

Halloween Haunt at Kings Island logo.jpg

Halloween Haunt is a Halloween-themed event at Kings Island that operates on weekends from September through October. It features haunted houses, mazes, live shows, and most of the park's regular season attractions. Special lighting and fog effects are utilized throughout the park, and actors in costume engage with guests. The event originally debuted as Fear Fest in 2000, and the name was later changed to Halloween Haunt in 2007. .[86][87]

Winterfest (Seasonal)[edit]

Announced in August, after 12-years of an absence, Winterfest is returning in 2017. Winterfest will turn international street into a winter wonderland which will also include turning the 314-foot Eiffel Tower into a beautiful Christmas tree. Dates have not been announced for when winterfest will be open next season.

Fast Lane[edit]

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.[88] 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 latter of which adds several additional rides to the list.[89]

Significant facts[edit]

Notable additions[edit]

Son of Beast with loop
  • 1979: Kings Island unveiled The Beast setting records as the world's tallest, fastest and longest roller coaster.[92]
  • 1981: The park introduced The Bat, generally accepted as the first permanent modern-day suspended roller coaster.[93] 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. It is returning in the winter of 2017.
  • 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.
Overview of The Racer, plus Firehawk and Flight of Fear
  • 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.
Diamondback's lift hill
  • 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.[94]
  • 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.[54] 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.[95]
  • 2014: The longest inverted roller coaster in the world, Banshee, opened in the location previously occupied by Son of Beast and Thunder Alley within the park's Action Zone.[96][97]
  • 2017: Mystic Timbers, a wooden coaster manufactured by Great Coasters International is added. It is located in the park's Rivertown area. Winterfest has also been confirmed to make its return after a twelve-year hiatus.[98]

Notable events[edit]

  • 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.[99]
  • 1974: Sixty-nine-year-old Karl Wallenda broke a world skywalk distance record of 1,800 feet (550 m).[100]
  • October 25, 1975: Evel Knievel, in the last major stunt of his career, successfully jumped fourteen Greyhound buses at Kings Island. The event was broadcast live on ABC and landed high viewer ratings, garnering 52 percent of the TV audience for that hour with an estimated 55 million viewers. The distance of the jump measured 133 feet (41 m), and the record feat of jumping fourteen buses on a Harley Davidson stood until 1999.[101][102]
  • 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.[103]
  • 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.[104][105]
  • 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.[106]
  • 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.[107]
  • 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".[108][109]

Notable people[edit]

The following is a list of former employees at Kings Island that later became well known in another industry:[110][111][112][113]

  • Lisa Akey (actress)
  • Curtis Cregan (actor) – worked as a live shows performer and emcee for the Nickelodeon show at Kings Island
  • 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 (1987 Miss Ohio)
  • Nick Lachey (singer) – part of quartet that performed throughout the park
  • Dan Patrick (TV/radio sports host) – worked on park's golf course grounds crew
  • Susan Perkins (1978 Miss America) – 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)

Other[edit]

Dogstreet Cemetery[edit]

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, only 52 headstones remained.[114]

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."[115] Warren County Genealogical Society records document a grave for a Missouri Jane Galeenor, who died in 1846 at age five.[116]

Kings Island resort[edit]

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,[117][118] 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[119][120] and The Jack Nicklaus Golden Bear Golf Courses.[121]
  • Kings Island Inn - Designed to depict a small alpine village, the 300-room inn. Also known as Kings Island Resort & Conference Center[122] 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.[123]
  • 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.[124]

Kings Island greenhouse[edit]

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.[125]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Ratings assigned per Kings Island's own system, where "1" is least intensity and "5" is most. See their rider height guide[2] for more information.

References[edit]

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External links[edit]