Imagine with me: the sight of many exciting roller coasters and thrill rides, the thunderous sounds of these rides in action and the shrieking delight of those upon them. The taste of succulent icee drinks and funnel cakes. The feeling of wind slapping your face and your stomach shifting as your ride descends a hill or spins through a loop! Now, imagine all that experience on seven hundred and seventy-three acres of land where eighty rides and attractions stand. I hope you’re imagining Kings Island, the largest amusement park in the Midwest! Can you imagine this place has been operating for forty years?! Pouring dedication into improving the experience with each year since the very beginning, the popular theme park has gone through quite an evolutionary process. Envision with me now the many faces and changes of Kings Island.
Kings Island opened on April 29th, 1972 after two years of construction in Warren County, Ohio. It was conceived in the early sixties to replace Coney Island which became limited in expansion and suffered damage by a major flood. The iconic park landmarks like International Street, the 1/3rd scale model of the Eiffel Tower, and the Royal Fountain—the 600,000 gallon pool shooting 10,000 gallons of water a minute into the air—were some of the original attractions. The park was originally owned by Taft Broadcasting Company, which was largely possessed by Paramount Studios and came to own Hannah-Barbera Productions. With these connections, the children’s section of the park promoted Hannah-Barbera for a long time, starting with a junior roller coaster named at the time, Scooby-Doo. Popular seventies sitcoms The Partridge Family and The Brady Bunch (made by Paramount Studios) both staged episodes in the park. Another major event to be staged at the park was Evil Kneivel jumping fourteen Greyhound buses in the parking lot in 1975. In 1979, The Beast was added, the biggest, baddest, longest, fastest wooden roller coaster in the world! The popular water ride, White Water Canyon, was added in 1985. The Vortex was added in 1987, and in 1989 a twelve acre water park, then named Water Works, was added.
In 1993, Kings Island was sold to Paramount Communications Inc. Under this ownership, themes from their movies were incorporated into the rides, so names like Top Gun, Face/Off, and The Italian Job Stunt Track came to be. Nickelodeon themes began appearing in 1994 and would remain until 2009. In 2000, the Son of the Beast was added, being famed for breaking five world records, tying with one, and being the first wooden coaster built since the Beast. In 2006, Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, owners of Cedar Point, bought out Kings Island and removed the cinematic themes. Also in this year, a freak accident closed the Son of the Beast. After making some changes, Cedar Fair reopened it on July 4th, 2007 and ran it for nearly two years before closing it indefinitely after another injury report. In 2009, Cedar Fair opens its own first edition to the park, the Diamondback. It was the biggest investment for the park to date! The newest ride, the WindSeeker, opened last summer. It is a three hundred and one feet tall swing ride featured in several of Cedar Fair’s parks. It is the highest riding attraction in Kings Island!
Can you imagine such a modern, innovative amusement park replacing such a classic, long-standing one? Can you visualize some of the most highest-riding, fastest, and most furious roller coaster rides around? Can you imagine new thrills and excitement developing year after year? Can you imagine forty years of it all? If you’ve never been to Kings Island, it’s probably hard to imagine. Experience it for yourself if and when you can! Go to visitkingsisland.com to buy tickets, passes, and plan a trip today!