Roller Coaster Wiki
Kings Dominion
Amusement Park
Location Doswell, Virginia, USA
Status Operating
Opened May 3, 1975
Owner Cedar Fair
Area 400 acres (1.6 km2)
Previous names
Operating season
Slogan It's Amazing In Here
Park map
Click to expand

Kings Dominion is an amusement park located in Doswell, Virginia. The park is currently owned by Cedar Fair, and was part of the former Paramount Parks chain that Cedar Fair acquired from CBS Corporation on June 30, 2006. The park was named after its sister park, Kings Island in Kings Mills, Ohio. Both parks were originally built and owned by Kings Entertainment Company.

In the summer of 1973, ground was broken in central Virginia, and a grand vision began to turn into reality. The vision, the product of several years of conception and planning, was for a major theme park for the entire family to bring new excitement to the mid-Atlantic region. Family Leisure Centers, formed by Taft Broadcasting Company and Top Value Enterprises, had already successfully opened Kings Island outside of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Kings Dominion would debut above Richmond, Virginia to bring the major theme park experience to a new part of the country.

Family Leisure Centers had scouted out the perfect location for the new park and purchased 400 acres of land miles away from all major development, yet just off of I-95 where a steady flow of motorists would pass by every day. Like its sister park, a 332-foot Eiffel Tower replica at the end of a themed International Street entry midway would greet guests and make the park visible for miles around. At the tower, the midways would branch out into four well-spaced themed sections: the rustic Old Virginia, traditional Candy Apple Grove, animal park Lion Country Safari, and Happy Land of Hanna-Barbera for the little ones.

After soft opening several attractions while construction wrapped up in 1974, Kings Dominion was officially opened for business on May 3, 1975. Patrons could enjoy fifteen rides the first year including the twin 3,368-foot wooden tracks of John Allen's Rebel Yell beside the 10-acre man-made Lake Charles, S.D.C.'s steel twister Galaxie, and the junior wooden coaster Scooby Doo (later lengthened to Scooby Doo's Ghoster Coaster). Guests could also hop aboard a monorail to see wild African animals up close and personal, a railroad through the woods, take in the park from the Eiffel Tower's observation decks, ride cable cars, a log flume, antique cars, or one of seven flat rides.

The year after opening, Kings Dominion introduced a new flat ride in Candy Apple Grove, the Enterprise Apple Turnover. Then, 1977 saw the coaster count grow to four when King Kobra was installed as one of Anton Schwarzkopf's original three weight-drop-launched shuttle-looping rides. The same year, overnight stays were encouraged when the Kings Quarters hotel opened adjacent to the parking lot, and the next year held the same focus when the Kings Dominion Campground was completed. Kings Dominion's skyline changed with the 1979 season's Lost World, a 170-foot artificial mountain with a complex of four rides located in and around its base: the Land of the Dooz mine train, Voyage to Atlantis flume, and two flat rides. Just the next year, Voyage to Atlantis became the Haunted River, and a 180-degree theater was opened in 1981.

Wooden coaster fans were taken for a wild 50-mile per hour ride in the woods beginning in 1982 with the debut of Grizzly. Built by Kings Entertainment Company, now the owners of the park, the classic figure-eight layout began taking riders to 87-foot heights and over 3,150 feet of track. Guests were taken for another new ride in the Old Virginia backwoods the following year on the river rapids experience White Water Canyon, while last rides were given on the Galaxie before it was dismantled. 84's Major addition was the rare complete-looping swinging ship Berserker, and changes came to Land of the Dooz when it was rethemed Smurf Mountain.

For the 1985 season, visitors were given another method to cool off in the summer on the themed splashdown ride Diamond Falls. And thrillseekers really stood up and took notice in 1986 when the park erected on the former site of Galaxie the East Coast's first stand-up coaster - the Togo-designed single-looping Shockwave. However, Kings Dominion removed its other steel looper King Kobra later in the year. As was common before the days of seperate waterparks, Kings Dominion added a water slide complex near the park entrance named Racing Rivers in 1987. Soon after, Avalanche became a third coaster for guests of all ages the next year, and one of the few bobsled-type rides in the world.

In 1989, the Sky Pilot took riders for a spin over Candy Apple Grove while allowing them to roll into inverted position at free will. Then, 1990 brought a revamping of the kids' area into Hanna-Barbera Land. Major coaster action struck again on March 23, 1991. On King Kobra's old territory, a new coaster rose before diving under Lake Charles in the first ever underwater tunnel on a ride and looping through four inversions over the lake. The serpent theme was carried over and the new Arrow Dynamics-crafted coaster was named Anaconda. Meanwhile, the other two-thirds of the lake had been reclaimed for a six-acre expansion bringing Kings Dominion its own waterpark, Hurricane Reef, the next year, complete with fifteen different slides.

A change of a different kind came in 1993 when Paramount purchased Kings Entertainment Company, and the park became known as Paramount's Kings Dominion. Now the theme park could begin incorporating movie and TV-related themes into the experience, and the first of those came that season with the conversion of the 180-cinema to a motion simulator theater, and its first feature being Days of Thunder. Later that year, Smurf Mountain closed. Another movie theme was introduced in 1994 when the small themed section Wayne's World opened containing the relocated Parrot Troopers flying scooters, renamed Scream Weaver; and Hurler, an International Coasters Incorporated triple-out and back woodie with statistics close to those of Grizzly. With Hurler, the claim of the only park in the world with five wooden tracks was made possible. Nickelodeon Splat City, a new kids' play area, was 1995's addition.

1996 Was a year that major innovation in coaster technology arrived at Paramount's Kings Dominion. Outer Limits: Flight of Fear (shortened to Flight of Fear in 2001) from Premier Rides debuted in 1996 along with its sister ride at Paramount's Kings Island as the world's first Linear Induction Motor-propelled coaster, and featured a themed indoor dark ride twister experience with four inversions. The same season, the 17-story Xtreme SkyFlyer upcharge skycoaster ride replaced the Old Virginia Line railway. The next season, Hanna-Barbera Land was transformed into KidZville and the Taxi Jam kiddie coaster opened.

Another explosion of coaster innovation came with Volcano: the Blast Coaster in late 1998 - the first ever LIM-launched inverted coaster. Created by Intamin, the coaster's most unique quality was its location interacting with the former Lost World mountain which had seen all of its former attractions disappear in past years, and the world's tallest inversion erupting from the mountain's peak at 155 feet. PKD's visitors cooled off the next year when the waterpark was tripled in acreage and expanded into former monorail land to become WaterWorks, and the slide complex Pipeline Peak was then added in 2000 along with the expansion of Nickelodeon Splat City onto the former site of Racing Rivers with the new section theme Nickelodeon Central and the Nickelodeon Space Surfer spinning ride.

Becoming the launched coaster capital of the world, Kings Dominion blasted off the world's single fastest-accelerating coaster in March 2001 by being the first park to utilize the power of compressed air on a coaster. S&S Power's HyperSonic XLC: Xtreme Launch Coaster made the theme park the only in the world with three launched coasters, and featured an 80-mph blast-off in 1.8 seconds to complete a vertical hill. HyperSonic was constructed over the midway once known as Wayne's World and now part of the Grove, and Scream Weaver found a peaceful new setting in Old Virginia as Flying Eagles. Beside HyperSonic, PKD would add their fourth family-friendly coaster and thirteenth track overall with the wild mouse Ricochet in 2002 along with the Triple Spin flat ride that year. But one ride, Diamond Falls, left after the '02 season.

The Paramount's Kings Dominion skyline changed forever in 2003 with the addition of Drop Zone Stunt Tower, the longest-plunging freefall ride on the continent. At 305 feet, Intamin's Drop Zone rose in the center of the park to rival the height of the Eiffel Tower and drop fifty-six riders at a time 272 feet straight down. In 2004, families were the focus when Scooby Doo and the Haunted Mansion brought interactive dark ride fun to the theme park. And next year, Kings Dominion pulled the wraps off of its six-story spinning ride Tomb Raider: Firefall in the Congo section, which brought another Paramount movie theme to the park. The Huss Rides floorless Top Spin began tossing passengers through the air while dangling head-first over a pit of fire to help celebrate the park's thirtieth anniversary.

Yet another Paramount hit will scream into the park for the 2006 season with Italian Job Turbo Coaster, the park's fourth launched coaster. Italian Job puts riders in the center of a cinematic chase scene as they dodge police cars, explosions, and traffic barriers. But after the announcement of a brand new roller coaster, the park was about to undergo big changes. On May 22, 2006, Cedar Fair announced that they bought out the entire Paramount chain for $1.24 billion dollars. The Cedar Fair chain doubled in size and many changes were underway for the entire chain in 2007. Cedar Fair's first move after the purchase was dropping the Paramount name from all of the parks, making the park King's Dominion once again. Other moves put on by Cedar Fair includes the expansion of the Waterworks water park after a portion of the water park was removed for Italian Job. New additions include a ProSlide Tornado water slide, Zoom Flume family water slides, and a second wave pool by the name of Tidal Wave Bay. Also, one of the park's more problematic roller coasters, Hypersonic XLC, was sold and removed from the park after years of thrilling riders and maintainence problems.

It didn't take long for the next coaster to dominate the skyline of King's Dominion to arrive. Dominator, relocated from the recently closedGeauga Lake, was added to the park as its first B&M and floorless coaster and Cedar Fair's first coaster addition to the park. But even Dominator couldn't match the intimidaton that would reach for the skys of King's Dominion. Intimidator 305, the first giga coaster in a decade, was built in 2010 as the parks fourteenth coaster and was instantly the tallest ride at the park. The theme is a race, and the low lying nature of the ride tried to simulate it.

For more than thirty years, Kings Dominion has thrilled millions of guests every summer. Whether its being launched and 'erupted' out of a Volcano to hanging out with Nickelodeon characters, Kings Dominion has remained to be one of Virginia's premier theme park destinations.

Later, during the 2015 season. Kings Dominion shut down Shockwave for future expansion to the Candy Apple Grove Section.

Present Roller Coasters (12)

Name Manufacturer Type Opened Status
Anaconda Arrow Dynamics Sit-Down 1991 Open
Avalanche Mack Rides Bobsled 1988 Open
Back Lot Stunt Coaster Premier Rides Launched 2006 Open
Dominator Bolliger & Mabillard Floorless 2008 Open
Flight of Fear Premier Rides Indoor 1996 Open
Woodstock Express John C. Allen Wooden 1974 Open
Grizzly Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters Wooden 1982 Open
Twisted Timbers Rocky Mountain Construction Hybrid 2018 Open
Intimidator 305 Intamin AG Giga Coaster 2010 Open
Racer 75 John C. Allen Wooden 1975 Open
Apple Zapple Mack Rides Wild Mouse 2002 Open
Great Pumpkin Coaster E&F Miler Industries Kiddie 1997 Open
Tumbili S&S WorldWide Freespin 2022 Under Construction

Past Roller Coasters (6)

Name Manufacturer Type Opened Closed Relocated
Galaxi S.D.C. Sit-Down 1975 1983 Myrtle Beach Pavilion
Hurler Great Coasters International Wooden 1994 2015 No
HyperSonic XLC S&S Worldwide Launched 2001 2007 No
King Kobra Schwarzkopf Launched 1977 1986 Hopi Hari
Shockwave TOGO Stand-Up 1986 2015 No
Volcano, The Blast Coaster Intamin AG Inverted 1998 2018 No
Kings Dominion Roller Coasters
Operating AnacondaAvalancheBacklot Stunt CoasterDominatorFlight of FearWoodstock ExpressGrizzlyTwisted TimbersIntimidator 305Racer 75Apple ZappleGreat Pumpkin Coaster
Former GalaxiHyperSonic XLCKing KobraShock WaveVolcano, The Blast Coaster