Mason, Ohio, USA
Ohio has been the setting of many great amusement parks and rides throughout the industry’s history. In southwest Ohio around Cincinnati, Coney Island ruled the summertime in drawing the biggest crowds for top notch entertainment. Throughout the early 1900’s, the riverside park was home to many attractions for all ages, from Sunlight Pool on hotter days, to the twin duo of Shooting Star and Wildcat for the adventurous, and Moonlight Gardens for some mature evening festivities. Until 1971, the park was the place to go during the summer. However, with the riverside location, the park was prone to flooding, a common sight along the mighty Ohio River. After Taft Broadcasting bought the park in 1968 for its last three years, owners decided to move shop.
Many sites throughout southern Ohio, northern Kentucky and western Indiana were surveyed for the relocation, but to no avail. Then as word got around of how the new interstate highway system was set up, a plot of land aside the newly built Interstate 71 just 20 miles north of downtown Cincinnati was chosen to be the grounds of the new park. As ground was broken in 1970, a park name was in the works. The owners wanted to pay tribute to both the community which housed the park and Coney Island. With the area known as Kings Mills and borrowing a bit from Coney Island, the park would ultimately be known as Kings Island.
The idea of the park was based around the highly successful Disneyland which opened twenty years prior in Anaheim, California. A central area with various shops and restaurants anchored by a central symbol with surrounding areas of distinct themes was the set up. However, there would be differentiation between the Ohio park and Disney as Taft lacked the finances to set up the grand marvel Walt Disney created. The central area was based around the streets of Europe with architecture to match the motif to become International Street. The building illusion of forced perspective was utilized to make it look as if buildings were twice as tall as they were. A giant fountain was to welcome guests who entered. International Street needed its anchor though. Intamin came through with its observation tower designs to create a one-third scale replica of Paris’ Eiffel Tower.
Themes would be simple yet inspiring. Starting from the left, thing would start out with German themes with Oktoberfest, featuring a beer garden. Going towards the back of the park, the Coney Mall section would look back on the traditional atmosphere the defunct Coney Island offered. In the very back lay Rivertown which paid tribute to Cincinnati’s riverside location, including a train station under the name Losantiville, which was the original name for Cincinnati. To the right of the entrance was the Happy Land of Hanna-Barbera, featuring attractions based around popular cartoon series of the time including Scooby Doo, the Flintstones and Huckleberry Hound.
Taft used a lot of rides from the old Coney Island park including Grand Carousel, Scrambler, Monster, a log flume, and even the steel coaster Bavarian Beetle. However, it was to be the newer rides which would give Kings Island a good name. The legendary coaster designer John Allen was hired by Taft to build two wooden coasters. Allen already had experience in the area designing both Shooting Star and Wildcat at Coney Island. One woodie would be the family-friendly Scooby Doo located in Hanna-Barbera Land. The other would be of greater significance, more than what the owners dreamed of. A pair of white racing coasters was to line the side of the Coney Mall section and was to be known as the Racer. A sky ride was to link Oktoberfest with Hanna-Barbera and the train running out from Rivertown. After a year of construction was finished and testing complete, Kings Island finally opened on April 29, 1972.
The park was an instant hit. It awoke the long dormant park visitor from within the American psyche. The Racer in particular was received with praise, so much that it was credited with starting the second big coaster building boom in the United States, perhaps the world (also known to enthusiasts as the second golden age of roller coasters) Even while Blue Streak at the resurrected Cedar Point opened a decade earlier, the Racer just proved to be more of a coming out party for roller coaster building. The park knew they had to expand.
1973 saw a few additions to round out the new park. A restaurant above the International Street entrance opened along with a second flume named Keeton’s Keelboat Canal in Rivertown, while in Oktoberfest, the flat rides Bayern Kurve and Flying Dutchman arrive. Due to Racer's popularity, an extra car was added to all the trains to increase capacity. Also of note that year on the North/South Carolina boarder, Carowinds opened which would later play as a part of Kings Island’s future after its purchase by Taft. An episode from the 5th season of the Brady Bunch which took place and was filmed at Kings Island aired this year as well. 1974 saw the biggest expansion since the park opened. The 100 acre Lion Country Safari featuring a monorail system for guests to view many animal enclosures including, of course, lions. Another animal based show opened with Salt Water Circus featuring dolphin shows.
1975 was a pivotal year for Kings Island for a few reasons. To start the year off, the park gave Coney Mall a huge boost in adding a plethora of rides to the area including Antique Cars, Zodiac and Shake, Rattle and Roll. The park got some recognition as the daredevil Evel Knievel took to the parking lot and made a record breaking motorcycle jump clearing 14 Greyhound buses in front of 70,000 spectators and all those glued to the television. Meanwhile in secret, the park had ideas to replace Rivertown’s Kenton Cove’s Canoes in the far back of the park and sought to survey the land for something truly sinister. Kings Island’s new sister park, Kings Dominion opens in Doswell, Virginia as well.
America’s bicentennial saw the addition of Flintstone’s Boulder Bumpers by the Scooby Doo coaster. Another more interesting event took place as the park hosted its first wedding for Paul Revere of Paul Revere and the Raiders on the exact date of America’s 200th birthday on July 4th. Marriot’s Great America opens in California as well that year. 1977 saw the first of Kings Island’s ‘coaster firsts’, something they would be well known for in the 1980’s. Arrow Dynamics arrived on the scene and created the Screamin’ Demon, the world’s first Arrow shuttle looper, traversing a vertical loop both forwards and backwards from a small launch out of a raised station. International Showplace was introduced to International Street to the right of the Eiffel Tower. One of Kings Island’s early incidents occurred as Sky Ride stranded 45 riders for 8 hours during a windstorm. As guests were let off, the park offered them lifetime admission, only to be turned down by a majority of them in enjoying the extended view. This would be the final season of Kenton Cove’s Canoes as more dark things came to the Rivertown area. 1978, while it added a shooting gallery to Rivertown, also included clearing where the canoes used to inhabit.
Between 1978 and 1979, Kings Island began to illuminate what dark deeds were happening in Rivertown. Owners alluded to something big, massive, something that would change the landscape of roller coasters forever. At first, the idea was to replicate the long gone Wildcat for a wooden twister to accompany the out and back Racer. After surveying the area, however, it became clear the terrain was ideal for something far larger. Stats were leaked out in an effort to find a name for such a creature. It was to be a record shattering monster. After much redesign to save the dense woods, the soon to be named wooden roller coaster would inhabit 75 acres of land. After climbing, then, the worlds 2nd tallest lift hill at 110 ft and dropping 135 ft underground, riders would be thrust into a course spanning nearly 7,400 ft, the world’s longest roller coaster. After scaling its tallest lift at 141 ft, the train would spiral around a 540 degree helix before finally ending. After the names were sorted, the name Champion came up for its conquering stats. However, due to its secluded location, something more mysterious was needed. It was finally decided that this monstrosity would be known simply as The Beast. The ride would be hand designed by Kings Island’s staff including Charles Dinn and Al Collins. This would also be the last ride John Allen would be a part of, coming out of retirement to offer mathematic calculations and brake designs for the ride before passing away that year. With the huge addition, a few rides found their last runs as well, including Sky Ride, Bavarian Beetle and Halley’s Comet. In 1980, Scooby Doo would get a tunnel on the first drop and be renamed Beastie with its big brother’s popularity. Beast even had its 2nd tunnel completed and the helix covered that year to make it even more of a spectacle.
Meanwhile, construction began just north of the Beast. In an open field in the back of Coney Mall, Arrow came back to the park with a new type of coaster in mind. Instead of being a traditional ride with cars sitting above the tracks, this would use suspended cars with track overhead as the world’s first modern suspended coaster, and thus, Kings Island opened the Bat in 1981. It was designed so that the swinging cars would absorb the forces thus lessening forces and stress on the track. The ride opened as a hit being something truly unique among thrill rides. Twin 100 ft hills fed into a course of s-curves and helices. Rotor’s last season didn’t make things comforting, especially with the problems the Bat had that would haunt it throughout its short existence, later to be the ride with the shortest park service time. Problems were associated with under-engineering, as the track was unbanked and brake fins were located on the bottom of the trains. The track warped and cracked at connection points, and the extreme swinging would lead to many replaced shock absorbers, the tubes you see on the sides of suspended car chassis. It would lay dormant longer than it opened, but those who rode it never forgot it. Canada Wonderland, another of Kings Island’s future ‘sister-park’ opens in 1981 as well.
The park’s 10th anniversary saw the Bat as a major problem being so new. Things had to be done to compensate. Timberwolf Amphitheater opened by Screamin’ Demon and Viking Fury and Ferris Wheel opened in Oktoberfest. To respond to the coaster crisis, the south side of Racer was turned backwards and would remain that way for over twenty years. Hanna-Barbera got a $2.1 million renovation adding three new attractions including the Hanna-Barbera Carousel. It even grabbed the attention of the actual animation duo of Joseph Hanna and William Barbera to the park to witness its re-opening. The park also sought to open year round and hosted its first annual Winterfest to run through winter and Christmas. 1983 was another big year as Kings Entertainment Company forms after park general managers buy out two-thirds of Taft’s theme park interests. It was then that Carowinds became a sister park. Feasthaus, an indoor dining facility, opens in Oktoberfest. On a sour note, a teen, frequenting the restricted area on the Eiffel Tower, falls to his death.
1984 was mayhem for the park’s ‘coaster-firsts’ decade. The Bat was finally dismantled, but not before bringing in another first, the first fully designed stand up coaster (many parks prior tried modifying rides for stand up trains to no avail). Hiring Togo to build, King Cobra opened by the Lion Safari at 90 ft, 50 mph and a vertical loop. A small, simple, compact ride which really turned on the innovations of what the roller coaster could do. 1985 saw the addition of what would be many water based rides to come as Intamin’s White Water Canyon rafting ride debuts in Rivertown. Tumble Bug, Cuddle Up and Bayern Kurve see their last riders this year. For the park’s 15th anniversary, work began on Bat’s former site for something bigger on a return run from Arrow. Flying Carpets, a slide, moved from Coney Mall to Hanna-Barbera Land, Flying Scooters is moved by Bat’s old grounds and renamed Flying Eagles, Dodgems is moved to Eagle’s location, and both Zephyr and Skylab, a Huss Enterprise, open. The Cinema 180 is added by where Bat stood as well. With all this attention to Bat’s location, it was only a sign of something big, something that would be on par with a scale worthy of the Beast’s introduction in the late 70’s.
The wait was well worth it as in 1987, the park unleashed Vortex, one of the tallest, fastest and longest steel coasters at the time as well as breaking the old inversion record including 6 in its twisted course. As such, Screamin’ Demon saw its last season under its replacement and Zodiac mysteriously remained dormant as well. Vortex was the result of the failure of Bat, as Arrow gave the record breaking steel monster at a fraction of the price to the park. The ride uses some of Bat’s supports as well as the station, and footers from the Bat can still be seen if one looks hard enough. Zodiac remains closed through ’88 as Amazon Falls, an Arrow Shoot-the-Shutes splash ride opens on Demon’s old spot finally creating Adventure Village with the Lion Safari as an attraction thereof. The park ends the 80’s with even more water as yet another area opens in Waterworks, a 15 acre water park with 15 water slides. The train has a station made to ferry guests from Rivertown. Der Spinning Keggers and the aging Zodiac are dismantled before the turn of the decade. The park began the 90’s with a few new rides. Flight Commander was added in place of Zodiac, but the year spells doom for Flying Dutchman and Ferris Wheel. Rushing River, a raft slide is added to Waterworks. Then came the park’s own roller coaster of a year, 1991. It started as the Arrow mine train Adventure Express, themed to a scene of Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom, opens in Flying Dutchman’s place on the border between Adventure Village and Oktoberfest. While the park opened the steel coaster with much celebration, a turn of events would leave a black mark on the park. June 9th beginning at 8 pm, a 20 year old man enters the fountain in Oktoberfest to retrieve a hat. Unbeknownst to him, a short in the electric water pump had electrified the water, shocking him as well as one of his rescuers to death. An hour later, an intoxicated woman boarded Flight Commander, but was able to flip out of her seat after becoming unconscious, causing her to fall to her death. The day would forever be remembered by the park as Black Sunday. This would be Kings Entertainment’s last year with the park.
During the offseason before 1992, Paramount Communications sought to buy out Kings Island, its sister parks Kings Dominion and Carowinds, along with Canada’s Wonderland and Marriot’s Great America to create a new series of parks, and thus, Paramount Parks are created. This would go on to affect a ride in the works for 1993. In Hanna-Barbera land, the indoor Phantom’s Theater, with a price tag of $3.5 million, opens. The rest of the three-quarter million dollar upgrade to the area includes Scooby Zoom (a small steel coaster), Enchanted Theater, and other rides.
1993 was the pivotal year in which the Paramount brand made itself known. Kings Island sought Arrow Dynamics once again to build another coaster, trying another time with, what was then, the improved suspended design as Arrow re-worked its design and successfully opened many since the Bat. Initially going to be called Thunder Road, Paramount upped the ante in throwing in the name Top Gun, after the hit movie. In fact, John DeCuir, set designer for the movie, was hired to design the station and Top Gun became a blockbuster in every sense of the word. Paramount went further in naming Columbia Palace in Rivertown WINGS Diner, Busytown Grill replaces Quickdraw’s Café, and German Bier Gardens becomes Oktoberfest Gardens. There were two big removals as well, one being the Lion Safari and monorail, the other being the sale of alcohol, which didn’t go over well. This was all part of a prior undertaking by Viacom to purchase Paramount Parks.
Paramount returned with another big attraction as the Days of Thunder motion simulator opened between the Racer’s turnarounds in 1994, utilizing huge projection screens and motion seats to engulf riders in the action. Lion Safari is removed from the Adventure Village area, Preston T’ Tuckers Roadside Café opens across from Vortex, and Scrappy’s Slide and Sunshine Turnpike see their last season. Alcohol returns to the park as well. In 1995, Nickolodeon Splat City is added as an extension of Hanna-Barbera Land, including a kids play area, a new stage, and a water play area. Meanwhile in Adventure Village, a sky coaster called Drop Zone opened. Flight Commander also closes after this year. Then came 1996, another year where Kings Island would get another ‘coaster-first’. Outer Limits: Flight of Fear opens behind Racer as the world’s first Linear Induction Motor launched coaster (along with Kings Dominion’s), blasting trains from a stand-still to 54 miles per hour in 4 seconds. From there, a labyrinth of twisted track, known as the spaghetti bowl, includes 4 inversions, dozens of curves and spiral drops, all enclosed in darkness so guests can’t see much and anticipate the action. The ride was so awe inspiring, that the US Navy and even NASA looked in on the project. Additionally in 1996, the XS Raceway go kart track opens in Adventure Village just behind King Cobra, and to accommodate the path to Flight of Fear and to add new trains, Racer has the brake run extended and took away the final bunny hill on each side.
In 1997, the park celebrated its 25th anniversary in a big way. They decided to renovate and expand Waterworks to 30 acres, creating the biggest water park in the region. With that came a giant wave pool and kids area. Drop Zone, the park’s skycoaster, is renamed Xtreme Skyflyer. This year would be the last for Skylab as it only operates for half the season. In 1998, Hannah-Barbera land received a huge make-over, renovating much of the current rides with new paint and sprucing up the area. Among the changes were the addition of Scooby Doo’s Ghoster Coaster; a Capiro Batflyer suspended coaster, Yogi’s Sky Tours, and Atom Ant’s Airways. Skylab is finally removed this season while Waterworks saw another addition in the form of Wipeout Beach, a surfing experience located by the wave pool. In FX Theater, the Days of Thunder film is replaced with James Bond 007: License to Thrill.
1999 was part of a process that was to help Kings Island send off the 20th century with a bang. The big focus for this and next year was Adventure Village’s transformation to the Paramount Action Zone. Two big rides helped to expand the area and anchor in the new theme. The first was Face/Off, a Vekoma inverted boomerang which sported new trains that seat riders back to back so they face each other during the ride, with two 140 ft lift hills and 3 inversions, taken forwards and backwards. The second and more impressive ride added was Drop Zone, which was built as the world’s tallest gyro drop, hauling riders up to 315 ft before letting them plunge back to earth. XS Raceway was renamed to Days of Thunder and this marked the final season of the Antique Cars Rivertown station (the Coney Mall station was still used). That year also spawned something that would dwarf 1999’s additions, for another wooden monster worthy of the Beast’s reputation was in the works. A wooden crate was spotted in the park just waiting to burst open. Clearing and enough lumber to supply a hardware store were spotted in the area once inhabited by the Lion Safari.
Finally, 2000 hit and in the off season since 1999, a huge wooden coaster graced the park’s skyline. Son of Beast was officially unleashed and upon its opening, it destroyed all previous wooden records. It stood 218 ft tall with a 214 ft drop, the tallest for woodies, which meant it would fly at the bottom of that drop at a scorching 78 mph, being the fastest wooden coaster. It was, however, made so that Beast still retained its length record as Son was built 400 ft shy of the record. Along with two helices which take a few elements from the Beast’s design, the most fascinating feature of the course was something never attempted on a wood coaster since the 1800’s, a 119 ft vertical loop just after the mid-course brake run. It took the concept of a wooden coaster and mutated it to something no one had ever seen before. Also that year, Kings Mills Log Flume ran its last circuits in its current name. Waterworks gets a special season pass holders entrance adjacent to the parking lot, Ghoster Coaster receives new cars, Beastie receives seat belts, and perhaps the biggest trend to catch on in the park arrives in October as Fearfest begins as an annual event, being an up-charge to park admission.
Kings Island began the 2001 by renaming Splat City into Nickelodeon Central. Kings Mills Log Flume becomes the Wild Thornberry’s River Adventure the only part of Rivertown to be incorporated into the new kids section, which would start its award winning ways this year with the Golden Ticket Award for best kid’s area. It would carry that reputation for the next 6 years. Rugrats Runaway Reptar, the first Vekoma junior inverted coaster is also added. Flight of Fear was the new name of the indoor launch coaster as the Outer Limits name was dropped along with changing the overhead restraints to lap bars from complaints of “head-banging”. In FX Theater, 7th Portal replaces James Bond, and King Cobra sees its final season with the park spotting bad steel quality and lack of parts from the defunct Togo. Near the end of the season on a rainy day, the Beast encountered an accident where the rain soaked the skid brakes so much, which were already worn from years of use, that one of the incoming trains hit a train in the station at 5 mph sending some riders to the hospital with minor injuries. Also in light of 2002, the Gold Pass is introduced with some benefits the standard pass doesn’t have including a fenced off area of 1000 spaces in the parking lot for convenient walking distance to the main gate. Kenton’s Cove Keelboat Canal also has its last season.
As 2002 arrived, the park found it necessary to replace the Keelboats with Tomb Raider: The Ride. The ride would be yet another first for the park, introducing the world to Huss’ Giant Top Spin, capable of carrying 77 riders in an enclosed and highly themed attraction based on the summer blockbuster. King Cobra and Phantom Theater are dismantled throughout the season while Vortex gets new paint. Beast’s skid brakes are replaced with the standard brake fins and magnetic brakes with a few trims added through the course including on the first two drops, the covered brake run, and just before the helix. On July 16th, a testing train on Top Gun smashed into a wayward supply truck at about midcourse, destroying the first three cars in the train. The track is looked over and Top Gun runs with a single train for the remainder of the season. 2003 introduced two new rides.
Replacing Phantom’s Theater was Scooby Doo and the Haunted Castle, which kept the track of Phantom but with Mystery Machine themed cars and a new feature of the ride utilizing a laser tag style game. In King Cobra’s place stood the world’s first Huss Giant Frisbee, Delirium, swinging and spinning riders 137 ft high while flinging them at 68 mph, making the ride the 2nd fastest ride in the park. A ride named Launch Pad works at Flight Commander’s old spot for this season only, Spongebob 3D is added to FX Theater, the Royal Fountain is completely rebuilt, Son of Beast receives padded lap bars, and metal detectors are added to the front entrance. FearFest is reduced in price to be included in park admission as well. Also this year, the park’s sign in front is destroyed by high winds and is replaced in the off-season.
In 2004, the park first proudly proclaimed Beast’s 25th anniversary, giving the trains new 3d logos and claw marks to the front cars of each train. The park turned to refurbish the water park again, turning it into Crocodile Dundee’s Boomerang Bay. Under this new name, all the attractions are renamed. The two biggest slides are FasTrack’s transformation to Coolangatta Racers, which consists of 4 slides that spiral outwards before meeting for a final few hills before finishing. The addition of a Pro-Slide Tornado slide christened Tasmanian Typhoon was placed at the far end of Boomerang Bay beyond the wave pool. Paramount goes more into the Hollywood theme with new shows and theming to reflect that change. Paramount Theater receives a facelift and some upgrades, Face/Off’s trains get new restraints, Drop Zone gets some extra seats courtesy of Kings Dominion’s Volcano: The Blast Coaster, and Days of Thunder attempts a return to FX Theater, but to no avail as attendance for it dwindled. Finally, Flying Eagles days are numbered and Antique Cars takes its few final laps as clearing begins for 2005’s new ride. The Kings Island Campground is also closed.
Halfway through the decade, the Hollywood treatment continued as Premier Rides were brought in to build Italian Job: Stunt Track. This family launched coaster featured Mini Cooper S styled cars, complete with doors, windshields and sound systems which flew through a course which drew upon the movie from which it was themed with 2 launches at 40 mph to propel riders. A midcourse stop included the affects of a menacing armed helicopter and barrels exploding with water and fire. Happy Days Diner replaces Preston T. Tucker’s Roadside Café in Coney Mall, while Graeters, Starbucks and Chick-Fil-A open as new dining options in the park, and Launch Pad returns for one last year. A few rides in Hannah-Barbera Land were due to close after this year including Scooby Doo’s Ghoster Coaster due to low capacity, and a new Skyline location on International Street opened later in the year. In the off-season, Kings Island surprises all with the return of Winterfest for the first time in over a decade.
The latter half of the decade started in 2006, which would be pivotal in Kings Island’s future. Nickelodeon Universe now occupied the entire kids area, once Hannah-Barbera Land and Nickelodeon Central with new rides added in Phantom Flyers, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Plankton’s Plunge. However, it might have been in vain. Later that season, Cedar Fair, a park chain which included parks like Cedar Point, Valleyfair!, and Knott’s Berry Farm, bought the Paramount Parks for $1.25 billion. The bad part of the season came for Son of Beast. On July 9th, a vertical timber splinters on Son of Beast in the first helix section, which caused the track to buckle under the train sending 27 riders to the hospital with minor to serious injuries, resulting in its closure for the rest of the season. This would prove to be the start of many problems to come for the giant wood coaster. Winterfest is cancelled, while season passes were worked to be incorporated into Cedar Fair including the Maxx Pass which would work at all Cedar Fair parks, including the newly acquired Paramount Parks and Gold Passes are cancelled.
In 2007, the Paramount part of the name is removed as the park goes back to simply called Kings Island starting the 35th anniversary of the park. Within the chain, Geauga Lake closed in 2006 which resulted in rides being moved to other parks. Kings Island would benefit from this in the ride formally known as X-Flight, a Vekoma Flying Dutchman coaster. The ride was repainted from green to red and, after placed behind Flight of Fear, and was known from then on as Firehawk, which bolstered the area behind Racer to be known as X-Base, a new section to the park. The Gold Pass returns upon popular demand, Racer backwards is turned around to forwards, and Son of Beast reopens on July 4th with noticeable differences. New, lighter trains were added as it was found that the old trains were too heavy (one of the causes of the accident). Due to this, the loop had to be removed and a small s-curve now rests in its place. The trains, made by Gerstlauer, were that of the defunct Hurricane of Myrtle Beach Pavilion, which closed the previous year to make way for redevelopment. FearFest is renamed Halloween Haunt with more haunted houses, shows, and characters added to make a bigger impact.
2008 was mostly uneventful in terms of rides. Nothing new was built. However, the last remnants of the Paramount era were now gone. All the rides that had Paramount affiliations were renamed, including Top Gun into Flight Deck, Drop Zone into Drop Tower, Invertigo replace Face/Off, Crypt now hung in Tomb Raider’s place, and Italian Job became Backlot Stunt Coaster. Evel Kneivel’s son, Robbie, came to Kings Island to break his father’s record by jumping 24 Coke Zero trucks on a motorcycle. On July 4th, Rick Wallenda walked a 5/8” cable, first from a crane to the top of the Eiffel Tower, then from there to the front entrance across the Royal Fountains and back. However, the season didn’t stop there. Throughout the season, construction took place which included the draining of Swan Lake near Rivertown with concrete structures, footers and red track stretching out towards Crypt and off passed the train.
In 2009, the new ride was revealed, though, it was already hard to miss. Diamondback burst into the park scene from B&M, their first coaster at the park. The red, yellow and white hyper coaster stood as the tallest coaster in the park, rising 230 ft high and dropping 215 ft at speeds of 80 miles per hour along a 10 drop, mile long course including the a splash down at the end. Vortex is repainted again and Beast gets its double helix renovated with re-tracking. In June of that year, Son of Beast closes again from a woman sustaining head injuries during the ride. The monstrous wooden coaster remains idol and is even removed from the map. No word is leaked as to its eventual opening, if ever. Ending the first decade of the 21st century, Planet Snoopy is introduced to replace Nickelodeon Universe, with all rides receiving new paint jobs and names to go along with the Peanuts theme. The most noticeable difference is Scooby Doo and the Haunted Castle transformed into Boo Blasters on Boo Hill and Fairly Odd Coaster, formally the Beastie, is painted sky blue and named Woodstock Express. Runaway Reptar’s green supports are painted orange and made into Flying Aces. For 2011, the park announces the new flat ride, Windseeker, a Modinal Windseeker which will raise 64 riders up to 301 ft. and spin riders around at a 45 degree angle, kind of like Zephyr on steroids. Coney Mall is renovated with new brick paving, new signs, lighting and paint. In addition, a new walk through up-charge attraction, Dinosaurs Alive!, is created behind Racer. FX Theater adds a Dinosaur 3D up-charge attraction in coordination with Dinosaurs Alive. A line skipping program known as Fast Lane starts midway through the season, which guests pay an additional fee to bypass the lines of popular attractions. In 2012, the park celebrates its 40th anniversary by doubling the water park, adding a second, larger wave pool, upgrading the lazy river to action packed Splash River, a new entrance for all guests, pass holders and ticket holders alike, and amenities such as volleyball courts, more cabanas, and a new path to circle behind the original portion. Fast Lane expands to 24 rides as well. Later that summer, on July 27th, the park announced it extinguished options to save Son of Beast and opted to demolish the ride which was replaced by a inverted roller coaster called Banshee that opened for the 2014 season. Improvements to Action Zone were hinted to the Son of Beast’s demise and a wooden roller coaster called Mystic Timbers that opened for the 2017 season.
In its long life, Kings Island has always been a place daring to try new and adventurous things, despite the risk of failure. Had it not been for them, there might not be much of a roller coaster or amusement park industry left for anyone to enjoy today. Whether its the grandiose theming of International Street of Planet Snoopy, to the sensational thrills of Beast, Vortex and Diamondback, and the simple joys guests get from a day at the park, Kings Island will remain an influential force as long as it exists.
Present Roller Coasters (15)
|Adventure Express||Arrow Dynamics||Mine Train||1991||Open|
|Backlot Stunt Coaster||Premier Rides||Launched||2005||Open|
|Banshee||Bolliger & Mabillard||Inverted||2014||Open|
|Beast||Al Collins, Jeff Gremke||Wooden||1979||Operating|
|Diamondback||Bolliger & Mabillard||Hyper Coaster||2009||Open|
|Flight of Fear||Premier Rides||Indoor||1996||Open|
|Flying ACE Aerial Chase||Vekoma||Inverted||2001||Open|
|Great Pumpkin Coaster||E&F Miler Industries||Kiddie||1992||Open|
|Mystic Timbers||Great Coasters International||Wooden||2017||Operating|
|Racer||John C. Allen||Wooden||1972||Open|
|Woodstock Express||John C. Allen||Wooden||1972||Operating|
Past Roller Coasters (6)
|Demon||Arrow Dynamics||Shuttle||1977||1987||Camden Park|
|Scooby's Ghoster Coaster||Caripro||Suspended||1998||2005||No|
|Son of Beast||Roller Coaster Corporation of America||Wooden||2000||2009||No|