Kings Island, located outside of Cincinnati, Ohio, opened its gates for the firsts time on April 29, 1972. It was built as a replacement park for Coney Island and most of the rides were moved. The new location was chosen because the former Coney Island park was subject to frequent flooding.
Since opening day, the centerpiece of the park is the one-third scale replica of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.
It can be seen from many areas of the park and is always a great reference point in case you get turned around.
The main attraction on opening day in 1972 was Racer, a twin-track wooden roller coaster. To this day it continues to provide a great classic coaster ride with plenty of thrills and negative G air time.
Since we were here in the fall, all the Halloween festivities were in full swing and the park was also prepared for their annual Halloween Haunt event.
Because of that, crowds were heavier than usual. It didn't help that it was unseasonably warm for this time of year. The high was in the lower 80s.
Kings Island is a well laid out park with lots of character and well maintained landscaping.
Everywhere you turn, there is a nice view...but we really came for the rides and roller coasters. The views were just an added bonus.
Our day started out with early rides on Diamondback before the park opened to the general public. This is King Island's Bolliger & Mabillard (B&M) hyper coaster (230 feet tall) and is worth taking a trip to the park to ride. One unique feature is the splashdown water effect at the end of the ride.
We were also privileged to get early ride time on the world's longest wooden roller coaster, The Beast. At nearly 1 1/2 miles long and covering over 35 densely forested acres, it was one of the fastest and tallest coasters ever built when it opened in 1979.
When it was nearly time for the park to open, we ran into a park employee named Brian who is also a coaster enthusiast. He was very helpful in guiding us to the fastest route to Firehawk and Flight of Fear, two of the coasters that are traditionally difficult to get rides on. (Thanks Brian!)
Firehawk is a flying coaster made by Vekoma and has some great flying time as well as some phenomenal ground hugging elements. Those elements make it a good ride that every coaster enthusiast should experience at least once.
Flight of Fear was the first linear induction motor (LIM) launched coaster and takes you through a great indoor dark adventure. King's Island has done a great job of maintaining the theming of this ride over the past 15 years since its opening.
Vortex is a classic steel looping coaster made by Arrow Dynamics. They revolutionized the steel coaster industry with their looping and corkscrew coasters which paved the way for the modern steel coasters that are being manufactured today. We weren't able to ride it during this trop but look forward to the experience next time we visit.
We were at the park for a coaster enthusiast's event which included a walk-back behind the fences to see Diamondback and The Beast up. Here are some pictures from a perspective that most people don't get to see.
This is looking up through the structure of The Beast's first lift hill.
Here is the first drop of 135 feet before the train enters the first of three tunnels.
Here is the train at over 60 MPH right before it enters the first tunnel.
Here's another nice action shot around one of the many turns. The amount of wood and structure in this coaster is massive and very impressive. It certainly lives up to its name of The Beast.
We also got some nice shots of Diamondback and an almost head-on view of the first 215 foot drop.
Our tour was also timed nicely so were able to get some great shots of the K.I. and Miami Valley Railroad train. The two steam engine trains are powered by propane and are full scale replicas of the famous 1800's locomotive, The General.
The new ride for 2011 is a 301' swing called Windseeker. While it sounds daunting, it is tame enough for anybody in the family to ride who is over 52 inches tall. Can you get past your fear of heights? Fortunately I did.
If you are a lover of dark rides, then Boo Blasters on Boo Hill is a must ride attraction. This is a newer version manufactured by Sally Corporation.
As it drew later in the day, we headed over to Festhaus.
We won VIP passes to the wrestling show being held there, Half Pint Brawlers. It is professional style wrestling featuring midgets.
We had front row seats. You couldn't get any closer to the action without being in the ring.
With the intensity they had while wrestling, I didn't want to be in the ring.
...although they didn't always stay in the ring.
While we were enjoying Half Pint Brawlers, nighttime crept up on us and Halloween Haunt was in full swing. There was still plenty to do if haunts aren't for you. Since the park was so incredibly busy, the lines for the haunts were extremely long so we had to pass on all of them this time.
Invertigo, an inverted boomerang coaster manufactured by Vekoma, lit up the night sky. Well, actually the reflection of the lights on the bright yellow track lit up the sky.
Windseeker was also lighting up the night sky. You can only imagine the feeling of soaring through the sky in the dark.
Unfortunately it was time to wrap up our trip so we could get on the road to our next stop.
Kings Island is owned by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company where each park has a unique and separate character. The staff is generally friendly and helpful and the parks are clean and well maintained. The food and drink prices are higher than average but overall a day at the park is a good value, especially if you have a season pass or do your homework and get a discount off of gate admission prices.
We want to thank the staff of Kings Island for a great, enjoyable day!
Here is a video of our trip.