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Ideal Build-Out: Kings Island


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Hey guys, I went ahead and sketched up my own "ideal build-out" of Kings Island. If you follow my Theme Park Tourist articles, I designed an ideal build-out of Disney's Hollywood Studios a few weeks ago. The purpose is basically to imagine your perfect version of the park - to balance it, theme it, and give it a stellar line-up of attractions. Of course, even in an ideal setting you want some sense of choices being realistically possible in terms of space and time and even budget, but is this a potential path for the park? Eh, probably not. It's just fun to think about. The direction I took the park mirrors my own interests and priorities, as you'd expect.

I won't go into exhaustive detail on the things that remain the same or only change slightly. Instead I labeled the things that are different.

First of all, I used the park's existing layout (and many of its themes) for the most part and divided it into seven themed lands: Tower Street, The Woods, Coney Park, X-Base, Seven Hills, Planet Snoopy, and The Grove. Some things barely even need mentioned, like Boo Blasters becoming "The Great Pumpkin Adventure" (a non-shooting dark ride), the return of the Tower Gardens, or that I've had trees planted almost everywhere (and definitely around Diamondback).

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The Woods (formerly Oktoberfest & Action Zone)

The Woods is a new, huge area created by combining Action Zone and Oktoberfest and more or less unifying it into a mythological forest. Guests enter The Woods from Tower Street by passing under a short tunnel of twisted vines. Within are three sub-sections differentiated only by their style.

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A German sub-section (occupying the space formerly its own land, Oktoberfest) contains The Curse of DarKastle 4-D motion-based dark ride cloned from Busch Gardens Williamsburg, with a new showbuilding constructed between The Racer and Flight of Fear. The ride's exterior - like Busch Gardens' - is a snowy German castle facade with antique brass towers that drip and mist in the sun.

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The ride is entered via an overgrown garden courtyard with a stone wolves statue in the center. While the exterior is just a facade, it gives a castle backdrop to the entire German sub-area (previously Oktoberfest).

Adventure Express remains but has been renamed Verlorenschiene, which means Lost Railway. Of course, it gets cosmetic upgrades and a new lease on life as a wild mine train through collapsing tunnels. Festhaus remains, but it contains an Oktoberfest-themed show. The building itself is covered in crawling vines (including the still-broken glockenspiel -- now part of a story) as part of the misty, dark atmosphere of The Woods. DarKastle exits into Der Marktplatz, a German-themed store with authentic German gifts and DarKastle merchandise. Hanks becomes Brezlen und Bier, serving fresh pretzels, pretzel sandwiches, and beer complete with a patio for relaxing.

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Rounding the corner is the second sub-section within the Woods, based on United Kingdom myths and legends. Delirium remains painted black and gray, placed inside a Stonehenge-type circle of standing, mossy rocks arranged around it. (Trying to think of a fitting rename for it... Deliria seemed like a nice twist, but is that too close to diarrhea? Somethin Druid-related? Mystic-related? Ideas?) Obviously Banshee remains, as does The Bat.

The third sub-section is a sort of exotic amalgamation of ancient worlds... Part Congo, part India, with misty jungle paths, toppled statues, broken pillars, and torches. Drop Tower is renamed Dyaus Fall, named after the Hindu god of the sky. The path leading to it is lined by broken pillars that progressively get taller and taller leading toward the massive 300-foot drop ride, which fades from stone grey on top to teal blue on the bottom.

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Invertigo is renamed CobRa, with a massive stone cobra right in the cobra roll acting as the ride's marquee and scaffolds built around the maroon-colored ride as if supporting an archaeological dig. The style of Chessington's Disk-O (above) gives a good idea of the stone serpent feeling I'd be going for.

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Obviously all paths lead to TOMB RAIDER: The Ride. Hey, it's my park. This, of course, would be a more traditional Top Spin, not the Giant variety, but otherwise a very similar (if not improved) experience.

Coney Park (formerly Coney Mall)

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Of course, the first step in Coney Park is a complete face lift. Racer is redone in its red-white-and-blue color scheme, with crisp white paint. It's Coney Park's main visual draw, just as it was in the 1970s. The coaster and all of the land's flat rides receive matching incandescent bulbs strung across paths and in trees. The idea is to turn Coney Mall into a turn-of-the-century boardwalk-style land with a reverent and romanticized style.

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Backlot Stunt Coaster is replaced with Steeplechase, a Zamperla launched MotoCoaster with horse-shaped trains. The coaster launches from Backlot's launch area (obviously new track and infrastructure) and immediately blasts up and around (just like the new Coney Island's Steeplechase) and begins a winding, surfing race. After an over-banked turn over the formerly-Happy-Days-restaurant, the train hits a final boost that propels it up and around the ride, where it re-uses Backlot's splashdown style and hits the brakes.

The ride is, of course, all white and strung with the same chaser lights as the rest of Coney Mall, and all the trees around it sparkle and glow at night. In other words, it would have the really beautiful, classic look of the coaster at Luna Park, but amid trees and gardens instead of a parking lot. I think it's a really nice replacement for Backlot, and one that doesn't require the intense effect maintenance.

The other new addition, replacing Vortex (sorry guys) is Kings Mill Run, a launched Zierer family coaster. Yes, based on Verbolten. This coaster departs from Vortex's former station down a slope and meanders through the tree-lined paths, eventually stumbling across an old-Ohio covered bridge. The train passes over the bridge, then comes into view of the Kings Powder Company, a large, brick-facade manufacturing plant.

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The train launches up and into the building, which is on fire. The massive showbuilding for the coaster is dark with the trains racing around flames, fog blasts, and old industrial manufacturing machines.

The train comes to a stop in an attic full of creaking, flame-glowing wood as a final burst of fog signals a 20-foot vertical drop track. The coaster then advances out of the building and hits a second launch, bursting up into a massive over-banked turn (about where Vortex's Batwing is) then flies down to the water, splashing in a lagoon and spraying water onto burning trees (visible from the path... sort of the ride's signature moment), passing under the covered bridge from the ride's intro, blasting into an Immelmann, then racing through The Racer's structure for a turnaround where Action Theatre once stood.

X-Base

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Now its own land, X-Base gets a Chance Unicoaster called Mission Control wherein riders can control how their ride spins and flips along the flat-ride circuit. Firehawk is officially branded Operation: Firehawk to play up the actually-well-designed storyline of it being human flight technology testing. Maintaining the barbed-wire fencing (separating the entry path from the flat ride) and the incredible blue lighting at night, I think this land would really tell a full story. Add in a few P.A. announcements paging government officials and a few flashing red off-limits lights and you've got a stellar land. And yes, I added a bathroom.

Seven Hills (formerly Rivertown)

Named after Cincinnati's nickname, this early Ohio settlement along the river gets its theme restored and touched up, with woodcarving and local craftsmen selling their wares. No Three Point Challenge. Sorry. Only big change would be Mistrie Mining Company, a 3-D interactive dark ride modeled after Wonderland's Guardian. It would be a family coaster re-using the queue for The Crypt (obviously redesigned as a mining operation) to tell the story of Mister Moses Mistrie, whose mining operation was supposedly on cursed land (not a stretch either, given that building's history). Given that the drop-track is utilized on Kings Mill Run, Mistrie Mine instead features a motion-simulating finale leading to a backwards dive swooping dive out of the ride building.

The Grove (formerly Picnic Grove)

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Simply built in the area formerly used for the Picnic Grove (and retaining a few shelters for special events) this wooded land features three much-loved rides: a Ferris Wheel, the Flying Eagles, and a Parachute Drop. All are designed in vintage style. The Grove is supposed to just be a sort of enchanted-looking glen - peaceful, and vintage, sort of removed from the hustle and bustle of the park, all with white lights and simple paint. There's also a Pavilion-style restaurant that can be rented out for special events.

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Conclusions

You guys know I'm a sucker for immersion, story, and theming. What I've done here, I hope, is to give the park distinct and identifiable lands and settings, most of which are rooted in Ohio history. Like a Disney park, the lands are of idealized and romanticized times and places, with rides being logical and telling stories, even if only through their atmosphere and surrounding elements.

Is it perfect? No. But what it does do is refresh two coasters with more fitting and modern replacements (Vortex -> Kings Mill Run; Backlot -> Steeplechase), add four dark rides all of different styles (Tomb Raider, Great Pumpkin Adventure, Mistrie Mining Company, DarKastle) and bring the park five new, fresh flat rides (Tomb Raider, Ferris Wheel, Flying Eagles, Parachute Drop, Mission Control). Actually some pretty modest changes for an ideal build-out. Kings Island is already a well rounded park. I just added emphasis on the things I enjoy.

I did not turn Kings Island into a Cedar Point, and I didn't want to. There is no Wing Rider over the entrance and no giga coaster. Nothing wrong with having them, nothing wrong with wanting them. My focus was on themed lands, family rides, and atmosphere. Yes, to the extreme. But still.

I know these things are hard to visualize, so let me know if you have questions, and definitely tell me what you think!

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This is incredible. I love what you've done. I've always been a fan of theming. On my trip to Silver Dollar City a couple weeks ago I noticed how the entire park was very frontier-ish. I love the fact that your trying to do the same with Kings Island.

However being more realistic, I believe Cedar Fair to be an Amusement Park operator, not a Theme Park operator, that is, they have very light themes at all of their rides and attractions. So I doubt we'll see this, but it is still a great idea and I love fact that you care about atmosphere of the park and distinct area theming.

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I'd be happy if they just fixed up Tower Gardens, but you have a great layout.

I'm so used to Theme Park theming now, I don't know what I'd do if KI got too fancy with the decorations.

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You should be an architect or designer.

Definitely not an engineer. Your obvious great talents lie in the domain of the former.

And you should have a great staff to advise and steer you.

I'm completely serious.

In another day and time, I'd have suggested Imagineer.

Zamperla. Zierer. Cloning another chain's rides. And what is soon to be a multi-use residential development. Unpronounceable and unrememorable German ride name--for the Midwest.

So many other great ideas. Such artistry.

Yep.

Designer.

Architect.

Not bean counter. Or engineer.

Your great prospects would quickly be snuffed.

May you win the Irish Sweepstakes, inherit a great fortune or become the favored employee of Matt Ouimet.

But please forget Zamperla.

At least.

One modern day Luna Park is sad enough.

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I'm done with Vortex. After the piercing headache yesterday I'm out. I've rode in the 5th car and so on but it doesn't matter to me. It was 90 minute wait for most rides yesterday but Vortex was a ten minute wait if that. It's lost it's popularity and everyone knows it hurts. Replace it but replace it with something awesome like the maverick or another great coaster.

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It was 90 minute wait for most rides yesterday but Vortex was a ten minute wait if that. It's lost it's popularity

Line length is not an indicator of popularity. Firehawk often has a line the same length as or longer than Banshee, but that does not mean that it is more popular.

In Vortex's case, it is first a capacity machine that moves people through quickly, which helps keep the line from being longer than it is. Second, Vortex has an extremely short physical queue compared to other major rides, which means that many a person in the general public sees a line spilling out into the midway and assumes that it is over an hour when it is really only 20 to 30 minutes.

See also Adventure Express, another ride to which both of the above apply (and there, a line out to the midway is really only about 15 to 20 minutes).

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I'm done with Vortex. After the piercing headache yesterday I'm out. I've rode in the 5th car and so on but it doesn't matter to me. It was 90 minute wait for most rides yesterday but Vortex was a ten minute wait if that. It's lost it's popularity and everyone knows it hurts. Replace it but replace it with something awesome like the maverick or another great coaster.

90 minute waits yesterday? I'm not sure where your getting that from. We waited 15 minutes for Express 30 minutes for Banshee, walked on The Bat, Racer 10 mins, Vortex closer to 20 minutes. Losing it's popularity please!

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This is incredible. I love what you've done. I've always been a fan of theming. On my trip to Silver Dollar City a couple weeks ago I noticed how the entire park was very frontier-ish. I love the fact that your trying to do the same with Kings Island.

However being more realistic, I believe Cedar Fair to be an Amusement Park operator, not a Theme Park operator, that is, they have very light themes at all of their rides and attractions. So I doubt we'll see this, but it is still a great idea and I love fact that you care about atmosphere of the park and distinct area theming.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Took the words right out of my mouth. Anyways, I couldn't see Cedar Fair putting so much theming into something like this. But i too credit you on your thoughtfulness for the atmosphere of the park.

Real enthusiasts care.

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  • 7 months later...

Can't believe I only just stumbled upon this. I saw your DHS mock-up a few months back and was incredibly impressed, and this too blew my mind.

Although there are small things here-and-there I disagree with, overall I'm a giant fan of this concept. I especially like The Woods and how it marries Action Zone and Oktoberfest so perfectly. I also like smaller details, like the Stone Henge set-up around Delirium or the reference to the local area in Kings Mill Run.

The map makes it a bit hard to tell, but are Congo Falls, Xtreme Skyflyer, and White Water Canyon still around, or were the three rides axed?

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^ Thanks for stumbling upon this. Somehow I had completely missed it as well. Fantastic work, yellowcorn. There's nothing I can say that others haven't already. If only you could be in a position to make it happen. I mean really all we need is for an independent company to buy KI out. That's not too far fetched, is it?

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^ Thanks for stumbling upon this. Somehow I had completely missed it as well. Fantastic work, yellowcorn. There's nothing I can say that others haven't already. If only you could be in a position to make it happen. I mean really all we need is for an independent company to buy KI out. That's not too far fetched, is it?

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It would be interesting to see the International Street shops get some names that match their architecture, and flags from the appropriate countries for each building. For example, divide the Emporium into a few different stores instead of one big one and name one store something like Munchen Gifts, or Rhineland Souvenirs, to match the German architecture of the building. Maybe rename the Glassblower shop to Cristalería Glass Art, as it was called in the seventies. The word cristalería is Spanish for glassware, and would blend well with the Spanish/Latin American architecture. I believe they had a decorative carved candle shop in the Spanish building, where someone dips a candle into colored wax and carves it into different patterns and designs. It would be interesting to see something on those lines return, however it's unlikely.

In Rivertown, an area themed to the "river town" of Cincinnati in the 1800's era, could get a shop named something on the lines of old Cincinnati. Coney Mall could use some classic midway flats, and maybe some popcycle shaped trees and shrubs, to pay homage to the Ginkgo Trees that were at Coney Island. Those are a few ways the park can improve their theming without going all out like Disney.

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