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So, this year is my 22nd birthday and my best friend and I LOVE theme parks. We've both been to CP, so we decided to do something new and give KI a try.

What I'm wanting to know mostly is if yall have any tips for us newcomers! Basically, tips for navigating, where to start, dining, rides we shouldn't miss, etc...

Also we know we are getting Fast Lane, so we're wondering if we should go all in and get Fast Lane plus or not?

Any help is awesome! Thank yall!

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Welcome to KIC! To start off, Saturdays are usually the busiest, so try to go during a weekday if you can. Most popular rides at KI are probably Diamondback, Banshee and Beast, and I think all three are on Fast Lane Plus (see EDIT below). I say ride as much as you can and have a great day! My personal favorites are Banshee, Beast, Vortex, Firehawk, The Bat, Drop Tower, Delirium and Adventure Express. If you are staying until close (usually 10 PM), make sure to ride Adventure Express, Banshee and Beast at night as those provide a whole new experience in the dark! Although I usually go clockwise around the park, starting with Action Zone (the main thrill ride area, located to the left of the front gate), some will advise going to Flight of Fear and Firehawk first as these lines get longer as the day goes on. One of the newest rides this year is Woodstock's Gliders, which is like the Lake Erie Eagles at Cedar Point if you have ridden those (I have not) and they are a ton of fun! As for where to eat, two food locations that are unique to the Greater Cincinnati area are LaRosa's Pizza and Skyline Chili. Also, Chicken Shack has amazing Texas Toast!

Also, if you don't mind me asking, which ride(s) are you most looking forward to?

 

I apologize for the large amount of text, but I just want to give as much information as possible!

 

EDIT: I just checked the website, and Diamondback is NOT on Fast Lane Plus, however, Banshee and Beast are. 

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Welcome to KIC! (again :P)

Keep in mind that if you're used to CP's consistently long lines on their major rides, you generally won't find that at KI. Most rides get no more than a 30 minute wait on weekdays, if you can do weekdays. Banshee, in particular, moves people through extremely fast (even when they're not doing power hours) and often will not have more than a 15 to 20 minute wait on weekdays. The only major exceptions are Firehawk, Flight of Fear (both due to low capacity; hit these right after the park opens for walk-ons) and Diamondback (due to inexplicably slow crews last year and this year; do this one during morning ERT if you have a Platinum Pass).

Unless you're going on a Saturday, I advise not pre-purchasing Fast Lane. Wait until you get to the park, then see the lines for yourself and decide if it's worth the extra money. On weekdays, it often isn't.

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 Just as said above. 

  If your going on a week day, no need for Fast Lane. If you want to ride everything in the park. Go to Flight of Fear ,Firehawk, and Back Lot Stunt Coaster your first 3 rides.

  Once you get those 3 out of the way, it's an easy day to get the rest.

  If it's a Saturday,try those 3 first, if the lines get long, buy the pass if you want to reride them.

  Diamondback can produce long wait times, with even a moderate queue. Banshee, with half the switchbacks open is probably around 45-60 mins. If Vortex has a line outside it's queue it's maybe 20. The Beast is another that can eat up some time, but even on the heaviest of days it's about 75 -90 mins. 

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Well, for my advice, I'll go on a ride-by-ride basis for all the major (adult) rides. I have limited experience with most of the kids rides and have never been to the waterpark, so I'll leave those off (mostly):

 

ROLLER COASTERS

 

The Beast

-Incredible Night Rides. Even if the wait is an hour or more and you lack Fast Lane Plus, you may still want to get in line and stick this one out at night.

-The very front has awesome and legendary views. The rear car has incredible intensity. For extra smoothness, try a middle seat of a car.

-Keep your hands down during the drops- these tunnels can actually get your fingers if you are tall enough!

-Don't expect much airtime- this wooden monster is about high speeds and wooden shakiness through the woods, not airtime hills or sharp turns.

 

Banshee

-If you're doing a night ride other than Beast, this is probably the other great choice.

-It would probably be a good idea NOT to hit this at rope drop- as the newest roller coaster and just 1 year old, this is where the crowds will mostly go at opening. It also has ERT so they would already be there.

-A very fast, forceful, and intense coaster

-Row 1 has awesome views, and is generally considered one of the best seats on the ride. If you are a larger person, try rows 4 or 5.

-Loose articles are NOT allowed and there are no bins for this ride. You'll need to get a locker or just dump whatever you're carrying at the entrance and hope it isn't stolen.

-It's an invert like Raptor, but larger and with a very different layout, and with trains with restraints more like Gatekeeper. If that helps anything.

 

Diamondback

-I'd also advise not going straight here first, as a lot of the non-Banshee crowd would go here and that's still a big crowd. Again, it ALSO has ERT.

-TONS of floater air over most of the hills- especially from the back. I'd suggest riding from there. Front seat would also be a option for the view. Due to the V-seats, you could also do the 2nd row of the 1st car and get mostly the same view though with less wait.

-Be sure to watch the splashdown even if you are a non-rider. That wave of water is HUGE.

 

Vortex

-"OH NOEZ THE LINE IS SPILLING OUT TO JUKE BOX DINER IT MUST BE 2 HOURS"...actually if the crew is doing a decent job, it'll be 30 minutes or less from that point. This ride has great capacity and not that many Ques inside the station.

-The best seats are usually considered 5-1 and 7-1. There is much debate over which is actually better.
-However, unless you have short legs, I'd advise against ANY rear seat. It gets very cramped.

-Also: WATCH YOUR HEAD/NECK (depending on how tall you are). This ride has some jerky transitions. But if you can handle it, it has some great forces too and even some air from select seats on the first drop.

-The closest comparison with a CP ride would be Corkscrew, but Vortex is on a MUCH larger scale with 2x the inversions.

 

Firehawk

-Ride this first. No one really comes to it early on, but once they get there, the low capacity results in a quick 2-hour wait.

-The flying sensation of this coaster can be a bit weird feeling but cool at the same time. (I love how the loop feels on this)

 

Flight of Fear

-After riding Firehawk, hit this one next ASAP. For the same reasons. Thankfully it is right next door too.

-The Que line has awesome theming and even plays a movie depicting the ride's storyline while you wait. And it has Air Conditioning. Thus a long wait may actually be somewhat bearable here.

-Keep your head back during the 0-54mph launch. Or else the obvious will happen.

-One of the most violent and intense coasters at Kings Island, and all in the dark...unless you get a super rare lights-on ride for some reason. In which case enjoy the mindblow of how much track and supports are in there.

 

The Bat

-Another good ride to try if you don't have Fast Lane and need a ride with a low wait time- the long walk back keeps a lot of people from doing this one, and it does have good capacity to boot. It is also not on either Fast Lane or Plus.

-A short ride, lasting about 1 minute, but also a fast and intense one during said minute with high speeds and lots of swinging. Way more intense than Cedar Point's Iron Dragon.

 

The Racer

-As with Beast, try to avoid wheel seats here for more smoothness.

-This ride is MOODY. One day it can very smooth with great airtime, then a few days later super rough with no airtime.
-The ride can be used to gauge how crowded it is: are both sides running? If so, it's likely at least somewhat crowded.

-Red Racer is usually considered the smoother of the two, but with the moodiness, there are probably days that may not be true.

-Very similar to Blue Streak in concept, except 2 of them and they race like Gemini.

 

Invertigo

-The coaster located right next to the front gate, thus it gets a large crowd right at opening. Avoid it then and go to Firehawk/FOF instead.

-You may need to wait/shell out money for FL for this one though as its low capacity will probably hinder it all day and result in long lines.

-Very forceful, in fact probably the most forceful coaster in the entire park pulling 5.0 G's of force.

-As with Vortex, watch your head. Possibly even moreso here.

-Has a interesting face-to-face seating system. If you have friends and want to watch their faces, sit accordingly.

 

Adventure Express

-"OH NOEZ THE LINE IS SPILLING OUT AGAIN LIKE Vortex IT MUST BE 2 HOURS TOO..." Uhh, no. Same deal here- AE has high capacity and few Que lines as well, so a spillout usually just means 20 minutes or so of waiting.

-As another 3-row coaster, middle seats are smoother.

-The back car is a great one, IMO, for viewing the theming on the coaster.

-"NOW YOU WILL PAY..." BEWARE THE SUPER INTENSE ENDING!!! IT MAKE BEAST LOOK LIKE KITTEN IN COMPARISON!!!* (See Disclaimer at end of this post)

-It's a mine train like Cedar Creek Mine Ride, but is generally far preferred to that ride as it has more action and theming.

 

Backlot Stunt Coaster

-I would hit this ASAP after riding Firehawk and Flight of Fear, to beat the crowds to it, as it is another low capacity ride. This will really help you get in more rides later getting these 3 out of the way first.

-The launch and helix are more intense than you'd expect.

-The dark tunnel section is also somewhat intense.

-Yes, the fires are real. :P

-Has sharp turns and bunny hops along the way, which led a friend's parent who was with us to make comparisons to Maverick, calling this the "baby" Maverick. I can kinda see how the 2 would be somewhat similar...Maverick looks like it's 2x bigger and 10x crazier though.

 

NOTEWORTHY FLAT RIDES & WATER RIDES

Drop Tower: Scream Zone

-If you are scared of falling from 300 feet up straight down at 67mph...this may not be the ride for you.

-A somewhat decent way to guess the wait time- look at the Que, and count the full rows. Multiply by 10 minutes each. Not 100% accurate but kinda close.

 

Delirium

-Very similar to maXair at Cedar Point, but with a slightly shorter ride cycle. Other than that and its paintjob, it's pretty much the same exact ride.

 

WindSeeker

-Same as the CP version, save the KI one has had fewer issues since its debut and is so far the only WindSeeker to not get stuck. The views are very different though given it is another park.

 

Eiffel Tower

-Awesome views from 265 or 275 feet up depending on the weather.

-Wait time should not be too much, but you should save this for a lull period, or for after a meal while your stomach rests. It's a great relaxing attraction.

 

Congo Falls

-A great way to cool off on a hot day without much wait. Even on crowded days!

-It's just a basic splash boat ride, and is smaller than Snake River Falls. But for little to no wait on a hot day, can you say "no"?

 

White Water Canyon

-Another great way to cool off on a hot day- this one can get a line those days though. Thankfully, capacity is good.

-One of the more secluded and wooded rides- in fact this might surpass even Beast in that regard.

-Otherwise, it's a pretty standard river rapids ride. Still great fun though.

 

Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown

-The park's log flume ride. Decent capacity, but it's a fairly popular kids ride as it is in that section of the park.

-Try not to overload your log with too many adults or big people- the end result of that is a intense ride that feels out of control with a huge splash at the end instead of the normal-sized one. I speak from experience.

 

Other Rides

-The park also has several classic flat rides: Grand Carousel, Scrambler, Shake Rattle & Roll (Troika), Monster, Dodgems, Viking Fury (Swinging Ship), Zephyr (Swing Ride), and the new-for-2015 Woodstock Gliders (Flying Scooters) in Planet Snoopy. If it's not crowded, or too crowded for most coasters, you could try some of these out. (Woodstock Gliders will probably have some kind of wait though as it is a new attraction)

-Only do the dark ride, Boo Blasters on Boo Hill, if it doesn't have a long wait. A lot of the theming and effects weren't working on my last visit, and it's a pretty standard dark shooter ride otherwise.

-While I haven't ridden Woodstock Express in years, and never done Flying Ace, Surf Dog is a fun flat/coaster/whatever you call it. If the wait for its is low, I'd try it out. It is similar to Cedar Point's Pipe Scream.

-I can't give any advice on the waterpark as stated earlier. Sorry. :(

 

Hope some of this stuff can help. Sorry for how long the post got!

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Welcome to KIC!

 

As for the overall feel of the park, though only one acre smaller in overall size than the mighty Cedar Point, Kings Island's terrain and surrounding natural landscapes give a dynamic, unique feel at several different places within the complex.  Its family of coasters provides different, exciting experiences at every turn.  While Cedar Point is surrounded by the epic views of a Great Lake, Kings Island is surrounded (ironically) by rolling landscapes of forests to the back 160°, and a mid-to-upscale, semi-verdant (that's nicely landscaped) suburbia within the remaining 200°. The massive parking lot and I-71 add kind of a buffer between the park and the 'outside world'.

 

The front entrance here has no needle-threading, flying coasters going through it or anything, but the iconic Royal Fountains/Eiffel Tower view is really much more memorable in person than in any photograph (provided the song blasting through the speakers isn't too moody).

 

For an awesome view from which you don't have to drop, the Eiffel Tower lets you stay up at 265-275' for as long as you want (as long as the attraction remains open). It's a neat view from up there, and on some days, breezes that feel 10° cooler than at the surface make for an amazing, refreshing respite from all the action below. The view towards and beyond WindSeeker, Vortex and The Beast is quite lovely, no matter the weather or season!

 

So welcome! Have a great time! 

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^
Wait...WindSeeker DROPS?

Uh-Oh. :P

 

(BTW I get the point though- Eiffel Tower is the only ride in the park where you're that high with a floor under you...unless you get stuck on WindSeeker and they are using the rescue device...)

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As far as food suggestions go, there are a few things to consider.  First off, avoid the pizza.  Its not very good.  I wish LaRosa's would exert some quality control towards Kings Island because it pales in comparison to the actual pizza you'd get from a restaurant or even at a Reds game.  

 

If you're going for a Cincinnati food- Skyline is the place.  Cheese coneys and 3/4 ways (chili on spaghetti with cheese, and you can add onions).  The Reds Hall of Fame and Grille has Montgomery Inn food, another Cincinnati based restaurant.  Very good food and very fairly priced.  Panda Express in the Festhaus is decent as well.

 

If you're going for something more traditional, there is Chicken Shack which has great chicken selections.  Juke Box has semi-decent burgers.  I've never eaten there, but I hear good things about Hanks Burrito Shack.  If you want some big fries, I suggest going to the Rivertown Potato Works (the Coney location pales in comparison IMO).  There is also Snake Pit near Diamondback which has Philly cheese steaks and turkey legs.  There is a new funnel cake shop at the end of I-Street by Grand Carousel, the area's largest Starbucks, and a new yogurt shop also on I-Street.  A famous desert item from the park is the blue ice cream, located at several locations, most notably the store in Planet Snoopy.  Graeter's is an excellent choice as well.  

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Hey, have you all heard about Dinosaurs Alive? I hear Thrill_Biscuit thinks it's pretty great.

:P

There's some good advice here, and I really don't have anything new to add. I do echo the advice to head to Flight of Fear and Firehawk first--they're just about guaranteed to be nasty waits most weekends, if you do visit on a weekend. I hope you have a great time!

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The fireworks at closing is a great way to end your visit. Note, fireworks are done when the park closes at 10 p.m or later. Watch the weather before you come out. On rainy days the park doesn't seem to have as much traffic compared to nice sunny days. Enjoy your trip and remember to scream your head off. It is ok to have a great time.

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Don't forget your bathing suit if you go Memorial day weekend and beyond! Soak City is free with your admission and opens Memorial Day weekend and during the heat of the day is a wonderful refreshing break!

 

But most of all don't rush and enjoy the park! For a first time visitor, you will most likely be overwhelmed with the views. It's one of the cleanest and most beautifully kept parks in the east!

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^

Wait...WindSeeker DROPS?

Uh-Oh. :P

 

(BTW I get the point though- Eiffel Tower is the only ride in the park where you're that high with a floor under you...unless you get stuck on WindSeeker and they are using the rescue device...)

Pretty much yeah...
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If you are eating inside the park, I'd definitely recommend the Reds hall of Fame Grille.  There is a lot of neat memorabilia in there, the food is excellent, and the prices are pretty comparable to a casual sit down joint in any strip mall in Ohio, which is to say, for an amusement park, the prices are far lower than you would expect.  If you want to save a few nickels, you can pack a picnic lunch and eat out at your car, or at one of the picnic tables outside the main gate.  There is also a slew of fast food type joints just up the road (McDonald's, Wendy's, Jimmy Johns, Chipotle, and several others) as well as a handful of casual sit down joints (Outback, Perkins, some Mexican place I've never visited, and a few others I can't think of off the top of my head)

 

Even on a busy Saturday, you should be able to get a ride on all of the major rides and attractions, especially if you follow the advice above and hit Flight of Fear and Firehawk early on.  If your goal is just to ride everything once, and perhaps a few things twice, you should be able to do that w/o FastLane.  If your goal is to squeeze as many rides as possible into the day, then depending on the crowds, FastLane could be worth your money.

 

I'd recommend a both a daytime and a night time ride on The Beast.  I'd say the same about Banshee, but I have not actually ridden Banshee at night yet (should fix that this year now that my 6 year old is tall enough to ride it), it has a neat light package for the evenings.  As long as you are in line by closing time (and assuming the weather is clear) you will get a ride.  As noted above, The Beast will shut down during fireworks, but starts up again once they are done and the track is clear (part of the course runs close to where they launch from, so it is shut down as a precaution).  Adventure Express is a fun ride at night time as well.  Depending on the time of the year, you can grab a ride on Adventure Express at night, then slide over to Banshee fairly quickly to get in line before closing.

 

No body has mentioned the water park.  I've never been, but from what I've read, secure your belongings if you plan to hit that side of the park.  Just setting it on a chair will not guarantee it remains there when you are done sliding.

 

There are no bins on Banshee, if you plan on riding and are carrying a bag, you'll either have to store it, or you'll have to have somebody hold it for you.  I believe most everything else has storage bins, someone will correct me if I'm wrong, I don't usually carry anything that won't fit in my pockets, so I don't worry about it.

 

If you want a Pretzel, the Auntie Ann's (2 locations I believe) are preferable to what you'll find served around the park in different areas.  Lots of people like the Banshee or Blue Ice Cream, if you've never had it, I'd recommend getting some Graeter's Ice Cream, its near the fountain and some of the best ice cream in the country, its thick, so they can only make small batches at a time, which makes it a little more expensive, but awesome (at least in my opinion).  If you like turkey legs, they can be found near the entrance to Adventure Express in the Beer Garden.  They are pretty solid, and filling.  They have new KI themed craft beers this year, I haven't tried them, but might interest you if that is your thing.

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Ride the log flume at night. If you can squeeze it in after The Beast. That is a decent little flume after all these years. Such a nice ride at night.

I'll edit after the Terp approved...I would take the flume over Adventure Express and Banshee to be honest. Do it bro.

And its on the way out. After The Beast. Oh yeah. Do it.

It brought the end of my family's night at the Island most often. And it was always pretty grand. Even 30 years later.

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