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Kings Island as a Resort


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I always felt that Kings Island has become more of a local park as opposed a true destination park over the years. The park initially had a campsite, a golf course, and its own inn. With the building of Great Wolf Lodge in 2006, a decent amount of Kings Island Drive, most notably the old inn and the conference center, has become more and more dismal as the years progress. Will we ever see Kings Island return to it's former resort glory that was seen in the 70s and 80s?

KingIslandResortAerial.png

https://usafl.com/image/nationals/2012/KingIslandResortAerial.png

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I'd love to see them build a bigger new resort with some indoor attractions similar to Great Wolf. Then build some kind of tram system that goes from the resort to Great Wolf, through the lot and to the front gate. Something that goes over the road to not screw with traffic. This would allow them to expand parking a bit without having a huge walking distance. It would promote staying at their resort over another hotel that would require you to drive and park. You just wake up, stroll over to the tram and boom you are at the gate.

Including some indoor stuff would allow the resort to operate on the off season. Small rides, small water park, a bar, a gym.

 

 

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Partial blame comes from the Recession of 1973-1975.  That recession cut hard and canceled a number of projects (not just for Kings Island).  It was termed at the time the worst recession since the Great Depression.  Funny how every recession is somehow the worst since 1930.

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3 minutes ago, Dwight_Schrute said:

Partial blame comes from the Recession of 1973-1975.  That recession cut hard and canceled a number of projects (not just for Kings Island).  It was termed at the time the worst recession since the Great Depression.  Funny how every recession is somehow the worst since 1930.

And the economic climate for some 10 years after the 1973-75 Recession was also particularly horrible,  the oil price essentially causing what would be nowadays a jump in gas prices from 2$ to 6$, inflation at 20% in 1980, interest rates at 10%+ from 1979-82. The Recession of 81-82 was even worse than 73-75. 

That contributed to major investment projects being cancelled around the country.  

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That too... the economy didn't resemble normalcy (whatever that is) until 1985'ish.  It wasn't a "depression" but one heck of a sluggish affair for 12 years.  

People who say the last recession (2009-2010) was the "worst since the great depression" either didn't live during 1970s-1980s it or have short memories. 

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I don't think we will see it return. It's given up too much land.

 

That golf course? Not owned by Ki...

Resort? No longer owned....

Great Wolf Lodge? Not owned...

 

It would take a great capital expense to repurchase this land at modern day evaluation. So no, a tram won't run from one place to another, sadly no it won't return. It's a regional park - maybe. It's a good park but so much has to be done to make it a destination....

 

"Come drive 8 hours to visit Kings Island, park in our barely visible parking lines, walk 3/4 of a mile to the front gate, leave grandma at the front gate and maybe she can enjoy the smoking gardens and a show in the festhause. Her hearing is bad enough it won't be too loud for her".....

 

 

In all seriousness, KI does a lot right but what it gets wrong would seriously need to be fixed before it becomes a resort park

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

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I have always said to my wife, I'd appreciate almost skipping a ride one year, and throwing all that money at park improvements. New paint, new paving, update the theme-ing on things, add some stuff to the railroad path. Just make the park more immersive in general. I don't mean trying to flip from amusement to theme park, but something to try to get the guests more into being there, and make the park less of a rides-in-a-field sort of feeling.

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I really wish they would invest in a resort similar to Hotel Breakers at CP. However, it probably won't happen any time soon.

I would love to know what the occupancy percentages are during the summer at Great Wolf & the hotels surrounding. They could be holding out on it until most places reach a occupancy % they know they could benefit from. If you have no idea what I am talking about, here is an example. If a hotel is 90% full throughout the entire season, that basically means a new hotel could be built and it wouldn't empty out the other. Leaving more guests opportunities to book rooms, which = more people in the parks. I think Disney has a percentage rate somewhere around the 80% marker. That 80% is across all hotels they own, and that is when Disney knows to build a new resort. Cedar Fair might have an eye on this considering all the work they are doing at Cedar Point resorts. I assume Kings Island could follow this trend.

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Speaking of when Kings Island was considered a resort at one time...I have close friends that were very regular visitors to the park in its early years, and they talk about how people would travel to Kings Island just for the food.

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2 hours ago, KIfan73 said:

Speaking of when Kings Island was considered a resort at one time...I have close friends that were very regular visitors to the park in its early years, and they talk about how people would travel to Kings Island just for the food.

Yeah, we used to RAVE about the pizza late 70's.  I was excited to have my son try it for the first time.  It left a lot to be desired - not what I remembered.  Do miss the Inn, double-decker buses and outdoor movies at night by the pool.  Really special for an 8 year old.

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One reason I suspect CP can work as a resort better than Kings Island is location.  Kings Island is in a far more urbanized location and has more competition with hotels along with being closer to Cincinnati than Sandusky is to Toledo or Cleveland.  There's also far more to do within, say, 20-30 minutes of Kings Island than there is within a similar radius of CP.  

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I also remember as a kid in the early 80's that Kings Island was very well known for the pizza! My friends an I discussed getting pizza just as much as riding The Racer or The Beast. The pizza might have took a backseat the year The Racer started rolling backwards! 

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  • 9 months later...

I'm no @TOPGUN1993 but I made this concept just off the top of my head for what a campground at KI would look like. I was inspired by Lighthouse Point at Cedar Point.

Little cabins are lined up next to each other, as well as empty plots of land for tents, and campers. The land accommodates RVS as well. There's wifi, electricity and any accommodations a guest could need. At the front of the campground there's a main building where people can check in, sit by the fire, grab coffee, and relax. A courtesy shuttle runs along the maintenance road between the campground to the front of the park, (the concept doesn't show this but the route can be extend to the water park if needed.) Guests staying at the campground get in the park one hour before the GP.

Campground.png

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I have always been fond of the idea of creating some type of retail, restaurant and entertainment area right outside the entrance to the park (in the parking lot) much like Universal City Walk in Orlando.  Something that would still function in the off season.  I would even say put the pay type rides such as Sling Shot and a go cart track out there as well.  It could even have a full throttle type of indoor go carts and maybe, lazer tag, a trampoline park, escape rooms and movie theater!  I'm just throwing stuff out here but I think something like that, coupled with a hotel right next to it might work.  Then you build parking garages to make up for the lost parking area.

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  • 1 month later...

Anyone know what they are building on what appears to be the old Kings Island Inn property?

If you look at Banshee's webcam, you can almost see what appears to be a 3 story building with Tyvek wrap somewhere in the vicinity of Buffalo Wings and Rings. Could this be a new hotel?

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  • 2 years later...
On 1/25/2018 at 2:57 AM, SonofBaconator said:

I'm no @TOPGUN1993 but I made this concept just off the top of my head for what a campground at KI would look like. I was inspired by Lighthouse Point at Cedar Point.

Little cabins are lined up next to each other, as well as empty plots of land for tents, and campers. The land accommodates RVS as well. There's wifi, electricity and any accommodations a guest could need. At the front of the campground there's a main building where people can check in, sit by the fire, grab coffee, and relax. A courtesy shuttle runs along the maintenance road between the campground to the front of the park, (the concept doesn't show this but the route can be extend to the water park if needed.) Guests staying at the campground get in the park one hour before the GP.

Campground.png

Hey I was only about a mile off with the campground idea!

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KI has lost the resort capability.  All the land they had is gone.  If they were to acquire GWL, they could have a specific audience who would consider it a destination--but I don't think they will do that anytime soon.  The glampground is an exciting addition, so they might be testing the lodging waters.

Outside of that--KI is a huge passholder park.  It works well for them well.  Enthusiasts come to KI form far away, but not too many people will drive there from more than 4-5 hours away.  Cincy is not a destination city, there is not a big draw to it.

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On 12/22/2020 at 12:22 AM, BeeastFarmer said:

Enthusiasts come to KI form far away, but not too many people will drive there from more than 4-5 hours away.

Notice how they called it "Camp Cedar" instead of something to like "Kings Campground." I fully believe they chose to name it "Camp Cedar" to get the attention of Cedar Point's clientele. People who have been going to Lighthouse Point at Cedar Point might chose to make the journey to Kings Island because now they accommodate RVs. 

Also, people who come from states like Kentucky and Indiana might be more inclined to stay a night or two; especially if they have a trailer. That's better than waking up at the crack of dawn to get the whole park in one day then leaving at night. If I know RV folk they love to travel so I know they'll travel to Camp Cedar.

Destination wise who knows- more people from across the midwest region and the surrounding states might make the trip if they have their campers. States like Michigan, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and maybe even Missouri are up for grabs in terms of potential visitors. If I had a dollar for every RV and camper I've seen on I-71 I'd be able to start a small business. KI just opened themselves up to a whole new market so there's a good chance we'll get people from different parts the country.

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1 hour ago, SonofBaconator said:

Notice how they called it "Camp Cedar" instead of something to like "Kings Campground." I fully believe they chose to name it "Camp Cedar" to get the attention of Cedar Point's clientele. People who have been going to Lighthouse Point at Cedar Point might chose to make the journey to Kings Island because now they accommodate RVs. 

Eh, Cedar Fair corporate likes to throw the word "cedar" in various names.  The also like to have fun using thematic names from one park at another (e.g. Cedar Creek Flyers at Dorney Park, playing off Cedar Creek Mine Ride at CP).

Cedar also makes you think of cedar trees, which makes you think of the woods.  You're not actually camping in the woods, but that's the mindset they want to put you in.

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I think we are looking at the word "destination" differently.  Dollywood/SDC are "destination parks"  because they are just one of the many things to do in the area.  Cincinatti has very little to offer for people to come there on vacation.  Beautiful skyline, some pro teams, some museums/history, but that's about it.  KI is a destination park for many enthusiasts, and it certainly has a draw from the 6 hour driving range, so the RVers will love that.  Remember the Brady Bunch episode--when Mike announced he was going to Cincy, there was a visible letdown reaction.  I'd imagine that'd be the reaction of many families from more than 6 hours away if dad said we are going to Cincy.

The Brady Bunch - Episode 511 - The Cincinnati Kids - Act 1 (Letterbox) - YouTube

 

As far as tent camping:  Many people have a romanticized vision of that.  But with the level of development in the Mason area, people would be woefully disappointed.  They expect this:

Brady Bunch Audio Commentary Part 1(A Camping we will Go) - YouTube

 

But they would likely get this:

Stealth camping in a tent @ WALMART in wapakoneta ohio - YouTube

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