What an exciting opening weekend for Kings Island. Now that Kings Island is open for the 2017 season, we had a chance to talk with Don Helbig about opening weekend. We will be talking about the Media event through opening day as they unveiled Mystic Timbers.

 Let's start off by talking about Media Day. Not only did you have the media there, but ACE was invited to the event as well.

What kind of feedback did you receive from enthusiasts at the media event? Let's break it down into two parts, theming and the coaster experience. 

  • Members of the American Coaster Enthusiasts know roller coasters and are very particular about the ride experience a coaster delivers. From the ACE members we had an opportunity to speak with at the Media Day event, they absolutely loved Mystic Timbers. They knew it was going to be a great ride and yet it still exceeded their expectations. The three words we heard most from them in describing the ride was awesome, great and winner. They really liked the theming as well.

 How did the working media who may not ride coasters as often as the enthusiast react to Mystic Timbers?

  • We received the same feedback from members of the media as we did from the enthusiasts about Mystic Timbers. They found the ride to fun and thrilling, an attraction they could ride over and over again.

 Does the media have a different perspective of coasters than an enthusiast group like KIC or ACE?

  • The media isn’t as particular with all the details of a coaster but they enjoy the ride experience just the same.

Let's talk about the first rider auction.

 How many people participated in the first rider auction?

  • Approximately 300 people participated in the First Rider’s event on Mystic Timbers.

 How much money was raised for the Andy and Jordan Dalton Foundation?

  • A total of $60,000 was raised for the Andy & Jordan Dalton Foundation.

We saw on facebook that Andy Dalton got a ride on Mystic Timbers.  What was his reaction to Mystic Timbers?

  • Andy enjoyed his ride on Mystic Timbers with the top fundraisers for the event.

Friday night was a very busy Season Pass Preview night. 

I am assuming the park has an expected attendance for a particular day/event. Between great weather and the anticipation of Mystic Timbers how did season pass preview night compare to the parks expectations?

  • Mystic Timbers had garnered a lot of attention leading up to the Gold Pass Preview Night. More so than any ride over the past 30 years. When you combine that with summer-like weather in April, it brings people out. They want to use their Gold Pass.

The line for Mystic Timbers grew very quickly, (and was very well organized) did you expect to see a line of up to 4 hrs. for Mystic Timbers?

  • Mystic Timbers is one of the most highly anticipated new attractions in the amusement and theme park industry so it wasn’t a surprise that’s where many of our guests headed to first. To see how many guests after a lengthy wait got right back in line to ride Mystic Timbers again spoke volumes of just how good this ride is.

With a line that grew to 4 hours, how does the park prepare and coordinate a queue to accommodate that many guests?

  • Our operations team was well prepared for the opening of Mystic Timbers. They spent a lot of time leading up to the opening of the ride going over where the line would begin and what the route for the queue would be.


 Another busy day for the park was on Saturday for Opening Day.

 What was the general feedback you were getting about #Whatsintheshed?  

  • The majority of our guests who have ridden Mystic Timbers have enjoyed the shed component of the ride. Some have told us it’s their favorite element on the ride. The overall feedback has been good from those who have experienced Mystic Timbers.

 Some feedback on social media stated that #Whatsintheshed was to hyped and they were let down. What is your response to that?

  • No matter how many times you ride Mystic Timbers, it’s always a mystery as to what you’re going to see in the shed. That’s what the #whatsintheshed campaign is about.

We noticed a new LED light package on Dodgem. Are there any other light packages new this year?

  • Dodgem is the only ride to get the light package this year.

 Are there other rides slated to get an LED package in the future?

  • There could be some other rides in the future.  


 The new general manager, Mike Koontz, confirmed that we will see Mystic Timbers running during Winterfest. Can we anticipate seeing other coasters like The Beast and Diamondback running as well? 

  • You won’t see The Beast and Diamondback running during WinterFest.  Mystic Timbers can run in colder temperatures.  Diamondback and other steel coasters can’t.  In regards to The Beast, it’s literally a beast of a project over the offseason to have it ready for the start of a new season.