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Cincinnati Post Press Release of Nick Universe


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Source: Cincinnati Post - April 13 2006


Kings Island touts Nickelodeon

Park gives Nickelodeon area a fun makeover

By Connie Yeager

Post staff reporter

The children's area at Paramount's Kings Island no longer has a split personality.

The Mason theme park, which opens for its 35th season on Friday, sheds its Hanna-Barbera Land/Nickelodeon Central dual identity for the all-encompassing Nickelodeon Universe designation.

The area has been renovated several times since the park opened in 1972 - including an expansion in 1982; the addition of the Smurfs to the Enchanted Voyage ride in 1984; another renovation in 1992 (featuring the transformation of the Enchanted Voyage into the Phantom Theater); the addition of the Nickelodeon Splat City theme area in 1995; the addition of Scooby's Ghoster Coaster, Yogi's Sky Tours and Atom Ant's Airways in 1998; the addition of the Rugrats Runaway Reptar roller coaster and the retheming of the Kings Mills log flume ride to the Wild Thornberrys, in 2001; and the retheming of Phantom Theater to an interactive laser ride, Scooby Doo and the Haunted Castle, in 2003.

"It's the most elaborate collection of Nickelodeon rides in the world," said Maureen Kaiser, PKI's marketing communications manager. "It's a full Hollywood makeover." (The other four Paramount parks have varying degrees of Nickelodeon-themed attractions; Paramount's Carowinds in Charlotte, N.C., debuted its smaller Nickelodeon Universe themed area last season.)

The multimillion-dollar upgrade (the park does not release specific monetary figures) boasts three new rides, three relocated rides, 10 rides and attractions rethemed to Nickelodeon characters and the removal of four other rides.

First, the new rides:

Avatar, The Last Airbender, is the most dramatic new addition, a bright-blue steel swath that looks like a lazy-W wave against the sky. It's located in the area where Scooby's Ghoster Coaster formerly stood (the largest of the four rides removed from the park).

The steel roller coaster, which has a five-story high point, is a shuttle (back-and-forth - think Screamin' Demon without the loop, if you can recall that early Kings Island coaster) ride that features a 36-passenger train comprised of three rows of six seats on each end that face toward the center. The train is straddled by an enormous Avatar, who essentially is using it as his "skateboard."

The unique feature of the ride, built by Zamperla (as are the other two new rides), is that the train rotates as it traverses the track.

"It will offer some serious air time, I think," said Kaiser.

Park guests may also walk under its central rise. "We were able to open it (the location) up so much," Kaiser added. The height requirement for Avatar riders is 44 inches with a chaperone, 48 inches without one.

Plankton's Plunge, located in front of the area's renovated former Slime Maze (the geyser tower is gone), is a "frog-hopper" type ride that lifts riders straight up and then drops them in a series of "hops." Unlike some rides of that type, however, it's not limited to children, so adults can share in the fun (all three of the new rides are geared to families riding together). It's dual-sided, with a capacity of six riders side-by-side on each side. The height requirement: under 36 inches requires a chaperone.

Phantom Flyers, in a previously unutilized space between Rugrat's Runaway Reptar and the Wild Thornberrys River Adventure, is a circular ride that provides a gentle sensation of hang-gliding. The height requirement: 36 inches with a chaperone, 44 inches without one.

Nickelodeon Universe encompasses two new "neighborhoods" themed to two of the most popular Nick characters - SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer.

Dora's area, the corner tucked between the former Beastie and the pathway to Boomerang Bay, is geared to younger children and features the rethemed Quick Draw's Railway train ride as its centerpiece. Now named La Adventura de Azul, the station looks like a colorful hacienda and the train cars look like Azul. The area also boasts a gigantic sculpture of Dora and Boots and two of the relocated rides (Go Diego Go, the former Huck's Hot Rods car ride; and Swiper's Sweeper, the former Alley Cat 500 whip ride).

The third relocated ride is Blue's Skidoo, formerly Dick Dastardly's Biplanes.

In addition to Plankton's Plunge, the SpongeBob SquarePants area offers the wet attraction, SpongeBob SquarePants Bikini Bottom Bash (the former Slime Maze).

"It actually takes you into the pineapple under the sea," Kaiser said.

The rest of the rethemed rides include: Little Bill's Giggle Coaster (was Taxi Jam); Nick-O-Round (Hanna-Barbera Carousel); Jimmy Neutron's Atom Smashers (Boulder Bumpers); Backyardigan's Swing-Along (Pixie & Dixie's Swings); Lazytown Sportacopters (Yogi's Sky Tours); Nick Jr. Drivers (Fender Bender 500); Fairly Odd Coaster (The Beastie); and Timmy's Air Tours (Atom Ant's Airway).

Little Bill's Giggle Coaster sports an extremely purple track, with yellow and purple cars; the Nick-0-Round will have horses rather than Hanna-Barbera characters, along with bright orange and green mirrored panels; and Jimmy Neutron's Atom Smashers boasts cool, silver bullet-shaped bumper cars.

The Fairly Odd Coaster (known as the Scooby Doo in its original, pre-Beastie incarnation), also sports a bright new pink track; the trains have a new pink-and-green paint job as well.

Along with Scooby's Ghoster Coaster, Jetson's Jet Orbiters, Boo Boo's Baggage Claim and Babba Looey's Buggies have been removed from the park.

The removal of those rides has broadened the walkways around the helicopter ride, which helps for ease of movement through the area, especially for those wielding strollers, Kaiser explained.

The colorful paint schemes - in some cases, practically a neon dream - extend to Nickelodeon Universe's remodeled food and shopping locations. Busytown Grill is now the Central Grill; the former Animation Station souvenir shop, now the Nickelodeon Store, has a hip new façade; and even the restroom facades are splashed in a bright lime green color.

The venerable Hanna-Barbera presence won't completely disappear, however - Scooby Doo's Haunted Mansion remains, along with the adjacent Scooby photo opportunity spot. And there will actually be a new H-B presence in the right side of the Action FX Theater in Coney Mall. "The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera," a motion-seat film adventure featuring Yogi Bear, Elroy, the Flintstones, the Jetsons and Scooby Doo, opens with the park (the left side of the theater building still features the SpongeBob SquarePants movie).

The park's opening weekend begins on Friday and continues through Monday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day.

New features for opening weekend only include:

Breakfast with the Characters in the Festhaus, from 10 to 11 a.m. Friday through Monday (tickets, $34.99 for park admission and breakfast, are available at www.pki.com; it's $9.99 for season pass holders).

A Meet and Greet with three stars of the Nickelodeon show "Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide" - Devon Werkheiser (Ned), Lindsey Shaw (Moze) and Daniel Curtis (Cookie), at 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. Saturday only, the Festhaus.

Another visible difference in the park this year will be a revamping of the ticket windows.

"We're widening up the front, with ticketing to the left, before going through the metal detectors," explained Kaiser. The old ticket booths will be torn down.

The International Street lights that were installed last fall for Winterfest will remain for the regular season, Kaiser added, as will the light package on the Eiffel Tower for special events (such as Nights of Fire, the Fourth of July spectacular that will run for four nights this season).

Also returning this year are the Nickelodeon Parade, which will take place at 5 p.m. daily June 9 through July 9; and the "School of Rock" live show in the Paramount Theater, which debuts June 3 and runs through August. (No shows open with the park; the rest of the schedule is still to be announced.)

A procedural difference this season will be the gate opening time. Previously, International Street opened to park guests at 9 a.m., with rides and the rest of the theme areas opening at 10 a.m. This year, the gates open at 10 a.m., with no waiting time for the rides to start operating.

As for admission prices, general admission remains the same ($44.99), while child/senior citizen admission rises $3 to $29.99. The cost of a pay-once, visit-twice ticket, which was the same as general admission last year, is now $49.99 (visits don't have to be on consecutive days). Online general admission tickets are $34.99 if purchased at least three days in advance; advance tickets at Kroger, Meijer and Speedway locations are also $34.99.

Cover photo: Nickelodeon Universe at Paramount's Kings Island boasts three new rides, including Phantom Flyers, which gently simulates hang-gliding. Top photo: Workers hang tarps atop the entrance to Lazytown Sportacopters.


The centerpiece of Paramount's Kings Island's 35th season is its brightly rethemed children's area, Nickelodeon Universe, which debuts Friday:

DATES: Friday-Monday; weekends April 22-May 21; daily operation May 24-Aug. 23; weekends Aug. 26-Sept. 4; Sept. 24; and weekends Sept. 30-Oct. 29.

HOURS: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday-Monday, April 22-May 21. Park hours vary during daily operation.

BOOMERANG BAY DATES: May 27-Aug. 23; weekends Aug. 26-Sept. 4.

ADMISSION: $44.99 general admission; $29.99 children (under 48 inches), senior citizens (age 60 and older); $34 military discount (with identification); pay once, visit twice (not necessarily consecutive days) admission is $49.99. Discount tickets ($34.99 general admission) available at Kroger, Meijer and Speedway locations. Online e-tickets are $37.99 for single-day general admission, or $34.99 if purchased at least three days in advance (must have printer).

SEASON PASS DEAL: Buy three, get one free, plus free upgrade to Gold Pass, through May 21 only; online and at Meijer locations.

PARKING: $10; preferred parking $15.

INFORMATION: (513) 754-5700; 1-800-288-0808; or www.pki.com on the Web.


It states there will be new ticket booths.

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I`m not so sure there will be any new buildings at the front gate area. Rather, I think they will be utilizing the unused windows to the right of the season pass windows, and to the left of the will call windows. I do believe that is where they were selling walk up tickets from for WinterFest in December.

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  • 8 years later...

I don't think this was a press release. I think that was an article with most of the press release just being republished. It's uncommon for a PR person to quote themselves in them (notice how Don almost always quote VP/GM Greg Scheid). Maureen used to quote whoever was the GM that day or Mike Fillhardt.

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