1969 – Plans for the yet-unnamed Kings Island were announced on March 28 by media conglomerate Taft Broadcasting and amusement park Coney Island. The new park would replace the old riverside amusement park, which was prone to frequent floods, lacked room for expansion, and would compete with the previously announced (but never built) amusement park Frontier Worlds in northern Kentucky.
1970 – Ground broke for Kings Island on June 15. The park received its name, a combination of Kings Mills (its location) and Coney Island (its predecessor), through a naming contest. Cincinnati’s Coney Island continued to operate in 1970, but new additions were limited to those that could be easily relocated to Kings Island after the old park’s closure.
1971 – Construction on Kings Island continued. Cincinnati’s Coney Island closed “forever” on September 6, and many of its rides and attractions were immediately relocated to the new park.
1972 – Kings Island, owned by Taft Broadcasting, officially opened on April 29, 1972 after two years of construction. Located approximately 30 miles north of Cincinnati, it replaced Cincinnati’s Coney Island, which was not only out of room to expand, but was also prone to flooding at its riverbank location near downtown. The park was originally split into five themed sections, each with its own unique rides and attractions.
International Street was the entrance to the park and themed as a European village. It included the Eiffel Tower (observation tower provided by Intamin and Waagner-Biro), Royal Fountain (animated fountain display), and Kings Island Theater (inflatable theater).
Oktoberfest was a festive, German-themed section with Bavarian Beetle (a steel roller coaster manufactured by S.D.C. and relocated from Cincinnati’s Coney Island), Rotor (a Chance rotor from Coney), Sky Ride (a Von Roll cable car ride from Coney), and Der Spinnen Keggers (an Intamin spinning ride).
Coney Island was a homage to the park that Kings Island was built to replace. It included Racer (a twin-tracked wooden roller coaster manufactured by Philadelphia Toboggan Company), Tumble Bug (a Traver Engineering tumble bug from Coney), Cuddle Up (a Philadelphia Toboggan Company cuddle up from Coney), Dodgem (bumper cars from Coney), Flying Carpet (a large mat slide from Coney), Scrambler (an Eli Bridge Scrambler from Coney), Monster (an Eyerly Aircraft Company Monster), Halley’s Comet (a round-up), Flying Scooters (a Bisch-Rocco flying scooters from Coney), and Carousel (a Philadelphia Toboggan Company carousel from Coney).
Rivertown was an Ohio town of the mid 1800s. It included two canoe attractions, Kenton’s Cove (two-person canoes), Shawnee Landing (larger canoes), Kings Island and Miami Valley Railroad (railroad manufactured by Crown Metal Products), Kings Mill Log Flume (today known as Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown; Arrow Development log flume from Coney), Wheel of Fortune (a Chance Trabant), Ohio Overland Automobile Livery (Arrow Development antique cars with 1911 Cadillacs), and Les Taxis (Arrow Development antique cars with French taxis, although it was accessible from the Coney Island section).
The Happy Land of Hanna-Barbera was a children’s area based off the popular Hanna-Barbera cartoons. It included Enchanted Voyage (Arrow Development boat ride through several indoor scenes), Winnie Witch’s Cauldrons (spinning tea cups), Gulliver’s Rub-a-Dub (Arrow Development rub-a-dub water ride), Marathon Turnpike (Arrow Development turnpike), Scooby-Doo (today known as Woodstock Express; Philadelphia Toboggan Company junior wood coaster), Kikki Kangaroo (helicopter ride with kangaroos from Coney), Autocat (today known as PEANUTS Off-Road Rally; Hampton round-about from Coney), Motor Mouse (Hampton round-about from Coney), Squiddly Diddly (children’s turtle ride from Coney), and Funky Phantom (today known as Linus’ Beetle Bugs; W.F. Mangels Company miniature whip from Coney). The area also had the second Sky Ride station.
Neighboring attractions to the park included the Kings Island Campground, Kings Island Inn, and Jack Nicklaus Golden Bear Golf Center.
The cast and crew of The Partridge Family visited the park in August to film an episode, titled “I Left My Heart in Cincinnati”. The episode aired in January 1973. A telefilm named “The Banana Splits in Hocus-Pocus Park” was also partially filmed at the park in 1972 and aired in November.
1972 was the final year for Kenton’s Cove, the two-person canoe attraction located in Rivertown.
1973 – Three new rides were added. Bayern Kurve (a Schwarzkopf Bayern Kurve ride) and Flying Dutchman (an Intamin Flying Dutchman) both opened in Oktoberfest.
Kenton’s Cove Keelboat Canal, a hydro-flume from Arrow Development, opened in Rivertown on the former site of the Kenton’s Cove canoe attraction.
A new nature trail, Powder Valley Nature Trail, was also added to Rivertown.
A new restaurant, International Restaurant, was added above the park entrance.
The cast and crew of The Brady Bunch visited the park in August to film an episode, titled “Cincinnati Kids”. The episode aired in November.
1974 – A new area, Lion Country Safari (today known as Action Zone), was added. The 100-acre area included a two-mile monorail, Kenya Safari, manufactured by Universal Mobility, and several hundred live and exotic animals.
In May, daredevil Karl Wallenda walked a 1,700-foot tightrope between two cranes above Coney Island.
In December, the Kings Island Theater collapsed under a heavy snowfall. The venue was re-built for the 1975 season.
1975 – The Coney Island section was expanded with two new rides: Giant Double Wheel (later known as Zodiac), a double-armed Ferris wheel manufactured by Waagner-Biro and brokered by Intamin, and Troika (later known as Shake, Rattle & Roll), a spinning flat ride manufactured by HUSS.
A new midway was also added between Coney Island and Rivertown.
In October, motorcyclist Evel Knievel jumped 14 Greyhound buses in the parking lot setting a new world record.
1976 – A new theater, American Heritage Music Hall (today known as Kings Island Theater) opened on International Street.
A character meet-and-greet in a small chalet, Character House, was added to The Happy Land of Hanna-Barbera.
Giant Double Wheel was renamed Zodiac and Troika was renamed Shake, Rattle & Roll.
In April, 50 baboons escaped from Lion Country Safari.
On July 4, musician Paul Revere of the band Paul Revere and the Raiders visited the park and was married in front of the new theater.
On July 24, a safari ranger was mauled by a lion.
Planning and design began for a new wooden roller coaster, later to be named The Beast.
1976 was the final year for the Shawnee Landing canoe attraction in Rivertown and Cuddle Up in Coney Island.
1977 – The former Lion Country Safari section of the park was renamed Wild Animal Safari.
A new looping roller coaster, Screamin’ Demon, opened. The ride was the country’s first forward-and-backward looping roller coaster and manufactured by Arrow Development.
Boulder Bumpers (today known as Joe Cool’s Dodgem School; junior bumper cars manufactured by Jurgen Schmidt) opened in The Happy Land of Hanna-Barbera.
A new amphitheater, International Showplace, opened at the end of International Street.
Another amphitheater, Stadium of Stars, opened near the entrance of Wild Animal Safari.
The Kikky Kangaroo ride was renamed Wilma’s Whirly Birds and Marathon Turnpike became Turnpike.
Dick Van Dyke was the park’s commercial spokesperson.
On April 24, the Sky Ride stalled and stranded 38 riders for up to eight hours.
In October, the park hosted the U.S. Peanut Olympics with President Jimmy Carter’s brother, Billy Carter.
1978 – Tower Gardens replaced the original Kings Island Theater.
Bavarian Beetle was replaced midseason with Ferris Wheel, a classic Ferris Wheel manufactured by Eli Bridge Company.
The College Football Hall of Fame opened down the road from Kings Island.
Gulliver’s Rub-a-Dub was overhauled with new miniature scenes.
On July 10, Kings Island made an announcement that construction had begun on a new wooden roller coaster, later to be known as The Beast.
1978 was the final season for Character House.
1979 – The Beast opened in Rivertown on the former spot of the Shawnee Landing canoe attraction. The wooden roller coaster was designed and built in-house by Kings Island staff and was the world’s tallest, fastest, and longest roller coaster at opening. It opened with the tagline “…the biggest, baddest, longest, fastest wooden roller coaster in the world!”
Kiddie Turnpike (today known as Peanuts 500), a small car ride manufactured by Venture Ride Manufacturing, opened in The Happy Land of Hanna-Barbera on the former spot of Character House.
Turnpike was renamed Speed Buggy.
1979 was the final year for Halley’s Comet and Sky Ride.
1980 – Maxi Taxi Rides, an upcharge elephant ride attraction, opened in Wild Animal Safari.
The Scooby-Doo roller coaster was renamed The Beastie and a small tunnel was added at the base of its drop.
Minor modifications were made to The Beast, including combining the second and third tunnels into one longer one and fully enclosing the tunnel on the final helix.
1981 – The Bat, marketed as the world’s first suspended roller coaster and built by Arrow-Huss, opened in Coney Island. The ride was plagued with problems and was frequently closed.
The Speed Buggy turnpike attraction in The Happy Land of Hanna-Barbera was renamed Firestone Speed Buggy Turnpike.
1981 was the final season for Gulliver’s Rub-a-Dub and Rotor.
1982 – The Happy Land of Hanna-Barbera Land was renamed Hanna-Barbera Land and several new rides and attractions were added in a $2.1 million expansion:
Hanna-Barbera Carousel (today known as Character Carousel; a merry-go-round from Chance Manufacturing), Scooby-Choo (today known as Snoopy’s Junction; a miniature train ride manufacture by Heinrich Mack K.C), Rawhide Railway (hand crank cars manufactured by Hodges Hand Cars), MacScrappy’s Farm (play area), Shaggy’s Silly Sticks (play structure), Fool House (funhouse), Woodland Theatre (puppet theater built in a large tree), and Hanna-Barbera Amphitheater (amphitheater). Several attractions in the area were also renamed: Firestone Speed Buggy Turnpike became Wacky Wheels, Funky Phantom became The Screecher, Motor Mouse became Boo Boo’s Buggys, Autocat became Pee Wee Raceway, Wilma’s Whirly Birds became Flintstone’s Flyboys, and Squiddly Diddly became Jabber Jaw’s Tubs.
Timberwolf, a 10,000-seat concert venue, opened in Wild Animal Safari.
The nearby Screamin’ Demon was officially renamed The Demon.
Viking Fury, a large swinging ship manufactured by Intamin, opened in July.
The trains on the southern Racer track were turned in reverse. What was intended as a weekend activity grew into a 1982 season modification and ultimately remained until the 2008 season.
Winterfest, a new seasonal event, made its debut.
Festhaus was first introduced during Winterfest.
1982 was the final season for Bayern Kurve. After its removal, it later reopened at sister park Australia’s Wonderland in 1985.
1983 – Festhaus, which had technically opened during 1982’s Winterfest, made its official debut.
Wild Animal Safari was renamed Adventure Village and the monorail became Wild Animal Habitat.
On May 13, a 17-year-old fell to his death from a restricted area of the Eiffel Tower.
In December, Taft Broadcasting agreed to sell Kings Island to the newly-found Kings Entertainment Company (KECO).
1983 was the final season for Maxi Taxi Rides and the original incarnation of Enchanted Voyage.
1984 – A new stand-up roller coaster from Japanese firm Togo, King Cobra, opened in Adventure Village. The ride was marketed as the country’s first stand-up looping roller coaster.
Smurf’s Enchanted Voyage replaced Enchanted Voyage in Hanna-Barbera Land.
The Bat, plagued by maintenance problems since its introduction, remained standing but not operating for the entirety of the 1984 season and was removed the following spring. Contrary to popular rumor, no one was ever killed or seriously injured on The Bat.
Firestone Speed Buggy Turnpike was renamed Sunshine Turnpike.
Wheel of Fortune was removed after the 1984 season and was originally relocated to nearby Fantasy Farm before opening at DelGrosso’s Amusement Park, where it remains to this day.
Admission was $13.50.
1985 – White Water Canyon, a new family raft ride manufactured by Intamin, opened in Rivertown. With a twisting, watery course and spouting geysers assuring that “You will get wet. You may get drenched”.
1985 was the last year for Tumble Bug and the original Dodgem.
1986 – Coney Island was officially renamed Coney Mall and several rides were added. Zephyr, a chair swing manufactured by Zierer, opened on the former spot of Flying Carpet.
Skylab, a HUSS Giant Enterprise, opened on the former home of Tumble Bug.
A new Dodgem opened on the former spot of Flying Eagles.
Cinema 180, a new film attraction, opened at the end of Coney Mall.
To accommodate the expansions, Flying Eagles was relocated further down Coney Mall and Flying Carpet was relocated to Hanna-Barbera Land, where it was shortened and renamed Scrappy’s Slides.
Adventure Village and the adjacent safari attraction begun being referred to as Wild Animal Habitat.
1986 was the final season for Zodiac; it later reopened in 1989 at Australia’s Wonderland.
1987 – A new looping roller coaster, Vortex, constructed of 750 tons of steel, opened on the land previously occupied by The Bat. The new ride was manufactured by Arrow Dynamics and was the world’s tallest continuous circuit roller coaster, and at the time, a world record of six loops.
KECO sold the park to Great American Financial Company in 1987.
1987 was the final year for The Demon. It was relocated to Camden Park, where it operated through 1999.
1988 – Amazon Falls (today known as Congo Falls), a shoot-the-chutes style ride from Intamin, opened in Wild Animal Habitat.
1989 – A new 12 acre waterpark, WaterWorks (today known as Soak City), opened south of Kings Island with 15 water slides, a lazy river and a children’s area. The new area was accessible via the Kings Island and Miami Valley Railroad or a pathway connected to Rivertown. Attractions included Fastracks (a set of four speed slides manufactured by Proslide Technology), Ultra Twister (today known as Tropical Twister; intertwined body slides manufactured by White Water), Bonzai Pipeline (today known as Pineapple Pipeline; trio of body slides manufactured by White Water), Kings Mill Run (today known as Splash River; lazy river), Sidewinder (today known as Thunder Falls; pair of tube slides), The Helix (today known as Paradise Plunge; quartet of body slides), and Splash Island (small children’s play area).
1989 was the final year for Der Spinnen Keggers.
1990 – Flight Commander, a space-age spinning thrill ride manufactured by Intamin, opened in Coney Mall on land previously occupied by Zodiac.
Rushing River, a 700-foot family inner-tube raft ride manufactured by ProSlide Technology, opened in WaterWorks.
1990 was the final season for Flying Dutchman and Ferris Wheel. Flying Dutchman later reopened at Kentucky Kingdom, where it operates to this day, and Ferris Wheel reopened at Libertyland.
1991 – A new family mine train, Adventure Express, opened in Wild Animal Habitat. The ride was manufactured by Arrow Dynamics with theming by R&R Creative Amusement Designs, Inc.
On June 9, three people died in two unrelated accidents at the park. Three men (two park guests and a security officer) were shocked by an underwater current in the Oktoberfest pond. One of the guests and the officer passed away, one from electrocution and the other from drowning. Later that night, a woman was ejected from the Flight Commander ride and fell to her death. This day became known as Black Sunday.
Flight Commander remained closed for the remainder of the season.
1991 was the final season for Smurf’s Enchanted Voyage and Winnie Witch’s Cauldrons.
1992 – Phantom Theater, a $3.5 million Omnimover-style dark ride manufactured by Morgan Manufacturing, opened in Hanna-Barbera Land. The ride included theming by R&R Creative Amusement Designs, Inc. The park spent another $750,000 to add several other attractions nearby: Scooby Zoom (today known as Great Pumpkin Coaster; junior coaster manufactured by E&F Miler Industries), Red Baron’s Biplanes (today known as Snoopy vs. Red Baron; Mini Jet manufactured by Zamperla), Flintstones Flyers (today known as Charlie Brown’s Wind-Up; kiddie swings manufactured by Zamperla), and Enchanted Theater (today known as PEANUTS Showplace; indoor theater). Flintstones Flyboys was renamed Jetsons’ Spaceport.
Skylab was absent for the entirety of the 1992 season.
In the summer, Paramount Communications purchased Kings Island.
1992 was the final year for the original incarnation of Winterfest.
1993 – The park was renamed Paramount’s Kings Island. A new suspended roller coaster from Arrow Dynamics, Top Gun, opened in Wild Animal Habitat. The name began Paramount’s trend of naming most major new rides after one of their movies or television shows.
Tower Gardens was rebranded as Paramount Story and American Heritage Music Hall becomes Paramount Theatre.
1993 was the final year for Wild Animal Habitat and the park’s monorail due to operating costs. It was also the final year for Sunshine Turnpike in Hanna-Barbera Land.
1994 – A new motion simulator, Days of Thunder, opened as an exciting new NASCAR racing simulator. It was added in a previously undeveloped area between the turnaround points of the Racer tracks at the end of Coney Mall.
The former Wild Animal Habitat was renamed Adventure Village for the second time.
1995 – Nickelodeon Splat City, a new children’s area, opened on land previously occupied by Sunshine Turnpike. The section included a large amphitheater (Slime Bowl Theater, today home to Snoopy’s Barnyard Friends Petting Farm), a water play area (Green Slime Zone), and a play structure (Crystal Slime Aerobic Mining Maze), among other minor attractions.
Across the park, Drop Zone (today known as Xtreme Skyflyer), an upcharge Skycoaster manufactured by Sky Fun 1, opened in Adventure Village.
1995 was the final season for Flight Commander. After leaving Kings Island, it reopened at Flamingo Land. It was also the final year for Scrappy’s Slides.
Viacom purchased Paramount Communications Inc.
1996 – A new indoor roller coaster, The Outer Limits: Flight of Fear (today known as Flight of Fear), opened in Coney Mall. The ride was manufactured by Premier Rides and was the world’s first LIM-launched roller coaster.
An upcharge go-kart attraction, XS Raceway, opened in Adventure Village.
Drop Zone was renamed Xtreme Skyflyer.
1996 was the final season for the Splash Island children’s play area in WaterWorks.
1997 – WaterWorks doubled in size to almost 30 acres with a wave pool (Surfside Bay, a 600,000 gallon wave pool, today known as Breakers Bay) and children’s play area (Buccaneer Island, today known as Castaway Cove and Lookout Lagoon).
1997 was the final season for Skylab.
1998 – Hanna-Barbera was expanded with three new rides: Scooby’s Ghoster Coaster (a suspended roller coaster manufactured by Caripro), Yogi’s Skytours (today known as Woodstock Whirlybirds; helicopter ride manufactured by Caripro), and Atom Ant’s Airways (today known as Sally’s Seaplane; crazy bus manufactured by Zamperla). Most rides in the area were renamed: Scooby Zoom became Top Cat’s Taxi Jam, Jetsons Spaceport became Jetsons’ Jet Orbiters, Jabber Jaw’s Tubs became Boo Boo’s Baggage Claim, Flintstone’s Flyers became Pixie and Dixie’s Swing Set, Scooby Choo became Quickdraw’s Railway, Rawhide’s Railway became Baba Looey’s Buggies, Screecher became Alley Cat 500, Mr. Jink’s Jalopies became Fender Bender 500, Pee Wee Raceway became Huck’s Hot Rods, and Red Baron’s Biplanes became Dick Dastardly’s Biplanes.
In WaterWorks, a new surfing simulator named WipeOut Beach opened.
The Days of Thunder simulator was replaced with James Bond 007: A License to Thrill.
1999 – Adventure Village was renamed Paramount Action Zone and loosely themed to a movie studio backlot. Face/Off (today known as Invertigo), an inverted boomerang roller coaster manufactured by Vekoma, and Drop Zone: Stunt Tower (today known as Drop Tower), a massive freefall from Intamin, were both added.
Amazon Falls was renamed Congo Falls (“Congo” is a Paramount movie title) and XS Raceway became Days of Thunder.
1999 was the final season for Crystal Slime Aerobic Mining Maze in Nickelodeon Splat City.
Son of Beast construction began.
2000 – The Beast`s sequel was unleashed, a massive new wooden roller coaster named Son of Beast, opened in Paramount Action Zone. The ride was designed by the Roller Coaster Corporation of America and was the world’s tallest, fastest, and only looping wooden roller coaster. It was the first wooden coaster built at the park since The Beast.
An upcharge helicopter attraction, Flight Team Aerial Helicopter Tours, was also added.
Kings Island introduced a new Halloween event, FearFest (today known as Halloween Haunt).
Kings Mill Log Flume remained closed for the 2000 season.
A WaterWorks entrance, from the parking lot for season pass holders, opened.
Seatbelts were installed on The Beastie.
2000 was the final season for Kenton’s Cove Keelboat Canal.
2001 – Nickelodeon Splat City and a segment of Rivertown became Nickelodeon Central. The former Kings Mill Log Flume reopened as Wild Thornberrys River Adventure (today known as Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown) and a new junior inverted roller coaster, Rugrats Runaway Reptar (today known as Flying Ace Aerial Chase and manufactured by Vekoma), was added.
The Outer Limits: Flight of Fear was renamed to just Flight of Fear and the shoulder bars were replaced with lap bars.
The James Bond 007: A License to Thrill simulator was replaced by two different films and the venue became known as Paramount Action FX Theater.
2001 was the final season for King Cobra.
2002 – A new indoor thrill ride, Tomb Raider: The Ride, opened on the former spot of Kenton’s Cove Keelboat Canal in Rivertown. The ride was a giant top spin manufactured by HUSS.
A new upcharge thrill ride manufactured by Funtime Industries, SlingShot, opened in Oktoberfest.
The Beast’s skid brakes were replaced with magnetic brakes.
A train on Top Gun collided with a parked maintenance vehicle on July 16. No one was injured, but the train was damaged and the roller coaster only operated with one train for the remainder of the season.
2002 was the final season for Phantom Theater. Its last day of operation was July 14 and construction on its replacement began immediately afterward.
2003 – Delirium, a Giant Frisbee manufactured by HUSS, opened on land previously occupied by King Cobra.
Phantom Theater was heavily modified to become Scooby-Doo and the Haunted Castle.
Online, KICentral.com had its start as PKI-Central.com.
In September, the large marquee in the parking lot was toppled in a windstorm.
FearFest was included with park admission for the first time.
Metal detectors were added at the front gates.
The fountains on International Street were refurbished and repainted.
The turn after the first drop on The Beast was re-profiled.
Top Gun’s second train re-appeared with four new cars.
The queue area was extended for Drop Zone.
Most of the theme effects on Adventure Express were refurbished.
Oktoberfest Gardens was remodeled and renamed Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Shack and Lt. Dans Bar behind it.
2003 was the final season for Fastracks in WaterWorks.
2004 – WaterWorks was rebranded as Crocodile Dundee’s Boomerang Bay and several new attractions were installed. Tasmanian Typhoon (today known as Mondo Monsoon) was a large family raft ride manufactured by ProSlide Technology. Coolangatta Racer (today known as Rendezvous Run) was a first-of-its-kind racing mat slide, also manufactured by ProSlide Technology. A new wading pool, Kookaburra Bay (today known as Coconut Cove), and a water play structure, Jackeroo Landing (today known as Splash Landing) were also added. All other waterpark attractions received new names: Bonzai Pipeline became Bondi Pipeline, Kings Mill Run became Crocodile Run, The Helix became Down Under Thunder, Rushing River became Snowy River Rampage, Surfside Bay became Great Barrier Reef, Wipe-Out Beach became Pipeline Paradise, Ultra Twister became Awesome Aussie Twister, and Sidewinder became Sydney Sidewinder. The Buccaneer Island children’s play area was also subdivided into three attractions: Koala Splash, Wallaby Wharf, and Kangaroo Lagoon.
The Beast celebrated its 25th anniversary.
The Nickelodeon Celebration Parade was introduced. Details
2004 was the final season for Antique Cars and Flying Eagles. The vehicles from Antique Cars were later relocated to Worlds of Fun and Flying Eagles was relocated to Paramount’s Carowinds.
2004 was also the final season for the Kings Island Campground for construction of the $100 million Great Wolf Lodge.
2005 – Italian Job: Stunt Track (today known as Backlot Stunt Coaster), a launched family roller coaster manufactured by Premier Rides, opened on the former home of Antique Cars. This was a fast-track coaster experience in Mini Cooper inspired trains. Details
WinterFest made its return in November after a 13-year hiatus. Details
The Happy Days Diner replaced Preston T. Tucker`s Roadside Café in Coney Mall and Cincinnati favorite Graeter`s Ice Cream was introduced on International Street, alongside Chick Fil-A and a Starbucks. Details
2005 was the final season for Scooby’s Ghoster Coaster, Jetson’s Jet Orbiters, Boo Boo’s Baggage Claim, and Baba Looey’s Buggies.
2006 – Hanna-Barbera Land and Nickelodeon Central were combined into Nickelodeon Universe. The new area included three new rides, all manufactured by Zamperla: Avatar: The Last Airbender (today known as Surf Dog; surf coaster), Phantom Flyers (today known as Linus Launcher; kite flyer), and Plankton’s Plunge (today known as Kite Eating Tree; jumping star). Most rides in the area were also renamed: Alley Cat 500 became Swiper’s Sweeper, Quick Draw’s Railway became La Aventura de Azul, Huck’s Hot Rods became Go Diego Go, Nickelodeon Green Slime Zone became SpongeBob SquarePants Bikini Bottom Bash, Atom Ant’s Airways became Timmy’s Airtours, The Beastie became Fairly Odd Coaster, Dick Dastardly’s Bi-Planes became Blue’s Skidoo, Boulder Bumpers became Jimmy Neutron’s Atom Smashers, Hanna-Barbera Carousel became Nick-O-Round, Pixie’s and Dixie’s Swing Set became Backyardigan’s Swing-Along, Top Cat’s Taxi Jam became Little Bill’s Giggle Coaster, Yogi’s Skytours became Lazytown Sportacopters, and Fender Bender 500 became Nick Jr. Drivers.
On June 30, Kings Island and its sister parks were sold to Cedar Fair, L.P. for approximately $1.24 billion. Details
Less than two weeks later, an incident occurred on Son of Beast which closed the ride for the remainder of the 2006 season. Details
Great Wolf Lodge opened adjacent to Kings Island in December on land formerly occupied by the Kings Island Campground. Details
WinterFest did not return.
2007 – The park reverted to its original name, Kings Island.
A Vekoma flying roller coaster, Firehawk, opened adjacent to Flight of Fear in a new Coney Mall subsection named X-Base. Firehawk originally opened at Geauga Lake in 2001 as X-Flight. Details
Son of Beast reopened in July, sans the signature loop and with different trains.
FearFest was rebranded as Halloween Haunt.
Guest Relations received an overhaul and was converted from a walk-up window to a walk-in, counter service facility.
An ice show, Endless Summer On Ice, was introduced to Kings Island for the the first time in over a decade. Details
2008 – Many rides lost their Paramount-inspired names and were de-themed. Face/Off became Invertigo, Top Gun became Flight Deck, Drop Zone: Stunt Tower became Drop Tower, Days of Thunder became Thunder Alley, Italian Job: Stunt Track became Backlot Stunt Coaster, Paramount Action FX Theater became Action Theater, and Tomb Raider: The Ride became The Crypt. Details
In May, daredevil Robbie Knievel jumped 24 Coke Zero trucks in the parking lot, breaking a world record. Details
On July 4, aerialist Rik Wallenda walked a tightrope in another record breaking attempt. He began from a crane near the park entrance and traversed a 5/8″ wire down International Street to the Eiffel Tower. Less than an hour later, he made another walk – this time starting at the Eiffel Tower and traveling towards the front gate. Upon reaching the crane at the front gate, he turned around and walked the entire length back to the Eiffel Tower. Details
Swan Lake, the pond behind International Showplace, was drained and an active construction site at the start of the season. This was among the first visible signs of Diamondback construction, which would open in April 2009. By the season’s end, much of Diamondback’s track was already in place. Details
2009 – Diamondback, a Bolliger & Mabillard hyper coaster, opened in Rivertown. The ride was Kings Island’s tallest and fastest roller coaster to date. Kings Island had a first rider event raising $107,000 for A Kid Again. Details
Nickelodeon Theater was renamed Putz HQ.
Son of Beast ceased operation in June and never reopened.
Daredevil Nik Wallenda walked a tightrope 262-feet in the air in August. Details
The Beast celebrates its 30th year of operation at Kings Island.
2010 – Nickelodeon Universe was transformed into Planet Snoopy and all the rides were renamed. Little Bill’s Giggle Coaster became Great Pumpkin Coaster, Lazytown Sportacopters became Woodstock Whirlybirds, Nick-O-Round became Character Carousel, Blue’s Skidoo became Snoopy vs. Red Baron, Jimmy Neutron’s Atom Smashers became Joe Cool Dodgem School, Fairly Odd Coaster became Woodstock Express, Nick Jr. Drivers became Peanuts 500, Timmy’s Airtours became Sally’s Seaplane, Avatar: The Last Airbender became Surf Dog, La Aventura de Azul became Snoopy’s Junction, Go Diego Go became PEANUTS Off-Road Rally, Swiper’s Sweeper became Linus’ Beetle Bugs, SpongeBob SquarePants Bikini Bottom Bash became Snoopy’s Splash Dance, Plankton’s Plunge became Kite Eating Tree, Rugrats Runaway Reptar became Flying Ace Aerial Chase, Phantom Flyers became Linus Launcher, Wild Thornberrys River Adventure became Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown, and Putz HQ became Peanuts Playhouse. Scooby-Doo and the Haunted Castle was de-themed and became Boo Blasters on Boo Hill. Additional Details
A new nighttime light display, Snoopy’s Starlight Spectacular, opened behind the Eiffel Tower.
2010 was the final year for Action Theater as a ride.
2011 – WindSeeker, a tall swing ride manufactured by Mondial, opened at the end of Coney Mall. WindSeeker took riders soaring over Kings Island with panoramic views of the park and surrounding areas. Details
The world’s largest animatronic dinosaur park, Dinosaurs Alive!, opened next door. Details
2012 – Boomerang Bay was rebranded as Soak City and a new wave pool, Tidal Wave Bay, opened. The Crocodile Run lazy river was heavily renovated into Splash River. All the attractions in the area were renamed, ditching their Australian-inspired identities: Awesome Aussie Twister became Tropical Twister, Bondi Pipeline became Pineapple Pipeline, Coolangatta Racer became Rendezvous Run, Down Under Thunder became Paradise Plunge, Sydney Sidewinder became Thunder Falls, Snowy River Rampge became Zoom Flume, Tasmanian Typhoon became Mondoo Monsoon, Great Barrier Reef became Breakers Bay, Kookaburra Bay became Coconut Cove, Jackeroo Landing became Splash Landing, Kangaroo Lagoon became Lookout Lagoon, Koala Splash became Aruba Tuba, and Wally Wharf became Castaway Cove.
Son of Beast, which had remained standing but not operating since summer 2009, was demolished in the fall. Details
The park celebrated its 40th anniversary.
2012 was the final year for Thunder Alley and Son of Beast.
2013 – No new rides were added, but the Reds Hall of Fame Grille replaced the Rivertown Junction Dining Hall restaurant in Rivertown. Details
2014 – Banshee, an inverted roller coaster manufactured by Bolliger & Mabillard, opened in Action Zone on land previously occupied by Son of Beast and Thunder Alley. Banshee, the world`s longest inverted coaster, was to date the biggest expansion in park history.
Flight Deck was renamed The Bat, an homage to the original The Bat roller coaster that operated in the 1980s.
2014 was the final year for Snoopy’s Splash Dance and the Kings Island Resort and Conference Center (originally known as Kings Island Inn). The hotel was originally owned by Kings Island.
Shake, Rattle & Roll was not operational most of the season. Details
2015 – Planet Snoopy expanded with two new rides. Woodstock Gliders was a flying scooters ride from Larson International. Snoopy’s Space Buggies was a Jump Around manufactured by Zamperla. A new petting zoo, Snoopy’s Barnyard Friends Petting Farm, opened in the former Peanuts Playhouse. Details
Shake Rattle & Roll, returned after a rehab complete with a new LED light package. Details
2016 – A new waterslide complex, Tropical Plunge, opened in Soak City. The complex was manufactured by WhiteWater West. Details
A new toll booth entrance to the parking lot opened on the north side of the parking lot, replacing the two original parking entrances.
A new funnel cake building opened in Rivertown across from the Kings Island and Miami Valley Railroad. The old funnel cake building, as well as the original entrance to White Water Canyon, were torn down for future development. White Water Canyon’s entrance was relocated further down Rivertown’s midway, next to Potato Works.
2017 – Mystic Timbers, a wooden roller coaster manufactured by Great Coasters International and designed by Skyline Attractions, opened in Rivertown. Details
A large new restaurant, Island Smokehouse, opened in Soak City.
WinterFest made its return after a 12-year hiatus.
2017 was the last year for Dinosaurs Alive! closing on October 29 . Details
2018 – A large new restaurant, Coney Bar-B-Que, opened in Coney Mall and replaced the original Dodgems building. Details
In September, Kings Island announced that Firehawk would be removed at the end of October, as it has reached the end of its service life. Details
2019 – Kings Mills Antique Autos, an antique car attraction manufactured by Gould Manufacturing, opened in Coney Mall on the former site of Flight Commander. Details
The Reds Hall of Fame Grille was replaced with Miami River Brewing Company. Details
Kings Island introduced a new seasonal event, Grand Carnivale, during the summer.
2020 – Orion, a large steel giga roller coaster from Bolliger & Mabillard, opened in July in the new Area 72 (formerly known as X-Base). Orion was Kings Island’s biggest investment to date at over $30 million. Details
The Dodgem’s building received a new paint job and new sign. New cars were added on Scrambler, and Viking Fury received a new paint job.
The park’s spring opening was heavily delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic and many operational health and safety changes were implemented throughout the park. The originally planned opening day was April 11. With many restrictions in place like masks, a health screening, and reservations for the day, Kings Island was finally allowed to open by the Governor. The new opening day was July 2 for pass holders only. July 12 was opening day for general tickets and pass holders. Details
Halloween Haunt and WinterFest were cancelled for the 2020 season and Soak City did not operate.
A new fall event called Tricks and Treats ran Saturdays and Sundays from September 26 – November 1, 2020. Details
2021 – On December 8, 2020, Kings Island announced a new campground, Kings Island Camp Cedar, opened north of the park. Amenities include 73 cottages and 164 full-service RV spaces. Details
The Racer received over 500 feet of track work on both sides of the track from the base of the first drop through the drop of the fourth hill. The track work was done in partnership with The Gravity Group. Details
Halloween Haunt and WinterFest returned. Haunt Details
Tricks and Treats returned for its second year.
Winterfest adds a new parade called Winter Wonderland. Details
2022 – Kings Island celebrates its 50th Anniversary Season. They start in 2021 by repainting seven rides. Details
- Eiffel Tower (original ride) – Details
- The Racer (original ride)
- Race for Your Life Charlie Brown (original ride)
- Adventure Express
- Backlot Stunt Coaster
- Drop Tower
- Flying Ace Aerial Chase – Details
The Grand Carousel is restored along with the the band organ – Details
Slingshot is removed to make way for future park expansion.
2023 – Kings Island opens new rides Sol Spin and Cargo Loco. Along with a new restaurant Enrique’s replacing Hank’s Mexican Grill in a new area of the park called Adventure Port. Details
The current Bier Garten becomes Mercado.
Diamondback receives a new paint job using the colors crimson red and supports mushroom brown.
Adventure Express gets a relocated queue line and additional theming with the addition of Adventure Port.
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