Timeline

timeline
1972 – Kings Island, owned by Taft Broadcasting, officially opens on April 29, 1972 after 2 years of construction. Located approximately 30 miles north of Cincinnati, it replaces Coney Island, which was not only out of room to expand, but was also prone to flooding at its riverbank location near downtown. At its opening, King’s Island features a 1/3 scale replica of the Eiffel Tower (which is still the centerpiece of the park today) and its signature ride, the Racer, a wooden roller coaster widely accepted as the ride that started a new frenzy of coaster building. Other rides at opening: Bavarian Beetle, Canoe Ride, Der Spinning Keggers, Enchanted Voyage, Flying Dutchman, Flying Eagles, Giant Slide, Haley’s Comet, Kings Mill Log Flume, Monster, The Rotor, Scrambler, Sky Ride, Tumble Bug and Wheel of Fortune. The children’s section, titled “The Happy Land of Hanna-Barbera” features rides such as the Sunshine Turnpike and Scooby Doo, a kid’s wooden roller coaster.

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1973 – The International Restaurant opens its doors at the front of the park. Three new rides open The Flying Dutchman*, the Bayern Kerve*, and Kenton`s Cove Keelboat Canal *. The Brady Bunch films an episode on location in the park.
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1974 – Wild Animal Safari* (under the name of Lion Country Safari) brings guests up close with lions, tigers and rhinos (oh my) on a unique monorail track.
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1975 – Daredevil motorcyclist Evel Kneivel jumps over 14 greyhound buses in the parking lot, setting a new world record. A giant double ferris wheel, the Zodiac*, carries guests 130 feet into the air. The Troika (later renamed Shake, Rattle and Roll) begins it`s spin at the park.
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1976 – Rock Star Paul Revere is married in the park on the Fourth of July in a ceremony attended by his raiders in full Revolutionary War garb. The American Heritage Theater (later renamed the Paramount Theater) opens its doors for special attractions. Also, the Flintstone`s Boulder Bumpers open in Hanna Barbera Land. Research and design for The Beast begins.
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1977: The Screamin` Deamon* debuts as only one of two forward and backward looping coasters in the country. Actor Dick Van Dyke is official spokesperson for the park. Canoe Ride is removed at end of the season to make room for The Beast. Forty five riders are stranded on the Sky Ride for as long as 8 hours after high winds cause the ride to jam.

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1978 – Construction begins on The Beast. The College Football Hall of Fame* opens its doors down the road from Kings Island and a shooting gallery opens in Rivertown.
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1979:

The Beast is added and it quickly becomes the new signature ride. It opens with the tagline “…the biggest, baddest, longest, fastest wooden roller coaster in the world!”Bavarian Beetle, Haley’s Comet and Sky Ride are removed at the end of the season.
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1980 – Scooby Doo is renamed The Beastie. The Beast becomes an even bigger monster hit with the addition of a new stretch of tunnel combining two short tunnels and the re-banking of a portion of the track.
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1981 – The Bat, the world’s first suspended roller coaster, is added. The Rotor is removed at the end of season.
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1982 – A $2.1 million expansion and renovation of Hanna-Barbera Land opens. Rides that opened included the Hanna Barbera Carousel. TimberWolf Theatre opens its gates and Winterfest* debuts. In Oktoberfest a Ferris Wheel* and Viking Fury open. One of the train`s on the Racer was turned around and the Racer to create the backwards Racer. Enchanted Voyage is reworked as The Smurfs Enchanted Voyage.
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1983 – No new rides are added. At the end of the year, Taft’s park general managers and several company vice presidents purchase two-thirds of Taft’s interest in the amusement park business and form their own corporation, King’s Entertainment Company (KECO).On May 13 – A teenager was killed after falling from the Eiffel Tower. He was in a restricted area when he fell. The Festhaus opens its doors as a home for events, festivals, eating and making merry.
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1984:

With standing room only, King Cobra hits the scene as the world`s first stand-up-looping roller coaster. And The Smurf`s Enchanted Voyage* debuts. The Bat, plagued by maintenance problems since its introduction, is removed at the end of the season. (NOTE: Contrary to popular rumor, no one was ever killed or seriously injured on The Bat.)

Admission was $13.50.
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1985 – White Water Canyon arrives presenting guests with a twisting, watery course and spouting geysers assuring that “You will get wet. You may get drenched.” Tumble Bug is removed at the end of the season.
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1986:

This was Kings Islands’ 15th Anniversary. The Flying Eagles ride is moved to the back to the park.The Flying Carpet (giant slide) is moved to Hanna-Barbera Land and renamed Scrappy’s Slide.The Coney Island area is renamed “Coney Mall” and gets a bright new look and three new rides: Skylab (in the area vacated by Tumble Bug), Zephyr (in the area of the former Flying Carpet) and Dodgems (although, technically, Dodgems is not new. It moves to the Flying Eagles old spot, is made larger, and has more cars added.) The Cinema 180 Theatre is also added to Coney Mall.

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1987:

The Vortex � is unveiled, constructed of 750 tons of steel and, at the time, a world record of six loops. The Zodiac is SBNO this entire season. Screamin’ Demon is removed at end of the season and eventually sold to Camden Park in Huntington, West Virginia. (NOTE: As of 2002, this ride is SBNO)
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1988 – Amazon Falls arrives providing a good drenching ride. In 1999, when Adventure Village was replaced by The Paramount Action Zone, it was renamed to Congo Falls . The Zodiac remains SBNO this season.
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1989:

Water Works (12 acre water park) is added. It includes: 15 water slides, a lazy river and ‘Splash Island” (children’s area).The Zodiac and Der Spinning Keggers are removed at end of the season.

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1990:

Flight Commander*, a space-age spinning ride is added in the area vacated by The Zodiac. Rushing River, a 700-foot family inner-tube raft ride is added to Water Works, expanding it to 15 acres. Flying Dutchman is removed at end of the season and sold to Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville, Kentucky where it still operates today. The Ferris Wheel is also removed at the end of this season.

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1991 – Adventure Express (Arrow mine train coaster) is added in the area vacated by Flying Dutchman.

June 9 – Two men were killed after having been electrocuted in a pond at Kings Island amusement park in Kings Island, Ohio. They were trying to rescue another man who was in the pond whos hat had blown into the pond. He also suffered electrical shock. The electrocutions were later found out to be caused by a underwater circulation pump. Also later on the same day, a very drunk woman fell out of her seat Flight Commander. This day is known as Black Sunday.
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1992:

The $3.5 million Phantom Theatre opens for a fabulous spooky ride. The park spends another $750,000 to add several new attractions to Hanna Barbera Land: Scooby Zoom, a children’s steel roller coaster (It would later be renamed to Top Cat`s Taxi Jam in 1998), Pixie and Dixie`s Swingset and Dick Dastardly`s Biplanes. On July 31st, Paramount Communications Inc. bought Kings Island and its sister parks from American Financial. On November 21, the park announced that Winterfest 1992 will be the final Winterfest to lengthen the post season through the end of October.

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1993 – The park becomes Paramount’s Kings Island. A suspended roller coaster, to be named Thunder Road by the former owners, is added and named Top Gun, beginning Paramount’s trend of naming most major new rides after one of their movies or television shows. Top Gun is located in what was once part of the Wild Animal Habitat and has the longest queue in the park. The Wild Animal Habitat & Monorail are closed at the end of the season due to the immence amount of money the attraction costed. American Heritage Music Hall, Name changed to The Paramount Theater
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1994:

Days of Thunder* opens, an exciting new NASCAR racing simulator is added in a previously undeveloped area between the turnaround points of the Racer tracks. Later in 1998 Days of Thunder would be changed to the Paramount Action FX Theater with several movies showing there. The Wild Animal Habitat theme area is renamed Adventure Village. Sunshine Turnpike and The Scrappy Slide are removed at end of the season.

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1995:

Viacom purchases Paramount Communications Inc. and the new connection helps Green Slime invade the park when Nickelodeon® SPLAT CITY* opens. Extreme Skyflyer (an upcharge attraction, which was known as Drop Zone its first season) is added. Flight Commander is removed at the end of the season.

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1996 – The Outer Limits: Flight of Fear blasts guests into the next dimension and becomes the first roller coaster to use linear induction technology to create a spectacular new ride. In 2001, it was renamed to just Flight of Fear and new lap bars were added to create a smoother ride.
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1997 – Water Works nearly doubles in size to almost 30 acres, including Surfside Bay, a 600,000 gallon wave pool, a sunning area and Buccaneer Island, a new children’s play area. The park`s 25th anniversary is celebrated!
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1998:

Wipe-Out Beach, a body-board surfing attraction, is added to Water Works. Three new rides are added to Hanna-Barbera Land: Scooby’s Ghoster Coaster, Yogi’s Sky Tours and Atom Ant’s Airways. Scooby Zoom is renamed Top Cat’s Taxi Jam. Days of Thunder Motion Simulator, transformed into James Bond 007: A License To Thrill, also official name of Theater is changed to Paramount Action FX Theater.

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1999:

The Adventure Village theme area is renamed Paramount’s Action Zone and two rides are added to this area: Drop Zone (World Tallest Intamin Gyro Drop) and Face/Off (Vekoma Invertigo inverted roller coaster). Amazon Falls is renamed Congo Falls (“Congo” is a Paramount movie title). Son of Beast construction begins.

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2000:

The Beast`s sequel is unleashed, called Son of Beast. Son of Beast broke five and tied one world record, when it opened. It was the first wooden coaster built at the park since The Beast. Also, a Water Works entrance, from the parking lot, for PKI season pass holders opens. Son of Beast was the largest single year investment in park history! King’s Mill Log Flume, one of the few rides remaining from Coney Island , is SBNO this season. Kenton`s Cove Keelboat Canal is removed after the end of the season. Seatbelts are installed on the Beastie. Cars are redesigned on Scooby’s Ghoster Coaster.

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2001:

Nickelodeon Central is added as a new theme area, replacing the upper part of Hanna-Barbera Land and the lower part of Rivertown. King’s Mill Log Flume, renovated and renamed as The Wild Thornberry’s, reopens as part of the new Nick Central area. The name “Outer Limits” is dropped from the ride now known as simply “Flight of Fear” and the shoulder bars are replaced with lap bars. Kenton’s Cove Keelboat Canal is removed at the end of the season. Paramount Action FX Theater changes James Bond to the 3-D 7th Portal. The first 3-D film to premier in the theater. King Cobra is removed after the end of the season.

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2002:

Tomb Raider: The Ride (an enclosed Huss Giant Topspin) is added in the area vacated by Kenton’s Cove Keelboat Canal. King Cobra is still being removed at the beginning of the season. Vortex gets repainted. The Beast’s sled brakes are replaced with magnetic brakes. Phantom Theater’s last day of operation is July 14th. Construction on a new ride immediately begins in the building. On July 16th, during a morning test run, an empty train on Top Gun collides with a maintenance vehicle parked too near the track, causing the first three cars to derail and become badly damaged. Top Gun reopens with the one remaining train on July 18th. The damaged train was covered below the ride in a blue tarp.

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2003:

Three new rides are added: Scooby Doo and the Haunted Castle (an interactive dark ride), located in the former Phantom Theater building and using the same cars (although modified as “Mystery Mobiles”) and track. Delirium (a Huss Giant Frisbee), located on a portion of the former King Cobra site and situated to swing out over the Action Zone midway. SpongeBob SquarePants, a 3-D motion simulator film is now playing in the Action FX Theater. Metal detectors are added at the front gates. The fountains on International Street are refurbished and repainted. A large American Flag is added to the Eiffel Tower (now removed). The turn after the first drop on The Beast is re-profiled. Top Gun’s second train re-appears with four new cars. The queue area is extended for Drop Zone. Most of the theme effects on Adventure Express are refurbished. Octoberfest Gardens is remodeled and renamed Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Shack and Lt. Dans Bar behind it. PKICentral.com opens as PKI-Central.com!

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2004:

The park introduces Crocodile Dundee`s Boomerang Bay, a new water park resort. Encompassing all but four slides from the former Water Works, guests can get soaked on four new water attractions: Tasmanian Typhoon, Coolangatta Racers, Jackeroo Landing and Kookabura Bay . The Beast`s 25 anniversary is celebrated. Also, the park introduces the Nickelodeon Celebration parade. The Antique Cars and the Flying Eagles are removed during the season to make room for the 2005 attraction. The Kings Island Campground is closed after the end of the season to allow for construction of the $100 million Great Wolf Lodge. Zephyr is repainted while The Scrambler gets refurbished. Also The Beast, The Racer, and backwards Racer all receive seatbelts.

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2005:

Hollywood entertainment speeds into PKI with the opening of The Italian Job: Stunt Track, a new multi-million dollar fast-track coaster experience in mini Cooper inspired trains . Also, the Happy Days Diner replaces Preston T. Tucker`s Roadside Café in Coney Mall and Cincinnati favorite Graeter`s Ice Cream is introduced in the park as well as Chick Fil-A and a Starbucks. WinterFest returns in November and December after a 13-year hiatus. Scooby`s Ghoster Coaster is removed after the end of the season.

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2006:

Nickelodeon Universe replaces Nickelodeon Central and Hanna-Barbera Land as Kings Island’s kids area. Three new rides debut in this area including Avatar: The Last Airbender, Plankton’s Plunge and Danny Phantom’s Flyers. Kings Island finds a new owner as Cedar Fair LP, who owns and operates such parks as Cedar Point and Knott’s Berry Farm, purchases the Paramount Park’s chain for approximately $1.24 billion. A freak accident on Son of Beast causes its riders to have a more turbulent than usual experience on the ride closes the it for nearly a year. In late 2006, the Great Wolf Lodge opens its doors, occupying a site where Kings Island’s campground once stood.

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2007:

Kings Island opens without the Paramount moniker. Firehawk, formerly known as X-Flight at Geauga Lake, opens at Kings Island in the area behind Flight of Fear that once housed the helipad for helicopter tours of the park. Guest Relations gets an overhaul and is converted from a walk up window to a walk in counter service facility. An ice show, Endless Summer on Ice, is introduced to Kings Island for the the first time in over a decade.

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2008:

The park opens with almost all remnants of the Paramount movie themes gone. Face/Off becomes Invertigo, Drop Zone becomes Drop Tower, Days of Thunder becomes Thunder Ally, The Italian Job Stun Track becomes Backlot Stunt Coaster and Tomb Raider: The Ride is renamed The Crypt with a new ride program. Robbie Knievel follows in his father’s footsteps as he jumps 24 Coke Zero trucks in Kings Island’s parking lot, attempting to break the world record. The 4th of July is loaded with special events and his highlighted with another record breaking attempt, this time by Rick Wallenda who did two high wire skywalks. The first began from a crane near the entrance to the park as he 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 front crane at the front gate he turned around and walked the entire length back to the Eiffel Tower. Swan Lake, which sat behind the International Bandstand, is drained and has an odd concrete formation in it on opening day. This turned out to be the first visible signs of Diamondback construction, which was set to open in April 2009. By the season’s end, much of the Diamondback track was already in place.

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2009:

The park opens Diamondback after raising 107,000 for a Kid Again. Nick Wallenda walks a tightrope from the parks entrance (crane) to the Eiffel Tower. The Beast celebrates its 30th year of operation at Kings Island.

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2010:

The parks children area, formally Nick Universe gets a complete overhaul to Peanuts theme and is named Planet Snoopy.

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2011:

The park builds Windseeker, a 301 foot tall spinning ride that has riders soaring over the park with full view of everything around them. Also Dinosaurs Alive debuts being the worlds largest dinosaur animatronics park.

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2012:

The Soak City waterpark receives a 10 million dollar expansion.