Kings Island as our Theme Park Insider Park of the Week?Kings Island returns for its 50th anniversary season this Saturday, April 16. So what better reason can there be to celebrate
Kings Island opened April 29, 1972, designed as a replacement for Cincinnati's Coney Island amusement park, which had suffered flooding in its location on the banks of the Ohio River. Owned by Taft Broadcasting Company, Kings Island featured characters from Taft's Hanna-Barbera Inc. as well as a soon-to-be iconic double-track wooden coaster, The Racer. The Racer was an immediate hit, inspiring similar rides at other parks and helping to fuel renewed interest in roller coasters nationwide during the 1970s.
Long before Disney became the master at media synergy, Kings Island was getting national airtime on ABC, thanks to deals that brought popular sitcoms The Partridge Family and The Brady Bunch to film episodes in the park. Kings Island also hosted national broadcasts of stunts by Karl Wallenda and Evel Knievel, helping promote the park to a generation of fans across the country.
Kings Island continued to lead in coaster development with the debuts in 1979 of The Beast, which remains the world's longest wooden roller coaster, and in 1981 of The Bat - Arrow Dynamics' pioneering suspended coaster. (Today, the park uses The Bat name on the former Top Gun coaster, which opened in 1993.) In 1992, Paramount bought Kings Island, making it part of the Paramount Parks chain, where it remained until Cedar Fair bought the Paramount parks in 2006.
Today, Kings Island is home to 14 roller coasters, including its most recent addition, 2020's Bolliger & Mabillard giga, Orion. Our reader's top pick in the park is the 2009 B&M hyper Diamondback.
To commemorate its anniversary, Kings Island will kick off "A Golden Celebration" on May 28, with new shows, themed food, a new fireworks show, and a "Club KI" dance party - as well as a "50 Years of Fun Street Party" parade that starts June 18.
Thinking about visiting? Out travel partner has one-day tickets for as low as $48, as well as discounts on hotel packages, on its Kings Island tickets page.
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