It’s been a thrill ride! 10 things to know about Kings Island past and present

Kings Island will open tomorrow, Saturday, May 15 for the 2021 season.

The amusement park has entertained and electrified more than 125 million people since it opened in 1972. Roller coasters, thrill rides and more are part of the amusement park fun.

Here are 10 notable moments from the park’s history:

1. Find your happy place. "C'mon Get Happy!" was the slogan for Kings Island when it opened April 29, 1972. The name Kings Island is a combination of the community of Kings Mills and Coney Island, its amusement park predecessor.

Credit: Submitted Photo

Credit: Submitted Photo

2. The very first. The first rides and attractions constructed at the park were the Eiffel Tower, Royal Fountain and the Racer roller coaster. The Racer was the first twin-track wooden coaster built in modern times, according to the Kings Island website. It could hit speeds close to 60 mph.

3. “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!” The park was the filming location for two popular television shows in 1972. “The Partridge Family” made an episode called “I Left My Heart in Cincinnati” that featured Cincinnati Reds catcher Johnny Bench and former Miss America Mary Ann Mobley. The cast of “The Brady Bunch” also shot an episode at the park.

4. Motorcycle world records. In 1975, Evel Knievel set a world record when he jumped over 14 Greyhound buses on his motorcycle in the parking lot of Kings Island. The spectacle was aired on ABC's "Wide World of Sports." His son, Robbie Knievel, jumped a motorcycle over 24 Coke Zero trucks for a world record in 2008.

5. A singing and dancing spokesman. Popular actor and singer Dick Van Dyke became the park's commercial spokesman in 1977 and officially dedicated the outdoor International Showplace Theater.

Credit: Contributed photo

Credit: Contributed photo

6. The Mecca of wooden roller coasters. The Beast, billed as the “biggest, baddest, longest, fastest roller coaster in the world,” opened in 1979. The wooden roller coaster is 7,359 feet long, has a top speed of 64.8 mph, and is known as the world’s longest wooden roller coaster. Son of Beast, the world’s tallest, fastest and only looping wooden roller coaster, was unveiled in 2000. Open for nine seasons, the problematic ride was officially closed in 2009 and dismantled in 2012.

7. Coaster firsts. The King Cobra, the first stand-up, steel looping roller coaster in the United States, opened in 1984, and the Vortex, a roller coaster that turned riders upside down six times, more than any other coaster in the world at the time, opened in 1987.

8. Early careers. Carmen Electra performed as a dancer in the "It's Magic" show in the Kings Island Theater in the 1990s, and Susan Perkins, crowned Miss America in 1978, also worked as a show performer.

9. Wooden coasters. Mystic Timbers opened in 2017 thrilling more than 1.3 million guests. The roller coaster, the 16th for the park and the fourth made of wood, gives the park a combined total of 18,804 feet of wooden coaster track, the most at any amusement or theme park in the world.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

10. New coaster milestone. This will be the first full season for Orion, one of only seven giga coasters in the world, part of a class of coasters having a height or drop of 300 to 399 feet.

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