Kings Island opens for season with over 100 attractions

The gates at Kings Island opened 50 years ago on April 29, 1972.

Daily operations of the iconic theme park begin Wednesday, May 18, kickstarting the season right before Memorial Day weekend.

When Kings Island opened, there were just over 60 attractions for guests to enjoy. There are now more than 100 attractions thanks to $400 million in investments over the years.

The popularity of the park has only continued to increase over the years with the park reporting 140 million visitors through its doors since 1972.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

There are 11 Kings Island opening day attractions that can still be visited and enjoyed to this day. With more dates available to visit, Don Helbig, Kings Island’s area manager of digital marketing, shares what they are and how to enjoy an old school celebration.

DODGEM: The Dodgem was among the rides transported from Coney Island to Kings Island for the park’s opening in 1972. The bumper car ride originally opened in 1924 and was remodeled in 1986. Since 1972 the Dodgem has given 36,292,050 rides.

EIFFEL TOWER: The Eiffel Tower opened with Kings Island in 1972 and stands as a majestic symbol, almost as if it were the caretaker of the 364-acre amusement and water park. Guarding the end of International Street, the 450-ton structure has been the dominating landmark at Kings Island and Mason, Ohio, and was planned to fit that role. The Eiffel Tower has given 38,869,216 rides.

Credit: Apryl Pilolli

Credit: Apryl Pilolli

GRAND CAROUSEL: The Grand Carousel was built in 1926 by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company. Originally labelled No. 79, it was one of the first rides brought to Kings Island from Coney Island for its opening in 1972. It features a 1918 Wurlitzer Duplex No. 165 band organ. During its years of operation at Kings Island, 23,975,157 rides have been given.

K.I. & MIAMI VALLEY RAILROAD: The locomotives, numbered #12 and #19, are scale replicas designed around the 4-4-0 American style “General” engine which was built in 1855 and the subject of The Great Locomotive Chase of the American Civil War. Instead of being coal fired, the engines are propane gas fired but the 400-gallon boilers on each engine provide plenty of capacity to make them real authentic steam-spitting locomotives. The K.I. & Miami Valley Railroad has given 57,474,285 rides, second-most in park history.

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LINUS’ BEETLE BUGS: This kids’ attraction originally operated from 1967 to 1971 at Coney Island before being included in the rides transported to Kings Island for its opening. It holds the Kings Island record for the most different names at five. It was first known as Funky Phantom. In 1982, it was renamed Screecher, followed by the Alley Cat 500 in 1998, Swiper’s Sweeper in 2006 and to its current name in 2010. During its years of operation at Kings Island, 7,377,967 rides have been given.

MONSTER: The Monster originally opened in 1968 at Coney Island and among the rides transported to Kings Island within days of Coney closing in September 1971. The ride is notable for its appearance in “The Partridge Family” episode filmed at Kings Island in 1972, “I Left My Heart in Cincinnati.” During its years of service at Kings Island, a total of 26,116,242 rides have been given.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

PEANUTS OFF-RIDE RALLY: This classic kids’ ride opened in 1969 at Coney Island and was among the attractions transported to Kings Island for its debut season. It has previously been known as Pee Wee Raceway, Motor Mouse and Go, Diego, Go! A total of 9,546,673 rides have been given during its years of operation at Kings Island.

RACE FOR YOUR LIFE CHARLIE BROWN: This ride originally opened in 1968 at Coney Island and moved to Kings Island in the fall of 1971. Known as the Kings Mills Log Flume when Kings Island opened, it was considered one of the park’s marquee attractions for its debut season. The attraction was closed for refurbishment in 2000 and reopened as the Wild Thornberry’s River Adventure. In 2010, it was renamed to its current name. The attraction has given 46,494,902 rides at Kings Island.

THE SCRAMBLER: The Scrambler operated for three seasons at Coney Island, from 1969 to 1971, before joining the group of rides moved to Kings Island for its opening. The Scrambler has undergone as series of renovations since debuting at Kings Island, including the ride cars and lights being replaced. In its years of service at Kings Island, 25,508, 425 rides have been given.

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THE RACER: Designed by John A. Allen and manufactured by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company, authorities credit The Racer as the inspiration for what has been developed and built since the destructive period from 1945 to 1970, a time when most of the greatest roller coasters ever conceived fell victim to the wrecker’s ball. The Racer has been the site of several world-record riding attempts and is notable for its appearance in the “Cincinnati Kids” episode of “The Brady Bunch,” filmed in 1973 at Kings Island. The Racer has given 107,625,382 rides, the most in park history!

WOODSTOCK EXPRESS: Called a 30-day wonder, as that’s how long it took to construct this 1,350-foot-long wooden roller coaster designed by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company. The ride originally opened as the Scooby-Doo roller coaster. In 1980, it was renamed The Beastie and a tunnel at the base of the first drop was installed. The tunnel was removed when the name was changed to Fairly Odd Coaster. In 2010, the name was changed again to its current name as part of a rebranding of the kids’ area to Planet Snoopy. In its seasons of operation, 47,866,680 rides have been given.

Contact this contributing writer at alexis.e.larsen@hotmail.com.

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