Kings Island turns 50: New season kicks off this weekend

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Park will be celebrating golden anniversary with special events

MASON — This Saturday, April 16, Kings Island will unlock its turnstiles and open the gates to the general public for the 2022 season.

Season passholders can hit the park a day early on Friday, April 15.

Since first opening in 1972, the popular destination has established itself as an entertainment juggernaut in southern Ohio.

ExplorePHOTOS: Kings Island from the archives

The park is planning a special summer-long, “Golden Celebration,” full of new experiences that tell the stories of the park’s first 50 years.

Park organizers are launching new live shows celebrating memorable moments in the park’s history over the years, new menu items that pay tribute to Kings Island’s history, special fireworks shows and limited edition 50th anniversary merchandise.

Here’s a look at some of the updates and additions that you can expect to see.

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The ride, Vortex, at Kings Island on opening day, Friday, April 18, 2014. GREG LYNCH / STAFF

The ride, Vortex, at Kings Island on opening day, Friday, April 18, 2014. GREG LYNCH / STAFF

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The ride, Vortex, at Kings Island on opening day, Friday, April 18, 2014. GREG LYNCH / STAFF

Kings Island’s Birthday: Kings Island officially turns 50 on Friday, April 29. There are plenty of plans to celebrate the big day with none bigger than the actual day of. The historic anniversary celebration will include special ceremonies and entertainment throughout the day and a special fireworks tribute to honor the park’s first 50 years.

The Golden Celebration: A summer-long Golden Celebration will kick off on Memorial Day weekend beginning Saturday, May 28. Brand new entertainment that highlights special moments from Kings Island’s history, culinary dishes created just for the Golden Anniversary year and the chance to dance the night away at the base of the Eiffel Tower will be some of the offerings along with a special fireworks finale each night.

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Club KI: Let loose, have some fun and dance the night away at Club K.I. beginning May 28. Join The Royal Coasters live band at the International Street Bandstand as they perform hits from yesterday and today. DJ Diamondback keeps the party going with his anniversary club mix while stilt walkers, acrobats and festive dancers make the dance floor come alive.

New shows: The 50th Anniversary celebration will introduce several new shows that tell the stories of the park’s most iconic moments and memories through song and dance. One of the shows, the 70s on Demand! starts May 28 featuring singers, dancers and a funky nine-piece live band channeling groovy songs from the decade that started it all.

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Kings Island Executive Chef James Major stand in front of the new Coney Bar B Que Tuesday, April 10 at the park in Mason. Kings Island held a preview event for the new restaurant and food items that will be available in the park this season. The new Coney Bar B Que will offer a variety of barbecue favorites including smoked St. Louis-style ribs, pulled pork, rotisserie chicken and Queen City Sausage. The new location is included in the park's dining plans. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Kings Island Executive Chef James Major stand in front of the new Coney Bar B Que Tuesday, April 10 at the park in Mason. Kings Island held a preview event for the new restaurant and food items that will be available in the park this season. The new Coney Bar B Que will offer a variety of barbecue favorites including smoked St. Louis-style ribs, pulled pork, rotisserie chicken and Queen City Sausage. The new location is included in the park's dining plans. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Combined ShapeCaption
Kings Island Executive Chef James Major stand in front of the new Coney Bar B Que Tuesday, April 10 at the park in Mason. Kings Island held a preview event for the new restaurant and food items that will be available in the park this season. The new Coney Bar B Que will offer a variety of barbecue favorites including smoked St. Louis-style ribs, pulled pork, rotisserie chicken and Queen City Sausage. The new location is included in the park's dining plans. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

New food: Kings Island’s culinary team led by Executive Chef James Major is introducing new menu items this season including empanadas, crepes, burnt ends and specialty desserts including small birthday cakes.

Art contest: This year Kings Island is calling all artists to submit work showing their love of Kings Island. Enter for the chance to win prizes and to be featured in the park’s art show. The Art Contest will close Friday, May 13. First prize is $1,000 cash prize, display of artwork in the park from May 28-June 30 and five complimentary copies of any retail limited-edition poster produced from the winning artwork.

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Construction of the $27 million Kings Island Camp Cedar is underway, and the new luxury outdoor resort is scheduled to open in the spring of 2021. The resort will feature modern lodging that will welcome Kings Island guests, families, vacationers and recreational vehicle (RV) travelers. The new luxury outdoor resort is located on more than 50 acres of land less than a mile from Kings Island’s front gates. CONTRIBUTED

Construction of the $27 million Kings Island Camp Cedar is underway, and the new luxury outdoor resort is scheduled to open in the spring of 2021. The resort will feature modern lodging that will welcome Kings Island guests, families, vacationers and recreational vehicle (RV) travelers. The new luxury outdoor resort is located on more than 50 acres of land less than a mile from Kings Island’s front gates. CONTRIBUTED

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Construction of the $27 million Kings Island Camp Cedar is underway, and the new luxury outdoor resort is scheduled to open in the spring of 2021. The resort will feature modern lodging that will welcome Kings Island guests, families, vacationers and recreational vehicle (RV) travelers. The new luxury outdoor resort is located on more than 50 acres of land less than a mile from Kings Island’s front gates. CONTRIBUTED

Other events to look forward to: Soak City Water Park will open Memorial Day weekend and it will remain open daily through Sunday, Aug. 21. On Sunday, July 3 the park will have a special Independence Day fireworks show, and later in the year Halloween Haunt, Tricks and Treats Fall Fest and WinterFest will also return to the park calendar.

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

ExplorePHOTOS: Kings Island in black and white photos

HOW TO GO

What: Kings Island

Where: 6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason

More information: 513-754-5700 or visitkingsisland.com

Opens: April 16, Soak City Waterpark opens May 28

Daily operation begins: May 18

Hours of operation: Varies. Check the website for details of the date you plan to visit — www.visitkingsisland.com/explore/calendar-and-hours

Dining plans: Kings Island offers an all-day dining plan and a season pass dining plan, which allows diners to choose from one of several entrees and a side at participating locations for two meals. Plans can be purchased in person at the park.

Save money: The best way to save on your purchase is to buy in advance online.

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