Happy birthday, King’s Island! The park is celebrating its golden 50th anniversary this year. Today’s Kings Island has eight themed areas, including Soak City Water Park, and over 100 rides, attractions and shows. When Kings Island premiered in April 1972, the park had fewer areas and way fewer rides and attractions. Though Kings Island looks different today, much of the original park remains 50 years later.
Kings Island opened 50 years ago:Take a look back in time
Kings Island’s original five themed areas were International Street, Oktoberfest, Coney Island, Rivertown and the Happy Land of Hanna-Barbera. Today, International Street, Oktoberfest, and Rivertown remain. Coney Island is still there, but it was renamed Coney Mall in 1986.
The Happy Land of Hanna-Barbera, the children’s area, was renamed Hanna-Barbera Land in 1982. In 2006, Hanna-Barbera Land was rethemed as Nickelodeon Universe. Then in 2010, Nickelodeon Universe was remade as Planet Snoopy. Each time the children’s area theming changed, the names and themes of all the rides changed.
Many rides have come and gone since 1972, but 11 of the original rides remain in operation today.
Kings Island’s OG rides and attractions
dodgem, the park’s bumper car ride, was transferred from Coney Island back in 1972. It was originally manufactured in 1924 and remodeled in 1986. The new cars were manufactured in Italy. With Dodgem, you can drive as fast as you like and don’t worry about speeding tickets or ambulance-chasing lawyers. So, if you feel the need for speed, you can put the pedal to the metal on this ride.
eiffel-tower symbolizes Kings Island the same way that Sleeping Beauty Castle represents Disneyland. It was manufactured by Intamin of Zurich, Switzerland, in 1972. The tower is 314 feet tall, which is one-third the size of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. The tower has two elevators that lead to the observation tower. Kings Island’s Eiffel Tower is as close as you can get to France without leaving Ohio – and you will not need a passport.
Grand Carousel was built in 1926 by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company. It resided at Coney Island before it was moved to Kings Island. The 80-foot carousel has 48 hand-carved wooden horses. Riding these horses can be considered better than real horses because they do not smell and do not cause soreness.
Kings Island & Miami Valley Railroad was built in 1972 by Crown Metal Products Company of Wyand, Pennsylvania. Its track is 5,585 long. The railroad has two locomotives, Blue No. 12 and Green No. 19, that are powered by propane gas. Each train has six coaches. The trains pass an 1800s old river town. It features Mary Rose Inn, Stage Office All Points West, Miami Valley Bank, Lassert’s General Store, Haberdasher, General Furniture Undertaker, the Red Eye Saloon, Jail, Wilson Stable and Reynolds Feed and Seed. During the summer, the railroad travels between Rivertown and Soak City Water Park. Riding this train can take you from the dry park to the water park and back, and from 2022 to the 1800s and back.
Linus’ Beetle Bugs was manufactured in 1967 by WF Mangels Company of Brooklyn, New York. It was known as Funky Phantom in 1972. In 1982, it was remade as the Screecher. It was renamed the Alley Cat 500 in 1998. In 2006, it was rethemed as Swiper’s Sweeper and into Linus’ Beetle Bugs in 2010. The circular, flat ride has eight child-sized cars that hold two children each. It is a classic whip ride. This old ride brings new thrills to small children.
Monster was manufactured in 1968 by Everly Aircraft Company of Salem, Oregon. It is a circular, spinning, flat ride that has six arms with four pods each. The pods hold two people each, and the ride holds a maximum of 24 people. The pods spin around the arms, while the arms rotate and move up and down around the base. Some people think that the ride looks like a large monster with six tentacles.
Peanuts Off-Road Rally was manufactured in 1969 by Hampton Amusement Corporation of Portage des Sioux, Missouri. It was called Autocat when it premiered at Kings Island in 1972. In 1982, it was rethemed as Pee Wee Raceway. Then, the ride was remade as Huck’s Hot Rods in 1998. It was transformed into Go Diego Go in 2006. In 2010, the ride was given its current name and theme. The flat, rotating children’s ride has nine stationary vehicles that can hold up to four children each. This ride lets little kids pretend that they are driving child-sized cars.
Race for Your LifeCharlie Brown was manufactured by Arrow Dynamics in 1968 and was moved from Coney Island to Kings Island in 1972. It was known as Kings Mill Log Flume in 1972. The ride was closed in 2000 and reopened and rethemed as Wild Thornberry’s River Adventure in 2001. In 2010 , the ride was remade into Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown. It is a water flume ride with a 1,387-foot-long trough. There are 23 logs that each fit four to five riders. The name of the ride may have changed, but the result stays the same. You will get very wet on this log flume.
The Scrambler was manufactured in 1969 by Eli Bridge Company of Jacksonville, Indiana. It resided at Coney Island before it was moved to Kings Island. This flat ride has three rotating arms that each have four counter-rotating cars mounted on them. Food is not allowed on the ride, so you will not be able to scramble your eggs while riding it.
The Racer was designed by John A. Miller and manufactured by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1972. It is a wooden roller coaster with twin tracks, one for the Blue Racer and one for the Red Racer. The two coasters race against each other during each ride. Its track is 3,415 feet long and the height of its first hill is 88 feet. The coaster has four trains and its maximum speed is 53 miles per hour. In 1972, an episode of “The Partridge Family” named “I Left My Heart in Cincinnati” was filmed at Kings Island and saliently featured the Racer. The following year, another family television show was filmed at Kings Island. The Racer was prominently shown in an episode of “The Brady Bunch” named “Cincinnati Kids.” If you want to pay homage to the 1970s, have your family wear bell-bottom jeans and ride the Racer together.
Woodstock Express was built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1972. When this wooden coaster premiered at Kings Island, it was known as Scooby-Doo. It was renamed the Beastie in 1980. In 1986, the coaster was rethemed as Fairly Odd Coaster. Then in 2010, it was transformed into what it is today. The coaster has two trains and a 1,350-foot-long wooden track with a 38-foot lift. Its maximum speed is 35 miles per hour. No matter what the name of this junior coaster is, it is a fun ride for the entire family.
kings island opening day
Where: 6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason.
When: Kings Island reopens for its 50th season on April 16.