Kings Island is pretty awesome. While the rides may not be as good as Cedar Point (located just a few hours to our north), Greater Cincinnatians are very fortunate to have a legitimate theme park at its disposal. Cedar Point garners international attention year in and year out for its outstanding collection of roller coasters—a whopping 16 of them! It is Kings Island, however, which resides within a short driving distance and I unashamedly count it as my favorite amusement park.
- Kings Island is home to my all-time favorite roller coaster: The Beast. This is the world’s tallest, fastest, and longest wooden roller coaster. And it rules.
- Some other rides deserve accolades as well, including but not limited to: Diamondback, FACE/OFF (fine, Invertigo), Firehawk, and the Vortex—an oldie but goodie.
- I really miss the King Cobra, Flight Commander, Phantom Theater, and Skylab. The King Cobra was the world’s first stand-up coaster, while Flight Commander enjoyed the myth that a chalk outline was drawn for the woman who died while riding it. Phantom Theater, for those of us who were 10 when it was popular, enjoyed a hot summer’s day break in the A/C while being able to hold hands with your beau of the week. Skylab, a severely underrated ride, was like a ferris wheel on meth. It was awesome.
- The Eiffel Tower is a “one-third scale replica” of Paris’ notorious version, standing 331 feet tall.
- KI, as we so adoringly refer to it, boasts the best food you can get from an amusement park, spear-headed by LaRosa’s pizza, smurf blue ice cream, and Skyline to name a few. I don’t know what it is about Kings Island LaRosa’s, but it’s the closest I’ll ever get to trying crack.
- Kings Island’s “kiddie land” (I think they call it Planet Snoopy these days and it was once referred to as Hanna-Barbera Land) is the Best Kids’ Area in the World and has been voted as such for 12 years running.
- The Beastie is now referred to as “Woodstock Express” except I will always call it The Beastie.
- Both Cedar Point and Kings Island are owned by the Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, which makes them each inherently awesome.
If you’re like me, you like to reminisce about how Kings Island used to be. While the pungent smell of blacktop continues to permeate the park, many of its attractions, eateries, and roller coasters have run the gamut of revisions—be it simple name changes, façade reconstruction, or all-around closures, Kings Island continues to evolve. There are multiple discount admission options available, so making a trip to KI shouldn’t be too difficult. It’s a greater Cincinnati institution and, while it is always changing, it will always be a nostalgic, fun place to get away. So take advantage of its proximity!