I made my first trip to Kings Island on May 26th and 27th as part of a Memorial Day vacation in the Cincinnati area. First, I stopped at Coney Island on May 25th. This was the park’s opening day but it wasn’t super crowded. If you don’t know, Coney Island is basically the precursor to Kings Island. Taft Broadcasting (the builders of KI, KD, and CW) bought Coney Island in 1969 and closed the park in 1971 after moving most of the rides to Kings Island. It reopened in 1973 but with few attractions. However, the Sunlite pool remained and more rides were added over the years to make it a small family park.
After the drive in on Saturday and several stops, I made it to Coney Island and got an hour and a half of ride time in. An unlimited ride wristband was only $10 after 4 so I rode their single coaster (a D.P.V. Rides Zyklon known as “Python”) and several of their flat rides. Overall, it’s a nice, small, old-fashioned park that’s good if you don’t want to spend a lot of money.
The next day I went to Kings Island. The park opens to the general public at 10am, but Gold season pass holders get early access to the park. Each day starts off with a countdown before “rope drop”. I made my way around the park counterclockwise starting with Planet Snoopy. The overall peanuts theming is nice and there are rides that can be enjoyed by the entire family, not just kids. Planet Snoopy is probably the most well-themed area of the park behind International Street. Moving on to Rivertown. The theming isn’t really as consistent here. This part of the park is home to Diamondback, Mystic Timbers, and The Beast. The only thing constantly reminding you of the theme is the music. Country renditions of pop music. Pretty annoying.
Coney Mall and Oktoberfest are barely themed at all. Oktoberfest is really just a small extension of International Street that contains the Festhaus and Biergarten. Action Zone made sense long ago when Son of Beast was still standing, the Go-Kart track was there, and The Bat was called Top Gun/Flight Deck. Now, most of the theming has been removed including the water tower at the center. At the moment, X-Base really doesn’t exist anymore. It’s no longer referred to on the map and I don’t remember seeing the sign over the walkway. All that remains is Flight of Fear and a few remnants of Firehawk including the queue and station. Maybe they’ll get reused for something. There weren’t a lot of flat rides outside of Planet Snoopy, but most were pretty good. The Eiffel Tower provides some great views, and it’s crazy to see the entire park lit up at night. At the end of the day, I was treated to a pleasant surprise as I heard an announcement right as I was leaving the park. KI closes out each day with a show on international street featuring lights, fireworks, water effects, and music. It absolutely blew me away and was a great way to finish out the night.
Ops were very good at both parks. All coasters ran at least 2 trains unless they were physically incapable. Wait times were usually not much more than a station wait, if that.
Coney Island: I didn’t try any of the food here, but it looked pretty standard for a small park.
KI: Plenty of options for lunch, dinner, and snacks. You can find typical theme park fare like burgers, hot dogs, fries, chicken strips, and fries. There’s options for international food as well. Chain restaurants such as Chick-fil-a, Panda Express, and Subway also have locations in the park. The quality is acceptable but the prices are about as high as you would expect for a theme park.
Python at Coney Island: It’s a Zyklon. Not really bad or good.
- Adventure Express: A fun Arrow mine train. Not too bumpy and has some decent theming. The trains have individual restraints so you don’t have to worry about getting crushed when riding with a smaller person. Overall it’s a nice family coaster. 9/10
- Backlot Stunt Coaster: Overall, I really wasn’t impressed with this coaster and I usually like Premier launch coasters. The theming feels generic and dated. I feel like it might be better with a retheme but the layout wasn’t very interesting either. 3/10
- Banshee: Insanely overrated. Theming was cool but the ride experience was okay at best. The tight vest restraints made it difficult to breath. 5/10
- Bat: Very fun, very underrated. It doesn’t really have a theme but I’m ok with that as the ride experience more than makes up for it. Maybe it’s underrated because it’s not easy to spot until you’re very close. 9/10
- Beast: Fun but a bit overrated in my opinion. It was very rough on the turns, especially when sitting on a wheel seat. The speed is nice and the layout is interesting but the ride has trim brakes. 7/10
- Diamondback: Very smooth hyper with amazing airtime. Not too forceful. As long as you don’t staple yourself, the floater is unbelievable. 10/10
- Flight of Fear: Amazing ride with an extremely satisfying launch. Not rough either and the restraints are comfortable for the most part. I just think it needs a little bit of theming work. Despite removing the Outer Limits name, it’s still very easy to tell that the ride was themed to a show that ended over 15 years ago. It’s a 90s ride and it definitely shows but as a bonus, you get a nice air-conditioned wait! 9/10
- Flying Ace Aerial Chase: Quite bumpy. I would say it might be fun for younger kids but I didn’t find it very enjoyable. 5/10
- Great Pumpkin Coaster: Great kiddie coaster but the park enforces a height limit of 60″ or 5 feet unless accompanied by someone under that height. 8/10
- Invertigo: A rare credit but I didn’t enjoy it. Definitely not worth a reride. 5/10
- Mystic Timbers: A smooth, fast-paced twister with great theming and an even better ending that I won’t spoil here. 9/10
- Racer: Both sides were about the same. They don’t always duel and it’s hard to determine the winner. The ratchet bars and seatbelts ruin the point of the ride. I know classic wooden coasters are supposed to be rough but this one just kinda gave me a headache. I usually enjoy classic PTC coasters! 6/10
- Vortex: My first ride wasn’t bad but the second wasn’t nearly as enjoyable. I will say it’s definitely not as bad as most people say. 6/10
- Woodstock Express: Amazing family coaster, quite smooth, and the trains have BUZZ BARS! 10/10
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