Tuesday, July 24, 2012

King's Island - Trip Report

King's Island, an amusement park in Ohio, is one of the "bigger" parks and is a major park, not a regional one. It was once owned by Paramount, as were several other parks around the country. It's now owned by Cedar Fair, which also own's Cedar Point and Knott's Berry Farm. 

King's Island is a full day at least. We were able to get through everything major only with the help of a ride-skipping upcharge (which is a wristband system in the Cedar Fair world). That added cost, certainly, but we would never have been able to get on everything in a single day otherwise.

This is a park with many major rides to its credit. The suspended coaster was fun in the dark, but I wouldn't go out of my way for it.

Normally I quite love hyper coasters (200 ft tall, big drops, lots of airtime, no inversions, quite smooth). Someone, the one at King's Island seemed like a lesser coaster to me, compared to Goliath at Six Flags over Georgia or Apollo's Chariot at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

The coasters mostly ring around the outside of the park. The mine coaster was interesting, but a touch painful. We were awe struck by the very tall woodie nearby, but we later learned this is a closed ride called Son of Beast that injured enough folks it was shuttered. Perhaps forever?

The Beast is the big attraction here. It's a different kind of wooden coaster. It's a "terrain" coaster that hugs ground movement more than having big artificial hills. Part of its charm is that it simply goes straight for a long time, not at a dangerous or steep slope, but just going fast fast fast. It's hard not to like the Beast, and it's rightly famous.

There's a coaster in the middle of the park that's an oddball in that it hews to a theme about special effects, and actually manages to pull some off. As a coaster, it's more like a glorified Schwarzkopf if you ask me, but it was enjoyable.

The view from the replica Eiffel Tower is worthwhile - you should take a look from up here if you can.

This park has a big kids' section, and several other smaller rides I'm not going into here. Because of the park's size, it loses the "regional park" feel and turns into something less personal, perhaps more corporate. I still liked it, but it felt like an "amusement park" to me, and not in the best way. Good for a day, but definitely not on my short list of parks to live next to.

Kevin Yee is the author of numerous independent Disney books, including the popular Walt Disney World Earbook series and Walt Disney World Hidden History.