Skip to Main Content

Kings Island

Skip to Next Section

Remembering the Enchanted Voyage

John Keeter

Kings Island Blog Contributor

One of the main ingredients in the creation of Kings Island was the theming opportunities offered by Hanna-Barbera. 

Taft Broadcasting (owners of Hanna-Barbera Studios and financial backers of Kings Island) knew they wanted to heavily showcase their characters in the new park. The Cincinnati Coney Island executives knew that successful parks had highly popular indoor dark rides. So, together they decided that Kings Island would have an elaborate dark ride that would feature a Hanna-Barbera cast. In fact, when it premiered with the park in 1972, “The Enchanted Voyage” was Kings Island’s most expensive attraction at $2 million. 

Gary Wachs (Coney Island’s vice-president) had previously hired theatrical scenic designer Richard Harsley as “Design and Special Effects Director” for Coney. Harsley had designed many of the elaborately themed windows at H&S Pogue’s Department Store in downtown Cincinnati. He was then enlisted to re-imagine several of Coney’s themed attractions, which he did to great success. 

When the development of Kings Island began, Harsley was asked to work closely with animators at Hanna-Barbera Studios to create and design the new dark ride. Twenty-nine story-board drawings were produced which became the basis for the attraction. Utilizing a conveyance system provided by Arrow Development, guests would first board nine-passenger boats via a turntable outside a huge show building designed to look like a large television.  Passengers would then float along a water-filled trough into the colorful world of HB’s characters. The indoor voyage would feature six vignettes during it’s nearly five-minute journey including: a colorful cave, a wedding in the land of Little People, a hillbilly-esque hoedown, an elaborate water world, a spooky haunted house and an over-the-top circus finale.

Among the interior scenes, the ride featured over 100 animated Hanna-Barbera characters (built and shipped from Japan), tens of thousands of twinkling lights, and a $5,000 ghost-projector. Sixteen sequentially timed surround-sound systems relayed a theme song recorded at the famed Glen Glenn Sound in North Hollywood. The song was orchestrated by famed Hanna-Barbera music producer Paul De Korte. (De Korte was responsible for the music in many HB cartoons– including “Superfriends” and “The Smurfs.”) William Hanna personally helped write the song’s lyrics with Coney executive Dennis Speigel. Thousands of guests from 1972 until 1984 who rode the attraction left humming or singing the highly-catchy lyrics:

Cartoon friends with funny faces,

Jinx and those little meece he chases,

Ant Hill Mob, the Wacky Racers,

live in my TV!

I'm friends, with Fred who yells out: Yabba Dabba Dabba Doo!
bosom Buddy Barney too,
and Scooby Dooby where are you? 
I love, that mumblin' bear. I laugh at him until I hurt

and when its, Banana Splits
you don't eat them for dessert!

Bristle Hound is not a stranger,
he saves Lambsy when in danger.
Yogi Bear outsmarts the ranger
all in my TV.

Those happy friends who live in my TV!

For Kings Islands second season, the park added a new character to the exterior of the attraction – a snail – that greeted incoming guests and wished outgoing guests a nice day. 

Unfortunately, by 1983, the attraction had become outdated and updates to the animatronics were needed. That season, Kings Island purchased the rights to feature the immensely successful “Smurfs” (also produced by Hanna-Barbera – but its later inception was not included in the original HB licensing) and decided to incorporate the characters in Hanna-Barbera Land which just two years earlier had been completely overhauled. In 1984, “The Smurfs” arrived at Kings Island and now inhabited the refurbished and aptly re-named “Smurf’s Enchanted Voyage.” 

Park designer Brad Kain was placed in charge of the “Smurfy” new design and storyline. It retained the same boat conveyance system, but the voyage would now feature four seasonally-themed vignettes filled with the loveable blue characters. Guests first saw a spring morning in Smurf Village, then a Summer Smurf Picnic, followed by a spooky Fall/Halloween scene with villain Gargamel attempting to capture them, and ending with an elaborate winter holiday finale.  Of course, it goes without saying that the entire experience incorporated the infamous “La, la, la, la, la, la” theme song. 

“Smurf’s Enchanted Voyage” would delight guests for eight seasons before the entire theme and boat conveyance device was removed and replaced with “Phantom Theater” in 1992.  “Phantom Theater” would last until 2003, and be replaced with “Scooby Doo and the Haunted Castle” an interactive dark ride.  “Scooby Doo and the Haunted Castle” would last until 2010 when it was re-themed to “Boo Blasters on Boo Hill” (the building’s current inhabitant.) It seems only fitting that the building originally built to showcase Hanna-Barbera characters would be the last one at Kings Island to feature any HB theming at all. By the time the “Scooby Doo and the Haunted Castle” licensing was removed in 2010, it had outlasted Hanna-Barbera Land by four seasons. 

With new generations come new interests. With new interests come new attractions. However, although it disappeared over 30 years ago, “The Enchanted Voyage” remains one of the most recollected and revered retired attractions in Kings Island’s history. To this very day it is etched in the hearts and minds of millions of guests that were fortunate to become “enchanted” by all those happy friends that lived there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share This

John Keeter

Kings Island Blog Contributor

Post a Comment

Skip to Next Section

WATCH: Orion construction time-lapse video

Watch this time-lapse video of the lift hill and 300-foot first drop on the new Orion roller coaster being constructed.
Read More

Rent an igloo at WinterFest 

Jack Frost’s Igloo Village has igloo-shaped clear structures located around the Eiffel Tower furnished with comfort and warmth, making them the ideal spot to take a break and immerse yourself in the beauty of WinterFest.
Read More

WinterFest nominated for Best Theme Park Holiday Event in the country

Kings Island’s WinterFest is among the 20 parks nominated by a panel of USA Today theme park industry experts as one of the best theme park holiday events in the country.
Read More

Kings Island tops off new Orion roller coaster

Construction crews Wednesday installed Lift Element No. 11 to complete construction of the lift hill on Kings Island's new Orion roller coaster set to debut next year in the spring. Most of the track still needs to be put in place.
Read More

WinterFest fills 26 nights of holiday cheer in 2019

This holiday season, get ready for an unforgettable experience with your loved ones at Kings Island’s WinterFest. Guests of all ages will enter a world where the spirit of the holidays comes to life. A world where every moment becomes a memory. A world filled with the magic of the season.
Read More

The new Banana Splits Movie Not For Kids…or Most Adults

An important part of Kings Island’s roots is back. After being mostly absent for more than four decades, the fun-loving furry fictional rock band of the late 1960s and 70s, The Banana Splits, has found its way back to the screen in 2019. This time as murderous robots.
Read More

Beast of a project

After giving more than 1 million rides during its 40th anniversary season, the process of getting The Beast ready for the 2020 season began less than 24 hours after its 2019 season had ended.
Read More

Beastly memories

This weekend, The Beast at Kings Island will conclude its 40th anniversary celebration. Throughout the 2019 season, the Kings Island blog has taken a look back at the most legendary wooden coaster of all time, from its inception until today. As The Beast prepares for its winter hibernation, John Keeter takes a final look back at a unique role The Beast played in his life 20 years ago.
Read More

44 years ago, Evel Knievel made history at Kings Island

Evel Knievel, the death-defying daredevil, made his most successful motorcycle jump 44 years ago at Kings Island on Oct. 25, 1975.
Read More

Last call for rides on the Vortex roller coaster

It’s time to say goodbye to an old friend this weekend. The Vortex roller coaster will be retired on Sunday, the final day of the fall season. The Vortex reached its final ridership milestone Oct. 19 when it gave its 46 millionth ride, the sixth-most among active rides and seventh-most all time at Kings Island.
Read More