Skip to Main Content

Kings Island

Skip to Next Section

Remembering the Enchanted Voyage

John Keeter

John M. Keeter first attended Kings Island 35 years ago when “The Bat” was originally taking flight.  The awe of that first visit and later rides on “The Beast” (Still his favorite Kings Island attraction) triggered his enduring love of the park.  A picture of a flooded Cincinnati’s Coney Island found in a grade school library book triggered his quest to learn all he could of Kings Island’s beginning.   An avid roller coaster enthusiast, he’s ridden over 400 different coasters.  He resides in Louisville, KY and maintains “Sit on It”, a Facebook Page dedicated to remembering the Kings Island of our past, as well as looking forward to the Kings Island of our future.  It can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/SitonItKI/

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

John M. Keeter first attended Kings Island 35 years ago when “The Bat” was originally taking flight.  The awe of that first visit and later rides on “The Beast” (Still his favorite Kings Island attraction) triggered his enduring love of the park.  A picture of a flooded Cincinnati’s Coney Island found in a grade school library book triggered his quest to learn all he could of Kings Island’s beginning.   An avid roller coaster enthusiast, he’s ridden over 400 different coasters.  He resides in Louisville, KY and maintains “Sit on It”, a Facebook Page dedicated to remembering the Kings Island of our past, as well as looking forward to the Kings Island of our future.  It can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/SitonItKI/

Post a Comment

Skip to Next Section

Something old will be new again in 2019

It's that time of year when amusement and theme parks across North America begin to unveil what the next year has in store for their guests. And Kings Island is no exception. At Kings Island, something old will be new again. Find out tomorrow, Thursday, August 16, what's returning to Kings Island in 2019. The announcement will be made in the Festhaus. All park guests are invited to attend.
Read More

Daily operation ends August 19

Here's a sure sign the end of summer is just around the corner: Daily operation for the 2018 season at Kings Island ends this Sunday, August 19. After Sunday, Kings Island will be open for weekend operation August 24, 25, 26, 31 and September 1, 2, 3 to close out the summer season. After Labor Day, Kings Island will be closed to the public until September 21 when another season of Halloween Haunt begins. 
Read More

Happy 50th birthday, Snoopy! Learn the history of our favorite beagle

Many of the PEANUTS characters came from people in creator Charles Schulz’s actual life, and Snoopy was one of his earliest creations. As a young boy, Schulz loved drawing and reading comic strips, and at 15 he drew a picture of his black-and-white dog Spike and sent it to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! (the drawing below says “drawn by Sparky” because of Schulz’s nickname). The drawing appeared in their newspaper feature, and Spike later inspired Snoopy in Schulz’s PEANUTS comic strips.
Read More

Sign up for the National Roller Coaster Day Kings Island Blog Meet-Up

August 16 is a big day in the amusement and theme park industry. It’s National Roller Coaster Day, which celebrates the king of the thrill rides. To celebrate, Kings Island is offering followers of the park’s blog a meet-up opportunity for a behind the scenes tour of the Racer roller coaster. The Racer is credited for re-igniting the roller coaster building boom in the early 1970’s, thus beginning the second golden age of the roller coaster. 
Read More

6 ways to enjoy one last summer getaway at Kings Island

It’s hard to believe it’s already August! The sun is setting sooner, football practices have begun and back-to-school lists are hanging on fridges. Wait! Don’t put on that sweater just yet! Your final summer getaway still awaits at Kings Island. Discover six ways to enjoy Kings Island before autumn begins.
Read More

This Day in Kings Island History: The Partridge Family cast begins filming “I left my heart in Cincinnati” episode

A year before “The Brady Bunch”, another TV family visited Kings Island with “The Partridge Family” cast arriving at the park on August 7, 1972 to begin filming episode No. 66 of the popular prime-time ABC sitcom. Filming lasted a total of five days through August 11. While not as widely recognized as The Brady Bunch episode filmed a year later, The Partridge Family episode is the most significant visual record of Kings Island’s first season. It’s a must watch for all Kings Island fans.
Read More

Two Weeks Notice: Gravity show ends summer run August 19

Time is running out to see Gravity, our cirque-style show in the Kings Island Theater. It closes two weeks from today on August 19. The show features an incredible showcase of strength, balance and athleticism.
Read More

Ultimate Stunt Show a family affair decades running

Kings Island’s Ultimate Stunt Show, presented by Airheads Xtremes, features some of the best performers in the world attempting death-defying stunts, and for many of the performers, this life is all they’ve ever known. Ian Garden, Ultimate Stunt Show’s ringmaster, grew up with the circus like countless others. His grandfather started Garden Bros Circus of Canada, Canada’s oldest and first circus and the country’s biggest circus. After getting his education, Garden continued the family tradition.
Read More

Before another summer slips by, make plans to visit Kings Island

Family fun, thrill rides, an amazing stunt show, live entertainment, great food topped-off with colorful bursts of fireworks at park closing is what guests can expect when they visit Kings Island this weekend.
Read More

One of the Beast days of my life

August 2 is a day Kings Island's area manager, digital marketing Don Helbig will always remember. It’s a special day – the anniversary of his first-ever ride on The Beast roller coaster in 1979.
Read More