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

Kings Island's Orion giga coaster, by the numbers

Numbers don’t tell the whole story about Orion, but you might be surprised by the ride's facts and figures. The giga coaster (a term used to describe a ride with a height or drop of 300 or more feet) will be one of the tallest and fastest steel coasters in the world – and that’s a pretty big place!
Read More

Take a virtual ride on the world's longest steel inverted roller coaster 

Banshee gave thrill-seekers something to scream about then the world’s longest steel inverted roller coaster opened in 2014 at Kings Island.
Read More

9 things you may not know about the Racer at Kings Island 

There may be more attention focused on other roller coasters these days at Kings Island than on the Racer, but once upon a time it was the most talked about ride in the industry.
Read More

5 Mother's Day ideas to make this unprecedented time one to remember

Although we’re in a unique and unprecedented situation this year due to COVED-19 and social distancing, you can still give your mom the Mother’s Day she deserves with one of these five ideas.
Read More

Treat mom to a Kings Island breakfast at home this Mother's Day

If you were lucky enough to take part in last season’s Mother’s Day brunch at Kings Island’s International Restaurant, then you might remember the Cinnamon Swirl French Toast that Kings Island Executive Chef James Major made for the occasion. As Mother’s Day 2020 approaches, we wanted to share that delicious recipe with you.
Read More

Take a virtual ride on Race for Your Life Charlie Brown at Kings Island 

Race for Your Life Charlie Brown at Kings Island is a splash-filled adventure based on an animated comedy film that has the PEANUTS gang off to summer camp and a rollicking escapade that has them facing up to the bullies and risking their necks in a hair-raising river raft ride.
Read More

Take your next virtual meeting to new heights by adding a touch of Kings Island 

For those missing Kings Island, our gallery of virtual backgrounds for mobile and desktop of some of your favorite attractions may deliver some small consolation that you can use on your next conference call.
Read More

Take a virtual ride on Diamondback at Kings Island

Diamondback has ranked as one of the top steel roller coasters in the world in industry and enthusiast polls since its debut in 2009 at Kings Island, and with good reason.
Read More

Make Kings Island's famous funnel cake at home!

You can’t spell Funnel Cake without F-U-N, and if there’s one smell that takes me right to the base of the Eiffel Tower on Kings Island’s International Street, it’s the fried dough and powdered sugar from the park’s famous funnel cake stand. 
Read More

Kings Island turns 48 years old

Kings Island is 48-years-old today. The park opened to the public on April 29, 1972 and has grown exponentially since welcoming its first guests.
Read More