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

Racer tops all-time rides given list at Kings Island 

So popular are Kings Island’s rides that more than 1 billion rides have been experienced since the park opened in 1972. The exact number is a whopping 1,424,617,659 rides taken!
Read More

Phantom Theater gone but not forgotten at Kings Island 

Riders on the long gone but not forgotten Phantom Theater attraction at Kings Island took a journey through an abandoned theater while witnessing the spirits of past performers, stagehands, and Maestro, the former star who presided over this once stately venue.
Read More

This date in 1980: The Beast enters the Guinness Book of World Records

On this day 40 years ago (April 5, 1980), The Beast was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest wooden roller coaster in the world at 7,359 feet!
Read More

This date in 1979: Testing of The Beast roller coaster began

On this day in 1979, the first test of The Beast roller coaster at Kings Island was beginning and the mission was to get the car to return.
Read More

Make your own amusement park map

If you’ve suddenly found yourself at home and are looking for kids or family activities to do, you’re not alone. Kings Island’s here to help! 
Read More

The aviation pioneer that invented Kings Island's Monster

If you’ve ever flown on Delta, American Airlines, Southwest or any commercial flight, you might owe your experience to early aviation pioneers like Lee Eyerly. It was his dream to make flights available for everyone, not just the upper class. And, it was that dream that would eventually inspire him to invent several iconic amusement park midway rides, including Kings Island’s very own Monster.
Read More

Annual care keeps The Racer in peak operating condition

The annual care that goes into keeping The Racer in peak operating condition included the retracking of the turnaround on the south side (red trains) of the twin-track wooden roller coaster over the winter.
Read More

Viking Fury gets new coat of paint

The Viking Fury, which has been at Kings Island since 1982, is getting a new coat of paint.
Read More

The story behind Mystic Timbers

Mystic Timbers debuted at Kings Island as one of the most anticipated new rides for 2017, boasting impressive thrill stats and an intriguing mystery.
Read More

At-home activities inspired by the PEANUTS Gang

The PEANUTS Gang have at-fun home for you and your family! Learn and play with PEANUTS activities for grades K-8 that explore STEM, language arts, social studies, math and more!
Read More