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Top Kings Island moments of 2019

Don Helbig

Area Manager Digital Marketing - Kings Island

Twitter: @DonHelbig 

  

Every Kings Island season is filled with memorable moments, from new ride openings, special events and new attraction announcements. Here is a look at the top 19 moments that helped define the park’s 48th season in 2019 season.

Giga coaster coming to Kings Island!

The wait was finally over for Kings Island fans. Kings Island announced Aug. 16 that come spring 2020 the park will boast one of only seven giga coasters in the world, a class of roller coasters having a height or drop of 300-399 feet. Orion will plunge riders down an exhilarating 300-foot drop before sending them on a high-speed journey over seven more hills at speeds up to 91 mph.

The Beast celebrates 40 years of terror

This year marked the 40th anniversary season for the world’s longest wooden roller coaster, The Beast. The anniversary was celebrated in a special way by turning back the clock with a throwback to the original “flame-themed: color palate on each of the legendary coaster’s three trains along with the return of the paw prints on the midway leading to the ride entrance.

Antique Cars return

A beloved attraction returned this year with the new Kings Mills Antique Autos. Guests were again able to board scale replicas of the 1911 Ford Model T and enjoy a leisurely three-minute journey. The ride’s name, along with its theming, made the ride experience even more memorable and nostalgic for guests.

International Street reimagined

When the gates opened for the start of the 2019 season in April, guests immediately noticed that International Street had undergone a major makeover. Buildings had been refreshed, pavers had been replaced and the Royal Fountain delighted guests with day and night shows.

International festival debuts

Visitors to Kings Island between June 15 and July 7 discovered how the world kicks up its heels at the all-new Grand Carnivale, a larger-than-life festival celebrating the rich traditions of India, China, Italy, France and Germany. Grand Carnivale offered something for everyone in the family from crafts and games, to authentic tastes, signature drinks and live music, to the Spectacle of Color Parade.

Miami River Brewhouse opens

Kings Island continued to build upon its dining experience in 2 019 with the opening of a new restaurant, the Miami River Brewhouse. Located in the Rivertown area of the park directly across from the Mystic Timbers roller coaster, the restaurant was an immediate hit with park guests and featured a menu personally crafted by Kings Island’s executive chef, James Major.

Festhaus Glockenspiel characters restored

More than 100 hours were put into fully restoring the Festhaus main entrance, Glockenspiel characters and clock. For 10 years, the memorable figures had sat dormant. The restored items included stencil work on the characters and on the new Verdin Company clock.

Hundreds of roller coaster enthusiasts descend upon Kings Island for Coasterstock

On May 17-18, Kings Island held its fifth annual Coasterstock event, attracting 600 attendees from over 25 states and Canada. Over the two days, Kings Island rolled out the red carpet for some of its biggest fans. The jam-packed schedule included exclusive ride time, behind the scenes tours, guest speakers, special event-related gifts as well as catered meals.

Farewell Vortex

In the fall, roller coaster fans said goodbye to the Vortex. The ride had been a guest favorite since it debuted in 1987, giving more than 46 million rides. The Vortex, while popular, had simply reached the end of its service life. Several members of the crew that opened the ride in 1987 when on board when the Vortex gave its last rides on Oct. 27.

JDRF One Walk raises event record $1 million!

June 1 marked the 25th annual JDRF One Walk at Kings Island with an event-record of more than $1 million raised and over 8,000 participants. The event at Kings Island is one of the largest fundraising walks – and overall nonprofit fundraising events – in the region. Since 1994, more than $14 million has been raised from the walks at the park.

Kids with illness enjoy a day of fun and laughter

The only thing better than being a kid is perhaps being a kid, again. A Kid Again, a nonprofit organization which exists to foster hope, happiness and healing for families raising kids with life-threatening illnesses through fun-filled group activities and events, had its 24th annual Kings Island outing July 10. The day was an opportunity for sick kids to get out of the hospital, grab their brothers and sisters, their moms and dads, and come to Kings Island for the greatest day of the year – the day they could be a kid again.

Hundreds of disadvantaged kids participate in AAA’s 44th annual Children’s Outing

Hundreds of disadvantaged children from communities throughout Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky took part in AAA’s 44th annual Children’s Outing June 25 at Kings Island for a day of free admission, rides, food and fun. AAA employees coordinate and execute the day’s activities with the help of donations from AAA members.

Andy and JJ Dalton Foundation gives special memories to 35 area families

What a special day May 11 was for 35 families who visited Kings Island. Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton and his wife, JJ, treated them to a day of fun and memories during the annual King for a Day event.  Through the program, families from Cincinnati, Dayton and Northern Kentucky had the chance to put their challenges aside for a few hours and simply focus on having fun.

First-ever entertainment reunion

The made the magic and they came back! More than 250 people who had been involved in Kings Island’s entertainment department over the past 47 years gathered Aug. 10 at the park for the first-ever entertainment reunion, which included singers, dancers, musicians, costumers, set designers, lighting technicians, stage managers, choreographers, atmosphere performers and actors.

State of Ohio recognizes The Beast’s 40th birthday

The Beast, which officially opened to the public April 14, 1979, was recognized by The State of Ohio with a resolution by Governor Mike DeWine and Lieutenant Governor John Husted which read, in part, “Whereas, The Beast since its opening in 1979 has had more than 53 million riders take its twists and turns, and still holds the record for world’s longest wooden roller coaster in both length and time. The Beast has 7,359 feet of track and takes a total of four minutes and 10 seconds to ride, and whereas, gut-churning roller coasters like The Beast make Ohio the premier destination in the world for amusement parks."

National magazine names The Beast best roller coaster in Ohio

The Beast was named the best roller coaster in Ohio, according to Popular Mechanics. And who’s to argue? There are seven natural wonders of the world and if there were a list of the top man-made wonders of the world, The Beast would be on it. Popular Mechanics is a magazine of popular science and technology, featuring automotive, home, outdoor, electronics, science, do-it-yourself, and technology topics.

Kings Island the site for RiviP preview event

ESK Presents is hosted the first-ever PiviP tournament and gaming conference May 18 at Kings Island. The combination of the park experience and high-energy gaming created a unique experience for the video game community and park guests, making it unlike any other video game event. 

The Scrambler turned 50

The Scrambler celebrated its 50th anniversary this year while continuing to delight generations of people since it made its debut in 1969 at Cincinnati’s Coney Island. It was among the rides that opened with Kings Island in 1972 and continues to put smiles on the faces of guests old and young, whether they are experiencing it for the first time or reliving childhood memories.

Sam Hill retires

Nadora (Sam) Hill may not have been one of the most recognizable faces to Kings Island guests, but behind the scenes at Kings Island, she was an icon to many of the full-time and seasonal staff members. She retired in January after 48 years of service to Kings Island. Sam began her career in 1971 at Coney Island and transitioned to the new park under construction – Kings Island – in the fall that year.  

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Don Helbig

Area Manager Digital Marketing - Kings Island

Twitter: @DonHelbig 

  

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