You may or may not realize that a few of your favorite rides at Kings Island are original to when it opened in 1972. In fact there are eleven attractions total that still operate in the park today. We’ll start with the first thing you see as you enter the park -- the Eiffel Tower.
The Eiffel Tower was manufactured by Intamin, with the inspiration obviously being the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. It stands at 314 feet and is approximately one-third the size of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Originally the tower stood at 331.5 feet but the structure’s top antenna was eventually removed. One of Kings Island’s sister parks, Kings Dominion has a near identical replica.
Right behind the Eiffel Tower is another original, the Grand Carousel. This is one of the rides that was transferred over from Coney Island, where it operated from 1926 until 1971. It was manufactured by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company (PTC) The Grand Carousel was built in 1926 and is painted with more than 20,000 sheets of 23-karat gold, 1,000 sheets of sterling silver and 48 hand-carved wooden horses. For music, it features the Wurlitzer #157 band organ.
As you make your way past the Grand Carousel and head left you arrive at Coney Mall. Have you ever wondered why it’s called Coney Mall? When Kings Island first opened, they dedicated a section of the park to its predecessor, Coney Island. With that in mind, three of the four original rides located in this section of the park were transferred over from Coney Island in 1972. Originally the area was called Coney Island, it was then renamed to Old Coney in 1980 and in 1986 was given the name that we know today, Coney Mall.
If you can’t beat em’, Dodgem. You could say that goes hand in hand with our next original attraction, Dodgem. This ride operated at Coney Island from 1924 until 1971 when this beloved ride was transferred over to Kings Island. It was then remodeled in 1986. These Italian made two-seater bumper cars come with all the bells and whistles, including working headlights, taillights, rear-view mirrors and hazard flashers.
Next up is the Scrambler! This traditional amusement park twist ride is always a hit. It’s three arms spin riders and give them the sensation of almost hitting the wall. It was manufactured by the Eli Bridge Company and operated at Coney Island from 1969 until 1971.
This next one is another traditional ride, taking the form of a giant Octopus that spins in three different circles, going up and down at the same time. Dizzy yet? This ride was manufactured by Eyerly Aircraft Co. and operated at Coney Island from 1969 through 1971, when it, along with Dodgem and the Scrambler were brought over to Kings Island.
One of the star attractions during Kings Island’s first year, is still here to this day. Yes, of course we’re talking about The Racer. The Racer was designed by the legendary John Allen, who was president of PTC. John Allen had retired in 1968 but came out of retirement to design The Racer. The coaster was shot into national spotlight when it was featured on an episode of The Brady Bunch, called “The Cincinnati Kids” Thanks to the popularity of The Racer, it led to the revival of the roller coaster industry around the world. As of 2019, Don Helbig still holds the record for most rides on The Racer with 12,025 total.
It’s time to take a stroll through Rivertown and visit one of the most iconic, original rides at Kings Island. The Kings Island & Miami Valley Railroad debuted in 1972 and has been open since It was manufactured by Crown Metal Products Company. This steam locomotive travels in a 5,585 foot loop and provides transportation between the main-park and water park, Soak City. Before the water park came into existence however, the train was a narrated journey, traveling by open fields and areas with props themed to the old west, small buildings and a fort. The two locomotives are scale replicas of the famous 1800’s locomotive known as The General. Although Kings Island’s engines are fired by propane rather than coal, the 400-gallon boilers on each engine provide plenty of capacity to make them real authentic steam-spitting locomotives. Each of the two engines – Blue No. 12 and Green No. 19 – pulls six coaches and when both trains are filled to capacity, 960 guests can be on rail at one time.
Our last stop of the blog is Planet Snoopy, however it was originally named The Happy Land of Hanna-Barbera and was then shortened to Hanna-Barbera Land. What we now know as Woodstock Express has also gone through some name changes but is also one of the original rides to the park. It was also manufactured by PTC and designed by John Allen (the man who designed The Racer) as a family friendly wooden roller coaster. It has gone from Scooby Doo, to Beastie, to Fairly Odd Coaster to what it is now, Woodstock Express.
Another ride that came from Coney Island, known as Kings Mills Log Flume at first, then The Wild Thornberry’s River Adventure is now Race For Your Life Charlie Brown. It was manufactured by Arrow Development/Hopkins Rides and was only at Coney Island for four years (1968-1971) before it was moved to Kings Island.
Linus’ Beetle Bugs is next on our list! It spent five years (1967-1971) at Coney Island before it was transferred over to Kings Island for its opening in 1972. It was created by William F. Mangels, who worked at Coney Island and was also an inventor. As with most rides on this list, with changing area names comes different ride names. This classic whip ride has been known as Screecher, Funky Phantom, Alley Cat 500 and Swiper’s Sweepers.
The last original ride in Planet Snoopy is PEANUTS Off-Road Rally. This ride was manufactured by Hampton Amusement Corporation and is a miniature carousel car ride. It too operated at Coney Island from 1969 until 1971 when it was brought over to Kings Island. It’s been known as Pee Wee Raceway, Motor Mouse and Go Diego Go!.
If you’ve stayed with us until the end, thanks for joining us on our trip around the park to get a history lesson. Also a fun fact about these original rides is that Coney Mall and Planet Snoopy are tied for most original rides still in Kings Island with four each in their perspective areas. Have YOU ridden all the original rides? Let us know in the comments section below and tell us what your favorite original ride is.
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