It’s time to acknowledge the elephant in the park…there have been a lot of rainy days recently. You know it, I know it, we all know it. One of the questions that our associates get asked when it’s raining is, “Is (insert ride name here) open?”
Kings Island has StormReady® recognition from the National Weather Service. This means that the park meets a rigorous set of criteria, from weather warning communications to emergency planning, which prove its commitment to safety. There are procedures in place that when there is inclement or the threat of severe weather, the park can not only recognize it, but go ahead and put the procedures into practice. The park has a weather tracking station with radars, wind monitors and other machines that track storms long before they reach the rides and attractions. Although Kings Island tries to continue operation as much as possible when inclement and the threat of severe weather approaches, the safety of guests and associates is the top priority.
In most cases, weather closing procedures are broken down into four different phases:
Phase 1 rides suspend operation when lightning or a storm system is present at least 15 miles out. Our taller attractions, Windseeker, Drop Tower, Eiffel Tower, Invertigo, Banshee and Diamondback all close during this phase. Why? Since they are our tallest attractions, it is going to take longer to evacuate guests in an emergency situation. Ride operators may be instructed to close these rides earlier based off of storm movement and speed.
When this phase occurs lightning is present 10 miles out and there may be visible lightning strikes. The rest of the coasters including, Adventure Express, Backlot Stunt Coaster, The Beast, The Racer, The Bat, Flying Ace Aerial Chase, Great Pumpkin Coaster, Vortex, Woodstock Express and Mystic Timbers will suspend operation. The taller flat rides including Congo Falls, Delirium, Woodstock Gliders, Kite-Eating Tree, Race for Your Life Charlie Brown, Skyflyer, Slingshot, Surf Dog, Whirlybirds and White Water Canyon are going to be down. Depending on the characteristic of the storm, Soak City will close with either Phase 1 or Phase 2 rides.
During Phase 3 is when the remaining flat rides that are not under a permanent structure suspend operation. This is when lightning has been spotted 5 miles from the park. Beetle Bugs, Off-Road Rally, Space Buggies, Red Baron, Character Carousal, Sally’s Sea Plane, Wind-Up, Scrambler, Monster, Snoopy’s Junction, K.I. Train, Viking Fury, Linus Launcher, Zephyr, Peanuts 500 and Antique Autos all shut down during this phase.
Our final stage is when our indoor attractions, (Flight of Fear and Boo Blasters) and those under permanent structures, (Joe Cool’s Dodgem, Dodgem, and Grand Carousal) suspend operation with strong storms over the park.
Before rides reopen, all indications must be that the storm and lightning have passed and it is safe to do so.
If you’re in the park when there is a storm, be sure to take shelter and listen to any instructions on in-park announcements or those given by associates.
There you have it! These are the four phases that Kings Island has for weather and suspension of ride operations to ensure its guests have a fun and safe visit.
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