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It started out as a dream in 1969 when plans for Kings Island were being developed between the park and the Hanna-Barbera cartoon studios in Hollywood and came to life as one of the signature attractions when the park opened in 1972 in the form of an animated dark ride known as The Enchanted Voyage. At a cost of $1.5 million, it was also Kings Island’s most expensive attraction heading into its first season.
Working with the animators of many popular cartoon television shows at the time like the Flintstones, Scooby Doo and Yogi Bear, the dream took the form of 29 drawings that represented six themed sections of a proposed boat ride in a darkened building.
With the drawings to work from, artists from Kings Island pieced together a scale model of an animated dark ride, incorporating ideas from the cartoon studio along with some of their own concepts.
The artists ended up converting the work model to the actual project and put together more than 100 pieces of animation that made the Enchanted Voyage one of the most popular and beloved attractions in Kings Island’s history.
The Enchanted Voyage was designed as an attraction that appealed to guests of all ages. Riders stepped onto a slowly revolving turntable and then into a nine-passenger boat. The boat moved through a 700-foot long water trough where it floated through a giant television screen into this world of fantasy. It was quite an interesting exhibit. Scenes featured during the five-minute ride included a dark cave area where plants and vines moved and flowers bloomed, a wedding in the land of Little People, a hoedown with the Hillbilly Bear band, a haunted house (what’s a good dark ride without some scary moments?) and the final area where all the Hanna-Barbera characters gathered in a circus arena.
Perhaps most memorable about the Enchanted Voyage was the attraction’s theme song that played throughout the journey. Recorded at the famed Glen Glen Sound Company in North Hollywood, the song was orchestrated by Hanna-Barbera music producer Paul De Korte). William Hanna helped write the song’s lyrics with assistance from Coney Island executive Dennis Speigel. Literally millions of guests who experienced the attraction left with the catchy lyrics in their head. Sing along if you remember it:
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!
The Enchanted Voyage was converted in 1984 into a Smurf-themed attraction which operated through 1991 before the boat ride was replaced by Phantom Theater.
During its years of operation at Kings Island the Enchanted Voyage gave 47,380,374 rides – second only to The Racer at the time the attraction was retired. It currently ranks fourth on Kings Island’s all-time rides given list.
Do you remember the Enchanted Voyage? Share your memories in the comments below!
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