Mystic Timbers is set to open this spring and will become Kings Island’s 16th roller coaster. Built by Pennsylvania-based Great Coasters International and themed to an abandoned lumber company, the 109-foot-tall coaster will traverse 16 airtime hills, a mid-course tunnel and interact with parts of the Kings Island & Miami Valley Railroad and White Water Canyon attractions. CONTRIBUTED

Amusement company has ‘best year:’ 3 things to know about Kings Island

In case you didn’t know, having fun in Ohio is big business.

Very big business. Cedar Point in Sandusky had 3,507,000 visitors push through its turnstiles in 2015, an eight percent increase over the year before, according to a national report released last year.

RELATED: Construction takes shape for Kings Island’s newest wooden roller coaster

Our area’s own Kings Island, in Mason, wasn’t far behind, with 3,335,000 guests descending on the 364-acre park, also an increase compared to 2014, of three percent.

Last year, Ohio-based Cedar Fair saw total attendance increase by 4.9 percent across 17 properties. The company ranked No. 5 worldwide in attendance for 2015, according to a report by Themed Entertainment Association.

RELATED: 1 major road project near Kings Island completed; another to begin

Here are a few things to know about the big business of fun in Ohio.

1. Fun is profitable.

Cedar Fair Entertainment Co. — owner of Kings Island — last week declared a regular quarterly cash distribution of $0.855 per limited partner unit, a payout to shareholders or what the company calls “unitholders.”

FUN CHALLENGE: Think you can break out?

The distribution, which is payable March 15 this year to unitholders of record as of Friday, is the company’s 31st straight year year of paying cash to unitholders.

Matt Ouimet, Cedar Fair’s chief executive officer, declared 2016 “the most successful year in our history.” Why? See the attendance numbers above.

2. Fun is mysterious.

King’s Island is getting another wooden roller coaster.

The ride — Kings Island’s 16th roller coaster — is scheduled to open this spring and is called “Mystic Timbers,” with riders being treated to a journey that rises 109 feet, with 16 airtime moments along a 3,265-foot long track, all ending in a dark shed.

In fact, there’s a Twitter hashtag devoted to the whole question of #WhatsInTheShed?

Word is, by the time workers complete construction, they will have used some 330,000 board feet of southern yellow lumber; 30,000 pounds of nails; 88,000 bolts and washers and 4,500 cubic yards of concrete for the foundation.

Even before anyone has enjoyed the coaster, Mystic Timbers recent made USA Today’s list of the most anticipated roller coasters of 2017.

3. Fun is hiring.

Kings Island has some 4,200 job openings for its 45th annual season, which opens April 15.

Applicants have to be 15 years old or older, and there are a lot of jobs out there: admissions, call center, cash control, entertainment, food and beverage, fire and safety, games, guest services, lifeguards — and a whole lot more.

For more information or questions regarding employment, call (513) 754-5748.


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