It’s been a thrill ride! 10 things to know about Kings Island past and present

Kings Island is now open after being closed due to the coronavirus.

This season, guests will be required to make a reservation and wear a mask. 

The amusement park has entertained and electrified more than 125 million people since it opened in 1972. Roller coasters, thrill rides, and more are part of the amusement park fun.

>> Kings Island changes: What to know about new park rules this season

Here are 9 notable moments from the park’s history:

1. Find your happy place. “C’mon Get Happy!” was the slogan for Kings Island when it opened April 29, 1972. The name Kings Island is a combination of the community of Kings Mills and Coney Island, its amusement park predecessor.

>> PHOTOS: Kings Island through the years in archive photos

2. The very first. The first rides and attractions constructed at the park were the Eiffel Tower, Royal Fountain and the Racer roller coaster. The Racer was the first twin-track wooden coaster built in modern times, according to the Kings Island website. It could hit speeds close to 60 mph.

The Brady Bunch filmed an episode at Kings Island in 1972.
Photo: American-Statesman Staff

3. “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!” The park was the filming location for two popular television shows in 1972. The Partridge Family show made an episode called “I Left My Heart in Cincinnati” that featured Cincinnati Reds catcher Johnny Bench and former Miss America Mary Ann Mobley. The cast of the Brady Bunch also shot an episode at the park.

4. Motorcycle world records. In 1975, Evel Knievel set a world record when he jumped over 14 Greyhound buses on his motorcycle in the parking lot of Kings Island. The spectacle was aired on ABC’s “Wide World of Sports.” His son, Robbie Knievel, jumped a motorcycle over 24 Coke Zero trucks for a world record in 2008.

5. A singing and dancing spokesman. Popular actor and singer Dick Van Dyke became the park’s commercial spokesman in 1977 and officially dedicated the outdoor International Showplace Theater.

6. The Mecca of wooden roller coasters. The Beast, billed as the “biggest, baddest, longest, fastest roller coaster in the world,” opened 40-years ago in 1979. The wooden roller coaster is 7,359 feet long, has a top speed of 64.8 mph, and is known as the world’s longest wooden roller coaster. Son of Beast, the world’s tallest, fastest and only looping wooden roller coaster, was unveiled in 2000. Open for nine seasons, the problematic ride was officially closed in 2009 and dismantled in 2012. 

7. Coaster firsts. The King Cobra, the first stand-up, steel looping roller coaster in the United States, opened in 1984, and the Vortex, a roller coaster that turned riders upside down six times, more than any other coaster in the world at the time, opened in 1987. 

8. Early careers. Carmen Electra performed as a dancer in the “It’s Magic” show in the Kings Island Theater in the 1990s, and Susan Perkins, crowned Miss America in 1978, also worked as a show performer.

Kings Island’s new wooden roller coaster, Mystic Timbers, opened in April. GREG LYNCH / STAFF
Photo: Staff Writer

9. Wooden coasters. Mystic Timbers opened in 2017 thrilling more than 1.3 million guests. The roller coaster, the 16th for the park and the fourth made of wood, gives the park a combined total of 18,804 feet of wooden coaster track, the most at any amusement or theme park in the world.

The Orion giga coaster is new this year in the new Area 72 at Kings Island in Mason. Orion is 5,321 feet long, 287 feet tall with a first drop of 300 feet and will reach speeds up to 91 miles per hour. Kings Island opens to pass holders July 2 with numerous protocols in place to decrease the chance of spread of COVID-19. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Photo: Nick Graham

10. New coaster milestone: Orion is one of only seven giga coasters in the world, part of a class of coasters having a height or drop of 300 to 399 feet.