Originally part of a 1,600-acre (6.5 km2) purchase, Kings Island currently owns 773 acres (3.13 km2) of land. It offers over 80 rides, shows, and attractions including 15 roller coasters and a 15-acre (61,000 m2) water park. Kings Island has won Amusement Today's Golden Ticket Award for having the "Best Kids' Area" in the world for nine consecutive years (2001–2010). Paramount Parks Inc. said that they will run the park in 2012 and keep Snoopy for a little while.
Kings Island was an idea conceived as early as 1964 when Coney Island, a popular park on the banks of the Ohio River 10 miles (16 km) east of downtown Cincinnati, suffered from a major flood that submerged the area in over 14 feet (4.3 m) of water. Although flooding was nothing new for the successful amusement park, limited space for expansion and parking was becoming just as much an obstacle. The Wachs family who owned and operated Coney Island decided it was time to relocate the park in order to stay competitive. In 1968 after actor Fess Parker announced plans to build a new theme park in Northern Kentucky, the need to finalize plans became more urgent. In July 1969 following several failed attempts to find a major financial partner, the Wachs sold Coney Island to the Taft Broadcasting Company (a business interested in promoting its recently acquired Hanna-Barbera division) for $6.5 million USD. Taft Broadcasting Co. then purchased 1,600 acres (6.5 km2) of land in Warren County, Ohio for $3.2 million to be used for the future site of the new park.
Construction began on June 15, 1970 in what was then a part of Deerfield Township. Later that year a public contest was held to name the new park. "Kings Island" emerged the most popular for its recognition of the Kings Mills area as well as its predecessor Coney Island. Most of the former park's rides were either relocated to Kings Island or demolished (it was set to close following the 1971 season but reopened permanently in 1973). Less than two years after breaking ground, Kings Island opened its gates for the first of several preview events on April 29, 1972 and officially opened to the public two months later on May 27. The site is located between I-71 and the Little Miami River and remained in Deerfield Township until annexed into the city of Mason in 1997.
Early on, Kings Island was nationally promoted in two well-known ABC sitcoms. Each filmed an episode on location at the park: The Partridge Family in 1972 and The Brady Bunch the following year in 1973. Both sitcoms were produced by Paramount Studios, who just happened to be a large shareholder in the Taft Broadcasting Company. In later years, Kings Island would change ownership several times. Taft sold its theme park division in 1984 for $167.5 million to Kings Entertainment Company (KECO), a company formed by senior executives and general managers of Taft's Amusement Park Group. Three parks were involved in the sale — Kings Island, Kings Dominion, and Carowinds — along with a 20-percent stake in Canada's Wonderland. Only three years later in 1987, the chain of parks were sold again. American Financial Corporation led by Carl Lindner purchased the parks for $150 million but allowed KECO to continue to managing operations under contract. California's Great America was added to the lineup in 1989.
In 1992, Kings Island and the rest of the parks under KECO were purchased by Paramount Communications Inc. for $400 million. Paramount formed a new division which was known as Paramount Parks. In addition, they bought out the remaining 80% stake in Canada's Wonderland in 1993 raising the total number of parks to five. That same year Paramount Parks began adding its themes which often were from hit movies released by the studio. Viacom entered the picture in 1994 and purchased Paramount Communications Inc. paving the way for Nickelodeon themes to be used throughout the parks. Kings Island saw the addition of Nickelodeon Splat City which evolved into Nickelodeon Central and eventually Nickelodeon Universe. When Viacom split into two companies in 2005 (Viacom and CBS Corporation), CBS inherited ownership of Paramount Parks and soon after in January 2006 announced they were interested in putting the theme parks up for sale. EnlargeKings Island logo from 2003-2006On June 30, 2006, Cedar Fair Entertainment Co. took CBS up on their offer and made the purchase for approximately USD $1.24 billion. With this acquisition, Cedar Fair would own all three major amusement parks in Ohio: Paramount's Kings Island, Cedar Point and Geauga Lake (purchased from Premier Parks in 2003). Kings Island would continue to use the Paramount branding through the end of the 2006 season. Cedar Fair began removing it from the park the following year from a number of attractions — rides, live shows and restaurants — that were based on Paramount Pictures and other Viacom themes. Some popular examples of this include FACE/OFF changing to Invertigo, the Italian Job Stunt Track to Backlot Stunt Coaster, Tomb Raider: The Ride to The Crypt, and Top Gun to Flight Deck. Nickelodeon's presence would remain in the park through 2009 until Cedar Fair completed work in the off-season to change the kids' area to the Peanuts theme.
In late 2009, the Mason City Council decided to put a measure on a 2010 ballot that would mandate a 3-percent ticket tax and a 5-percent parking tax at both Kings Island and The Beach waterpark. Council member Tony Bradburn argued that it was necessary in order to generate enough revenue for the city to help pay for infrastructure improvements, as well as cover the costs of police and fire coverage. This proposed tax hike was the center of debate for several months leading up to the vote, in which Kings Island actively encouraged the public to write, email and call Mason City Council representatives to express opposition to the tax. On February 8, 2010, the Mason City Council voted against the tax increase overwhelmingly by a vote of 5-1. Sadly, The Park was damaged after the storm and PPI has the park. The Son of Beast has been taken down to make way for the US Nickelodeon Land area.
Construction in October, November, and December of 2011, January, and Feburary of 2012:Edit
Park Areas and Photos:Edit