Is Kings Island "underrated" or what?

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Tuesday, July 20, 2004 8:03 PM
Just got back from my family reunion in Covington Kentucky, and decided to cross the Ohio River into Cincinnati for a day trip to Kings Island with my brother. Never been there before, but always wanted to go. I was expecting to be under whelmed, but “oh was I wrong”! This park rocks and that impression stated in the parking lot. Directions in the parking lot were clearly marked, but for direction challenged people such as me, the parking attendants were friendly and professional. Security check was efficient, admission gate relatively speedy and efficient, and the park was remarkably clean and well organized. The left side of the parks is for extreme rides, the right side is for an immersive Nickelodeon family land, and the middle of the park is a county fair type midway. As far as the extreme rides are concerned, they are extreme with a capital “E”. Son of Beast is more like a “Mother”, Delirium is more like a NASA astronaut testing device, and Flight of Fear had me screaming like a 13 year old girl at an N’sync concert. The park is big but not too big; it is a comfortable walking size, but be prepared to walk. The two things that really impressed me were the employees and the food. From the parking lot attendants to the ride attendants, the employees looked no more than sixteen years old, but interacted with the public with maturity, friendliness, and professionalism. If you’re hungry or thirsty, then refreshments are within a two minute walk from where ever you are in the park. The one thing that was a little disappointing was that the restrooms were a little hard to find, but I can’t really be disappointed by that because they were looked and smelled clean. All in all, Kings Island was the best park of my trip, and…that got me thinking…am I too easy to impress, or is this park way too underrated? Cedar Point is definitely the vacation destination that Ohio is promoting, and for good reason. Cedar Point has something for everybody. But, I think Ohio would take the theme park throne for the north, if it cross-promoted Cedar Point with Kings Island as a one-two punch for statewide summer entertainment.
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Tuesday, July 20, 2004 10:17 PM
I don't see PKI being underated. In fact the 2003 season at PKI was neck and neck with CP in attendance (around 3.3 mil).

It seems to be Paramount's flagship park. I live in Chicago and have already made two trips to this park this year. I love the place. *** Edited 7/21/2004 2:19:20 AM UTC by Chitown***

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Tuesday, July 20, 2004 10:23 PM
One of the best parks I've ever been too! Truely amazing! I think being in the same state as CP it often gets over looked.
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Tuesday, July 20, 2004 11:28 PM
I will agree that the overall coaster collection isn't stellar, but the variety of things to do along with the atmosphere more than make up for it.

But with the coasters, I found Vortex to be the best Arrow megalooper, FOF to be a great ride, and Beast at night to be intense and cool. Adventure Express is a lateral intense mine train. SOB with my hands protecting my knees isn't to shabby. Face/Off is also fun and it actually operates consistently (Unlike Deja-Vu)

For the flats, Delirium and Tomb Raider are a blast. *** Edited 7/21/2004 3:30:09 AM UTC by Chitown***

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Wednesday, July 21, 2004 12:05 AM
I made my first trip season for Beastbuzz, and I enjoyed the park. With the exception of the Beast none of the coasters really stand out as a top rated coaster.

I enjoyed the atmosphere, and their collection of coasters and flats. My favorites other than the Beast were Vortex, Top Gun, and Adventure Express.

Being closer to PKD its nice to go to a different park, but I prefer PKD.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2004 12:14 AM
After going to cedar point today i realize how lucky i am to have PKI as a home park... I like to go and socialize when i go since its so close and PKIS food and flats blow CPs out of the water...

Now they need a giga or whatever u call one like TTD..

as for the coaster collection Backwards Racer is hidden gem for no wait, Face off i seem to love but i love inverts and FoF is okay but they do need a new coaster

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Wednesday, July 21, 2004 12:28 AM
I was also very impressed with PKI, and my expectations were high. Nice landscaping with a superb ride selection. And PKIf2 touched on a classic. Racer backwards is my all-time #1 favorite ride of any coaster.
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Wednesday, July 21, 2004 1:54 AM
I still need to ride the Beast at night...but the Beast was the only thing that seemed a little overrated to me.
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Wednesday, July 21, 2004 1:56 AM
PKI is my top park. I haven't been in a few years. I miss it a lot.

I would say that PKI is underrated, simply because I don't think it get's the credit it deserves. I agree that it probably get's overshadowed by CP, which I think is just as good but in a different way.

It delivers an experience comparable to just a few parks in the U.S., imho.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2004 2:27 AM
Kings Island is a lot more than just coasters and a lot of people miss that for some reason due to coaster comparisons with Cedar Point. No, they don't have a giga coaster or a B&M (yet?), but they have Tomb Raider: The Ride (major themed thrill ride experience), Flying Eagles (claimed by many to be the best flat ride anywhere until...), Delirium (possibly the best ride in Ohio next to Dragster), Scooby Doo and the Haunted Castle (only shoot-em-up dark ride in Ohio), Drop Zone (the tallest gyro drop in the world), SpongeBob Squarepants 3D at the Action FX Theatre, the Nickelodeon Parade going on through mid-August, a massive award-winning area for kids and families with 4 kiddie/junior coasters, a major waterpark resort experience included with admission, etc.

Ohio's other two parks don't have a lot to say about unique non-coaster experiences included with admission. That doesn't mean they're not a blast to visit and wonderful parks. Maybe some people here don't care about anything other than coasters and if that's the case, ignore my notes on why I think PKI is cool. ;)

+Danny

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Wednesday, July 21, 2004 10:50 AM
IMHO, Kings Island and SF Great America are two top notch parks that get overshadowed. I love those two parks more than any because the atmosphere is always so nice, people are friendly, and they each have plenty of rides. I sont care who you are there is plenty of stuff for you to do. PKI gets outsted i think by CP and SFGAm by SFMM. If either of em had Millenium Force, they would shoot to #1 for me(sorry i just love Millie too much)

cameron

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Wednesday, July 21, 2004 11:13 AM
I have never been *that* impressed with PKI. Sure it's a fun park, but if I have $50 to spend on a ticket to one park (excluding CP), PKI's not going to be my choice. I think the atmosphere and rides are superior at both PKD and Hershey (not a Paramount park, but one I consider in the same class).

Then again, I don't have kids and have never been to the park with kids, so the impact of the kids zone is basically 1/3 of the park that's nothing more than a wlak-through for me. I also have never been there when Drop Zone was actually open (2 tries) and haven't been back since they built Delerium. Maybe my opinion will change based on those two, but as for everything else, I have to give Kings Island an "overrated" mark, at least within the enthusiast community (and I'd say exactly right-rated with GP).

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Wednesday, July 21, 2004 11:24 AM
Agreed! For the first 6 or so years of my theme park-going life, my family and I went to Kings Island at least once a year. The Beast was the coaster that started my obsession, and from there I tackled the bigger and, for the most part, better coasters at Cedar Point. Aside from The Beast, which is second on my overall list, PKI's coaster collection isn't great, but it is still enough to please.

However, PKI does have an outstanding collection of flat rides, and I feel they have the best "kiddy land" in the county. Like Camrider88 said, if they would add one big, smooth, steel coaster to the mix, like a MF type ride, then I would consider getting a season pass since I only live 2 hours away (compared with 5 hours away from CP). But alas, The Beast keeps me coming back. That night ride is my favorite overall experiences.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2004 11:32 AM
Growing up in Central Kentucky, its still the one park that is closest to my heart. I haven't had a chance to go back in 2 years. :(

I love everything about the place. The 80's were a wonderful time to be at PKI as a kid. The first few years after the Paramount ownership were pure hell, and the park really took a downturn, but right now I really think the park is in another golden age.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2004 12:27 PM
I had a wonderful time down at PKD back on the 10th(see my TR),sure I've never been to PKI but both parks seem to be run very well & the atmosphere at PKD was just fantastic with efficient ,friendly staff & a great selection of attractions that SF parks just seem to be lacking in.

PKD was modeled after PKI (seeing as how it opened 3 years later)& even though some things have changed for the better while some have not the park still just has that extra something that really makes you feel as if you've enjoyed your experience....I was so pleased with mine that I'll definitely be returning to PKD next season new ride or not.

The atmosphere & fantastic service of the Paramount chain are reason enough to return time & time again.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2004 12:57 PM
I have loved King's Island for a long time. I've been going nearly since its' inception. I would call it overrated now because it lost a lot of character when Paramount took over. Plus, there were many good flats that were removed and never replaced with anything. And, you can't count Delirium and TR:TR because they were just installed in the last few years. Don't get me wrong, I will still go every year and have a pretty good time. Now, I just prefer CP to PKI because I consider PKI to be the park with the rough coasters while CP has an abundance of smooth coasters. And now, PKI(from what I have heard, no proof) is wanting to try to be more like IOA and Disney. I don't think it is a good move and they have a long ways to go before they become like the other two parks. I also think TR:TR is the most overrated ride of all time. I went in with really high expectations, only to have them deflated by a mediocre experience. And, they seem to let the theming of their rides go to the crapper and never replace it. Like Top Gun, Adventure Express and now, even Tomb Raider.
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Thursday, July 22, 2004 8:51 AM
Kings Island is a hard place to judge, having been my home park my whole life. There are many things about it I likely take for granted having seen them over and over again. Despite this, I will try to summarize what I think the park has to its advantage and what it does not have:

For it: Next to BGW (and maybe HW, sorry Paula!), PKI is one of the most pleasant parks to walk through IMHO. Especially in the Rivertown section, there are plenty of trees around, and throughout the park the landscaping crew does a great job. The park is laid out well, everything centering around the Eiffel tower and radiating from there. The layout is not too crowded like CP, but not extremely spread out either. They have a good selection of flat rides and shows, and an award winning kids area, so they make a good effort at entertaining beyond the coaster. I also think they made a wise choice with Delirium, which happens to be my favorite non-coaster ride at any park right now.

Against it: I think one of the actions PKI has made that hurts its reputation the most is their selection of coasters/rides to add in the past decade. They have a WONDERFUL park that would be a nationwide destination if they would add rides that make it worth the trip. I've noticed the park doing one of two things, both poor choices IMO: 1) they add a ride from a genre that is either worn out or an exact copy of others (Top Gun, Adventure Express, Face/Off), or 2) they add a first-of-its-kind ride that just doesn't cut it (FoF, SoB, Vortex). I admittedly have a bias toward Intamin and B&M rides, as many on this site do, and that also hurts my opinion of my home park as it lacks both. The park lately has made more mistakes with category 2 above it appears. They wowed the nation in 1996 with FoF's world-first LIM launch, but it beat the tar out of people's heads, including mine. I will, however, give the park props for the lapbar retrofit. The ride is now VERY enjoyable and not painful, but the launch is at the low end of the industry standard for power. The park's next adult coaster addition was Face/Off, which albeit is a fun ride, is short and a copy of others, which will not make PKI a destination park (same goes for FoF as it has a clone at PKD). SoB in 2000 was an attempt at rectifying the clone problem, but in a manner that backfired. As most here know, SoB is a very painful ride, and since the opening season, I have yet to see a long wait for the ride. Most park patrons are not willing to pay for their thrill with a day-long headache. I think PKI should have stuck with the idea of a looping wooden coaster, and forget the hypercoaster part. TR:TR was a fun addition, but as with most rides that rely on theming to a movie, the novelty wears down over time. The ride, IMO, has moved from the category of 'interesting' to 'painful and boring'. Now we find ourselves with no new PKI coaster since 2000, and hoping that the rumoured 2005 coaster comes true!

As mentioned, the bright spot on PKI's recent record is Delirium, which I find to be a wonderfully addictive ride! Obviously, all these opinions are ones held solely by me, and can be trumped by anyone who loves any of the rides I have just put down! I feel that PKI has GREAT potential, if they would make wiser choices in ride additions, and concentrate on bettering the park's interests and not almost solely advertising/complimenting their movies and television shows.

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Thursday, July 22, 2004 9:21 AM
When the park originally opened under Taft ownership, it was an excellent, well-maintained THEME park. A good mix of nice coasters and many flat rides with everything matching the theme of the area it was in.

With KECO mgmt, the park began to be neglected and the massive ride removal began. Under Paramount, things were spruced up, but ride removal continued.

What Paramount has done to the park as far as "theming" has almost entirely ruined the atmosphere of the park. Since their priority is to promote their low-grade, non-timeless movies, almost everything new that has been added has went toward that aspect. While at the same time runining the continuity of themining of the park. Rivertown is a great example. It used to have a great isolated frontier theming. Now it has a giant warehouse sitting in the middle of it with a jeep and jungle theming.......Action Zone is a non-theme section which is just bascially rides on concrete.........Oktoberfest used to be full of rides and had a nice German feel. Now its a pirate ship and a jungle themed mine train.........

The number of rides at Kings Island is approx the same it was in the 80's. Other than the water park, this park has not increased in rides at all over the last 2 decades.

A lot of people praise the kiddy section, but its just that....a kiddie section filled with kiddie rides that adults and children cannot ride together. In my opinion, this park needs more total family rides like the Scooby Doo Castle, Antique Cars and Train. Fortunately, they have not removed the train yet as other Paramount parks have to make their short-term profit goals by decreasing ride costs.


The park is not horrible, there are some good rides and a handful of nice coasters. The park still lacks in flat rides, and lines are very long on a busy day due to the lack of additions in the total ride lineup over the last 20 years. Way too many pay-attractions which also take away from the atmosphere (the skycoaster and slingshot ride are VERY carny like). Its just if you were lucky enough to see this park in it's glory days, you would feel it is just a messy version of its former self now...... *** Edited 7/22/2004 1:24:49 PM UTC by super7***

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Thursday, July 22, 2004 10:33 AM
I agree with you super7. It is a shadow of its' former glory. I like how I have heard people saying that PKI is going in the right direction with family oriented rides. Then, they turn around and mention Delirium and Tomb Raider. I would not consider them family rides.
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Thursday, July 22, 2004 11:31 AM

super7 said:
A lot of people praise the kiddy section, but its just that....a kiddie section filled with kiddie rides that adults and children cannot ride together.

Nickelodeon Central is what receives so much praise, and last time I checked, parents can ride Wild Thornberrys River Adventure and Rugrats Runaway Reptar with their children.

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