Here in Ohio, we’re blessed with not one but two popular, all-American amusement parks: Kings Island and Cedar Point. It’s been years since I’ve visited Kings Island, so that’s the one we chose to help close out our dear Napa’s last week in the USA.
We took a risk and headed down to Kings Island on a day that threatened rain. The forecast said scattered thunder showers. The skies were dark and gloomy leaving Columbus, but I had four rain ponchos with us and figured we’d have fun no matter the weather.
Wouldn’t you know it – the skies brightened as we drove south, the rain moved on and there was hardly anyone at the amusement park with us all day!
We never had to wait longer than ten minutes for a ride, all day. When does THAT ever happen at KI – and on Father’s Day, no less?
Here are our highlights – and a few low points to keep it real – so that you can plan a fun Kings Island trip for your own fam this summer!
- The Grand Carnivale theming and decor in the grand fountain area and throughout the park is just gorgeous! This celebration will be happening through July 7 and I highly recommend checking it out. We didn’t make it to the 8 pm Grand Carnivale parade/show, but we saw some of the costumed characters and they were Disney-quality. If you love a bright, vibrant Mardi Gras theme, this is the time to go!
- Banshee – My family LOVED this ride, as you can see in the photo above! Opened in 2014, it’s the world’s longest steel inverted roller coaster at 4,124 feet. Since its debut, Banshee has consistently ranked among the top 25 steel roller coasters in Amusement Today’s annual poll. I did not ride this one but watched the rest of our crew enjoy it over and over (and over!) again. And I love the pics!
- The Backlot Stunt Coaster is not a new ride, but it’s new to our fam and we LOVED it. I had to talk the girls into riding this one with me, as they thought it looked too tame. Boy, were they surprised – it packs a surprising number of thrills into a cutesy exterior! I love absolutely everything about this ride, but most of all that “surprise” factor the first time an unsuspecting family member rides it. The cars may look adorable, but they get up to some pretty good speeds and tricks!
- Both our high-flying girls took to the skies on the two pay-to-play attractions: Xtreme Skyflyer and the better-known Slingshot. They enjoyed both but if you have to choose, they say the $5 Skyflyer ride is a better value than the $10 per-person Slingshot. The more you know! All I know is that there’s no way I’d ever set foot on either of them. Heights are not my jam.
- Peanuts character show in the Festhaus. When we sat down to grab a slice of startlingly over-priced pizza, we had no idea we’d also get a free lunch show and even an opportunity to hug and take photos with Snoopy and the Peanuts gang. That was a pleasant surprise!
- FunPix Photo Pass. As a photo nut and family historian, pics are super important to me – and they can’t all be ones I take because I like to be in some of them! I love splurging for the professional gate shots and a goofy coaster shot or two, and the Kings Island FunPix photo pass makes that really affordable. For just $24.99 you can get unlimited digital images from your day at the park. This was a no-brainer for me and I loved the low price and how easy it was to gather all our park pics together in one place for easy downloading.
- Hubby went to the park wearing a walking boot due to an annoying heel spur he’s currently dealing with. He knew walking would be a lot less painful with the boot on – but what we didn’t realize is that he’d be banned from riding many of the most fun attractions. Had we known, we certainly would have left the boot at home. Finally, late in the day, we met an employee who took the time to tell us that if he got a “green sheet” he’d be able to either wear the boot on most rides or take it off and ride shoeless. If only all park employees were educated in this matter, he’d have been able to ride with us all day instead of staying parked on a bench solo on Father’s Day!
- I already mentioned that it was a great day for Kings Island from a crowds and lines perspective. Unfortunately, when the gate is that low, parks often send a percentage of employees home in order to keep profits up. This meant that we were plagued all day with annoying ride closures. It was disappointing to not be able to ride the Beast and several other big, popular rides! I wish that Kings Island could have managed its staffing a bit better so the big rides could have remained open.
All in all, though, the good far outweighed the bad. Our rain gamble paid off and we ended up with an absolutely perfect day, weather-wise – not too cool and not too hot. Sure, there were a few hiccups, but overall it was a wonderful summer adventure.
When did you last enjoy a day at the amusement park with kiddos – and have you been to Kings Island yet this summer? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below or over on Facebook.