Kings Island is an enormously popular amusement park. Coasters are king here. In fact, Kings Island is one of the theme parks with the most number of roller coasters in the world. The legendary The Beast, the world's longest wooden coaster, is thrill machine royalty. Diamondback, introduced in 2009, is a world-class hypercoaster and among the best steel coasters in North America. We run down all of the best rides at Kings Island.
Opened in 1972, Kings Island has always been more of an amusement park than a theme park. Its focus is on thrills and mechanical rides rather than story-based attractions. Having said that, the Peanuts characters, such as Charlie Brown and Linus, come to life in the kid-centric Planet Snoopy and provide inspiration for some of the rides, including Sally's Sea Plane, The Great Pumpkin Coaster, and Woodstock Express. The park offers shows as well, including musicals and fireworks.
Soak City, an outdoor water park is included with admission and offers tons of slides, and other ways to get wet and stay cool. Also on property is a Great Wolf Lodge, which offers both an indoor water park and a hotel resort.
The Coasters at Kings Island
Despite its revered status, we rank The Beast as one of the most overrated roller coasters in North America. At one time, the ride may have deserved its accolades, but it's been declawed and just doesn't hold up. You can read our review of The Beast to see why we think the coaster misses its mark.
If you're looking for a more classic wooden coaster experience, with plenty of airtime, head over to The Racer at Kings Island. The venerable twin-track coaster, which was popularized in the 1970s on an episode of The Brady Bunch, has held up fairly well.
One of the park’s highlights, Diamondback, is a wonderful, 230-foot tall coaster that is especially exhilarating. For its finale, it features a splash effect in a lagoon.
Among the other major coasters at Kings Island:
- Banshee – Introduced in 2014, the steel inverted coaster features trains that hang from suspended from the track above. It climbs 167 feet, reaches a top speed of 68 mph, and includes seven inversions.
- Mystic Timbers – Debuting in 2017, the well-regarded wooden coaster includes some special effects as the trains hole up in a shed.
- Backlot Stunt Coaster – Previously known as Italian Job: Stunt Track, the launched coaster used to include special effects, most of which no longer work.
- Flight of Fear – One of the earliest launch coasters, the indoor ride still packs a punch.
- Invertigo – An inverted shuttle coaster, it goes forward and then backwards, retracing its route.
In addition to the coasters, Kings Island offers many other rides, such as the 137-foot-tall pendulum ride, Delirium, the 315-foot-tall Drop Tower that plunges passengers up to 67 mph, and the 301-foot-tall swing ride, WindSeeker.
Other ride highlights include:
- Boo Blasters on Boo Hill– An interactive dark ride
- Congo Falls– A shoot-the-chutes ride with a big splashdown
- White Water Canyon– A river raft ride
- K.I. & Miami Valley Railroad- A steam train
Soak City Water Park
The full-featured water park offers 36 water slides. Highlights include:
- Mondo Monsoon– A funnel ride
- Rendezvous Run– A multi-rider mat-racing slide
- Tropical Plunge– A tower with six water slides, including three with launch chambers
- Breakers Bay– A wave pool
What’s New at Kings Island?
In 2021, the park will welcome Camp Cedar, which it describes as a “luxury outdoor resort.” The 53-acre property will include both RV sites and cottages as well as a host of amenities such as two large pool areas, private cabanas, and a number of eateries. Located one mile from the front gate of Kings Island, Camp Cedar will offer another way for visitors to stay on property (in addition to the Great Wolf Lodge). The resort will be open year round.
Despite the pandemic, Kings Island opened Orion, its 14th roller coaster, in 2020. Featuring a 300-foot drop and a top speed of 91 mph, the extreme giga-coaster is one of the tallest and fastest coasters in the world.
What’s to Eat?
In addition to the usual suspects (pizza, hamburgs, fries, etc.) and some fast-food franchise outlets (Subway, Panda Express), the park offers some more interesting dining choices. The Coney Bar-B-Que serves ribs, smoked sausage, and rotisserie chicken, for example, while Bier Garten dishes out German specialties along with craft beers and more at its full-service bar. The menu at Island Smokehouse, located in Soak City, includes smoked wings and shrimp baskets.
Admission and Location Info
Kings Island offers pay-one-price all-day passes both at the gate and online (often at a reduced price). Discount tickets are available for children and seniors. Season passes are available. Soak City water park is included with admission. The Great Wolf Lodge indoor water park is open to registered hotel guests only.
Kings Island is located in Mason, Ohio, near Cincinnati. I-71 to OH-741, Exit 25.