It’s been a thrill ride! 9 things to know about Kings Island history

Kings Island is opening its annual Halloween Haunt this weekend, and it will continue on Friday and Saturday nights through Oct. 26.

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.

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.

Kings Island when it opened in 1972.
Photo: Submitted Photo

>>RELATED: 5 new things at Kings Island in 2019: Eats, rides and more

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.

>>RELATED: New restaurant, brewhouse set to debut next month at Kings Island

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.

The Beast celebrated its 33rd year at Kings Island in 2012. The world's most famous wooden roller coaster attracts coaster enthusiasts from all over the world to ride it.
Photo: Contributed photo

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. 

>>RELATED: King’s Island’s antique car ride was first driving experience for many kids

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

>>RELATED: King’s Island will make changes to stage BIGGER shows by the fountain, Eiffel Tower

9. Latest and greatest. Mystic Timbers, the latest attraction at Kings Island, 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.

Thank you for reading the Dayton Daily News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.

Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Dayton Daily News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.