On Saturday, April 15, Kings Island will open its gates to the general public and officially launch its 2023 season.
Just like the four seasons usher in familiar sights and sounds, so does the opening of the park for individuals and families that count it as a rite of summer.
Since it first opened to guests in 1972, the popular destination has established itself as an entertainment juggernaut in southern Ohio.
“For more than 50 years Kings Island has been a place where friends and families come together and make lasting memories with each other,” said Chad Showalter, communications director. “There’s nothing quite like that first taste of blue ice cream each year or that first ride on a roller coaster. For me, it’s walking into the park for the first time and seeing the Royal Fountain and Eiffel Tower with all the sounds and smells of International Street. You just can’t beat that.”
The park has several major additions this year including Adventure Port, a new themed area located between Coney Mall and Action Zone with two new family rides. Also new is Grain & Grill, a fast-casual dining option on International Street featuring Mediterranean- inspired dishes including Moroccan chicken, glazed pork shoulder, shrimp skewers and seasonal sides. The new restaurant and all of the park’s food and beverage will be supervised by Executive Chef Joseph Perez, who previously served the Ameristar Casino and Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri.
The park is coming off a huge year in 2022, celebrating its 50th golden anniversary last year on April 29 and being named named Park of the Year by the international trade journal “Amusement Today” at the 2022 Golden Ticket Awards Sept. 10 in San Antonio, Texas.
Not to be outdone by a major anniversary, the park is continuing to build on what it offers with exciting new programs and in-park destinations to engage guests this year. Here’s a look at some of the additions for 2023.
Adventure Port is the largest change guests will see this year surrounding the area of crowd favorite ride Adventure Express. This popular family friendly coaster, which takes guests on a treasure hunting mine train expedition in search of a forbidden temple, opened in 1991 and features a 63 ft. first drop with speeds up to 35 mph. Enhancements for 2023 include a relocated queue line and additional theming.
The area surrounding this ride has become Adventure Port, which builds on the theme and story of Adventure Express. Here’s Kings Island’s backstory for the area: “The myths of an ancient civilization, and its mighty city carved out of stone, have lured travelers from around the globe to this bustling port community for more than a century. Resting in the foothills of overgrown mountains and dense tropical terrain, Adventure Port is a hub for explorers searching for an ancient civilization’s forbidden temple and mysterious wonders. If asked, the locals will tell tales of those who came before and vanished. Did they unwittingly disturb ancient spirits and fall victim to an age-old curse?”
In addition, the park has added two new family-friendly rides to this area:
• Sol Spin: This recently discovered mechanism appears to be an immense sun disk created by an ancient civilization. Riders will board open air, suspended passenger vehicles and experience the sensation of flying 60 feet through the air at 25 mph.
• Cargo Loco: Their methods might be a little dizzying, but the Arrow Cargo Company will get your goods from Point A to Point B…eventually. Riders will board these shipping barrels where they will be able to manually control the speed of their spin with a wheel in the middle of the barrel.
Additional improvements include a refresh of Hank’s Mexican Grill which will be renamed Enrique’s. The current Bier Garten will be transformed into a portside Mercado, a favorite watering hole for tourists and explorers.
The best deal as always on admission is a 2023 Gold Season Pass which includes unlimited visits, free parking, discounts on meals and merchandise, early ride time every public operating day on select attractions, and access to several seasonal events. Gold, Platinum and Prestige passholders will be able to get into the park a day early on April 14 from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Be sure to download Kings Island’s free mobile app for iPhone and Android prior to your visit. The app has everything you need to make the most of your day at the park including entertainment schedules, mobile food ordering, ride wait times and wayfinding, special offers and even a tool to help you find where you parked your car.
Showalter is excited for guests to experience multiple new attractions this year.
“Of course, every year is a great year at Kings Island,” he said. “Adventure Port will be a fantastic addition to the park when it opens this summer. With the addition of two new rides, enhanced theming on Adventure Express and new culinary offerings, our guests will love experiencing this new area of the park.”
ADDITIONAL KINGS ISLAND EVENTS
In addition to offering more than 100 world-class rides, shows and attractions, Kings Island offers a series of special outdoor events each year including Grand Carnivale, Halloween Haunt and WinterFest.
Here are details of several upcoming events that have been announced.
May 19-20: Coasterstock
Coasterstock is the event of the year for roller coaster aficionados. Like-minded people from across the United States, Canada and Europe will gather to ride some of the best roller coasters in the world and share stories of their global experiences riding coasters.
The two-day affair will be held May 19 and 20. The lineup features exclusive morning and night ride time sessions each day on popular attractions, behind-the-scenes photo and video opportunities, guest speakers, Q&A with park officials, contests, catered meals, FunPix, unlimited soft drinks and more. To participate in this event, you must purchase a Coasterstock ticket and be an active member of one of the seven approved roller coaster clubs below:
- American Coaster Enthusiasts
- Coaster Crew Platinum
- European Coaster Club
- Florida Coaster Club
- Great Ohio Coaster Club
- Roller Coaster Club of Great Britain
- Western New York Coaster Club
An active membership card from one of the approved roller clubs must be presented upon check-in for entry to this event and its activities.
Materials for Coasterstock will be shipped directly to all U.S. ticket holders.
May 27: Soak City Waterpark opens
With more than 50 water activities, including 36 water slides, Soak City offers entertainment options galore for all ages to experience. Soak City is the premier water park in the Cincinnati area and is included with admission to Kings Island.
June 15-17: SpiritSong
SpiritSong Festival is back this summer at Kings Island’s Timberwolf Amphitheatre. Get ready for your favorite weekend of Christian music with TobyMac, CROWDER, Skillet, Lecrae, Truren Wells, Newsboys and more. The full lineup for SpiritSong will be announced at a later date. Tickets for SpiritSong are on sale now with Kings Island admission tickets sold separately.
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HOW TO GO
What: Kings Island
Where: 6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason
More information: Call 513-754-5700 or search www.visitkingsisland.com
Opens: April 15. Season passholders are invited to a preview day on April 14. Daily operation begins May 17. Soak City Waterpark opens May 27.
Hours of operation: Varies. Check the website for details of the date you plan to visit at www.visitkingsisland.com/explore/calendar-and-hours.
Dining plans: Kings Island offers an all-day dining plan and a season pass dining plan, which allows diners to choose from one of several entrees and a side at participating locations for two meals. Plans can be purchased in person at the park.
Save money: The best way to save on your purchase is to buy in advance online.