Cedar Fair Entertainment
Park News - (8/16/18) Kings Island says they will announce something interesting at the park on Thursday, Aug. 16th at 2pm in the Festhaus. The only hint posted on Twitter was that “Something old will be new again. Find out what’s returning to Kings Island”. Could this involve the rumored upgrades planned for The Racer next season? Or maybe a return of the Antique Cars? Son of Beast? Hmmm… I don’t know about that last one, but you never know. The funny thing is that the idea of letting RMC get their hands on Son of Beast was considered before they demolished it, but the corporate office decided against it at the time. Now that Cedar Fair has opened two RMC coasters of their own this summer, maybe they have been having second thoughts.
(8/11/18) Odd happenings in Kings Island this week, that have led some to believe that Son of Beast could return. Ummm... no... I don't think we'll see the actual Son of Beast coaster return, at least not anything like what it was. Son of Beast could return "In spirit" maybe... after all it was a great theme and way to tie into the legend of The Beast. There are also reports that some scraps of broken wood have been added to the memorial for Son of Beast inside the queue for Banshee, the coaster that replaced Son of Beast.
What's got some fans in a tizzy is yet another crypic poster spotted at Cedar Point that mentions "Number 5 Is alive!", in reference to the found remnants of Outpost 5, which was the label on station building for Son of Beast which is the only part of the old coaster still standing since it was torn down.
Hard to say what is happening, but there is a fan theory that RMC could be asked to come in and rebuild Son of Beast their way... but it was my understanding that RMC's plate was fairly full for 2019, which includes a number of international projects. Or perhaps they are trying to draw attention away from whatever may be planned for The Racer in 2019.
(7/21/18) Is something going on with The Racer at Kings Island? You may recall a rumored spotted of RMC's Fred Grubb touring The Racer reported back in June. But we also know that there is virtually no way in hell that Kings Island would convert The Racer into a hybrid coaster, so at the time I theorized that perhaps they were looking at installing some Topper Track to help improve the ride experience or shore-up some more maintenance intense trouble-spots.
All was quiet until this week when a few more sightings at The Racer took place, this time from Cedar Fair's Senior VP of Planning & Design, Robert Decker. Decker was spotted touring The Racer this week with KI GM, Mike Koontz, and a small group representing a company named Blue Haze Entertainment. Blue Haze is a lightning design company who I'm told has worked with Cedar Fair to put in dramatic architectural lighting systems on many new and popular Cedar Fair coasters like Steel Vengeance, Twisted Timber, Fury 325, Valravn and more. (Quick Note: A different company, KCL Engineering, was used at Knott's Berry Farm to do the complex lighting system on Hangtime this summer.)
Putting this all together, it is starting to look like The Racer could be getting some kind of improvement package for next season, adding both scenic lighting and possibly some track experience improvements. Next time you visit, keep and eye on The Racer and look for any other signs that something may be in the works for 2019.
(7/12/18) Interesting times we live in these days... some good... some bad. In the case of the later, Kings Island was forced to close 30 minutes early on Tuesday night after what was described as a "suspicious package" was discovered just outside the park's fence. The local police were called, and they asked that the park be evacuated so they could conduct an investigation into said "package". In the end the item was determined not to be a threat, though the actual contents of the package were not revealed.
(6/16/18) So what's Kings Island planning for the future? We still aren't exactly sure, but a few readers have sent in a photo where an interesting person of interest was spotted at the park near The Racer. While I'm not going to post the photo, it is medium distance shot of what appears to be Fred Grubb, Foudner of RMC, taking a little tour of The Racer. Note, I'm only saying this "appears to be" Fred Grubb, as it is a profile shot of a man who looks similar to him walking along a pathway, shot a slight distance.
Now before everyone gets their respective underwear wadded up into an uncomfortable bunch, I believe the park has stated that they had no intention of ever converting The Racer into a hybrid monster coaster. So why might Fred Grubb be there? Besides being a fan of coasters, a visit to The Racer is almost a written requirement of any such fan upon visiting Kings Island. Beyond that however, please remember that RMC does not just sell IBox tracked coaster conversion projects... they also now sell their own custom built single-rail steel coasters (RailBlazer just opened at CGA this week) as well as sell their own coaster from-scratch made wooden coaster creations that use their "Topper Track" system rather than IBox track, with four built to date (including the fantastic Lightning Rod at Dollywood.
Also remember that before IBox conversions were a huge thing, RMC were promoting Topper Track as a way to fix up old existing coasters with a more sturdy track system that would hold up better over time that traditional wooden coaster rails. If anyone rode The Rattler at Six Flags Fiesta Texas the same summer that The New Texas Giant opened, you would have ridden across just such a thing, as RMC had installed a section of topper track onto The Rattler as you went down the second hill, a notorious rough patch on that coaster, that really smoothed it out wonderfully. Even today, RMC promotes Topper Track as a way to "transform an existing and aging ride into a smooth exhilarating attraction", "while minimizing maintenance costs". Hey, it even comes with a 5 year warranty.
So to me... if Kings Island is serious about wanting to ensure the long term survival of The Racer, adding some topper track to the high maintenance areas, or even covering the whole thing, would go a long way to ensure the famous coaster's survival for generations to come.
(2/24/18) CoasterNation has posted a new update featuring claiming a new Coney Island BBQ Eatery is coming to Kings Island this season. They say that this will be the purpose of the new structure under construction that is replacing the former Attitudes gift shop and Coney Potato Works stand. Now it seems the park has filed paperwork with the local government for a "Coney Island BBQ" project.
This also fits the current trend as chain-wide Cedar Fair has been opening an assortment of new eateries featuring BBQ options at several parks / waterparks over the past couple seasons.
(1/30/18) While not huge news… Kings Island has reported that Diamondback will have a slightly different look this season. According to the park blog, the original red seats on the coaster’s trains are being replaced with new black seats this season. Follow the link to see a picture of the new seats in place.
(9/27/17) In a move that I think has been a long time coming, a sign was posted at Kings Island the other day confirming that the Dinosaurs Alive walk-through attraction would be leaving forever after Oct. 29th. Kings Island was the first of the Cedar Fair parks to open a Dinosaurs Alive attraction back in 2011, with several others opening at sister parks over the next two years. With this in mind I'd expect to see the rest of the chain's Dinosaur Alive attraction also go extinct over the next 3 years. It should be interesting to see what Kings Island uses the site for next.
2018 - Unfortunately it looks like no new attractions will be added to the park for the 2018 season after all. Previous rumors suggesting that the Antique Cars may return in a new location have so far proven fruitless, and the work in the former Tower Gardens site seemed to just be for WinterFest. A lull in 2018 however would typically mean big things may be planned for 2019 / 2020. See below...
2019 - Kings Mill Antique Autos - (8/17/18) Kings Island... oh what are we to do with you? Amid various rumors running rampant about a variety of coaster relegated subjects, Kings Island revealed they would have a live announcement in the park (and streamed online) at 2pm on Thursday, just in time to celebrate National Roller Coaster Day.
This sent the fan community into a tizzy... and when the announcement was made, I think some of them took it a little hard, while I had a little good natured fun with it on social media myself. Bottom line... nothing coaster related was announced, but the park did confirm that a brand new version of the Antique Cars family ride would return to the park in 2019 in a new location right next to The Racer.
While I, in no way, believed the Son of Beast rumors claiming it would return in 2019, even I thought there was a chance that some kind of upgrade may come to The Racer in 2019. To be honest, this still could be the case... no reason they can make another announcement later, and if nothing else, I'm guessing the report and sightings of staff from a lighting firm could end up meaning that The Racer is getting some cool lights to show it off at night as a backdrop for the Antique Cars.
After all... I've been talking about the Antique Cars coming back for the past year, but when 2018 came with no cars, even I was starting to wonder if the project got scrapped, but it has been in the works all along I see. So look for the Kings Mill Antique Autos to open in Spring 2019 in the Coney Mall, across from the Juke Box Cafe with a quarter-mile track length. Cars will be 2/3 scale replicas of a 1911 Ford Model T.
2020 - B&M GIGA?! - Planning - (8/17/18) With the 2019 announcement out of the way... lets talk about 2020 shall we? And this time, it isn't all just rumor-mill talk. This time the thought is that Kings Island may be planning to add a B&M Giga Coaster, possibly one to beat out Fury 325 for the crown.
New paperwork for a future construction project at the park was filed and discovered on the Warren County Ohio website for something described as "2018, 2019 & 2020 Additions & Modifications to Kings Island Park". The timeline is clear here... with work to start this year and continue all the way through to 2020. If I had to guess, a likely location may be to place the new coaster into the now closed Dinosaurs Alive area. Of course they could also continue to tease the fans about bringing back Son of Beast in a new form and maybe drop the new coaster on that side of the park instead. Foot traffic wise, I'm thinking putting it Coney Mall would be the better location away from the last two coaster sites... Mystic Timbers and Banshee.
One more important item not to miss on the paperwork... if you read the list of companies Kings Island has contracts for to build the project, I'm sure you'll recognize the last one on the list... Bolliger & Mabillard.
(4/2/18) Time to update our "GIGA" rumor story for Kings Island. Since our last update in the winter, a couple of new exciting developments have come up elsewhere in the Cedar Fair chain that will affect any coaster plans at Kings Island. For example, we now know that Canada's Wonderland is already building their own B&M coaster for 2019 and Cedar Fair wouldn't be expected to be building two B&M's in the same season, and right now if this is a Giga coaster being talked about, B&M would be the company to build it. Carowinds is also pushing ahead on a mystery project for 2019 that is also very likely a coaster (Project: Alpha - Digital) that may also be fairly significant in size.
With that all in mind, I would say Kings Island could possibly be waiting until the 2020 season to build their next big coaster, and perhaps focusing on something else for 2019, especially since they don't seem to be adding anything major for 2018. This could also mean that what they are working on may require some major infrastructure changes and upgrades as well... such as allowing the park to expand into a previously undeveloped area. Then there is the big question mark about what will become of the former Dinosaur's Alive space. One idea for 2019 may be to address another trend we've been seeing in some Cedar Fair parks, of adding refurbished high-quality flat rides to the parks. The best example of this would be Carowinds, who added four of them in 2017 and promoted it as a new County Fair area. Something like this could work at Kings Island as well, especially when you ask yourself, "When was the last time Kings Island added a new flat ride?" I'm not 100% sure of the answer, but since I really count Windseeker as a tower ride, I'm thinking the last big flat ride added to Kings Island outside of Planet Snoopy may have been Delirium in 2003... a whopping 15 years ago.
Either way, the next couple of seasons should be interesting at Kings Island, so keep your eyes open.
(1/5/18) Someone at Kings Island is desperately trying to get our attention it seems. Daily since the afternoon of December 30th the park’s Mystic Timbers Webcam has featured a look at a pathway closed off to guests where someone has been diligently shoveling the word “GIGA” in the snow daily every since. Please note that the evening of Dec. 30th was the park’s last day of WinterFest, so this has been ongoing despite the park being closed for the season. (Go on, take a look for yourself… I’ll wait)
Meanwhile I’ve been been blasted with emails daily from various readers, pointing it out to me… though I’m starting to suspect some of these emails may have been coming from some insiders. Why? Because my first reaction was simply to blow it off as a funny joke… after all, this Cedar Fair we’re talking about, the company who has often planted funny little false clues within their parks, sometimes just before a coaster enthusiast group is set to arrive, all as part of a prank and way to mislead the nosy from uncovering what they are really up to.
But this… ok I give up. After almost a week straight of this going on, accompanied by several emails sent in daily, I’m letting the world know about it. Now the question is… what exactly does this mean? My first assumption was that this was a prank of sorts by someone at the park hoping to simply get the local fansboys and girls all a twitter on social media… but what if there is more to it?
After all, between the 2008 and 2016 seasons, Cedar Fair did buy 8 new B&M coasters, spread out to place 2 each at Cedar Point, Carowinds, Canada’s Wonderland and yes… Kings Island who received the ultra-popular Diamondback and Banshee coasters as part of those dealings. While the two coasters that went to Cedar Point were alternative design ideas, both Carowinds and Canada’s Wonderland each got a Hypercoaster and a Gigacoaster, while Kings Island added a Hyper and a giant Inverted coaster instead. While people love Banshee, the Kings Island fans have been waiting for their turn to add a Giga (300+ ft) coaster to the park. After all, not only did Carowinds and Canada’s Wonderland get the latest pair, but Cedar Fair also bought their first pair from Intamin for Cedar Point (Millennium Force) and later at Kings Dominion (Intimidator 305).
So is Kings Island making early plans to add their own Giga Coaster to the fleet? Could be, but the earliest we would see anything open would be 2019… though with the project that large, construction would have to start about a year in advance, so maybe it is time for the first clues to start dropping. Stay tuned!