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After a long and very cold Ohio winter, I couldn't wait for Kings Island to open again. Friday the 19th was passholder preview and Saturday, April 20th marked the first official day of the 2019 operating season.

 

Friday the park was open 5-10 and I arrived not too long after 5 to a very wet and cold KI. It seems that Ohio isn't quite done with giving me very cold visits to KI as I've probably been to the park more when it's cold than when it's warm. I was bundled up in my new rain jacket and ready for the park, but my friends quickly bailed on going with me.

 

Upon entering, the first thing you notice is the new improvements to international Street. This year, Kings Island completely redid the entrance plaza area and you can definitely tell. It looks great! I'd like to hear thoughts from people who were alive and visited the park when the park opened the original International Street.

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Welcome to Kings Island! Where it seems like it's always raining.

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The details of International Street are hard not to notice

I headed to the antique cars first since I figured they would be getting a line once more families arrived. I waited from the entrance of the queue straight to the ride station (e.g. not through some of the switchbacks on the side) and it took about half an hour. Not too bad, except that the first 15 minutes or so was spent in the rain.

 

The area looks outstanding and the ride fits in well to its location. The ride itself is relatively short, IMO, but there are so many details to notice around the area that you really don't feel like taking it fast the first time. I couldn't take pictures during the ride because I was driving and the op said "No texting and driving" so you'll just have to see for yourself, but there were signs and details with nods to former rides. I caught references to Mystic Timbers, Racer, and the previous safari ride. The ride op told me there's even a reference to Firehawk in the "gas station" area, but said she wasn't allowed to tell me where the reference is. If someone finds it, I really want to know! Maybe there's a hint of some sort??

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The antique cars look great even in the rain

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I was stopped so I figured it would be alright to take pictures.

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I'm already so wet

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Even the antique cars themselves have little Easter eggs

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You can watch Racer go by while you're waiting to disembark

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This area looked nicer as well

Next, I headed over to you-know-where.

 

So now, admit it, you only read this far into my TR because you really want to know what's going on with the Firehawk area. I can only help you so much as there really isn't a lot to see right now. There is a huge fence around the area and if you peer REALLLYYY closely you can see a bit through the slats and peek some of the super exciting developments....dirt. Flat dirt. And maybe a few orange cones.

 

However, Racer got recently retracked so it's not as "NOPE" as it was, and going up the lift of Racer you can see a lot more. The area is completely level. There is exactly ONE piece of Firehawk track left that is off to the side. I think I saw one of the trains off to the side, but that confused me because I thought they went to Carowinds? I guess the most exciting part was that it looked like there was clearing in the woods nearby. I briefly considered snapping a picture before replacing my phone into my button pocket, but I wanted to respect the park rules so you're just going to have to ride Racer and see for yourself.

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The big sign over the walkway is gone and this is the only signage for X-Base that I saw

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OOOOOHHHH AHHHHH fence!

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I felt like a total geek doing this but here you go. Super exclusive picture of dirt.

After this I hit up Banshee which had a very short wait. I opted to ride in the second row because I was wet enough as it was. Banshee completely delivered on getting me even more wet. No pictures for proof.

 

One of the other new-for-2019 improvements is the return of the Glockenspiel. It looks really cool and I waited a few minutes for the hour to strike and see....nothing. Not sure if it wasn't on because it was passholder preview or if it had an issue to work through (I've heard the chef and the diner don't get along) but I didn't see it move. Maybe next time.

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Glockenspiel looks good but did not move for me

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Not sure if this is new or just newly painted

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The fountains are also 50% more wet

By now I was hungry and wanted to check out the new restaurant, Brewhouse. On the way over, I noticed some interesting pins in the gift shop.

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Never rode it and never will

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Oooh, ahh

I wanted to ride Diamondback before getting dinner, but it broke down as soon as I got in line. Oh well, maybe it was time to dry off and get food anyway.

 

Brewhouse ended up being my longest wait. The line stretched out the door and took FOR-E-VER. Yes, blame me for going to a new restaurant on passholder preview day. Yes, I know that everyone is still in training. I still have no idea why they were moving so slow. I'm hoping it was just preview day training and not indicative of what the wait will be like later. You wait to pay and order and then find a seat with one of those buzzer things. Then waitresses bring your food. It took me at least half an hour (or longer?) to even get up to the front to pay and find a seat. By the time I sat down, the food was out in just a few minutes.

 

One of my biggest complaints with park food is there not being enough good vegetarian food. When I saw that Brewhouse had the Impossible Burger on the menu, I knew I had to try it, and it delivered! Honestly, for the first time I thought about getting the dining pass just for this. It was really good. The menu also looked like it had a nice variety of options including vegetarian appetizers and salads and of course, things I'm sure the flesh-eaters will like.

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Yayyy!!

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This image does not do justice to how wet I am

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MMmmmm so good! I definitely ate this a lot faster than I probably should have.

By the time I left the restaurant, the sun had gone down and with how wet I was I got really cold. Diamondback had gotten a little of a line and for some reason Mystic Timbers was down (even the employees didn't know why) and I was shivering my timbers and shake, rattle, and rolling so I decided to leave rather than get myself sick. On the way out, I snapped more photos of International Street, which looks stunning at night as well!

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Ready to go get warm

Stay tuned for Part 2, Opening Day and the Quest for Beast T-Shirts!

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Thanks for the TR. The Antique Cars look fantastic. I also like the "Skylab Café" and "Zodiac Books" signs on that building near the Antique Cars. Little nods to the past are always appreciated!

 

And while International Street's renovations look fantastic, I am really thrown by the Royal Fountain. I know I may be in the minority here, but I think it looks SO much different without the white and blue fountain structures. It doesn't look bad by any means, just much different after all these years!

 

I need to get down there this summer. With the health issues I have been having, Antique Cars are right up my alley these days!

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Part 2: Opening Day and the Quest for Beast T-Shirts

 

I have a lot less pictures to show for this day, but the story is insane.

 

After I left the park on Friday, I drove to Liberty to meet my significant other who was marathonning movies at the Cinébistro (nice movie theater that sells food and drinks). He had already watched the one movie that I really cared to watch, Pet Sematary, but I made it in time to catch about half of Hellboy and all of Shazam with him while I waited for my friend to get off work (circa 12:00pm or later) so I could go to her house and spend the night before going back to KI the next morning. She lives closer to the park than me and she was committed to get to the park early with me.

 

You see, for Beast's 40th anniversary, the park announced on social media that riders on the first 40 trains of Beast would get a free T-shirt. We did the math and decided we needed to arrive at the park... early as f**k.

 

We arrived at the park a bit before 9:30 after a night of me not sleeping hardly at all. 9:30 was when the park opened to Gold Passholders and we were in a long line at the entrance to get in but still felt pretty confident we were going to get to Beast in time to get a shirt.

 

When we finally got in the gates we followed everyone over to Beast and immediately noticed a HUGE line starting from the entrance of Diamondback and heading toward Beast. I had my friend hold our spot while I went to ask someone what the line was for. Basically, I was told you could wait in this line until 10:00 to get your chance for a shirt, or you could go ride Beast until 10:00 at which time you would have to join the back of the line to get a chance for a shirt. The decision was simple. We would wait.

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This line stretches around the corner and to the entrance of Beast

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We could not see the back of the line from where we stood

When the park opened, we were here. The line for Beast T-shirts went on as far as I could see both ways.

 

After waiting God knows how long we were almost to the entrance and I snapped some cool photos of the new footprints.

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Now, as we passed the photo booth we noticed the image number ended in 23, so we figured 23 trains had already gone, and we still had to wait through the entire queue of Beast and hope we somehow made it onto the first 40 trains. Being math majors, we tried to count people ahead of us and figure out which train we would make it on. By now, it was after 11 and quickly nearing 11:30. Having little to no sleep we were doing a terrible job at doing the math and I'm sure the people around us must have thought we were crazy or maybe that April 20th was affecting us a lot, but my friend estimated we would be on train 47 and I said I still thought we would make it on the first 40 trains.

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By now we're really starting to sweat as we see more and more trains go by and people getting their t-shirts. We really didn't want it all to be for nothing but we held onto the hope that maybe, just maybe, we would still make the first 40 trains. We were still trying to do math and it was after 11:30 and everyone around us were all trying to figure out if they were going to make it, but the general consensus was that we weren't.

 

By the time we made it to the station and opted for the left queue (front half of the train), there were miraculously still T-shirts being passed out but every train that went by meant we were getting closer to train #40.

 

By now we had figured out what you all probably figured out a few minutes ago about the train 23 picture we had seen—that number likely included trains tested in the morning as well as the people who had decided to f***it and just ride during early entry and forget the T-shirts. That meant It was nearly impossible to know how close to 40 we were but we hoped the number of pre-10:00am trains was working in our favor. Every time I saw the employees pass out all the t-shirts in their hands I would think, "that's it," but then they would mysteriously procure more from some hidden box somewhere and my hopes would rise again.

 

Finally, finally we made it to the greeter.

"How many?"

"Two."

"Row 1 please."

 

I couldn't believe my ears for a minute. Did we just get randomly placed in the best row of Beast? And the T-shirts still haven't run out yet so we're somehow still within the first 40 trains (or they lied and actually had more T-shirts than that)?

 

We counted it down. "Three more trains ahead of us. Do they look like they have enough shirts for 3 more trains?"

 

Finally, we got on the coaster and so far so good, they hadn't run out yet, and we're in the front row, which makes it even better. It's not a night ride but hey, it was not raining. Blissful not-so-early-anymore first-coaster-of-the-day-and-probably-the-last possibly-within-the-first-40-trains-in-Beast's-40th-year front row ride.

 

We got off the coaster and snatched our orange T-shirts like we've never snatched an orange T-shirt in Beast's 40th year before (well really, we hadn't). I was gloating to my friend that I was right, I was the real math wizard because we did make it within the first 40 trains of operating season and managed to get a shirt. She reminded me that our initial guesses hadn't included the early trains and she still thought we were going to be train #47 and maybe there were 10 trains before 10:00 that morning. At that point my brain was fried and I was done trying to figure it out. We got the shirts and that was the only reason we had come so early and went through all of that.

 

Went to look at our photos and guess what? We were #47. So I congratulated my friend on being the math wizard even though we were both right in our own way.

 

How long did we wait? 2 hours. We waited 2 hours. More if you count the time before 10:00am. We had been in line since before 10:00 and it was now after 12:00.

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Here is a picture of me after waiting in line for Beast for more time than I had slept in the previous 24 hours.

 

Around 12:30 we were chillin and wearing our new shirts and some people were telling us they had just gotten out and hadn't made it in time. They were almost there but the last shirts were passed out 1-2 trains ahead of them. One guy said he had gotten one of the last ones because when the air gates opened, he realized there wouldn't be enough and skipped over the coaster to get the shirt. So he got a shirt but didn't actually ride the thing.

 

So basically only Gold Passholders managed to get the shirts and many of the people behind us in line in the picture I shared didn't make it. I got to ride Beast in the front row and get on the first 40 trains (in theory?) of opening day of Beast's 40th anniversary and get the free shirt. My friend lost her vape pen sometime between riding Beast and going to the smoking area, so really for her the situation was a total loss. She had a good attitude though and was mainly happy to see me happy.

 

We got some food and wandered around a little before leaving the park around 1:30. I had to work at 4:00 and wanted a shower and a nap and home is about an hour from KI.

 

Here is a picture of Diamondback which we did not ride.

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Moral of the story? Kings Island Gold Passholders do not mess around when it comes to free t-shirts.

 

The end.

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About the Glokenspiel, I believe kinda like the fountain the work is not done yet. Not sure how much work is left but I have heard the fountain will not be fully operational until Memorial Day weekend. Which is also when the new fireworks show debuts, they are still doing the show from last year.

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Saw the glockenspeil work on opening weekend. I believe its every 15 minutes (correct me if im wrong) or maybe its quarter till the hour. I cannot agree more with the posts above, that the park looks amazing and the renovations they did in the off season continues to improve the park and in my honest opinion hopefully return the park to a THEME park!:)

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Awesome trip report! The park looks stunning! The beer stein was repainted as well during the off season! I can't wait to see the tree's in late Spring and early Summer on IS. I do miss the old fountains, but I'll give the new ones a chance as well.

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Thank you all for the kind words!

Saw the glockenspeil work on opening weekend. I believe its every 15 minutes (correct me if im wrong) or maybe its quarter till the hour. I cannot agree more with the posts above, that the park looks amazing and the renovations they did in the off season continues to improve the park and in my honest opinion hopefully return the park to a THEME park!:)

Someone told me it was every 15 minutes and we waited a few minutes for the hour to hit and nothing happened. It would make sense if they're still working on it that maybe certain parts of each hour would work but not all yet (e.g. maybe a quarter 'till worked because that series of motions has been completed but not the motions for on the hour).

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Thanks for the nice trip report!

 

My son and I got into the line a little further back from you (between the restaurant and Diamondback's entrance). We looked at the line and said f*** it, knowing that it would be a long wait and we may or may not get a T-shirt anyway. We went and rode The Beast on the last non-T-shirt ride. I'm kind of glad we didn't wait if it would have been 2+ hours.

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Great report! Glad you enjoyed the food despite the time it took to get it. Yeah, the locals love all of the nostalgia KI is bringing back this year, so that's even more focus and attention the park is getting ontop of their regular visitors! Ever since Mystic Timbers was announced, there's this extra 'buzz' in Cincinnati about the park. It seems like it's more popular than I can ever remember!

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... I believe kinda like the fountain the work is not done yet. Not sure how much work is left but I have heard the fountain will not be fully operational until Memorial Day weekend. Which is also when the new fireworks show debuts, they are still doing the show from last year.

 

To add to this, I too have read elsewhere (and I believe confirmed by the park) that things are supposed to be much more substantial with the fountain by Memorial Day, in terms of water flow, patterns, colors, synched to music, etc. It isn't fully completed yet, but they opted to have them at least on for opening day. But it sounds like much more is to come.

 

In regards to the beer stein, it isn't new but they did rehab it in the off season!

https://www.visitkingsisland.com/blog/2019/april/international-street-stein-refurbished-for-2019-season

 

The park is looking great! It's been a few years since I have made it, I might be due for a trip.

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Awesome!

 

Thank you for sharing.

 

I'm glad you ended up getting the Beast shirt. You really earned it!

 

The tiques, Glokenspiel, and everyother update/touchups are looking great, and I think they'll look even better once the sunnier weather comes.

 

(But as a side note, I would be lying if I said I'm not going to miss the pedestals . The pool really does look quite different without them) But then again, I guess I'll just wait and see what these new fountains have in store as the season goes on.

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My one question, does everyone think the best row is row 1? I used to think that until someone told me to try a magical row towards the back, now I won't ride any other row!! My husband still likes one but I head towards the back. We got our shirts as well, also waited in the rain and were drenched, we got lucky though as we were train 3 after 10, it was quite the experience.

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