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Amusement parks were a huge part of my childhood, including visits to Kings Island almost every year. No matter where we lived, we’d make the trek to Mason, Ohio, for a day of family fun. While the park has changed since those childhood visits, Kings Island is still one of the best amusement parks in America and home to tons of thrills and family adventures. Keep reading our complete guide to Kings Island to help you plan the perfect family trip this summer.
Table of Contents
What is Kings Island?
King’s Island is a popular amusement park located in Mason, Ohio, northeast of Cincinnati. The amusement park was opened in 1972. The park is owned and operated by Cedar Fair. Kings Island won Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket Award for “Best Kid’s Area” from 2001 to 2018. It was also recently named the Park of the Year by the international trade journal Amusement Today at the 2022 Golden Ticket Awards.
Kings Island Updates for 2023
Kings Island announced several exciting park updates for 2023.
One of the biggest announcements is Adventure Port, a new themed area being added to the park. Think ancient civilization meets Kings Island fun. The new area, located between Coney Mall and Action Zone, will be home to two new rides, an enhanced Adventure Express, and two restaurants.
The two new rides coming to the park are Sol Spin and Cargo Loco. Sol Spin features suspended passenger cars that circle through the air, like a modernized Witch’s Wheel. Cargo Loco features spinning barrels sure to make you dizzy and become a family favorite.
The Mercado is a large central dining area that anchors Adventure Port. It’s sure to be a hot spot for dining and beverages and to catch your breath between rides.
Enrique’s is a quick-service Mexican restaurant featuring burritos, burrito bowls, tacos, salads, and incredible side dishes.
Other updates include:
- Nex Executive Chef: Kings Island hired Joseph Perez as its new executive chef for the 2023 season. Joesph was previously the Executive Chef at Ameristar Casino and Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri.
- New restaurant: Kings Island added a new fast-casual dining location called Grain & Grill. It features Eastern European and Mediterranean Cuisine.
Kings Island Chaperone Policy
Some of the Cedar Fair Parks, including Kings Island, implemented a chaperone policy starting in the 2023 season. It’s a response to an increased number of incidents within the parks and is meant to make park visits enjoyable for all guests. Keep the chaperone policy in mind if you are headed to Kings Island with kids or teens. Here is the King’s Island chaperone policy:
“Under this policy, all guests ages 15 years old or younger must be accompanied by a chaperone who is at least 21 years old in order to be admitted to, or remain in, the park after 4:00 p.m. local time to close. The chaperone must present a valid government-issued photo identification with date of birth at ticket entry. One (1) chaperone may accompany no more than ten (10) guests ages 15 or younger per day. In addition, the chaperone must accompany their party during entry, remain inside the park during their visit, and be available by phone throughout their stay. Guests ages 15 years old or younger who are found inside the park unaccompanied by a chaperone will be subject to ejection. This chaperone requirement applies to all Kings Island ticket and season passholders.”
Your Complete Guide to Visiting Kings Island in 2023
We love Kings Island and plan to continue to visit the park each year with our kids. It’s not as short of a drive for us as it is to other Cedar Fair parks, but it’s still worth the trek.
Our Kings Island review below contains helpful information about visiting Kings Island, including ride information, dining, entertainment, shopping, tickets, and much more. We tried to think of everything, but I’m sure we missed a few details. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments, and we will try to answer them. Here is your complete guide to visiting Kings Island in 2023.
Kings Island Opening Day 2023
Kings Island will open to the public on April 15, 2023. Soak City Water Park opens on May 27, 2023.
Kings Island Rides
One of the highlights of visiting Kings Island, of course, is riding all of the roller coasters and other thrill rides. There are rides at Kings Island for everyone from young children to thrill-seekers to the young at heart. Here’s a look at some of King’s Island’s most popular rides.
Kings Island Roller Coasters
Orion: Orion is one of only seven giga coasters (roller coasters with a height or drop between 300 and 399 feet) in the world. Orion is Kings Island’s tallest, fastest and longest steel roller coaster, reaching speeds up to 91 mph.
The Beast: This rollercoaster is a legend. It opened in 1979 and is still the longest wooden rollercoaster in the world. If you hate waiting in line for hours for what seems like 30 seconds of thrills, then The Beast is for you. The ride lasts four minutes.
The Racer: Always a family favorite, the Racer lets you race around the track side-by-side against park guests in another coaster car. The Racer also once appeared in an episode of the Brady Bunch.
Invertigo: Invertigo is truly an experience as one of the few face-to-face inverted coasters in the world.
Flight of Fear: Take a break from the summer heat to ride this thrilling indoor steel roller coaster.
Diamondback: Diamondback is among the tallest and fastest rides at Kings Island. Also, its open-air seats give you a birds-eye view of all of the action along the way.
Banshee: Another record-breaker, The Banshee is the world’s longest steel inverted roller coaster.
Backlot Stunt Coaster: Think stunt driver simulation, and you get the Backlot Stunt Coaster.
Mystic Timbers: Another wooden rollercoaster full of twists, turns, and drops.
Adventure Express: For less adventurous coaster fans, the Adventure Express offers thrills and fun without the big drops and endless loops.
The Bat: The Bat is a suspension coaster that leaves you swinging under the track the whole ride.
Other Notable Kings Island Rides
Roller coasters rule the skies at Kings Island, but they aren’t the only rides in the park worth checking out. Kings Island features several other thrill rides that are worth checking out during your next visit to the park.
- Cargo Loco
- Drop Tower
- Congo Falls
- K.I. & Miami Valley Railroad
- Shake, Rattle & Roll
- Sol Spin
- Viking Fury
- White Water Canyon
Kings Island Kids & Family Rides
The park offers other rides to make your next trip to Kings Island a special one for kids and families. The park features specific areas geared toward kids and families. Some notable family-friendly rides include:
- Boo Blasters on Boo Hill
- Grand Carousel
- Kings Mills Antique Autos
- Race For Your Life Charlie Brown
- Character Carousel
- Charlie Brown’s Wind Up
Joe Cool’s Dodgem School
- Kite Eating Tree
- Linus’ Launcher
- Peanuts 500
- Peanuts Off-Road Rally
- Snoopy’s Junction
- Snoopy vs. Red Baron
- Snoopy’s Space Buggies
- Woodstock Gliders
- Woodstock Whirlybirds
The Eiffel Tower
No trip to Kings Island is complete without a trip up the Eiffel Tower. The Kings Island version is a one-third-scale replica of the one in Paris and stands 314 feet tall. Towards the top is an observation tower providing stunning views of the entire park and surrounding area.
Soak City Water Park
Soak City is the water park attached to Kings Island. Admission to Soak City is included with your Kings Island ticket. The water park features wave pools, a lazy river, swimming areas, splash stations, a bodyboarding wave simulator, and countless water slides. For an extra charge, you can rent a cabana at Soak City for added comfort during your visit.
Kings Island Ride Restrictions
Like most amusement parks, Kings Island has ride policies and restrictions in place to protect all of its guests, including height, weight, health, and other restrictions. Always familiarize yourself with park restrictions before visiting.
Accessibility at Kings Island
Kings Island prides itself in creating a fun experience for everyone who visits the park, including guests with disabilities. King’s Island’s website contains a complete accessibility guide for guests with disabilities who visit the park including:
- Tips for guests with Autism
- Boarding Pass program
- Assistive listening
- American Sign Language interpreting
- Service animals
- Casts and braces
- Prosthetic devices and amputations
Be sure to stop by guest services at the front of the park upon arrival to get assistance, ask questions, and receive a guide to help you during your visit.
Dining at Kings Island
Just because Kings Island is an amusement park doesn’t mean you should expect the worst when it comes to park dining options. The park offers dining options for everyone, including individuals with specific dietary needs.
Kings Island Dining Plans
Dining plans are a great way for families and individuals to save money when visiting Kings Island. The park offers single-meal and all-day dining plans. All-day plans come with an entree and a side at select park restaurants, with only a 90-minute waiting period between meals. Here’s the pricing for Kings Island’s dining plans:
All Day Dining: $33.99
Premium All Day Dining: $42.99
All Season Dining: From $119
Season Pass Drink Plan Paper Cup: $34.99
All Season Drink Bottle: $34.99
Souvenir Bottle or Drink Wristband: $18.99
Single Meal Deal: $16.99
Kings Island Restaurants
While it’s not fine dining, it’s also not carnival food either. Sometimes amusement park dining means inferior food. Kings Island and Soak City offer a variety of dining choices, including several well-known national and regional chains:
- Auntie Anne’s
- Calypso Coolers
- Chicken Shack
- Coconut Cove Bar
- Coconut Cove Cafe
- Coke Marketplace
- Coney Bar-B-Que
- Coney Treats
- Freestyle Cafe
- Graeter’s Ice Cream
- Grain & Grill
- Ice Scream Zone
- ICEE Mix It Up
- Island Smokehouse
- JukeBox Diner
- LaRosa’s Pizzeria
- Meteor Canteen
- Miami River Brewhouse
- Outpost Frozen Cocktails
- Panda Express
- Planet Snoopy Grill
- Planet Snoopy Ice Cream
- Potato Works
- Ralph’s Ice Cream
- Rivertown Funnel Cake
- Skyline Chili
- Snoopy Snow Cone
- Snoopy Treats
- Snoopy’s Snack Shack
- The French Corner
- The Mercado
- Tom & Chee
- World’s Greatest Funnel Cakes
Blue Ice Cream
Nothing captures the playfulness, fun, and history of Kings Island more than the park’s blue ice cream. Now, during my childhood, it was called Smurf ice cream. It’s what I still call it as it rightly should be. For even older park fans, it’s known as Huckleberry Hound ice cream.
Blue soft serve ice cream has been a part of King Island since 1982. There was a brief stint in 1992 when Kings Island stopped serving it, but it quickly returned before a fan revolt ensued.
It’s not a stretch, at least for me, to say getting blue ice cream is almost worth the price of admission.
Can You Bring Food Into Kings Island?
Unfortunately, outside food and drinks aren’t permitted in Kings Island and Soak City Water Park. The park makes exceptions for individuals with special dietary needs, like food allergies and baby food and formula.
Entertainment at Kings Island
Kings Island isn’t just amusement park rides. The park offers guests several other entertainment options. King’s Island’s shows and other entertainers provide a nice break from the twists and turns of a roller coaster and a chance to sit in the A/C on a hot summer day. From singing groups to fireworks on select nights, Kings Island delivers. Entertainment options in 2023 include:
- Adventure Awaits Fireworks Spectacular (10 PM nightly through September 3)
- Peanuts Character Meet-N-Greet Experience (Daily, 12 PM – 6 PM)
- Off the Rails Stunt Show (June 10 – August 13. See mobile app for daily show times)
- Phantom Theater Encore! (May 27 – August 13. See mobile app for daily show times)
- RetroSpect song and dance show (May 27 – August 13. See mobile app for daily show times)
- The 70s on Demand! song and dance show (May 27 – August 13. See mobile app for daily show times)
You can find a schedule of the park’s entertainment options available during your visit in the Kings Island Mobile App.
Kings Island Events
There are also several special events planned at Kings Island during the 2023 season. Here are the events currently scheduled for this season:
- Grand Carnivale: July 22 – August 6
- Halloween Haunt: September 22 – October 22 (Select dates. See website for specific Halloween Haunt dates and hours)
- Tricks and Treats Fall Fest: September 24 – October 29 (Sat, Sun, 11 AM – 6 PM)
- WinterFest: November 24 – December 31 )Select dates. See website for specific WinterFest dates and hours)
- SpiritSong: June 15 – 17
- World’s Largest Swimming Lesson: June 22, 8 AM – 10 AM
- Independence Day Fireworks (and Extended Hours): 10 PM – 12 AM
Shopping at Kings Island
I begged my parents to buy me souvenirs almost every visit to Kings Island while growing up. I don’t remember if I ever wore them down enough to say yes to my requests, but there are plenty of places for you to get your shopping fix at Kings Island. You can find souvenir shops and other shops scattered throughout the park.
Kings Island Cashless System
Kings Island switched to a completely cashless system last season. Instead of cash, park guests will need to use debit cards, credit cards, or digital wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay. For those who don’t have a card or digital wallet, you can convert cash to a prepaid debit card at Cash-to-Card Kiosks located within the park. Prepaid debit cards from the kiosk require a $5 minimum deposit, and you can add up to $500 to a card. One thing to keep in mind if you choose this option is that you could end up paying fees if you don’t use the card regularly. After 92 days of inactivity, you’ll get charged a $3.95 inactivity fee each month.
Kings Island Park Hours
Kings Island hours vary throughout the season. The amusement park typically opens at 10 AM or 11 AM and is open until either 8 PM or 10 PM, while Soak City normally closes at 7 PM.
How to Buy Kings Island Tickets
Kings Island tickets are available for purchase online or in person at the park. AAA members can purchase discount tickets through the motorist club. You can also find discount tickets at regional retailers like:
Several ticket options are available at Kings Island for individuals and families. Below are the prices for Kings Island tickets available in 2023. Keep in mind that ticket prices change frequently. Always check the Kings Island website for the latest ticket pricing and information. The prices below do not include t
- Daily Ticket: from $44.99
- Grand Carnivale Bundles: from $4.99
- Funday Bundle: from $69.99 (Includes admission parking and meals)
- Two-Day Ticket: $94.99 (Admission to Kings Island and Soak City any two days during the 2023 season)
- Military Ticket: from $39.99
- Bring-A-Friend Ticket: from $34.99 (For select Season passholders)
- After 4 PM Ticket: from $34.99
Another way to save money, especially if you plan on visiting Kings Island multiple times during the season is to purchase Kings Island season passes. Here is the current pricing for Kings Island season passes.
- 2023 Summer Pass: $115 — The Summer Pass includes unlimited Kings Island and Soak City visits, plus free parking and select discounts, through September 4, 2023.
- 2023 Gold Pass: $145 – The Gold Pass includes unlimited season-long access to Kings Island and Soak City, free parking, and other perks.
- 2023 Platinum Pass: $280 – The Platinum Pass gets you into all Cedar Fair parks across the US. Other benefits included depending on the park you visit.
- 2023 Prestige Pass: $375 – The Prestige Pass offers the most Kings Island-specific perks. It includes everything you get with the Gold Pass plus perks like preferred parking, one front-of-the-line pass per visit, 2 free bring-a-friend passes, access to VIP areas, and more.
- 2023 Prestige Plus Pass: $475 – The Prestige Plus Pass includes all of the perks of the Prestige Pass but also includes unlimited visits to all Cedar Fair Parks.
Kings Island Season Passes also get you early entrance into Soak City as well as early access to select Kings Island rides.
Kings Island Pass Perks
Kings Island season passholders are automatically enrolled in the park’s new loyalty rewards program — Pass Perks. To access your rewards, you must register and opt-in to receive emails from Kings Island. There’s nothing you need to do to earn perks. Throughout the season, Kings Island will reward you with various perks like free park treats, discounts, and in-park experiences.
Kings Island Fast Lane Passes
If you love thrill rides but hate waiting in line, you can purchase Fast Lane passes. With Fast Lane passes you can skip the regular ride queues on many of the park’s most popular attractions, including:
- Adventure Express
- Backlot Stunt Coaster
- The Beast
- Boo Blasters On Boo Hill
- Cargo Loco
- Drop Tower
- Eiffel Tower
- Flight of Fear
- Flying Ace Aerial Chase
- Kings Mills Antique Autos
- Mystic Timbers
- Race for Your Life Charlie Brown
- The Racer
- Rendezvous Run
- Shake, Rattle & Roll
- Surf Dog
- Thunder Falls
- Tropical Plunge
- Woodstock Gliders
- Zoom Flume
Fast Lane Prices for the 2023 Season
- Fast Lane Passes: From $85
- Season Pass Fast Lane Passes: From $799
Kings Island FunPix
Kings Island also offers FunPix, a pass that gets you digital downloads of all photos of you taken around the park, including by photographers at the front of the park and photos from various park rides.
- Single Day FunPix:$27.99
- All Season FunPix: $56.99
Kings Island Rentals
Renting Strollers and Wheelchairs at Kings Island
Strollers and wheelchairs are available to rent during your visit to Kings Island. While you can rent strollers and wheelchairs in person, supplies are limited and are first come, first serve. This season, Kings Island offers a way to rent strollers and wheelchairs online, which ensures a rental is reserved during your park day.
Kings Island Rental Prices
- Single Stroller Rental: $17
- Double Stroller Rental: $22
- Manual Wheelchair Rental: $25
- Electric Wheelchair with Canopy Rental: $65
Renting Lockers at Kings Island
Lockers are available for use throughout Kings Island and Soak City for times when you need to store items. There is a small fee charged to rent a locker. Kings Island prohibits things like bags, food and drinks, and sunglasses on some of its rides. In those instances, you’ll either need to store the items in a locker or leave them with a non-rider. Cash and credit cards are accepted at all lockers.
Season Pass locker rentals are available for season ticket holders for $155.
UPDATE: 2023 Season Pass Locker Rentals are sold out.
Kings Island Cabana Rentals
A great way to relax at Kings Island is to rent a cabana at Soak City. Kings Island offers two options:
Tidal Wave Bay Cabana: from $229
Breakers Bay Cabana: from $169
Kings Island VIP Experiences
Kings Island has added some VIP experiences for an added cost. The VIP Lounge is an add-on experience that features grab-and-go snacks, shaded lounge seating, and other premium amenities. The park also offers an All Access VIP Experience which includes VIP Lounge access, a 2-hour behind-the-scenes guided park tour, parking and more.
- Kings Island VIP Lounge: $39.99
- All Access VIP Experience: $399
Directions To Kings Island
Kings Island is located at 6300 Kings Island Drive, Kings Island, OH 45034.
For visitors traveling by air, the closest major airport is Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, located less than an hour from the park.
Parking at Kings Island
Parking passes are available to purchase in advance online when ordering tickets, or you can pay for parking at the front gate.
Single-day parking at Kings Island costs $25 per vehicle. You can also buy a Preferred Parking pass for $35 if you want guaranteed parking towards the front of the park.
Kings Island allows you to leave the parking lot and return later as long as you show your original receipt of purchase for that day.
Where to Stay At Kings Island
Kings Island opened a new luxury outdoor resort last year called Kings Island Camp Cedar. The property features luxury cottages and an
Other Hotels Near Kings Island
There are plenty of local accommodations near Kings Island for guests planning an overnight stay near the park.
- Comfort Suites Mason
- Holiday Inn Express & Suites Cincinnati – Mason
- Hilton Garden Inn Cincinnati Mason
- Super 8 Mason
- Homewood Suites by Hilton Cincinnati Mason
- Residence Inn by Marriott Cincinnati Northeast/Mason
- Tru by Hilton Mason Kings Island
- Baymont by Wyndham Mason
- Hampton Inn Cincinnati-Kings Island
- Courtyard by Marriott Cincinnati Mason
- Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Dayton South
Kings Island Mobile App
The Kings Island mobile app is a great tool to navigate the park and access your park tickets. The mobile app, available for iOS and Android, includes mobile food ordering, a parking lot car finder, a park map, ride wait times, and access to special park offers.
Kings Island FAQs
Does Kings Island offer rainchecks?
Kings Island doesn’t offer refunds or rainchecks in the event of inclimate weather. The park may close down some rides during hazardous weather conditions.
Can I bring outside food into Kings Island?
No outside food or beverages are permitted inside the park except for those for individuals with special dietary needs, including food allergies and food and formula for babies.
Does Kings Island have special pricing for non-riders?
There is no discount for non-riders at Kings Island.
Does Kings Island offer discounts for military members?
Yes, Kings Island has special discounted tickets available for members of the U.S. military.
What age gets in free at Kings Island?
Children under the age of three do not require a ticket at Kings Island.
Does Kings Island have height restrictions?
There are some height and other restrictions for certain rides at Kings Island. Check the Kings Island website before visiting for specific guidelines.
Can I rent a locker at Kings Island?
Lockers are available to rent (for a small fee) in various areas of the park to store your belongings safely. Season Pass lockers are also available for Kings Island season pass holders.
Can I rent a wheelchair at Kings Island?
Wheelchairs and electronic convenience vehicles (ECV) are available to rent online through Kings Island’s website. Supplies are limited, and Kings Island encourages individuals to bring their own wheelchair or scooter if possible.
Can I rent a stroller at Kings Island?
Strollers are available to rent online through Kings Island’s website. Options include single and double strollers. A limited number of strollers may also be available for rent in person at Guest Services.
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What is your favorite part of visiting Kings Island? Do you have any tips on visiting Kings Island? Let us know in the comments below.
Kevin Payne is the budgeting and family travel enthusiast behind FamilyMoneyAdventure.com. He’s also the host of the Family Money Adventure Show podcast, where he helps families learn to manage their money better so they can afford to do the things they love.
Kevin is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance and travel. He is a regular contributor to USA Today, Forbes Advisor, Bankrate, Fox Business, Credible, and CreditCards.com.