Monday, April 20, 2009

I Heart Kings Island

My love of rides, snacks, and people watching is stronger than my distaste for crowds and sweating and thus I have loved going to Kings Island since I was a little girl. I am so excited that Bub is now old enough to begin enjoying its delights. We were in Ohio for my niece's baptism this past weekend, giving Bub and I a chance to break in our season passes, ntb, on opening day.*

Since my visits to Kings Island in recent years have been in the capacity of "parent of a toddler," I have not even entered the non kiddie-land areas of the park in about eight years. That disclaimer out there, I still feel qualified to list my favorite aspects of Kings Island:

Favorite Rides (some of them may no longer exist):
- The Beast and The Beastie
- Backwards Racer
- The Scrambler
- Shake, Rattle, and Roll
- The Smurf Ride (breaks my heart that it is no longer around)

Highlights of Kings Island for MEP as a tween (though tweens as a demographic did not exist when I was one):
- Dressing in matching (usually fluorescent) outfits with my friends
- Wondering if I was driving the same Tin Lizzie the kids from the Brady Bunch did
- Wasting money making recordings and videos at the Soundtracks place
- Seeing concerts like NKOTB, Tiffany, and Debbie Gibson at the Timberwolf Ampitheater

Lowlights of Kings Island for MEP as a tween:
- Complicated logistics of drop-off/pick-up/meeting up in the pre-cellular age
- Running out of money before I had eaten all the snacks I wanted
- Once seeing my neighbor (probably 14 at the time) smoking a cigarette there**

Favorite Food Finds at Kings Island:
- Funnel cake with the fruit topping
- Soft serve ice cream with chocolate sprinkles
- LaRosa's pizza (tastes better at Kings Island)
- Soft pretzels
- Fountain Diet Coke

Perennial Fashion and People Watching Highlights:
- air-brushed t-shirts
- jean shorts
- muscle shirts
- cheapy flip-flops and delicate sandals (seriously, I will never understand who goes somewhere where they are going to be walking ALL DAY and wears the least comfortable shoes they can find?)
- PDA while waiting in lines (noticed in glimpsing the six hour Diamondback line on Saturday that new forms of PDA can include couples groping while also sharing their ipod earphones)
- containers of Skoal glimpsed in back pockets (often of jean shorts)
- kids on leashes

Bub has been to Kings Island three times so far. I bought the passes because his cousins Swiper and Fancy have them, and I wanted us to be able to go together when we visit Ohio during the months Kings Island is open and not have the pressure to "get our money's worth" out of inflated one-day admission prices. It is so fun to watch he and and his cousins begin their own love affair with the amusement park. His favorite things so far are the Bumper Cars, the Blue's Clue's ride, the other little cars, and blue icees.

I thought it might make me feel old to be at Kings Island as a parent. Even though I didn't get a chance to ride any "real rides" and couldn't linger over all my favorite snacks, I had just as much and maybe more fun sharing in Bub's excitement. Indeed, I felt pretty young. The only time my sense of youth was challenged was when I saw two individuals who appeared to be married and who I taught when they were FRESHMEN in high school at the park with children roughly the same age as my own.

I look forward to more fun at Kings Island this summer, especially when the water park opens. I'm also hoping that I get to visit the park without kids for a couple of hours sometime so I can pretend I'm thirteen. I'd like to ride all my favorites, wait for the Diamondback, and enjoy being able to spend more than ten dollars on snacks if I fancy it, ntb.

Kings Island lovers, please let me know if I overlooked some of your favorite things about KI. What about you? Did you have a favorite amusement park growing up? What were your favorite things about it? Please share.

*Little Bit still gets in for free.
**I was such a goody-goody that seeing this unnerved me for weeks


CaraBee said...

I've never been to Kings Island but we had Worlds of Fun, which I imagine was much the same. It also had an accompanying water park, Oceans of Fun. We never had the season passes because it was just too far to make it a reasonable deal, but we always went at least once a summer and I loved it. I wouldn't get on the roller coaster until I was 12. I waited in line and then ducked out the chicken exit every time. Meanwhile my younger sister couldn't wait to do them as soon as she was big enough. That should have been motivation for me to get on, but sadly no.

All of my friends went there the day of our senior prom and whenever I think of WoF, that day is foremost in my memory.

Anonymous said...

AHHHH----such good memories. My kids also love KI and we have so much fun everytime that we go. I was once a little grossed out by the waterpark, but have found that it is a true oasis and has so much to offer the preschool aged child. I felt a little sad that when we went last year it was too cold to enjoy the waterpark side. Kings Island is magical at night. Remember the light up bracelets? I never actually bought one (always spent all my money on food and games), but I was always kind of drawn to them. I also always loved looking at the photo shop pictures and debating if it was worth buying. I am looking forward to our visit again this year, anxious to see if my 4 year old is now able to ride the Beastie. Rita

Maggie said...

I love Kings Island too! I have been contemplating how old Aiden has to be before I can justify taking him, especially since we have made quite an investment in the Orlando tourist industry. PITA and I share fond memories of recording a really great VOGUE video at soundstracks, and I also love the soft serve ice cream.

E... said...

Haven't yet made the transition to KI as a mom, though O. has started to get interested in it when we drive past on the way to Gma and Gpa's house (too much construction on I-75 these days, so we don't go the "giraffe/Touchdown Jesus" route, rather the "roller coaster" route). J. is a Cedar Point snob, so we'll see which one we get to first. I personally will always be KI partial. I can't believe that I used to LOVE getting wet fully clothed on White Water Canyon and the flume. I love all the coasters, esp. that really loud tight turn through the tunnel towards the end of the Beast, and the sideways loop on the Vortex. I spent lots of time trying to catch up to boys my friends and I would never see or talk to again (again, pre cell phones). Snack of choice for me: fresh cut fries and funnel cakes. I'm very curious as to who those former students were.

kerrilee said...

Oh, MEP! We were just there this Sunday for a work function. I could've written this blog! R. rode the Beast with Matt and he and I sat in the front seat of the Racer (which no longer has a backward option and I made sure to send them a comment about that!) It was so amazing to see his face light up each time he tried a new ride. M can't ride much outside of kiddie land besides the Scrambler and she also loves Blues Clues the the Little Bill Giggle Coaster. We have season passes, too, if LAP and family are busy and you want company. In fact, I'd be happy to stand in line for the Diamondback with you and act 13 again. And although we never did it together, I remember doing all the same things you talked about. I remember one summer counting all the people who were wearing Batman t-shirts...I think we quit counting when we got over 100. My top three treats at KI are funnel cakes, LaRosas and the blue and white soft serve in kiddie land. :)

Anonymous said...

We used to go every summer growing up. Even though the Smurf ride is gone, do they still have the Smurf ice cream? soft serve, came in a smurf blue color with a taste like nothing else...umm how I could go for some right now. Favorite memories??? having to haul all over the park with my mom and my sister so she could get her "invisible dog." remember those?

Actchy said...

I went to a Six Flags in Dallas during the summer before 3rd grade. I went into the wave pool with my brother and sister (8th and 9th grade) and they promptly lost track of me. When they turned on the waves, I had an impossible time grabbing onto the ladder to get out and had a truly scary moment until some preteen (tween?) boy saw me and pulled me out.

I ran over to my Dad in hysterics. When the other adults asked what was wrong, he told them "I had swallowed some pool water."

WTF? I'm still a little miffed he didn't take my harrowing misadventure seriously.

LAP said...

My KI memories are similar to yours...makes sense what with being sisters and all. Favorite snacks of mine have been mentioned by others (ice cream with sprinkles and fresh cut fries) but I will add that as a current passholder, I love the souviner cup option in which you can get fountain pop refills at a very reasonable price all summer long. For just a buck more, the kiddies can get it filled with an icee.
One of my favorite memories is from early in grade school, before we had passes, my parents loading us all up in the van but not telling us where we were going. Once the Eiffel Tower was spotted, it was some big time excitement.

Melissa Walters said...

Ditto on all the fun memories. I also enjoyed the 8th grade trip to KI, and I think there was a Badin Trip as well, although I'm a little fuzzy on that one. Season passes as a tween were a necessity. How did we ever coordinate things without cell phones? I also remember when trips to KI changed from a girlfriends thing, to a couples thing....NKOTB was my first concert ever...and I remember riding home in your mom's van listening to your brother and his friends recording of Funky Cold Medina, :) Good Times.

Unfortunately, the last 2 times my hubby and I went, we rode all the rollercoasters, complained about the lines and had headaches. We decided we are too old. But I look forward to taking kids there one day soon!

Anonymous said...

Great opening line, MEP. Hate to do this to you, but Cedar Point totally kicks Kings Island's rearend.

True story.

Sara G.

msh said...

ok--somehow ntb got taken off my bookmark, so i apologize for being mia for awhile! glad to be back!

so one of my favorite ki memories is riding the beast for the first time ever with you when we were there for science day in high school. (what we actually did that was scientific, i'm not so sure.) but it was a hysterical and exhilarating ride--someone was about to throw up (i feel like it was you or b) and there was much contagious laughter. i think of it every time i'm there, and it is still my favorite ride.

i say next time you're home, we do a girl's day out for old time sake. maybe damon will meet me at the top of the eiffel tower.

msh said...

p.s. smurf blue ice cream, please.

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