Last September, we procured tickets to go to Kings Island. We’d visited the year before, couldn’t find the kid rides, and really spent most of our time there sitting in traffic or buying (and eating) vastly overpriced food. Would this year be different?
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The kings island plan-ahead
Were things different? A resounding yes! We planned differently and spent the night. The day before our Kings Island visit, we drove to Cincinnati and crossed the border into Kentucky to visit the Newport Aquarium. Saturday morning, we woke up, had breakfast, and headed straight to the amusement park. We arrived before opening and avoided sitting in traffic. Arriving fresh and with full bellies, we immediately headed to the kid themed rides using a *gasp* map! Better planning equaled a better experience.
Kings Island has a wonderful Peanuts themed area that houses all the kid rides. There are really tame rides all the way up to small roller coasters. Some rides kids will have to ride by themselves and there are others that parents can (barely) fit on. Be aware, that some of the rides are a tight fit for larger adults and the Kite Eating Tree ride was one of tightest. While we were there, multiple adults had to leave the ride because the safety belts wouldn’t fit. I was seriously afraid I wasn’t going to fit, but I sucked it in and the attendant was able to buckle me in. Young children can’t ride alone, so be aware there could be disappointment. I rode the kite ride and vowed I won’t go on the adult version (called Drop Tower).
Sadness on the bumper cars
The Woodstock Whirlybirds ride is super lame. If you can convince your kid to skip it, move on. The line moves slowly because each helicopter can only accommodate 3 passengers. My 3 and 4 year old kids did enjoy it, but that line was rough. It didn’t seem long, but that was deceptive.
Near the end of our day, the kids begged to go on the bumper cars. This was another line that moved slowly. When it was their turn, we helped them into their bumper cars and then went out the exit and watched. My 4 year old had a blast. My 3 year old started out having fun, but then her car bumped into a wall and didn’t move anymore.
“Turn the wheel all the way in one direction, if the car doesn’t move, turn it all the way in the other direction,” the ride operator said over the speaker, multiple times. The instructions were a little too much for my little one to understand. She’d turn the wheel in both directions, not realizing she wasn’t turning far enough.
When the ride was over, my daughter slowly got out of her car and sadly plodded to the exit. When she saw me, she burst into tears. I picked her up. She held on tight and buried her face in my shoulder, sobbing.
“That was so disappointing,” I said, hugging her. “I know you are sad that your car didn’t work. I would be, too.”
She cried for a few minutes and then realized there was a Snoopy statue to enjoy. My tired little trooper did all right with that huge disappointment.
A case against force
Sometimes, kids cry at amusement parks. It’s an overwhelming and often hot environment. Please remember that your children are humans and may not react as you’d expect or hope, even to what looks like a very tame ride.
My four year old son wanted to ride a roller coaster. We decided on the Woodstock Express, one that he was tall enough for. Nothing can prepare you for riding on a roller coaster… halfway through, I looked over at him and he looked terrified. I felt really bad. I told him he was very brave and that not only was the ride almost over, the worst of the ride (the first large hill, characteristic of all coasters) was also over. When we stopped, just before pulling into the station, I asked him if he liked it.
“Yes! Can we go again?” he asked.
This post was written several months ago, while everything was fresh. I hope you enjoyed our adventures, thrilling and (not quite) death defying!
Kings Island Opening Day
Kings Island opens to the general public on April 15, 2017 and is open weekends only until mid May, 2017. For more information, visit Kings Island.
Celiac Information: There are apparently two places that have gluten free options in the park. I only visited Coney Potato Works, which is entirely gluten free. I ended up getting a combo meal of french fries and chicken to share with my children. At over $15 (September, 2016 prices), I felt that this was pretty high priced for the amount of food received. However, it’s really nice to know there is very little chance for cross contamination. I also believe it was in line with the pricing for regular (non-gluten free) options.
They also have water bottle refill stations. Bringing a reusable bottle is a great idea!
Have you been to Kings Island? Did your kids surprise you on what rides they wanted to ride? Where is your favorite amusement park?