Photo: Paige Deglow
The Beast at Kings Island
Cedar Fair, the parent company of Kings Island and Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, will soon merge with Six Flags, according to a press release from the company.
Once combined, Cedar Fair and Six Flags Entertainment Corporation will be worth around $8 billion. Cedar Fair will bring its 11 amusement parks to the table to make up a combined portfolio of 27 amusement parks, 15 water parks and 9 resort properties across North America.
The merger, described by company officials as “a merger of equals,” was decided unanimously by the Boards of Directors for both companies. The newly formed board of directors will consist of 12 directors, six from Cedar Fair and six from Six Flags.
"Our merger with Six Flags will bring together two of North America’s iconic amusement park companies to establish a highly diversified footprint and a more robust operating model to enhance park offerings and performance,” said Richard Zimmerman, president and chief executive officer of Cedar Fair, in a press release.
“Together, we will have an expanded and complementary portfolio of attractive assets and intellectual property to deliver engaging entertainment experiences for guests.”
Some of the intellectual property park-goers could see at Kings Island in the future include Looney Tunes and DC Comics. Six Flags properties could also begin using the Peanuts
imagery owned by Cedar Fairs.
The merger is expected to close in the first half of 2024.
Kings Island History
Kings Island amusement park has been a staple in the Greater Cincinnati area and beyond for over four decades. The park, located in Mason, Ohio, opened in the spring of 1972, the year after Coney Island closed its gates. (Coney closed for a time while developers debated what to do with the park because of frequent flooding from the Ohio River, but the park was permanently reopened in 1973.) Many of the rollercoasters were transported from Coney Island to the new park, like the Tumblebug, Scrambler, Flying Scooters, Spider, Dodgem, Turnkpike Cars, Sky Ride and Rotor, some of which are still seen at Kings Island today. The Eiffel Tower, the focal point of the park, is a one-third replica of the tower in Paris, France. Along with the tower, one of the most popular attractions at the park at the time of its opening was the Racer roller coaster, which was the fastest, highest and longest twin coaster at the time it was built.
Kings Island also gained popularity by being featured in two ABC sitcoms: The Partridge Family and The Brady Bunch. More exhilarating rides like the Screamin' Demon, the first forward and backward-looping roller coaster in the country, and The Beast, the world's longest wooden roller coaster, were built over the years, bringing thrill-seekers from near and far.
Here's a few photos that show what visiting Kings Island was like in the 1970s and 1980s: