Update #1-The Big Debate: Kings Island vs. Cedar Point

Most theme park enthusiasts have been asked this monotonous question: “Do you like Cedar Point or Kings Island more?” Some enthusiasts know their answers immediately, as one of the parks is more near and dear to their hearts than the alternative. Others, however, spend a great deal of time contemplating which Cedar Fair landmark is more enjoyable. To put this debate to a test, I will analyze each of the following areas within both parks to see which one comes out on top: Rides, Shows, Location, Dining, and Employee Accomodations. Each update will feature a different aspect.

Rides
Cedar Point: Cedar Point is known as “The Roller Coaster Capital of the World.” While they do have their fair share of family rides, Cedar Point capitalizes on their thrill machines with a boastful collection of 17 roller coasters. Top Thrill Dragster reaches speeds speeds of 120 mph and heights of 420 ft (just behind Six Flags’ Kingda Ka). New for 2015, Rougarou is settled in a misty, swamp-like area that adds to the thrill of sitting on a track with no floor beneath you. The 310-ft giant, Millennium Force, was once again deemed the “#1 Steel Coaster in the World” for the ninth time in 2014. Other roller coasters in Cedar Point’s collection include Magnum XL 200, Maverick, Gatekeeper, Raptor, Blue Streak, Mean Streak, Gemini, Pipe Scream, Wilderness Run, Woodstock Express, Cedar Creek Mine Ride, Corkscrew, Wicked Twister, and Iron Dragon.

Cedar Point has two main areas for family/children’s rides, which are located on the Wicked Twister and Gemini Midways. Cedar Point is constantly changing these areas, and in 2014 they added Lake Erie Eagles and Pipe Scream, while reconstructing the Gemini Midway. In 2015, the Wicked Twister Midway was reconstructed with the relocation of multiple rides, such as Dodgem.

Kings Island: Kings Island boasts a large, well developed children’s area. In fact, they have won Amusement Today’s coveted Golden Ticket Award 14 years in a row, including the most recent one in 2014. In this area, there are four small roller coasters that aspiring thrill seekers are able to try. There are also rides such as Snoopy’s Space Buggies and Woodstock Gliders, which are new for 2015.

Kings Island does boast a large collection of roller coasters, even though they have had their fair share of troubles with them in the past. Currently, Diamondback, Banshee, and The Beast are the park’s three staple attractions, and the park has 11 other acclaimed coasters. Banshee, the world’s longest inverted roller coaster, was built following the demolition of Son of Beast, which was formerly the tallest and fastest wooden roller coaster in the world. Son of Beast was closed after a woman was sent to the hospital after riding it. Improvements, such as replacing trains and taking out its only loop, were already made for the ride when this incident occurred, therefore Kings Island officials felt they had no choice but to close the colossal coaster forever in 2009. Banshee was the acclaimed new attraction for 2014, and stands where Son of Beast stood. Diamondback and The Beast are also two record breaking roller coasters. Diamondback is Kings Island’s tallest (230 ft) and fastest (80 mph) roller coaster. The Beast (Son of Beast’s praised predecessor) is the longest wooden coaster in the world.

Overall: Cedar Point wins the ride contest. They are constantly keeping up with the times, and they always have to have the “next best thing.” Cedar Point sets standards for theme parks everywhere. It has even been said that they have started a “coaster war” between Cedar Fair and Six Flags in the 90s and early 00s. After Top Thrill Dragster was built, a sister ride known as Kingda Ka, which exceeded Dragster in height and speed, was built soon after.

Not only are Cedar Point’s thrill machines looked upon as the best in the world, but they are also made with safety and precaution in mind. I do not feel that Cedar Point would have ever built Son of Beast. That being said, I do not feel that Kings Island would have built Son of Beast in today’s day and age. When Son of Beast was built, Kings Island was owned and operated by Paramount. Now, they are owned and operated by Cedar Fair, the same company as Cedar Point. Has Kings Island’s new ownership made the park more likeable? Yes, I do believe so. However, these things take time. It will take more time for Cedar Fair to completely establish itself with Kings Island, since the company bought the park in 2006…not even a decade ago.

That all being said, I feel that Kings Island has almost been TOO wrapped up in its award-winning kid’s area…enough to ignore the coasters. Let’s go back to Son of Beast. It closed forever in 2009. Kings Island didn’t do anything about it until the second half of 2012, when it was demolished. One could argue that those three years in between were used for the planning of Banshee, however Kings Island did not start putting Banshee’s tracks up until almost a year later after Son of Beast was demolished. I do believe that Kings Island was more concerned with maintaining its family friendly status, almost like a Disney Park. They even transformed Boomerang Bay into Soak City during this time. While these aspects are important, Kings Island needs to realize that many people go to their park for the roller coasters now…and possibly build something over 230 ft tall. If Cedar Point can do it twice with Millennium Force and Top Thrill Dragster, Kings Island can at least do it once.

Do you agree with me? Do you think that Cedar Point has better rides than Kings Island? What do you think the parks can do to improve? Comment below! My next update will compare the shows and themes of both parks!

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