Memorial Day weekend is the end of the first segment of the operating season, when the park gets up and running. This is the official start of the Summer season! Because of very heavy crowds and some employees still being pretty new, this is weekend is a trial by fire!
If you're new to Kings Island Park Hacks, welcome! This blog the main headquarters for a community of Park Hackers. We share ideas for how to enjoy the best visits. Once per year, the best of these Park Hacks are organized and shared as a book and other forms of media. We want families to discover better ways to experience the park. It doesn't take a lot, often small behavior changes like choosing the day of your visit strategically, or recognizing when your plan needs to adjust, can turn a would-be bad day into one of the best!
During the first weeks when the park reopens after winter, the park is training new associates. There are often new rides, signs, menu options. This year at Kings Island, the most obvious change is the addition of a new restaurant, Coney Bar B Que. More details on the new restaurant in a bit.
During the early season, crowds fluctuate from light on weeknights and following rain storms, to days that extremely heavy, like on weekends. The light days, early in the season, give the park associates the opportunity to learn their positions, building confidence and speed. They soemtimes serve food and check restraints slowly. Many associates, during the first few weeks are sticklers for the rules, often checking and rechecking children that are close to a color division on the rider-height scale.
I counsel people that they will have much more fun if they avoid these heavily crowded days. A visit on a weeknight, can give families more rides in four hours than a full day visit from park open to closing time on a Saturday. This is because the lines are so much longer. So if you like standing in line for hours, by all means go on a weekend or a holiday
Memorial Day Weekend
This holiday weekend is a point of transition for the park. I’ve jokingly referred to it as the associates’ trial by fire. If the weather is predicted to be pleasant, an enormous number of people descend on the park. Many people travel over two hours to get here, and expect to do everything on this one visit during the season.
I have friends who seem to come up from Northern Kentucky every year on this weekend. Every year they complain on social media that they waited two hours for a sandwich or a slice of cold pizza. It makes me sad when their one visit is filled with frustration and anger. It doesn’t need to be this way.
Watch the Weather
Rain and storms can be a Park Hacker’s best friend. Two years ago, I was inspired to write this book following a slightly rainy Independence Day holiday. The park was empty and my family spent the afternoon walking on rides, having the best time. Many shifte their plans and came to the park on July 5th. The place was jammed with hot and cranky people, who all had the same idea that it would be a good idea to postpone their visit.
Manage Your Expectations
What are you going for? What do you want to get out of your visit? If you choose to come to the park this weekend, you can assume very long lines for rides, food and even drinks. I’ve even seen a dozen people queued up for a drinking fountain.
If you go, bring snacks, take lots of breaks and enjoy the opportunity to take in the energy and atmosphere of the park. People-watching will be particularly good this weekend. Friends come from all over the area. There is a strong possibility that you may see an old friend or two.
Photo credit: Unemployed men queued outside a depression soup kitchen - CC0 Public Domain