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Kings Island’s 2014 opening weekend was best in park history

Kings Island in April had its best opening weekend for attendance in the amusement park’s 43-year history, adding to parent company Cedar Fair’s projections that 2014 will be another record year for sales, park operators say.

Kings Island, which employs approximately 4,000 full- and part-time workers during the operating season, opened for the year on April 18. Daily operations started Friday.

Cedar Fair Entertainment Co. in Sandusky does not disclose attendance figures for its individual park locations.

But in 2012, the Warren County roller coaster and water park had 3.2 million visitors that season, the most recent information available, according to trade group Themed Entertainment Association. That year, Kings Island was the 16th most visited theme park in North America, behind sister park Cedar Point, which was 15th, according to the industry group.

The introduction of the new $24 million roller coaster Banshee boosted Kings Island’s three-day opening weekend ticket sales, said Matt Ouimet, president and chief executive officer of Cedar Fair.

“Our investments to enhance the overall guest experience continue to be a key driver of our success,” Ouimet said in a statement released May 8 along with quarterly earnings.

“Beyond our strong capital program, we have many initiatives, including new live entertainment, increased culinary options and improved merchandise offerings, that we believe will further enhance the guest experience,” Ouimet said.

This news outlet previously reported that Cedar Fair thinks Banshee and other investments such as hiring executive chefs will lead 2014 to be another record-breaking year. Through 2013, Cedar Fair has had four consecutive years of record net revenues and attendance across 15 amusement and water parks combined. This year could be the fifth in a row that sales and visits rise.

Kings Island’s previous best opening weekend was in 1996, said park spokesman Don Helbig. That year, Flight of Fear was the new attraction, but it did not open with the 364-acre park, Helbig said.

“The highly-anticipated debut of our new record-breaking Banshee roller coaster, combined with good weather, resulted in the best opening weekend in the park’s 43-year history. After a long, cold winter, people were ready to spend a day outdoors having fun with family and friends,” Helbig said.

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