Kings Island has thrilled more than 125 million people since it opened in 1972. The Warren County amusement park launches its 47th season Saturday, April 14. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Kings Island opens for the season THIS WEEKEND

PHOTOS: Kings Island over the years

Here’s what you need to know before the Warren County amusement park launches its 47th season Saturday.

THE FOOD

Kings Island is intent to build its rep as a dining destination, not just a place to ride coasters and catch a show.

MORE: New food at Kings Island includes smoked meats and unique cotton candy flavors

James Major, the park’s new executive chef, is a two-time winner of the Food Network’s “Chopped” reality TV cooking contest and contestant on Alton Brown’s “Cutthroat Kitchen.”

THE RIDES

Happy Anniversary, Congo Falls!

Splashdown ride Congo Falls, with a 34-foot double-down drop, celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Kings Island guests who opt to view the ride from its exit ramp get more soaked than the riders do gliding down its 815-foot trough of water.

PHOTOS: Follow Kings Island’s growth in 25 images

Since its debut in 1988, Congo Falls has given more than 21 million rides. If the name isn’t entirely familiar, that’s because Kings Island changed its name in 1999. It originally opened as Amazon Falls.

SPECIAL EVENTS

Many of the special events happening this year have been announced.

• April 14: Opening Day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

• May 5-6: Harlem Globetrotters

• May 14-20: First Responders Days (free admission for first responders)

• May 18-19: Coasterstock

• May 25-28: Military Appreciation Days (free admission for military members and veterans)

GALLERY: Maps of Kings Island over the years

• June 15-16: Coaster Campout

• June 21-23: SpiritSong Christian Music Festival

• July 4: Fourth of July Spectacular

• Sept. 21-Oct. 28: Halloween Haunt on Fridays and Saturdays

• Nov. 23-Dec. 30: WinterFest on select nights

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