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Kings Island trims 2024 hours, removes one week of operations

As Six Flags merger looms, park cuts some hours and days
Drop Tower at Kings Island
Posted at 11:00 AM, Nov 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-13 15:32:35-05

Kings Island has just posted operating hours for 2024, and its calendar reveals shorter hours on some days and a closing date a full week earlier than normal.

With ongoing labor shortages, and an announced merger with Six Flags next year, it is not really unexpected.

But the blog Theme Park Tourist says the new calendar is filled with "a number of unwanted surprises."

The park, like so many businesses, appears to be focused on its busiest and most profitable days, while trying to cut down on the number of days it operates when schools are in session and the crowds simply don't materialize.

Unfortunately, parks don't make money when there are no lines at the rides, which happens in late August every year.

Calendar changes for 2024

The biggest change for 2024, is the August 12th end of daily operations, which is the earliest in recent memory (though they will be open weekends through Labor Day, and again on Sunday, September 8th).

This year, Kings Island closed for midweek operations on Sunday August 20th, a full week later.

That makes the summer season shorter than ever.

The park will open Saturday April 20th, which is in line with most years, though it will have just one weekday opening in April, on Friday, April 26th.

Shorter early season hours

As usual, the park will open for full weekday operations on Memorial Day.

However, May hours will be shorter, closing at 6 p.m. midweek, and 9 p.m. on weekends.

In addition, the park is scheduled to close at 10 p.m. most summer nights — including on the Fourth of July, when in the past it has remained open until midnight.

A number of enthusiasts on YouTube and the KI Central forums are complaining about the shorter hours and season.

Josh Tyler, who runs the FYE Coasters YouTube page, says some Gold Pass holders are unhappy because it feels like they will be getting less for their dollar.

"You are paying all this money for these passes, and you want to be at the park as much as you can to get your time and money worth," Tyler told us.

Others, however, say the park has been dealing with staffing shortages since the pandemic, and finds it almost impossible to staff the park weekdays once schools are in session.

But the cutbacks are not limited to Kings Island: Two of Kings Island's sister parks, Carowinds and Kings Dominion in North Carolina, experimented in 2023 with year-round operations, staying open in weekends during January, February, and March.

But the Theme Park Insider blog says those Cedar Fair parks have dropped year-round plans for 2024, after too many winter weekends saw no crowds due to cold weather.

Kings Island Communications Director Chad Showalter confirms to WCPO that the reduced hours are primarily staffing-related, but says it is possible they will expand hours once the season begins.

"The early and late parts of the season can be a challenge as we look at the availability of students who work at the park," Showalter told us. "Every year we evaluate our operating calendar with a focus on staffing and the overall guest experience. Our calendar is always subject to change, like last year when we added operating days after the original calendar was announced in the fall."

Some good news: Kings Island reopens for Winterfest 2023 on November 24th, on select evenings through December 31st.

As always, don't waste your money.


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