Holiday World is a family-owned park in the tiny town of Santa Claus, Indiana located an hour drive away from anything that could be called a metropolitan area. Kings Island is part of the Cedar Fair theme park chain, located in the Cincinnati suburbs and built years ago by Cincinnati’s Taft Broadcasting Company, which helped the park to launch with national television exposure.
Kings Island has been part of three corporations over the years, while Holiday World remains the property of members of Indiana’s Koch family that founded it more than 70 years ago.
But both Holiday World and Kings Island share a commitment to world-class roller coasters. Holiday World got on Fans’ radar back in 1995 with the opening of Raven, a CCl coaster that immediately won great reviews. The park followed with another CCl production, Legend, five years later. Then it rocked fans in 2006 with Voyage, a hybrid coaster that features a wooden track atop a steel frame and delivers one of the great rides in roller-coaster history. Holiday World opened its first steel roller coaster in 2015 with B&M’s Thunderbird, the first launched wing coaster in America, and another all-around winner for the park.
Over the kings’ Island, the park was getting ready to open Orion, a 300-foot, 91-mph B&M Giga. It will be the park’s third B&M coaster, following the inverted Banshee and hyper Diamondback. But if there’s one coaster most associated with Kings Island, it’s the Charlie Dinn 1979 classic, The Beast. Overall, Kings Island’s 14 coasters put it tied for fourth for the most coasters of any park in the United States.
You can’t go wrong with either park, really, which is what makes this question fun rather than anything mean-spirited. Both offer deep and diverse line-ups of thrill and family rides. You can find plenty of signatures food, from Skyline Coneys at Kings Island to Thanksgiving dinner all summer long at Holiday World.