The Mercado

In recent years, Cedar Fair has begun putting an emphasis on theming and storytelling within its parks. From Cedar Point to Carowinds, we are seeing an increase in immersive themed lands within these parks. However, one of these new themed lands that we are most excited about is the one coming to Kings Island this year.

This small, yet immersive themed land is scheduled to open at the start of the season will feature new attractions, dining, and a detailed backstory. Here are four reasons you won’t want to miss out on a visit to Adventure Port.

1. A Rich Backstory

Adventure Port
Image: Kings Island

Adventure Port is set to be a small, yet unique and immersive themed land that will transport visitors to a fictional world of adventure and exploration. The land is inspired by the idea of a bustling port city, humming with whispers from explorers and locals alike, all speaking of tales of an ancient civilization.

The port village is said to be situated between overgrown mountains and tropical jungles. The theming builds on the backstory of the coaster, Adventure Express that has called the area home for over 30 years. It is still unclear how this new land, located between Coney Mall and Action Zone, will affect the current land of Oktoberfest and Festhaus. It hasn’t been made clear if Oktoberfest will be slightly rearranged or retired altogether.

2. New Rides That Pay Homage To The Past

Sol Spin
Image: Kings Island

Though we do not know the fate of Oktoberfest, the new attractions in Adventure Port resemble former attractions that were once part of the Oktoberfest land. The new land will be opening with two new attractions including Sol Spin and Cargo Loco.

Sol Spin looks to be a Zamperla Endeavour model flat ride. This attraction is an open-air suspended flat ride that sends riders flying 60 feet high at speeds of 25 miles per hour. The ride resembles a large sun disk which according to the lore of the land, likely has ancient origins. Sol Spin is very similar to the old Enterprise flat ride, Skylab that closed in the mid-1990s and was located in the nearby Coney Mall area of the park not far from where Adventure Express currently sits.

Cargo Loco is a spinning barrels flat ride akin to the teacups. Guests can sit in barrels and control how much they spin with a wheel in the center of the barrel. According to the story of the land, these barrels are shipping barrels from Arrow Cargo Company which are likely a nod to Arrow Dynamics, the manufacturer of Adventure Express. This attraction also resembles a former ride from this area of the park. Der Spinnen Keggers was a spinning barrel flat ride that called Oktoberfest home from the time Kings Island opened in 1972 until its closure in 1989.

Cargo Loco
Image: Kings Island

3. Updates To a Fan-Favorite Family Coaster

Adventure Express
Image: Kings Island

In a park with such coasters as The Beast and Orion, Adventure Express is not known as being the most thrilling. However, it holds its own as a fun, family coaster with treasure hunting through an ancient temple and the surrounding rainforest as the main theme. In fact, the theme was inspired by Indiana Jones. This mine coaster was built by Arrow Dynamics and opened in 1991. Riders travel along 3000 feet of track and reach speeds of 35 miles per hour. The coaster includes lighting, sound, and multiple tunnels. When the park was owned by Paramount, the coaster played the Indiana Jones theme music, however, since then the music and some of the effects for the ride have been discontinued.

Fortunately, with the addition of Adventure Port, Adventure Express is also going to be receiving updated theming and a new queue. While concept art shows a detailed new entrance to the attraction, it is still unknown how much of the ride's current theming will be updated and what may be added to the coaster. New lighting and sound effects make the list of things we hope to see when the attraction reopens this year.

4. A New Destination for Dining 

Image: Kings Island

In addition to the new theming for Adventure Express, and the two new flat rides, there will also be a shopping and dining location known as The Mercado. The centerpiece of the new land, The Mercado is said to be a place where cultures will come together and where travelers can find drinks, food, cargo transport, and more. Some of the provisions include wine, spirits, craft beer, and frozen drinks offered at a full-service bar.

Kings Island, Adventure Port Mercado
Image: Kings Island

The bright kaleidoscope of colors gives a fun and inviting vibe to The Mercado. Near The Mercado, there will also be a quick-service restaurant called Enrique’s. The menu will feature burritos, tacos, and salads. Enrique’s is a redesign of the former Hank’s Mexican Grill.

It will be interesting to see if Cedar Fair’s push for more immersive and themed lands pays off. But if the concept art for Adventure Port is any indication, this land will be a must-stop on your next trip to Kings Island. If you would like to learn more about how Cedar Fair is integrating more theming into their parks, check out The Year That Theme Came Back: How Cedar Fair Is Going Big on More Than Just Coasters for 2023.

According to the calendar on the official website, the first date of operation for the 2023 season is Saturday, April 15. What are you most excited about in the new Adventure Port themed land at Kings Island? Let us know by leaving us a comment below or on our Facebook page.


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