Six Flags has announced that its Kentucky Kingdom park has been permanently closed following a failure to agree changes to the park's lease.
The company claims that the terms of its lease with the Kentucky State Fair Board made the continuing operation of the park financially unviable. The board has rejected a proposed new lease arrangement, and therefore Six Flags will close Kentucky Kingdom immediately and seek to relocate the park's employees to its other properties.
In addition to the terms of the lease, Kentucky Kingdom has faced fierce competition over the last few years from nearby Holiday World and Kings Island. Holiday World (which is located within a 90 minute drive from Kentucky Kingdom) has added several major new attractions over the last few years including popular wooden rollercoaster The Voyage. It also plans to add the world's longest water coaster, Wildebest, for the 2010 season.
In contrast, Kentucky Kingdom removed its headline attraction, standing rollercoaster Chang, in 2009. At the time, it was claimed that this was to make room for a major expansion to the Splashwater Kingdom water park, however it now appears that it was merely a precursor to the closure of the park.
One benefit of the closure for Six Flags is that it will make Kentucky Kingdom's attractions available for redistribution among the chain's other parks. Although centrepiece Chang has already been dismantled and is rumored to be on its way to Six Flags Great America, the park still holds a number of smaller rollercoasters and flat rides which could become "new" additions at other Six Flags parks in 2010/11.
Rides that could be on the move include:
- Greezed Lightin' - A Schwarzkopf Shuttle Loop coaster, which was previously housed at Six Flags Over Georgia and Six Flags Great America.
- Twisted Twins - a dueling wooden rollercoaster which may prove difficult to relocate.
- Road Runner Express - a Maurer Söhne wild mouse coaster.
- Rollerskater - a "kiddie" coaster with a skating theme.
- T2 - a suspended looping coaster designed by Vekoma.
- Thunder Run - another wooden coaster, now 20 years old.
- Breakdance - a Huss Breakdance flat ride.
- Bluebeard's Bounty - a classic swinging pirate ship.
- The Giant Wheel - a 150ft tall ferris wheel.
- Enterprise - a spinning thrill ride.
Until now, Kentucky Kingdom offered the lowest-priced Six Flags Annual Pass of all of the chain's parks. That honor now goes to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, Six Flags St Louis, Six Flags America, Six Flags Over Texas, Six Flags Fiesta Texas and Six Flags Over Georgia, where a season pass (valid at all Six Flags parks) can be purchased online for $49.99.