Friday, January 27, 2006

Hanna-Barbera Land

As a child, I LOVED Cincinnati's Coney Island amusement park. A visit was the highlight of every summer. At the end of the 1971 season, however, Coney Island as we knew it closed and was replaced far north of town with Kings Island--bigger, flashier, cleaner, harder to get to and not nearly as much fun. My family and I would dutifuly go every summer but it actually got to the point where I'd let them go without me.

Still, the highlight for me, even though it was designed for younger children, was the area of the park called Hanna-Barbera Land. Taft Broadcasting was the major owner of KI and Taft had also recently purchased (in retrospect perhaps with an eye toward "Disneyfying" their new amusement park) Hanna-Barbera.

Zoom in on these pre-opening flyers for more details. Somewhere I have a picture of my dad posing with the Banana Splits. The last time I was there (before Paramount took it over) I posed for a shot with George Jetson and a Smurf.

Perhaps surprisingly, I haven't been back since my son was born 9 years ago but he loves cartoons. I think he would have liked Hanna Barbera Land.


  1. Anonymous6:39 PM

    Hanna-Barbera land was the bomb. Loved the little boat ride that took you through various scenes from those cartoons (it was later replaced by a Smurf boat ride and then by a Disney Haunted Mansion rip- no idea what is there now).

  2. Anonymous1:07 AM

    i grew up lusting after Kings Island, not only because of the Brady Bunch episode but also because my older sisters visited there when I was very young (without me) and brought me back a cartoony map of the park which made it seem like some wonderful Faerie land to me. This would have been around 1972-4.

  3. Whoa! Thanks for the flyer.

    I don't know about the rest of the country, but the King's Island near me- and it might actually be Cincinati- now plays host to Hello Kitty instead of Hanna-Barbera. It's all over the place; kind of lame, really. The park I grew up with is called Cedar Point (best in the world, baby!) and they used to have Berenstain Bear Country; now it's all Snoopy (not really much Peanuts, though).

    I have a Universal Studios Program from the late 70's around here somewhere. Now I definitely have to scan the whole damn thing in and share it.

  4. I was stationed at Wright-Patterson AFB for 18 mos in the early 90s, and both Summers I made sure to get a Season Pass to KI. (They were available at a special discount thru the military)

    My favorite ride was The Beast. It was the only ride they didn't light up at night, and in the Summer in Cincinnatti, there at the edge of the ESTZ, it didn't really get dark until the last 20 or 30 minutes that the park was open.
    I'd always try to get on one of those last couple rides of the day, because with no lights, and the majority of the ride being underground or in the woods, you really couldn't tell what kind of turn or bump was coming.

  5. Wow. I thought King's Island was a chain like that Six Flags. I had no idea that there's only one.

    Yeah, when I went I rode The Beast all day. I can't even remember what else they had there.

  6. Anonymous8:58 AM

    Kings Island was a chain, though a small one. Taft also owned Kings Dominion in Virginia and Carowinds in North Carolina. (All of these parks had a Hanna-Barbera land.)

  7. Anonymous6:44 PM

    How about The Bat? Remember that coaster? You were suspended from the track.
    It didn't last very long. They had some problems with it and took it down.

    The other cool thing was to watch the fireworks from the Eiffel Tower. I don't think that's allowed anymore.

  8. Sadly, Hanna-Barbera Land closed for the final time at the end of last season. I went there one last time in October because I knew it was leaving for good. Truth be told, not much of the original themeing of the area was left anyhow. I think that Barney's Bumper Cars was the oldest thing still extant that I remembered from my childhood visits to the park. What was once the glorious Enchanted Voyage finally ended up as a terrible Scooby Doo ride-thru where they placed terrible plywood cutouts of the Scooby Gang into the old sets from the Haunted Theatre which wasn't that great either. Since Paramount owns the parks now, Nickleodeon is taking over the entire kid's area. Scooby will still be around for little while but that's it. The old costumes were all trashed long ago. It's sad. King's Island used to have a great deal of charm when it was new. Now it's a mish-mash of off-the-shelf rides with names from Paramount films that people don't even remember.

  9. Man. I remember going to King's Island around 1978 and freaking out that I was at the same place the Bradys were. I think there's a photo of me with Scooby somewhere...

  10. Anonymous11:35 AM

    My family and I had season passes to King's Dominion for 10+ years. We often went to King's Island too. My favorite ride was Smurf Mountain-at KD not Island. But Yogi's Cave came in a close second. :) If you have any info or pictures of either of those, I'd love to see them. Thank you!

  11. Anonymous12:39 AM

    Another park in the Taft Parks chain was Canada's Wonderland near Toronto, Ontario. The park opened in 1979 and also had a Hanna Barbera Land. One of the unique features of this particular Hanna Barbera Land was a Bedrock subdivison where everything looked as if it were made of rock and there were Flintstone bumper cars, a drive-in style restaurant where one could eat in a Flintmobile and an Autopia-style kiddie car ride through a stone-age setting. Canada's Wonderland also had a Scooby Doo "Ghoster Coaster" which was pretty much identical to The Beastie, except that one walked through a little haunted house in the line-up. There was a Jabberjaw water circus with real dolphins, etc. Yogi's Cave (which became Smurfs Cave) was sort of a walk through fun house. It's worth mentioning that unlike the Fantasyland attractions at Disneyland most of the rides in Hanna Barbera land at CW had rider maximum height limits, meaning that there was not too much for adults to do there other than watch their kids have all the fun. Until sometime the nineties Hong Kong Phooey, Captain Caveman and Fred and Barney as Cops (with the Shmoo) as well many other, short-lived, obselete HB characters were greeting bemused Canada's Wonderland patrons. After that Paramount gave Happy Land a half-assed make-over significantly de-Hanna-Barbera-fying the area but inexplicably leaving remnants of the past here and there... like, Bedrock is just sort there without any direct reference to the Flintstones. I'm not sure what's going on there nowadays; it's been about ten years for me.

  12. Willie and Joe's answer to Uncle Walt's Happy Place. :)