THE 1980'S


Breaking Records


Kings Dominion exploded in the 80s with numerous enhancements, tech-savvy attractions and major attendance records. Do you have memories of KD in the 80s? Share them on social media using the hashtag #KD40.

Also, test your recollections of Kings Dominion with our KD Trivia. Questions are throughout this section and answers are at the bottom of this page.

1980  
Voyage to Atlantis ride in The Lost World was replaced by The Haunted River, a boat ride through six horrifying, haunted scenes and ending in a 40-foot waterfall plunge into a lagoon.

1981
The Kroger Company, one of the original Kings Dominion developers, decided to focus on expanding its retail food and drug business and limit its outside interests. The other developer, Taft Broadcasting Company, became the sole owner. This dissolved the nine-year joint venture of Family Leisure Center, Inc.

Cinema 180 opened on International Street and, with its 180-degree dome screen, offered a unique perspective on the world. Guests could virtually cruise through the Baja Desert and feel amazingly close to a fiery volcano.

1982
The Grizzly, a beast of a roller coaster, first snarled its teeth in the forests of Old Virginia. Still in operation, it begins with a death-defying 87-foot drop and doesn’t stop terrifying visitors until it stops two and a half minutes later.

KD Trivia #1: How fast does The Grizzly go?

The Showplace (now the Kingswood Amphitheatre) also opened. Seating 7,500 guests, it has hosted hundreds of concerts featuring celebrities such as Britney Spears and Jimmy Buffet.

1983
White Water Canyon, one of the first theme park raft rides in the country, opened and still thrills guests today. With its twisting course and spouting geysers, guests never experience the same drenching ride twice.

Kings Entertainment Company (KECO) was formed when Taft Broadcasting Company senior executives purchased the theme park division from Taft. Member parks included Kings Dominion, Carowinds in Charlotte, North Carolina, Kings Island in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Canada’s Wonderland in Toronto, Ontario.

1984
Smurf Mountain replaced The Land of Dooz in Safari Village’s Lost World Mountain.

Berserker
-- a giant Viking ship that moves riders forward and backward, forward and backward, until it finally turns upside down -- opened.

KD Trivia #2: On the Berserker, where is the best place to sit to potentially get the best 'air time'?

1985
Diamond Falls water ride opened, cascading families over a 70-foot waterfall into the lake below and hurling a giant wave of water over guests on the observation decks above.

Scooby’s Play Park, a new children’s play area, debuted.

1986
Kings Dominion achieved a monumental milestone, entertaining two million guests in a single season.

Shockwave, the first stand-up roller coaster on the East Coast, opened and is still in operation today. Riders report that dropping 84 feet while standing is a one-of-a-kind thrill.

KD Trivia #3: What national distinction does the Shockwave hold?


1987
Racing Rivers was introduced and offered three different types of water slides, including the Torpedo, Splashdown and Riptide. Kings Production, the entertainment and design division of the Kings Entertainment Company (KECO), which owned and managed Kings Dominion and the other KECO parks, launched.

1988
Avalanche debuted and allows guests to experience what’s it’s like to be a member of an Olympic bobsled team, twisting and turning at incredible speeds to the finish.

1989
Sky Pilot took flight and let guests set their own path for adventure. From 90 feet in the air, riders took control of the cockpit and determined their own flight pattern – a smooth flight or a daring, 360-degree barrel roll.

KD Trivia Answers
#1:
51 miles per hour
#2: On the back of either side of the ship
#3: It’s the oldest operating stand-up roller coaster in the United States