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Sunday, January 17, 2010

It's a Smurfy World After All: Smurf's Enchanted Voyage Ride






Cincinatti, Ohio is home to Kings Island, a theme park that used to feature the Hanna Barbera characters as mascots. There was a whole section devoted to them---Hanna Barbera Land. If you watched The Brady Bunch, you may remember that the family visited the park and Jan switched Mr. Brady's architectural plans for a Yogi Bear poster. Stupid Jan! Greg also got a job dressing up like Hair Bear from show The Hair Bear Bunch.

Hanna Barbera Land featured a boat ride called Enchanted Voyage (1972-1982), which took passengers through a TV set and past animated versions of many different HB characters. When the Smurfs became popular, Yogi and friends were evicted, and the ride became The Smurf's Enchanted Voyage.

The figures in the ride were very simple, and much like Christmas window displays. Some had no motion at all. The pictures shown here were taken by my Dad in 1988.

The Christmastime Smurf scene was the ride's finale, and the boats went up a very small lift hill and went down a very small drop. In the original ride, the scene was a carnival scene, hence the exciting drop.

For 1992, the Smurfs were evicted and the boat ride was ripped out. The ride became Phantom Theater, which was an omnimover Haunted Mansion-style ride. It was still part of Hanna Barbera Land, but featured no cartoon characters.

In 2003, the ride then became Scooby Doo and the Haunted Castle, a ghostblasters dark ride. By then, Hanna Barbera Land had begun the transformation to a Nickelodeon theme, and Scooby Doo was the only surviving HB character. However, the end has come for Hanna Barbera at Kings Island. Snoopy is taking over the entire area, which will now be called Planet Snoopy.

10 comments:

  1. Poor Jan...she was always either Marcia's little sister or Cindy's big sister. No wonder she had an identity crisis and decided to wear a black wig.

    Wish I could have seen that original boat ride, or even the Smurfs version. Great pics taken by your dad....thanks for sharing them!

    What has happened or will happen to the Haunted Castle Omnimover ride? I have a friend that went on it and said it was obviously a cheap copy of Disney's Mansion, but he still liked it.

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  2. Yes, Jan sure had some issues--mostly Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!

    I am also glad my Dad took pictures of the Smurf ride. It is funny--I posted these on a themeparkreview.com forum years ago, and I just saw them on someone's Smurf Website (uncredited--but I should have put my name on them in the first place if I wanted credit, I guess). The same website has other people's Smurf ride pictures, too. King's Dominion in Virginia also had a Smurf ride.

    The Phantom Theater ride was actually nicely done. My first impression was that it was a rip off of Disney's Haunted Mansion, but it really wasn't (it did have a very similar feel). My beef at the time was that I thought it should have had a Scooby Doo theme, since it was in Hanna Barbera Land. Looking back, Phantom Theater was unique, with "scary" characters that seemed like something from a kid's board game (I'm thinking 1313 Dead End Drive). The ride featured plenty of animatronic characters, and was better than the Smurf ride, for sure.

    I think the Scooby Doo ride that replaced it used the same ride system, just modified. I never rode the Scooby ride, but it looks like it was mostly painted flat scenery.

    It would be cool if they changed the theme back to Phantom Theater, and brought back the animatronics, since the park announced Scooby would be leaving (I'm guessing they won't do that, though).

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  3. Dang.. Hanna Barbera characters are awesome. Snoopy isn't bad either. Does Knott's still use the Peanuts characters?

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  4. Hey Darrin! Knott's Berry Farm and Kings Island are both owned by a company called Cedar Fair. Cedar Fair bought Knott's in 1997, and it seems many of their existing parks inherited the Peanuts gang in the process. Cedar Fair has quite a few theme parks, and purchased the former Paramount Parks (including Kings Island, Carowinds, Kings Dominion, and California's Great America) in 2006. Snoopy and the gang seem to be getting introduced into many parks as licensing deals with Nickelodeon and Hanna Barbera expire.

    There seem to be quite a few people online complaining about Snoopy replacing Nickelodeon characters at these parks. I keep reading "kids don't know who Snoopy is" on online forums, but they do indeed know who Snoopy is! My 10 year old niece is obsessed with Snoopy, and I have friends with boys aged 4 and 3 who can't get enough of Charlie Brown.

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  5. Wow, I just read today that at Kings Dominion, their Scooby Doo ghostblasters ride will be called "Boo Blasters on Boo Hill"---no more cartoon tie in. No doubt the version at Kings Island will have the same makeover (I think it would have been cool if the ride had a "Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" makeover!).

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  6. A peanuts ride would rock! Thanks for the rundown on cedar Fair! I had no clue about the history! Hope there's some peanuts/Knott's tie ins when I visit this summer!

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  7. Very cool info. Do you remember what kind of soundtrack the ride had? Was there a story, with all the H-B voices, or was it just a general chorus of Smurfs singing? Or just background music with no singing at all?

    Kings Island should totally do a Great Pumpkin ride.

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  8. Hey tomh1138! My memory on the audio is fuzzy, since I only rode it once, but you DID hear character voices on the ride. When the ride started (and you went through a tunnel with blinky lights) Papa Smurf's voice greeted you and told you to "Have a Smurfy Day!" Gargamel's voice could also be heard. None of the characters had moving mouths. I can't remember a story--but Gargamel appeared at least twice. I'm pretty sure they played the theme song, too!

    Maybe someday they'll add a Great Pumpkin ride--I wouldn't bet on it, though!

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  9. Dan - great post! This is the KI of my childhood.

    I'm a big fan of theme park maps and have had a difficult time finding some middle years of KI history. Would it be possible to obtain a larger copy/scan of the full map that you posted here?

    Matt

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  10. Thanks, Matt! The Kings Island park map shown here is one of those giant fold-out maps that was sold in the gift shops, so I can't really scan the full thing at one time. I'll do my best to share more of that map!

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