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Kings Dominion opens 40th season with old favorites and new energy

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With a larger-than-life birthday cake to greet guests, Kings Dominion opened its gates for the 40th anniversary season this past weekend. For anybody with fond memories of the park and all of its colorful attractions, this is the season to give it another visit.

International Street is a blaze of color with flowers, springtime decorations and dancing water spouts. The International Street fountain has some enhancements and all new LED lights for nighttime shows. The fence around the fountain sports colorful flower baskets, and butterfly and gardening decorations can be seen all around the street. A fresh and updated look has been given to the shops and restaurants on either side of the fountain.

One of the most widely anticipated returns is that of the Singing Mushrooms. This quartet of mushrooms, accompanied by a piano-playing frog, sing barber shop tunes by the Bumper Cars in Candy Apple Grove. They perform about every 20 minutes, otherwise their throats will get "spore." While in the Grove, be sure to check out the oversized and incredibly fun candy apples lining the walkways. The springtime element of Easter eggs can also be seen near the carousel.

This theme park Examiner's favorite newly old feature has to be the return of the Clown Band. This roving group of merry musicians brings a bit of energy and excitement everywhere they go.

All in all, Kings Dominion has done a fantastic job of updating and refurbishing the park. It seems that going retro is the new in thing to do. The only thing this theme park Examiner would change is the sign that says "We're finally over the hill." What? 40 is not over the hill! It's just getting started.

What about you? What is your favorite past attraction at Kings Dominion? What would you like to see come back?

In addition to all of these new and updated attractions, the park will also be introducing a new live musical show called #KD40 that will feature hits and memories from the 70s to today. This show will debut in June in the Kings Dominion Theater.

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Kings Dominion clown band
Kings Dominion clown band Sandy Allen

Kings Dominion clown band

Always a favorite, the Kings Dominion clown band is back! This roaming group of brightly colored musicians brings a spark of energy, fun and excitement wherever they go.

International Street fountain at Kings Dominion
International Street fountain at Kings Dominion Sandy Allen

International Street fountain at Kings Dominion

Kings Dominion opened for its 40th season on Saturday, April 5, 2014. The park has a new and updated feel with the return of some old favorites and the addition of new surprises.

Kings Dominion International Street fountain
Kings Dominion International Street fountain Sandy Allen

Kings Dominion International Street fountain

The International Street fountain has been given some enhancements, which includes more "dancing" water and an all new set of LED lighting for nighttime shows.

Kings Dominion birthday cake
Kings Dominion birthday cake Sandy Allen

Kings Dominion birthday cake

A giant birthday cake greets guests at the entrance to Kings Dominion's main gate. The 40th anniversary season opened on Saturday, April 5, 2014.

Candy Apple Grove
Candy Apple Grove Sandy Allen

Candy Apple Grove

Giant candy apples have returned to the Candy Apple Grove midway section at Kings Dominion. The whole area has a revitalized look to it with new decorations and the return of some of the old, familiar names to locations.

Dinner Bell at Kings Dominion
Dinner Bell at Kings Dominion Sandy Allen

Dinner Bell at Kings Dominion

Several of the old names are back for locations, rides and restaurants. Dinner Bell, in Candy Apple Grove, has been called Johnnie's for the past several years.

Singing Mushrooms at Kings Dominion
Singing Mushrooms at Kings Dominion Sandy Allen

Singing Mushrooms at Kings Dominion

This all-time favorite group of many guests, the Singing Mushrooms, has made a completely updated return to the Candy Apple Grove section of the park. They are located across from the Bumper Cars. They perform every 20 minutes or so.

Safari Village sign
Safari Village sign Sandy Allen

Safari Village sign

Safari Village, formerly known as The Congo area, has been updated with a new sign and a fresh coat of paint on the Anaconda and Volcano: The Blast Coaster

Hungry Hippo at Kings Dominon
Hungry Hippo at Kings Dominon Sandy Allen

Hungry Hippo at Kings Dominon

The Hungry Hippo returns to Safari Village. This restaurant has been known as The Trails End Grill. It serves burgers, chicken sandwiches, fries and salads.

Brinn Black at Kings Dominion
Brinn Black at Kings Dominion Sandy Allen

Brinn Black at Kings Dominion

Nashville recording artist Brinn Black performed at Kings Dominion on opening day. From Chester, Virginia Brinn opened for Darius Rucker last fall at Innsbrook After Hours. Check out her website sometime. The VCU Peppas pep band were also on hand, but I missed them.

Walk of Memories
Walk of Memories Sandy Allen

Walk of Memories

Walk of Memories is located around the Eiffel Tower. Large signs list trivia and facts about Kings Dominion from its beginnings in the 70s and into the 80s, 90s and 2000s. What was your favorite Kings Dominion decade?

Kings Dominion employee uniform display
Kings Dominion employee uniform display Sandy Allen

Kings Dominion employee uniform display

The Front Gate Souvenir shop has a display of former employee uniforms and name tags. This Examiner remembers a few of them. How about you? Did you ever wear one of these uniforms?

Ruby the refurbished carousel horse
Ruby the refurbished carousel horse Sandy Allen

Ruby the refurbished carousel horse

An ongoing refurbishment project is that of the historic carousel in Candy Apple Grove. This pretty pink horse, Ruby, is one of the first to get a fresh coat of paint. The carousel is one of my favorites, and I'm really looking forward to seeing this project.

Floral clock at Kings Dominion
Floral clock at Kings Dominion Sandy Allen

Floral clock at Kings Dominion

The large floral clock has returned to its original spot at the end of Center Street. The carousel and Ferris wheel are behind it. Pretty spring flowers form the Roman numerals. 

Bad Apple at Kings Dominion
Bad Apple at Kings Dominion Sandy Allen

Bad Apple at Kings Dominion

The Bad Apple swirls and twirls riders all around in Candy Apple Grove. New signs and colorful decorations have put a new spirit into the Grove area at Kings Dominion.

Shops on International Street at Kings Dominion
Shops on International Street at Kings Dominion Sandy Allen

Shops on International Street at Kings Dominion

The shops and restaurants on International Street have been given new paint and fresh updates to usher in the 40th birthday celebration at Kings Dominion.

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