Get Around Kings Island Amusement Park's 'No Outside Food' Rule With This Clever Tip

As the largest theme park in the Midwest — and one of the most dangerous theme parks in the U.S. — Kings Island is arguably best known for its rides and rollercoasters. The 364-acre destination located just outside of Cincinnati, Ohio, draws park-goers with its thrilling attractions including The Beast, Racer, Adventure Express, and other exciting rides, as well as plenty of kid-friendly coasters. There's also an on-site water park, perfect for cooling down when the mercury rises in the Buckeye State.

With that said, King's Island isn't as acclaimed for its food. Like most other large amusement parks, it offers meals and refreshments to keep guests satisfied between rollercoaster rides and trips up the Eiffel Tower. However, the park's eateries are merely an afterthought for the adrenaline junkies who come for the exhilarating rides, and even hungry visitors may not prefer them due to their inflated prices.

Packing your own on-the-go meals might seem like a convenient and cheap alternative, but Kings Island states on its website that outside food and beverages aren't allowed through the entrance gates. Thankfully, there's one compromise that offers the best of both worlds. If you want to spend all day at Kings Island without eating at the park's restaurants, leave when you're ready to refuel, making sure to ask for a re-entry ticket on your way out. After your meal, simply return with your pass and get back to riding the coasters.

Where to eat outside the park

One of the easiest ways to take advantage of the re-entry ticket hack is by keeping a cooler in your car stocked with food. If the weather isn't too balmy, take a break in the parking lot with your sandwiches, drinks, and other goodies from home. Sure, it might not be as memorable as a meal in the park next to Snoopy, but you can feel good knowing you didn't pay an arm and a leg for fries and fountain drinks.

You're also free to leave the parking area in search of grub at a nearby restaurant. If you're on a budget, you'll find plenty of familiar fast food options at Kings Mills Road, including McDonald's, Wendy's, Taco Bell, Arby's, Jimmy John's, and Chipotle. If you're craving international cuisine, you'll also find spots like El Rancho Nuevo, Sushi'O, A-1 Indian Restaurant & Bar, and Fantastic Wok II just around the corner. For a sit-down meal, try Outback Steakhouse, Perkins Restaurant & Bakery, or Ironwood Grill & Tap. When you return to Kings Island after filling your belly, show your parking ticket to the attendant to re-enter, though keep in mind that it may take a few laps to find a spot again on busy days.

There's another way to get around the rule

Staff at Kings Island might confiscate your food if you try to smuggle it into the park, but the park does make an exception for those with dietary restrictions. This includes people with food allergies and intolerances, as well as small children who require baby food or formula. If you plan to bring food to accommodate special dietary needs, let the security officers know during the bag searches when you arrive. You may also be required to visit the guest services desk near the entrance gate to receive permission.

Packing food can be a great way to save money (and avoid stressing over cross-contamination) while still allowing those in your group without dietary restrictions to dine at the park's eateries. Kings Island offers many of the iconic local foods that help make Cincinnati a top Midwest tourist destination, such as ice cream from Graeter's, pizza from LaRosa's, and Cincinnati-style chili from Skyline. Snacks and quick bites are also available throughout the park, from Snoopy-themed snow cones to sugar-topped funnel cakes.