So, Ed and I run back to the car to ponder what to do next. We've already woken up at 5am and driven 3 hours to get to Sandusky, we weren't about to go back empty handed, not to mention this will be my last Point opportunity for a while. But, it looks like the weather is just not going to cooperate, so it's time for plan B. We considered Geauga, but it was already raining back there when we drove by, plus without X-Flight or Steel Venom, neither of us are particularly interested. Kennywood's out since I'm already going there next Saturday for a company picnic. So, there's only one other option within striking distance: King's Island. Since Ed has never been there, we break out the map and the rotue-planning begins! By this time it's about 9:45am and we start down US-250 to pick up I-71 and head down to the park. A lucky call from my Mom gets us a better route from Mapquest and we sort of double back on our route to head for I-75. The further south we go, the more the skies start to clear. The rain finally stops and the temperature goes up from 58 in Sandusky at 10am to 92 in Cincinnati at 2pm when we finally arrived!
We got to the park, parked at the end of the lot and headed in. Since Ed had never been there, first stop was Son of Beast. You really can't tell that the loop is missing on this ride if you didn't know it was there before. Ed and I discussed if the trains were new or not - I suggested they were because this ride's defenders always said "don't sit over a wheel" and the current trains only have "wheel" seats. The line was very short, only about 20 minutes, and we climbed into the second seat. We rumble out of the station and head up the oddly steep angled lift hill. As we start down the hill, I remember why I hate this ride as my shoulders already start to hurt from the roughness. By the time we hit the breaks, I'm convinced I will never make the mistake of riding that again, but Ed really enjoyed it (I think it just rattled him so hard he doesn't remember :) ). I hate the thing, he liked it.
Our next stop was Top Gun, which in my opinion is a really nice ride for what it is, although too short. It's placement also bothers me as to how much land is unnecessarily taken up by this ride. Nice short line, good quick ride, some nice airtime off the first hill in the back seat.
Up next was FaceOff. I like boomerangs in general, but these inverted ones are just great! Great forces, smooth as can be, exciting ride, an all around great experience. Short line on this one too.
Since we were unsure if the trend of short lines would continue and we had limited time since we had to be back in Pittsburgh that night, we headed out to hit the King's Island specialties first. Beast was up next. I never have and I don't think ever will "get" this coaster. To me, there's nothing particularly special about it, it has like 3 elements (2 hills and a helix) and other than that, does nothing special other than rumble along, kind of hurt, and be one of the most over-hyped coasters of all time. After our short wait and long ride, Ed agreed with me that the Beast is nothing special. In fact, he rated it as his least favorite coaster in the park.
Tomb Raider was closed, maybe for some theme fixing? I did notice some pieces sitting out back, and remember a thread around here recently complaining about the theme elements on it not working lately.
We headed next over to Vortex. I loved this ugly thing since the first time I rode it in my "non-Enthusiast" days. It still delivers a great, surprisingly unpainful Arrow ride! Great airtime from the back seat off the first hill, powerful vertical loops, disorienting direction changes in the corkscrews and batwing and a nice helix to finish up. It looks awful, it makes a hell of a lot of noise, but it's one of the best in the park! Go Vortex.
Next up was Racer. Ed had never ridden a backwards coaster before, so against my better judgement after the beating my back had taken on Beast and Sonny, we hit the line for backwards-Racer. We sat in the first seat and were off on what is always to me a very scary ride. I've actually ridden Rebel Yell more than Racer, but being similar rides, I was ready for the bone-crushing jackhammer at the base of the third hill - even so, it still hurt my back. The layout's pretty good, I just find that bracing for potential pain ruins these layouts backwards. So, we went around and rode front-wards and honestly, pain-wise it wasn't any better! Maybe worse! I was very disappointed in Racer. Rebel Yell is fun, Thunder Road was great, Racer's meh.
With only 3 major coasters to go, it was 4:00, so we decided that since we'd ridden X-Flight a ton of times at Geauga, we had no problem skipping Firehawk. The line for it appeared to be the longest in the park as well, and knowing how slow the lines for Flyers go, we headed next to Italian Job.
This was the first coaster at the park for me that I hadn't done before. I wasn't expecting a whole lot, figuring it for more of a family ride. Our wait wasn't too bad, and we got up to the station and were very amused by the cars. The working doors are a neat addition and really add to the overall theme. The launch out of the station is surprisingly powerful as are the forces in the upward helix. There's some nice air out of the "parking garage" and the rest of the layout to the pause is nice and out-of-control. The pause for the "scene" bugged me as coming to a complete stop really ruins the pacing of this otherwise well-built ride. If this section was just a slow crawl through the scene, the same effects could go off, and the second launch could still happen, there's just no real reason to pause there for so long. The second half of the ride through the dark is neat and disorienting and there's some nice air off the last hill. Overall, too short and the pause isn't necessary, but a nice fun ride that's very family-friendly. I thought the original specs on this thing said there were going to be 3 launches?
After Italian Job, we hit Flight of Fear. This was our longest line (probably because of the A/C) but I think the movie is somewhat entertaining and the line moves pretty fast, so it wasn't too bad of a wait. Ed had no idea what the ride actually was (although he guessed pretty close) and we rode front seat. The station hum wasn't on this day, but there was something at the end of the launch tunnel that was banging so hard and echoing down the tunnel it sounded like the train coming off the track! Not sure what it was, but it certainly made the launch seem more ominous which was cool. This ride as usual is awesome, although I hate it that the MCBR brings you to a complete stop!
After Flight of Fear, our day was done. Unfortunately Drop Zone was down, Tomb Raider was down, and we didn't have time for Delerium. But, considering the events prior to our arrival at the park, salvaging what we did out of the day seemed like a great victory! We left the park at about 7:00 and arrived back in Pittsburgh at about 11:15. All in all, drove 700 miles around the perimeter of Ohio but eventually got to a park neither one of us were expecting!
Some final general impressions: I don't get why this park gets such a following from enthusiasts. It has some nice rides, but other than being in Ohio, I can't see what makes this one any better than any Six Flags park, and in fact I can think of a few Six Flags parks I'd take over King's Island in a heartbeat. Son of Beast isn't any better, it should just be completely torn down and replaced with a nice ride that actually takes advantage of the great lay of the land in that area. I don't think I'll ever get to ride KI's Drop Zone (been down the last 3 times I've been there). Ed was disappointed in how different the park looked
than the Brady Bunch episode!
The previous trains were 3-bench Premier trains.
And that's crazy driving around Ohio. But for a day of coasters to end without coasters, would send me on a goose chase as well. But I probably would have chose Geauga, I think i may be the only person, who still enjoys the Big-small park atmosphere.
Its a shame that so many things had to go by the wayside for thrill rides, such as the Antique Cars, log flume ride, etc.
Where were those canoes shown in the Brady episode? Was it similar to Tom Sawyers Island in Disney?
Some of the rides removed had more THRILL to them than their replacments.
Plus, I already have Two-Face at SFA plus Flight of Fear and The Italian Job at King's Dominion.
Granted, it's had all sorts of trims for a long time but it sounds like it was a completely different ride when it first opened.
I remember the 2nd hill actually having some speed and air to it! As compared to the feeling now of driving your car down a steep hill!! :(
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