This was a grueling trip for myself and my brother. I had been to Cedar Point last year and had never been to King's Island before, so we were prepared to enjoy new rides during this trip. I should note off the bat that I'm based in NYC and SFGAdv is my home park, so my experiences will likely be very different than for people who live closer to those parks.Overall, I had a blast and hope to meet up with more of you next year, either at an official meet or not. I'll leave out the horrible transportation problems we experienced. :) I'm sure I missed a whole lot since exhaustion is still setting in here.
After leaving NYC on Thursday morning, we arrived at the Hotel Breakers in plenty of time to get some good food and rest for the 6:30am bus to the front of the park. After a short wait, I had my button in hand and joined the group of people in front.Before the gates opened, I realized I needed to kick myself again for forgetting to send in my application for ACE, and still a bit tired from the long trip the day before, I expected to get some sleep during the afternoon. After getting to the ropes, one of the more amusing things to me was teh announcement that Wicked Twister might be down but that it would be replaced for ERT by Mean Streak. Apologies to the park's employees, but I got a good laugh from the loud groans as the announcement was made. We joined the crowd in and I decided to head to the Power Tower ERT first. I was floored when I realized everyone had headed to Raptor first and that we were first in line to the Power Tower.
We headed towards the up side and enjoyed the ride immensely. We ran around to the Down side for the second ride of the morning. I just am not impressed with the Space Drops at all. It's scary going up and being locked up on top before being dropped, and I can only guess at the reasons, but the drop just is not intense at all. I'd rather go back to the Intamin Free Falls instead.
We headed over to Mantis, and I can't say I really enjoyed it a whole lot. Stand ups aren't comfortable for me, but it's a good ride to go on once a trip. We wandered back towards Blue Streak and enjoyed this old classic. I'm not very impressed with the first half of the ride, but the back half gives some wonderful negative g's and laterals. A trip to Raptor followed by a re-ride got us dizzy enough to sit out the rest of the ERT. The end helix pulls great g's.
Since it was now 9:00am and we heard the park opening music, we headed over to Millennium Force and saw a nice long line of Coastermania people with the same idea. Had I been awake enough, I would have loved to have taken pictures of the looks on the people's faces when they ran all the way in to Millie only to find this huge line of people already there (easily a 30-45 mintute line by that point). I was pleasantly surprised to find that as resort guests, we would be able to move ahead of other Coastermania guests. There has to be something to the slowness of Millie in colder weather since it ran much better than my trip last year. I also did not realize that we got off and the park had still not "officially" opened yet until we went to Wildcat and the testing was only beginning. I felt like we had already done a half day at a park.
Wildcat is a small, intense ride that I love. Awesome helices near the end, and the sudden stop just gives it that bit of character that I will always remember. Iron Dragon was next and up until this point was the only Arrow Suspended I've been on. That steep first drop is complemented by some nice swinging in the last car. The mist machines kicked in beautifully for the helix, so we were blinded all the way through. I still hate the anti-rollback devices, though. I know there is no real easy way to change it, but they're so loud clunking up the lift hills, it's painful.
We then headed for my favorite coaster in the park, Magnum. Tunnels and excellent negative g's on the last seat int eh bunny hops just make this my favorite non-looping steel coaster. I love Nitro, but the tunnels add something to the ride. Hopefully SFGAdv will learn that. A double run for both sides of Gemini made us hungry and thirst, so we headed to get an Elephant Ear. It's amusing to hear the employees wonder about the insane amount of business they were doing that first hour of operation. I guess management forgot to inform food services that people would be getting in at 6am and would be starving by 11.
A whirlwind tour of the Mine Train (silky smooth) and Mean Streak (not a terrible ride, and not as painfully rough as others make it out to be) was perefectly timed to get the train back to Millie and to the picnic area for food and most of the coasters done before lunch. The food was good and we went shopping to digest food. We also stopped by the Heart Of Rock And Roll show (which was excellent) and took the train all the way around before getting off near Millie.
We took a tour on the Paddlewheel and enjoyed the bad puns, then went on Corkscrew to bring up the coaster count. Woodstock Express and Jr. Gemini will wait until another time, but I'm not sure I'll fit well.
We headed over to Disaster Transport and were underwhelmed by the ride. The 3D effects are fine on teh line, but the ride itself did not have any, and the theming makes no sense anymore. We wandered over to see how Wicked Twister was doing and watched the workers tightening the wheels. We watched quite a few more people do the same thing, then we went to watch the laser show. We headed over to Magnum for a night ride, and the tunnels are outstanding in pitch black. A last ride on Millie and we were done. We probably could have done another ride on Millie and Magnum, but mentally we were out of it and had to prepare to check out and travel to Cincinnati for CoasterbuzzCon on Sunday.Overall, we enjoyed a whole lot, and I can't wait to go back, hopefully WT will be open next time.
We got to KIng's Island about 9:30 and said Hi to Jeff and Stephanie before getting my packet. A quick glance at the map and we assumed we would not be able to get on all of the coasters during the regular day, but we were pleasantly surprised at how wrong we were. When the ropes dropped, we headed to Beast and joined the line. It's a really good coaster, but the long stretch between halves is kind of disconcerting. I expected a hill or some elements, but I can understnad why they didn't have that. The double helix, double tunnel really impressed me. Truly an awesome ride.
Vortex was next, and like the Great American Scream Machine at SFGAdv and other Arrow multi-loopers, I was not too happy with the aging of these rides. They just hurt during some of the transitions and I was surprised to note that the double corkscrew element was a bit rougher than the Corkscrew at CP. We went over to see 7th Portan and were unimpressed with the first person view. Meteor Storm wasn't open yet, so we went to Flight Of Fear.
FoF must have been incredibly painful with the old horsecollars! The transitions towards the end come fast and the corkscrew at the end is extremely tight. The lapbars are somewhat tight by the feet, but considering the lapbars were not originally there, it's easily forgivable. With the lapbars, I must admit the launch is great and the elements with your hands raised is incredibly open. The headchoppers are great because you almost don't see them until you're almost next to them.
We followed up with a ride on each side of the Racer. Awesome old style coaster and backwards is one of my new favorites. Incredibly smooth and the airtime is great. I can't say enough good about this classic.
We headed to Adventure Express before we got food, thinking a mine ride would be calm enough to do since teh trip was startign to wear on us by that point. I was pleasantly surprised that the ride is much more exciting than you would think. Great speeds and direction changes really impressed me, and the tunnels were well done. I love the final chain lift theming with the drumming statues.
Action Zone came after lunch, and we went counter clockwise here. FaceOff is intense. A good ride, but the headbanging is pretty heavy here. Drop Zone is now my second favorite drop ride. The gyro spin to the top is interesting, adn the speed up after teh lift clears the magnets took me by surprise. The drop is intense! I had a great view of Son Of Beast along the ride down. There is still nothing better than MGM's Twilight Zone Tower Of Terror, though.
Son Of Beast is a good ride, but the laterals along the banked turns was really rough on us. I was amazed at how smooth the wooden loop was, but the turns hurt. We followed that with Top Gun and were shocked at how far away the station was. I was impressed the trees were still as close to the course as they were. Seeing the train running against the branches like that was amazing, and the speeds and direction changes are real winners. Awesome ride that makes me wonder why suspendeds did not work out for Arrow.
Runaway Reptar was last before lunch and the speeds were impressive. Excellent junior coaster, and the theming got some good laughs from us.
Lunch came and I was greeted by Jeff Seibert and another manager whose name I forget (I believe it was Dave, but my memory is fogged). If you're reading this, I wanted to thank you for wasting nearly a half hour of your time to chat with an out of stater and discuss the rides and other parks. It's always an incredible pleasure to chat with management of theme parks that listen to their patrons. It was a great pleasure to thank Jeff in person for the website, and I hope to meet up with you again.
After lunch was a trip to the Ghoster Coaster and I must admit the design is really nice, but the cars are a little tight for those of us with big feet. Setpoint proved themselves to have some great ideas to me with this one. Now I want to check out Roller Soaker at Hershey.
We walked back around and got on Tomb Raider. I can now honestly say that what I suggested this past winter about the "top spin in a box" possibilities and why it excited me rather than disappointed me was so much less than the actual ride. I am completely and totally blown away by the theming and the ride elements. From the thematically subtle start of the ride (unless I'm over thinking things, the feeling is that you're working your way into a hidden cavern and a cliff below you falls, which wakes the statue and puts you at its mercy) all the way through the ride's end (which wasn't abrupt to me, but works quite nicely IMHO) is a great thrill ride. Well worth the trip.
We checked out the Flyers since I had never been on one before. They do get up to some speed! I wasn't too interested in trying to snap the cars, but I sort of have an idea after getting the car to dive and rise a bit. My fear of heights stopped me from testing that out too far, but those sure are fun to ride!
We wandered back around to Meteor Attack (which I thoroghly enjoyed), FoF, and the Racer and a trip up the Eiffel Tower replica. A trip on the Beastie and shopping brought us near the end of the day and our exclusive ERT.
Met up with everyone at the clock for the group picture and our walkback to FoF again. We got on twice and the ride is still as good as ever, though a bit different when you're on with other coaster nuts. The two rides on Tomb Raider wore us out, but we managed the first trip through the Beast. We didn';t think we could take another trip, so we were the only others to get out for the last go round, but we were pleasantly surprised by the gifts of the posters. I *WILL* make it back to PKI in the future, and perhaps for the next time Jeff can get something together there for next year.
Hope the next time I'll join a group of you and be a little more sociable. That and to learn the tricks of snapping on the Flyers.
If you do not remember, I met you during lunch. Glad you made it back to NYC with some good memories..
CoasterBuzzCon - not just an event, more like an adventure...
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