Kings Island, Mason, Ohio, USA
On August 28-30th, I made my first trip ever to Kings Island. I've been wanting to go here for a long time. My home park is Cedar Point and this park was one I've been wanting to go to for years. I finally made it and I will highlight my trip below.
We arrived around 6:30PM Friday night. Was hoping to get there at 5, but a bad accident in Columbus shut down I-71 and we lost an hour due to traffic and detours. First up was Eiffel Tower to get a good aerial view of the park. Was a great view from up there and I could see there is tons of land for the park to expand in the future. Next up was Banshee. I really loved this ride. I like this better than Raptor. Was a really smooth ride and the vest restraints are very comfortable. Next up was Delirium. Was just like Maxair. Wasn't really anything special. Next, we hit up The Bat. Just felt like a taller and faster Iron Dragon, didn't think it was anything special. Next up was Invertigo. Was a nice ride. I really liked the part where you go backwards. After that, we hit up Diamondback. Incredible! I really liked the speed, smoothness, and just about everything with this ride. Next up was The Beast. Another incredible ride! It was night, and that really added to the thrill. I liked the tunnels and being out in the woods. This ride is very smooth for a wood coaster. We hit up the other wood coaster after that, The Racer. Not too bad for a wood coaster. It would be nice if they were racing, but the crowds were light. Our final ride for that night was Firehawk. This was my first flying coaster. Was kind of scary at first, but was overall a fun ride.
On to day 2, Saturday. Was fairly busy, but manageable. First ride of the day was Flight of Fear. Nice indoor dark coaster. Was a thrilling ride. Next up we rode Firehawk again. After that, we went on Vortex. Sat in front row. Not too bad of a ride. My group went on Windseeker next, but I sat out due to my fear of heights. Next up was Backlot Stunt Coaster. This was a nice thrilling smaller coaster. We took a nice break at Freestyle to get a drink after that. Adventure Express was our next stop. This was nice, fun ride. This blows Cedar Creek Mine Ride out of the water. The theming makes this ride enjoyable. Another ride on Banshee was our next stop. Then after that, my group went on Drop Tower, but I sat that one out as well due to my fear of heights. Another ride on The Beast was the next stop. After that, a storm came and shut the park down for about an hour. We saw the train was still running, so we jumped on and rode it. I think this is a really good train ride. I like how there is a narrator who tells you about everything you see along the way. After the rain stopped, we got in line to do Diamondback. One person in our group had to leave and he wanted to ride Banshee again, so we did that. After Banshee, we went to Panda Express to eat. Not a bad deal for the amount of food you get. After we ate, we went on Viking Fury. It was a really good swinging ship ride. After that, we went for a night ride on Adventure Express. After that, we wrapped up the night souvenir shopping and one of my wanted to get a funnel cake.
Now for the final day. We were only there a few hours that day. First stop was Banshee, and since it was a walk-on and still platinum ERT time, we went on again. Next was Invertigo, then my one friend wanted to do Banshee again, so we went on it again. Next we went back to The Beast. Since it was a walk-on, we went on it again right after. Next we headed up to Diamondback. There was about a 15 minute wait. We were waiting for front row and when I was 2 trains from getting on, it WENT DOWN! The train stopped on the lift hill with the front cars hanging over the drop. We decided to try and wait it out. Lots of supervisors came up, some security and even Don Helbig. They were bringing in lots of bottled water. After a few minutes, the ops came over and told us it was probably going to be down a long time and it would be better to go ride something else. So we walked around Planet Snoopy and went on Surf Dog. I think SD is a little tamer than Pipe Scream at Cedar Point. It didn't feel like it spins as fast. While getting on SD, we saw that the train stopped on DB's lift hill, went over, but no sign of reopening. Next up we went to the Racer again. After that, we went to Backlot Stunt Coaster. While pulling into the station we saw a DB train testing, so we ran over there hoping to be first on if it reopens, but the ride ops said it was going to be at least 2 hours. So we called it a trip and headed home.
Overall, I really liked this park. I really wish I could spend more time there. Even though I had a whole weekend there, I still feel like I want to do more there. I really enjoyed this park and I think there is lots of potential there. I think Cedar Point should take a hint from KI in theming. I know KI is probably going to be better at it, due to the park's history but CP really lacks in that department. And on the flip side, I wish KI would take a hint from CP when it comes to efficiency of operations. I noticed on almost every ride, all 3 trains were stacking in the station. Doesn't happen near as much at CP. I was just really disappointed that DB went down when I was so close to getting on it. I really wanted to front seat that one.
Here are some photos from my trip:
Here's my best Diamondback tip. If you're a front seat rider, shoot for row two instead. The line is always a LOT shorter and, due to the seat configuration, the view and the sensation is the same. An added plus is the outside seats feel a little more precarious out there on the edge of the car. So, unless I feel the strong need to hold hands with my riding partner, row two is where it's at. Saves all kinds of time.
Diamondback is a ride where the middle of the train is great, too. When Dale and I rode a couple of weeks ago we chose row 12. The air at the top of each hill was very floaty and consistent from the back of the hill to the front. Enthusiasts tend to gravitate toward either the front or the back of the train, don't we? But in this case a seat in the middle was a pleasant and surprising change.
I'm glad you enjoyed your trip. Since I'm in Columbus I consider KI to be my homiest park, more so than CP, and I've been going there since opening day in 1972 having never missed a season. I like it there, and these days it's so much nicer than when Paramount ran the place.
I find it difficult to compare KI to CP, and I'm so often asked which I like better. But to me it's like apples to oranges. I get a little tired of hearing CP fanboys complain about the lack of theme there- I say so what? KI was built during the golden age of regional theme parks, so you're right, there is that history, and at that time it was very important to attach that kind of fakery to everything. But for real history, like a hundred years difference, there's Cedar Point, which has endured as a traditional amusement park and lake resort. I don't care if Rougarou howls at me every time I ride, or that an attraction doesn't match it's neighbor, or if fog used to be in the tunnels. I care more about clean and attractive, which it delivers, and there's no doubt that the randomness of Cedar Point's midways have always made the place what it is. Having the two parks so relatively close together is what makes Ohio a great place to live or visit. They co-exist quite happily.
By the way, I agree there's not much better or more unique than a night-time Beast ride. The difference is, well,... like night and day.
Theming just adds another level of immersion. AE's theming really helped that ride be more enjoyable. And I was really impressed by Banshee's station design with the lights dimming. I would like to see CP try something like that. I hope to be able to start making it to Kings Island every year from here on out. It really is an incredible park. If they add a giga coaster, it could very well become my favorite park over CP.
You would've liked Tomb Raider/The Crypt for its theming. The queue was haunt-like and the lanterns used for path lights flickered and went out all the time. There was an adequate pre show to keep oncoming riders entertained as well. But in Rivertown?
Adventure Express has a good, Indiana Jones type story, sure. But did it belong between Octoberfest and the Coney Mall? I'm all for theming at the park, but if you're going to run a theme park let's try to keep the rides and attractions so they fit into the area. To me that just makes sense and it shouldnt be that hard to do. KD is one of the worst offenders as far as that goes.
Cedar Point has all kinds of great looks going- for instance, the station for Top Thrill Dragster is always impressive. Gatekeeper, Windseeker, and even Blue Streak have appropriate, nicely designed structures, lighting, and signage and are very inviting. And on my last visit I noticed how Magnum's station looks from the corner. Quite beautiful, really. The station has held up and the landscaping is top notch. But the park isn't caught in the trap of having to stick to any particular look. The Trail and Frontiertown is where great theming lives at Cedar Point. Otherwise, it's just a great amusement park, well cared for and thoughtful.
Frequent visitors are sometimes blind to what they have in front of them, and I sense from reading over at Pointbuzz that that site is full of those types. There's nothing wrong with wishing for critical improvements, and those that have the deepest love often have the loudest voices, but I've said for a long time that everyone needs to get out a little more.
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