Holiday World/Kings Island 7/29-30

Thursday, July 31, 2014 4:10 PM

I dont like to make my trip reports very long and drawn out, detailing every minute of my day, if I ever write one at all. But, I've been having a serious coaster itch lately, and have been out the the forum scene for a while, and needing to get out some coaster chatter to some people who care to hear about it.

Went down to Holiday World and stayed at Lake Rudolph, arriving late Monday night at Lake Rudolph and stayed there in a tent for 2 nights. Haven't been to Holiday World in 6 years, so a revisit was much needed. Plus, the girlfriend has been begging for some camping for a long time, so it was a win-win.

All in all, I can spare you guys the details, you know what goes in at Holiday World. Between the free drinks, great food, and world-class woodies, it's what dreams are made of. The biggest point I wanted to make was that when I rode Voyage back in '08, I wasn't all that impressed with it, liking it the least of the 3 woodies there. I then proceeded to try and tell everyone for the next 6 YEARS that "Voyage isn't all that". But I wanted to try it again. I wanted to give it another chance. Boy, did it live up this time around. I'm not sure what the difference was. Maybe it's because in '08 I was in the middle of a 10 day road trip with well over 100 NEW credits for me, so the experience was a bit, diluted, I guess you could say. Nonetheless, that ride kicks some serious ass, and went from an average ride to my #1 overall favorite. The genius in its design and site selection is mind blowing, and that the ride can gain so much speed on the RETURN trip makes me giddy.

By the way, anyone know where the 2nd Legend train and 3rd Voyage train are? Nothing on the storage tracks, and Legend was running 1-ops and Voyage 2-ops.

After being at Holiday World for a couple of nights and really blowing away my non-enthusiast friends and girlfriend with how awesome an amusement park can be when the owner/operators actually care about the park, I'm not really sure what I was expecting from Kings Island, which we went to yesterday, Wednesday, the 30th. Kings Island is another park that I have not been to in 5 years, last was Diamondback's debut year in '09. Banshee of course, a ride I've been following since I watched the live stream of her announcement last year, is a ride I've been pining to get on.

I'll cut to the chase, there's really 3 or so big points I wanted to hit on about Kings Island, and I hope not to dwell on each too long. The first of course is...

1) Banshee. What a fantastic ride. The pinnacle of B&M design and engineering. Instantly my favorite at the park. This is a B&M ride packed with POWER and force. Definitely my favorite big invert too, even over Montu and Alpengeist. One of the most impressive things is the throughput of these B&M inverts. I mean, this is a brand new ride, it should have the longest line in the park, yet I never waited more than 20 minutes, for the front! Yet I was waiting over an hour for Diamondback (which, by the way, I have now decided is far less superior to Behemoth). Bravo Kings Island, and congratulations, on Banshee. Oh, also, side note... the Banshee character makes for some killer merch. Check out some of the super creepy t-shirts they have next time you're there.

2) Number two, is that after being somewhere like Holiday World for a day, Kings Island and Cedar Fair is starting to really feel like a Six Flags. Super heavy pop culture influences all around, ridiculously overpriced food... Here's a comparison. At HW we went to Plymouth rock. I got the prime rib dinner, which is a generous slab of some outstanding rib meat, with delicious mashed potatoes, some grilled green beans that were out of this world, fruit cup, roll, and of course the free drinks. This cost me $16, which isn't bad when I'm walking out in a coma. At KI on the other hand, I got a bucket of sh!tty fries from Potato Works, and just one coney (which is seriously only a 3-4" hot dog, mind you) and a drink from Skyline, and that all came to about $15. You tell me which is better....

It's just all so apparent that these companies like Six Flags and Cedar Fair are in it for the profit, and it's not just the food prices. Always trying to put a few more pennies in their own pockets each and every year for their management's own personal gain, while only supplying us with a heart-stopper of a ride sparingly (and they'll probably trim it anyways). On the other hands there are the parks like Dollywood, Holiday World, where you really feel like these parks are for the people. That the people who run these places care about the people visiting and making the simple things simple for us. Like staying hydrated, for example.

3) My third and final point is just that as much as I love The Beast, I am equally brokenhearted by it. The Beast is supposed to be a thing of legends. It's an ACE Coaster Landmark, but as exciting and epic this ride could be, this ride is nothing more than a chained up, locked up, tamed and neutered version of what the Beast really could be. I just wish that at the very least, she could be modified from the original layout to run with no trims with the kind of power, force, speed, and runaway/out-of-control feeling that she was originally designed for. Where's Gravity Group when you need them?

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Thursday, July 31, 2014 8:49 PM

Great trip report...

Kings Island:

1. Banshee is awesome, I agree. I love the super-creepy t-shirts. I bought one with a flaming skull under the logo with the coaster train inverting at the top! lol Banshee somehow makes Kings Island seem perfectly complete to me.

2. I agree that most of the food at Kings Island is a poor value, but that doesn't meant that parks that provide good food at a good price are not businesses with profits on their mind. Cedar Fair has always had a problem with poor food quality and high food prices. I kind of like some of the the food, like LaRosa's Pizza and Skyline dogs, but I agree that it is way too expensive for what you get.

3. Beast has always been trimmed, if I recall correctly. It's just more noticeable now with the magnetic brakes. I have been told many times by people who know that the ride is still as fast as it always was. I still very much enjoy riding it. Who doesn't scream in the helix tunnels with their hands up? It's the most epic section of a roller coaster of all time, according to me. :p I think without those brakes, the ride would be less enjoyable for most non-enthusiast-types (regular people, families, people who don't base their vacations on theme parks, people who don't think about amusement parks on a daily basis, ect.)

Last edited by LostKause, Thursday, July 31, 2014 8:51 PM
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Thursday, July 31, 2014 11:12 PM

Jolash said: "Plus, the girlfriend has been begging for some camping for a long time"

Sounds like a keeper!

Side bar: After 10+ years on this website, I really need to learn the quote feature!

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Thursday, July 31, 2014 11:23 PM

Laugh now but I think the 3rd Voyage train is now running on Predator at Darien Lake. The color scheme fit as I saw it in a friend on facebook's picture of the train in the station.

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Thursday, July 31, 2014 11:25 PM

LostKause said:

3. Beast has always been trimmed, if I recall correctly. It's just more noticeable now with the magnetic brakes. I have been told many times by people who know that the ride is still as fast as it always was. I still very much enjoy riding it. Who doesn't scream in the helix tunnels with their hands up? It's the most epic section of a roller coaster of all time, according to me. :p I think without those brakes, the ride would be less enjoyable for most non-enthusiast-types (regular people, families, people who don't base their vacations on theme parks, people who don't think about amusement parks on a daily basis, ect.)

I suppose that's true. I forgot that pretty much since it opened it's had at least the skid pad trims. It's just a shame really, because the ride could be so much more.

ShaneDenmark said:

Jolash said: "Plus, the girlfriend has been begging for some camping for a long time"

Sounds like a keeper!

Lol, she is. She was nervous about riding a lot of coasters at first. In fact, our first park together was IOA, and she refused to ride both Hulk and Dragons. But after dragging her to Canada's Wonderland last summer and getting her on Behemoth and Leviathan, she loves it all! Only thing she still hasn't warmed up to yet is TTD. I think her favorite overall is now Banshee.

Last edited by jolash, Thursday, July 31, 2014 11:28 PM
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Friday, August 1, 2014 7:28 AM

jolash said:

Always trying to put a few more pennies in their own pockets each and every year for their management's own personal gain, while only supplying us with a heart-stopper of a ride sparingly (and they'll probably trim it anyways).

Because nobody at Holiday World wants to make a profit. And they put in SO many headliner thrill rides all the time.

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Friday, August 1, 2014 9:28 AM

Oh, the eeeeeeevil management. Muahahahaha.

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Friday, August 1, 2014 10:44 AM

Darien Lake bought the Voyage train(s?) a few years ago. The rainbow stripes work really well with the Predator name... I thought it was because Voyage was getting Timberliners? Did that ever happen?

Last edited by ShaneDenmark, Friday, August 1, 2014 10:46 AM
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Friday, August 1, 2014 10:51 AM

^No, and HW has officially stated that it will not happen.

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Friday, August 1, 2014 12:08 PM

jolash said:

LostKause said:

3. Beast has always been trimmed, if I recall correctly. It's just more noticeable now with the magnetic brakes.

I suppose that's true. I forgot that pretty much since it opened it's had at least the skid pad trims.

I've always felt that because of the magnetic brakes they should re-profile that straight section and add an extra dip/hill to make something happen other than brace for the sudden slowdown.

Last edited by jonnytips, Friday, August 1, 2014 12:09 PM
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Friday, August 1, 2014 12:54 PM

As fond as I am of the Beast and the way it is, I'd be totally OK with that.

Or, I suppose the magnetics could be formulated differently, and spread out over a longer distance with the same effects as well. Either of the 3 ways, I'm OK with it.

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Friday, August 1, 2014 12:55 PM

jolash said:

After being somewhere like Holiday World for a day, Kings Island and Cedar Fair is starting to really feel like a Six Flags. Super heavy pop culture influences all around, ridiculously overpriced food... Here's a comparison. At HW we went to Plymouth rock. I got the prime rib dinner, which is a generous slab of some outstanding rib meat, with delicious mashed potatoes, some grilled green beans that were out of this world, fruit cup, roll, and of course the free drinks. This cost me $16, which isn't bad when I'm walking out in a coma.

I don't disgree with anything here. Holiday World has nice food and serves the best green beans anywhere. They posted the recipe on their blog shortly after they introduced them and it's been my go-to recipe ever since. They are amazing.

jolash said:

It's just all so apparent that these companies like Six Flags and Cedar Fair are in it for the profit, and it's not just the food prices. Always trying to put a few more pennies in their own pockets each and every year for their management's own personal gain, while only supplying us with a heart-stopper of a ride sparingly (and they'll probably trim it anyways). On the other hands there are the parks like Dollywood, Holiday World, where you really feel like these parks are for the people. That the people who run these places care about the people visiting and making the simple things simple for us. Like staying hydrated, for example.

You do realize that Dollywood is charging $3.99 for a 32 oz. drink now right? I think it's best to appreciate the fact that places like Holiday World are refreshing breaks from the norm, rather than lamenting what everyone else is doing. Food prices at most captive places are high these days, so it's nice to see that some parks (Knoebels, Holiday World, etc.) are doing what they can to offer their patrons a bit of a break.

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Friday, August 1, 2014 1:37 PM

Holiday World folds the cost of "free" soda into the admission price; instead of charging folks who want soda an inflated price, they're charging every single person for soda, whether they drink any or not. Six of one, half a dozen of another.

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Friday, August 1, 2014 2:16 PM

Yeah, Holiday World's gate makes up for the in-park pricing. (not that I disagree, this conversation proves it's effective and I think other parks should consider inflated gates in the same way)

Cedar Point does offer a 'free drink' admission for $49.

With all due respect, at $39 for admission and drinks at HW or $49 for admission and drinks at CP - Sandusky looks like an insane value in comparison.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Friday, August 1, 2014 2:17 PM
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Saturday, August 2, 2014 1:01 AM

Sea World's Discovery Cove is all-inclusive, food and drink, parking, lockers, etc included. I would guess that parks not custom built to be all inclusive wouldn't be able to go all inclusive, but could a Cedar Point or a Hersheypark introduce even more tiered pricing? $50 for admission to the park, $60 for admission + unlimited soda, $80 for admission + unlimited soda + unlimited food?

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Saturday, August 2, 2014 1:20 AM

Many parks already offer "tiers" like that, but you have to add the perks onto your regular admission. Kings Island, for example, has a meal plan, a refillable cup plan, pay-to-cut plan, ect.

Last edited by LostKause, Saturday, August 2, 2014 1:21 AM
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Saturday, August 2, 2014 1:35 AM

My train of thought was, rather than regular admission + add-ons, staggered admission prices that include escalating levels of benefits.

It is rather a six of one, half a dozen of another thing, I know...

People are more likely to choose more expensive options if presented with the final cost of various options rather than being presented with a basic cost with variable additions.

If park A says park admission is $50, admission + drinks is $60, admission + drinks and food is $80, and park B says admission is $50, add unlimited drinks for $10, add unlimited food and drinks for $30, park A may have the upper hand. My choices at park A don't involve me having to do any math.

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Saturday, August 2, 2014 1:56 AM

Lord Gonchar said:

Cedar Point does offer a 'free drink' admission for $49.

With all due respect, at $39 for admission and drinks at HW or $49 for admission and drinks at CP - Sandusky looks like an insane value in comparison.

CP drink wristband appears to only be available as an add-on option for group sales. *EDIT* I am wrong about this. At least until Labor Day. But I'll leave it up anyways.

Other than that, I guess it all depends on what you look for. While not a waterpark person myself, HW admission gets you a small amount of awesome coasters, some "other" rides plus an amazing waterpark. CP admission gets you a ton of coasters, a few of them awesome, lots of "other" rides, and little else. Not quite apples to oranges, but maybe Granny Smith apples to Honeycrisp apples. Many more variables, but you get the point.

I'm happy that places like HW, Knoebels, etc, still exist. Unfortunately, none of them are very close to me. I'm also happy that CP is 45 minutes from me, we go 15-20 times per year. We make it to Knoebels once a year (PPP)

Last edited by Tommytheduck, Saturday, August 2, 2014 2:00 AM
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Saturday, August 2, 2014 2:47 AM

Tommytheduck said:

...and little else.

At the risk of getting too close to a "vs" thread...

The beach, some really good shows (grading on the park curve), that view crossing the causeway, one of the best 'big park' vibes in the country, the arcade with all the vintage machines, cheese on a stick...

Three of the last four CP trip reports were multi-day visits lasting two, three and seven days.

The last two HW reports were larger reports where the park was just one stop along the way.

And yes, you're right, it does depend on what you're looking for. Holiday World is certainly the kind of place that has all the little things that the enthusiast crowd wets their pants for. But they're spending multiple days at Cedar Point. There must be something to do there.

In terms of what I'm personally after, CP could add ten bucks to that admission price and HW subtract ten and I'm still making the same value call.

(although, I think Thunderbird is the very start of all of this changing - HW is going to be feeling more like a 'big park' before we know it)

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Saturday, August 2, 2014 3:03 AM

slithernoggin said:

My train of thought was, rather than regular admission + add-ons, staggered admission prices that include escalating levels of benefits.

It is rather a six of one, half a dozen of another thing, I know...

Loosely related, but there's certainly a psychology to how you present the costs (again, as evidenced in this very thread by the positive reaction to HW's approach) that affects the perception of value.

I was just looking for a certain item on eBay yesterday (yes, I still use eBay - screw you for asking)

There where a whole bunch for sale and there were about a half dozen or so auctions ending within a few hours of each other. Most of them had free shipping and the winning bids were ending up in the $65 to $70 range. I noticed one listing wasn't getting any bids and I immediately saw why...the shipping was listed as $12. However the starting bid was $39. I bid and no one even challenged for it, I was the only bidder. I got the item for $51. $15 to $20 less then the exact item was going for in other auctions ending the same evening.

The psychology of paying $12 to ship a small item was turning people off even though the overall cost was lower, it felt like a bad deal. By telling people you were sending them the item for free, they felt the value was better and were willing to pay more for the item. By all logical views, it makes no sense, but it works.

Same way people are more likely to buy an item that is marked as regularly priced at $39 but on sale for $29 then the same item marked with a regular price of $25. (just ask JC Penney how getting rid of "sales" worked out for them a couple of years back)

It's all in framing the parameters of the deal in a way the feels like a value to the customer.

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