Kentucky Kingdom 7/13/21-7/14/21 - Some ejector air and some misses

Thursday, July 15, 2021 8:27 PM

My wife decided to surprise me this year with a trip to an amusement park this year for Father's Day. Initially we were going to go to Cedar Point but my kids are still transitioning to bigger rides. Having never been to Kentucky Kingdom and judging the size of the rides we decided to make a go of that instead. Due to all sorts of scheduling issues we ended up going these past two few days instead. Having never been to Kentucky Kingdom we didn't really know what to expect. We ended up taking advantage of the $40 two day out of state visitor deal with free drinks included. Great value!

After a wet, construction filled drive from Chicago we arrived around 3 pm on Tuesday. Although the park was dry when we arrived the skies were threatening. Our plan was to ride as many roller coasters as we could on the first day and hit the water park the next day. First impression: the park looked really clean but had a very confusing layout. The water park right in the middle of the park really threw us off. Eventually we figured out how to get from point A to point B and the signs in the park really helped. We were able to get on each of the parks coasters within the two hours we were there. My reviews are below.

Lightning Run

Lightning Run was our first stop on our circle around the park. I was very much looking forward to this and Storm Chaser based on others' reviews. Lightning Run is a great medium-sized coaster with tons of ejector air. The bunny hops at the end reminded me a bit of Magnum, which I still adore all these years later. My son, 12, decided to give the ride a go and loved it! My daughter, 10, took a pass. One train operation, but we only waited for three trains.

Kentucky Flyer

After we figured out how to get to the rest of the park we made a stop at Kentucky Flyer. "Family" wood coasters are about all my daughter will do in that realm. There's a lot of love for this coaster from the reviews I've seen. It is a family wooden coaster but on the edge of being a bit much. A fun twisting layout and a few surprise pops of air made this a great ride. One train operation again but only a two train wait.

Thunder Run

We walked by T3, which my son was initially excited to ride but then chickened out. He said if we head back later he would ride it. More on that later. We started making our way to Thunder Run but had a heck of a time figuring out how to get there. Eventually we found the entrance and hopped in the queue. Before we began our trip my son said he would ride it but after standing in the queue and hearing the roar of the ride he decided to pass. My wife and I went ahead and gave it a whirl. Knowing it was a 1990s Dinn ride I wasn't expecting much and that's about what I got. Though not as rough as some other Dinn rides it left something to be desired. There are plenty of better wooden coasters out there. One train operation but only had to wait for one train.

Roller Skater

The skies opened up almost immediately after we got off Thunder Run. We took some cover and waited for things to clear up, just a few minutes. The kids wanted to ride Roller Skater. I wasn't that desperate for the credit so I watched their fake enthused faces. One train operation but no wait.

Storm Chaser

After the kids took a lap on Roller Skater they made an announcement over the p.a. that some rides will be temporarily closed due to wind and rain. We knew that meant Storm Chaser was probably on the list. We headed there anyway and found that the queue was not closed. Maybe the ride was running after all? No such luck. Good news though was that the station was almost completely empty. We decided to wait out the storm knowing that most of the other rides would probably be closed as well. We gave it until 5:01 before calling it a day. The ride reopened at 5:00. My kids decided to take a pass so it was just the two of us, again.

Wow, what an amazing ride! I don't have a ton of experience with RMC rides, Wonder Woman and Goliath being the others I have ridden, but this was by far the best I have been on. The inversion into the first drop and the great hits of air time make this a special ride. It did lose a bit of steam at the end but it didn't kill the experience. One train operation again and no wait except for the weather delay.

T3

True to his word my son did brave T3, and for some reason I did as well. I had written in a previous trip report at SFA that I didn't understand the hate for Vekoma SLCs after riding Mind Eraser. Now I get it. T3 is one of two coasters I have been on that I couldn't wait to end, the other being Son of Beast. I thought the lack of over the shoulder restraints would make for a great ride free of head banging. While my ears were spared the rest of me was not. The pacing was terrible, there was a strange shuffling, and the restraint ended up crushing my thighs by the end of the ride. But on the flip side my son absolutely loved it. So he rode it alone the next day. One train operation with a five train wait.

At this point of the day (5:30) we were all hungry and I had my fill of coasters for the day.

Not much to report about day 2 except that many of the water slides were closed, some for the season. The crowds were a little heavier due to the improved weather, but still very manageable.

Overall this was a fun park with some great rides and some absolute crap ones. Although everything was one train operation we didn't really have to wait long. The Pepsi refill stations allowed us to take advantage of the all day soda. The park was clean and the staff was friendly. I can see us stop by the park if we are heading through Louisville again but can't see us making a dedicated trip again.

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Thursday, July 15, 2021 9:20 PM
TheMillenniumRider's avatar

I too enjoyed Mind Eraser at SFA, very good example of an SLC, but there are also those examples of horrible SLC's and I seem to remember T3 being one of the latter.

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Friday, July 16, 2021 9:43 AM

Serial Thriller/Thunderhawk at Geauga Lake is still the only SLC I have ever ridden, but I always genuinely enjoyed it and based on that ride never understood the absolute hate for SLCs. That said, I also know that model seems to be the only one universally recognized as "not so bad".

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Friday, July 16, 2021 10:17 AM
ApolloAndy's avatar

I’ve ridden quite a few SLC’a and some were atrocious (almost any at a Six Flags park) and some were actually good (Great Nor Easter, Jaguar in a park in Spain). I don’t get the difference, but the models vary wildly. I thought it was the restrints, but if lap bars still don’t fix the issue, then I wonder if it has to do speed or something.


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Friday, July 16, 2021 12:01 PM

In a few spots on T3 it felt like the car was jerking forwards and backwards. It was almost like there was a flat spot on the track or the wheels. Oddly enough my son felt none of that, even though he was right next to me.

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Friday, July 16, 2021 12:15 PM

There are those that claim it has to do with train length. Maybe on of the only times where shorter is better.
T3 was the worlds first SLC, and we went down the first weekend. What a mistake, we just hated it and still do. I think it remains one of the most reviled coasters that’s still standing.
I’m always amazed when I hear someone say they’ve only seen or been on one. I think they’re like carnival Tilt a Whirls- everyone has one. (Especially if you’re Six Flags, where you can’t swing a cat without hitting one.)
And because I’m a credit seeker I will stand in a line just to get one on my list. Which didn’t pay off at Darien or Elitch- what awful rides.

Last edited by RCMAC, Friday, July 16, 2021 12:16 PM
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Friday, July 16, 2021 12:48 PM

By my count there are 9 currently installed in the states, so they aren't quite that ubiquitous. You are right that almost all of them are or were installed at a Six Flags property at one point in their life.

I know you may find this hard to believe but I have been to 7 Six Flags parks and only one of them (SFA) had an SLC installed. It took me 42 years to encounter an SLC. I've been on two in the last 4 months. So things are either getting better or worse.

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Friday, July 16, 2021 12:58 PM
Vater's avatar

I've been on SFA's and KK's. The former is a decent example of an SLC, the latter is crap.

Then there's SFoG's Ninja (or whatever it's called now), which I consider the predecessor of the SLC. Not surprisingly, it's not a comfortable ride, either.

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Friday, July 16, 2021 1:28 PM

It is surprising the difference. I remember the Geauga Lake SLC was bit rough, slow, and shaky but still fun to ride a few times.

Maybe it's age, but when I rode Wonderlands Flight deck a few years ago it was an awful experience. Train felt like it just bounced around the track and I think my head was hitting the OTSR more than it wasn't. 1 star ride all around.

Thunder Run might be head and shoulders above the best Dinn Coaster I've ridden, but that's not saying much. It's ridable with a few fun spots. Pretty much any CCI/GG/GCI build since then I feel is better. (Even some of the uncared for early CCI's )

Last edited by Joe E., Friday, July 16, 2021 1:28 PM
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Friday, July 16, 2021 1:48 PM
Vater's avatar

I thought Thunder Run was really good, albeit short, and very atypical of a Dinn coaster (most likely because the design was Fetterman's). Last time I rode it was 2003 though, so maybe the years haven't been so kind to it.

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Friday, July 16, 2021 3:57 PM

I feel like in the mid-late 90s the "good" Six Flags parks got a Batman: The Ride and the "lesser" Six Flags parks (and the Premier parks that hadn't been flagged yet) got an SLC.

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Saturday, July 17, 2021 8:16 AM

Trying to avoid work this morning, or something:

The following parks got a Batman B&M inverted machine (not to be confused with various other rides called "Batman" or "Batman: The Something"):

  • Six Flags Great America (1992)
  • SF Great Adventure (1993)
  • SF Magic Mountain (1994)
  • SF Over Mid America (1995)
  • SF Over Georgia (1997)
  • SF Over Texas (1999)
  • La Ronde (2002)
  • Parque Warner Madrid (2002)
  • SF New Orleans (2003) - moved to SF Fiesta Texas in 2008, where it's called "Goliath" because reasons.

Those are almost all the biggies, plus La Ronde which is a tweener park (in a big market).

Mom obviously never liked Astroworld, though; it got an SLC in 1999. (Later moved to La Ronde for some reason. Apparently it sat at The Great Escape for several years, which would have been a more logical spot for it, at least as far as the coaster lineup.)

Most of the other SLCs were installed by Premier Parks before their merger with Six Flags, which took place in 1998.

  • Kentucky Kingdom's T3 (1995)
  • SF America's Mind Eraser (1995)
  • SF Darien Lake's Mind Eraser (1997)
  • SF New England's Mind Eraser, now Riddler Revenge (1997)
  • Elitch Garden's Mind Eraser (1997)
  • SF Discovery Kingdom's Kong (1998 - presumably ordered before the merger)
  • SF World of Overinvestment's Serial Thriller (1998 - ditto)

SF Mexico got an SLC called "Batman" in 2000, which has the distinct air of "good enough for those people."

(That was way more work than I thought it would be when I started. Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.)

Last edited by hambone, Saturday, July 17, 2021 8:23 AM
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Saturday, July 17, 2021 10:07 AM

I wonder what the cost difference was at the time between a Batman model B&M and a Vekoma SLC. I suppose these are questions the RCDB could answer for me.

edit: and Serial Thriller was at Geauga Lake two years before the Six Flags branding, which is right on point with the "Six Flags parks get a B&M Batman model, Premier Parks that are unflagged at the time of purchase get an SLC"

Last edited by BrettV, Saturday, July 17, 2021 10:09 AM
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Saturday, July 17, 2021 2:54 PM
TheMillenniumRider's avatar

They should rename one of the SLC’s to Joker’s hang n bang. Theme it lightly. Maybe move it on top of a parking lot.

Why does the tooth chipper come to mind from the Simpsons.

Last edited by TheMillenniumRider, Saturday, July 17, 2021 2:57 PM
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Saturday, July 17, 2021 10:01 PM

BrettV said:

I wonder what the cost difference was at the time between a Batman model B&M and a Vekoma SLC. I suppose these are questions the RCDB could answer for me.


It looks like around $3 million. Great White at Sea World San Antonio, a Batman clone, opened in 1997 and cost $10 million. Gauntlet, an SLC at Hot Springs, opened in 2004 at a cost of $7 million.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2021 4:25 PM
LostKause's avatar

Your thoughts on the park parallel mine.

I visited KK for the first time ever early this season. The water park was closed, and a few other attractions were closed as well.

Thunder Run overshot the station while I was in line, so that is the only coaster I didn't get to ride.

But I really liked the park. It was smaller than I am used to, and the layout was confusing, but the park still had a lot of fun to offer.

T3... That shuffling is strange. It's almost as if the train is trying to break apart because the track gauge is off or something. The nice restraints did not save it from being so terrible.

I've been on a lot of SLC clones, and even though most were not worth riding, T3 was the worst of the worst.

I made a video trip report about my visit to Kentucky Kingdom.


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Wednesday, July 21, 2021 5:42 PM

The Giant Wheel was closed when we there as well, although the sign in front said it would be open by mid-July. It looks like the crowds you experienced were at least double what we saw. I wonder if it had anything to do with the water park being closed and not spreading the crowd out. Did you visit on a weekend or during the week?

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Thursday, July 22, 2021 11:38 AM
kpjb's avatar

I rode the SLC at Morey's last week and think it's the only one that I consider enjoyable. They have the newer trains, it's a custom model, and there was no track shuffling at all.

Kong at SFDK I remember as being not too bad.

I thought the ones at Geauga and Elitch sucked.

Not sure that I've been on any others.


Hi

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Thursday, July 22, 2021 12:48 PM

Just a note (if I remember correctly) but Kentucky Kingdom got their SLC a) before anyone else in the U.S., and b) prior to any SF involvement.

It was the initial usage of "Hang N' Bang"

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Thursday, July 22, 2021 1:01 PM

I rode three SLCs this year during my coaster renaissance, (after not having ridden one since Six Flags KK/SFWoA) in this order: Morey's, SFA, Darien.

That slider here went from not bad, to surprisingly not terrible to kind of terrible. What will the number 4 ride be?!

The Darien ride had a "this train is not well" lurching jackhammering back and forth feeling through the 2nd half of the ride. Not where I would of expected it to be based on speed and transistions. Sounds like T3 has the same worse.

The Morey's coaster though riding well, smooth and without the headbanging reveals more where the way too quick jerking and poorly engineered transitions are. There's no OSTR to stop your neck from over extending. (Mostly in and out of the rolls).

Last edited by Kstr 737, Thursday, July 22, 2021 1:02 PM
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