King Richard's Park 8-24-02

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Saturday, August 24, 2002 12:13 PM
I had heard of a roller coaster near where I live (Southwest Florida), but I’ve never seen it advertised in local newspapers or TV stations. A while ago, I had briefly heard a radio ad about King Richard’s Park in Naples, Florida that had a roller coaster. I had to dig around and I finally found an article about it in an online newspaper. I drove by it once, but I never went in. I was looking for a huge roller coaster looming from behind the building, but I saw none.

Finally, after doing a search on RCDB.com, I found their website. They had the Flying Dragon coaster, which was a kiddie coaster. The website claimed that their park had the only permanent coaster in southwest Florida. I almost passed it up, if I didn’t need the credit. I am steadily approaching my 100th coaster, which I hope will be Cheetah at Wild Adventures in September. My coaster count is now 88 coasters. If I ride the Flying Dragon, it will go up to 89. I was planning on going to Six Flags Over Georgia and Dollywood before Wild Adventures. Dollywood has two coasters and Six Flags Over Georgia has nine. So if I ride the ones at Dollywood and eight at Six Flags Over Georgia, I will reach 99 and then I can celebrate my 100th ride at Wild Adventures on the Cheetah.

I wanted to add one extra in case a coaster broke down at Dollywood or Six Flags. It seems that out of the three Six Flags that I’ve visited, at least one coaster was down. I wanted to cover myself. At the very least, I could skip one of the painful coasters, like Ninja.

Naples is about an hour’s drive from me. King Richard’s Park is on North Airport Drive. The outside is a castle, but the medieval theming stops there. The entrance to the place has a small water area for the kids. You pass through an arcade area (brightly-lit, but tight on space) to get to the rides in the back. The arcade had a bad odor.

The first thing that surprised me was the price. The website did not list any admission prices, which should have been a red light to me. I decided to go anyway. I expected to pay about $10-$15 for an all-day armband. However, the park sold each ride ticket for $4. Each ride costs 1 ticket. So even if you ride the Froghopper-type ride or the Go-Karts, it’s one ticket. The rides don’t seem to be weighted properly. Surely, a ride on the Go-Karts is more valuable than one on a Froghopper! I had quite a sticker shock. You could buy a family pack of 6 tickets for around $22. Then you could buy an all-day armband for around $22.50 for juniors (under 9 years old or so), $24.50 for ages 9-16 or so, and $26.50 for adults. I opted for the adult armband and used a 10% off coupon I got off their website.

The park has a handful of rides: a Froghopper-type ride (but not painted with frogs), Tornado, Go-Karts, kiddie go-karts, a kiddie truck ride, the Flying Dragon roller coaster, bumper boats, Carousel, a swinging ship, a bi-plane Dumbo-type ride, batting cages (extra charge), and mini-golf (extra charge). I only rode the Tornado, Go-Karts, and the Flying Dragon. I tried to ride the Froghopper, but I think that I broke it. The ride op couldn’t get the ride to go up! I guess I’m too big for this one! The Carousel and bi-plane rides looked too small for me. I wanted to ride the swinging ship, but it was down.

The Flying Dragon roller coaster was just really a kiddie coaster. It had a tight turn in the middle, but that’s it. It reminded me of the Dragon coaster at Dorney Park, only with a longer track. The coaster goes around the track several times, but after 2 or 3 laps, the ride got boring. It was no Millennium Force, but it was an OK ride. Kids would like it much more. One odd thing though: every time that I rode it, my left pocket would be wet! The bumper boats were next door, but there is no way that the water guns on the boats can shoot that far. Also, to unlock the lapbars, the ride op had to put in an air pump tube into a hole.

I rode the Tornado ride two times. You sit in four person cars and you’re hung off an arm. The ride spins you around and you can also turn a wheel to spin yourself around. The first time that I rode, I didn’t know about the wheel, so I just spun around. It wasn’t a tornado on that ride – it was a summer breeze! The second time was when I turned the wheel. I couldn’t get it to spin very fast. I suppose four people in the car could spin it until someone hurls.

To break even, I rode the Go-Karts. This was the first time I’ve rode go-karts and the track was pretty good. I did make a mistake on the ride. When the ride was over and all the cars were in the pit area, the other riders jumped out of the car. I followed them. The ride op foo-fooed us because he said that we had to stay seated until he was in the pit area. He said to remember that next time. At least he didn’t eject us from the park!

I spent about 45 minutes riding the rides and then I took some video of the rides for the Florida Coaster Club. I managed to get 6 minutes of bootleg video. I say bootleg video because an employee came to me and asked me to stop videotaping. I needed permission ahead of time to do so. I was thinking, “!!!” but rules are rules. I put away my camera right in front of him. I found it odd that he asked me that. There really isn’t anything proprietary here. I know a lot of parks will let you shoot the rides, but not on the rides because the camera might fly out of your hands and bonk someone on the head. I don’t know how standing there would cause such a hazard.

Then I thought that he might be trying to guard the guests from sexual predators who might videotape kids for inappropriate usages. Honestly, I had never thought of such disgusting things. Still, it felt like an odd request to ask me to stop videotaping. I’ve never been asked to do that at any other park. Besides, wouldn’t it be nice if I showed it to family, friends, and Florida Coaster Club members to see how cool and fun the park is? That would be some great free advertising.

As I thought about what my opinion of the park was, I couldn’t help think what other people have said about Dutch Wonderland. I thought about going there, but other people said that it’s good for very young kids. Adults would be bored there. I have the same feeling about King Richard’s Park. Kids will have fun here. Older kids may enjoy the go-karts. Besides that, there’s not much that the entire family can enjoy together. I also think the park is a bit pricey. Other amusement parks have a greater assortment of rides and they charge only a few dollars more. Knoebel’s came to mind. They have dozens of flat rides and four roller coasters that you can ride for $27.75. Other parks with a small asoortment of rides charge around $10-$15.

The Florida Lottery jackpot is at $32 million as of today (8/24/02). I had a passing thought that if I won it, then I could contact the Gravity Group and build an outstanding wooden coaster. I could install some flat rides and add an arcade and go-kart track. Then I could charge $25 or so a head for an all-day armband and one-up King Richard’s! I could even offer annual passes! We can only dream…

September will bring Dollywood, Six Flags Over Georgia, and Wild Adventures!

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Friday, August 30, 2002 9:27 PM

I rode a coaster similar to that at a fair, the ride ops also had to use air to realease the lap bars! Werid!

Great TR!

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See THE ULTIMATE in Orlando TR'S! Right now in the TR fourm!

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Saturday, August 31, 2002 10:12 AM
Just remember, if a couple of coasters are down then just ride a different coaster at Wild Adventures before Cheetah so it will still be your 100th.

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Raging Bull= 107

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Saturday, August 31, 2002 10:25 AM

Why would you skip Ninja? Just because you HEARD a few bad things about it?! Well if you HAD to skip a coaster so that Cheetah would HAVE to be your 100, I would say that would be a poor decision, shoot for Superman as #1 because I have heard some bad things about Cheetah, and next to no bad things about Superman.

It's nice for somebody to elaborate on such a small park for once.

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Tuesday's Gone With The Wind.
Elijah Rock.
Is it written in the stars?
La Vie Boheme!!!

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Saturday, August 31, 2002 1:51 PM

It's funny because I just made my first visit on 8/25 to this park. I took my daughter (8) for her 40th coaster. She's been on MF, SOB, Rn'R coaster and many other good coasters and rides (blender at Boomers). I also found the prices to be high. Boomers in Fort Lauderdale is a much better value and has better rides. The frozen drinks were pretty good, though.

I'm also part of the FLCC but have only been to one event. I think I'll wait to renew after my membership is up(in December) until my daughter is 54" in big shoes (around June). Also, my son is the youngest member(3 now, 2 when first joined).

King Richard's wasn't bad but I think with Boomers a little closer and much better I'll stick to going there.

Good TR

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Saturday, August 31, 2002 7:02 PM

SFGAMDie HARD said:

Why would you skip Ninja? Just because you HEARD a few bad things about it?! Well if you HAD to skip a coaster so that Cheetah would HAVE to be your 100, I would say that would be a poor decision, shoot for Superman as #1 because I have heard some bad things about Cheetah, and next to no bad things about Superman.

It's nice for somebody to elaborate on such a small park for once.



What's going to happen is that the FLCC event at SFOG will be on Saturday and Wild Adventures on Sunday. Morning ERT on Saturday will be on S:UF and morning ERT on Sunday will be Cheetah. So unless I flip-flop the parks, my 100th will be the Cheetah.

My gut says that one ride will be down at SFOG, but I think I can skip either Ninja or the Mine Train. I'd think I'd rather skip the Mine Train.

*** This post was edited by Barry H on 8/31/2002. ***

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