King's Dominion - 6/5 and 6/6, 2010

Wednesday, June 9, 2010 10:05 PM

Took my 11 year old son, Kevin, to Virginia for his first real coaster trip and for some father/son bonding. We hit King’s Dominion and Busch Gardens. Will cover KD here.

After the 8 hour drive we were rudely welcomed to Virginia with a 90+F temperature and high humidity. It was amazing how awful that felt after being in the AC’d comfort of the car. Instead of rushing right to the park we decided to take things easy and go for a swim in the hotel pool. We stayed at the Quality Inn in Ashland, exit 92 on I95. Decent hotel, no frills but the price was right - $65/night. I would recommend it.

We went to the park on Saturday night for a few hours. Having been there previously I wanted to knock out Anaconda and Shockwave so we could put the headbanging behind us. I was expecting a large crowd with it being a Saturday and with the Boy Scouts having a 100th anniversary event there. We were pleasantly surprised with a reasonable crowd. We could tell that it was a rough day at the park as pretty much everyone looked beat. On our way to Anaconda my son said he wanted to ride Dominator first. No objection from me especially with no line. To my surprise my son liked it and it is in the running for his favorite coaster. While it is not my favorite I think it is a solid ride. I especially like how they lined up the loop with the Eiffel Tower. Not sure if that was intended or just dumb luck but the upside down view is awesome.

Hit Anaconda and Shockwave and amazingly they were both relatively smooth with minimal headbanging. No Tylenol would be needed tonight! Decided to hit Hurler before we called it a short night. I still enjoy that coaster and my son thought the name was pretty funny.

Sunday was even hotter and we knew it would be a rough day. We got to the park in time for our supposed Platinum Pass exclusive early entry. Turns out they were letting everyone in. While not happy about that the crowd was light so it didn’t hurt us. What we did find really annoying was having to follow the security guard back to I305. Absolutely no running was allowed. I know most people think running to the first coaster of the day is stupid but it is what we do. Walking seemed like a big downer to start our day. When we got to I305 trains were already running. My guess was that they let the Boy Scouts who camped overnight in early as a reward for suffering through the very humid night. Regardless there was no line except for the first couple rows. Kevin chose the safety of the middle. We were both excited and when they cleared us and the “Gentleman start your engines” line was played we were off. I knew the lift hill was going to be fast but experiencing it first hand was a big wow for us. We crested the hill and I felt the slight pull of the much discussed brake but it was not a big deal. The force of the turn was unbelievable. We made it through the snap turns without much pain thanks to the advice of riding forward against the restraint. We hit the station and both gave it a big YEAH and immediately ran around to take another incredible ride. I have to wonder if the GP even knows the brake is there. My son said he did not notice it until after I mentioned it to him. While I wanted to ride it some more we decided to hit the rest of the coasters.

Flight of Fear was enjoyed by both of us as was Volcano. Kevin put this in a tie with Dominator for his favorite. While too short of a ride, the zero G rolls are incredibly fun. Too bad they can’t find a way to get its capacity up as the line grew way too long for our liking later in the day. Hit the rest with Grizzly being the only other coaster that we liked. Although Rebel Yell does score some points for the view of I305 that it offers at the turn around.

By early afternoon my son was running on fumes so we decided to hit our favorites one last time. Started with I305. Again no line. This time the turn about wiped me out. I have seen stars on a few coasters but this went beyond that. Severe tunnel vision and a feeling of not knowing what to do. Made it over the 2nd hill and all was well again. My son complained of the same problem. I am sure it had to do with our being hungry, tired, and hot. Probably against better judgment we decided to ride it again to see if we could duplicate the effect. While the next ride was somewhat disorienting it was not as bad. Tried to do Volcano but the line was way too long. Went to Dominator but it was broke down. By this time we my son was spent and we decided to return to the comfort of the pool hotel.

In summary a pretty solid collection of coasters but way too much blacktop for the hot Virginia sun. I guess I would say it is your typical Cedar Fair park. As for I305 I do wonder how long it can go without further modifications to get its intensity down to a more acceptable level so that more people will feel comfortable riding it.

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Sunday, June 13, 2010 5:51 AM

Well, it being a Cedar Fair park, I'm sure they'll "calm" I305 down somehow.

I still can't wrap my brain around what exactly what is wrong with Dominator. I'm a fan of B&M, but the forces seemed all out of whack when I rode it. Volcano, however, WAS a fun time, and I remember really liking FOF but getting very disoriented as to what was up and what was down. LOL

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Sunday, June 13, 2010 9:12 AM

I remembered liking Dominator a lot more at Geauga Lake, but it could just be that a) being on one of the edge seats and dangling over the water added to the experience, as opposed to Kings Dominion's gravel bed, and b) back then I'd ridden about 35 coasters in my life, whereas I've ridden 77 more since then, so I have more to judge it against.

Love love Volcano. Just wish it had better capacity!

Last edited by birdhombre, Sunday, June 13, 2010 9:13 AM
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