Kings Dominion, Doswell, Virginia, USA
I have been wanting to get back to Kings Dominion for a while. We stopped to visit the park on the way back from Orlando since we were literally driving right past it. I had been there 4 times before, never as an enthusiast and my last 2 visits in 1997 and 2003 were horrible. Almost all the coasters new to me except Ghoster Coaster/Woodstock Express and the left side of Racer 75. Tickets were reasonable with an online price of $39.99 with an included all day drink wristband. It was $20 for preferred parking (only $3 more than regular).
I liked how a few rides in front of the park open early including Dominator. At the stairs before the station there was a front row line which was full and a line for the other rows. I went for the last row and found out most people in the front row line didn't realize there were 2 lines as most of them went for other rows besides the front when they got to the station. Dominator is my 4th Floorless coaster and was really good. I liked how the vertical loop was so tall and there some banked turns instead of extra inversions although it was different to not have a zero g roll. This ended up being my 2nd favorite Floorless coaster after Bizarro.
It was just after 10:30, and rather than go to Twisted Timbers along with probably almost everyone else there at opening, I thought it would be better to get some other coasters ridden first. On the way to other coasters we stopped at Boo Blasters. I liked how many of the targets caused some of the props to move. For a regional park dark ride, I prefer Justice League Battle for Metropolis and Reese's CupFusion.
I remember seeing Avalanche during my first trip to the park when I was 6 years old when riding the monorail that went into the safari and was amazed how the coaster wasn't attached to the trough. Now all these years later and after riding Flying Turns I was curious how the 2 rides would differ. I liked how Avalanche had more track and much better capacity with 7 car trains and 2 trains running but I prefer Flying Turns because it is so much smoother. Avalanche feels like you are riding a roller slide at a playground. It was also one of the few Cedar Fair coasters I can think of that doesn't have any seatbelt. I was glad to finally try the coaster and would ride the coaster once every few trips to the park if this was my home park but 1 ride was enough.
Seeing Volcano's spot without a coaster was disappointing because I had heard such great things about it but I understand why they removed it. Hopefully the park adds another coaster to replace it.
Flight of Fear had only a few people in the station and I walked right onto the last row. I'm a fan of almost any coaster with lap bars and inversions and this is another fun coaster. Kings Islands' coaster stops on the MCBR, this version slows down but does not completely stop.
Backlot Stunt Coaster was a surprise hit for me at Kings Island. The helix after the launch was more intense than I was expecting and the layout was fun. Kings Dominion's version unfortunately did not have the fire effects working and the helicopter did not move. The coaster was still good but it was a shame to see the effects broken.
Anaconda was next. I was expecting the worse considering this is an older Arrow looping coaster but it was unexpectedly really smooth. The twisted section after the MCBR wasn't nearly as bad as I was expecting either. This coaster made me miss Great American Scream Machine.
I rode the right (red) side of Racer 75. Both sides were open with 1 train running on each side. I never rode the right side on past trips because it used to run backwards. This was another coaster that was smoother than I was expecting and a lot smoother than Racer at Kings Island.
Now for the coaster I was looking most forward to riding, Twisted Timbers. This would be my first RMC coaster I was going to see why everyone likes their coasters so much. The greeter at the entrance said the line was 10 minutes and the line was not out of the station. The metal detector system they have in place was confusing. It originally looked like after walking through the metal detector in the station you get a green card if you had nothing that set off the metal detector and a red card if you had something like a phone or keys and they had to go into a pouch on the train. Then they stopped handing them out and I didn't get any card (I didn't have my phone or keys with me). It was only a 5 train wait but took over 20 minutes because of the dispatches.
There is a countdown of 75 seconds in the station after the train gets back and after that counts down to 0, it starts to count back up. It was taking the 75 seconds plus an extra 180 more seconds which meant dispatches of over 4 minutes. No one can pull their lap bar down and the ride operators walk to check and make sure everyone's seatbelt is buckled and then lower the lap bars for you. Even with all the warnings not to lower the lap bar yourself, people were still lowering their lap bars which caused delays.
The barrel roll first drop was different and cool compared to a traditional first drop. After that there is an overbanked turn, many hills with extreme air time, a cutback and zero g roll. This coaster was excellent and easily my favorite coaster at the park. I'd probably put it at #4 on my steel coaster list. The queue had filled up a lot more and based on the dispatch times, was probably around a 45 minute wait so I only rode the coaster once.
Like Coast Rider at Knott's Berry Farm, I prefer Apple Zapple's layout compared to the standard wild mouse layout with larger first drop.
Grizzly was next. I was in the station for this coaster in 2003 but gave up when I saw 1 train was running with slow dispatches and a very crowded station with it being at least a 5 or 6 train wait. There was still 1 train running on this trip but it was only a 1 train wait. The layout of the coaster was ok but it was rough. It wasn't as bad as Hercules, Gwazi or Wildcat (Lake Compounce) but still is close to the bottom of my wooden coaster list.
With Le Mans Raceway removed from Busch Gardens Williamburg, Blue Ridge Tollway is probably my favorite non Disney slow moving car ride. The ride time is better than similar rides at Hershey or Dorney and there was some scenery along the track.
Shenandoah Lumber Company was ok for a log flume. The smaller drop had more of a splash than the final drop.
There was only 1 coaster left, Intimidator 305. I knew this coaster had a reputation for being very forceful and causing blackouts which led the park to add some trim brakes and later modify the turn after the first drop. Even with those changes, the forcefulness of that turn really got to me and I didn't feel great the entire ride and gave me a headache. I can't handle intense rides like I used to. Years ago, I could ride Batman The Ride 5 times in a row no problem, now it's a once per trip ride for me. I know enthusiasts really like this coaster and many like how intense and forceful it is but it was too much for me. I'll take the tamer Millennium Force any day over this coaster.
After lunch, on the way out of the park I was going to get some re-rides on a few of the coasters in but I still had a headache that didn't go away until about an hour after riding i305 and we were back in the car on the way to PA and knowing it was over a 5 hour drive, I didn't want to take a chance on feeling worse. We also wanted to leave before rush hour to try to avoid being stuck in DC traffic as much as possible. I was still glad that I had ridden every coaster in the park except those in the kids area and ridden a few non coaster rides as well.
This was a much better trip to Kings Dominion than those past visits and I hope I won't go 16 years in between visits this time.
It’s a great park. There are trees everywhere and the landscaping compares to Busch Gardens. The park entrance is one of the most spectacular of any park.
Its got s good ride collection. It’s main flaw is still the damage that Paramount did with removing the train, skyway, monorail and dark rides. It’s a shame the destroyed the mountain where Volcano was built but Paramount had gutted it also.
Cedar Fair has done a great job there overall.
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