Kings Dominion, Doswell, Virginia, USA
On my Virginia trip last week, I visited KD for the first time. The weather for the day was to be 95 and humid so I was worried that would be a hindrance to us and was hoping we would be able to find some shade. We got to the park right around 10 and after going through the front gate and getting a locker, I was blown away by the amount of trees and shading in the park. I was expecting asphalt with no shading in the park and was pleasantly surprised by the amount of shade on this 95 dgree day. My mom even said it reminded her of Knoebles with all the trees. The first thing we did was the Eiffel Tower. I enjoyed getting the overview of the park from there.
The first two coasters of the day were Scooby Doo's Ghoster Coaster and Dominator. Scooby Doo wound up being my favorite woodie in the park. I enjoy these kiddie woodies I really find them to be a lot of fun. I wish more parks had them. Dominator had the longest wait of the day, 40 minutes. Floorless are probably my favorite B&M design so I was looking forward to this one. It is now my favorite floorless. I liked everything about the ride except the placement.
Scooby Doo and the Haunted Mansion was great. If parks aren't going to make the traditional dark rides anymore (which I really wish they would), these are a good substitute. It is cool inside the building, family firendly, and is a ton of fun. Great scenery in here and great theming in the queue as well. I still like Ghostwood Estates the best but this one is so much better than Hershey's pathetic attempt at this kind of ride.
We then went over to the Old Virginia section to ride Blue Ridge Tollway (antique cars) which were completely covered by trees. It was so cool under there and it was a really long ride.
I then rode Grizzly and thought it was ok. It seemed to be that after the first drop, the ride lost all of its speed and the real beginning of the ride was the second drop.
Onto El Dorado, this was a weak falling star. Da Vinci's Cradle is half it's size and had a lot more forces. Hurler...well let's just say I never have to ride it again. This was not fun in any way. So since Ricochet is right here, I got in line. I really do not like wild mouse coasters but since it was a walk-on (I have never seen this on a wild mouse) and I was intrigued with the decent first drop, I got on. I actually found it enjoyable, rare for a mouse for me, but I hated the hard brakes at the end, it wasn't just one set of brakes, more like 3 or 4.
We rode Americana and I think it is placed very nicely. One would think it has always been there as it is in the center of the park.
Rebel Yell was only running one side. I hate when they do this with racing coasters. The right side was open so I waited a cycle for the backseat, left side. I was looking forward to this ride and I was utterly disappointed. How do I put this nicely...umm...the lap bar keep slamming into my left chest area on every single hill and then we hit the trunaround and I was just hoping to make it back to the station still a full woman when the lap bar clicks down another click to the tightest possible setting. Oh great, now I can't feel my thighs either. Getting to the station was the biggest relief of the day.
So before lunch, my mom rode Triple Spin with me (she won't do coasters but will do the spinners). This was a great flat and had 4x as long of a cycle as Flying Machine at BGW. Then my aunt asked me to take her on Drop Zone before we ate so she would be able to ride without any issues and to my utter shock my mom says she wants to ride too. Ok sure. I'm not big on drop towers and usually skip them as I see no point in waiting in line for a 2 second ride but of the few I've been on, I like this one the best.
We made our way back to the log flume and I loved how it was set back in the woods. My mom said that she could ride this all day with the beautiful setting it had.
We then walked the whole park back to the Congo section. Volcano was a 20 minute wait, the only coaster besides Dominator that wasn't a walk on. I enjoyed it. Not your prototypical Intamin launcher. I like anything that is different and innovative.
Avalanche is next, and as with Volcano, I liked it because it's different. It was also a really fun ride. Bobsleds are hard to find but I always enjoy them.
Flight of Fear I thought was great. I enjoyed the launch, the ride in the dark, the disorienting feeling that it gives you. Only drawback is the hard slam on the brakes at the end.
Anaconda was not as bad as I thought. I was braced for a bad ride so maybe that's why. The first half was decent, no head-banging but in the second half, head-banging ensued so I guess it was only half bad.
I thought Backlot Stunt Coaster was "cute." I really don't know how else to describe it. Most of the effects seemed to be on so that's a plus. I would ride it again.
I saved Shockwave for last because if we ran out of time, I really didn't care if I missed this one. It wasn't as bad as Mantis but it wasn't really good either. Also waiting 10 minutes on the brakes to get off the ride was not fun.
Back to the Old Virginia section to get another ride on the log flume and ride White Water Canyon before heading out. WWC was a better rapids ride than Roman Rapids but still nowhere as good as CCR. Again, I am starting realize why everyone was so pissed when they took it out, I thought all rapids rides were about the same, apparently not so. We changed our clothes and headed out.
Just one complaint, the area were Hypersonic was is pretty desolate. I would hope there are plans to put something there in the future. You could probably fit 5 or 6 flats there. Speaking of flats, does anyone know why the spider was not installed this year? Are there any plans to install it in the future?
Overall, I really liked Kings Dominion. Very shaded, friendlyemployees (I didn't meet a rude one all day), good collection of rides, and an overall great atmosphere.
Maybe I'll be making another trip here in 2010 when the giga opens. :)
Interesting, WWC is my favorite rapids ride. Were the mid-ride geysers on? And the waterfalls inside the mill at the end? Don't get me wrong, I think CCR was probably my second favorite (I agree that Roman Rapids is just ok), but I always thought KD's had the most interesting and scenic layout, and had plenty of areas that get you wet.Last edited by Vater, Sunday, July 5, 2009 12:51 AM
There were definitely no mid-ride geysers and no waterfalls inside the mill. If this was the case, I would have liked the ride a lot more. The only time we got wet was from water splashing up on the sides, nothing from above. Also, we kept getting stuck in the holding gates so it was like ride, sit and wait, ride, sit and wait. I did enjoy the mill itself I thought that was a nice touch and I agree it was a beautiful setting back there. I also like how KD put the water rides together, I wish other parks did this.
I haven't ridden WWC in years, but I know that in cooler weather they usually don't run the falls in the mill. On the final turn before exiting the mill, you're greeted by a wall of water on either side of the raft. If your raft is spinning, you can expect everyone to get drenched, but once every blue moon you'll somehow cruise through the center of the falls unscathed. It's the perfect finale for the ride, and I can understand it being mediocre if the falls aren't on.
The geysers are scattered around the holding gate areas, and are set off by the ride operaters in the little buildings overlooking these areas. I guess whether or not they are on depends on what mood the ops are in.Last edited by Vater, Sunday, July 5, 2009 5:37 PM
Yikes! Shockwave better than Mantis? Even with the trim, I find Mantis to be pretty enjoyable.
I have both Togos I've ridden ranked higher than all the B&Ms.
I have ridden all 3 of the Togo stand ups that are/were in North America and I too prefer them to Mantis. I could however go without riding another stand up and be fine with it.
Canada's Wonderland Skyrider was the most comfortable of all of them.Last edited by DaveStroem, Wednesday, July 8, 2009 6:09 PM
What was different about Skyrider than King Cobra?
I have to agree with Dave; I like the ride on Skyrider a lot better than King Cobra as well. Are/were the 'seats' (such as they are) somewhat different? Maybe that would explain it.
Shockwave had something that felt weird in my upper back and the pads were hard as rocks. Skyrider didn't have what ever I was feeling in my back and the pads were nice and soft so when you did get thrown around in them it didn't hurt. As to King Cobra, it has been so long ago that I can't really comment on it. The other 2 I rode 1 week apart so my comparison was pretty fresh.
I have Chang at SFKK coming up in a couple of weeks. We are taking of this weekend from traveling. I will still get another credit in for 2009 though. Going to the Columbus Zoo and riding Sea Dragon which was my very first coaster when it was The Jet.Last edited by DaveStroem, Wednesday, July 8, 2009 9:15 PM
I'd rank them thusly - King Cobra slightly better than Skyrider...and then somewhere way down low, Shockwave. Shockwave plain hurt me, repeatedly, over the years. Not anymore - I have said that before about other rides (but I haven't been hurt by Mantis in at least 5 or 6 years)... ;)
IIRC the Spider was not added because of some technical issues. I really wish it had been because Spiders and Octopus' are some of my favorite rides. The only issue is that as these rides are aging there are limited replacement parts, hence their gradual extinction.
I love to hear anyone compare a park to Knoebels! Although... to be fair, when Flying Turns finally opens, Avalanche will seem quite tame and very lame. :-)
I'm not saying Mantis is good, I'm just saying Shockwave was just plain awful.
I love Scorcher and Riddler, though. I could ride both of those all afternoon.
^The only two B&M standups that I have any desire to ride...the rest, well, they keep lines shorter for rides I like better. ;)
Agreed, I think Scorcher is the best B&M standup (haven't ridden Riddler). Still, Shockwave is better. :)
The Georgia Scorcher does pack a very big punch for a smaller scale stand up ride and it seems like a lengthier ride than it is when you are on it too. I also like Chang at Kentucky Kingdom.
I liked Shockwave better because it was a shorter ride than Mantis. It didn't have long enough to leave me with a migraine like Mantis did. All that head-banging was too much for me. Luckily, I never have to ride it again. :)
Scorcher is the only stand up I enjoyed, by far, but I haven't ridden Riddler's Revenge.
Put me in the minority of riders who can't get enough of the B&M megastandups. I find Mantis to be especially epic, but if you tell me you don't like it, I could probably explain for you why that is. I can dig it, but I don't blame those who can't. As for Shockwave...ugh...got the credit. Maybe it's partly to blame for why I stopped going for as many credits as possible, lol.
Glad you enjoyed the park, though. I absolutely love Kings Dominion, and I was thrilled when Dominator got relocated there. Haven't ridden it in its new home, and while I'm bummed the new location doesn't look anywhere near as attractive as the old (and the lines not nearly as short, lol), I'll take it over permanent dismantling anyday. Long may she roll.
I must say I've always found the park's coaster lineup a bit quirky, if you will, but I find that in this case it works in the park's favor. Volcano is especially fun, but I enjoy pretty much every coaster there, Hurler included. ;)
Again, though, I'm glad you enjoyed your visit to such a wonderful park. Great report as well.
The first drop on the back of Scorcher is darn fun. Getting real air in the stand up position is a pretty unique experience.
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