Kings Dominion, Doswell, Virginia, USA
The family decided to go to Virginia for Fourth of July week, and I was very pleased to see that our selected resort was fairly close to Kings Dominion. My dad and I were the only ones who were interested in visiting, so we sauntered over to the park. Unfortunately, I forgot about posting a trip report until now, so we'll see how many details I remember.
We arrived at 9:45 because we thought there might still be a few people left from the Fourth, but we were dead wrong. We had planned on staying until close, but left four hours before because we had ridden everything we wanted to ride, and numerous Intimidator 305 rides had taken their toll. My first impression was how nice the park appearance is. They really have spruced things up for their 40th anniversary. Every time we walked by the Singing Mushrooms I had to smile.
Since we got so many rides in, and I can't quite remember what order we rode them in, I will just proceed around the park clockwise, starting with Dominator. We got three rides on Dominator. Once in the front, and twice in the back. This ride was very impressive. Silky smooth and a very long ride made for an enjoyable experience. I was expecting a little bit of head banging but got none. Once in the back, I greyed out on the loop, a testimony to the ride's intensity. It would be nice if the drop faced the rest of the park like at Geauga Lake, but that's a very minor complaint. 8.5/10
Woodstock Express is a ride that surprises me every time I ride it. It is much more intense than it looks, and I actually got some airtime. Normally my dad tucks his hat under his shirt while riding coasters, but he didn't think Woodstock Express was capable of removing it from his head. On the second drop, it flew off his head. Luckily, the guy behind him saw it coming and snagged it. He now knows not to underestimate Woodstock Express. 4.5/10
Boo Blasters on Boo Hill was a ride that I never got on at Kings Island, but we had plenty of time today. We rode it twice. It awoke our competitive side and it really got heated. He beat me both times, but sitting in the front of the car definitely has its advantages. I love the humorous gravestones in the queue as well.
The Crypt was originally listed as not running for the day, but it did end up opening. This was the first Top Spin for both of us. At first, I didn't understand why the ride op slammed the OTSR down so far, but about the third flip I was very thankful. The crew was very funny, and enhanced the ride experience greatly. This ride legitimately scared me, the only time that happened today.
Avalanche was a ride that I had very low expectations for. It surpassed them by quite a bit. I thought it would be forceless like Disaster Transport, but it was much more intense. One helix in particular, provided a G-force onslaught. Some points in the trough were a little bumpy, but for the most part this ride was smooth and comfortable. 6.5/10
Volcano was the most fun ride of the day. We snagged four rides on it, and it was a blast (pun intended). Three of those were in the back, and one was in the front. I would have liked to get one more in the front though. Going in I had heard the launch would be forceful, but I was unprepared for the suddenness of it. It was running very smoothly, and the barrel rolls were just an all-around good time. This ride truly is one of a kind, and it sneaks into my top ten. 9.5/10
Flight of Fear was a bit of a disappointment. It wasn't as surprising, since I have ridden the Kings Island version. I think that Volcano's launch also made this one feel a little tame. Still, it's fun to hurtle through the darkness in the spaghetti bowl. My one major complaint is that you nearly stop on the MCBR and the final brakes are very sudden. 7/10
Intimidator 305 is simply incredible. We rode it seven times. Three times in the front, twice in the back, and twice in the middle. The first couple times I didn't even know if I liked it, it was so intense. The last five were pure bliss. I definitely rank it above Millennium Force, and I almost put it above Maverick. I greyed out on the first turn every single time. I was surprised by the airtime on this as well. We really flew over some of those hills. This ride would not be very good if it still had the old restraints. Those snap back turns would induce way too much head banging. I can't wait to try Maverick with the new restraints. The intensity must have scared off many because I am amazed that this ride never even filled every seat. They were running only one train, yet there were empty seats every time. There was one period where we rode it three times in a row, with only one train in between. It was get off, go around, and hop right into an empty seat. As I mentioned earlier, the forces on this thing made us think that it might be best if we left a bit early. 10/10
Anaconda is the first of the three that I despise at this park. The only highlight of this ride is the drop into the underwater tunnel. After that, I put all of my energy towards avoiding a headache. I succeeded, but I didn't enjoy the rest of the ride while doing so. Unfortunately, this was recently repainted so I think it will be here awhile. 4.5/10
Backlot Stunt Coaster is a ride that I love. For whatever reason I enjoy it way more than I should. My favorite part has to be the upward helix through the parking garage. There are some nice Gs there. Thankfully, there were more effects working than at the Kings Island one. They had the water splashdown working, and the fire before you go in the tunnel was working. 7/10
Shockwave was my first and probably last TOGO standup. At the time, we did not know that this was its final year, so the line was very short. I actually loved the first drop, loop, and airtime hill, but things went downhill from there. As soon as it began to turn into the helix, it turned into an awful experience. I am not sad to see it go. I think that they will replace it with a HUSS Frisbee or a Disk'o Coaster. 5/10
Drop Tower: Scream Zone is the tallest drop tower I have ridden. I didn't ride drop towers until fairly recently, but they don't scare me anymore. This one has a long drop that is tons of fun. It gives a great view of the park at the top, but it doesn't rotate like the Kings Island one.
Rebel Yell was another expectation exceeder. They were only running one side. We rode in the back, and we were treated to an airtime filled ride. My thighs became quite acquainted with the lap bar. I found this to be much smoother, and more airtime filled than The Racer. It would've been more fun if we were racing though. 7.5/10
Ricochet was a ride that I enjoyed quite a bit. I really like the Mack Large Park model much better than an Arrow Wild Mouse. Having a drop before the switchback turns is very nice. I've heard people complain that it is painful, but if you brace for the turns I find it to be fun. 6/10
Hurler is a ride that I hope is soon removed. It is just so rough, and the layout is not all that thrilling anyway. Based on how long a walk it is to get through the queue, it must have been popular at one point, but right now it just needs to be replaced. 4/10
Windseeker was our longest wait of the day. Twenty minutes is normally a reasonable wait on a crowded day for Windseeker, but today it felt like forever. When you just miss the cut to jump on the cycle, there is a guy who has to make the walk of shame, and the crew isn't hustling (I don't blame them with the number of people there), you have a bit of a wait on your hands. We actually found it very funny that this was our longest wait. As always, Windseeker gave a great view, and the ride cooled us off a bit too.
Grizzly was a terrific ride. It almost felt like a mini rendition of the Beast. It took us a long time to find, but eventually we discovered it through the Dinosaurs Alive gift shop. This ride was fairly smooth, and it felt pretty long too. This was one I wish I could've ridden a few more times. A night ride would be divine on this thing. 7.5/10
Eiffel Tower provided a great view as always. The guides in the elevator were not nearly as enthusiastic as the ones at Kings Island, but it was kind of a sleepy day. The parking lot was only a quarter full. It was up here that people were saying Shockwave would be removed. They must've talked to the lemon chill guy. :-)
Overall, Kings Dominion is a great park with a solid coaster collection. The one thing I see missing is a B&M Invert. It would be great to see a Hyper Invert here. Perhaps it could replace Hurler. Maybe this is wishful thinking, but that's my best case scenario. If given the chance, I would definitely return to the park. My next park up might be Cedar Point, but it could be Universal Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando, or Busch Gardens Tampa. Thanks for reading.
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