King's Dominion 8/31 + Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Associated parks:
None

Tuesday, September 5, 2000 7:23 AM
"It's only water..."

My brother and I hit these two parks on the way to our sister's in Norfolk, VA, for Labor Day weekend. I'd never been to either park, my brother hadn't been to King's Dominion.

The combination of mid-week (and final full week) and poor weather kept the crowds away. Ironically enough, although the weather was MUCH worse on Friday, Busch Gardens was much more crowded.

Our overall impression from this trip: WOW. Now, our opinions will be biased by how pleasant the experience was due to light crowds, which is something that's out of the parks' control.

I'm not sure which park I preferred. I love woodies, and King's Dominion definitely wins there, with Busch Gardens forfeiting (and PKD having a pair of GOOD woodies in Hurler and Grizzly, IMHO). Busch Gardens has EXCELLENT versions of the rides it has, though, and is a true theme park where the theming isn't just silly.

First, King's Dominion. 9 coasters that we were able to get on (Taxi Jam requires a small child to ride with, something we weren't able to come up with). Weather for the day was overcast, warm, and muggy, with rain theatening all day, but we never saw more than a drizzle until after we'd left the park. Still, this threat seemed to keep the crowds away, because our longest wait all day was a mere 20 minutes for the front seat of Volcano.

The good:
The ride ops at PKD surprised us with how cool they were. The crowds were VERY light on Thursday, so light that we would frequently return to the station to find nobody waiting for our seats. After one lap on Hurler, we came back to a TOTALLY empty station. The op at the controls just said "Anyone who wants off, please raise your hands. No? Ok, see you soon..." and dispatched us again. Very cool, no "theme park mentality" there at all. Similar experiences on Grizzly, Anoconda, and Rebel Yell ("If you can find an empty seat you may ride again..."). THIS is how to run 漀愀猀琀攀爀猀 ⠀愀渀搀 栀漀眀 琀漀 爀愀挀欀 甀瀀 琀栀攀 氀愀瀀猀 㰀椀洀最 猀爀挀㴀∀⼀昀漀爀甀洀猀⼀椀洀愀最攀猀⼀眀椀渀欀⸀最椀昀∀ 戀漀爀搀攀爀㴀∀ ∀㸀 ⤀ 㰀戀爀㸀 㰀戀爀㸀吀栀攀 戀愀搀㨀 㰀戀爀㸀倀䬀䐀 ⨀䐀䤀䐀⨀ 猀栀漀眀 琀栀攀洀攀 瀀愀爀欀 洀攀渀琀愀氀椀琀礀 椀渀 氀攀琀琀椀渀最 甀猀 椀渀⸀  ∀倀愀爀欀 漀瀀攀渀猀 愀琀 ㄀ ∀ 眀愀猀 嘀䔀刀夀 猀琀爀椀挀琀Ⰰ 眀椀琀栀 甀猀 愀氀氀 氀椀渀椀渀最 甀瀀 愀琀 琀栀攀 攀渀琀爀礀 最愀琀攀猀Ⰰ 眀栀椀挀栀 眀攀爀攀渀✀琀 漀瀀攀渀攀搀 甀渀琀椀氀 ㄀  猀栀愀爀瀀⸀  䈀甀琀 琀栀攀渀Ⰰ 眀攀 最漀琀 椀渀 琀栀攀 瀀愀爀欀 漀渀氀礀 琀漀 昀椀渀搀 琀栀愀琀 眀攀 挀漀甀氀搀渀✀琀 最漀 愀渀礀眀栀攀爀攀 戀甀琀 琀栀攀 洀愀椀渀 猀琀爀攀攀琀 甀渀琀椀氀 ㄀ 㨀㌀ ⸀  䄀 最爀愀渀搀 琀漀琀愀氀 漀昀 ㈀ 爀椀搀攀猀 眀攀爀攀 愀瘀愀椀氀愀戀氀攀 ⠀琀栀攀 䔀椀昀昀攀氀 吀漀眀攀爀 愀渀搀 琀栀攀 䈀攀爀稀攀爀欀攀爀⤀⸀  䤀 挀愀渀 甀渀搀攀爀猀琀愀渀搀 琀爀礀椀渀最 琀漀 愀瀀瀀氀礀 匀伀䴀䔀 挀爀漀眀搀 昀氀漀眀 挀漀渀琀爀漀氀Ⰰ 戀甀琀 挀✀洀漀渀Ⰰ 一伀吀䠀䤀一䜀 攀氀猀攀 漀瀀攀渀椀渀最 愀琀 ㄀ 㼀 㰀戀爀㸀 㰀戀爀㸀吀栀攀 䌀漀愀猀琀攀爀猀㨀 㰀戀爀㸀 㰀戀爀㸀吀栀攀 䜀爀椀稀稀氀礀㨀  㘀 氀愀瀀猀⸀  䤀琀 猀攀攀洀猀 瀀攀漀瀀氀攀 栀愀瘀攀 愀 氀漀瘀攀ⴀ椀琀 漀爀 栀愀琀攀ⴀ椀琀 爀攀愀挀琀椀漀渀 琀漀 琀栀椀猀 眀漀漀搀椀攀⸀  圀攀 氀漀瘀攀搀 椀琀⸀  䤀琀✀猀 挀攀爀琀愀椀渀氀礀 愀 瘀椀漀氀攀渀琀 爀椀搀攀Ⰰ 椀渀 琀栀愀琀 椀琀 瀀椀琀挀栀攀猀 礀漀甀 攀瘀攀爀礀 眀栀椀挀栀 眀愀礀Ⰰ 戀甀琀 眀攀 搀椀搀渀✀琀 昀椀渀搀 椀琀 琀漀 戀攀 愀渀 漀瘀攀爀氀礀 刀伀唀䜀䠀 爀椀搀攀 ⠀愀猀 椀渀 樀愀爀爀椀渀最 礀漀甀爀 戀愀挀欀⤀⸀  䴀甀挀栀 戀攀琀琀攀爀 琀栀愀渀Ⰰ 猀愀礀Ⰰ 䴀攀愀渀 匀琀爀攀愀欀⸀ 㰀戀爀㸀 㰀戀爀㸀吀栀攀 䠀甀爀氀攀爀㨀  㘀 氀愀瀀猀⸀  圀栀愀琀 愀 最爀攀愀琀 爀椀搀攀⸀  一漀琀 琀栀攀 琀愀氀氀攀猀琀 漀爀 昀愀猀琀攀猀琀Ⰰ 戀甀琀 氀漀琀猀 漀昀 愀椀爀琀椀洀攀⸀  圀攀 戀漀琀栀 琀栀漀甀最栀琀 眀攀 最漀琀 洀漀爀攀 愀椀爀 椀渀 琀栀攀 ㈀渀搀 爀漀眀 琀栀愀渀 琀栀攀 爀攀愀爀 ⠀∀攀樀攀挀琀漀爀 愀椀爀∀⤀ 戀甀琀 眀攀 䌀伀唀䰀䐀 栀愀瘀攀 戀攀攀渀 洀椀猀琀愀欀攀渀⸀ 㰀戀爀㸀 㰀戀爀㸀刀攀戀攀氀 夀攀氀氀㨀  ㌀ 氀愀瀀猀 戀愀挀欀眀愀爀搀猀Ⰰ ㄀ 昀漀爀眀愀爀搀猀⸀  一漀琀 戀愀搀⸀  䐀攀昀椀渀椀琀攀氀礀 洀漀爀攀 昀甀渀 最漀椀渀最 戀愀挀欀眀愀爀搀猀 琀栀愀渀 昀漀爀眀愀爀搀猀⸀  䜀椀洀洀椀挀欀Ⰰ 戀甀琀 椀琀 愀搀搀猀 愀 渀椀挀攀 琀眀椀猀琀 漀渀 愀 爀攀氀愀琀椀瘀攀氀礀 琀愀洀攀 眀漀漀搀椀攀⸀ 㰀戀爀㸀 㰀戀爀㸀䄀渀漀挀漀渀搀愀㨀  㐀 氀愀瀀猀⸀  䄀爀爀漀眀 氀漀漀瀀攀爀Ⰰ ✀渀甀昀昀 猀愀椀搀⸀  䄀挀琀甀愀氀氀礀 眀攀 氀椀欀攀搀 椀琀 焀甀椀琀攀 愀 戀椀琀Ⰰ 戀甀琀 椀琀✀猀 猀漀洀攀眀栀愀琀 爀漀甀最栀⸀  圀攀 栀愀搀渀✀琀 爀椀搀搀攀渀 椀琀 戀攀昀漀爀攀Ⰰ 猀漀 眀攀 挀愀渀✀琀 爀攀愀氀氀礀 猀愀礀 椀昀 椀琀✀猀 愀最攀搀 瀀漀漀爀氀礀 ⠀愀猀 䄀爀爀漀眀猀 猀漀洀攀琀椀洀攀猀 猀攀攀洀 琀漀 搀漀⤀ 漀爀 眀愀猀 愀氀眀愀礀猀 氀椀欀攀 㰀戀爀㸀琀栀愀琀⸀ 㰀戀爀㸀 㰀戀爀㸀伀甀琀攀爀 䰀椀洀椀琀猀㨀  ㈀ 氀愀瀀猀⸀  吀栀椀猀 漀渀攀 戀愀渀最猀 礀漀甀爀 栀攀愀搀 愀 氀漀琀⸀  吀栀攀 琀爀椀洀 眀愀猀 漀渀 嘀䔀刀夀 猀琀爀漀渀最Ⰰ 猀攀攀洀椀渀最氀礀 戀爀椀渀最椀渀最 琀栀攀 琀爀愀椀渀 琀漀 愀 昀甀氀氀 猀琀漀瀀 ⠀搀椀昀昀椀挀甀氀琀 琀漀 琀攀氀氀 猀椀渀挀攀 椀琀✀猀 琀漀琀愀氀氀礀 搀愀爀欀 愀琀 琀栀愀琀 瀀漀椀渀琀⤀⸀  䈀攀琀琀攀爀 琀栀愀渀 匀椀砀 䘀氀愀最猀 䄀洀攀爀椀挀愀✀猀 䨀漀欀攀爀✀猀 䨀椀渀砀 ⠀搀甀攀 琀漀 琀栀攀洀椀渀最 愀渀搀 琀栀攀 昀愀挀琀 琀栀愀琀 䤀 眀愀猀渀✀琀 刀䔀儀唀䤀刀䔀䐀 琀漀 爀攀洀漀瘀攀 洀礀 最氀愀猀猀攀猀⤀Ⰰ 戀甀琀 渀漀琀 愀 爀椀搀攀 眀攀✀搀 眀愀渀琀 琀漀 洀愀爀愀琀栀漀渀 漀渀⸀  䤀 眀愀猀 愀氀猀漀 猀甀爀瀀爀椀猀攀搀 琀漀 渀漀琀攀 琀栀愀琀 䤀 搀椀搀渀✀琀 猀瀀漀琀 愀渀礀 猀椀最渀猀 眀愀爀渀椀渀最 爀椀搀攀爀猀 琀漀 爀攀洀漀瘀攀 攀愀爀爀椀渀最猀Ⰰ  㰀戀爀㸀 㰀戀爀㸀嘀漀氀挀愀渀漀㨀  㐀 氀aps. The best steelie in the park, and one of our favorites overall. The Coaster Gods at Intamin have struck again. (Can you tell I liked this one? ;) ) The launch into the bank into another launch was just great, and I really enjoyed the downward return trip. This ride was just plain fun.

Shockwave: 2 laps. This is actually a pretty intense standup, probably mostly due to the positive g's we felt in the helix. Not bad. I like the Togo restraints, actually.

Avalanche: 1 lap. Took it once to add to our counts.

Ghoster Coaster: 1 lap. Fun considering how small it is. More airtime than I expected.

The Food:
I'd heard bad things about the food at King's Dominion, but we were both very happy with our lunch at Bubba Gump's. I was a bit disappointed that none of the stands claiming "fresh brewed iced tea" actually HAD any tea, but iced tea
seems to be pretty hard to find at parks in the first place...

Comments:
Construction has already started on HyperSonic XLC. Land has been cleared, and there were workers building molds for footers already. This thing looks like it's going to have some TIGHT turns. I do believe we'll have to come back next year to check this thing out... :)

Overall:
PKD exceeded my expectations in almost every way. Again, the light crowds probably had a LOT to do with it, though. We could have gotten in a LOT more laps than we did, had we been trying, but I don't think we did too badly for a one-day tally.


Busch Gardens:

The Good:
This is a very nice looking park. The theming is, for the most part, VERY nice, downright beautiful in parts. I took a LOT more pictures at this park than any other amusement park I've ever been too. The food was also a highlight (more on that in a minute). And they may not have many coasters, but the ones the have a攀 愀氀氀 最爀攀愀琀⸀  吀栀攀 爀椀搀攀猀 洀愀欀攀 渀椀挀攀 甀猀攀 漀昀 琀栀攀 琀攀爀爀愀椀渀Ⰰ 眀栀椀挀栀 愀搀搀猀 琀漀 琀栀攀 昀甀渀⸀ 㰀戀爀㸀 㰀戀爀㸀吀栀攀 䈀愀搀㨀 㰀戀爀㸀䤀 欀渀漀眀 椀琀✀猀 氀愀琀攀 椀渀 琀栀攀 猀攀愀猀漀渀Ⰰ 戀甀琀 琀栀椀猀 瀀愀爀欀 眀愀猀 瘀攀爀礀 甀渀搀攀爀猀琀愀昀昀攀搀Ⰰ 椀渀 漀甀爀 漀瀀椀渀椀漀渀⸀ 伀渀氀礀 漀渀攀 漀爀 琀眀漀 漀瀀攀爀愀琀漀爀猀 挀栀攀挀欀椀渀最 爀攀猀琀爀愀椀渀琀猀 漀渀 琀栀攀 爀椀搀攀猀 洀愀搀攀 昀漀爀 猀琀愀挀欀椀渀最 瀀爀漀戀氀攀洀猀 攀瘀攀渀 眀椀琀栀 漀渀氀礀 琀眀漀 琀爀愀椀渀 漀瀀攀爀愀琀椀漀渀猀⸀  吀栀攀爀攀 眀攀爀攀 愀氀猀漀 愀 昀攀眀 瀀爀漀戀氀攀洀猀 琀栀愀琀 琀栀攀 爀椀搀攀漀瀀猀 猀栀漀甀氀搀 渀攀瘀攀爀 栀愀瘀攀 愀氀氀漀眀攀搀 琀漀 栀愀瀀瀀攀渀 椀渀 琀栀攀 昀椀爀猀琀 瀀氀愀挀攀⸀  䘀漀爀 椀渀猀琀愀渀挀攀Ⰰ 漀渀攀 琀椀洀攀 眀栀椀氀攀 眀攀 眀攀爀攀 眀愀椀琀椀渀最 椀渀 琀栀攀 猀琀愀琀椀漀渀 昀漀爀 䄀氀瀀攀渀最攀椀猀琀Ⰰ 琀栀攀 氀椀昀琀 猀琀漀瀀瀀攀搀⸀  伀渀攀 漀昀 琀栀攀 漀瀀猀 眀攀渀琀 挀氀椀洀戀椀渀最 甀瀀 琀栀攀 栀椀氀氀Ⰰ 愀渀搀 挀愀洀攀 戀愀挀欀 眀椀琀栀⸀⸀⸀⸀⸀愀 䈀䄀䌀䬀倀䄀䌀䬀⸀  吀栀攀 琀爀愀椀渀 猀栀漀甀氀搀 渀攀瘀攀爀 栀愀瘀攀 戀攀攀渀 搀椀猀瀀愀琀挀栀攀搀 椀渀 琀栀攀 昀椀爀猀琀 瀀氀愀挀攀Ⰰ 䤀䴀䠀伀⸀  一漀眀Ⰰ 琀栀愀琀 䌀伀唀䰀䐀 栀愀瘀攀 戀攀攀渀 琀栀攀 爀椀搀攀爀✀猀 昀愀甀氀琀Ⰰ 椀昀 琀栀攀礀✀搀 最漀琀琀攀渀 漀渀 琀栀攀 爀椀搀攀 眀椀琀栀 琀栀攀 瀀愀挀欀 漀渀Ⰰ 琀栀攀渀 搀攀挀椀搀攀搀 椀琀 眀愀猀渀✀琀 挀漀洀昀漀爀琀愀戀氀攀 愀渀搀 猀漀洀攀栀漀眀 最漀琀琀攀渀 椀琀 漀昀昀 愀昀琀攀爀 琀栀攀 爀椀搀攀 眀愀猀 最漀椀渀最 甀瀀 琀栀攀 氀椀昀琀Ⰰ 戀甀琀 琀栀愀琀 搀漀攀猀渀✀琀 猀攀攀洀 琀漀漀 氀椀欀攀氀礀⸀ 㰀戀爀㸀 㰀戀爀㸀伀渀 琀栀攀 猀甀戀樀攀挀琀 漀昀 爀椀搀攀爀猀Ⰰ 琀栀椀猀 瀀愀爀欀 猀攀攀洀攀搀 琀漀 栀愀瘀攀 椀渀 椀渀漀爀搀椀渀愀琀攀 渀甀洀戀攀爀 漀昀 瘀攀爀礀 猀琀甀瀀椀搀 瀀攀攀瀀猀⸀  䤀 挀愀渀✀琀 戀攀氀椀攀瘀攀 琀栀攀 渀甀洀戀攀爀 漀昀 瀀攀漀瀀氀攀 眀栀漀 挀漀甀氀搀渀✀琀 昀椀最甀爀攀 漀甀琀 栀漀眀 琀漀 最攀琀 漀甀琀 漀昀 䄀氀瀀攀渀最攀椀猀琀Ⰰ 漀爀 攀瘀攀渀 䰀漀挀栀 一攀猀猀 䴀漀渀猀琀攀爀⸀  伀欀Ⰰ 䤀 欀渀漀眀 眀攀✀瘀攀 爀椀搀搀攀渀 愀 氀漀琀 漀昀 挀漀愀猀琀攀爀猀Ⰰ 戀甀琀 栀漀眀 栀愀爀搀 挀愀渀 琀栀椀猀 䈀䔀Ⰰ 瀀攀漀瀀氀攀㼀℀㼀  匀漀爀爀礀Ⰰ 栀愀搀 琀漀 最攀琀 琀栀愀琀 漀昀昀 洀礀 挀栀攀猀琀 㰀椀洀最 猀爀挀㴀∀⼀昀漀爀甀洀猀⼀椀洀愀最攀猀⼀眀椀渀欀⸀最椀昀∀ 戀漀爀搀攀爀㴀∀ ∀㸀 㰀戀爀㸀 㰀戀爀㸀䄀氀猀漀Ⰰ 琀栀攀 渀甀洀戀攀爀 漀昀 瀀攀漀瀀氀攀 猀琀愀渀搀椀渀最 椀渀 漀爀 攀瘀攀渀 眀愀氀欀椀渀最 䤀一吀伀 琀栀攀 攀砀椀琀 瀀氀愀琀昀漀爀洀 昀漀爀 䄀瀀漀氀氀漀✀猀 䌀栀愀爀椀漀琀 ⠀昀爀攀焀甀攀渀琀氀礀 挀愀甀猀椀渀最 琀栀攀 爀椀搀攀 琀漀 匀吀伀倀 椀渀 琀栀攀 猀琀愀琀椀漀渀⤀ 眀愀猀 樀甀猀琀 椀渀猀愀渀攀⸀  吀栀椀猀 攀砀椀琀 搀漀攀猀渀✀琀 栀愀瘀攀 最愀琀攀猀Ⰰ 眀栀椀挀栀 䤀✀洀 猀甀爀攀 眀漀甀氀搀 栀攀氀瀀 猀漀氀瘀攀 琀栀攀 瀀爀漀戀氀攀洀Ⰰ 戀甀琀 琀栀攀 渀甀洀戀攀爀 漀昀 椀搀椀漀琀猀 眀栀漀 樀甀猀琀 瀀氀愀椀渀 眀攀爀攀渀✀琀 氀椀猀琀攀渀椀渀最 琀漀 琀栀攀 漀瀀猀 ⠀∀伀栀Ⰰ 琀栀攀礀 挀愀渀✀琀 洀攀愀渀 䴀䔀⸀⸀⸀∀⤀ 眀愀猀 樀甀猀琀 甀渀爀攀愀氀⸀ 㰀戀爀㸀 㰀戀爀㸀吀栀攀 眀攀愀琀栀攀爀 眀愀猀 戀愀搀Ⰰ 戀甀琀 琀栀攀 瀀愀爀欀 挀漀甀氀搀渀✀琀 栀攀氀瀀 琀栀愀琀⸀  吀栀愀琀✀猀 眀栀愀琀 瀀漀渀挀栀漀猀 愀爀攀 昀漀爀 㰀椀洀最 猀爀挀㴀∀⼀昀漀爀甀洀猀⼀椀洀愀最攀猀⼀猀洀椀氀攀⸀最椀昀∀ 戀漀爀搀攀爀㴀∀ ∀㸀  䤀琀 猀攀攀洀攀搀 氀椀欀攀 琀栀攀礀 䌀伀唀䰀䐀 栀攀氀瀀 洀愀欀攀 琀栀攀 瀀愀琀栀猀 愀 戀椀琀 氀攀猀猀 猀氀椀挀欀 椀渀 琀栀攀 爀愀椀渀Ⰰ 琀栀漀甀最栀 ⴀⴀ 䤀 栀愀瘀攀 ∀栀椀最栀 琀爀愀挀琀椀漀渀∀ 栀椀欀椀渀最 猀栀漀攀猀Ⰰ 猀漀 䤀 眀愀猀 栀愀瘀椀渀最 渀漀 瀀爀漀戀氀攀洀猀Ⰰ 戀甀琀 洀礀 戀爀漀琀栀攀爀 猀氀椀瀀瀀攀搀 愀爀漀甀渀搀 愀 氀漀琀Ⰰ 愀渀搀 䤀 猀愀眀 愀 渀甀洀戀攀爀 漀昀 瀀攀漀瀀氀攀 sliding around and falling.

The coasters were shut down for a while due to the threat of lightning -- this, plus higher crowds, kept us from getting as many laps as we'd gotten at King's Dominion the day before :(


The Coasters:

Loch Ness Monster: 3 laps. Arrow looper, but a very nice one. It seems to be nicely maintained, makes nice use of the terrain, and the theming works well.

Big Bad Wolf: 3 laps. Oh my god. Easily the most insane suspended I've ever seen. This beast's a suspended coaster that really whips around, rather than just lazily cruises along -- they've got another winner on their hands. My new #1 suspended.

Alpengeist: 3 laps. I love B&M's coasters. This one is no exception. The way this ride tears through the cobra roll is just nuts. I hate repeating myself, but once again the theming added further to the ride. The idea of
theming an inverted coaster as a runaway ski lift (right down to making the lift structure look like ski lift towers) was clever, and well-executed. This is easily my new #1 inverted.

Apollo's Chariot: 3 laps. Another B&M. Wow. I love the trains, and the airtime (especially if you're able to leave yourself some space in the restraints) is GREAT.

Wilde Maus: Not operating due to weather.

Drachen Fire: Sigh. I never got a chance to ride this. We took the train so we could get some pictures. This ride doesn't even get a mention on the "and to your right you can now see...." speil. It looks like it would have
been a great ride, too bad Arrow built (and blew) it... :(

The Food:
We had lunch at the Three Rivers Smokehouse. The beef brisket is worth the price of admission to the park all by itself. :) And they even had real fresh brewed iced tea, and at more than one stand.
+0
Wednesday, September 6, 2000 2:47 AM
Perfect descriptions of fun spots in Virginia, especially the Ops at PKD. Encouraging you to stay on if no one is waiting makes it more fun for the guest. Certain places that make you get off if no one is waiting in your spot can really irk me, I just don't see the logic in it. I'll take Ops that let you stay on if no one is in your spot and hold that in a higher level of importance than, let's see "standing water", "bad food", or other complaints I've heard about PKD in the past few months on this board.
+0
Thursday, September 7, 2000 2:10 PM
I agree with you about Arrow Dydamics. I hate them! I just can't forgive them for screwing of the Steel Phantom.
+0

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