KINGS DOMINION JULY 6, 2013

Sunday, July 7, 2013 10:21 PM

Kings Dominion June 6, 2013

I ended up at Kings Dominion by default. The original plan for the holiday weekend was to go to Wisconsin Dells to ride Hades 360 but because the airline made a change to my itinerary that would allow me only a couple of hours at the park, I asked for a refund and decided that it made more sense to go to a park I know and love where there were many more coasters.

The day did not begin as auspiciously as I had hoped. I left the airport in Richmond at 11:15am and expected to get to Kings Dominion in 30 minutes but due to a traffic jam on I-95, it took me an hour and a half to get there. Once there the big decision was whether to buy a Fastlane pass. I hated to have to do this but when I saw the line to get on Dominator I decided that there was really no option if I was going to get in a good number of rides. Not surprisingly, prices have gone up. Whereas last year Fastlane cost $60 and allowed access to all rides but with a restriction to two rides on Volcano, you now have to pay $70 to get access to Volcano and Intimidator 305. (This is without limitation.) So that’s what I did. And as a result I managed to get in 20 rides total – 8 on I305, 4 on Volcano, 3 on Flight of Fear, 2 on Dominator, 1 on Rebel Yell, 1 on Grizzly and 1 on Avalanche. I wasn’t sure whether Avalanche even qualified as a roller coaster but it’s in Roller Coaster Database so I guess it is. For me this was a new record.

It was oppressively hot and humid – in the 90’s – and the weather conditions were really getting to me. Walking around all day in the heat was exhausting and I felt that I was going to die of thirst so ended up drinking a lot of Diet Coke. The walk to Grizzly was particularly enervating and frankly not worth it. That ride was much too rough for my liking, even in the third row. At least I did get to ride some other coasters I hadn’t ridden on my one previous visit: Dominator, Rebel Yell and Flight of Fear. I had avoided Flight of Fear when I went to KD last year because frankly, I was fearful of going through 4 inversions in the dark. However, I finally decided that it was a must-ride and much to my surprise, I loved it!

I considered leaving the park early, as I needed a shower and an air conditioner, but took a dinner break and that really perked me up. (I had suffered a near grey-out on I305 and that had never happened to me before, so it was probably a result of heat exhaustion.) I ordered a pizza from Chicken Shack and it was about the best pizza I ever had. I don’t know why it tasted so good; I think they must put some special seasoning on it.

All in all, it was a good visit. I305 remains my favourite ride at the park, with Volcano coming in second and Flight of Fear coming in third. I even managed to find the rental car almost immediately, having noted that it was a black Prius with Maryland plates. (In the past I have spent as long as half an hour wandering around theme park parking lots trying to locate rental cars.)

As good a visit as it was, I suspect that I’m becoming somewhat jaded. A year ago I was dying to get back to Kings Dominion to ride I305 and now that I’ve ridden it a total of 15 times, I feel that I’m ridden out and it’s no longer important. I will probably not go back to KD and feel the same way about Cedar Point after two visits two years in a row.

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Sunday, July 7, 2013 11:36 PM

I-95 in northern Virginia is the interstate from hell, and the main reason I can't visit Kings Dominion spontaneously. In theory, I live 85 miles away and could get from my garage to KD's parking lot in 1 1/2 hours from DC. In practice, rush hour makes night visits impossible and on a weekend, unless I plan on waking up early & getting to KD for rope drop, it's a mess. Sad.

Avalanche is definitely a coaster, and probably my favorite bobsled -- that's still operating, that is.

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Monday, July 8, 2013 1:02 AM

Bobbie I love reading your trip reports, they are so down to earth and I agree with a lot of what you say.

I spend a lot of money on airfares, car rentals, gas, and accommodation as well as the usual theme park expenses and having visited 100s of different theme parks, I can end up thinking I wouldn't want to go back to a park, even though there is nothing wrong with the place. I think all the heat, walking and queuing gets to me after a while, and you come to expect a certain level of standard or quality of day that even the best of parks can fail to deliver sometimes (rides closed, school bus invasions, slow operations, etc).

Having said that, I would like to warn you about visiting the Dells, well Mt. Olympus. If you thought Grizzly at KD was rough, all of their coasters are a lot rougher, and I think you will be very disappointed in the way the park is operated.

Hades 360 is no Outlaw Run, and while they have retracked a lot of the previously rough spots, I still found the ride too uncomfortable to enjoy, despite it being one of my favorite woodies when it first opened.

When I was there in May, we had to wait 30 minutes for what should have been 5 on Hades. If there was a single rider on the train, they would not dispatch the train until they found another single rider to sit with them. Not sure what the reason for this was, but it was extremely annoying. I only rode each coaster twice (front and back), then quickly exited the park to move on to greener pastures.

Also note the back rows were blocked off on all of the other woodies except Hades on my last visit. I know they took the back car off on Cyclops, but there was a chair blocking the gate on the others rides.

Hellcat at Timber Falls is pretty good though, although didn't ride it this year so not sure if its gone rough.

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Monday, July 8, 2013 8:51 PM

Grant said:

Bobbie I love reading your trip reports, they are so down to earth and I agree with a lot of what you say.

I spend a lot of money on airfares, car rentals, gas, and accommodation as well as the usual theme park expenses and having visited 100s of different theme parks, I can end up thinking I wouldn't want to go back to a park, even though there is nothing wrong with the place. I think all the heat, walking and queuing gets to me after a while, and you come to expect a certain level of standard or quality of day that even the best of parks can fail to deliver sometimes (rides closed, school bus invasions, slow operations, etc).

Having said that, I would like to warn you about visiting the Dells, well Mt. Olympus. If you thought Grizzly at KD was rough, all of their coasters are a lot rougher, and I think you will be very disappointed in the way the park is operated.

Hades 360 is no Outlaw Run, and while they have retracked a lot of the previously rough spots, I still found the ride too uncomfortable to enjoy, despite it being one of my favorite woodies when it first opened.

When I was there in May, we had to wait 30 minutes for what should have been 5 on Hades. If there was a single rider on the train, they would not dispatch the train until they found another single rider to sit with them. Not sure what the reason for this was, but it was extremely annoying. I only rode each coaster twice (front and back), then quickly exited the park to move on to greener pastures.

Also note the back rows were blocked off on all of the other woodies except Hades on my last visit. I know they took the back car off on Cyclops, but there was a chair blocking the gate on the others rides.

Hellcat at Timber Falls is pretty good though, although didn't ride it this year so not sure if its gone rough.

Thanks for the kind words, Grant, and the good advice about Mt. Olympus. Now I don't feel like such an idiot for not rescheduling a trip to Wisconsin Dells. Although Hades 360 is one of the most hyped coasters to open this year, when I read on another website that there was only one train and when I looked at what other coasters were in the park, I decided that I would be better off at Kings Dominion. And I'm especially glad to hear that Hades 360 is no Outlaw Run, which was phenomenal, so I don't feel really deprived by missing out on Hades. For the ride ops to refuse to dispatch the train if there's a single rider in a row is absurd. As one who usually goes to parks alone, I know that finding someone to ride with is not always possible and my being in a row by myself never held things up. I have been fortunate enough to find riding partners much of the time but it seems that on Hades, you either have to be part of a pair or a single rider who can hook up with a group of three.

This is not the first time I've heard that the operations at Mt. Olympus are less than optimal.

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013 7:58 AM

My trip has me traveling from Hershey to KD on a weekday, I plan on getting up at an ungodly time just so I can get to DC fairly early and hopefully only get stuck in a little traffic (or at worse have an hour delay still allow me to get there for rope drop.) When I lived in DC I was really lucky to live in Arlington right off of 395 and the GWP, I could leave for either Hershey or BGW and go the opposite of rush hour traffic and make rope drop with no problem.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013 2:11 AM

Secret CoasterBuzz Tip - NEVER quote the previous post. If you're just making an additional post to the thread, simply enter it in the window at the end of the thread. Source

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