Kings Dominion/Six Flags America; June 28, 2009 part 1; LONG

Monday, June 29, 2009 1:05 AM

I hate to say it, but I believe I am really starting to feel my age. Road trips lasting 4.5 hours and longer used to be no problem for me, but trekking from Allentown to Doswell, VA was absolute torture. I left at 4 am, so I really had no problems with traffic, but for the first time that I can remember, I hated driving for that long. By the time I arrived at a very empty Kings Dominion, I was exhausted and crabby, and I was almost hoping that it would rain so I could just go shopping instead. What's up with that? LOL

Still, I perservered (sp?), and after checking to see if my Dorney Plat Pass worked (it didn't), I got my guest ticket and walked into the park. My first impression was mainly a good one. The lines to go through bags and to send people through metal detectors were ridiculously slow, and the park map seemed ill-matched to the actual park in many cases, but the park itself was great. Most of it was well-shaded, and the whole park was clean and well-landscaped. The bottled water is more expensive than Great Adventure's, which shocked the heck out of me (obviously NOT in a good way), and the ribs I had were expensive but plentiful. Plus, they tasted GREAT, even if they were very gristly (sp?). They were so big that I could only eat two and a half of them. Plus, although they cost 9.99 for 5 ribs, if two of the ribs were still connected to each other, they only counted as one rib (or at least, this particular server was counting them as one). I ended up with seven ribs. I would eat them again.

I couldn't get over the crowds!!! There were NONE. Typically, I waited 1-3 trains for coasters, but I had quite a few walk-ons as well. I think because it was threatening-looking outside, people weren't taking the chance...or they are saving their vacations for 4th of July. Either way, works for me! :)

Now the rides:

1. Dominator: Dominator was the only ride open at the beginning of the day, but it was right there at the entrance, so I decided I would do that first instead of Volcano. I sat in the very back seat on the right hand side, and I got insane air on the first drop. It was like the actual track just dropped right out from under the train. Then the loop seemed like it went on FOREVER, and was the weirdest loop I've ever experienced. It confused me. I literally had a moment of total disorientation and a floaty feeling while upside down. It was kinda cool, but this ride other than that wasn't my favorite. It had strange periods of slowness, a few brutal headbangs (especially odd for a B&M--except Mantis), and it was in the ugliest place it could have possibly been in, right next to the parking lot with NO trees and NO landscaping done. I liked the ride, don't get me wrong, but it still remains a distant second to Kraken for floorless coasters. 8/10.

2. Volcano: This was one of my main reasons for coming to KD. This is one of those rides that inexplicably has been on the top 20 coaster must-dos for me for quite some time. I really cannot explain why I wanted to do it so bad because it didn't LOOK that impressive and the layout never thrilled me. I guess I've had so many people tell me that it's a fun ride that I had to experience it myself. Anyway, I was actually pretty impressed with the theming on the outside of the ride...that IS a fairly large volcano structure! The inside of the ride is not nearly as well-themed and seemed kind of thrown together, but what do you want for a park that is NOT Disney or Universal? They did a decent job with it. The ride itself is also decent. The launch wasn't all that impressive (I heard it had a pretty good kick to it, but Storm Runner and TTD still feel much more forceful than any other launches I've experienced). I loved the second launch and the climb out of the volcano mouth, the inversions were amazingly smooth, and instead of getting slower as it went along, this ride got faster and faster (or it FELT like it). I had a really good time on it. 8/10.

3. Anaconda: This has GOT to be an Arrow coaster. I didn't look it up in RCDB, but I can just tell with this. The track, the trains, the restraint system....it screams Arrow. The craptacular ride also screams Arrow. However, that being said, this was much better than Scream Machine. The first drop and first loop were actually really smooth and fun, I loved diving under the ground, and while it was rough enough that I can't say I'd ride it again for myself, I don't feel passionately that it should be melted down like I do with GASM. I'd ride it if a friend wanted to do so. 4.5/10.

4. Flight of Fear: Now THIS launch felt pretty powerful to me. Maybe because it was inside a building or something. This coaster messed me up! I got so disoriented for the first few maneuvers that I thought down was up and up and was down. I honestly didn't know whether to freak out or to love it! Plus, the fact that it went upside down and there were only lapbars?! This ride is a bit of a mindfreak, it really is. I enjoyed it so much. There were some jerky parts, but not enough to ruin it. 7.5/10.

5. Backlot Stunt Coaster: I didn't even know this coaster was another launch coaster, so that was quite the surprise. I had a hell of a time getting in and out of these cars for some reason. I got a kick out of the helicopter right before the indoor half of the ride, but the beginning helix after the first launch was really rough. I had fun on this, but I don't know how to even rate this ride. It wants to be a kiddie ride, but it also wants to be taken seriously as a real adult coaster. I'd ride it again, but if it were to disappear, I don't think I'd ever give it a second thought. 6/10.

6. Rebel Yell: This coaster looks seriously old and decrepit, and I'm not a fan of most traditional woodies, but this was awesome. The drop felt steeper and faster than it actually was, it had some rough spots, but those rough spots were due to crushing my thighs on the lapbar when I was flung out of my seat with ejector air. I know people call this ride a classic, and I'm sure that many people hate it or don't think it's fun, but I adored it. The loading times were so slow that I waited in line for this longer than just about anything else even with just a station wait, but I would have waited for it again with NO complaining. To me, this is what a classic should be (Phoenix, Twister, and Lightning Racer being others that I consider "good wood"...and of course Toro if you count it as wood...I know some people classify it as something of a hybrid or some BS like that). 8.5/10

7. Ricochet: Giant Wild Mouse....with a drop? Never saw that before. It was a great drop too, super smooth and kind of floaty. It didn't scare me at all, but instead, I enjoyed the breeze and let out an internal "aaaaaah" as we dropped. The rest of the mouse was pretty much...a Wild Mouse. And it was really heavily braked. The Mice make me nervous too. I'm not going to rate this one because I honestly don't know how I would. To me, because the WMs are all the same with only slight variations...I don't know, it just doesn't seem like they can be rated on the same system.

8. Hurler: Well....the first drop was good. The rest of this coaster was so brutal, so jerky, and so inconsistent with speed, that it is mostly all a painful blur. I DO remember that after the drop, the first turn was so rough that I almost smacked my head on the OPPOSING side of the car. Had I known it was going to be that bad, I would have prepared better, but I didn't know and almost injured myself yet again (I'm the worst klutz/accident prone person ever). The rest of the ride, I tried to lean into the curves and stuff, but it made no difference. They should keep the drop on it and burn the rest of it or make paper out of it or something. Die Hurler, die! 2.5/10.

9. Grizzly: I remember my aunt and uncle telling me that their favorite old coaster was the Grizzly because it wound through the woods and you couldn't see half of it from anywhere in the park. I've always wanted to ride Grizzly because of their fond memories of it, so today, I did it...and I was disappointed for the most part. Right after the drop, there was a loud, hard bump, and my b**bs actually smacked my chin. I am thoroughly amused by it now, but when it happened, I thought we were gonna die. The middle section of Grizzly was actually really really fast-feeling though, and it really IS isolated and ominous feeling. I also liked the layout. I wonder if they could do something with re-tracking or different trains to improve this ride. It has a lot of potential.3.5-4/10.

10. Shockwave: In light of the Fujin-Rajin II fatality, I was supremely reluctant to ride a Togo coaster. In light of the craptacular Mantis, I was even more reluctant to ride a stand-up coaster. Actually, I think my LACK of expectations helped this ride. The restraint system is a tad tricky (again, especially when you're a klutz), but it IS more comfortable than Mantis until you really get going. This coaster is not that rough, but because the restraints dig into your hips and the metal parts are what you're bumping back and forth into, it feels worse than I think it actually was. The drop was excellently smooth, and the loop felt like it pulled some serious G's. That was about it for this though and then it just descended into roughness and mediocrity if not downright lameness. 4/10.

Well, that's pretty much it for KD. SFAm later.

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Monday, June 29, 2009 5:59 PM

I haven't ridden Grizzly in a few years, but I know it was a top 10 coaster in its earlier years. It still has a good bit of tree cover, but I miss the pre-Hurler days when it was completely secluded.

And speaking of Hurler--yes, it's been an abysmal coaster the last few years. I don't mind a rough woodie, but Hurler is in desperate need of an overhaul. It was a really fun coaster when it first opened (although it never had the air that its predecessor at SFKK has).

I'm one of those (very few) nutjobs that loves Shockwave. :) All of it...including the second half. The first drop, loop, and airtime hill are incredible, but the horribly engineered bunny hops and final turns are so much fun for some reason. Front seat ride is a must.

Last edited by Vater, Monday, June 29, 2009 5:59 PM
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Monday, June 29, 2009 6:16 PM

Wow.. if you average that up (minus the mouse which didnt get a score), KD coasters were a 5.8? Wow.. I wouldnt call it the best park in the world but certainly more than a 5.8.

Ive noticed historically for KD and Busch (since they are in my neck of the woods), the weekend prior to a holiday is typically slow(er). Busch that same weekend was fairly slow as well. Even the beaches were dead in my area this past weekend, which is rare..

Since the 4th falls on a Saturday that pushes people to take off the week prior or afterwards (govt is friday before). Im sure most people are saving up for the upcoming holiday which would prevent a lot of travel the past weekend.

Nice report though..

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009 1:46 AM

Ridem, I think I suffered a little anticipointment from KD. I've wanted to go there since I was a little girl, even before I really rode many coasters, and nothing really blew me away. Or maybe I was just in a craptacular mood because I had just gotten home from Six Flags America (more about that in the next part of the trip report). Also, I think I'm a little spoiled with what coasters I HAVE ridden, especially these past two seasons.

Vater, Shockwave really wasn't that bad. I'd ride it again, definitely. It wasn't the nightmare that I had been warned of, in any case.

And now for SFA.....

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009 12:41 PM

bunky666 said:
Or maybe I was just in a craptacular mood because I had just gotten home from Six Flags America

I can certainly understand that. :)

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009 3:12 PM

We were at KD on Sunday too.

I have to agree with you about Hurler. This was the worst coaster I have ever been on. This piece of crap makes SOB seems like silk.

The only coaster that we had a long wait for was Grizzly in the afternoon. They were only running 1 train and it took a full 5 minutes per load. I think we had a 5 train wait. When we went back for a night ride it was walk on and then we did a re-ride before heading to Volcano.

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