Kings Island, Mason, Ohio, USA
KI-Saturday, April 25
Friday night, my family and friend (Evan) pulled out of our driveway around 11:00pm. We were going up to Lexington on Sunday to celebrate my sister's 21st birthday, so I convinced my parents to take us to Cincinnati on Saturday, since it would only be tacking on a couple hours of driving to the trip. We thought it would be a good idea to leave Friday night, after our baseball game, so we wouldn't have to wake up so early the next morning. (KI is a bit more than 3 hours away.)
Well, around 2:30am, we ran into some car trouble. The vehicle's electric system blew up right outside of Cinci. Great. AAA advised us to call the local police station and have someone take us to a hotel near the airport so that we could rent a car the later in the morning. We did so, and had a very interesting ride to the hotel in the back of a cop car (but that's another story.)
We woke up Saturday morning at 7:00am, rented a car, ate breakfast, and continued the drive to Mason, OH. Around 10:15, the others dropped Evan and me off at Kings Island, and we headed towards the park entrance. The parking lot was filling up quickly, so I knew it was going to be crowded, but we continued towards the gates with our E-tickets (which we didn't have to pay an extra fee for while printing at home) anyway.
Once inside the park, the entrance plaza looked as beautiful as ever. The fountains were shooting every which way, and the Eiffel Tower dominated the area. The crowd here seemed to thin out, and we took off towards our first coaster of the day.
Firehawk- It was a very good decision to hit Firehawk at the beginning of the day, as we only ended up waiting about 20 minutes to get on the ride (as opposed to the 2 hour waits people encountered later in the day). I had read reviews that green paint was beginning to show through on the first drop, but I didn't see any at all. In fact, I thought the red paint looked bold and fresh. The trains were squealing all the way around the track, and seemed to lag from off-ride. Luckily, neither of these seemed to applied while on the ride. I enjoyed it just as much as I did in 2007, and more-so than any of the B&M flyers I've ridden. 8/10
Backlot Stunt Coaster- Evan and I agreed that this was the biggest surprise of the day. We rode it 3 times while at the park, and waited for the back seat each time---the line never exceeded 35 minutes. The launch and triple-helix were much more forceful than expected, the theming was great, and I counted SEVEN (quick) moments of airtime. The tunnel was pure awesomeness. Who knew this small coaster could be so much fun?! 8/10
The Beast (Daytime)- For the last 5 years, I've been riding the Beast in the same row, so Saturday was no exception. We waited about 45 minutes for the second to last seat. I really like the new retractable seatbelts; they are much better fitting, and quicker to get into than the old belts. I've never been a fan of the ride, and this lap was no exception. The first drop almost gave us some airtime...but then we were slowed down, and the sensation was gone. Same thing happened with the second drop down, except the you hit the trims before cresting the top of the hill. After the second drop, the trains hit a very rough turn, and I seriously thought our car was derailing with the strange jolt we experienced. From there, we proceeded into the long brakeshed, which concluded with a hard magnetic brake, thrusting our bodies forward into the lap bar. Ouch. Luckily, the helix finale has received lots of work, and was taken very fast and smoothly. I've always liked this part; it makes up for the previous 3 wasted minutes of wooden track. The trains were stacked when we hit the final brake-run. 7/10
Diamondback (Daytime)- I waited less than 20 minutes for my first ride on Diamondback. We requested to wait for the back seat, and the seat-assigner allowed us to. Evan and I hopped into the very comfy seats, pulled down the clamshells (love those things), and were headed skyward within 30 seconds. In the back, you are yanked over the top of the lift with great force, and rely on nothing but the lap bar to hold you in the train for what seems like an eternity. I loved it. Every hill provided the same amazing sensation, and the hammerhead and both helices were fun as well. We held are hands straight out while going through the splashdown, and our outside sleeves got completely soaked. I was very satisfied when we returned to the station---instant top ten.
After a great first ride, we hopped in line again, and ended up waiting about 30-40 minutes for the very front row. This is where the ride shines. Cresting the lift is magnificent, and you're thrown into your lap bar on every hill that follows. The speed is very evident, and the view is great. After this ride, I was seriously considering it as a top 3 coaster. 9.9/10
The Crypt- ...oh, wait. We didn't ride The Crypt. We waited in line 3 times for a combined total of 2 hours to get on the ride, but it broke down each time. It was a shame; besides Diamondback, this was my most anticipated ride at KI. I loved it as TR:TR, and couldn't wait to get back on and experience the new ride cycle. Needless to say, I was pretty ticked.
Avatar- I always enjoy Zamperla rides, and this was no exception. We got an outside row, and experienced lots of fun, lateral airtime. Nick Universe wasn't too crowded, and I'd say this was worth the 15 minute wait. 6/10
Fairly Odd Coaster- The Beastie was my first roller coaster at age 3, and I never pass up the opportunity to ride it while at KI. While I miss the old name and small tunnel after the first drop, I still enjoyed my ride in the backseat, and was pleasantly surprised at how easily we fit into the small trains. 6.5/10
Son of Beast- I have a high pain tolerance when it comes to riding coasters, and the last time I rode SOB was in 2006 before the accident, so I was actually excited to get on this monster again. We waited an hour to ride in the 2nd to last row, including a 15 minute breakdown. Though our bodies were jackhammered continuously for the 2.5 minute ride, Evan and I couldn't help but the laugh the entire circuit. We've never ridden anything so painful, and we found everyone's reactions to be hilarious. We were the only riders on the train to keep our hands up the entire course, and ended up experiencing about 4 moments of airtime. Painful airtime. I'd do it again. 6.5/10
Racer- We only waited one train for the red side. I left some space between my lap and the bar for some airtime, and was pleasantly surprised by the amount I received. The layout it fun, and I didn't feel the trim on the turnaround, so that was a plus. Sadly, the sides weren't racing. I only saw the trains racing one time all day. 7/10
Flight of Fear- We waited less than an hour for Flight of Fear, even though the line extended into the queues outside of the building. We rode in the 2nd to last row. The launch was forceful, and the ride was even more awesome than I remember it. The lights were off in the building, so the spaghetti bowl layout was great. Evan had no idea what to expect when getting on the ride, and said he enjoyed it almost as much as Diamondback. If the lines weren't growing, we definitely would have gone a second time. 9/10
Vortex- Ugh...Vortex. It looks nice with its new paint, and it has a great first drop...but it all goes down hill from there. Luckily, our heads reach above the OTSR's, so we didn't experience much headbanging. But the ride was painful, nevertheless. I wonder how much more fun this coaster could be without shoulder harnesses...? 6/10
The Beast (Nighttime)- The sun was quickly setting as we exited Vortex, and I told Evan that The Beast was known to give excellent night rides. He wasn't exactly a fan after our first experience, but agreed to give it another shot. We waited a little under an hour for the same row. The train of returning riders was cheering loudly, and made it apparent that they had had a great ride. I still wasn't convinced, but hopped in the train and tried to keep my mind open.
Everyone cheered as we rolled out of the station, around, and onto the lift. The sky was getting pretty dark, and we turned around to look at the beautifully lit park behind us. When the chain began to slow down, we knew we were about to crest the lift, so we turned forwards and raised our hands into the air. Seconds later, we plummeted down the first drop at a nice speed, and flew down into the first tunnel/turn. I was shocked to experience a nice amount of airtime on both the first AND second drops! The jolt before the brakeshed had somehow disappeared, and I quickly found myself having a great time on our run through the woods. The second underground tunnel seemed to last forever, and I LOVED the roar of the trains in there. We soon found ourselves on the second lift. The sky was now pitch black, and as we went over the second lift and turned to the left, the plunge downward is something I will never forget. At great speed, we were slammed into the right side of the train, and remained plastered there for the entire double-helix. The finale was absolutely amazing. As we hit the final brake-run, we noticed that all three trains were stacked, but really didn't care. Every rider was cheering, and did so until after we came to a stop in the station. I was in love...Evan and I found it very difficult to exit the train after such a magnificent ride. 10/10
Diamondback (Nighttime)- It took some will power to exit the Beast and not hop right back in line for another ride, but we both knew it was time to head for our final ride of the night---Diamondback. It was nearing 10:00pm, so we jogged to the other side of Rivertown. We hopped into the queue to find a fairly short line. We were about to cross under the pre-lift when the fireworks started. They announced that there would no longer be any front-seating for the night, so we of course requested to ride in the back.
At 10:15pm, we boarded the red train, and were sent out into the darkness. I don't know any way to describe my night ride on Diamondback, other than 'pure bliss'. There were no lights on the ride other than the lift, so it felt as if we were being launched into the pitch black sky on every hill. The water felt refreshing as it hit my arm during the splashdown, and I was all smiles when we hit the brake-run. Everyone burst into cheer, and it was the best possible ending to our day at Kings Island. 10/10
We only ate one meal while at the park. I paid a little under $14 for a large plate full of food and a large Diet Coke at Panda Express. This Chinese restaurant is definitely becoming one of my favorites at amusement parks, because of the great amount of food you receive. Yes, it's expensive, but well worth it compared to anything else Kings Island has to offer.
I also bought a frozen lemonade over by The Crypt, and a large ice cream cone in Nick Universe. The lemonade was $4, and I believe the vanilla cone was under $3. I was satisfied with both, and I'd say the quantity you receive justifies the prices.
Besides the Crypt, I have nothing to complain about at Kings Island. All coasters were running at full capacity (as far as I could tell), and the employees really seemed to enjoy their jobs. Everyone was friendly, quick, and helpful. The landscaping around the park looks really nice, and I feel it is often overlooked. The old Swan Lake area is starting to look nice again with the small waterfall, and grass beginning to grow in. The park has a great selection of food, shows, and rides. There seems to be plenty for everyone to do at the park. I'm glad to return home with a new credit; one that is currently tied for first on my list. (Final decision will be made in June.) Overall, I was really impressed with Kings Island, and can honestly report that it was the best time I've ever had at the park. I can't wait to get back there!
When we were there on Sunday, we did the Backyard BBQ meal deal for $12.99. It turned out the be the best deal I've had in some time. All you can eat burgers, dogs, baked beans, potato salad, fried chicken, ice cream treats, and fill-it-yourself soft drinks.
Next time we head down, I'm sure I'll spring for it again. I was full the rest of the night, and certainly didn't even eat as much as I could have, but I felt that I absolutely got my money's worth.
^That sounds great! Where is the Backyard BBQ? Back in Rivertown?
As a sidenote with the Backyard BBQ, it's actually $10 for Platinum Pass/KI Gold Pass holders. I'm definitely gonna take advantage of it during RWW next weekend.
Backyard BBQ is located at the group picnic shelters on the path between Nick Universe and Boomerang Bay.
Dan, nice TR and it sounds like a great time was had by all. My only question would be about your rankings. Not that you aren't entitled to whatever rankings you want to make, it's just that some of your numbers seem to conflict with your written review. For example, you said that Vortex has a nice looking new paint job and a good first drop, but that it all goes downhill from there. Then you give it a 6 out of ten (where I guess 5.5 would be the ranking for an average coaster). In fact, no ride you reviewed got less than a 6 out of 10.
Not trying to engage in dicketry. I really do enjoy your TRs. They are well-written, and you certainly do infuse your love of parks in them. Just trying to make sense of your system from where I sit.
^Lol, well yes, I can understand where you're coming from. I've always had a strange way with rating rides, as I consider giving something a five to be...poor.
Vortex isn't a poor coaster, as it does have some redeeming qualities. I'd just rather ride all the other coasters in the park before it (as the ratings show).
(Would you rather me base my ratings in future reports on a '5 is average' scale? Or would it be better if I didn't include them?)
You don't have to change a thing. It's your scale. Learning that a ranking of 5 = poor, it all makes sense . . . :)
IMO, Vortex has two things going for it: (1) It looks cool, and (2) You get some unique views of another, better coaster from its lift hill. Other than that, I'd rather take Adventure Express or TRCFKAIJ anyday. At least they don't give me a migraine.
Dan, awesome trip report! Are you going to RWW?
Your night time beast review gave me chills. Can't wait!
And that's awesome to hear about the B-BBQ discount. Any other food related discounts in the park for PP members??
^No, sadly I won't get the chance to attend the event... Hope everyone has a great time, though! I doubt I'll be able to get back to the park until early July.
It's sad just thinking of how long that is. ;)
For some reason I like Vortex.
It definitely has a better layout then the 3 (now 2) mega loopers at the SF parks. Sitting in the back keeps the headbanging to a minimum and I love the hang time you get from the back to back corkscrews.
I cannot wait till RWW! I get chill bumps thinking about it!!! Cannot wait to ride Diamondback and enjoy the Beast once again!
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