Kings Island, Mason, Ohio, USA
Went to bed on the night of the 22nd seeing showers in the forecast for the Cincinnati area; add in 90 degree heat and I knew a feast or famine day with lines would happen. I hoped for the famine with little to no people in the park.
Turns out that I lucked out! Pulling into the parking lot greeted me with sights of lots of cars. I felt a little apprehensive but didn't worry. My judgement of the parking lot sucked since I haven't been to Kings Island since May of 2007. I wanted to get the big one out of the way for the first ride of the day. Banshee turned into destination number one.
I'll say this once and once only. Nickel and dime procedures for lockers irk me. I understand why rides like TTD and Millennium Force use lockers and no loose article bins. But when X-Flight (now firehawk) used bins at Geauga Lake, Raptor uses bins at Cedar Point, and even Gatekeeper has them too...why on earth should Banshee use them? I can leave my sandals to the side but my simple drawstring bag can't be left there too? I see the "capacity for the new ride!" side of things but this felt like nothing but a simple cash grab which harks back to the Kinzel days. (/end only rant of that day)
Boy is this ride fun! It packs quite the punch, too. I rode in the front as that's where I prefer to ride inverts. I love the restraints; I know it won't ever happen but I wish Raptor could be retrofit with these. But, I think that's ridiculously cost prohibitive as these trains most likely use a different heartline, weigh more/less, and cause more/less force on the track.
There's more "new" B&M engineering in this ride than "old" B&M engineering. I like a good mix of both, honestly. The pacing sets itself apart from most B&M loopers of any type. CP should've received this instead of the slow and awful pacing of Gatekeeper.
My wait only lasted twenty minutes. I hoped this meant the crowds would remain light throughout the day. After Banshee I sauntered my way over to Diamondback in the growing heat. I stopped along the way for a few more pictures here and there.
I passed on this the entire day. You really only drop for a little bit while the rest of the ride involves slowing down on the brakes. 80ft ARM towers do the dropping much better.
Diamondback greeted me with another minimal wait! I had a growing suspicion this would end up as par for the course the entire day. I lied earlier in the post. I visited in 2009 but for a behind the scenes tour. We were lucky enough to ride Diamondback as part of the tour. I felt a bit underwhelmed by the ride as I sat somewhere in the middle. I chose the last row and hoped this would rise above Raging Bull in my rankings.
The ride rocked! The constant floater air coasting over the crests followed by ejector air going down the hills felt just like Nitro. Although, Nitro still wins the battle for favorite B&M Hyper. The turnaround/helix on Nitro fits much better than the wimpy overbank on Diamondback. I got a little wet from the splashdown but it felt great. The thermometer kept rising as the day went on.
The Beast logically fit into my next ride due to the location. The last ride I had on it felt a bit rough. I hoped for a much better ride this time around. I chose my car as the last car while sitting in the first row on the right side of the bench. It flew through the course! The speed seemed much more than rides before, too. The ride blazed through the course with little to no roughness. The helix of doom, despite the magnetic brake, felt completely out of control. I only used one ride on this during the day. My plan for the end of the night involved a marathon of rides in the dark. I never had a chance to ride it at night on my previous visits.
I knocked out the three heavy hitters in an hour and a half into my day at the park. I used the next hour and a half to grab some grub at Panda Express, torture myself through sitting in the Festhaus eating lunch as a boyband show played, and then headed out to snap some more pictures.
Banshee adds soo much to that section of the park. I wonder if the rest of the surrounding rides will receive a retheme in the coming years? I took a bunch of pictures of Banshee in the area around the ride. The ones I put in this post are my favorites. All of this was done on a simple FinePix with a good zoom lens. Maybe I'll invest in a DSLR one of these days? It's hard to justify buying an expensive camera like that. Maybe one of you can convince me?
I totally dig the new color scheme and name of Top Gun/Flightdeck. Maybe they should've replaced the track with no banking on the turning sections like the original Bat for historical accuracy? Didn't get a chance to ride due to ride shutdowns later in the day. I would've rode it while I decided to take pictures but I felt a bit wiped out. I needed a breather.
I headed back to my car to grab my towel and swimming gear. I knew about the heat a couple of days before. It's been awhile since I was in their waterpark. I've done the giant bowl and boogie board thing. Felt like a dip in the wave pool, lazy river, and a slide or two would help get rid of the heat I was feeling.
I don't like their wave pool. The waves don't break on you! Felt way too docile compared to the wave pool that operated from 2001-2005 at Geauga Lake. The constant barrage of inner tubes nailing into you isn't that much fun, either. It did allow me to cool off, though.
The mat slide looked fun and worth a wait for a mat. I loved the one at Blizzard Beach in Disney and I figured this would be quite a similar experience. I beat the other three sliders of my group. Definitely a great addition for any waterpark.
My time in the waterpark was drawing to a close. I felt a lap or two in the lazy river was the last thing I needed. Too many people were in line for the tornado and pretty much everything else in the waterpark. The lazy river felt wonderful. The water was cold, guests on the midways you splash you, and there's tons of different elements throughout the river to keep you cool.
After the river I walked around the waterpark and shot some more pictures. Overall...I don't really like their waterpark that much. Kentucky Kingdom's is much better.
I saw the 80s music show. They totally captured the feel of the music. The dancers were entertaining, the singers weren't awful, and the show was a lot of fun. They missed 80s staples from Aha!, Duran Duran, Toto, and Tears For Fears...
I went up to the tower after I left my towel and swimsuit in my car. The park looks and feels complete with Banshee. A GCI would fit great as a replacement to Vortex or Backlot Stunt Coaster.
My next bright idea involved going over to this under engineered piece of coat hanger monstrosity. I've been on it once before. I honestly remember nothing except the hang time you get in the corkscrews. The ride is horribly aged. Even Viper and Great American Scream Machine rode better than Vortex. Yuck, never again.
After Vortex I needed to recover. Took the rest of the time to shoot some photos of the other areas I didn't get yet. X-Flight errr Firehawk wasn't on my list of things to do. Laying on the brake run in the heat didn't sound too fun, honestly. I've had my fair share of rides on it.
Security stopped and questioned me while taking this shot (the one below) of racer. They wondered why I was taking shots of behind the scenes. I said I'm not and that you get a good angle of racer. I even offered to show them my other pictures but they didn't care. They just wanted to know why I was focused on behind the scenes. Anything like this ever happen to any of you before while taking pictures at a park?
I skipped Racer. Nothing much remarkable about it. I opted for dinner at the Red's Restaurant. A bit on the pricey side, you have to order fries separately, but the service was quick! Not too bad for park food. I'd recommend it.
I wanted a ride on Adventure Express. It's been forever and a day since I've been on it. It's fun for what it is. Not too many rides left like it.
Storm clouds started rolling in after this. This actually felt exciting. I knew a slick track makes for fun rides on The Beast at night. The storm came through and downpoured for a good five minutes. The rest of the system skirted the park with little to no incident. I made my way back towards Diamondback after the storm let up. I wanted another ride which was even better than my first. I'd argue it's tied with Phantom's Revenge and Nitro for my favorite steel coaster.
All of you should know what's next. 9:30 hit, barely any natural light remained, and and eerie quiet floated around in the back of the park. My night rides on The Beast awaited!
I've heard the night rides on The Beast really make you "get" the coaster. Straight track, speed, and barely any airtime usually means it won't be in my top 10 or even 20 for wooden roller coasters. But, I've never been on a night ride before. Maybe this would change?
There was a light drizzle falling when the coaster dispatched. I chose the same row and car from earlier. We crawled up the lift, picked up pace towards the top, and down we flew off the lift. Wow....it felt faster! I don't understand how we stayed on the track through the first half. The laterals felt a million times stronger than before. The helix at the end felt ridiculous. Wow.
I ended with one more ride on it after the fireworks. This time I saw fireflies all throughout the course lighting the way. That was such a cool experience.
Overall I enjoyed my trip. I skipped out on Invertigo, Backlot Stunt Coaster, and the other aforementioned coasters. I'm not a fan of the spin and spew rides, either. I enjoyed myself; much more than my lackluster visit to Cedar Point three weeks prior.
Sidenote: The Super 8 in Mason is a steal of a deal. Stay there.
Sidenote: The Super 8 in Mason is a steal of a deal. Stay there.
Every TR should include a hotel mini-review. I always feel like that says more about the report than anything.
At the very least, whether or not the reporter can roll Gonchar style.
Would your car sitting in the WaWa parking lot by SFGadv count as suitable accommodations for the fabled "Great Adventure hotel"?
Fantastic trip report, LJEdge! I 'd love to see trip reports with more pictures like this one! Way to go!
As for you experience with the park, I agree with almost everything you said. I especially agree that Banshee pretty much completes the park.
I've never stayed at Super 8 in Mason. Ever since Motel 6 closed one exit south of the park, I've been staying at Kings Island Resort. I never pay more than $70 or $80, and the rooms are spacious and clean. Plus, you can't beat the location. It's kind of old, but it's very comfortable.
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