Kings Island, 4/28/07

Associated parks:
None

Monday, April 30, 2007 1:01 PM
I'll keep this brief since KI trip reports are all the rage lately.

Catherine had been to the park opening day, so she already had a pass, and I got mine in the mail from Cedar Point. We headed down with Cosmo and got there probably around 10 something.

I was pretty amazed at just how many people were in line for passes. It always struck me as strange just how many passes they appear to sell compared to Cedar Point. Perhaps it has something to do with the proximity to the city.

We dropped off Cosmo in Doggy Daycare with a wonderful older gentleman who was easily the nicest person you'd ever meet. Cosmo got a stall next door to another Boston, Zak, and I think there was a love connection.

To satisfy my own curiosity, I noticed that the season pass systems are in fact integrated. While my pass is the same style that CP has used for years, with the photo and name on it, my picture (now five years old) appears on-screen when they scan it. This makes me curious to know if CP and GL will have these screens as well, because someone with a KI pass could just pass it off to anyone for use at those parks if they can't see a photo of you. My pass, by the way, scanned just fine at the parking tolls as well.

The park is beautiful and clean, as it generally has been the last few years. I noticed that supervisors now have Cedar Fair ties as part of their uniforms, which makes me giggle for some reason. I've also noticed lots of signage (like the legalese warning signs) that has the typography I've seen at the northern parks.

Expecting longer lines, we first headed to Flight of Fear, and probably waited five or six trains at most. I noticed while waiting to launch a bit of light at the end of the tunnel, and sure enough, the work lights were on. That was a bummer. The launch was really cranked, and as we navigated to the mid-course, I was crossing my fingers that we'd continue on at speed. Sadly, we came to a near stop. Normally I'd consider this to be something only a crybaby enthusiast like myself would complain about, but honestly the entire train was booing. In the final corkscrew, you actually fell into the restraint. Oh well, even in this state it's easily my favorite ride at the park.

Next up was the Italian Job stunt track. Such a fun little ride! We ended up having to wait about ten minutes for some kind of ride shut down (judging by the way they were moving trains around manually, it was a phantom blocking issue). The they had what was assume was an AUR on one train because they hosed it down and sent it empty a couple of times. The water splashes under the bridge were not firing, and the helicopter was totally impotent, without movement, propellers, or "gun fire." Made the explosions a little silly looking. I really hope they keep up with this ride. The theme stuff is fun.

We met up with Eric and his wife for lunch, where we encountered the only major snag of the day. We hit Bubba Gump's right around noon. Cath got a grilled chicken salad. Can you believe that at noon they had no grilled chicken ready? The line got longer and longer with people waiting. What made it worse was that there were so many people standing around, including supervisors. While I realize that food only cooks so fast, you'd think that there would be some incentive to do something at least. Hand out some free sodas or something. I was annoyed.

We went to Adventure Express after lunch, which is still goofy fun. It was the first place I noticed the Cedar Fair safety touches, with "stay seated" notices and seat belts. At least they like the retractable belts here. They did not interfere with the capacity of the ride.

Next was Top Gun. One of the best Arrow suspended coasters is also the most poorly run. I've never seen a crew hustle on this ride. It's made worse by the fact that it's programmed not to dispatch a train until the other one is fully stopped in the brakes. That strikes me as a total waste of time. I think there are seconds to be saved there. The new seat belts have two flaws. One: They put pressure on your testicles and, Two: They put tension on the restraints, which were never designed to pull down on you continuously. It's very uncomfortable. After decades of safe operation on these and the Arrow loopers, I'm still trying to figure out what problem they were trying to solve.

We took a little break to walk Cosmo around. People love that damn dog.

Next up was The Beast. Aside from some inconsiderate trashy faux-blonde smoking in the queue, I really enjoyed the ride. It seems to be running pretty well and it has a good crew. They removed that obnoxious Coke thing near the entrance too, so now that area is a bit more wide open. Good call.

We started to pretty much have our fill of the place, and wanted to get home to watch the Cavs game too, so we wrapped things up with fries at the place next to The Beast. I know I'm generally the guy who says I'll pay whatever stuff costs, but the food prices are a bit out of line, even by Orlando standards. The soda prices are very much a kick in the nuts. $3.35 for a 20 oz. fountain soda is ridiculous. It's almost offensive to me. I guess part of the problem is that I'm willing to pay it. Something has to give though, because it's way too much.

Overall, the park seemed to be running pretty well, despite my minor complaints. I don't really think about it much in terms of being in transition, because the park was in pretty good shape to begin with. My hope though is that they continue to hang on to the film licenses where they make sense. Other than that, I hope they make adjustments on the food (or at least soda) pricing.

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Monday, April 30, 2007 1:09 PM
Interesting that you mention prices, since my visit to KD on Saturday seems to indicate that some of the pricing is a touch too high, as well. Perhaps they're trying to reduce that debt load a little faster, eh?
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Monday, April 30, 2007 3:23 PM
My CP/MX/OP pass scanned fine at the parking, but they told me to go to Guest Services to get a ticket. I'm glad to hear that they had the scanning working, though.

FoF was just as you said. There's no need to stop the train completely on the MCBR. I didn't notice an issue with the new belts on Top Gun. I hope that doesn't say anything bad abotu my manhood.

Italian Job seemed to really be lacking on effects, and Tomb Raider was really sad. I loved that ride, and Saturday had only the middle row working, no working doors for the pre-show, no dialogue on the first half of the ride (which didn't surprise me), and no working lava lights or sprays. Very disappointing.

The big gouge I saw for food prices was ice cream. $3.25 for a cone? Ugh. Weren't cones like $1.50 last year?

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Monday, April 30, 2007 3:36 PM
When I was there on sunday, the helicopter was operational again. I also don't get the whole seatbelt thing on top gun.
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Monday, April 30, 2007 4:25 PM
Our CP All-Ohio pass didn't scan at the gate on opening day, and we were also directed to go to guest services to get into the park... and I have a pass from King's Dominion.. They didn't even scan my pass, just let me into the park. I could have taken someone else's pass and just walked in the gate that day.
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Monday, April 30, 2007 7:03 PM
Unless you have a pair of grapefruits in your shorts Jeff, I didn't see the problem with the seatbelts in that aspect. But yes, the seatbelts are a little much. As far as I understand it, the seatbelts are used as a secondary restraint in the event of a restraint failure (or if it is Corkscrew and Iron Dragon at CP where I've had the restraints open up on me on both rides), I don't think its mandated by law yet, but I'm sure you'll see it in the future. At least the seatbelts don't dangle in your face like Corkscrew's at, lets hope they at least correct that there. Plus, the seatbelts are easy to use so that makes things move a little quicker.

I enjoyed my visit Sunday, they just need to figure out the problem with line jumping, because it was rampant throughout that park that day. I don't ever remember that being a major problem at KI, Sunday was terrible for it.

I figured out the fix for the pricing problems at parks. I bring a cooler with my own deli meat and drinks. That way I'm not eating the junk food and I get to keep a little cash in my wallet. As some of you are beginning to realize, I'm a cheap arse. However, I will spring for a decent meal at a park when the food is worth it.

~Rob Willi

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Monday, April 30, 2007 7:43 PM
Yes, I know what the point of the belts is, but unless they failed somewhere, it's a solution searching for a problem.
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Tuesday, May 1, 2007 12:57 AM

HeyIsntThatRob? said:As far as I understand it, the seatbelts are used as a secondary restraint in the event of a restraint failure (or if it is Corkscrew and Iron Dragon at CP where I've had the restraints open up on me on both rides),

I wasn't aware that there were any AT ALL restraint opening issues on those types of Arrows. Do you have any more details?

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Tuesday, May 1, 2007 1:09 AM
Well back to my coaster snob opinion that all harness coasters should be converted over to lap bars, like the premiers...

Imagine how many more GREAT coasters we would have!

The upper 'bar' on the lap bars of the Premier rides is a great idea, as it enables smaller ones and 'less geeky' coaster riders to hold on while having head against headrest (thus preventing the head thrusting forward thing...).

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Tuesday, May 1, 2007 9:54 AM
Food prices at amusement parks never seem to bother me, but I guess thats because of my understanding of how businesses work. Food and drinks bring in a large amount of revenue for theme parks, and if the prices on them weren't where they are, the theme park would have to raise prices else where in order to survive. Take my advice and go get food outside of the park while you still can, cause Im guessing in the near future many parks will be instilling the no re-entry policy that the SF team has introduced.
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Tuesday, May 1, 2007 2:44 PM
Kings Dominion's food prices were high enough to make me ill. We bought two lousy sandwich "meals", one vege burger, one chicken, and a medium soft drink and it came to $21.

The next day at Busch Gardens we bought a bbq platter (chicken, ribs, fries etc), corn on the cob, mac & cheese AND two 20oz beers for $31.

There is a reason we pass right by one park on the way to other year after year, and its not just the rides. When I am paying high prices for food that isn't even any good, I can't help but feel ripped off. I don't mind paying for decent food, but when its not even any good I get pissed.

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Friday, May 4, 2007 7:39 PM
Were all the coasters except Firehawk and SOB open Jeff? Also how's the work on SOB coming.
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Friday, May 4, 2007 7:45 PM
On the 27th every coaster but those two were open but Face/Off had problems most of the day.
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Friday, May 4, 2007 10:01 PM

Steel158 said:
Food prices at amusement parks never seem to bother me, but I guess thats because of my understanding of how businesses work.

So if you went to a park right now you would fork over $30 for a small pizza and another $5 for a small drink, "just to show you know how business works" lol

Good TR though, and I don't really eat much at parks, perhaps a snack but nothing major. I need to eventually get to KI someday.. I've passed it many times before.


*** Edited 5/5/2007 2:02:43 AM UTC by P18***

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Friday, May 4, 2007 10:57 PM
I was showing a co-worker, who is taking her family to Holiday World later this summer, the food prices on HW's website, and her jaw practically hit the floor.

I don't know if Paula has a printing press stashed away in her office to keep that place in business with their affordable prices, but I hope other parks take notice, and soon.

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Saturday, May 5, 2007 8:21 AM
Cedar Point's "Great Price Drop Experiment" seems to have been abandoned. Attendance last year was flat despite cutting the gate by 10% and many in-park food prices, and CP was noticeably absent from the "parks that did well" list in the 2006 annual results press release.

So, I'm betting that it will be a long time before another Cedar Fair park drops prices to try to increase profits. Not going to happen.

That said, CF's in-park prices are generally pretty high. I spend more on lunch in Cedar Point---on mediocre chicken strips and fries---than I do in Disney world on a plate of grilled salmon, rice, and green beans:

http://www.allearsnet.com/menu/menu_tus.htm

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Saturday, May 5, 2007 11:07 AM
I agree that food prices have gotten almost out of control. At Carowinds earlier this season I bought a tray of fries with chili and cheese that had probably 20 fries in the entire tray, for close to 6 bucks. I'm to the point where I just go back to the car if I want anything to eat.
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Saturday, May 5, 2007 12:04 PM
Disney's counter service food is mostly terrible, a few locations here and there not withstanding. The pricing was about inline with what I'd consider average though. Best food choices for my money are still at the Busch and Universal parks.
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Saturday, May 5, 2007 1:11 PM
Perhaps, but that salmon meal is the best theme park value I've had anywhere. You'd be hard-pressed to pay $8 for a decent piece of salmon just about anywhere.
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Saturday, May 5, 2007 7:32 PM
I cannot remember the last time we purchased a "meal" at Cedar Point. We always have a couple beers...and a couple gourmet pretzels....but other than that we have our powerbars tucked away, and have a nice breakfast before we head out, mainly due to how obsene the pricing is.

I guess I had never thought of their pricing as "out of line", but then again, I have not been to Disney since 1994.

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