Kings Island, Mason, Ohio, USA
Well, I had my thoughts for this trip report mapped out pretty well, but then I logged on to this site and read that Will Koch died, so needless to say my enthusiasm has been dampened. Very sad news indeed; his vision, passion, and love for the amusement park industry will be sorely missed.
Anyway, yeah, Kings Island. My wife and I and two friends left Indianapolis around 7:45 and got to the park right at opening. The emptiness of the parking lot was encouraging, and once we got inside we realized that it was going to be a great day. We headed straight for Diamondback, as I didn't get a chance to ride it last year due to my wife's pregnancy, and were pleased to see about a 10 minute wait. We rode twice in a row, once in front and once in back, and I must say that I definitely prefer the back. The airtime on the first drop (well, the first 3 drops, really) is outstanding. Your butt doesn't touch the seat from the time you crest the hill until you bottom out. I've heard B&M derided for designing coaster that, while smooth and graceful, aren't very forceful. No problem for Diamondback. Great airtime, nice positive G's, and incredibly steep inclines and declines on each of the large hills. It loses a little steam after the block brake, but it's still fun enough, and the splashdown is a neat little gimmick. Well done, Kings Island. A little overdue, but well done.
After Diamondback, we hit The Beast twice in the front car in about a 20 minute span. Up next was Backlot Stunt Coaster, followed by Vortex, with about a 5 minute and 15 minute wait, respectively. We then broke for lunch, which consisted of lunch meat sandwiches and chips in the parking lot. I flat out refuse to buy park food anymore, for obvious reasons. We got back and pretty much hit all the major coasters before calling it a day. The sign for Firehawk read 60 minutes for most of the day, so that's the only one we didn't get to ride. It was cloudy in the morning and looked as though it could rain at any moment, but it never did. I'm not sure why the park was so dead, but I'm not complaining. The wait for Diamondback never exceeded 15 minutes. Can't beat that!
I had a few general observations about the park:
One thing that really stood out was that Son of Beast isn't on the park map! I was under the impression that the ride was closed indefinitely, but that Kings Island may make some attempt to get it running at some point this summer. Well, if it's not even the official 2010 map, that tells me that its days are numbered. Can't come soon enough, lot of precious real estate going to waste.
Every time I ride Flight of Fear, all I can think about is how much of a nightmare it used to be with the OTSR's. It still jerks the hell out of you, but you can at least tolerate it with only a lap bar. I also wonder what happened to all those "actors" in that queue video, a video that's now in its 16th year.
The employees all seemed to be pretty friendly and laid back. One of the ride operators on Diamondback gave me tips on how to get my hands wet from the back seat on the splashdown. Not the quite the "keep your hands feet inside the car at all times" drivel you usually hear.
The guy running the 3-point shootout game was a prick. I know he's trying to entertain the spectators, but he was taking it way too far. He must not have been worried about repeat customers. By the way, I hit two shots, including the last money ball, for 3 points. At CP, that would've been good enough for a prize, but not at Kings Island. Their goals seemed to be in better shape, though.
I don't know if I'll ever refer to the renamed rides by their new names, especially Drop Zone, Face/Off, and Top Gun.
That's all. Thanks for reading!
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