Kings Island 8/28/11

Associated parks:
Kings Island, Mason, Ohio, USA

Monday, August 29, 2011 6:48 PM

Spent the weekend at Kings Island. I won't bore everyone with a ride by ride description, but the highlights were as follows...

THE GOOD
l. Kings Island has the greatest Kiddieland of any park in the country and its lead is widening. If you peel away the atmosphere, parades and costumed characters, it even has more kiddie rides than Disney. And they're great rides. Woodstock Express, Flying Ace and Surf Dog are still fun for us even without kids. We like Surf Dog more than the Disc-0 at Kennywood, especially from the rear seats. And KI should just extend Whirlybirds across the entire park with multiple stations and use them for people movers.
2. Diamondback is just awesome.
3. That large circular Dodgem floor is much better than rectangular floors and these are the fastest cars in the Midwest.
4. As other parks discard their Polyps, Spiders, Octopi and Monsters, this Monster is becoming a rare antique and it's in great shape. Of the ones left, this is smoothest, fastest and longest ride cycle.
5. We like this Scrambler and the fact that they have it geared up to the highest speed in the Midwest, but why is it running rough? It sounds like the gears are almost but not quite meshing.
6. What a beautiful Carousel. We love that unusual racing carousel at Cedar Point, but this and the one at Kennywood are the best traditional models still operating.
7. It's sad how Son of Beast sits there in all its former glory but on the official KI map it is nowhere to be seen. They just sort of photoshopped it out of the map. Poor Sonny.
8. This is the best Drop Tower in the country, especially now that KW is selling Pitt Fall.
9. Congo Falls is oh so close to becoming to boat plunges what Jack Rabbit is to coasters, with a unique double dip. But since Congo Falls replaced the boats a while back, the new ones are too long for the mid drop dip. They need to either retrack it or order boats which fit. However, even though it's not as high as most, it's still a neat boat plunge.
10. In the whole country, only Disney, Dollywood, Cedar Point and Busch Gardens can match these Kings Island steam locomotives. Wow are they a priceless treasure. And how ironic they were built right at the foot of the cliffs around the bend from Kennywood.
11. Whitewater Canyon is not as intense or exciting as Kennywood's but sure is a beautiful, relaxing, fun trip through that magnificent forest.
12. The Beast may have lost its number one ranking to Voyage but it's still a tremendous ride. If they removed all those brakes and let it run full out I'm not sure Voyage would keep the lead. Of course, if they let it run full out the stress might tear the structure apart.
13. This is a great water park with Typhoon, Thunder, Rampage and Sidewinder plus all the slides. But that Pipeline has to be the neatest water ride in the Midwest. There were three kids competing against each other while we were there and they were incredible. There's no Black Anaconda (Noah's Ark in the Dells), or Wildebeest / Bakula / Pilgrim Plunge (HW), but Boomerang Bay is easily the third best water park in the Midwest.
THE BAD
l. Windseeker seems like a great ride but we never get to ride it. It's closed for excessive breeze more than it's open. We circled by four times Sunday and it was closed every time, although from way across the park we did see it operating a few times. If it's going to be this iffy, we wonder if it was worth the investment.
2. Surely Cedar Fair could have picked up the phone and made a few calls and got permission to keep the racing stripes and headlights on the Backlot Stunt Cars. They look forlorn degraded to these generic roller coaster shells.
3. Shake Rattle & Roll is a nice ride (if you close your eyes you can't tell the sensations from the Monster) but we'd still rather they had sent it to Carowinds and moved the Flying Scooters across the walkway to where Shake Rattle & Roll is.
4. They've got Sidewinder and Rampage hidden so well people are wandering around Boomerang Bay trying to find them. There are no signs and the entrances are not at all obvious. You have to climb the hill as if you're going to Thunder, and suddenly you realize there's a fork in the trail and the left fork goes to Sidewinder.
5. The best food in the park is served on the cafeteria line at River Town Junction Dining Hall. But why price it only as an All You Can Eat Buffet for $16??? Let people drop by and snack on a few items between rides. And why close it at 6??? Stay open until at least 7 or 8.
6. These extra charge rides and shows cost the park more in bad public relations than whatever profit they could possibly earn.
THE UGLY
l. The amusement park industry has become quite competitive. KI no longer owns Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. People can drive to Kennywood, Holiday World and Dollywood and eventually Kentucky Kingdom will open. All three (and eventually four) offer free parking. These $12 and $20 parking charges are unsustainable.
2. Kings Island is a distant last in the amusement park food competition. Fest Haus is just awful. The salads consist of wilted lettuce and melted cheese. Everything else is fried and done so by teenagers who have no idea how to operate a grille. Not having coffee or milk is inexcusable and selling only bucket sized soft drinks is insulting. All food everywhere is also overpriced. KW, HW and DW are so far ahead in food services it will take a massive investment of money and hard work to catch up.
3. The other coasters are doing fine, but Racer is in desperate need of retracking and probably new trains. The bottoming out below each drop is painful. We used to complain about Carowinds having the most abusive coasters in the country, and everyone complained about Son of Beast punishing its riders, but Racer is now as bad as any of them were. None of our group even plan to ride it again until they do something.
4. Beast is a great ride, but I really dislike those shoulder pads. I stand 6-1 and they hit me exactly wrong. They really beat up my armpits, especially whichever one is inside. I wish they'd redesign those things, since I intend to keep riding it as often as possible. But I should admit nobody else in our group seems bothered by this issue.

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Monday, August 29, 2011 8:21 PM

Trekker Forrest said:
These $12 and $20 parking charges are unsustainable.

Wouldn't it be fun to bookmark this thread and see what the parking prices sit at in 2 years, 5 years, 10 years, etc?

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011 9:09 AM

Nice TR. When we were there a couple weeks ago, we rode Monster as well. It was the most intense ride we rode all day. I agree it is probably the best one anywhere.

I like the carousel, but I wish they would use the band organ. I know that very few places seem to still do that, but it just seems strange to have piped in music.

Also agree about the food. The Festhaus has had some really decent shows in recent years; a huge improvement over the big tvs showing cartoons in the Paramount days. Too bad the food quality does not match the same quality standards. It feels wrong to put a Panda Express in the Festhaus. The Germans would never have done that. ;)

I'm also tired of Beast and Racer, but mainly because I so dislike being wedged in the seat like a sardine. I'm not a big guy, but I hate feeling like I'm being squeezed for the whole ride.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011 12:50 PM

Windseeker closed for "excessive breeze"? Ha! Is that what they actually say or was that your choice of words? Excessive breeze just sounds funny to me.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011 1:26 PM

That's what they said. To be specific, the operator said "A stiff breeze in excess of 20 mph."

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Sunday, September 4, 2011 5:16 PM

They should just contract Festhaus out. They've already got Starbucks, Subway and LaRosa's Pizza. Haufbrauhaus is a national chain that might be glad to take over the operation. They have great food, great drinks, great atmosphere and lively entertainment, and the prices are a lot better than the usual Kings Island prices.

I agree that Racer is becoming unridable. Everybody I know complains about the pain it inflicts on their lower backs. One friend of mine took two weeks after his last visit to the park to recover from Racer. He's ok now, but he says he won't be riding it again. There's no excuse for that. Racer is not a big or fast coaster. The Cedar Fair maintenance crew needs to get their act together.

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Sunday, September 4, 2011 5:20 PM

^I'll continue to say it. The Racer (and Beast and many many other woodies) were fine (not perfect) until the addition ("upgrade") by PTC. All that extra individual lap bar hardware adds so much weight, thus tearing up the track. It's really a shame. It's darn-near killed some previously great rides.

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Sunday, September 4, 2011 9:32 PM

I dunno. My daughter and I picked up some rough, but only pleasantly so, rides on Racer this July.

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Monday, September 5, 2011 10:55 AM

One of these years, instead of adding a major new ride, Kings Island should expand or upgrade some of their existing rides. For examples...

I'd love to see them double the length of Flight Deck. I think that's a great ride but it's way too short.

They should totally rethink Woodstock's Whirlybirds. Other parks have people movers to get people from one end of the park to the other. Disney and Busch Gardens have their railroads, Indiana Beach had its chairlift and Busch Gardens has its aerial tram. KI should do this with those funny little pedal copters. Run them from the Beast all the way around to Congo Falls and back across to the Water Park. Build stations at every corner of the park and let people get on and off where they please. The pedal copters could become an icon of the park.

Cedar Fair needs to restore Stunt Cars. I agree with Trekker that they need the Mini Cooper theming even if they have to buy the rights. They need headlights, taillights, striping, etc. But they also need to put the water back in and restore some of the other little touches that made the ride so cool.

The Antique Cars need to come back. Build them a roadway running under Diamondback and out through the forest. Put in a covered bridge or two over the rafting river.

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Monday, September 5, 2011 11:04 AM

No.

(lol)

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Monday, September 5, 2011 6:29 PM

Ensign Smith said:
I dunno. My daughter and I picked up some rough, but only pleasantly so, rides on Racer this July.

I was there on July 23rd/24th for the first time in close to 20 years. I didn't think Racer was rough at all. Missed not being able to ride it backwards but still seemed like a good old wood coaster to me.

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Monday, September 5, 2011 8:09 PM

Yeah, I'm not complaining at all. I've ridden it in previous years when it was much rougher.

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