Perhaps the saddest thing for me was the fact that they were playing regular music on International Street. I realize that they need to get away from playing the Paramount movie theme music, but hearing "Love Shack" or Billy Joel's "My Life" on International Street is just wrong! Kings Island has the best entrance of any amusement park out there, and it has so much atmosphere with the fountains and Eiffel Tower and the look of the shops. I would love for some kind of International themed music to be playing, but I predicted it would have the same kind of midway music that they play at Cedar Point, and I was right. The same "mix radio station" music was playing throughout the entire park, except for Rivertown, which was appropriately playing country, and Nick Universe, which was playing the kiddie rock they always have. The volume of the music was quite low on International Street and it was relatively easy to ignore, but I was still disappointed. I also noticed that when they made announcements on International Street, you could hardly hear them.
On the plus side, I loved the look of the new Kings Island map. The map is larger with the names of the rides placed near the ride. For the first time ever, the park's smoking policy is easy to find and read on it, and the organization of the map is great for finding food, show times, and general rules. It is a huge improvement. I was also pleased with the cleanliness of the park. There were garbage cans everywhere with the new Cedar Fair labels on them. The landscaping was not overly developed yet, and the floral clock and calendar, as well as the topiaries, were not out. However, that is common for April and hopefully by Memoral Day all that will be back. I was happy to see that all the props from the Paramount Story were removed, and therefore that area looked barren and the square stones that had the movie info on them looked rather bad. Hopefully they will more fully landscape and clean up this area come summer.
I was surprised to see that they were starting to get some Kings Island merchandise in the gift shops. You could still find many Paramount items, but they also had some nice Firehawk shirts, and general shirts with only Kings Island on them, and even a blanket with the new Kings Island logo on it. Hopefully in the future they will add new things like Post cards, new pins, and other new merchandise. However, It was a little disturbing to see the park selling shirts that clearly violate their own rule against wearing clothing with suggesive slogans on them. At the gift shop in the Adventure Zone, I saw shirts with stuff on them like, "You know that thing your girlfriend does? I taught her that." and other sexually suggestive stuff. Now I am not a prude or overly politically correct, but those shirts do not belong in a family theme park IMHO...
I was sad to see that the glass blowing shop was gone from International Street. I can understand this but it was still sad. I realize that the park mainly caters to a younger crowd that does not buy such things, but it was the last shop on I-street that reminded me of the old days. It will be missed. I also noticed that there was a place on the left side (as you face the tower) that had a new sign called Thrill Seekers that sold general KI and ride merchandise. This building was previously called Animation Station.
We had dinner from the newly remodeled LaRosa's and enjoyed it while watching the fountains on International Street. The pizza was good, but not very hot. Since the whole pizza and drinks cost $27, they really need to work on keeping the pizza hot! The food prices were high, but I always expect that from larger theme parks and really do not have a complaint about it as long as everything tastes good.
The rides were working very well that day. Of course SOB and Firehawk were not open yet, but we already knew that. All the other rides were working except the train (it is sad they still see it as simply transportation to the water park and not a ride in itself). They were two hours late in opening Italian Job and then I noticed it was closed a good portion of the time later in the day. We were able to get in line just as it opened for the first time and so we did not have a line. The ride is still fun, but most of the special effects with the helicopter did not work and they had the lights on in the tunnel (likely because they had just been in there working on the ride.) I also saw them having brief issues with Drop Zone later in the day. But overall things were working well, which I hear was very different from what happened the previous day.
The Beast ran well, as long as you avoid sitting over a wheel and chose a center seat! We rode it twice. I REALLY enjoyed Flight Of Fear this time. It ran very well and was one of the day's highlights. Top Gun also seemed to run smoother than usual, and was great fun. We even enjoyed our ride on the Fairly Odd Coaster and Adventure Express. However, Vortex was running even rougher than usual, as was the Racer. But I still enjoyed them both! I noticed the new seat belts on Vortex, Top Gun, and Adventure Express. I was not surprised since Cedar Point uses seat belts on their ferris wheel!
We enjoyed the Scooby Doo dark ride as always, although there were several targets not working, which seemed strange given it was opening weekend! Is the ride THAT hard to keep working? We also rode Adventure Express, Avatar, the Grand Carousel, Drop Zone, Delirium (which was incredible!), the Scrambler, Zephyr, Eiffel Tower, and saw Sponge Bob 3D at the FX theatre.
We also rode Viking Fury, and were really surprised at how crowded and popular that ride still is! Despite the park not being really crowded, it always seemed to have a decent number of people on it.
There were a lot of managers around in their ties and button down shirts, but they rarely seemed to acknowledge us. One thing I noticed when we visited Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom during their opening weekend was how often their mangement (also in ties) would say hello to us, smile at us, and ask us if we were having a good time at the park. (Yes, this will likely not last all year, but still...) This did not happen at all at Kings Island. The management seemed engrossed in their own thoughts or conversations and did not really say anything to us. That is not really a complaint, just an interesting observation. (Others may have had different experiences of course.) The ride ops were fast and professional, although again they really did not communicate much with us. The exceptions were the staff working the Eiffel Tower. The guy in the elevator spoke clearly to us going up and down, and did not sound like he was bored reading a script. He was also great with the kids, joking with them and such. The woman at the observation platform was talking to people, telling them about the park and seemed really personable. I even heard her lamenting the removal of the antique cars and Flying Eagles, which was cool. The staff at Larosa's on International Street were really nice as well. Everyone seemed well trained and carefully checked our restraints, sometimes multiple times.
Finally, I was happy to see that the general public seems to be using the smoking areas more often at the park. The smoking areas seemed to be more crowded, and I saw slightly less people smoking in places they should not. Of course, there were some. At one point I saw a group of three people walking through the Action Zone and all puffing away furiously. They were walking for over a minute directly next to three managers in ties who did not reprimand or say anything to them. So I see that enforcement is still weak and those determined to break the rules will still easily get away with it. But at least more guests are being polite and using the designated smoking areas. By the way, the one smoking area they had right in the walk path between Coney Mall and the pizza place in the back has been removed, which makes a lot of sense!
I love Kings Island and do not mean to sound overly negative, for a I had a great day at the park. I still think that the Cedar Fair buyout of the chain will overall be a good thing, and that we will have many great years ahead. At the end of the day, the sun was starting to set and they turned on the lights on International Street, which looked beautiful. They had the white lights that outlined the buidlings on (although some were not working) and the fountain lights on, as well as the lights on the Eiffel Tower that changed it many different colors. International Street has not looked this nice in many, many years, and it was a beautiful sight to see as we left for the day. Now if only we were not listening to Elton John's "That's Why They Call It The Blues" as we gazed upon this scene, it would have been perfect! ;)
*** Edited 4/25/2007 3:07:14 AM UTC by Willh51***
While riding Italian Job I noticed that the ops stack the third train in the block up by the effects. Did anyone else have this happen? The effects would stop and the train would just sit because the ops were not advancing the two trains in station quickly enough.
edit: spelling *** Edited 4/25/2007 4:09:50 PM UTC by Outlane***
I had a funny feeling it was going to change. On Saturday I really missed hearing the theme from "The Saint" and "Beetlejuice"...didn't seem the same without them.
In reference to Mikewhys comment about some of the shirts they are selling, I saw one that said "I do it inverted" and I so have to have that shirt!!! :)
Lifetime Raptor flights: 1163 :)
When I went to go ride the beast, it was down
While riding Vortex it got on the first row of break at the end of the ride at ended up being stuck there until the mechanic gave us a push off them.
Ths Stunt track broke down as well.
Maybe just bad luck that day though.
But in the end it was a great day and I must admit Firehawk looks good were it's at.
I do miss the movie music playing throughout the park. It sat a great Atsmophere in International street.
You have to remember that the staff is new (or rusty), the rides have been idle for months, and the rhythm has yet to be established.
I experienced many "delays", yet the rides were back up in short order - and all was good again.
Now, if you read the same comments (from credible sources) in mid-June, you may want to consider a level of concern.
*** Edited 4/27/2007 1:22:53 PM UTC by CoasterDad64***
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