Kings Island VIP Tour 5-31-09

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This was the first time I had been to Kings Island in 22 years. I left Indiana to move to Texas when I got out of college. It was very different. I think it was beautiful with all of the landscaping, trees, etc. The last time I was there the latest attractions were the African monorail and the Kind Cobra Coaster. We stayed at Hampton Inn just across the street so it only took us a few minutes to get there Sunday Morning. We arrived at around 10:30 and paid the $10.00 to park. When then went to Guest relations and they called for our tour guide and refunded our 10.00 parking fee, this was included in the VIP tour. Our guide arrived promptly and off we went. She explained that we would be getting front of the line access to any ride at any time but could not do the same ride two times consecutively but could ride each ride as many times as we wanted thoughout the day. She then gave us our drink wristbands for unlimited soft drinks at most concession stands in the park. Our first ride of course was Diamond Back. When we got there she approximated the wait would have been about 45 minutes but we were taken through the exit, the ride operator asked where we would like to sit and we choose the front four seats. So when the next train was unloaded before anyone was allowed to be seated we were taken to our seats. The ride was more than I expected. I liked it as much as Millenium Force at Cedar Point.
After that we went on The Crypt. Once again we went in and were seated before the next group of riders came in. I thought it was cool but kind of a dud because it was so short and really had nothing going on except a couple of flashes of light every now and then.
Next was the Beast which was one of the rides I remembered from 22 years ago, it was quite thrilling because of the length of the ride and the last helix was everything i remembered but the first half was very rough and I was not expecting that. We then got a "behind the scenes" tour of the beast and she walked us through a private entrance and around the path that vehicles usually take. We went under the first hill and saw great views of the ride from all angles up and close.
My first ride on the Vortex was really good, it looked so impressive from the beast I couldn't wait to ride it. We were immediately seated and off we went in the front four seats. It was a little rough for a steel coaster , especially after the smoothness of the Diamond Back but I still enjoyed the twisting and curving and looping in all directions.
The drink wristbands came in handy, we got drinks or water pretty much after every ride or two.
We then went over to the Flight of Fear and Firehawk. Flight of fear took me totally by surprise, I thought it would be kind of cheesy since it was an indoor coaster but boy was it cool. The last part of the ride where you kind of go flying up toward the ceiling was great, I couldn't believe they fit all of that into what seemed like a small looking building.
I had just seen a story about Firehawk on the discovery Channel last week so I knew a little about it but it was a great and unusual ride, With the sun blaring in our face as we went up the first hill I had a lot of anticipation and once you flip and go down that hill it was non-stop excitement. It took a couple of minutes afterwards for me to get my body and had back in sync.
After doing four coasters pretty much back to back in less than in hour we decided to take it easy and do a few of the small rides including the scrambler, bumper cars, and carousel. The lines were fairly short on all of those but we were still taken directly onto the rides.
My family went on the monster but I was still reeling from all of the coasters so I sat that one out, I really don't like rides that just spin around and around anyway.
Since that whole area where the monorail and King Cobra used to be is completely different our guide suggested we go up in the Eiffel Tower to get a look from the air. I was amazed at the great way it looked from up there and all of the impressive looking rides that had been built in that area. We kinda mapped out or adenda for that area and off we went.
We did Adventure express first which was great for a mine ride, That last hill though really builds up anticipation only to take you out to get unloaded, we all laughed at that part. Oh, one thing I forgot to mention is the tour guide holds all of your stuff so you dont have to worry about securing anything. She even watches your drinks for you and is waiting for you as soon as you get off the rides.
One of the rides I was most looking forward to was Son of Beast since Beast was always one of my favorite coasters so we did that one next. It really wasn't as rough as I had expected and I really enjoyed it. We rode from the front car and had a great time.
We decided to slow down for a while so we went to see the country show at the Festhus. It was pretty good and we snacked on some chicken tenders, fries, and bread sticks. Our tour guide took her first break of the day while we were resting.
When she returned we rode on the Congo Falls and Drop Tower. There was no line at all for the Congo Falls but we were allowed to take our seats on the drop tower before anyone else was allowed in to be seated.
Only two of us rode on Invertigo. I really took me by surprise at how fast and disorienting it is.
I passed on Delirium because once again I am not that crazy about spinning rides.
We all liked Flight Deck, it reminded me of the old The Bat they used to have. It was short but really fast and fun. It was around 3:30 when we finished in this area and headed over to the Kiddie area.
This area had really changed a lot. I liked the way they had rides for kids of all ages now, we even rode on Avatar and Rugrats Reptar and enjoyed them both. I can see how kids would love this area now.
Next we went on the two water rides over there, The River adventure was nice but just when I thought I had escaped getting too wet that little elephant gives you a total soaking and took us all by surprise. We all got a kick though watching others get it once we knew about it. We also got a good laugh because they have a drying station right beside it where for $5.00 you can get in this big orange human dyer.
After that we rode on White Water which was another I remembered from the old days. It was fun and we got even wetter.
Our VIP tour included a buffet lunch at River Junction. It was actually quite good. We enjoyed the fresh vegetables on the salad bar as well as the great assortment of fresh fruit. We all chose different entrees consisting of taco salads, fried chicken, roast beef, turkey, various pastas and shrimp. They also had a very good selection of desserts and even had scooped ice cream with all the toppings you could ever want.
Our tour guide took her dinner break at this time also.
When she returned we rode the train ride and enjoyed how relaxing it was. We had pretty much covered the whole park by that point so we then decided which rides we wanted to take second and third rides on. We went to Diamond Back for our second ride, the line was really long by then (around 6:00) and this time we decided to try it from the back seat. Once again we were let in before anyone else and had a great ride again. Our package included an on ride photo of our choice for each of us so we got our first one on that ride. We then did Vortex again and got our second ride photo. Next was our second ride on Flight of fear, this time from the back seat and Firehawk where we got out third ride photo.
We then make that round again doing Diamond Back, Vortex, Flight of Fear and Firehawk all in a row. It was staring to get dark and the park looked great with all the lights on. We did our last ride on Diamond Back and line was REALLY long but we got to go right to the front , and then one last ride on Vortex and Firehawk and it was completely dark this time.
Our guide informed us we still had one more ride photo left but none of us could take another caster so she suggested the Scooby Doo since it offered photos. It was fun and then she informed us we also got a free blue ice-cream as part of our package. We enjoyed those while watching an amazing fireworks display- I thought it would be rinky dink but it was amazingly quite good.
So that was our VIP tour of Kings Island, if you ever get a chance to experience it this way I guarantee you will be spoiled and never want to stand in a line again.

DaveStroem's avatar

Sounds like you had a grand time.

We were at the park yesterday too. The crowds were pretty light but still FOTL would be great.

I'm planning to do this in July so I'm glad I got to (well, skim for now) a TR!

I didn't read your TR in depth yet, but were you with 4 people and hence the 4 on-ride photo's?? Also, did you tip your tour guide?

Last question, I'm hiring a photographer since I sort of hate photography myself and want pictures of me and this person on the Diamondback train in the station, etc. So while I doubt the photographer will ride much, do you think my assumption of him needing a pass as well (like I'm planning) is correct? It's sort of a waste, but will be well worth it!

LostKause's avatar

Why don't you ask the tour guide to take some photos? That might save you some cash, even though people who do VIP don't normally need to be watching out for ways to save cash.

Interesting TR. How much did the VIP cost?

Lord Gonchar's avatar

LostKause said:
...people who do VIP don't normally need to be watching out for ways to save cash.


So the measure is that someone who pays for VIP has enough money to not have to consider how they spend it?


LostKause's avatar

Sort of. I'd say that most people who can afford to pay for VIP normally has enough money to not have to consider how they spend it.

If tigellinus wants photos of himself and "this person" riding Diamondback together, he could ask his driver or help staff to do it for him. I'd lend him mine but they are busy getting our beach house ready for holiday. ;)

Nothing against VIP. I really like the price point, honestly, because it keeps it from being overused by average people.

The comment about hiring a photographer just cracked me up, sorry. At least I'm honest...

Oh, and I read the entire TR. I agree that FOF is a surprising. It's probably the best gem in the park. I also agree that Beast still rocks. I still strongly dislike SOB though. It hurts me.

Some of the less popular coasters really entertain me as well, such as Adventure Express and Top Gun-err Flight Deck. It's nice to know that someone else appreciates them as much as I do.

I still really miss King Cobra. That coaster had an awesome, yet simple layout.

to answer your questions---there were four of us on the VIP tour, thats how we got the four online ride photos---I forgot to mention but the tour guide said she would gladly take photos when ever we asked her to, so you really wont need a photographer, yes we did tip her 15.00 per person. Seriously, she was so nice and so accommodating, her name was Marianne and she said you could specifically request her. She technically was only supposed to be with us for a total of 8 hours ( not including the one hour of break time) but said she didnt mind staying clear up until the fireworks and the park closed so we could get all the rides we wanted ( a total of 11 hours, hence the tip). The tour for 4 people was $796.00 (199.00 per person). She did mention that this was a special price since this was the first year Kings Island is doing it and that most likely it would go up . But when you figure it includes admission, parking, ride photos, front of the line access, dinner buffet, unlimited soft drinks, blue ice cream, and someone to hold everything and take pictures for you, it's worth it. You must have a minimum of two people and a maximum of 8 for a tour.

Lord Gonchar's avatar

LostKause said:
I'd say that most people who can afford to pay for VIP normally has enough money to not have to consider how they spend it.

I'm not sure that's a fair assumption.

Raven-Phile's avatar

It most certainly isn't a fair assumption. I could probably afford VIP for Jen and myself, but I don't have a driver or a personal shopper or whatever. I get that there's some humor to be found there, but KI's VIP really is affordable, and a really good deal if you've got the means.

Lord Gonchar's avatar

Exactly. At $200 a head for all that's included, it's not much more than giving up one or two other things (like some event tickets or a nice dinner or something of that nature) and putting the cash with what you'd budgeted for the park already.

Raven-Phile's avatar

Precisely. Now, CP's is a little less of a bargain at $350 per person. That's $700 per couple vs. $400 - that's a huge difference. Add in a hotel stay and it becomes even more so.

Hey renthoutx, thanks for answering my question! I'm really glad you had such a memorable day as well! (I re-read your TR)

I did the Cedar Point VIP tour in 07, which included two non-riders not part of the package, but they were still able to go around with us and actually had a blast watching us on TTD and hearing about our rides, etc.

The photographer is a friend and definitely not some professional, but I want a lot of pictures (and some video) and don't want to worry about them not coming out. But I want him to have the same access as me, which is why I'm expecting to include him with my package (the two non-riders at CP never entered a station or anything like that).

I'll remember Marianne as she sounds really great! I'm only going to be at KI for about 6 hours (I'm thinking) anyway, so it won't be a long day (partially the reason for the VIP), but I might be a little stressed out understandably trying to make everything perfect and might be a little high maintenance.

I really can't wait to post my PTR and am even more eager to make my reservation!

LostKause's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:

I'm not sure that's a fair assumption.

...Which is why I asked how much the VIP package cast in the first place. If it's $200, and includes parking, a meal, and drinks all day, it does sound like a decent price. It's almost too good of a price. If it became too popular, the regular park experience would suffer. I doubt CF would let something like that happen though. ;)

edited to add "a meal".

Last edited by LostKause,
Lord Gonchar's avatar

I still don't think it's a fair assumption at CP's $350 per head.

Pagoda Gift Shop's avatar

It may not be a fair assumption, but I would say that's the general impression. Up until a few years ago a park VIP tour meant celebrities only (at least in my mind). I'd love to see the numbers for how often it's being used now that it is being advertised.

Raven-Phile said:
Now, CP's is a little less of a bargain at $350 per person.

I would disagree based on the number of rides CP has compared to KI as well as the quality of those rides. In fact, I think it's pretty amusing that Cedar Fair has put a price tag on their park experiences. If KI is $200, what is Carowinds, Kings Dominion? $150?

Raven-Phile's avatar

CP has greatly cut back on their VIP experience, so you don't even come close to what you get at KI, for $175 more. I just checked and they raised the price this year.

CP's VIP for $375/person includes:

  • Admission
  • Non-transferable, front-of-the-line ride access
  • (2) on-ride photos per person
  • Priority Seating at restaurants
  • Priority Seating at live shows
  • Minimum of 2 guests, maximum of 8
That's it. No meal, no parking, and no photo-"walkbacks".

KI's VIP experience at $199/person (approaching half price here):

  • Admission to Kings Island
  • VIP Parking near the Front Gate
  • Front-of-the-line ride access
  • Priority show seating
  • Opportunity for private character meet and greets
  • Behind-the-scenes tour of the Beast roller coaster
  • Souvenir ride or character photo
  • Lunch or Dinner Meal Option
  • Unlimited soft drinks
  • VIP Tour credential and lanyard
  • Complimentary group photo
  • Complimentary Blue Ice Cream Cone
  • Personal Kings Island VIP Tour Guide
Now, CP is in my backyard, and normally I'd say that a VIP would make sense there, but it sure seems KI has the upper hand on this one.

Lord Gonchar's avatar

I'm just wondering what world you have to live in where spending $375 for something equates to not having to consider how you spend.

And man, what about those Bill Gates types who buy into the DVC? How many zeroes must be in their bank accounts? ;)

Jeff's avatar

Did anyone ever consider that CP prices and offers what they do because people are in fact willing to pay for it?

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

Raven-Phile's avatar

Well, Gonch - to be fair, I'd have to wince a bit if I spent almost $400 on a "VIP" experience at Cedar Point, just because I'm a little over an hour away and I can probably go on a day in which I could do all of that and have money left over. Not to mention, I could spend that money on something electronic, or take it and go to Disney. :)

Now, $200 on what looks to be an awesome KI experience, count me in.

Carrie M.'s avatar

Jeff said:
Did anyone ever consider that CP prices and offers what they do because people are in fact willing to pay for it?

Would you just stop with all your crazy talk?

"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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