Lakemont and Kings Dominion (5/31-6/1)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010 5:42 PM

After a blown tire and a change of cars (Thanks Dad!), we arrived to a disturbingly quiet Lakemont Park. I understand Memorial Weekend is not the busiest, but attendance was worse than a Waldameer rain-filled opener in early May. Anyways, the park itself was in very good condition for the most part. Rides were clean and appeared in good operating condition with Toboggan as the only exception.

Lakemont flats exceeded my expectations by far. They were all nicely painted and were running smoothly. Skydiver and Roundup were my favorites. My only complaint was that the Bumper Cars floor was literally a huge scuff. An interesting observation was that the Monster was either being dismantled or reassembled for the season. It appeared in good shape so I was puzzled.

Lakemont coasters were pretty neat. The Toboggan was pointless and paintful, but Skyliner and Leap the Dips are hidden gems. Skyliner in the back gave me the best first drop ejector airtime I've felt, and the rest of the ride was just plain classic woodie fun. Leap the Dips was another great ride. The front wheels leaving the tracks was awesome along with the Lazy-Boy comfort of the car.

Overall, Lakemont deserves more credit than the general public gives it. Tripadvisor made it out to be a carnival nightmare. It is obvious that they don't have the funds for high-tech thrills, but what they do have is a rare slice of old-fashioned traditional fun. Lakemont is a pefect, cheap example of the small traditional fun.

Now onto Kings Dominion. The weather was blistering hot along with their excellent collection of coasters. The atmosphere exceeded all of my expectations by far. The landscaping was great and the trees were plentiful except for the former Hypersonic site.

First off, I'll cover the best of the rest types of coasters. Hurler was an average woodie which was not too rough with the turn after the drop being the best part (7/10). Rebel Yell ran fast and smooth, but lacked some airtime (6/10). Ricochet was your standard mouse with a good drop but was lacking in headchoppers and the "fall-off" effect (5/10). Avalanche exceeded expectations in the intensity department, great fun actually (7/10). Backlot was nice, but didn't feel as intense as KI (6/10). I enjoyed each of these rides, but I just can't find enough to say about them.

Now onto my coasters of note. I'll start with Anaconda cause it pissed me off miserably, not with the ride as much as the operations. The ride itself was a mediocre Arrow looper, and the setting was excellent. However, the staff were terrible. Instead of checking restraints they were conversing and taking their grand ole time to get things going. The second train stacked for about 3 minutes each time. I was very close to yelling "hurry the **** up"! Never have experienced slower staff especially with Cedar Fair. (1/10) for staff and (6/10) for ride.

Shockwave was my first and most likely last Togo. The loop was good, but the rest involved praying for the least amount of pain. Bad transitions as well as a dreaded bunny hop near the end. The restraints were rather uncomfortable and seemed quite easy to slip out of like history reveals. The wooded setting and color schemes were neat, but the ride failed to deliver (3/10).

Grizzly was an underrated woodie by far. It's not the greatest I've ridden, but deserved more ridership than it was receiving. The very slow first turn was intense by severely seeming like a rollback. However, the hidden airtime hill in the tunnel was excellent along with the descending turn which followed. Overall, a very good ride which was true to woodie nature but not painful to experience (8/10).

Flight of Fear is one coaster I'd love every park to duplicate. Indoor launches as well as inversions simply cannot be duplicated. In addition, a few headchoppers were nice as well. If only the middle was a bit faster (9/10).

Volcano was absolutely amazing both in thrills and scenery. I loved the launch into the curve along with the with the rollovers giving some great hangtime. Props for the flawless attention to detail in scenery as well. Hands down best ride (10/10).

Dominator was running excellently as well. A lot quicker than I remember, probably due to the fact I rode a less than 1/2 full train at GL. The elements on Dominator cover a wide variety of coaster style. The inversions had a great combination of intensity and hangtime, and the turns were powerful yet comfortable. Did I mention we got stuck on the midcourse breaks for ten minutes? Once we finished the course, we were offered a reride with no wait. Great PR move! (10/10).

Ok, time for the Intimidator 305. Where do I start? About those trims, they were noticeable to the tamed enthusiast, but the general public would have no idea. I truely believe the intensity was not hidered overall, and the speed was not 79.5 mph, more like 90mph. The drop, first turn, airtime hill, and highspeed turns were great. I did actually grey-out on the first turn, which I thought was unlikely because of my high tolerance for intensity. However, a great beginning turned into pain and anxiety quickly. I consider my pain tolerance for coasters high, but the transitions were too quick. My neck was sore from the bashing no matter how I tried to brace through my three rides. The turns were great, but I feared the switch in direction. My expression of fear and pain on the ride photo summed how bad the last transition to the brakes was. I do not think a lapbar would have helped because I would have likely cracked heads with my friend next to me. Kind of disappointed with the pain more than the trims, because I think the trims saved me from more pain. In comparison to Maverick which is a top coaster of mine, the s-turns are easier to handle because of lower speed. With gentler transitions, my top coaster spot may have been taken, but the pain causes a fall to the "great idea, but horrible execution" category of coasters. (7/10) for the speed and intensity.

Overall, it was a great two days spent with some great people. Both parks exceeded my expectations with Lakemont's great tribute to amusement history, and KD's excellent atmosphere and broad selection of coasters. I may sound pretty critical of some coasters, but that's just my nature when I evaluate and compare in my mind to determine where a coaster falls in my personal list of favorites.

Last edited by AJFelice, Wednesday, June 2, 2010 5:44 PM
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Sunday, June 27, 2010 11:47 PM

Regarding Intimidator, the padding on the restraints turned the tight transitions into some of the most exciting maneuvers on any roller coaster. Here's hoping they're added to some of the other Intamin rides with OTSR's.

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Monday, June 28, 2010 11:15 AM

Especially Maverick!

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Monday, June 28, 2010 3:51 PM

Too bad I didn't travel a few weeks later! Maybe in a couple years. Those padded OSTR's appear to be very comfortable yet secure.

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