LONG lines for Diamondback: DON'T PANIC!

Sunday, April 19, 2009 2:33 AM

Just got back from Kings Island.

Diamondback is the outstanding new ride that the park needed ten years ago, which means it's the best thing to hit Warren County amusement parks in more than a decade. Accordingly, it is generating HUGE amounts of attention, LOTS of customers, and REALLY LONG LINES. Media hype was telling people to be prepared for four hour waits.

But Diamondback also shows the Cedar Fair influence in the best possible way. When I arrived at the park at 10:00 Saturday morning, the line for Diamondback began at the ride, extended through the entire queue 'house', through a temporary queue structure, then then spilled out onto the midway and continued down the path to Nickelodeon Central. From there, the line passed the blue ice cream joint and Chik-Fil-A, and continued up the path towards the Eiffel Tower. From there, the line snaked down the path between Diamondback's pond and the Stunt Track coaster , and followed along the fence line all the way around the pond and back into Rivertown, past the entrance to The Beast, and ending up across from the Crypt. Park security was predicting these people would be in line all day and actual predictions were for waits of four to six hours.

The problem, of course, is that because Kings Island had never run Diamondback with real riders before, any guesses they made about waiting time were just that: guesses. And while such guesses were reasonable for rides such as Flight of Fear, for Diamondback, they were not merely wrong, but of no real use whatsoever.

It turns out that the line was never any longer than about two and a half hours, and by mid afternoon, the line barely extended beyond the permanent queue structure (okay, it went out the midway and stopped just short of Nick Central). With the ride pumping people through at a rate of better than 1,200 PPH, that wait was an hour or less all evening long.

The ride is outstanding, and its operations are amazing.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Sunday, April 19, 2009 3:55 AM

Try a capacity that is closer to 1400-1500 Dave, Not quite Disney's coasters numbers, but excellent for a seasonal amusement park. Silverstar at Europa Park run 3 36 passengers trains and when all 3 are out, they get 1700-1800 guests per hour.

Sunday, April 19, 2009 8:38 AM

No, not quite. I ended my day on Diamondback, and every time I tried to measure an interval, some delay happened. The best time I recorded (in an admittedly small sample size) was 1:40 which yields a capacity of 1,296 PPH. Park people were thrilled that they were exceeding 1,000, which, by Kings Island standards is kick-butt awesome, but still short of what they could do on the ride.

Diamondback's optimum interval is reportedly about 1:15, which would be 1,728 PPH, which is almost as good as Magnum. But on Day #1 of operations, they weren't doing *quite* that well. But then , it was still only Day #1 of the season, too!

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Sunday, April 19, 2009 9:42 AM

RideMan said:

It turns out that the line was never any longer than about two and a half hours.

Dead on. Got in line at Rivertown Potato Works near the train at 10:07. Arrived in the station at 12:50.

Also, did a front row, night ride (Absolutely amazing!) which was about an hour and fifteen.

Sunday, April 19, 2009 11:22 AM

Remember my story of entering Behemoth's massive (and filled beyond capacity) queue and getting on the ride a mere 45 mins later?...that the line moved almost constantly?...that the vending machines in the queue were unused because there wasn't enough time to stop and put in your money?..and that those who find a long line at Diamondback shouldn't worry?

Well...told ya so!

Sunday, April 19, 2009 11:58 AM

I don't know why people were doubting me when I said yesterday that a line that appears long isn't going to be nearly as bad as you think. The first thing I noticed about the ride was how quickly it loaded and unloaded. It's easy to get on and off the train quickly, and the ride ops need only run by with a tug and "check" to get it ready.

Although I did see some idiot bust out a camera the day of the media event, and they did a lift stop. Interesting side note, the ride op needs a waist harness to tie off to climb the lift. I assume this is because of the steep angle.

Sunday, April 19, 2009 3:00 PM

Yes! There is SO much room on those cars to maneuver.

However, what is meant by stadium seating exactly?? I noticed the second row of any car was not elevated any higher than the first.

Is it just because second row seats are spread?

Last edited by d_port_12E, Sunday, April 19, 2009 3:01 PM
Sunday, April 19, 2009 3:55 PM

The line wasn't nearly as bad as it looked. It kept moving and the ride ops were on top of things very nicely!

It's an amazing ride! It's totally my thing, although I refuse to compare it with any other hypers. I love them all! People kept asking me if I liked it better than Goliath, Nitro, Apollo's etc. I could care less. ;)

Diamondback is badass and totally rocked my world! It fits VERY nicely at King's Island! I can't think of a better addition! It's comfortable, fast, floaty, and total heaven! It's very much a "Tina" coaster. ;)

Last edited by coasterqueenTRN, Sunday, April 19, 2009 4:00 PM
Sunday, April 19, 2009 4:33 PM

Agreed...Looks beautiful from international street, too! Especially while enjoying a latte outside Starbucks!

Last edited by d_port_12E, Monday, April 20, 2009 8:13 AM
Sunday, April 19, 2009 5:24 PM

Outside of my first ride in the morning, I waited less for Diamondback then I did Beast and Firehawk. It was barely less, but it was just under an hour around the afternoon and only 20 minutes when I used the single rider in the evening.

While Diamondback's capacity is leaps and bounds above any other KI ride, there is still some room for improvement. The crew improved later in the day, but they were often stacking the trains on the brake run in the morning. It wasn't the crew's fault, as I witnessed numerous large guests and loose articles slow down many trains. However, they had two test seats at the entrance both with two employees so I would hope they could ask more to try the test seat.

The only thing that I might suggest they do differently is a controlled flood like on Behemoth (also like on MF). They had three people working crowd and they could barely keep up with the dispatch pacing. They were doing a great job and I give them props, but I imagine that's it's going to be brutal working crowd on that ride when you're working at that pace for that long. When I worked on Raptor in '05 (a notoriously slow year), one of our employees tried to pregroup every row and within two trains the station was empty. The B&M's are just too fast paced to try to pregroup every row.

A better solution is CW's crowd control on Behemoth, where they let in a wave of people and then shut off the line. The station was never too crowded at Behemoth, and if the crew is hitting interval the thing just eats people in waves. At Nitro they had no crowd control and the line moved like crazy (thanks to the crew hitting every freakin's interval). I can understand on some Intamins and shuttles where you have all the time in the world, but with the Beemers it's probably best to just post one crowd person to let in waves of people for the sake of the employee's sanity.

The biggest reason that I would rather see a controlled flood is so that I could pick my seat. The "preferred seating" policy changed throughout the day. There was one employee who assigned rows and allowed people to go where they wanted to if they asked; but another would not allow people to go somewhere if they asked. I can understand assigning all of the other rows, but there's no reason to prevent people from waiting for the front or back if they want.

In the end, all of those things are fairly minor, and the operations were fine. 1200+ pph is awesome, but if they could get the ride running up to Nitro's standards that would be mind-blowing. Please don't think I'm trying to knock on the crew or anything; they did a wonderful job all day. All I am saying is that there are a few things here and there that they could change.

By the way, the ride is SAH-WEET. The back seat is awesome, and if you put your arms out horizontally on the splash down be prepared for some soakage.

KI finally has a Beemer!

Sunday, April 19, 2009 7:43 PM

coasterqueenTRN said:

It's an amazing ride! It's totally my thing, although I refuse to compare it with any other hypers. I love them all! People kept asking me if I liked it better than Goliath, Nitro, Apollo's etc. I could care less. ;)

That's an interesting and unique concept among coaster enthusiast. We are always comparing this coaster to that. Sounds kind of rebellious...I like it!

I haven't been this excited about a new coaster since MF, almost a decade ago!

Sunday, April 19, 2009 8:04 PM

FYI The test seat and the trains seats aren't the same so don't always BLAME THE GUEST

Sunday, April 19, 2009 10:19 PM

Mamoosh said:
Remember my story of entering Behemoth's massive (and filled beyond capacity) queue and getting on the ride a mere 45 mins later?...that the line moved almost constantly?...that the vending machines in the queue were unused because there wasn't enough time to stop and put in your money?..and that those who find a long line at Diamondback shouldn't worry?

Well...told ya so!

Yet, sadly Diamondback is not close to Behemoth's rate yet. Granted yesterday was Day 1 and I rode Behemoth in June and August, but on those days that line rarely stood still for longer than a moment, but there was plenty of stand still yesterday in the main queue. Great for former KI standards, but not near potential right now.

Also, it was evident that seat assigning could not keep up with dispatches...many trains rolled out with empty rows yesterday due to being unassigned! :(

Sunday, April 19, 2009 10:28 PM

Since larger people being turned away seems to be an issue on this ride, I was wondering how B&M Hypers compare to a ride like Millennium Force. Are the seats comparably sized or do they seem to be bigger or smaller? I know that I can't get a definite answer on this, but I'm just wondering what people's opinions are on that.

Sunday, April 19, 2009 11:21 PM

B&M hyper seats are much more accomodating than Intamin hyper seats. I'm sure there are people out there that have no chance of fitting on Millenium Force but could fit in a B&M hyper seat easily. I'd say the cutoff is around a 50" waist (of course each person is different and figuring that Nitro's seats are the same as Diamondback's).

Last edited by YoshiFan, Sunday, April 19, 2009 11:21 PM
Sunday, April 19, 2009 11:38 PM

I don't see any benefit to assigning seats. I remember they tried to do that on Millennium Force at first too, but eventually they had one person letting people on the platform, while another moved people to the available rows. That kept about two trains worth of people in every row at all times. It costs a body on the platform, but it's effective.

And I'll compare. Nitro, Apollo and Bull can't even get close to Diamondback.

Sunday, April 19, 2009 11:38 PM

For those who have ridden Behemoth, which I absolutely loved, how does this compare to it and what are the differences that matter? Thanks

Sunday, April 19, 2009 11:57 PM

If I had not ridden Behemoth before Diamondback, my mind probably would have been completely blown. Having ridden Behemoth, I essentially knew what to expect from Diamondback. Given this, I will say (like my friend also commented) that Diamondback completely met my expectations (which were VERY high) but did not exceed them; the ride did exactly what I expected it to do (lots of speed and lots of airtime).

I liked Behemoth just a hair more than Diamondback and my buddy had it the other way around.

Either way, Diamondback and Behemoth are waaaay better than any other Beemer hyper I have been on (Nitro, Raging Bull, Apollo's). This "new" class of Beemer hypers is simply amazing.

Monday, April 20, 2009 12:20 AM

Jeff, as stated a few days ago, I was also there for the media event, and saw the stoppage of the train partway up the lift. I would agree that it seems to be the steep angle of the lift as the reason they tie themselves off.

Ironically, my brother, and I were hanging out on the patio, and my cousin who works in PR and ran the show the other day, came to talk to us. As we were talking, a random guy came up to tell us his whole story as to why his day was bad. Turns out he was the on ride camera guy, and Don asked him to leave the park when he got off the ride.. Apparently he did not (he said he was waiting for his friend/girlfriend to finish up with pictures for whatever media outlet she worked for). He claimed he had it in his pocket, and didn't want to break the screen (clearly lies). He then continued to tell us as a former Marine, he's "handled more important things in his life." We all failed to see how that applied to a camera on a coaster. He complained he felt he deserved a warning (Isn't there signs all over?).

At this point, he noticed the name tag my cousin had, and realized he was $h** talking the park, Don, and the PR department, all when my cousin worked there, and Don is her boss. He asked where she worked and who we were. He then hastily left. I'm not sure how this applies, but I figured some would find it entertaining.

Last edited by pyrocoasterkid, Monday, April 20, 2009 12:22 AM
Monday, April 20, 2009 1:37 AM

The dude absolutely should have been asked to leave. In fact, I remember having that discussion with someone shortly thereafter. Crap like that never works out for anyone.


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