Midwest Swing - Great America and Kings Island

Jimmy Boy's avatar

Went to Great America on Monday June 18 and Kings Island Tuesday June 19. Both Parks were extremely crowded for this time of year. The rides are in order of how I rode.
Great America
- Time in Park 10-5

X-Flight: arrive before opening. Ride was not ready due to technical difficulties until 10:30. First ride was on the right side in the last seat (outside). The ride was not very good in this spot. Was on the first train of the day. The ride felt very slow, force less, and was very bumpy. Gave it a try in the front row on the left side. [Note that in general the left side of the train is a much better overall experience due to the direction of the first drop]. The ride is also well paced in the front half of the train. Best part was the first drop and the epic barrel roll. Themeing was good on the ride but didn't match anything else around the park. (8/10) (The line around 3pm was only 15 mins)

Raging Bull: only got one ride because of huge lines. [they only were able to run 2 trains all day today]. Sat in the back seat and come to the realization that this ride is near impossible to rate. The first drop is full of airtime, and the ride starts off great, but then the blasted trim just destroys the next segment until the blocks. Then after the blocks, the next few hills are full of airtime moments but then the ride is once again let down by the second trim. So overall, quite fun and quite annoying at parts. Smooth of course. 20 minute wait. (8/10)

Viper: 2 Trains, 15 minute wait. Rode Twice. Much Better in the back seat. Really just a very solid wooden cyclone style clone. Very comfortable and some decent airtime moments (7.5/10)

Whizzer: 3 Trains, 15 minute wait. Very unique ride with only seat belts. Lots of lateral forces and just an overall fun ride (5/10)

Dark Knight: 30 minute wait. Much more disorganized than the Great Adventure version. Otherwise similar ride with a few more theme elements

Rajun Cajun: 20 minute wait. Do not ever think about skipping. They always put 3 riders in a car so the trains spin a lot more than other models. This ride is small, but completely insane. 6/10

American Eagle: 5 minute wait. Only the red side was open. This ride was a great surprise (even though no racing). It is relatively smooth, has a lot of airtime, and is a very long. The line was nice and short, and if racing would probably be the top ride of the day. 8/10

Batman: much better landscaped than GA's. 20 minute wait. Otherwise similar 8.5/10

V2: 30 minutes. roughest impulse coaster I have been on (WT, other V2, Possessed) 5/10

Good Flat Rides: Revolution and Fiddlers Fling

Rides not ridden: Demon (looks to be down for a long time) and Superman (no difference between the GA model and this one)
Overall Park : 8/10. Lots of solid rides but nothing that stands out too much
Kings Island 10-11pm
Diamondback- Is running greater than ever. Tons of airtime and got 2 rides. I hadn't ridden it in 2 years but was very disappointed with it back then. Now the ride is running fast and the trims are toned down. Good job in the work done by Kings Island last week. Has now cracked the bottom part of my top 10 9/10

Vortex- The best remaining Arrow Looper. 2 rides (only sit in the back row). Still has great airtime on the first drop. This ride is very intense, very rough, and very fun. 3 Trains (5 min wait). 7.5/10

Firehawk- Running Rougher than it used to. Vekoma flyers are still the best Vekoma design though. 30 minute wait. 1 ride 8/10

Flight of Fear- Ran faster and rougher than it had in the past. 1 ride 45 minute wait. 6/10 (The lights were almost all on and the ride seemed a bit more unenjoyable than normal)

Adventure Express- 5/10 Rough but Fun

Flight Deck - 7/10 1 Ride in middle of train. This is a very fun ride but very short track length turns down the score. 10 minute wait.

Invertigo- 4/10. This ride is just not fun. We even got a ride in the front row, but its still very rough [The new paint job looks great though]

Racer- was running great and racing almost all day. Lots of airtime on the right side (always making sure than the lap bar isn't tight. no wait with both sides running 2 trains (8/10)

Backlot Stunt Coaster- the best of the 3 clones. This ride is actually a lot of fun. 30 minute wait , 3 trains. 1 Ride (7/10)

The Beast- Still the best ride in the park at night. 2 night rides (30 mins each w/ 3 trains). This is a ride that everyone needs to experience. The back seat after the sun goes down really is an experience that should never be missed. Operations were great and people always love this ride after the fireworks. 9.5/10. Still one of the best wooden coasters on the planet. [trims were even turned down a bit this year]

Overall had a lot of fun between the 2 parks. Rode all of the flat rides at King's Island again too. Me and my friend took a lot of pictures that I will post later. I hope you all enjoy and feel free to ask questions about things (I pay close attention to small details in the parks) 

Nicely done TR.

X-Flight is a "nice" coaster but is one of the few B&Ms that seem more fun watching it run through the course than it is to ride. The keyhole element is really well done but I thought that the pacing was a bit slow. I prefer Wild Eagle to it even though WE has one less inversion. Better scenery and more intense.

One of our favorite laps on a coaster last year was on Ragun Cajun. 450 lbs. on one side and 150 lbs. on the other equaled the best ride we've ever had on a spinner. Good times!

Diamondback is still in my top 5 and might be higher if not for the vibration just before the trim. I'm glad KI finally got a world-class steel. I agree that it's running better than it did its opening year as they've eased up on the trim (slightly) and the MCBR brakes. It makes for a much more interesting second half.

rollergator's avatar

Thanks for the TR!

Yet *another* person saying that D-Back has some new-found oomph. I was among those who claimed it was relatively lackluster, so these repeated reports are beginning to take hold. Maybe KI did something to improve the ride? Hmmm...

LostKause's avatar

Great TR!

It's nice to hear the Beast love. I don't understand why this coaster is losing it's legendary status. It's still my favorite coaster of all time.

I've been to KI about six or eight times since Diamondback opened, and I have never found it lacking in anything. I always feel the oomph.

Jeff's avatar

I don't understand people who find Diamondback lackluster. Me and Gonch couldn't marathon the thing for very long on media day. It's easily the best of the B&M hypers I've been on.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog

rollergator's avatar

When I get off of SFoG's Goliath, it feels more like a ride on Voyage than a ride on other B&M hypers....a physically challenging ride. BGW's Apollo has a couple of *those* hills, but most of the others are fairly tame, IMO...with the SFGAm ride being the bottom of the proverbial barrel.

Tekwardo's avatar

We marathoned it Sunday after HWN (Thank You Fastlane!). That ride is probably the 2nd best B&M hyper out there behind oG's Goliath. And to be honest, I almost like Diamondback better.

Never has a trim brake consistently GIVEN airtime over a hill.

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Jimmy Boy's avatar

I believe Nitro is still the best of the B&M hyper coasters:

Here's how I rank the ones I've been on

  1. Nitro
  2. Diamondback
  3. Appollo's Chariot
  4. Raging Bull
  5. Behemoth
  6. Intimidator
  7. Goliath (La Ronde)

Nitro just gives the most overall solid ride in my opinion (the trims are in places that are less noticeable than Raging Bull and Diamondback) Here's one thing to note though. All of these 7 are very solid rides.

Jeff said:

I don't understand people who find Diamondback lackluster. Me and Gonch couldn't marathon the thing for very long on media day. It's easily the best of the B&M hypers I've been on.

I can't marathon on it either but it is for a completely different reason - it is lackluster.

Last edited by Shades,
LostKause's avatar

I can't seem to find the Vote down button? lol

It's great we all love different rides for different reasons. Would be a boring world we all enjoyed the things the same way.

I, for one, am an airtime whore. So, DB does not cut it in my book. Fun ride. But leaves me wanting more. It has been 2 yrs since my last ride on it. I am wanting to get back down there for more rides.

Of the 7 listed above, I have yet to do Nitro, Intimidator and Goliath at SF LaRonde.. I just rode Behemoth this spring and fell in love with it. What a great ride! Way better than Leviathan.

Raging Bull has always been at the bottom of list when it comes to B&M hypers.

Jerry - Magnum Fanatic
Famous Dave's- 206 restaurants - 35 states - 2 countries

LostKause's avatar

I respect that, CoffinBoy, however my recollection of my many rides on DB are mainly about almost scary airtime, then insane positive Gs into my seat, then more scary airtime, then more insane positive Gs into my seat, and on and on... It is really strange how two people can recall the same ride so differently.

Yes it is. :)

Jerry - Magnum Fanatic
Famous Dave's- 206 restaurants - 35 states - 2 countries

Lord Gonchar's avatar

CoffinBoy said:

I, for one, am an airtime whore. So, DB does not cut it in my book.

Does not compute. Syntax error.


I tried to like Nitro A LOT. I rode it in several seats, but to no avail. Nitro has some good air, but the entire ride is lacking intensity aside from the helix. However, Diamonback has intensity on the bottoms of the drops and the turnaround, along with excellent air and a good, forceful helix. Behemoth has an excellent setting, great airtime, and a decent level of intensity to place itself near Diamondback and a good ways above Nitro.

I still think Nitro is a really good coaster, but Diamondback and Behemoth are in a league of their own in the elite rankings. Just my two-cents.

AJFelice: I have only ridden one B&M hypercoaster, and that is Nitro. I definitely agree with you that Nitro is not all that thrilling, but it is still such a fun coaster for me. I think the problem with Nitro is that the airtime on it seems to vary just so much from day to day. I have had rides on Nitro where I had this most excellent sustained floating airtime, but I've also had times where it seems like there may be one small pop of airtime and that ends up being it for the whole ride. I really wish I had more to compare it to, and I would really like to ride Diamondback and Apollos Chariot...maybe later this year.

"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

I took last wednesday off from Coastercon and drove the 4hrs to KI to ride DB. I got 4 rides on it in different seats on the train and it was a great ride in every seat except for the last car where i rode in one of the wing seats. The Vibration was so bad in that seat that i could not enjoy the ride. On thursday we were at Carowinds where i got to ride Intimidator and what a difference in rides with no vibration in the last row. Intimidator is so much better than DB with the most forcefull airtime on any B&M hyper i have ridden!

Don't get me wrong, DB has some great airtime. But not enough of it. It is a back seat ride. The first couple of laps, my wife and I rode near the front and was asking each other "is that it?". We then rode in the back. What a difference. The more I rode it, the more I liked it for what it is. It is a fun ride. It is something KI needed for a long time! A good quality B&M.

I am weird when it comes to judging coasters. There are times that I don't need an intense ride to like it. Just a fun ride. Other times I find myself not liking one because it's not intense. Go figure! There are times I prefer an out-and-back ride. Then other times I like the twister style. I try to enjoy all. Especially the B&M hypers. I feel their trains are the most comfortable and easiest to get in and out of. We need more of them!

Jerry - Magnum Fanatic
Famous Dave's- 206 restaurants - 35 states - 2 countries

I'm a 'middle' guy on DB. It just seems like the track is engineered so that riders in the center cars experience perfect, sustained "floater" time. It's like heaven on wheels to me.

My author website: mgrantroberts.com

I agree with you, jimmy boy, that everyone needs to experience the beast night ride. I did that once when I went to kings island this year at 11 pm. Probably the best experience on a coaster in my life. I will make sure to do another night ride on the beast the next time I go to kings island. The beast is surely my favorite ride there even when I'm not riding it at night.

Last edited by Tyler Boes,

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