My Own Private Ohio (CP & PKI 5/27-29)

Associated parks:
None

Wednesday, June 4, 2003 11:40 AM
Ever since I was a 12-year-old growing up in the Chicago 'burbs, I had always wanted to drive out to Ohio and hit Cedar Point and Kings Island in one trip. Amazingly, it only took 14 years for me to finally accomplish it... after I'd moved across the country to Texas. Lucky for me, a friend from back home was getting married last weekend, and provided me with an excuse to road trip around the Midwest.

Day One (5/27): I arrived at CP at 4 pm, just in time for starlight admission, and rain showers. Fortunately, Millennium Force was up and running, and so were most of the park patrons - for their cars. I got three rides in on MF, one on Iron Dragon, and one on Power(less) Tower before the cold and wet got to me, and forced me to return to my quarters at the luxurious Rodeway Inn on Cleveland Rd.

The good: My first rides on Millennium Force... I was blown away. Park staffing was excellent, and kudos to CP for keeping a few of the big rides open, despite the monsoon-like weather.

The bad: Obviously, the weather. And what happened to the launch side of Power Tower? Zero airtime, zero fun. No wonder everyone was in line for the drop side.

Day Two (5/28): Was inside the park gates by 9:30, and got two quick rides on Magnum before 10. Hit most of the big rides, and small ones, by 3 pm, when I thought I'd join the group of people forming an informal line outside Dragster. This was just two days after the cable incident, and the park had warned visitors that TTD may not open at all that day. But I had gotten my rides in on everything else, so waiting around didn't sound like a bad idea.

I met some friendly folks from Birmingham while in line, and slowly got sunburned as the hours passed. I had given myself a deadline of 7:40 pm to exit the informal line, should TTD not show signs of opening. But at 7:30... after four hours of lingering and waiting out the impatient... it opened!

Go figure, after four hours of waiting for the ride to open, I was plunked down in my Dragster seat within five minutes. What can I say that hasn't been said about this ride already? It's like sitting on the front of a rocket being launched. It was a religious experience. Heavenly angels singing and everything (or were those muffleheads?). I even got one more ride in on MF before heading out, with my Dragster on-ride photo stuffed down my tucked-in shirt.

The good: If there was ever a ride that made a four hour wait worth it, it's Dragster. Can't say enough about how well-staffed the park was. And Wildcat was my sleeper hit of the day.

The bad: If I hear a techno version of Peter Gabriel one more time in line for MF... Magnum was skull-rattlingly rough in the pull-outs. My former #1 has become unrideable. The freeway system is great... if your ride happens to be open during your designated time slot!

Day Three (5/29): Woke up at 5:30 (ugh) and drove to Kings Island, just in time for opening. As it was my first trip to PKI, I headed straight for The Beast. Wow, does that ride live up to its name. I booed when we hit the brakes in the first shed, but was thankful for them by the time we exited the shed. Could that tunneled helix finale be the most insane section of any ride ever? I think so.

Next up was Vortex, running three trains even though most of them were half-empty. I loved this ride... it is the ultimate Arrow looper. Great first drop, and gonzo hang time in the corkscrews and boomerang. That's right - gonzo. I managed to ride almost everything else (FOF and Adventure Express were down most of the day), and might as well have set up a tripod to take pictures of Vortex. That ride is so picturesque, it's disgusting. Top Gun and Face/Off gave me the most surprisingly fun rides of the day.

The good: Walk-ons for everything. Respect for the classics - I loved The Beastie! Vortex deserves its own coffee table pictoral history. Top Gun and Face/Off are way fun.

The bad: Is it just me, or could the queue entrances be any more ambiguous and hard to find at PKI? And do they need to be so long? I'd hate to be there when there aren't walk-ons for most rides. Son of Beast nearly broke my ribs... one ride is enough for me on that one. Park security was sparse. Can't imagine what The Beast must have been like in its day... it was forceful enough to give me bruises, but just crazy enough to keep me getting back in line.

The wrap-up: Had a great time at both parks, but was stunned at how many older rides are becoming uncomfortably rough. Thank goodness for the trio of Intamins at CP. Can't help but feel my trip to PKI was incomplete without a ride on King Cobra (sniff sniff). The only thing sadder than an SBNO ride is a removed ride. PKI needs a hypercoaster, too, stat. That terrain is just screaming for it.

Here's hoping it's not another 14 years before I make it back to Ohio. Next up, budget and fiancee-willing, My Own Private Virginia.

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Wednesday, June 4, 2003 1:58 PM
Where were you when we were at those same parks on the same days? It is amazing we had the same experiences.... :) Glad you had a great time. I did, and I can't wait to go back.
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I have been arrested more than you
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Wednesday, June 4, 2003 2:09 PM
Glad to hear that you did get to ride Dragster after all, nasai. :)

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Never Has Gravity Been So Uplifting.

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Wednesday, June 4, 2003 2:48 PM
Thanks, and yes, I will be writing a nasty TR. :)
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I have been arrested more than you
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Wednesday, June 4, 2003 3:32 PM
Nasai - I was the guy with the cargo shorts full of disposable cameras and Dramamine. You know, that guy.

I was on the lookout for Buzzers... not that I'd recognize many of them. But I figure they weren't the people standing in line for Runaway Reptar asking, "Are you sure this thing doesn't go upside down?"

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Wednesday, June 4, 2003 3:35 PM
Nasai - I was the guy with the cargo shorts full of disposable cameras and Dramamine. You know, that guy.

I was on the lookout for Buzzers... not that I'd recognize many of them. But I figure they weren't the people standing in line for Runaway Reptar asking, "Are you sure this thing doesn't go upside down?"

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