Trip Report: Paramount's Kings Island
October 20, 2002
Kings Mills, OH
Well, today I was to be home alone all day, so I decided to head on out to the amusement park. Sure the thermomter was reading 37 degrees, but do you think that is going to stop an intrepid coaster fanatic? I rode out to PKI using Metro, the local public transit company, and after a brief spot of confusion caused by a special event downtwon, I was soon on my way out to the park for only a 50 cent fare.
As scheduled the bus dropped me off at the drop-off area around 9:25, which gave me enough time to purchase a season pass certificate. (Ya may want to dry off that wet table before putting those pads of pass registration forms down on it). I went with the Gold Pass afain, which including the free renewal parking offer, all for $84.95. I realize I have enough time to make it to the ACE brick where I am surprised to find a nice size group of ACErs.
Our walk back this morning was to The Beast, and as suspected the park did not quite open on time, but we were not afraid, afterall we overheard an attendance announcement on a walkie-talkie say there were only 320 guests in the park at the time.
Soon the Beast was open and I rode on the first train of the day in Seat 3. I had not ridden Beast since August 11, but I had heard the news. The first drop brake has been re-installed and now this ride has a pacing that is punctuated by several sudden jerky encounters with magnetic brakes. To say the least I was very disappointed in Beasts performance.
Next I headed to Tomb Raider to get that out of the way early. I entered the outdoor queue, walked through the dark indoor queue. You know that darkness does help to slow people down. I then walked straight through the Money Room into the pre-show chamber. They only had the midlle section of seats on each row open, which I assume is a good thing until the park starts filling up as it means less seatbelts and bars to check. Tomb Raider seemed to be having most of its special effects working, and the lava scene might have gotten shortened just a tad, but it's still way too long. As a bonus, I even counted 4 flips. Not a bad Tomb Raider ride, but not something I would repeat ride, especially since it seems to take a time investment with even a minimal line.
I was headed to Coney Mall, and decided to snag another Beast ride on my way to Coney Mall. Here I met up with Jim Scudder on the train, and after enjoying a back seat ride on Beast, well it does seem a bit more out of control back here.
Jim and I then headed into Coney Mall. Our first stop was of course the Flying Skooters. I had not done any Phlyers since August 11, so I was a bit worried about my flying ability. I need not be as I was gettin Knoebel's quality snapage twice on every revolution. It's fun to stare down at the ground if there is a shadow and watch the cbale go slack.
We finished up riding Flying Skooters and noted tat Vortex had not opened yet, so we headed around to Flight of Fear. As we approached Flight of Fear I commented that "Canada is really tangled up". It took Jim a few moments to realize I was reffering to a flag that had gotten snagged on a lightpole placed way too close to the flagpole.
We started down the path to Flight of Fear, but were stopped abpout halfway back to learn that it also was not open. Undaunted we headed to Racer. Racer is only running its forward side, and if a few associate comments I heard were correct, Backeards racer is done for the season. Racer is runing fast with some subtle air, but its seems to be lacking. We had taken this ride in seat 3.
After Racer we noted that the Fired and True stand has started to sell Cheese-On-a-Stick. We then headed through Oktoberfest where I did not notice if Adventure Express was open or not as we headed to Top Gun.
We got to the back corner of Action Zone to learn that Top Gun was running but Son of Beast wasn't. Since Top Gun is down to one train we decided to get a couple rides in now before the line had a chance to grow. Top Gun is a fine fast Swing coaster, and the visuals at the Son of Beast turn make it all worht it.
After Top Gun, we headed towards the front of the park, but noted that Face/Off had just opened. A quick dash was made in order to get a near walk-on Face/Off ride. We opted for seat 1, and were rewarded with an extremly smooth ride on Face/Off.
On our way back from Face/Off I stopped by a bulk candy machine. PKI has several machines vending bulk candy. This particular machine looked like an old time gas pump and was full of Sweet Tarts. I inserted a quarter, turned the handle nice and slow, and out popped, are you ready for this, ONE Sweet Tart. ONE lousy piece of candy for a quarter. Surely there is more than this coming out. Jim suggested that I turned the handle again without putting in a quarter, it of course would only turn so far, but it turned far enough to release the rest of MY candy.
I then remembered I still had a season pass voucher, and so I took it up to the nearby Paramount Theater to get it converted into a season pass ID card before any harm could befall it. As I suspected there was nobody in the season pass line, and so I sailed right through the renwal process. I must say the gold passes for next year look real cool. I also picked up a courtesy ticket and we were off on our way. The way PKI does parking passes is they add another number to your pass just above the barcode. They claim this is your parking pass number, but a little show-and-tell with other enthusiasts reveales that everybody has the same parking pass number. I wonder why they don't just print "PARKING" or something like that on the card and eliminate the confusion.
After getting the pass processed, we stopped at La Fiera Pizza and grabbed a couple slices. I noted they now offer a combination Pepperoni & Sausage pizza, for $2.40/slice. Pizza anyway you want it is now over $2/slice. One saving grace is due to the small crowd they did not have pizzas pre-made sitting under heat lamps.
After our snack, we headed in Hanna-Barbera land where we looked at the signage for the upcoming Scooby Doo ride. Really cute signage including a Hard Hat Area sing with a pictogram of Scooby wearing a hard hat.
We then took a walk-on ride on Beastie, only one train, and I rode in seat 9. It should not come as any surprise that I had to switch to the left seat becuase the belt for the right seat was jammed. Uhm, what a surprise. Another 'surprise' was the ridiculous mid course brake. Yawn.
We then looked at the short line for Ghoster Coaster but as both of us had had a ride on the Octave-Raising-Coaster we both declined it. Instead we took a minimal wait ride on Reptar. Reptar, Raptor whats the difference? I barely fit into Reptar with my bulky coat, but I did fit so we were off for our second ultra smooth headbangng-free Vekoma ride of the day. After riding Reptar we indicated how much we would love to take a Bobcat to the water maze, and put a couple kiddie rides in its spot. I also noted the sign about "Please see the Antom Ant's Airways operator for the nearest "wet ride". Hmm, does the Atom Ant operator put you on the ride, start it, and then take a hose to you?????
There was one wet ride open today, Wild Thornberies River Adventure, and even with the water effects shut off, we still declined it. We took a walk through Rivertown and passed on Tomb Raider and took another spin on Beast. Unfortunately Beast had warmed up, annd we climbed in seat 17. Almost right after the first drop, it started happending, the ride turned into Jack Hammer City. I quickly assumed the Rideman Riding Position, which is "Don't let your back touch the seat back at all costs" This made the ride a bit more tolerable.
After Beast we noted Vortex was now awake and took a no wait ride in seat 13. The back car on Vortex offers one of the best airtime pops in the park ont he first drop, and the rest of the coaster was running pretty decent as well.
We continued the coaster tour, noting that Flight of Fear was open. the line was back to the round room in the flying saucer, wich isn't too bad. We took a ride in seat 3, with me on the left of course. Flight of Fear is one of the most improved coasters, they took an unrideable mess and turned it into an intense wild but smooth and painless masterpeice. Unfortunately for me the on-ride photo booth was closed.
We continues out tour with a ride in seat 14 of Racer. I felt that jack hammer again, and assumed the position again. Is it me or are the PKI woodies running really horrid today.
After Racer we snagged a ride on Adventure Express in the back seat. Its a fun mine ride, not all that thrilling but fun. After Adventure Express we noted Son of Beast was running. We walked around to find a near walk on Son of Beast.
We walked onto seat 17 and prepared for the worst. Son of Beast is a definite oncer for me, as in "once a day" On this ride we noted a lot of the riders in the back car were swearing profusely from the pain this ride inflicts. The first drop and loop are fun, the rest of the ride needs to be reprofiled. As in we'll tear down everything exvcpet the station, lift hill, first drop, mid course, loop, and brake run, and replace the missing track with a nice out-and-back. It's really not all that different to what Coney Island did when they converted the Clipper to the Shooting Star when thy realized the train could not make the kind of agresive curved the Clipper demanded. Shame, you would think that a park would learn from its mistakes.
We yelped and then exited Son of Beast and headed to Drop Zone. Hey who can pass up a walk on Drop Zone ride. I was shedding my coat as I approached the ride, and I wwas debating shedding the sweatshirt as I knew what was about to happen, I did leave the sweatshirt on and the operator was able to force the OTSR down far enough to get the stupid non-original-equipment seatbelt that Intamin added in its quest to rid overwieght riders froom their rides.
Drop Zone gave a nice view of the former King Cobra site. The station house and entry/exit bridges are GONE. It looks like the site is almost done being prepped. We also noted that if you look back behind Son of Beast you can still see the dinstinctive dark green, light green, yellow King Cobra track sitting behind Son of Beast.
Gee we are already to the top, a longer than usual pause and then were are falling 300' way too fast. Wow, I love the airtime this ride provides. What a rush. I didn't care for this ride at first, but it has really grown on me.
At about this time I bid Jim Scudder good day as he had to prepare for an arduous day of work, than I ran into an old friend, and we talked a while, then I headed to Viking Fury. I slelected an end seat. You know with Dilirium, when is this getting moved to Hana Barbera Land. All in all I think I likke carnival swinging ships better than this one.
From Viking fury, I snagged a 3rd seat ride on Racer. I then deicded I was through with Racer for the day, it just wasn't much fun today. I did take rides on Monster, Scrambler, and Zephyr to sample the flat ride selection.
From there I took another ride on Flight of Fear the line was back into the hanger, but it was taking the short path. I should have probably bolted but I stuck it out and after a while I was in seat 4. Another intense but very smooth and enjoyabel flight took place. I then took another seat 17 ride on Vortex, before heading over to Beast. I ended the day where I started it, Row 3 of Beast.
By this time it was 5:45, so I opted to catch the 6:45 shuttle ack to Cincinnati. It was that or hang around the closed park till 8:30. I also decided to just eat up at the park, so $11 later I had a 3 piece fried chicken dinner with all the trimmings. Actually a huge platter of food and it was certainly enough to fill me up. ($11 did include the 20 oz. drink)
I left Wings about 6:15 and made my way up International Street where I bought a souvenir poster size marp map before heading out.
All told even with using pubic transit I was still home by 8:10
I did leave the sweatshirt on and the operator was able to force the OTSR down far enough to get the stupid non-original-equipment seatbelt that Intamin added in its quest to rid overwieght riders froom their rides.
That's a little unfair. While I think the seatbelts could have been made a little longer, they were added for safety reasons. Every other ride with inverted-type seats that I've ridden has seatbelts (Face/Off, Reptar, Raptor, etc).
Face/Off Crew '99-'00
Top Gun Sup '00
King Cobra/Days of Thunder Sup '01
Beast Sup '02
Wild Thornberry's River Adventure Sup '02
*** This post was edited by HelixSpiral on 10/23/2002. ***
Ahhh. That makes sense. But I'm also pretty sure that adding seatbelts to Drop Zone was a Paramount Parks decision in response to other events that occured at another Paramount Park.
Face/Off Crew '99-'00
Top Gun Sup '00
King Cobra/Days of Thunder Sup '01
Beast Sup '02
Wild Thornberry's River Adventure Sup '02
The whole DZ issue has given me a well Kick in the butt to loose weight. I road drop zone during its 1st season and it was fine with me. The nogo strap is too short. Remember when they added nogos to King Cobra That was a insult for some.
Be nice to ride op's. No matter how slow unfriendly and uncaring they may seem Most work hard to make your day great.
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