Paramount's Kings Island (5/2/04)

Associated parks:
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Wednesday, May 5, 2004 10:24 PM
Trip Report: Paramount's Kings Island
May 2, 2004

"Flyer Fest is the name of the game"

Given the rather nasty morning we had in Ohio, that is cold and wet, Dave Althoff, Jr and I didn't arrive at the park till around 1pm. As we approached the front gate, we checked the ride closings board (Vortex, Reptar, Train Ride, Quickdraws (hand cars)), but we failed to observe the "The park will close tonight at:" signs.

With no trouble at all we sailed through security, through the front gate, and with a litte persistance got past the photo ambush unscathed. As we walked up International Street, it hit me just how cold this day might be. We decided to head towards the Beast for our first ride, and rahter than taking the traditional path behind Eiffel Tower and back by the piuzza place, we decided to walk through Rivertown.

Okay, we detoured slightly to look in on the sick Reptar. Reptar's train was sitting in the station, and the ride was showing no outward signs of illness, but given the fact it used a pinch drive lift, and has shown to valley in cold conditions, it is perfectly understandable why they would have this ride sit out.

We then headed through Rivertown where we noted that both Wild Thornberries River Adventure, and White Water Canyon were open, and we saw some folks enter the queue for the rapids ride. Did I mention that it was cold out today?

Furhter back in Rivertown we passed the closed train ride. I have a theory for this one, a theory that might involve Boomerang Bay. Keeping the train ride closed means that they can work on Boomerang Bay unimpeded by onlookers and continuous road blockings. We then passed Tomb Raider. At first I was overjoyed that there was no line outside the tomb. Unfortunately, that meant the ride was closed. What a, uhm, surprise.

Our tour of the park then brought us back to the Beast. Two weeks ago we received about the worst ride Beast had to offer, in terms of roughness, however several people have infomred me that the front was giving good rides. So we took a ride in seat 1.2. Wow, what an improvement, while we will never get back to the glory days of the Beast, the ride I received this morning was relatively smooth. I can hadlle this. Not bad at all. Perhaps I did just have a bum car on my last visit, as this ride is more of what I expect out of the Beast.

Formalities out of the way, we headed to Flying Eagles. On the way to Eagles, we looked at Vortex, which appeared to be in its traditional parked position, and givent hat cold weather, and some rumored policies of PKI, its closure comes as no big surprise. We took two rides on Flying Eagles at this time, and I can say that I had some decent action going. I would give it a B- on the Flyer Scale though. We met up with some folks whose names I didn't catch (but I don't think they dropped them), but being a group of cold, but fun loving ride enthusiasts, we headed to Flight of Fear to warm up.

The key word there is "headed", just about the time we got to the gates of Fort Cooper, we saw a mass sea of people exiting the ride, via the entrance. That can only mean one thing, and it isn't good. We then engaged in Coaster Nut Behavior. Coaster Nut Behavior is that strange condition that exists when coaster enthusiasts are standing on a midway, with open rides, talking about rides instead of riding rides. It took us a few minutes to come to our senses, then we headed to Racer.

Entering the Racer station, I noted that the front seat line was very short, and decided to wait the 1 train for the upgrade. I will report that I thought I had a fun-filled Racer ride full of nice floater air, again not up to Racer's glory days (seems to be a trend here), but respectable. Dave Althoff, Jr was not as happy with his ride, though I suspect that may have something to do with the fact that Dave's build is just right for the ratchet bar to ratchet down tighter than any ratchet bar should go. One of these days, the Racer crew will just start to have an unloader waiting with the release tools in hand as soon as any train carrying Dave returns to the station.

Oh well, I still thought it was fun. We then headed to Adventure Express. Adventure Express was its usual walk on self, and it too showed improvement since my last visit, in that the lights in tunnel three were switched froms ervice mode to show mode. Some work could be done with the animatronics on the second lift, but that's icing on the cake they can handle later.

Having completed our Adventure Express ride, we continued our coaster tour with Top Gun. Top Gun was a walk on as well. Did I mention how cold it was? Top Gun is fine Arrow Suspended coaster, a bit on the short side, buts its a great ride.

We exited Top Gun, summarily regarded Son of Beast as not worth our time, and headed back into Action Zone. I forgot to look and see if Face/Off or Congo Falls were running, but we had already decided to head back for some Beast.

Well, we took the long scenic route back to Beast. This detour was caused by us meeting up with the rest of our friends from the Eagles. They were at Tower watching the karaoke show, and had reportedly just finished watching the Making of the Movies show. We noted that Tower looks to be up for some paint work in addition to the elevator rehab.

Eventually we decided on Scooby Doo and the Haunted Castle. It was about a 15 minute wait or so, which in incredibly short for that ride. Hey at least the line was completely indoors, need I say the heated indoors. I did a lot better this week on Scooby Doo, and so Althoff and I are now tied this season 1 all. (I managed a 1,440 with no ride slow downs) Great times. Scooby was a great addition to the park.

From Scooby, we headed over to Beastie. I am pleased to announce that Beastie was running two trains, with the trim brakes off. In other words, Beastire was turning out quite a respectable performance for its size. I sense some future maintenance on this ride as they had stacks of lumber, pre-painted in purple, ready to go.

From Beastie, we declined Ghoster Coaster, and headed back into Rivertown. By this time the White Water Canyon crew had aparently given up. We past Tomb Raider, which was still closed, and got in line for another Beast ride. This time the line was back to the botoom of the long ramp. Not a terrible wait, but as we were crossing the station queue area, the Beast suffered a temporary shut down. Again not major, and short enough to wait out. At least I got to see more of the documentary film. The film, BTW claims Beast goes 70mph, previously, I always throught the official press figure was 64.77mph.

We took another ride in seat 1.2, and recieved about the same ride as this morning. Which is to say, a deceont ride. Whatever problems that were plaguing Beast appear to implicate the queue gates, as the crew was treating the gates very carefully, and requesting folks "Take 2 steps back from the queue gates"

We exited Beast just in time to catch the opening of Tomb Raider. By the time everybody in the group had gotten themselves ready for Tomb Raider the queue extended just back into the large outdoor queue area. Not a bad wait.

As we experienced Tomb Raider, noticeable effects on the decline were the light patterns that don't line up to the pattern on the round door the way they used to, and some of the fake fire lighting effects could use some tending do, not the least of which would be changing the bulbs to a more realistic fire color. The pre-show is still there, and still timed just right (I suspect the ride start button may also cue the movie). We entered the ride chamber, and they were actually using all three rows. The ride itself however, is the same Tomb Raider ride to which we have gorn acustomed. The only difference is that after the lava pit finale, the house lights seems to come on too early giving the rider a glimpse of where everything is in the room. The big shame though is what do they have against letting the gondola spin freely a few times.

Oh well, at least we know that any runmours of a more intense program are false. Therefore we went where we could select a more intense program: Flying Eagles.

The secound round of Flying Eagles rides started flyer fest. It involved several rides, it involved hard violent snapping, it involved otherworldy good rides, it involved "Take that Knoebels" ride action. Unfortuantely it also involved an alarming new trend: riders who feel the need to violently rock the tub in a side to side motion, BEFORE the ride even starts. Anyway one ride was interesting as there were some riders who were a bit concerned about the bouncing around of the tubs cuased by the aforemetioned rockers. They had no idea what they were in for once the daredevil pilots got started. I myself had a few suspeneded animation snaps, theese are those rare high quality snaps where life just seems to pause for a moment, everything goes quiet, and you feel like Wile E Coyote as he has just realized he is standing in mid air. You know the loud snap is going to happen, you have just enough time to get your back off the seat back, then WHAMO!

We also experienced something odd on Flyers. You see, we had such a good crew of highly skilled daredevil pilots n the ride at the same time, that about halfway throught he ride, the whole ride would shake so much that you could hear everybody just loose their snap-a-riffic rhythm and have to work to regain the pace. Odd.

After several rides, I availed myself of a break where I learned the park recieved new toilet paper dispensers. Anyway, we headed back up the midway to try to get a ride on Flight of Fear. We were slightly alarmed when we saw riders trickled out the entrance door. We proceeded into Fort Cooper and the friendly troop assigned the duty of checking in visitors to the press area reveled that they only had one train running. Undaunted but leary we walked through the empty press area, and proceeded into the hangar, since after allChristopher, the White house press liasion authorized the public to go into the hangar. Upon entering the hangar we found a scary sight. A line that we would not want to be standing in with two trains running, let alone one. We joined the trend of visitors deciding not to go through the ship. As we left Fort Cooper we caught an anoucement that some confusion was caused due to relative locations of the mess hall and the specimen storage freezers.

We proceeded to head towards Monster. Mosnter is one of those rides that you can have a great ride or a so-so ride, and it just seems to be a function of luck which you have. Today we had a great ride, in seperate tubs, with plenty of spinning and bouncing action. Great classic ride.

I mentioned riding Racer, and Althoff gave me one of those "If looks could kill" type looks. We learned that Backwards Racer had closed, and proceeded to adventure Express instead.

Adventure Express sits in a part of the park known as Oktoberfest. To look at Oktoberfest you wouldn't know it as the only vesitges of Germanic themeing are the exterior facade of the Festhaus and some signage for the Age and Weight game.

Let's review. Oktoberfest contains Paramount Story (a walk through movie attracion in a garden), an airbrush shop, a southern Alabama themed seafood restaurant, a mine train ride with more of an exotic adventure theme than a german theme, a Slingshot, some caricature artists, some games, a virtual reality attraction, and the Festhaus, which looks German enough, but on the inside the detailed mural work is gone, the german beerhall entertainment is gone, and the menu consists primarily of pizza and burgers. The land also contains Viking fury, which has lost its psuedo German name. I wonder how long till FestHaus gets re-themed and the whole Oktoberfest theme just slides away into the night.

Anyway, we recieved another good ride on Advneture Express. It really is a pretty fun ride, and them we headed to Delirium. Delirium is the giant Frisbee the park added last year. It's an oversized carnival ride, but at least it is an overisze of a very suceessful carnival ride, and Delirium is one of the best flat rides in a theme park today. What power, what spin, what insane ride action, and the crowd loves it. What else could you ask for?

I took time to look in the On Location shop, and left empty handed. I munchd on a handful of tart candies that came out of a giant bulk candy dispenser. A little sugary pick me up for only a quarter. After the candy stop, we headed to Viking fury, where we took a nice ride in an end seat. Kings Island got this swinging ship just before the looping ship hit its craze. It's a fun ride, and I suppose adda a family ride to the park.

We cut through the Emporium to warm up. On more than one occasion we heard Jeff Seibert flatly disregard any suggestions for Beast 25th merchandise. Only a select few people really care, and thus the merchanside just doesn't move he said. Then explain the nice selection of Beast 25th merch to be had.

We also verifired that Deep Fried Twinkie on a Stick is available, and took a little walk through the Paramount Story. Paramount Story is one of the parks early synergys with its movie producing parent. It just kind of exists as a quiet spot with a selection of movie props and posters strewn about, and a path of pavers with the names of hit Paramount movies on them.

We also took a cursory look at the Carousel before returning to Coney Mall. Once in Coney something evil possessed us to take in a ride on the Dodgems. PKI's Dodgems, like I suspect many similar rides restrain riders with a loop strap attached to the stinger pole behind you. Unlike most places, PKI insists that you put one arm AND YOUR HEAD through the shoulder strap. I can barely fit one arm through the loop, but a helpful attendant was able to properly noose me. For real, they should just replace the shoulder straps with rope nooses, as thats what they feel like. (Not that I have experienced any time on a gallows), but I did have parent's that kept warning me "Never put anything tight around your neck" I mean somebody is going to get seriously HURT on this ride, and PKI's answer is to slow the cars down to a crawl with no bumping action in them at all.

Get me off of this Dodgems ride. I am a huge fan of Dodgems, but this one has horrid ride action, and seems like it could be a hazard to my safety. PKI should investigate the newer Dodgem cars that are available with lap bars in place of the shoulder loops.

Having succefully managed to not get choked on Dodgems, we headed down to Shake Rattle and Roll. We selected cars, sat down, bars lowered, bars checked. Ride Starts. Ride last 10 seconds tops. The ride is promptly restarted and runs a normal courese. "It's been doing that all day" we hear as we exit.

We finished the day with another Flyer Fest. Just as insane as the one in the middle of the day. The late night Flyer fest was most noteable in that during one ride we were observed by a contingent of PKI managerment-looking staff members. I beleive we have just confirmed that insane snapping is welcome at PKI. We finished the day, even later than we though we would as we had thought the park closed at 8, but in reality was open till 9.

Good times, all that was left is the big walk back to the car.

+0
Thursday, May 6, 2004 4:47 PM
Just can't get enough of the Flyers.

And out of all the times I have been on the Flyers, I have only seen one person in line with a Coasterbuzz shirt.

+0
Monday, May 10, 2004 11:42 AM
SOB was a very different creature this season than in the past. The rosebowl was retracked and is much smoother, as is much of the ride.
+0

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