Myself, my niece and a friend plus girlfriend decided to make the trek one last time before seasons end to our home park in Doswell Va, Kings Dominion. Our plan was to head up in the afternoon just before dark to get in our last season rides on two of our favorite coasters, XLC and Volcano plus get in on the Halloween festivities known as frightfest.
Upon arriving at around 5pm we made our way into the park and quickly noticed that for a fall Saturday, the place was busier than usual. The midway was jammed with people and overall the spirits and atmosphere was good. The weather had suprised us by remaining somewhat warmer than expected and the cold chill of fall that has been looming around the area was almost non-existant. We all were a tad bit on the hungry side and had opted to skip our usual stop in at Asheville (exit 92a) for our fixings of Arbys sandwiches, so we headed to the pizza joint for some bland cardboard pizza that, suprisingly, hit the spot.
After inhaling our cheese and pepperoni supplements, we headed down the midway towards the Rebel Yell and opted for the forwards version (back seat) as the line was noticably shorter than reverse. I'm not quite sure if it was the cooler weather or something had been done to the trains but Rebel was screaming down the track much faster and smoother than previously in the season. Hopping off and each of us commenting what a great ride we had, we decided to test out the other woodies and see if they offered the same increase in speed and smoothness. Yes indeed they did. The Hurler (which has recieved some new wood in the first banked turn in front of the station) was running blazing fast and smooth (front seat) throughout the whole ride. The Grizzly (front seat) too was ripping through the woods with more ferosity than ever.
Leaving our woodies behind we trekked back down the midway and made our way over to Volcano to check out the line. Every queue was open and the line was past the entry point. Needless to say we opted to skip Volcano for the time being and look for some scary stuff to do. Before heading back to the Old Va area where all of the haunts are located, we decided to stop in and see what Outer Limits was up to. You guessed it, fully loaded queues past the entry point. Skip. Off to the haunts.
We took the shortcut through the Nickelodian area and entered Old Va near the action theater and boy were we in for a shock. The Blue Ridge Blood Bath (Antique car ride) line was all the way up to the action theater. Skip. We jumped in line to check out 'Psycho Path', a walk through haunt that takes you up through the exit of White Water Canyon and back down through the entrance. The haunt was particularly lame with only a handfull of cast character running the show, but there were one or two suprises that caught us slightly off guard. :)
Out of the haunt and back to the rides, we worked our way down towards the midway again stopping in for another impressive ride on Grizz'. While waiting in line we noticed that XLC was indeed *sigh* having a temporary shut-down. Out of the exit for Grizz' and heading back to the Waynes world area, I chose to stand my ground at that hatefull yellow chain despite attendants telling me XLC wouldn't re-open for the rest of the night. The time was around 8:30pm and the atmosphere in the park was starting to sway from happy/creepy to unsure and uneasy as details started to filter in among the GP that the DC Sniper had apparently shot another victim somewhere in the vacinity of the park. More on this later. After hanging around the yellow chain, one of the ride-ops (shorter lady with a kinda elfish appearance) came to the entrance and informed security to let us in. W00t! Soon, trains were being deployed for XLC with peeps on them screaming and yelling, and thanks to the new mods to the launch system, you could actually hear them. I'm not sure what they've done in the past month but the air release went from a roar to a phht! making XLC super quiet now (minus the annoying brake run). Front seat was a requirement to get my final fix in for the year, and the ride was great. I'm still slightly annoyed by the slowdown on the top of the hill, but the launch makes up for it. An alarming factor hit me though as we went vertical into the sky, looking straight up we noted the two state police helicopters that were flying overhead with spot-lights on. A new fear had entered us upon seeing the heli's, the sniper had hit really close and he was still out there.
We decided it was time to (pardon the expression) get the hell outta there, and scooted out the park with hopes of getting home. No such luck. The sniper apparently had shot another victim in Asheville Va (just 5 miles down the road) at a Ponderosa restaurant (adjacent from the Arbys we were going to stop and eat at on the way in). Interstate 95 had been blocked off and what seemed like 10,000 people were trying to get out of the park and safely home. No such luck. 3.5 hours later we finally made it out of the parking lot, 1.5 laters we made it past asheville and onto our regular route home. Honestly it bothers me that there are people as sick and twisted as this POS to go out and randomly shoot people for pleasure. I honestly hope they catch him and... well.. do very unpleasant things to him.
Aside from the suckiness of the sniper crap, we had a good trip minus the copious amounts of people in the park. All of the rides were excellent ones and (hopefully) will keep me satiated till next season.
I visited PKD a while ago-1996 i believe-when I rode my 1st loop-Anaconda. We stayed in the hotel across from that Ponderosa-we even ate there(I think).
chuckles-the cheeky monkey at pontins!
Ashland...no "e" in there, haha :) sorry, but its my hometown, and im picky about it!! :)
Tim, proud Hanover County VA born and bred.....PKD homer for life!:)
Holiday World; Knoebel's-today's cures for today's common theme park :-D
Legend...who would have thought that a tree could be turned into such madness :-D
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