PKD 9-6-04 Pt. 3

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Sunday, September 12, 2004 3:22 AM
After a not-so-great experience at PKD on Saturday, and a great day at SFA on Sunday, my wife and I decided to stop back at PKD on our way home to finish off the coasters we didn’t get to on Saturday and also get some pictures. After checking out of out ½-star hotel, we got to the park as it opened, hoping the overcast skies would mean a light crowd and hopefully some shorter lines. We showed our Paramount’s Carowinds Season Passes and were among the first in line waiting for the park to open.

After the gates opened we made our way to Volcano only to find the Eiffel Tower was as far as we could get to any of the rides. I had experienced this before at other parks, where the gates open but you can’t get to the rides for another half hour. This makes NO SENSE to me. Here we are, about 500 people or so, jammed in behind a rope waiting to get to the rides. Now, the queues for these rides have safe, organized cattle catchers designed specifically to keep the riders in an organized line while they wait for their turn on the ride. Do the parks let us proceed to these nice safe queues? NO, they would rather have 500 people STAMPEDE their way to the rides after they lift the ropes – never mind the small children and strollers that may get trampled. Their rationale is “the rides aren’t open yet – you could get hurt.” Gee, thanks. I’ll remember that while I get bounced around in a mosh pit of teenagers racing to get to be first in line for Volcano.

Anyway, my wife and I joined the horde now running - like a pitchfork wielding-mob – toward Volcano. Despite being among the first in the park there are still 100 or so people ahead of us. Still, the wait was a major improvement over the nearly two hours we waited on Saturday. We decided to try the front row, and I gotta say the launch from the front row was the highlight of the trip. On our first ride, we couldn’t see the exit as we came out the top of the volcano. On this ride, we had the best seat in the house. What a great ride, again we got some great negative-g in the barrel rolls that even I experienced this time. We got a great view of the volcano on the last plunge before we returned to the station. I gotta say, the front seat is well worth the wait.

We decided next to hit Flight of Fear. After my wife and I waited nearly two hours for the same ride at PKI, was were thrilled to actually WALK ON this ride! As I got strapped in, I noticed the restraint was the same one I experienced the day before on Jokers Jinx, and after the ride it hit me – both FoF rides are actually indoor versions of JJ. Now you might say, “Well, duh” but since FoF is enclosed I had no idea in my mind what it looked like. Now I know.

Next up – Ricochet. After trying the ride of the same name at Carowinds, I was expecting the same ride, but was surprised to find this Ricochet to be much better. More dips and bunny hops and less turns than the one at PC. I did have a problem fitting in the restraints. I was told that if the bar didn’t go down low enough you couldn’t ride. I got the bar down, but the ride op said it had to go down another click. I got it down, but it made for a bit of an uncomfortable ride.

Next we moved over to the Hurler. Again, we have one if these at PC, but I don’t ride it anymore because it’s too rough. Again, the same problem with the restraint. I got it to where I was comfortable, but the ride op pushed it down another click. Now I’m in pain – and the train hasn’t even left the station. Just as we topped the life hill, I told my wife “I’m going to die”, not from being scared, but from my spleen being crushed. This Hurler was far and away more rough than the one at PC, and not just because my restraint was so tight. My wife lives for woodies and even she said it was much rougher.

Our next ride was one I was looking forward too the whole trip – Shockwave. Of all steel coasters, stand ups are my least favorites. Still, I wanted to ride Shockwave because I had missed out on King Kobra at PKI and wanted to try a TOGO stand up. After the ride I swore I’d never ride one again.

First off, I barely fit into the restraint, which was the most ridiculous contraption I had ever seen. Once we topped the lift hill and entered that first loop, I realized that going on this ride was a major mistake. My whole upper body was in pain, contorted by this torturous restraint. I used to think I could ride any modern steel coaster 50 times and I’d beg for more, after riding Shockwave I was begging to get out. The worst part was the waiting before we pulled into the station. Load times were a little long and while we were waiting to come back to the station to get off, we were left out there, wrenched into these restraints and unable to even move my arms. What a torture chamber. Forget truth serum – strap me into this thing again and I’ll confess to anything.

Our last ride was the Grizzly. Just the name made me think of my experience on the Hurler. The queue for this ride was so long and so far in the back wood of the park I thought we’d never reach the station, but the theme was perfect for the ride – a backwoods type of queue for an old woodie. This ride was a near walk on, but they only had one train running. As we watched the train make a run before we got on we could see the track supports shaking as the train turned just before coming into the station. This should have given us a hint at how rough this woodie was going to be. Again, same restraint as Rebel Yell and Hurler, only the ride ops didn’t push my restraint down to the point where I couldn’t breathe. I was pretty comfortable in the seat, but that changed as soon we came over the lift hill. This was, without at doubt, the roughest woodie I had ever been on. Worse than both Hurlers, worse than Beast. Even my wife didn’t like it, and she lives for air time on these things. Fortunately, it wasn’t as long a Beast, which seemed like it would never end. I was surprised that even a woodie fan like my wife didn’t enjoy the ride.

Luckily, the weather held off all day, and the mostly overcast skies kept it pretty cool most of the day. The only problem was the humidity was high due to the recent rains.
With the coasters behind us, we rode to the top of the Eiffel Tower to take some pictures and then walked around a bit more to get some great close-ups of the coasters, finally calling it a day about 3pm.

So, two parks and 18 coasters in three days, and although I wasn’t all that impressed with PKD, I still found it better than PC. My wife and I both agree that PC needs some Intaminty goodness and that both PKD and SFA need to get themselves a couple of B&M’s to round out the parks.

Kestrel

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Sunday, September 12, 2004 7:31 PM
You missed out on Drop Zone in both reports of PKD. Thats one not to be missed.

Grizzly happens to be my favorite ride at PKD. I love the roughness and the airtime is the best you'll find at the park. To Each Their Own.

Glad you had some fun on a few of the rides. I went to Carowinds and found that the woodies were much smoother there. Also, Top Gun beats Volcano, in my opinion. Otherwise, I like Kings Dominion better. I got bored quite quickly of the park. I also agree that Batwing is much better than Borg.

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Sunday, September 12, 2004 7:49 PM
Glad to see you liked PKD, but I agree that it needs improvment.

Also, RCTfan, you go to CNU? A good friend of mine does too. How do you like it?

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Sunday, September 12, 2004 9:04 PM
I love how your hotel dropped from 1 star to a half between your two nites there :)

We left ourselves 2 days for PKD this summer (weekdays), and we had nothing to do after the first day. On the second day we ended up only doing a half day and heading to our next park (BGW). It's good that you took a break and then returned.

One suggestion always for rides in order to have more space (at least leg-wise) is to sit in the front rows of the cars. I tend to like the legroom and being able to brace my feet (if need be). This is not always the case (for space) on all rides, but typically it works for me.

P.S. For the future, don't fear the rain (only lightning). Rain keeps the peeps away and your lines short (with an added bonus of some coasters running faster). Invest in a good raincoat, and enjoy no lines.

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Monday, September 13, 2004 11:31 AM

Kestrel72 said:
Our last ride was the Grizzly. Just the name made me think of my experience on the Hurler. [...] As we watched the train make a run before we got on we could see the track supports shaking as the train turned just before coming into the station. This should have given us a hint at how rough this woodie was going to be.
Actually, every time the train rounds the banked turnaround right next to the station, the supports shake the same exact way as they have since Grizzly opened in '82. If anything, I'd worry about it being rough if the supports didn't shake. If the structure doesn't give, it would be like riding in a car with no shocks.

Personally, I found Grizzly much smoother than Hurler this year. Grizzly's always had a certain roughness to it, but that's part of what makes it the best ride in the park (with the possible exception of Volcano).
*** Edited 9/13/2004 4:33:29 PM UTC by Vater***

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Tuesday, September 14, 2004 4:44 PM
^Amen Vater,Grizzly equals roughness but in a good way while Hurler on the other hand equals roughness in the worst possible way ever imagined.
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Wednesday, September 15, 2004 1:29 AM
My thoughts exactly, Vater. I really enjoyed Grizzly, a little more than Beast, I think. But PKD's Hurler was brutal. Like I said, if you want a good Hurler, go to the Carolinas. If you want a great Hurler, go to Kentucky...
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Wednesday, September 15, 2004 7:59 AM
Where is everyone riding Hurler at that makes the ride so brutal? I rode in the front car and that the riding was boring. No airtime at all. Nice layout, boring and no airtime but never felt like it was brutal. *** Edited 9/15/2004 12:00:02 PM UTC by coasterguts***
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Wednesday, September 15, 2004 8:05 PM

RCTfan said:
You missed out on Drop Zone in both reports of PKD. Thats one not to be missed.

We have a Drop Zone at Carowinds - been there, done that. Just coasters on this trip.

Kestrel

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Wednesday, September 15, 2004 8:11 PM

ltlbat said:
I love how your hotel dropped from 1 star to a half between your two nites there :)

P.S. For the future, don't fear the rain (only lightning). Rain keeps the peeps away and your lines short (with an added bonus of some coasters running faster). Invest in a good raincoat, and enjoy no lines.


It dropped from a 1 star to a half star after the light in the bathroom burned out, meaning we had to shower in the dark. The staff couldn't help us find directions to Six Flags in Maryland (we later spied a brochure for the park in their brochure display as we were checking out - you'd think they'd have known to look). Also their phone lines couldn't handle data transmittion, so I couldn't access the 'Net from my room, which would have made the whole issue about directions to Six Flags a lot easier.

I have to agree with you about rain. My wife and I have gone to four parks either in the rain or under threat of it. Both Six Flags parks we've been to were under very overcast skies so both parks were deserted. The only time I saw people totally unfazed by the rain were at Walt Disney World and Busch Gardens in Tampa.

Kestrel *** Edited 11/4/2004 12:38:33 AM UTC by Kestrel72***

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Wednesday, September 15, 2004 9:30 PM
Just and FYI for anyone reading... I had a nice stay at the Hampton Inn in Ashland, VA when I went to PKD a few weeks ago. It can be a bit pricey and I'm sure in the fall months, it may be hard to find a room with classes in session at Randolph-Macon College. It's about six miles south of the park (I think exit 92 and the park is at exit 98).
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