PKD April 29, 2007

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PKD April 29, 2007

Paramount’s Kings Dominion

I ended up just south of Richmond VA for a conference I thought might take up the whole weekend. Turns out that I had Sunday FREE to play! While I’ve never been to PKD, my kids have. This kinda irked me, so it gave me good reason to go!

To park the rental car cost $10 for the day, and there was some sort of seasonal discount ticket or something I didn’t pay much attention to.

People of the GP are, in general, slow as molasses. The time it took me to get to the ticket window, say 1 adult while passing my credit card in motion similar to throwing a Frisbee, signing the receipt (with a borrowed pen Frisbee’d towards me and shot under the slot in the window and onto my side of the counter) was about four times shorter then the others in line in front of me. Yea, of course, I quickly spun the pen like a top; back to the poor gal having to deal with the line of slow pokes behind me.

The metal detector thing just HAS to go. I remember the old days, rofl, when people were people, and not everyone was treated like a terrorist for having a pocket knife, or a few ounce of hair gel. These days, my own cell phone, and rental car keys significantly slowed my entrance actually into the park.

And I walked through that damn useless detector, and …. “WOW !”, I said to myself.

This has to be one of the most PARK LIKE places I’ve seen to experience after the gate! Just a wonderful peaceful place. The huge fountains, the clean paths, something less Disney about the shops made an impression on me. I don’t know exactly yet what it was I experienced to give me this opinion, but Disney and Universal Studios Orlando feel to me like a “Theme Park of the Masses”.

I didn’t grab a park map. This allowed me to wander at will around the park and spend the time just looking. In the end, I wasn’t to sure how the park was laid out, and I eventually looked over someone’s shoulder to get an idea where I was. Later I found a discarded map underneath a park bench and studied to ensure I hadn’t missed anything.

Map-less, I wandered to the right, normally direction or crowds, but, there were NO crowds! Due to the length of the drive, and prior to park breakfast, my first ride was the bathroom. Normally I don’t really like to ride the toilet. However, this was a first rate elimination station and I was actually surprised. This was a very high capacity attraction featuring multiple stations, far more then I’ve seen at other parks, including Disney or Universal.

Wrapped around to the right, under some sort of foot bridge for the theater that wasn’t going to open for the day. Very Disney like to “hide” que lines like that. A quick walk past that, and onto the first ride of the day!

Some of the official ride names still escape me, but basically my first ride was on the log flume. I actually liked it! My only complaint, build an earthen wall so you can’t see the dumb buildings in the back! The setting was otherwise a quiet ride through trees. A “little” more landscaping and attention to detail would make this nearly as much fun as Knott’s flume.

At the end of the ride, I noticed a gal ride-op looking terrible bored. I was havin’ fun so far, and mentioned, “You don’t look very busy!” She replied in a subdued voice, “Hard to have fun when you all you do is step on a pedal all day.” Not a very cheery reply to a guest. There was no way I was going to let her miserable existence on this planet spoil my day at the park. I simply laughed and skipped down the exit ramp in spirits.

Walked over to White Water Canyon and found it to be closed. Probably a GOOD idea -since I really didn’t need to be soaked with the outside temperature perfectly comfortable when dry.

Figured I would take a lap on the old gas antique go karts, the Blue Ridge Tollway, next. The wait was very short. As I climbed into the drivers seat, Sir Ride-op gave his spiel about “not this, and not that, and no bumping…” Of course, I had to be a smart ass, and I told him, “But that takes all the fun out this ride!” His reply, “ … just don’t bump them too hard..” And I thought, “WOW, they aren’t all as Grinchlike as the gal on the log flume was.”

I do like the slow shaking, vibrating, wobbling, antique cars like I used to ride as a kid. Disney and many other parks have done away with these. The course is fairly long, and feels just like a Sunday drive in the woods. Of course, it actually was a Sunday I chose to visit and ride these things.

After the antique cars I ended up in front of some sort of flyers thing; named quite surprisingly Flying Eagles. I’ve read here on CBuzz about “flyers” and “snapping”, but I’ve never seen one. I’m guessing this is similar. There was another person in line, explaining to his young son how he get the craft to slow to almost a complete stop, then get fling’d upward at a rapid rate. His son didn’t really think he was ready for that.

I was curious, since I’m a dad, just because a son is a little scared, doesn’t mean I won’t play around a bit! Since this is my way of thinking, I got into a flyer 2 places behind theirs. Dad obviously took it a little easier on the ride, but did push the flyer further then anyone else I saw.

Not sure if what I did was really a “snap”, but there were about 3 times when the flyer was low near the center of the ride circle, the rear lines went slack for a moment, and very BRISKLY I was headed for maximum altitude. I can’t imagine what that ride would do if everyone on the ride was coordinated enough to do the same thing. This was a pretty slick ride, better then Dumbo or One Fish Two Fish. Why couldn’t I have ridden one of these as a kid?!

After the Flying Eagles I just wandered around in the general direction I had started in. Remember, I had NO map!

Next found myself in front of HXLC. I waited in line while another short waist challenged young teenager took a lap in the test chair. Yea, sadly, I’m not quite the beer belly challenged teen I used to be. I’ m now a full fledged member of the beer belly crowd. Turns out, the test chair was close, and stingy! I told the ride op I knew I might not fit, and turns out, I got the restraint down, and buckled without trying to suck anything in.

HXLC has a GREAT launch. It was VERY quick. However, I still think Knott’s Monty pulls more instant G’s at the start. I like HXLC for it’s intensity. Each element is PACKED, leaving you thinking, “What did I just ride?” Knott’s Xclerator similar, faster, overbanks, and longer, and I believe I prefer HXLC.

With luck, this ride goes to a good home. Glad I got the chance to ride it before it goes away forever. BTW: The GP seemed to like HXLC. This silly thing had the longest wait of any ride in the park this day. (Capacity was comparable for a slow day. Of course I understand that on a busy day, the two trains would not be even close to keeping up with the others in the rest of the park.)

After HXLC I found myself in front of Hurler. Not sure what was going on, but behind the air gate in last row, there was a mechanic on the platform, and a train was stopped on the lift hill.

Shortly after the mechanic did his thing, I occupied the last row on the last car of the train. Of course, we ended up stuck on the lift hill! Guess the mechanic didn’t quite get everything fixed! Had a GREAT view of the park for about 2 minutes before the lift chain started again.

Hurler was a fun ride, not much airtime or G’s, but wasn’t terribly brutal either. This is a good, fun, low key experience. Good ride! I don’t want peeps to dismiss this coaster; just don’t expect much from it.

The exit ramp for Hurler pointed me once again in the general direction I had started out. Going on memory here, remember! I didn’t have a map!

Think Ricochet was next. Warm wheels, me being single rider, no one to the right of me! I had to catch myself a couple of times before I decided it was just easier to extend my right hand and keep the top half of myself above my own seat.

Fun mouse! Did end up waiting several minutes while a much bigger guy then myself tried to shoehorn himself into the restraints. Every car ended up on the brake run while the guy finally admitted defeat.

While I was on the lift hill of Ricohet I had asked my rear seat passengers about, “that coaster in the trees”. Was told,” That’s Grizzly, behind HXLC.” I’m thinking, “Yea right … somehow you mean I walked right past it?” On exiting I reversed my direction looking for that elusive wood coaster. I even asked another person, and they also said, “It’s around HXLC to the right just after the sketch artists.

Ok, so I’m looking for the ride sign. Should read like the letters Grr and izzyly. Grizzly? Never did find any sign at the entrance to the que that contained any of the letters that spelled Grizzly. Yes, stupid me, I just realize didn’t that bear statue was the sign for the coaster. I figured it was a pissed off Yogi Bear who just had his pickinick basket stolen. After I figured out figured out Yogi was just trying to scare people away to keep the lines low I walked the 5 mile long single file que.

Grizzly was fun. My lap was in the back. However, I felt it ran through the course a little to slow. There wasn’t much air time, or forces. And, it was a little more bumpy then I like. The ride experience was neat with the entrance into the tunnel! This is a great element on the ride. While Grizzly was a fun ride, it was lacking. I can easily imagine this ride being amazing in its prime. However, my opinion is that I’d ride Grizzly once to experience the terrain and tunnel as I would ride New York in Vegas just for the Split-S.

Remember that I had NO map? I again reversed direction, to head the way I had been heading when I first started out. Instead of veering to the right, I took the path to the left under the vine tunnel. The shade was cool, and the slight breeze through the tunnel felt pleasant. It is little things like that this that improve the park experience.

Well, I came out of that tunnel and found myself in front of “Rebel Yell” and a sign that said something like, “Backwards rides only after Noon.” Well, it just so happened, the kids behind me said, “Dangnabit, golley willerkers, it ain’t after noon …” When another kid, with a watch says, “Shore is after neen! We can DO-EET backwards!”

So, who am I to argue as I let them rush past me? Turns out, even with 2 trains each side, the dispatch times are fairly slow and my snails walkin’ pace lets me grab the first seat in the first car ( going backwards meaning last row in the last car) facing backwards!

I‘ve been on Colossus running backwards years ago. This was just pure joy! The layout here is good, I wasn’t slamming into anything, my spine was saved, and there was air time like crazy on the way out. The trip back in wasn’t fast enough to score much air, but was a good ride. I enjoyed the ride so much that I found myself laughing like an overly drunk patron at a cheesy comedy show.

It just happened that there was no one in line at the station and the Ops allowed a re-ride. This time the train maintained a little more speed and the return portion was much better; still weak, but fun (and I’m sure my laughter was still annoying to everyone else in the park). In either case, the ending is was a fun surprise. Hearing the sound of the train entering the tunnel before you can even see the tunnel adds a unique element to the ride.

Of course, I had to ride this forward now! Forward, Rebel Yell was much faster. However, it also had a few “spine crunching” sections; “OUCH!” Could have possibly had a re-ride, but my body knew better. This is the first time I’ve ever gotten off a coaster and felt like I’ve been slammed dunked. While brutal, SFMM Psyclone didn’t beat me up as bad.

Call me Chicken, and I’ll cluck for you. Walked up to that drop tower thing, and said, “Self, those things scare the **** out of you.” Self said, “Yea, and that’s a long enough line to give excuse to back out!”

So, I spent the time in line for Shockwave instead. The restraint system needs some help. The cycle time is slow because of the time “adjusting” for each person. There is no test seat. I “tried” to squeeze into the harness, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to ride this. Wish I were 12 again.

This was the first, non-ride due to excessive McDonald’s syndrome. So I figured if the beer belly is going to cause me to miss out on a coaster, then I need more beer to compensate! It is funny how life offers up the strangest coincidences. The Bubba Gump vendor nearby just happens to serve just such a cold frothing liquid delight!

After the fish with beer, and chips with beer, and tartar sauce with beer I had another beer. Not sure when I fully regained consciousness, I found myself in front of The Italian Job. In the que I put myself set up for the front row behind another dimensionally challenged man who was actually more under-tall then I was. Well, he didn’t fit, and I had worries.

The next empty train came into the station. It became immediately to my attention why they call these cars a Mini. Maximum me in the Mini was a tight fit. Scrunched in like I was, there wasn’t anyway for me to pull the lap bar all but the last fraction of an inch to get the final click. I asked the featherweight ride-op to just lean a little further, and CLICK ! all was good (of course I could no longer breathe).

This is a fun ride. The upwards helix actually left me a little light headed ( not having the lap bar squeezed up against my chest and being able to actually suck in much needed oxygen might have minimized this symptom). Launches are good, sections with fairly intense positive G’s, scenery good, but very small cars, and very short ride overall.

While I liked the themeing, I figure someone could have been smart enough to figure out the bright red jack stands under the patrol car could probably been camouflaged to be not so obvious. The helicopter and shooting effects didn’t seem to work. If the themed effects had worked as on the release teaser video, this would have been something I’d have enjoyed much more.

Couldn’t ride Volcano, nor Flight of Fear due to my size. This is a little frustrating. If the “arms” for Volcano were shaped for larger shoulders, I’d have fit. Not to sure what I need to do with FOF. With FOF, I simply can’t bend like that! The leg restraints are a PITA. I actually had to slide my oversized middle section into the top restraint to “try to curl” my legs around further. I found this really weird and not so sure if diet is going to be enough to get me to fit.

Went to the kiddie section instead and found a real gem. The Avalanche really deserves to be classified as a “real” coaster. I used my above average upper body weight and leaned heavily into the lower and tighter section, of the course. This was a unique and fun Ride!

Since this is “considered” a kiddie ride, the dispatch times were horrid. Kids were riding and the Ops made the choice to “measure and band” every small kid not previously brandishing such a fashionable color bracelet. When I was a kid I never got one of those at a park, and I found myself jealously wishing I was that young again.

Leaving this area of the park I got the big break! There it was. It had been battered, tattered, discarded and now masterfully hiding under a bench in hopes of evading the park’s janitors. Score one mostly readable map!

It didn’t take long to notice the only major coaster I hadn’t tried was Anaconda. Since I knew a diet was in order, and I’d be back at summers end, I put this coaster on my next- time list to avoid any further embarrassment. Not needing the helpful map any longer, I sat it down on the park bench. Wish I knew if the little critter managed to follow some youngster home to aid to remember their fond memories of a wonderful childhood day in the park. It would be sad to think that instead, some park janitor swept it into a dark bin containing all matter of refuse, its entire lifespan lasting only but one short fleeting day.

At this point I thought I was done. I had seen everything an adult would like to see. Well, I have to say, I was further amazed by the kiddie section. I found myself in front of the Rugrats Toonpike. Yea, I was jealous! It would have been so totally cool to play there when I was a kid!

The next kiddie gem (pun intended) was “The Treasure Cave”. This really took me back in time where Disneyland had Tom Sawyers Island secret getaway tunnels for guests to venture through. IF PKD can still do it, why can’t Disney? IF PKD can still do tilted floors like Knotts, why can’t Knott’s still do it?

And then there was Scooby Doo! Always a great cartoon! Even better themed in real life! I have no idea why the que had silly dancing half robot owls on video screens. Not to sure the que info was right, a wall painted bio of Scooby said his real name was “Scoobster”. Was a short line and the little GP peeps behind me formed into something resembling a cattle stampede. At the time it seemed a good idea to avoid being run over and flattened by a herd of small people. Unfortunately I missed much of the details in this que.

The ride itself is much like Disney’s Buzz Lightyear blaster attraction. Though, on Scooby here, you can’t rotate the car. My problem with this type of ride is that I really like to shoot the laser guns! All I actually remember seeing is the little targets. I bet this was one heck of a great themed dark ride, but I really can’t comment on anything other then sometimes out of the corner of my eye I saw something move after hitting a target!

The final ride sign stated 800+ was “top dog” of sorts. Being a competitive sort, and not really knowing if that 800 was a kiddie number, or adult number, curiosity got the better of me and I promised the two behind me a Scooby Snack if they would tell me their score. Those in the back seat had scores of 900 and 1100. A look at my gun score showed a bright red reading of 1400. I figure was pretty good, first time out, and all. Top Dog for all of us!

After Scooby was saved, I headed back out of the park. The shops were neat, clean, and nowhere near as busy as I am used to. Of course I don’t need anything, so I didn’t purchase anything.

Overall I had a very good time, and enjoyed the park enough to promise myself to return in a few months. I don’t notice this park getting much attention on the forums. This makes me wonder if there is a conspiracy going on so that those in the know can keep this park to themselves! *** Edited 5/2/2007 12:44:08 AM UTC by Sprig***

eightdotthree's avatar
My first visit here was on Saturday of this weekend with my girlfriend Monica. It was a nice enough place, but they seem to have an identity crisis. It wants to be a theme park but lacks the polish of a Universal. It wants to be an amusement park, but lacks the big signature rides. It wants to be a charming, traditional park, but the Paramount name and expensive food take away from that.

I will agree with you about the entrance and main midway however. The fountains, the seating surrounding it and the brick work you walk on is all very beautiful and surprisingly relaxing.

I know what you mean about those premier lap bars, i'm rather large myself, but not hugely obeese, and even if I didn't have an ounce of fat on my body,because of the leg restraints, I will never be able to ride my beloved Mr. Freeze again.Stupid Leg Restraints,great tr by the way.
CoastersNSich's avatar
I guess you never have been to PKD, even after Sunday... they did (for the most part) drop off the Paramount name. But then again, I hear that they still have the whole PKD sign from last season when you enter International Street. Face it, it's hard to quit the P word (Brokeback reference somewhat intended), especially with some Kings Island employees over the last two weekends.

KD is a very enjoyable and fun park IMO, even though it may be called a "bastard child" compared to the other ex-Paramount parks, as well as BGE.

Dental Plan! Lisa Needs Braces.

TXRider said:
I know what you mean about those premier lap bars...

What REALLY puzzles me is that I fit in the friggen Mini, and NOT the larger FOF car??? Please explain that to me.

CoasterNSich said:they did (for the most part) drop off the Paramount name.

I knew Cedar Fair purchased the park, but everywhere "I" currently looked, the park still is still labled "Paramounts Kings Dominion".

Until a new name and abbreviation gets established, I figure I can use the old name and old abbreviation.


Great TR! I scrolled back over after reading and didn't realise how long it was! lol, but it held my intrest and thats why I didn't notice, haha :) I was there many many years ago, as a little kid and loved it, now I wish they had some of the kiddie attractions they have now then lol. Scooby Doo's Ghoster Coaster actually was my first coaster. I think its Fairly Odd coaster now though. Also, I always thought Scooby's real name was “Scoobert” lol. *** Edited 5/2/2007 6:30:37 AM UTC by P18***
OhioStater's avatar

I simply laughed and skipped down the exit ramp in spirits.

Great trip report. Kept me giggling like a little school girl all the way through.

Sprig said:

TXRider said:
I know what you mean about those premier lap bars...

What REALLY puzzles me is that I fit in the friggen Mini, and NOT the larger FOF car??? Please explain that to me.

Keep in mind that the IJST cars were designed with the lap restraint from the get go. The FOF cars were designed with shoulder harnesses and were later retro-fitted with lap bars. I think the FOF train cars have shorter distances between the seat edge and the lap bar base. Also, the seats are shallower than IJST. Combine those two issues with being tall and you end up looking like a contortionist trying to lock the lap bar. The only way I see that they can resolve the problem is to have new trains built from scratch.

CoasterNSich said:they did (for the most part) drop off the Paramount name.

I knew Cedar Fair purchased the park, but everywhere "I" currently looked, the park still is still labled "Paramounts Kings Dominion".

Until a new name and abbreviation gets established, I figure I can use the old name and old abbreviation.

Paramount name is SLOWLY leaving the park. When I went opening weekend on the last day in March, all the movie posters and props were still under the Eiffel tower. When I went this last Saturday all the movie props and posters were gone except for an antique car. Things are changing, but at a steady pace.


Oh my, what a long trip report. I could have driven down there and gone on an actual ride in the time it took to read that ;)

(P)KD is one of my least favorite parks, but I agree with you that many aspects of the park are quite beautiful. Makes me wonder what the park actually looked like before the big corporation got in there and had its' way with the place. I disagree that SFMM Psyclone is less traumatic than Rebel Yell - not even close. But it's been a while since I've been on either.

What has me replying to this TR in the first place was your recollection of the kids behind you in line for RY - how funny is that! I recall some kids calling the Shockwave the "loop de loop" - I think that made such an impression on me that when I think of KD these days, I always think of the "loop de loop."

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