Paramount King’s Dominion – Doswell, VA
I was in the area for a wedding of a friend of mine I played hockey with a long time ago, so my family decided to take a day off work and visit King’s Dominion. My mom’s first job out of college was color design for Canada’s Wonderland, so she loves going to the Paramount parks and seeing if the color are still as she designed them and seeing other people’s projects and what the new stuff looks like. This isn’t going to be much more than a general impression and rides report, so if you don’t like that kind, go ahead and back out now.
The Rides: PKD’s ride selection is probably now my second favorite across the country. I’ve been to a lot of parks now, and PKD has given Cedar Point a serious run for its money as my favorite rides collection. I was highly impressed with everything that was at this park, and (almost) each ride gave more than expected. In order of riding:
Shockwave (7.5/10) – brought back memories of King Cobra, which was my first alternate-seating coaster I ever rode. Still a fun ride, although I whacked my jaw off the restraint when we entered the helix, but nothing that took away from the pops of air and great forces in the loop. Good ride!
Volcano: the Blast Coaster (9.75/10) – this ride just edged out Grizzly and Hypersonic for the best ride in the park! I love impulses (could ya guess?) and what amounts to a full circuit one just pushed all the right buttons with me! I loved this ride, from the fire shooting out the top, to the way the line was layed out, to the double-launches and intense forces on the first part, and even the meandering, hangtime effects on the rolls. Everything about this ride impressed me and I had a “blast” on it! Rode again at night as my closing ride and it was just as good if not better!
Flight of Fear (9/10) – I loved the PKI version of this ride, but for some reason, I don’t remember the ride coming to a complete stop at the MCBR like this one did. Only reason I gave it a 9 instead of a 9.5. Still an awesome ride and great themeing – although Area 51 in the Congo? Well, the whole park was ride-theme great, area-theme poor.
Anaconda (7.5/10) – decent ride if it didn’t have the MCBR. Without those brakes, it might have been a great coaster, albeit with a little headbanging, but the second half was unremarkable at the speed it was taken. Fun ride, but didn’t leave a huge impression.
Drop Zone (10/10) – PKD has a definite winner on their hands here! I never got to ride the PKI version, which probably is the same, but this ride puts Pitt Fall in its place. The shear size of the ride from its height to its carriage is just awesome, and any ride that has not only those on the ride, but those in line and those just watching tense, cheering and babbling incoherently has got to be awesome. One of the best park experiences ever!
Rebel Yell (8/10) – Same thing as Racer at PKI – rode forwards and backwards. Good ride, but nothing particularly remarkable. Short line (i.e. – none)
Hurler (9/10) – I have no idea why everyone bashes this coaster. I thought it was just great! You build up so much more speed on that first hill than you’d ever need and just power through the rest of the course, it was a great ride! My dad and I loved this one, and were gonna try for a late-nite re-ride but Volcano won the battle of the re-ride. Awesome, but simplistic layout, and great speed through the whole thing.
Hypersonic XLC (9.5/10) – I was expecting this to be a letdown, especially after Dragster. The thing looks awful. I have never liked the TA2K coaster’s look from the moment I saw it in RCT for the first time. Seeing one in person made no difference in that opinion. The thing looks like and feels like a carny-ride. It looks completely bolted together so as to be portable, it makes sounds like a ride that’s 50 years old, and its just plopped on some blacktop almost like an afterthought. Definitely not the appearance I’d think a place that produced Nickelodeon Land, Volcano, FoF, and International Drive would have wanted, but hey what’s done is done. As far as the ride goes – wow! I can’t decide which is better, this or Dragster’s launch. This one is best described as an elephant kicking you in the chest - twice! Once on the insane launch, the other on the tight pullup. Great trick, but after the cresting of the hill, not much to write about except enough of an uneventful layout to start commenting immediately on the launch. I would love to do the launch again, but I think the rest of the ride is a lame attempt at extending the ride, and the ride’s appearance takes away from the rating IMHO. Great concept, but make the thing look a little better, and either add more to it, or end it fast like Dragster.
Grizzly (9.5/10) – The number two surprise of the day! This coaster rocks! We rode it in the dark, so we had no clue as to where we were going through the entire course. An absolutely wonderful ride. For something that is supposed to compliment the Beast (it seems) I think it blows its PKI counterpart away ten times over! Great drops, great laterals, great twists, the only complaint is the absolute killing of the speed after the first drop. We managed two front-seat rides in a row since no one else showed up to take our place! Probably because the entrance is absolutely impossible to find …
Overall: PKD is a wonderful park. The bathrooms were a little dirty, but the ops were decent, we even had someone on the midways overhear our argument over the best way to get to Anaconda and gave us directions. The rides are definitely top notch and are making me seriously consider giving PKD the nod as far as my favorite ride collection is concerned (I love launches, so I’m quite partial to their three-peat in this department). Food was excellent and not too badly priced. Lines were short and moved quickly and efficiently. Location was great, I can’t say enough about this park. There are some real gems here and you Virginians got a winner on your hands! I will be back later this year and am seriously considering a season pass to make my trips cheaper next year. Rates number 4 in the nation for me, with sentimental nods going to CP and KW and HP coming in at #3. 9.5/10!!
Edit: paragraphs - Jeff can you add something for next time that makes Word documents transfer as-is into TRs?
Give me launched or give me ... uh ... more launched!!
*** This post was edited by Impulse-ive 8/12/2003 10:22:40 AM ***
2nd Bunny Hill, Superman: RoS SFA = AIRTIME!
BackSeat of COURSE!
What night were you there? I was there 3 nights last week, so I probably saw you and didn't know.
Glad you had a good time, and hey, if you go back this year, let me know, all of the times I've planned to hit it this summer have failed, so I still need to hit Drop Zone @ XLC for the first time:)
Brought to you by mOOSH, the #1 name in family fun:)
One thing I don't agree on is the appearance of HyperSonic... I think that it looks great, not portable at all, and it acheives the midway-based coaster feel that the park was going for perfectly. In addition, they have taken care to add a number of gardens under the ride the past two years. But hey, that's my opinion, and you have yours. Shortness is indeed a problem with HyperSonic though, but the launch beats all.
Tekno Scorpion, I'm not sure about what you said about most people not liking Volcano, but as the ride's #1 fan, I have to defend my coaster. You're probably saying that a lot of enthusiasts HERE are picky about the ride, but I know for a fact that there are countless enthusiasts that agree with me on Volcano being a top 5 ride (or 1 like me:)), and just about every non-enthusiast that I talk with who's been on quite a few rides in their day including Volcano is amazed by the coaster. Just look at the faces of any group of passengers exiting the ride if you need proof that most people love it. :)
~ Blast Coaster | BlastCoaster@coaster-net.com | www.COASTER-net.com
Truly an amazing ride.
I tend to agree about Hypersonic, the launch is incredible as is the hill. But after that it feels so unfinished, and it is quite rough. it was a serious case of anticipointment for me.
If given the choice I'd choose a hamburger over a hotdog anyday of the week.
Glad there are others out there who loved Volcano too! I don't know about #3 launch, but its pretty good - I'd put it behind the hydro-launchers and Hypersonic, but ahead of most impulses (WT tied). I'll get to know about Chiller this weekend! (Dorney and SFGAdv, my 6th and 7th new park for this year!! What a year!!)
Tekno - I'll let you know when I finalize plans for heading back down there - probably within the next week or two I'll know if I have the money or time to make the trip.
Give me launched or give me ... uh ... more launched!!
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