PKI 07-08-02, Many Firsts

Associated parks:

My family is one of those families that likes to take a vacation to the same place, year after year. We started this tradition in the late 80's. My parents decided to take the family to the only amusement park known to civilized Kentucky back then, Kings Island. This year continues that tradition.

Crowds were pretty light, being a Monday, but it was also hot, so many people flocked to Waterworks. I didn't wait more than half an hour for anything. The ride ops were friendly, but kinda nonchalant, especially on Vortex. Pretty nice, overall.

We didn't leave home until 11AM. :( No early spot in the Tomb Raider line for me, but as I would soon find out, it wouldn't matter. After driving, eating, and checking into the motel, we finally entered the park at 2PM. There was only one thing on my mind, and it was in Rivertown. My family didn't know what I was going for, but I did. The cave. The Survivor tiki torches. Th test seats. The trash cans in front of the entrance. What?!?

That's right. Tomb Raider was closed for the entire day. I almost cried. The story from the employees is that on Saturday night, it was "doing some things it shouldn't." I don't know what that means, other than my disappointment. At this point, we decided to take turns choosing what to ride, and my brother wanted to ride the Wild Thornberry's River Adventure. I didn't ride, so I can't comment on it. My day is not off to a good start.

Moving on to bigger and better things. Namely, a freshly painted Arrow Megalooper.

Vortex - A word of advice: ride in the back. More airtime, and it's noticeably smoother. It's still immensely popular, as well as intimidating. It looks great, too. I suppose I'm pretty fortunate, since I barely missed a biological disaster. The train immediately behind me had some kind of bodily liquid in it that had to be cleaned.

After an uplifting comment by an on-ride photo employee (thanks Lauren) we indulged in an amusement park classic...

Antique Cars - Yes, after 30 years, Les Taxis are now simply called Antique Cars, with a little help by John Nolan Ford. Other than that, they're the same as every other car ride on the planet.

Racer (Backward) - No intro. We just went from the Cars to the Racer. One thing that impressed me is the Racer was racing on every run. Very nice. The turnaround brakes were off, too. Overall, a very smooth ride with a little airtime.

Racer (Forward) - My brother's lack of sleep was starting to catch up with him, so he sat this ride out. It was me and his middle school friend this time. He was a little freaked out by my loose lapbar, exclaiming over and over that it's supposed to go all the way down. I just laughed. Anyways, this side actually had more air than the backward side. Praise God for retracking.

In keeping with tradition, we ate some cardboard-like LaRosa's pizza. I prefer Skyline, myself. At this point, complaints about the heat and exhaustion began. I'm running on adrenalin and caffeine, so I don't really notice, but with a vote of 4-to-1, the decision was to leave earlier than planned. 6PM to be exact. But not before my very first flyers...

Flying Eagles - This was really more of a learning experience. I spent lots of time admiring experienced snappers, hoping to learn something. What I learned is that snapping is a little harder than it looks. My cable was getting slack throughout the whole ride, but I couldn't get a good snap. Any help on how to do it would be appreciated.

My dad really wanted to ride Dodgem, so we drove around while my brother fell asleep on some virtual reality game.

Dodgem - I'd actually never ridden these particular bumper cars. I've ridden my share, though, and can bump with the best of 'em. :)

It was now 5:30. Time enough for one more ride. I turn around and see Fort Cooper calling me. I missed it twice last year, and I wasn't going to ruin this chance, too. Unwittingly forcing everyone to sit in the shade and wait, I head for the queue of...

Flight Of Fear - My first ride on this sans OTSR's. I was a little more than excited. The line is decpetively long, but it was less than 30 mins. Not bad. It's also funny listening to people talking about "the line on the other side of the UFO." As for the ride, this is the best ride in the park. The launch is good, the rapid corkscrew is a great ending, it's really smooth, and the midcourse brakes weren't on at all. Te work lights were on, which kinda ruined the effect, but still an awesome ride.

We left the park at the planned 6PM and back to the Holiday Inn across the street. My brother went swimming, my dad watched TV, and my mom watched my brother in the pool. After an hour, I had a revelation. I'm bored, I'm not tired like everyone else, the park is right across the street, and I was smart enough to get a re-entry handstamp. I'm going back!

I convinced my mom to drop me off at the park, and I made the most of my 2 1/2 hours.

Top Gun - I started talking to a ride op who was apparently off work. He had the great idea of turning Top Gun into the world's longest coaster. This was my longest wait ever for this ride, but only because I waited for the front seat. With nothing in front of you, this is an entirely different experience. The front is well worth the wait.

On my way to ride FOF again, I passed by King Cobra's old stomping ground. There's some old footers, and the queue line is still there, but nothing that would give away the new attraction. I also passed by Slingshot. This is one ride that draws a crowd. People standing everywhere just to see the launch. Including me. :)

Flight Of Fear (Ride 2) - This time, the wait was only 20 minutes. Even better, though, all the work lights were off. Just a few strobe lights here and there. This truly is the king of PKI's steel coasters.

I opted for a walk-on ride of Vortex before heading to my final destination...

The Beast - I was kinda hoping for some kind of line, as it was sunset when I entered the queue. Not dark enough. Not long enough, either. If I wanted to, I could've almost walked on any seat. Instead, I waited for the front seat, along with a group of 6 others, who were all waiting for the sun to go down. We formed the "Dark Line," letting anyone in front of us, just to postpone our rides. We finally gave in, and I got on at 9:30. Not quite black, but dark enough.

I actually felt some air on the second hill before the brakes kicked in. Oh, those brakes. While they spoil the pacing of the ride somewhat, I didn't notice a change in the overall speed. It still felt as fast as always. I does seem less intense than I remember, but on my first night ride, I really didn't care. The ops were into it as well. "Welcome back, Beast riders! How was your ride?"

I left feeling like I had really accomplished something this time. I only wish I could have more park visits like this.

"I am a pitbull on the pantleg of opportunity."
- George W. Bush

Cool TR! Too bad about the late arrival!

Not MLK's words but mine..I have a Dream! I have a DREAM! I HAVE A DREAM!
I have a dream! That SFMM fans will be able to walk hand in hand with CP's!
AND no ONE cares what a coaster is and what a coaster isn't!

Nice But one thing racer Backwards is the one that got retracked

Part of a Flight Attendant's arrival announcement: "We'd like to thank you folks for flying with us today. And, the next time you get the insane urge to go blasting through the skies in a pressurized metal tube, we hope you'll think of us."

Nice TR! No SOB?

-Sean Newman
88 coasters in Track Record!! Hypersonic XLC Coaster # 100 in July.
Nitro Laps:105
B+R Launches:28

No SOB. I rode it several times last year, and there's other stuff I wanted to do first.

PKIEMPSOB - If I'm not mistaken, I believe forward got retracked this year, while backward was retracked sometime ago.

"I am a pitbull on the pantleg of opportunity."
- George W. Bush

Why didn't you stay more than one day, do you guys have passes, that's kind of a waste to just go for four hours and rent a hotel room.

Can we change the name of Top Gun to your mom so no one wants to ride your mom?

My family was only there for 4. I was there till closing time. We were originally going to be at PKI for one day and the Cincy Zoo the 2nd day, but the skies threatened rain in the morning and my parents are extremely paranoid. They'll cancel every plan if there's the smallest cloud.

My parents aren't coaster fans. I live in something of a paradox. They don't enjoy parks that much, but don't want me to drive to Ohio by myself, either. The majority of my trips are with church groups and friends.

"I am a pitbull on the pantleg of opportunity."
- George W. Bush

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