We (my wife Lori, my friend Sata, and I) arrived at the North parking lot at roughly 10:15 after a 75 minute drive from Columbus. We were delighted to see the parking lot virtually empty. I parked the Santa Fe in Face/Off 47 and we walked the very short distance to the main gate, where we were greeted by the imposing line of metal detectors. Kudos to PKI employees for turning what could be a very intimidating experience into something light-hearted with friendly service and comical remarks.
Having already purchased tickets at Blockbuster the day before ($24.99!), we headed right through the turnstiles, dodged the photo-takers, and went straight to-
Delirium- This ride isn't nearly as big as it looks from the freeway-in fact, I was almost disappointed. The line was fairly short, but there was a floor malfunction right before we were supposed to ride which caused a slight delay. Shortly thereafter, we boarded for our first ride on the Huss giant. Looks are deceiving on this ride-when actually experiencing the attraction, you feel as though you are inverting far more than you actually are, and spinning much faster. There's a slight, unnerving "hiccup" at the top of each swing but the ride is fairly smooth. It's certainly not anything that I would drive hours to ride, but it's a nice addition to the Action Zone.
Face/Off wasn't running yet, and Lori needed to work up her nerve to ride Drop Zone, so we selected SOB for our next ride.
Son of Beast- Single train operation made a very short line very long, around 45 minutes. Since the shortest line was for a seat over the wheels, I begrudgingly opted for 3-1. Lori and I are not tall people-I'm 5' 10" on a good day, and Lori's 5' 6"-but we struggled to fit into the train. Unless the new train modification is drastically different, this was probably my last SOB lap ever. I find the layout uninspiring, to say the least, and the ride feels more like it is to be endured than enjoyed. What a waste of a huge budget. Sata, however, absolutely loved his ride and proclaimed it to be the best attraction in the park. Whatever floats your boat, I suppose.
Hunger struck around this time, so we headed to the Festhaus for some cold pizza and watered down Coke. $27 divided by 3 people=absurd. If i have one gripe with PKI, it is the abysmal food quality. I'm sure they can do better.
Needing a tamer ride to help us digest, we opted to head back to the Action Zone and take a quick lap on Top Gun.
Top Gun- The good thing about this Arrow Suspended is that I feel like I get an excellent workout walking back to the station. The bad thing is that the walk is longer than the duration of the ride itself. We walked on to the second car, and we were off in no time. A lack of foliage really hurts the ride experience here. I left this ride thinking what I thought of it before we rode today-I like it better than Iron Dragon, but it doesn't hold a candle to Big Bad Wolf.
I'm a huge Scooby Doo fan, so I definitely wanted to check out Scooby Doo and the Haunted Castle, despite the line that extended out the entrance. While in line, I did my best to harrass other guests by doing my Scooby and Shaggy impersonations repeatedly. The queue, while well themed, could use a longer audio tape-I heard Shaggy say the same line about 40 times while in the 20 minute line. While this attraction is not on par with some of the other shoot-em-up dark rides I've been on (MIB, Buzz Lightyear), it's still great fun. I managed to rack up a score of 1280, not too bad for my first attempt.
Being the coaster whore that I am, I decided that I would finally get my Ghoster Coaster count today. The line appeared to be pretty short. Boy, was I wrong.
Scooby Doo's Ghoster Coaster-What appeared to be about a 10 minute wait was really about 45 minutes. I felt slightly goofy waiting in line with all the kids, but I was willing to do it because I wanted the count. It would actually be a pretty cool ride if they didn't brake the heck out of it...oh well, add it to the count.
Sata didn't want to wait for the Ghoster Coaster, so we met him over at the Eagles. I tried to school him in the art of snapping, but if you don't feel it, it just can't be taught. Lori and I took a couple of spins on the Eagles, brushing against the trees a few times and snapping like crazy. I love just to watch good snappers on the Eagles-it's like watching Picasso paint ;) .
As a side note, what is with PKI staff? I was wearing an Oakland Raiders t-shirt, and every single one of the staff commented on it. I'm not exaggerating...every ride op or queue watcher made a mention of it. "Sorry sir, we don't let Raiders fans on," or, "Raiders? Didn't they LOSE the Super Bowl?" etc., etc. We went over to Tomb Raider to see if it was up (it wasn't) and the PKI employee at the gate said, "It's closed today because the Raiders lost the Super Bowl." Enough!
After the Eagles, we took a spin on Flight of Fear (where I was told Raiders fans aren't allowed to ride).
Flight of Fear- Wow. Simply wow. I love this coaster more every time I'm on it. This particular lap, taken in the back seat, was so disorienting that I thought we were sideways when we pulled into the brake run. Lori rode with Sata on this one, so I was seated next to a random GPer. He was holding his head and screaming, he was so disoriented. Good stuff! Easily my favorite coaster in the park, and perhaps a top 10 steel. Lori raved about it as possibly being a new favorite coaster-it was that good.
Back onto the Coney Mall midway-the weather had gotten much warmer by this point, and we were really starting to feel great about our day at PKI. We opted to head for Vortex as our next ride, a sentimental favorite-it was my first looping coaster.
Vortex- Anyone who thinks Arrow sucks (ahem) should get to PKI immediately. Vortex is still delivering fantastic rides with relatively great smoothness. Best of all, there's almost never a wait for this beast, due to three train operation. I laughed the whole way through the ride-I even enjoyed the hangtime in the 'screws, which I have always hated. I wish they would give the station a rehab, though. It seems very, very...OLD.
What PKI day would be complete without visiting the Beast's lair? I remember the days of waiting 3 hours for this monster...now it's a walk-on
The Beast-I hate to say it, but this coaster bored me today. Even the helixes were a tad slow and uneventful. The track was smooth to the point of boredom. I wish we had been able to stay later and give it another try after dark, but as it was I left feeling somewhat unfulfilled.
We headed back out to the car to get rid of our sweatshirts, since the weather was shaping up nicely. By some ridiculous freak of nature, the cans of soda we had left in the cooler in the car were still cold. We chilled out in the car for a minute, applied some Blistex, drank a soda, and headed back in to tackle Face/Off.
Face/Off-More parks need an Invertigo. Like, say, all of them. Granted, capacity is poor, but these rides are every bit the equal of an impulse. They don't pack the excitement of a GIB, but they don't have the same reliability issues, either. What a rush this coaster is! We had about a 15 minute wait, and then Lori and I sat across from Sata. It's truly hilarious to see your friends' expressions as they ride this thing-that alone adds so much to the overall experience, IMO. I sincerely hope Vekoma isn't getting out of the Invertigo business, because there isn't more fun per dollar to be had anywhere.
Lori had finally screwed up enough courage to brave my favorite drop ride, Drop Zone. We stood underneath the ride for two cycles, counting the length of time before the drop, and then we entered the queue.
Drop Zone- I've ridden DZ so many times that it's borderline relaxing now. I love the view of the park from up there, especially if you're lucky enough to be facing Vortex or the Eiffel Tower. This was the only time all day we encountered a queue smoker, and he was so far away from us that it didn't bother me a bit. As for the ride, it's as exhilirating as ever for newbies like Lori, and still great fun for me. I enjoy this much more than the Turbo Drops, simply because the magnetic brakes are so low to the ground that a slight element of fear begins to creep in as you fall further and further. Can't wait to get out to PKD this summer to try their version.
We then left the Action Zone and headed towards Adventure Express. I love taking new riders on this ride and prepping them for the "exciting" finish.
Adventure Express- Easily the best mine train out there. I love the theming, the overall speed, the quick changes in direction. Arrow doesn't suck. A walk-on once again, we climbed in and began our ride. I love the fact that there's no lift hill-more coasters should be like that. Lori was getting visibly tense as we climbed up the final chain, and I got a good laugh at her expense as we coasted into the station. I love this ride.
Finally, we knew that a day at PKI wouldn't be complete without a jaunt on the Racer. I was disappointed that only the forward side was running, but I'll take what I can get.
Racer- This little out-and-back (which wasn't so little when it opened) is just pure fun, even more so as a walk-on ride. I even got a few pops of air on the return visit, which was a more than pleasant surprise. Lori and Sata found the ride to be jarring, which surprised me. I think PKI does a marvelous job with the maintenance of Racer, and with all its coasters for that matter.
We headed out to Ruby Tuesday for dinner, pleased with all that we'd accomplished for the day. PKI is a real winner this year, what with the new attractions and continued maintenance of the old ones. Delirium isn't enough reason to visit on its own, and neither is Scooby Doo, but you should view them as reasons to re-visit a park that was already outstanding. A great day at a great park.
SRM 2003-Look for the guy with my name on his chest
I spent $59 to feed the family a couple of cheeze burgers and 4 cokes...I felt this was over the top pricing they charged me .71 cents for bbq sauce !
I was very impressed with delirium fantastic ride!
Racer,Vortex, FoF,DZ,Adv Ex, Top Gun, Scooby ,very good
Son of Beast ....just not fun..when I got off I felt like I was in a bar fight the worst ride in the park...sorry all you SOB fans but this ride is just plain bad!
Over all I had a great time and the park look great! PKI needs some help in the roller coaster line up....something large smooth and fun......any B & M would work for me.
Roller Coasters....A natural high......FEEL THE BUZZ!!!
Excellent TR Mark and I agree with everything else including the Beast comments. I don't think it's ever been as boring as it was early Saturday, but everyone told me the night rides made up for it. I can't believed some of the braked areas are braked, especially into the second drop and after turning under the bridge. It doesn't make sense for the final helix to have such a high intensity with the rest of the ride after the first drop being so forceless in areas. I'll still ride it though, but I just never know what to expect.
Adventure Express and Vortex are still criminally underrated. ;)
Honestly I was unimpresed with my first ride during the day.. slow and forceless.. but smooth.. (I think it was the train.. because the next ride I had was awesome.. so hopefully the other trains were just being a little tempermental during the day..
As for the Breaks, the only one i really have a problem with is the one in the Break Shed, it is just grabbing way too hard... I think PKI needs to reprofile the turn after the shed so it has more banking and replace the magnets with weaker ones, or take them off altogether..
But one can only hope !
I noticed even at night that the trains are still not going up past the Phone booth on the second lift hill.. as I recall at the begining of the season last year, the firs car was making it past the phone pretty consistently..
"Rock over London..Rock On Chicago..Wheaties, Breakfast of Champions"! -Wesley Willis
And I agree, Adventure Express is the best mine train there is. :)
"I bet Jeff Siebert is Superman!"
"He can't be. Superman is a Six Flags property."
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