PKI 4/14/01: FoF WOW!

Associated parks:
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Sunday, April 15, 2001 8:13 AM
I finally got my season underway at Paramount's Kings Island Saturday. Way too long without rides! In any case, I'll write a park review when I get around to it, so let me get to the good stuff.

For the most part, the park didn't do anything to really irritate me (save for the Flight of Fear stuff, but I'll get to that). That's good news because last year they managed to irritate me in every way possible with poor operation, slow service, etc. Good to see them up to par!

I did hear a lot of noise from other guests about closed rides, but I didn't see any of it. Racer (forward) was down for about ten minutes, while I was next in line, apparently due to a ghost train. There were five or six managers on scene, and the ride was reset and cycled.

First off, we hit Son of Beast. I never got to ride it last year because it was never open. Those raised floor boards make things really uncomfortable. Overall, I didn't dislike the ride, but I really felt indifferent about it. Since woodies always seem to give different rides, I'll give it the benefit of the doubt, but outside of the drop and the first helix, I wasn't all that impressed. It was squealing very loudly. I wonder if it needed a little lube.

Top Gun was outstanding as usual, and it continues to be my favorite suspended coaster. Adventure Express seemed to really jerk you around, but I guess it has always been that way. Racer was in fine form after the short down time. Beast was insanely intense with no trims after the second lift. Vortex did its usual number on my collar bones.

The 7th Portal was pretty cool, and the motion worked really well. Even with the trailer before hand in the queue, I'm still kind of wondering where the story was. Good attempt, but come on Stan... you're supposed to be a master story teller.

Rugrat's Runaway Reptar was fabulous! Wow! In the spirit of Cedar Point's Woodstock Express, I ask, where were these rides when I was a kid? I loved that ride, and actually enjoyed it more than SOB (so sue me, I'm a sucker for inverts). It was interesting how the ride had the same layout as Woodstock, but had such a massive structure in comparison because of the inverted track. Be sure to "walk" up the lift. Very efficient crew for one train.

The last thing we hit was Flight of Fear, because we knew there would be a long wait. I only waited two hours because I had to try this thing with the new lap bars. The news it good, but getting there was not fun.

First off, they only have one train. The others aren't on the transfer. While making things move slow, it didn't have to be as slow as it was. When a train emptied on the exit platform, two ride ops pulled up the restraining belts on every seat. Why they thought that the 19 people on the platform (one seat was closed) couldn't do this faster was beyond me.

The belts themselves have dog chain hooks that clip on to the side of the lap bars. The problem there is that someone with average adult hands can't really get in there to quickly hook them because there's no room between the bar and the side of the train. A better place would be in the middle, where there's more room for both people.

Long story longer, dispatches were six to eight minutes apart. With 19 people on a train, you know that's not good. That's eight to ten trains per hour.

Now the good news... Flight of Fear, if I had to rank it, could be one of my five favorite coasters. As I always suspected, the train tracks very smoothly through the tight course, and with lap bars, I had no pain in my back, my neck or anywhere else. The mid-course was wide open, no braking at all, and I hope they keep it open for multi-train operation. They used to nearly stop the train there. Now the second half of the ride is one of the most intense things I've been on. Remember, it's almost entirely down hill, so there's nothing there to bleed off speed other than friction. The final corkscrew pins you to the seat and the hop up to the brake run pops you hard. It feels so out of control compared to last year. All through the ride the visuals are outstanding because you look around and see everything that is shadowy.

The irritating two hours were instantly forgotten. I'm not kidding when I say that this was one of the best steel coaster experiences I've ever had. Premier not only saved the ride, they propelled it to high status in my opinion. If you aren't blown away by this ride, you've got problems.

Overall the park did a good job. Their indifference to capacity (ever notice there are no turnstiles to count riders?) went away for this visit, though they still manage to stack Top Gun (which is pretty mind boggling). The food was OK, the park was clean, the crowd wasn't bad (I'm guessing less than 20,000) and the weather was perfect. Good job PKI!

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Jeff
Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com
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Sunday, April 15, 2001 8:29 AM
I was there as well, and I still think FOF is pretty lame. *shrug* It is much better, though.

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Don't touch the watch.
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Sunday, April 15, 2001 8:34 AM
Lame in what way? If you call anything lame, you'll have to explain why, otherwise your opinion is completely worthless to me.

Hey, one other thing I forgot to mention... the season pass processing was very fast. We were done with plastic in hand before my friend not buying a pass could get through the normal ticket windows and gates. Go figure. Cedar Point could really learn a thing or nine about the way PKI handles pass processing.

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Jeff
Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com
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Sunday, April 15, 2001 9:10 AM
Well, now that our webmaster has FINALLY gotten a coaster fix, maybe he won't be such a JERK!! ;) Just playing with you, dude.

Seriously though, that's GREAT news about TCFKAOL:FOF. I skipped it last season for fear of massive head trauma, sounds like a real winner now!!

I can tell that you will still have ants in your pants until a certian other Ohio park opens. Welcome to the 2001 season!!

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"X" marks the spot in 2001!
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Sunday, April 15, 2001 9:13 AM
FOF intense!? I never would have thought that was possible. I rode it last summer and it never got up any speed -- I left with the impression that the thing is just too small to be good. Of course it had the infamous Premier OTSR's then, but that didn't make a difference on the speed. I don't remember the ride too well now, so for all I know those brakes could have made the difference. Hopefully I'll get a chance to ride it this year. It HAS to be better with lapbars.

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Home Park: Silver Dollar City, Branson, MO
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Sunday, April 15, 2001 12:54 PM
My daughter and I were there yesterday as well.

We arrived at 9 to take full advantage of our gold card perks. We managed to get 5 rides on Sonny and 2 drops on the stunt tower before the gates opened! We rode everything multiple times except Face Off and FOF.(daughter is 2 inches too short). We even got a 7 ride marathon on the racer without leaving our seat!

I was also impressed by the overall atmosphere of the park. The employees were exceptional both yesterday and last weekend when we were down for opening day! I thought they kept the lines moving quite well. The park was very clean and everthing was running. Last year we would drive down for the morning walkback on Beast or Sonny and be told that neither would be running on time!

The only ride that had a huge line was FoF. This will remain until they put the rest of the trains back on.

We left at 3:30 for our long drive back to Warren (N.E. Ohio) and still managed to have a blast. We rode most of the coasters multiple times and hit many of the flat rides as well.

I am excited about what is going in back by the Beast. They are already doing serious excavation work back there. Seems a bit early for this much work to be done for a ride that will not open for 12 more months! It's gotta be something big!!!

We hit PKD in March and are headed to Carowinds Saturday. Trying to feed the need to ride till our SFO opens in 3 more weeks.

Glad you had fun Jeff, this park has always been one of our favs!
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Sunday, April 15, 2001 1:33 PM
To follow up:

I don't like the feel of the ride. Many times, the ride just seems to wander around aimlessley, especially before the mid course. I don't like the fact that they had the lights on in the brake run area. They usually never do that. I also still think the pacing is really random. At points the ride is very dull and then suddenly you come into a some super intense stuff that seemingly has nothing to do with what you just went through. The rides elements aren't very well integrated with eachother. I guess in this case i could use the really snobbish term "Orchestration of Elements" as in the ride's elements are not very well orchestrated. I Can give the ride this, though:

1. It was ambitious. Kudos to Paramount for that. I like it when parks take chances.

2. It is very, very hardcore, which is the way i want my coasters. I would still take this ride over several B&M's anyday.

3. I need to ride it some more. Maybe with time it will grow on me with the new restraints. I think that is highly likely.

4. Putting the new restraints in is 100% unheard of, and it completely blows my mind. Unprecedented.



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Don't touch the watch.
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Sunday, April 15, 2001 2:17 PM
We were also there on saturday.We had only one problem we upgraded our passes to gold whan we went to pick up the passes mine wasent there.Someone had taken it.They made me go back and do it again.Now someone out there has a photo worth framing.
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Sunday, April 15, 2001 2:41 PM
Are they EVER gonna put the other trains on?

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Coasters- a little slice of heaven
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Sunday, April 15, 2001 4:24 PM
I'm glad to hear your impressions on PKI Jeff. Last Sunday the 8th was probobly the best day I've ever had at any park. All of the coasters besides FOF were walk-on to 20 minutes. I have to completely agree about the passes. Six Flags(KK) really needs to leave something. We got through a line of about 100 in less than 10 minutes. It took 10 minutes at SFKK just to get someones attention that we wanted to process a pass, "Oh, I t'ought joo 'as jus' lookin' roun' 'n here." Thank goodness I don't have to go back until next year.
Plusses from last weekend:
-RRR is the greatest kids coaster I've experienced. Short, but sweet.
-FOF is the smoothest and second(Vortex) best steel coaster at PKI(last year the most headbanging and close to worst)
-KC is still my fave stand-up and an airtime machine
-TG is too short, but sweet/ my fave goes to BBW
-The Beast is still my fave wood coaster
-SOB is no longer my #5 woodie-It is now #2(no wait can really add to the experience-;))
-Vortex needs paint
-7th Portal is great to look at, but I agree that it's, well, plotless
-WTRA is excellent
-The Racer raced
-AdvEx is very thrilling for a family mine train
-the theming of Nick Central is the greatest outside of Disney, IOA, and BG

Overall, thumbs up to PKI for a great beginning to an even greater year(finding out the 2002 addition).
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PKI-Midwest's Premier Theme and Water Park-Wooden and Kiddie Coaster Capital of the World!
You are the Weakest Link! Goodbye!!! 4-9-01:Hyperbuzzer
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Sunday, April 15, 2001 4:47 PM
What exactly is the layout of FOF? Can the Arrow Megaloopers benefit from the lap bars or are they to intense to install them?

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"SAVING THE WORLD BEFORE BEDTIME" Powerpuff girls
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Sunday, April 15, 2001 5:44 PM
Chitown-If you have ever seen the layout for Jokers Jinx or Poltergeist, it is the same as FOF (only outside).
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Parks For 2001: PKD, BGW, Funtown USA
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Sunday, April 15, 2001 5:47 PM
Here's the layout:
http://www.coastergallery.com/SF/SFA05.html
There is no significant difference between this and FOF, layout wise.

About the Arrow question:
I think the only Arrow mega-looper I haven't ridden is Tenessee Tornado, and none seemed as intense as those Mad Cobras from Premier, especially when they are run wide-open. (Jokers Jinx, Poltergeist, etc. do not have mid course brakes, so they are always run wide open!)
I don't see any reason why any Arrow coaster (not counting X) couldn't be run 100% safely with similar retrofits. I'm sure Rideman will back me up on that one!
-Peabody
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Sunday, April 15, 2001 6:46 PM

Peabody said:
"Here's the layout:
http://www.coastergallery.com/SF/SFA05.html
There is no significant difference between this and FOF, layout wise."



Actually, there is ONE *potentially* significant differece in JJ and the FOFs, though it really doesnt have to do witht he layout. JJ doesnt have a midcourse brake at all so the second half is always real intense. PKD still uses its midcourse pretty hard. I rode JJ this weekend ater several rides on the new FOF @ PKD. Needless to say I wont be riding JJ much with FOF just an hour or so up the road. No need to subject myself to unneeded pain :)
jeremy
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Sunday, April 15, 2001 7:29 PM
Are they trimming at the mid-course at PKD? That's a real bummer. My theory is that they just might use it again with multiple trains, but the question is were they using it originally to make a dispatch interval or were they using it to cut down the headbanging in the second half? I would think interval wouldn't be that big of an issue with the zillion blocks on that thing with the stations and transfer.

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Jeff
Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com
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Sunday, April 15, 2001 7:47 PM
First of all, Jeff: They have to stack Top Gun. Kings Island's blocking practices are more conservative than you're used to seeing at Cedar Point. Technically, PKI's setups are probably safer, but still...
The mid course brake on Flight of Fear is because the ride was designed to run four trains (in fact, Kings Island has a fourth train, back in the weeds by the monorail maintenance shed behind the ampitheater). The mid-course gives the ride that all-important fifth block. If I remember correctly from the drawing that was published in ACE News when the ride was announced, the block end points are (a) just before the first inversion, (b) the mid-course brake run, (c) the transfer table, (d) the unloading station, and (e) the tunnel between stations. Because of the way the launch system is designed, the loading station and launch track are in the same block.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.
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Monday, April 16, 2001 6:24 AM
Dave... I hear you were there that day and you saw me. What's up with that? Too good to talk to me? ;) Brandon and I were on the lookout for people we knew, and it turned out there were a lot of folks there. Odd!

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Jeff
Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com
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