PKI 5/4/02 - My first shot at a TR:TR - TR

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Saturday, May 4, 2002 11:11 PM

I really didn’t have time to make this trip this weekend. It’s finals crunch here at OWU and things have been getting pretty crazy. Not to mention I’ve been sick all week and I am just starting to recover. But did I still go to King’s Island today? Like the MooreOn that I am, yes, I went! Three of my friends and I took advantage of their “College Days” promotion, which got us in for $24 each…not bad. Plus throw in the fact that I got to spend some time with friends I usually don’t get to ride coasters with (and 2 of them had never been to PKI before). Lastly, the weather was just perfect. I’ll catch up on studying and writing papers—today was just too good to have missed. It was everything a trip to an amusement park should be (and as “enthusiasts,” I believe we sometimes forget this key purpose): an indulgent, almost surreal break from reality that allowed all of us to forget (even if just temporarily) what we have in store for us for the next few days.

We didn’t leave Delaware, OH until about 11:30 AM (due to the fact that my wonderful college likes to subject its students to 8:30 AM Saturday final exams), which put us at PKI at about 1:15. I could tell from the parking lot that the park was busy (with this weather, I can understand). Lines really weren’t too bad though. I don’t think we waited longer than an hour for anything, but to be honest, I really wasn’t keeping track. In many respects, I was in my preferred non-enthusiast mode today, just chilling with my friends and really enjoying myself so much that I really didn’t think to even glance at my watch. Speaking of that, I still don’t think I’m a full-fledged enthusiast, but that’s for a different thread… Nonetheless, the only time I did don my enthusiast hat was when I was on the rides, which really can’t be helped.

Upon arriving, the first thing we did was head to TOMB RAIDER: THE RIDE. I have been reading TR’s very carefully for the last few weeks because I didn’t want the surprise to be spoiled for me (I mean, I knew it is a Giant Top Spin in a box with effects and a pre-ride movie, but nothing specific), and I am SO glad I did that. I was very pleasantly surprised, as this ride is incredible! Disney/Universal styled theming is one aspect, but I was blown away by the fact that they were able to create this awesome ride with just a Top Spin and a WHOLE lot of imagination! In fact, I have a lot of admiration and respect for whoever came up with this idea: it’s fresh, unique, and the Top Spin is seamlessly integrated into the effect sequences. I know I alluded earlier to this being a Top Spin in a box, but it is really so much more…I used to think that the phrase, “totally immersive dark ride experience,” was cheesy, but it really describes this thing perfectly. And since I didn’t want it spoiled for me, I won’t spoil it for anyone else by divulging details. Just trust me that you should go out and give this one a whirl…you will be impressed. One last thing: I think we caught the ride at a perfect time (right after opening it back up after a breakdown) because the queue was half-filled when we got in line and overflowing out onto the midway when we exited. Plus, the people behind us were talking about it breaking down when they tried to ride earlier in the day. I feel strangely lucky—usually I’m the one who always gets all the way through line only to have the ride break down—it was nice being on the other side for once.

After this great opening to our day, we hit the BEAST, which I am glad to say is now operating 3 trains again (which is good considering the size of the crowd today). I was really looking forward to the improved ride, but I must say that I was left disappointed. Those magnetic trims bite hard! The payoff (brakeless 1st drop) is a definite improvement, but still not exactly what I would call a roller coaster religious experience. Some may not agree with me on the next, but I think the helix finale has been castrated. Maybe this is because when I rode it last year they were running the descent into it with all trims off (which I believe is what people were saying last spring). I remember ferocious lateral g’s and it being impossible to sit up straight through the helix. Today, I got wussy little pushes into the side of my train that left me asking, “Is this the same Beast?” Don’t get me wrong, it still felt fast, and my friends loved it, but this is definitely not the Beast I remember riding last year. Maybe this isn’t a fair evaluation because I rode it at 2:00 PM, but I wasn’t able to get a night ride in tonight (due to Gold Pass ERT session), so I wouldn’t know what it’s like at night. Still, it’s a great ride and not really much worse off than it has been running in the recent past; I just guess from the TR’s I’ve been reading, I thought that it would be better. Once, just once, I would do almost anything to get a ride on this sans all trims…oh just once…(I said I donned my enthusiast hat when riding rides, but note these are all personal observations that I did not share with my friends all day, who would have probably thought I was nuts if I did…).

Following this, we headed to VORTEX, which was also running three trains (for the first time that I’ve been at the park that I can remember). This seems to have gotten smoother and gave a great ride. I had a fuzzy moment (not quite blacking out) at the bottom of the second loop, and the turns seemed to be powerful without being pain-inducing. And not to mention the floating/falling corkscrews. I really love this ride. It is my favorite Arrow mega looper, and possibly, I like it better than any B&M looper, with the exception of Raptor.

Next, a couple of my friends expressed interest in the 7TH PORTAL Show in the Action theater. I’ve seen this before, and although it is well-done, it certainly is no Tomb Raider…oh well, still fun, plus the cheesy pre-ride video of Stan Lee gave us laughs for the rest of the day.

Soon after it was Lunchtime…oh, only at an amusement park will one pay $8.00 for popcorn chicken, fries, and a coke. Not to mention the popcorn chicken was virtually tasteless…oh well, that’s what BBQ sauce is for.

Next came FLIGHT OF FEAR, which is always a highlight of any trip to PKI. I think this was our longest wait…all I know is that the indoor queue room was pretty annoying. I’m going to try to keep this as subtle as possible, but let’s just say our wait was made unpleasant by the fact that the guy in front of us must have eaten a bit too much Skyline chili for lunch…once again, it gave us something to laugh about…As for the ride, I think I have a new entry to my yet-non-existent list of favorite coaster “moments” (with MF’s 1st hill, Maggie’s 3rd hill, Beast’s helix (untrimmed), etc.): the entire second half of FOF. This part of the ride is absolutely insane! You just keep turning and spiraling down, down, down, faster, faster, faster, until it feels like you are going TOO fast, and then comes that whipping corkscrew that always causes my vision to appear crooked when the train reaches the final brakes. Amazing ride, and just think how much everyone hated it with the OTSR’s.

Before leaving Coney Mall, we had to hit RACER, except we hit RECAR first, and then RACER. People have been saying the ride is running better than ever this year, and I agree. The ride definitely is smoother and also has more airtime than it ever has. It also seems like the trim on the turnaround has been turned down a bit, for the second half seemed faster than I remember and was actually producing some acute airtime. Surprisingly, I found backwards to have more air than forwards (this was sitting in the back car both times), which is unusual. They were actually racing trains throughout the mid afternoon, but by the time we rode it (5ish), they were no longer doing so. I wonder why.

TOP GUN was next on the agenda, which was once again great as always, but too short. I wish Iron Dragon were this fast. No wait here, which was nice.

SON OF BEAST came next, which turned out to be the supreme surprise for the day to me. I had given up on this ride as largely rough and boring: today, Sonny was running phenomenally and proved me wrong. Maybe it’s the padding PKI has added to the seats, but SOB was running unbelievably smooth, and I was even sitting above wheels (seat 5.3). Interestingly, the trains still bounce all throughout the turns—you just don’t feel it anymore. But today, dare I say it: Sonny outperformed his father! Maybe I’m not comparing them fairly, since we rode Papa at 2:00 and Sonny at 9:00, but still! I now have faith in this coaster yet again. The first drop was wicked as always, both helixes were very powerful, the drop off the midcourse provided rather astounding airtime, considering it was unexpected, and not to mention I also got a hint of airtime on the hill after the 2nd helix and quite a nice pop on the final drop. NOTE: not Shivering Timbers air, but still airtime, which this ride has been devoid of every other time I’ve ridden it. The combination of being smooth, fast, and fun (my friends all loved this one) probably made Sonny the favorite of the day.

We then decided next to skip KING COBRA ( :) )and head to FACE-OFF. By this time it was dark. Intense and powerful, just like an invertigo should be. It also had a more slowly-moving line than anything else at the park, just like an invertigo should have.

By the time we had gotten through all this, it was almost closing time. Our final ride (because people really wanted to ride it) was DROP ZONE. The thought of a night ride on Sonny in its present condition really tantalized me, but I decided instead to put the coaster interest on the back burner and be a good friend, so I didn’t say anything. Although I must say it was tough being in line and getting taunted by SOB next door with its lack of lights and loud chain lift. Oh well. Some other time. Drop Zone, being the people eater it is *SARCASM* yielded a 40 minute wait for a short time.

Overall, this was a great, memorable night. It was nice to escape college for a day being able to forget about finals for at least a little while. As for CoasterbuzzCon, I am hoping to make it (gotta get that night ride in on the Beast sometime soon!), but we’ll see. Thanks for reading this long report! It’s bedtime!

I get the feeling there's a conspiracy over at King's Island to remove anything that has "K" or "C" in its initials.

*** This post was edited by MooreOn on 5/5/2002. ***

Sunday, May 5, 2002 3:39 PM


Thanks for the TR. I just got back from spending some time in the park today.

Out of the 9 rides I have taken on Tomb Raider this year, today was easily the best of them. Everything was running great! The room before the actual ride is dark again as is the two previous rooms. There is some slight illumination in the pre-show room but it still remains darker than my last visit.

The lava pit continues to look better and better with each ride. I did notice the ride squeaking a bit today when it stops, but with all the music and sounds playing during the ride, you won't really notice it unless you know what to listen for.

I also had the chance to ride with someone that was almost totally blind today. He said he can make out some lights every once in a while and was prepared to not be able to see anything once inside the indoor portion of Tomb Raider.

Once we were inside, he said he could faintly pick up the fake torches inside the second room and could see a couple of the effects inside the main ride room. He had no problem riding the ride and said he would love to ride it again. I always wondered how someone with a lack of sight would react to Tomb Raider since it is a very visual ride. I am glad someone of that nature found it it be a great ride.

Sorry you were disappointed with your ride on The Beast. I found The Beast to be running much faster than it was a couple of weeks ago. The park is still tweaking the new brakes and it shows. Easily one of the best morning rides I have gotten in a long time.


Sunday, May 5, 2002 3:59 PM
Sean, I agree with you about The Beast. I rode the weekend it opened and came away happy but not thrilled. I thought the brake going into the double Helix was heavy but this past Friday Night it was alot lighter. I also feel you are roaring down the small drop and up into the brake run after the Helix and I have never felt that. The first Brake going into the second drop seemed the same but the shed seemed a tad lighter. I actually felt laterals in the turns going into the mid-course tunnel. I hope with their tweaking...they Don't make the brakes any heavier. I rode 6 times and they were all fast rides in numerous train positions. Yes, I wish they could turn down the Helix brake but if they left everything as is from this past weekend, I will be very Happy.

Chris Trease

Sunday, May 5, 2002 4:17 PM
I really don't have too much of a problem with the braking on the first half of the ride--I think the shed brakes could be a lot lighter, of course, but it's not too bad. I've had rides in the past where it's been faster than what it is now in the first half, and some where it has been slower. What really bothers me is the 2nd half, which I think is being braked harder now than it ever has any other time I've ridden it (maybe I've just had some lucky rides in the past). The tunnelled helix used to make the ride for me, and now its ferocity and intensity has been tamed. Maybe they are still tweaking, which I hope is the case.

I get the feeling there's a conspiracy over at King's Island to remove anything that has "K" or "C" in its initials.


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