PKI and HW June 24-26, 2006

Wednesday, June 28, 2006 5:13 PM
The price was right, so we took a day off and flew down to check out these two parks. The plan: fly in and out of Cincinnati with carry-on luggage only, visit PKI on Saturday and Monday, and HW on Sunday.

Saturday, June 24 and Monday June 26 @ PKI
Saturday was busy: we arrived at 1:30 and parked in one of the last rows. Monday, we arrived shortly after 10:00 am and parked in one of the closest $10 spots. Despite Saturday crowds, we never waited more than 45 minutes for any attraction. On Monday, our longest line was ~20 minutes for Italian Job.

Nickelodeon Universe:
We got an awesome photo of us on Fairly Odd Coaster. (Why is it that family coasters always have better quality photos than adult thrill rides?) Nickelodeon’s visual theming was good, especially for cartoon fans like me. There were lines to meet Spongebob Squarepants and Dora the Explorer, but none for Danny Phantom or Jimmy Neutron. (I’m an engineer, so of course we stopped for pictures with Jimmy.) Runaway Reptar is a good family invert coaster, a little rough, but a nice ride. The Rugrats theming is great, but most kids in the line had never seen an episode of the TV show. The Wild Thornberry’s River Adventure (log flume) shut down briefly – we jumped in the line shortly after it re-opened. Nice ride, great theming. We got wetter from the elephant than from the drop or rapids.

Rivertown:
Tomb Raider
had massive lines on Saturday, and early Monday morning, we were told it was closed for the day. (It did in fact open on Monday afternoon, but we didn’t have time to ride.) On Saturday afternoon, The Beast had a fast-moving line, so we waited to do our virgin ride in the front row. AWESOME. We rode again Saturday night, which we managed to time exactly with the fireworks, from dispatch to brake run. We were much further back in the train, and it kind of rough, but the fireworks made it worthwhile. We made another front-row lap on Monday morning, but it didn’t seem to run as fast. The Beast is definitely one of our favorite coasters. But why are the on-ride photos so grainy? Sorry, no sale.

Coney Mall:
I loved Italian Job Stunt Track, partly because of the launch into the helix, but mostly because of the pitch-black tunnel with disorientating curves. (My wife thought the ride was too short to justify the 30 minute queue.) The Vortex was huge and a bit painful. Racer backwards was a lot of fun. Forwards, it didn’t have much pep. Flight of Fear was our longest queue (45 minutes), but it was worth it. IMO, the looped pre-ride video actually had some good story elements and was very well done. It had nothing to do with the ride, but whatever… I would have to go to RCDB to tell you what speed we went (@#$@# fast!) and how many inversions we experienced (@#$@% lots!). It’s completely disorientating. Compared to other launched indoor dark coasters (Space Mountain: Mission 2, Revenge of the Mummy, Rockin’ Roller Coaster), FoF is much more intense.

Oktoberfest:
We rode Adventure Express late Saturday night (before our night-ride on Beast). It was a good ride, with surprisingly good theming.

International Street:
Scooby Doo & the Haunted Castle
is a good shoot-em-up, except I got a gun that didn’t work. After moving through two rooms and not hitting a single target, I switched guns and was able to get within 20 points of my wife by the end of the ride.

Action Zone:
We didn’t have time to ride anything here on Saturday, but we checked it out on Monday. Face/Off was not cooperating with us, breaking down whenever we walked near it. We tried three times, never getting a ride. Is it always this unreliable? Top Gun was fun terrain coaster. I think it’s the only suspended coaster I’ve experienced that did not skim over a body of water. I wonder what next year’s theming will look like? Drop Zone was different: Because it was a cable hoist system, it did not have the ‘shoot up’ thrill that other towers have. But the fact that it rotates to give all riders a view of the park and the fact it has large capacity (40 riders) earns bonus points for me. Delirium is another great pendulum ride, even bigger than the one at Canada’s Wonderland (50 versus 40 riders). We were prepared for Son of Beast, but it wasn’t enough. We waited until the end of our vacation (Monday afternoon), and rode in the second row. The drop and loop were fine, and we hung on for the rest. It definitely found all our Beast and Voyage bruises plus created a few new ones. I might ride it again some day, but not with my wife – she’s had enough of that SOB.

PKI food: The prices were high ($20-30 for two combo meals plus soft drinks), but the food quality was good. Bubba Gump Shrimp Shack served an excellent fish sandwich. (Thanks for the suggestions!) Wings had good barbeque, but we had a serious customer service issue that tainted our experience. (They said, “We’ll bring out the rest of food when its ready,” and we believed them. It took 20 minutes and some serious debating to finally get it on our table. Complimentary brownies shut us up, but didn’t make us happy.) I didn't get to try Skyline Chili...

Sunday, June 25 @ Holiday World:
We arrived before gate opening and parked relatively close to the gate (just past the picnic entrance). Guests services had no problem finding our tickets and we were in the park waiting at the rope-drop.

Thanksgiving:
The Voyage
was shut down most of the day. I feel sorry for the staff who had to continually repeat closure information to all the coaster enthusiasts (like me) who kept asking when it would open. Around 3:00 it opened and as soon as we saw people on the lift hill, we ran to catch our first ride. (We were in swimsuits and slathering on sunscreen when I spotted the first train of people going up the hill.) We got into the queue before the big rush, waiting less than 15 minutes for front row seats. Wow! What a ride. The drops, hills, tunnels, and banked curves are good, but very intense. Sitting closer to the back, we bruised ourselves on the sides of the cars. We could not marathon this coaster, but we did enjoy three rides that day. Gobbler Getaway was cheesy and cool. We were actually the first riders of the day. And for the record, despite her score, I don’t think my wife is “just another turkey.” :)

Halloween:
While Voyage was down, the lines were longer at Legend and Raven. Legend lives up to its name – I love the steep drops and tunnels. The Raven was also fun, and very well themed. The tunnel in the Frightful Falls (log flume) makes it scarier than your average log flume.

Fourth of July:
Raging Rapids
is a highly themed rapids ride – the flooded town was very well done. The effects are timed weird – I wanted to get wet, but didn’t. All the other riders in our tube (including my wife) got a good soaking. Thunder Bumpers was just a typical bumper car ride, but the cars were buffalo and horses. Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride was just a typical Octopus ride, but the ride operator had manual clutches and belt-tightening controls – there was no sitting back and pushing buttons, he had to work to control the ride. (It reminded me of the antique midway at Heritage Park in Calgary.)

Fun Town:
We took a little ride on the Freedom Train and watched the kids joining Holidog in his show. Fun Town was well designed with a big playground (perfect for pre-schoolers) and a single narrow exit (perfect for parents).

Christmas:
There are a few kids rides here, but nothing we could experience. It was nice to stop and say ‘hi’ to Santa. I’ve been a good boy this year.

Splashin’ Safari:
We’re not really waterpark people, but in the heat of the day, we stopped to do a couple laps on each of the lazy rivers. We also rode some of the tube rides. It was a massive waterpark, with two wave pools and lots of tube rides and water slides. But after a couple hours in the water, The Voyage called us back for another lap or two…

HW food: Of course we had a pickle on a stick. Who doesn’t think this is the best theme park food? At The Alamo, the soft tacos were just OK (I can make better at home), but the taco salads were awesome. At Kringles, the pizza was so good I had a second slice for dessert. (My wife’s dessert was a slice of turtle cheesecake on a stick.) Everything was cheap and served with a smile. Free drinks too… This place is incredible.

Other lesson learned: We spent hours searching for decent FM radio stations around Cincinnati, Louisville and Santa Claus. We didn’t know our PT Cruiser was equipped with Serius Satellite Radio until we accidentally bumped the ‘mode’ button as we were driving to the rental car return…

We had a great time and will definitely return. If only PKI and HW were closer to home…
*** Edited 6/28/2006 9:14:26 PM UTC by greatwhitenorth***

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006 5:22 PM
Flight of Fear does 0-54 in about 4 seconds, and it has 4 inversions. I like the ride at PKD--I hope we don't lose it.

I never did the one at PKI when I was there, but it would've been nice to have the credit. I actually like the placement of the one at PKD better. It's in the Congo area of the park, and it kind fits in like a secret military base in the jungle or something, rather than PKI's "Where's this path under the coaster go? Oh look, the govt. put a military base here--right near the amusement park!" :)

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Thursday, June 29, 2006 11:56 AM
I was at HW the same day and waited to be in the first train out of the station after the delay. It was definitely worth the wait, plus kudos to Laura the ride op who was very pleasant and patient and helped pass the time even though she had to say a thousand times she didn't know when the ride would open.
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