I had driven in from Pittsburgh the night before, with my brother Matt and sister Liz. Matt and I were King's Dominion passholders this past season, and although Liz was not, we knew that my ACE card would get us an inexpensive ticket for her. We arrived at the park around 9am Saturday morning to discover the parking gates hadn't even opened yet -- I guess we could've slept in a bit (had we been able to sleep, that is. We were staying at the Hampton Inn, which was pleasant enough, but when there's coasters about who can sleep ;) ) Liz had accompanied me on last year's closing weekend, but this was Matt's first trip to King's Island in a number of years -- Adventure Express was the newest addition last time he'd been there.
The walkback on this fine, but somewhat chilly, Saturday morning would prove to be the Beast -- apparently Sonny was being tempermental. While waiting for the walkback, we struck up a conversation with Wiredog (Vince) and his wife (presumably "MrsWiredog", who I've seen post once or twice). It's always a pleasure to hang out with them, as we would for most of the day.
During this ride on Beast, my brother discovered that one can indeed actually smack their hand on the entrance to the covered helix. Whoops. His thumb would sting for a while, but he was alright. Watch those appendages!
After the Beast (which was running very well -- this hasn't been my FAVORITE woodie in a while, but it still delivers) we decided to head over to Flight of Fear before the general public filtered back to it. This was a smart decision. I rode this on the way home from SRM, and loved it. I still do. In fact, I LOVE this ride now almost as much as I dreaded it last year ;) Three shots later (in under 15 minutes) we decided to see if Sonny had opened yet.
It had. The line was almost out to the midway, but the queues weren't open yet. We guessed we had about a 45 minute wait, but decided to hop in now as we expected the crowd to grow. Again, this was the right decision. While waiting in line I overheard two girls who were leaving saying "Let's go, it'll get shorter later." Hah!
I don't understand the redesigned floors on Son of Beast. I'm short, and *I* found them somewhat uncomfortable. The ride itself, however, seemed to be running better than last year. I consider Son of Beast to be a big gimmick, but it's not bad as such.
After our lap on Sonny, we stopped in the gift shop in Action Zone, where all Son of Beast merchandise was on sale for 50% off. I spotted a really nice Gear fleece with the Son of Beast logo. 50% off made that an amazing $35, so I opted to get a black one. This necessitated a trip to the car, as I wasn't going to be needing the fleece on this day (or so I thought ;) ) This also brought us to lunchtime, so we agreed that we'd meet back up at 2pm.
By now, the park was REALLY starting to fill up. Matt, Liz, and I grabbed a quick lunch, then headed back to the Racer. The Backwards side was down, though, and the line for the Forwards side was pretty significant. So we headed back to Vortex. The line for this was out on the midway, but there aren't very many mazes once inside, so the wait was only about a half hour. I'm becoming less of a fan of Arrow multiloopers every passing year -- it's still fun, but there are plenty of rides I'd rather be on.
Next we decided to check out the line for Reptar, which my siblings hadn't ridden yet. The line was full and out on the midway, which wouldn't leave us enough time to meet back up with our compatriots. The Eiffel Tower? Nope. Viking Fury? Sure, but just barely.
So we met back up with Vince and Tammy. By now, we realized we were going to have to wait for EVERYTHING. Top Gun's line was pretty long, but we decided it was time to just suck it up and wait. 45 minutes later, we were on. I like this ride better than Iron Dragon, but prefer Big Bad Wolf. Still, this ride is lots of fun.
Next up was Face/Off. The line took almost 2 hours to get through, but again it was new to Matt, so what the heck. This ride is actually pretty entertaining since you can watch each other, and it really doesn't beat you up too badly (at least when compared to SLC's and Boomerangs).
By now it was already starting to get dark, so we decided to drift on back towards the Beast again. This was a good 90 minute wait, so by the time we got on it was already dark. Another good ride, this time through the woods in the dark.
Once off the Beast, we found ourselves with a little bit of time before the park closed. We decided to see if the lines in the kiddie section had gone down, to snag a lap on Reptar. There was still a line, but it was only about a 10 minute wait, so we hopped on. Reptar may be small, but it IS fun.
After Reptar, we wandered over to Scooby Doo, but that still had quite a line. Beastie, however, was almost empty, and we were quickly seated. Once this ride was over, the lines were closed off, and so our 2001 coaster season would come to an end not with a bang, but with a giggle.
Or did it?
So next morning we get up, and check out of our hotel. We head over to Waffle House for breakfast before heading out for Pittsburgh. We weren't planning on going back to the park, because we wanted to be back in Pittsburgh by dinnertime at the latest, and had decided that it wasn't worth buying a ticket for Liz, even with the ACE discount.
However, who should we run into at Waffle House but Shivering Tim and friends. They insisted that we HAD to show up for closing day, and one of them was kind enough to supply us with a Complimentary ticket (from a PKI Gold Pass, I believe)
So back to the park it was. :) We made it to King's Island in time for the walkback (although at least this time the parking gates were open). This time the group was given a choice of Beast, or Son of Beast. We opted for Son of Beast this time, so as to get a lap without a significant wait. Not only did we get one lap, but Liz and I actually got a reride before the general public had worked their way back.
After that, we decided that we were going to hit some rides that we hadn't hit the day before. We quickly went over to Drop Zone, which was already filling in. Matt, Liz, and I had ALL not ridden this yet, and it was by far the tallest freefall we've been on (previously it was Pittfall). I love freefalls, so this was great. It was also our first Gyro Drop -- neat.
Next up, we decided to hit Adventure Express, another ride that had been out on the midway the day before. This time, it was a walk-on.
Next up was the now-running Backwards Racer, a near walkon. We decided to see if this ride gave "ejector" air -- it does. Nice.
Then another lap on Flight of Fear. The wait was only about 10 minutes, and once again this ride delivered.
Finally, we wandered back over to the Beast. The wait this time was about a half-hour. And with that, it was lunchtime, and time for us to hit the road. So as it turned out, the season ended not with a giggle, but with a bang. :)
If this past weekend does indeed turn out to be the final coaster'ing for 2001 (and it doesn't look like I'll be able to get down to Florida before the year is out), it was a great way to end the season. Even with the crowds, we had a great time. The crowds were in some ways good -- we saw plenty of familiar faces.
Unfortunately, now I'm already looking forward to the 2002 season, and I'm not even POSITIVE my 2001 season is over yet. Sign of an addict, perhaps? ;)
*** This post was edited by GregLeg on 11/8/2001. ***
My wife and I had a great time hanging with you and your siblings. I see that you rode the identical rides that we rode on Sunday :) only in a different order. I can't believe a week has passed already. We look forward to riding with you again in the future.
Born to Ride - Forced to work!
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