PKI FearFest: Is it Valentine's Day?

Associated parks:

Paramount’s Kings Island: FearFest 2003
Date: Saturday, October 4, 2003
Weather: Daytime: Partly Cloudy 65’ Nighttime: Partly Cloudy 45’

Hello Coaster Fans Who Are Now Trying To Turn Their Homes Into The World’s Greatest Haunted House,

As many of you know, PKI has been touting their FearFest as the “Midwest’s Best.” I have been waiting all year to go down and experience it, knowing what PKI can do and has done with themeing. New to PKI this year’s FearFest is ALL day FearFest. In years in the past they have emptied out the park at 7pm and recharged people to enter back in for their nighttime FearFest. This year, it’s a one price pays all for FearFest…FINALLY! You can also buy a season pass right now and get in the rest of the year free along with all next year. If you also buy a season pass right now you can upgrade to gold for $5, and get FREE parking (both a HUGE steal!)

Have you ever had that feeling when you are going to your Grandma’s House and can’t wait to see her, and then all she does is end up yelling at you. You leave so disappointed and don’t understand how Grandma can be like that…it’s just not what she is like. That is what happened at PKI FearFest. PKI is my second favorite park in the nation (BGW is first…for those wondering I have to go to a park at least 5 times before I can really rank it.) Shawna (my wife) and Amy (my Sister) went down for the trip with me. Amy hasn’t been to PKI since they built Outer Limits: Flight of Fear (now just FoF), and Shawna has never really been a fan of PKI (because she’s not a big fan of how loyal area people are to this matter when she goes, it’s ALWAYS packed.) As always, any Ohioan knows not to go theme parking on Saturday, but this was the only day PKI is open until midnight and I wanted to do the after dark haunted houses…so we were at PKI on a Saturday. We arrived at 4pm which we figured would be long enough to see the park at daytime, ride a few things, then do all the great night stuff. The parking lot wasn’t too bad (still a few bent over signs from the windstorm last week.) I got my season pass at the FASTEST season pass processing center in the WORLD and we were inside the gates.

Right when walk in you’re greeted by a cool FearFest sign set up with cool Halloween themeing…very nice. We decided to head over to Scooby Doo and the Haunted Castle ride. I saw Jeff. S. holding roses looking like he was waiting for someone. I later found out that he/PKI was helping a guy out who was proposing to someone in front of Scooby Doo. I later found out she said yes, and that PKI has quite a few people get engaged there, though according Jeff most of them are on or under the Eiffel Tower. It’s cool PKI does that stuff (I know a few other Ohio parks that won’t help you out unless you have a TV camera.) Amy, Shawna, and I all hopped into the Mini Mystery Machines and we were off. I LOVE this ride!! Shawna started out by kicking our butts, but I came back and won in the end. Me-1490 Shawna-1400 Amy-790 Though I will give Shawna credit, for telling me, “Hit it when the lights on Dummy!!” You see, she had the left side, and was clearing out all the targets before I could get to them, because of the way the cars go, so I had to hit back from where we were to get them…and my sister just got stuck with everything else! :)

We then went to walk around towards Tomb Raider through Hanna-Barbera Land. There was NO Halloween themeing over here! All the way back through Rivertown, there was NO Halloween themeing!! Tomb Raider was about a 1 hour+ wait and the middle row was not working. This was one of the better rides we have had on it, but the program we had really didn’t use the “Mean Idle God” thing.

After that we rode Vortex, and we wanted to ride Sponge Bob Square Pants. We went to get in line for it. We found out it just broke down, so we jumped over to Elvria’s Superstition side. This was one of 3 Halloween themeing places in the WHOLE park. They used some skeletons, and themeing from the old haunted house ride here. After a roughly 45 min wait, this side broke down!! Now the whole theater was down and we all had to get out of line (do these theaters effect one another?) We wanted to hit some of the daytime haunted houses before it got too dark.

We headed over to New and Improved Curse of the Crypt. The wait was about 45min-1hour for this. The entrance I found very strange to this attraction. Right by the backwards Racer side’s brake run and next to a paper dumpster. For the most part I really liked this thing! The front half was a little weak but after the second half on it was really cool. You actually have to CRAWL through 1/3 of this thing…it’s about time a theme park utilizes this neat thing that most haunted houses do. PKI did this the best way possible too (I won’t give that away.) All the haunted house actors I encountered at PKI (in the haunted houses) were VERY good. The ones outside the haunted houses were AWEFUL!! The actors inside the attractions had cool outfits and makeup jobs the ones outside had what I call “Bell Boy” outfits and pretty bad make up jobs. I saw a 2 vampires roaming the midway.

We then headed over to SOB since it was starting to get dark. We all rode in the last car. This is one of those rides, like Mean Streak, that looks so cool that you want to ride it. Then when you get off you realize your mistake. OUCH. Amy wasn’t too happy, she really liked the layout, but we had to rest a little after that for her. She grabbed a bite to eat, while we rode Delirium. Speaking of food, has anyone noticed how PKI has the most expensive food out of any parks in Ohio and the surrounding states? Shawna and I LOVE Delirium!! The wait was about 30 min. with a VERY slow loading time. This ride creates a smooth feeling like no other ride can really produce. It was dark now. We went to head over to Psycho Path. We first jumped in line for Maze of Madness. We waited around 40min. PKI does this thing will ALL their haunted houses but 666 (it’s a car ride) were you have to form a “Congo Line.” Each line consists off 5-9 people. You MUST but your hands on the person’s shoulder or they give you a hard time and won’t let you in. I got to be the leader for Maze of Madness. Yes, this REALLY is a maze. The maze consists of lots of mirrors, chain link fence, actors, LOTS and LOTS of strobe lights, and one REALLY annoying siren! This is one of the better mazes I have been in and one actor (by the way this place is themed to a hospital) was jumping all around the chain link fence. We ended up passing I think 3 groups in this because they got caught in dead ends. I had to close my eyes a few times because the strobe lights just got WAY to my eyes. I don’t know how the actors do it!
After we found our way out, we got in line for Psycho Path roughly around the middle of the Area 51 midway. We soon heard many people coming out of the Path saying it’s not worth it…I’m not talking a few, it’s more like around 9 out of 10 people. Problem was that one other person was saying it was so cool. We then found out it was at least 3 1/3 hours from the spot we were at!! WHAT?! I don’t know how far this line goes down into the woods, but no haunted house is worth that wait! We then got out of line. It was later confirmed that yes, the line really did reach 4 hours! I talked to a few people who REALLY did wait 4 hours and that was the only thing they got to do. No how in the world can a line reach 4 hours when it just starts at 8pm and the park closes at midnight. I heard rumors that it opened a little early and I talked to the people at around midnight, but the park must of flocked to this in droves!

We figured we skip the Path and head over to 666…since there wasn’t much talk about what it was. This ride is a CAR RIDE. They use the antique cars and your ride through the haunted course with ghosts/monsters/actors. This ride is almost exactly like SFWoA Scary Oldies. But it doesn’t look like it as heavily themed. Reason I say look, is because we went to get in line and we kept walking, and walking, and walking, and walking, and walking. We eventually found the end…by the BEAST!! And the entrance was by the Racer. Now you do the math, with an antique car ride and figure out how long that line would take. We opted for a pretty rough ride on the Beast, but MAN was this thing was FAST! Shawna and my picture turned out pretty funny because she had on one of those Snoopy sweatshirts with the Snoopy ears on the hood and her ears were flapping in the wind!

We tried again for Psycho Path but it was still around 2 ½ hours. Needless to say all the lines were BEYOND reasonable for us to get in for a haunted house. This park had to QUADROOPLE in attendance since afternoon! After walking around TRYING to find themeing it was soon 11:45pm. We went to go shopping only to find ALL shops closed! What?! I was shocked, all these season pass holders in the park, the only way to make money is sell things to them and all the places were closed!? Kind of strange on PKI’s part since Shawna, my sister, and I were all ready to spend about $200 on stuff we wanted for winter/Christmas/and fun. We talked to a few others who had the same problem. You should have seen all the upset people. I mean one lady was really mad! PKI MUST change that policy and soon during FearFest (heck, it’s really the only way besides just food the can make money off of pass holders!) We found one food stand that was out of everything, and I mean everything food, hot chocolate, etc. It wasn’t the only problem that the stand was out of food; the guy behind selling the food had a few brain cells missing and took five minutes to answer any simple question. We ended up buying the only thing left…an orange juice.

I mentioned how I was upset earlier so I will explain. PKI is known for their GREAT job at themeing in this new theme park revolution. As anyone knows, Halloween is that time of year to do one heck of a themeing job. PKI has been talking about how it will be the biggest and best. I thought CP has had the least themeing out of all the parks I have been to. Well, CP is DECKED out compared to this place! What happened PKI? Yeah, the haunted houses were cool, but what in the world happened to the decorations! Did I miss something? I was VERY VERY VERY disappointed in the decorations this year. Did someone forget the memo at PKI that this was Halloween? Did they fire the decorator? We saw the front gate and thought, “Cool!” then we went everywhere looking for the decorations. We found a few real spider webs that were basically the extent of their themeing! The FearFest look of the park was a HORRIBLE. I felt awful for PKI. Even last year during the non-FearFest hours there was more decorations. Just the basic was TOTALLY missing. They had a little bit in line for the FX Theater and 4 potato bags hanging up in Coney Maul with the Maul sign but not even Coney Maul was decorated like last year. Last year they had the camp scene, smoke machines etc. It’s ALL gone this year!

How to make it better:

I have decorated MANY people’s houses and have been to MANY Haunted parks and attractions in my life so I have a few suggestions for PKI (hey, I have one heck of a Resume, so if you need help, hire me for Halloween!) If they are going for a family atmosphere or scary, there are Sooooo many things they can do.

Lighting rods on the Eiffel Tower- Forget the hard to see blue lights, make that thing flash!

PUMPKINS and Cornstalks- The basics, not just at the ticket booths, but put them EVERYWHERE!! They are cheap, and easy to find in that area. Deck the park out!!

Get ride of the white light- The park looks like normal right now, change some bulbs. You don’t have to do them all just make one midway green, or another red. Etc.

Fog Machines- At one time PKI believed in them, now they are no where, this would REALLY change the atmosphere.

Decorate Rivertown- This is the neatest and easiest part of Halloween. Soooo Many things could be done over hear to make the midway awesome. Small example a haunted ghost town.

Action Zone- Stunts gone bad.

Stands- Give each employee some spider webs, and tell them to have fun.

Midway Scenes- With a little creativeness, small FearFest scenes can do a lot to people along the midway. Maybe add some sensors to activate certain things when people walk by.

I could go on forever, but needless to say something drastically needs to be done to PKI’s FearFest. Where they busy? Yes, they were ranking it the money. Some might say, PKI doesn’t need to theme. I would say otherwise since I have heard many people, and many annual season pass holders talking about how upset they were with the themeing this year. Go to PKI for the great rides…they are all great. Go for just the haunted houses (if you can get into a short line). But don’t go for the Halloween atmosphere. I’m glad they made it all day this year. They did lower the price of admission. If they can’t theme because of the cheap admission price, I rather pay the extra $5 for the feel of the park. Go to SFWoA or Kennywood to experience the feel of Halloween. It really hurt to see PKI like this time of year. I rarely say anything negative about a park, but I do point out if things need change, and I hope PKI makes some changes in the future. It was like dropping an ice cream cone on a hot summer day.

For all the FearFest pictures, check out the link below.

"The Future of Roller Coasters"
Haunted Ohio've been warned!!
*** This post was edited by RollerCoasterGod 10/7/2003 11:49:28 AM ***

I hope it is better on this upcomming Saterday as it will be my first ever trip to PKI. I plan to spend more time on the rides, though, and less time in the haunted houses because i have never been to PKI.

Will I have any trouble fitting on any of the rides at PKI being 6'7"? Perhaps I should start my own thread.

As Mitch always said, "2-in-1 is a BS term, because 1 is not big enough to hold 2. That's why 2 was created.."

You will probably have a very hard time if not impossible time fitting into Son of Beast and or Flight of Fear. I'm 6'2" and it's almost impossible for Son of Beast because of the raised floor situation. Your best bet would be to sit in the front seat of any of the cars since it has a little bit more knee room to work worth, but I haven't see anyone that tall fit into it in a while.

The same goes with Flight of Fear. But it doesn't have the raised floor board so it is a little easier...but not by much.

"The Future of Roller Coasters"
Haunted Ohio've been warned!!

First off, great T.R. Thanks.

I'm not overly tall (6'0") but I have heavy thighs; so, I can't ride SoB. When I pull the lap bar down, my legs are squashed into the bar and I get a bruise on the outside of each leg without even leaving the station. And this didn't happen until they installed that block under your feet.

I don't have this problem on FoF. I fit fine except for my stomach getting in the way of trying to lock the safety belt. Once that's locked, I'm good to go! :)
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." - Albert Einstein
*** This post was edited by DEK 10/7/2003 5:42:47 PM ***

i went on the same day and got my golden season pass to.we got there around 10am and spent the whole day there but i am planning on going 1-3 more times this year since i didn't do any of the haunted houses.but glad you liked Delirium that is one of my favorite rides in the park.
yea and one more thing while i was on the top of drop zone when i got up to the top there was tons of people oming into the park!whe i first got there there was not very many people at all!
If i were you word , I would at least try. Not getting in might help the cause for new trains!

SFOG: Land of freaky Drop rides.

About the shop thing, most stores were closed as the merchandise department does not the necessary staffing to staff enough people for a fear fest shift, let alone adequately staff the locations during the day. Some Merchandise locations are supposed to stay open, but they are a few bunch-- Rock Shop, Convience Corner, and Night Vendors (and maybe Emporium) are the only Merchandise owned locations that stay open. I know it's depressing for those visiting the park, but we just can not keep all the locations open for FearFest with the staffing we have.

PKI Merch Sup/ Associate WW- '01, '02
Front Gate Merch Sup, WW Merch Mgr- '03

Thanks for the help. I will probably ride SoB and FoF regaurdless.

I can't imagine the rides at PKI to give a much smaller area than anything at CP (specifically CPMR) and I rode them all at the point. I will tell you how it went after Saterday.

As Mitch always said, "2-in-1 is a BS term, because 1 is not big enough to hold 2. That's why 2 was created.."

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