PKI: Five rides, one concert

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Monday, August 20, 2001 5:17 AM

Kings Island is my home park, always has been. In high school, I had a season pass every year, and went so many times I almost got bored of the place. So now, when I go back there, I don't necessarily have to ride everything...I just check out what I want in a relaxed fashion.

Last Friday was a day like that. My wife, little brother and his girlfriend set off from my parents' house in Sabina (after leaving from Columbus at 8:30 a.m.) at about 10:30 a.m. Actually, the reason for going was to see a concert at the park by country boy band Marshall Dyllon. I don't like country and I don't like boy bands, but a guy I know from high school, Jesse Littleton, is in this particular band. His family went to my church (still does, actually) and my best friend is his first cousin. He was even on the ABC show "Making the Band" but didn't make the final cut, so he and four other guys started this band. More later.

Anyway, we got to the park about 11 a.m. I claimed my four free tickets (the privelege of working in the media). First thing we did was get a wheelchair for my wife, who has a sprained ankle. She got a wristband that allowed her to skip lines, but she didn't want to ride anything. Plus, I get annoyed when people skip lines with non-permanent injuries, so I decided not to do it myself.

We saw that Son of Beast wasn't running, so we set off to hit the "new" Flight of Fear. My brother and I were very disappointed that all the Outer Limits stuff was removed from the queue video. We had had many laughs over screaming "At least we still have the vertical!" after the voice said "We have control of the horizontal........" then..."AND the vertical!"

The line was pretty short, about 25 minutes. We got in a line near the front, where an older man was telling his 10-year-old son that, just this year, they switched the direction the train takes off. Last year, he said, it went to the left, but this year it goes right. No it didn't, said the son. The dad insisted. I almost butted in but I bit my tongue.

We sat down, very much enjoying the new lap bars. I could turn around and talk to my brother, raise my arms, see to either side. It was like a whole new ride. With no block brake, the last half, which was already extremely fast, was even faster. And no pain whatsoever. I already liked this ride a lot; now it is in my top 10.

After the ride, we circled around to LaRosa's and ate some very tasty pizza. Now about 1 p.m., we went to the International Theater for the 2 p.m. concert. Jesse spotted us and came up to talk for awhile. Then we went off for a quick ride on Phantom Theater (ultra-cheesy dark ride, but I got some kisses from my wife ;)) before hanging out near the Eiffel Tower for a bit, where we greeted about three dozen people from my hometown, here to see the superstar.

I'd have to say, these guys are quite talented. If you like country music, please check the band out. Marshall Dyllon.

After we got our CD autographed, we went to Hanna-Barberra Land for some awesome blueberry ice cream. Here, I got an old Eisenhower silver dollar as change. Being into numismatics, I was quite excited.

Now we saw Son of Beast was running. We hiked over to the Action Zone and got in a very short line. Maybe 15 minutes and we were in the first car.

I like this ride. The layout isn't the most exciting, and it is rough, but not painful rough. The drop before the loop is wonderful.

Next we went to Drop Zone. We waited about 45 minutes. I was excited because, on this ride, I could actually ride with my brother and girlfriend, Drop Zone not having just two people per seat. As luck would have it, there was one broken seat, and it fell right between me and them. Heh.

This is a great drop ride, but I think I like the ones with seperate cars better. They seem to get much closer to the ground before stopping.

Finally, we went for Face/Off. We were elated to see only one row of the queue full. It took about 20 minutes to get on near the front.

I feel almost embarrassed reaping praise on a Vekoma ride, but this is so much fun. It's my third favorite ride at the park after the Beast and FoF.

Now it was about 5:30 p.m., and we called home to find mom had supper on the table for us. We left and discovered Weezer's Green Album was the exact length of our trip home.

Thanks for reading.


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