The road to 100: Paramount's Kings Island 5/3/03

Associated parks:

Sunday, May 11, 2003 6:42 PM
I hadn’t planned on coming up to Ohio so early in the season, but I was steadily approaching my 100th coaster. I had originally planned on making Wild Adventures’ Cheetah my 100th coaster at a Florida Coaster Club event during September 2002. I was at 88 coasters back then. What better way to celebrate my 100th than with other coaster crazy people? That plan was sidetracked when my grandmother became ill and eventually passed away. Some things are more important than coasters.

I rode a few more coasters since September and I was at 92 coasters. I was planning on making Cedar Point’s Top Thrill Dragster my 100th. What better way to mark a momentous event than riding the world’s tallest roller coaster? Then I heard about the Red Cross VIP ride auction for Top Thrill Dragster. Now here’s a way to make it more special. I get to feel like a special guest during my special occasion.

A few people from the DIS Boards ( donated some money each: $20 here, $10 there. I even went in to donate plasma, but I was rejected as a donor. I eventually got up to $355. I ended up #25 on the list. I could have been #1, but the highest bid was $1,504. There was no way I could scrape up that much money!

So I planned the shortest out of state trip I’ve ever been on. I was planning on May 2 to May 5 as my trip dates, but I couldn’t get May 2 off. Instead, I had to plan for May 3 to May 5. The cheapest tickets I could find were into Columbus at $221. I had rented a compact car for around $16 a day. I had booked the Rodeway Inn on Cleveland Avenue in Sandusky for $90 for two days. I was ready…at least partially…

I had to get seven more credits to hit 99. Then I could safely say my 100th coaster was Top Thrill Dragster. But where would I go? If I had gotten May 2 off, I would have hit Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom and Holiday World. I had a Six Flags season pass already, so I might as well use it. But I had only a part of a day to get my credits. I had already been to Six Flags Worlds of Adventure, so the closest park to Columbus was Paramount’s Kings Island. I got 50% off with my ACE card, so I might as well do it.

My plane departed Florida at around 9:30 and it was turbulence pretty much all the way. You know how coaster crazy you are when you try to loosen up the seatbelt on the plane! I ended up playing Puyo Pop on the Game Boy pretty much during the entire flight. You can’t have enough Puyo Pop!

My plane landed around 11:30 and I got my rental car. I had to upgrade to a Premium car for an additional $9 a day since they were out of Compacts. Apparently, people hadn’t returned them in time. I’ve never had this problem with Budget or even Avis. I could have done the rental car shuffle and went to someplace else, but I took the Premium. I had more legroom, but I could have done just as well with a compact.

The drive from Columbus to Paramount’s Kings Island was around 90 minutes. I stopped to eat and use the bathroom. I arrived at the park around 2:15 pm and paid $9 to park (ouch!). I almost ran over some kids in the parking lot. They didn’t look before crossing, which their mother loudly reminded them to do next time. I got my ticket ($21 with my ACE discount) and headed into the park for my credit run. I had seven credits to get before the park closed at 10 pm. I would do the roller coasters first and then do some flat rides if I had the time. Would I be able to get my credits?

Here’s the coasters I rode:


I hit the Racer first since I heard this one loads pretty quickly. I did the Forwards Racer first. They were running two trains and I waited about 10 minutes. I thought this woodie was pretty rough. It gave some good airtime. I especially liked the Lighting Racer-esque maneuver where the two trains split off, turned around, and then raced side by side again. Still, the roughness of the coaster made it difficult to enjoy. That was #93.

Just like in Dueling Dragons – you got to ride Ice if you ride Fire – I had to ride the Backwards Racer if I did the Forwards. Obviously, the backwardness made it a different experience than the other track, but this side was smooth! The backwardness made it a more intense ride, as you couldn’t see where you were going and the hills were a surprise. What the heck is making the train rise? Even though I had seen the layout with the Forwards Racer, I was still surprised. This was a fun coaster! I had a 10-minute wait for my 94th coaster.

I headed over to Flight of Fear, but the line was running out the door. It looked like a long wait, so I headed to Adventure Express.


The wait for my 95th coaster was about 5 minutes. This seemed like a gentile mine ride. The queue played some scary “Raiders of the Lost Ark” music over and over again. When it was my turn to ride, I sat in the train. These had to have been the largest seats I’ve ever seen on a coaster! I think they were about as big as Big Thunder Mountain Railroad’s! Unlike the Disney coaster, you couldn’t squeeze the extra kid with two adults. Adventure Express only had two molded seats. Still, it was pretty roomy.

The ride had a lot of nice laterals. I was tossed around a bit. It looks like the theming was left over from Tomb Raider: The Ride. I couldn’t figure out the last lift hill. The train went up the lift hill as some native figures beat their drums. The figure at the end said, “You will pay!” I thought the ride would give more swoops and dips, but we ended up at the station! I remember saying at the end, “Can I give a credit back?” but on further thought, the ride wasn’t too bad.

I headed to Son of Beast, but the line looked way too long. PKI doesn’t give the wait times out front, but it looked like at least a 30-45 minute wait. I’d try this again later. In the meantime, since I was in the area, I’d do Top Gun.


I waited about 10 minutes for my #96 coaster. The queue played the cheesy Top Gun soundtrack, to which one guest was jamming out to the music. OK, “Danger Zone” was pretty good and I could tolerate “Take My Breath Away,” but what else do we remember from this soundtrack? The ride was pretty good, but way too short. I think it was less than a minute. Still, it’s good to ride suspended roller coasters since I don’t see too many of these.

I headed over to Flight of Fear again, but the line wasn’t any shorter. I decided to wait.


It was good that this queue was inside, but it was a little warm. In all, I waited 1 hour for this ride. I think I watched the queue show about 4 times. The show wasn’t too bad. The theming wasn’t bad either. But what were we doing climbing into a UFO and then into a roller coaster? Were we traveling to the paradise in the queue video? I don’t know, but it didn’t matter. When I finally reached the platform, I chose the back row. During the ride, I felt pretty beaten up during the ride. I was tossed around like a sock in the dryer. Maybe I should have chosen a row near the front. I tend to like launched coasters, but this one was a bit rough for me.

I noticed something unusual with the ride ops here. The ride ops gave the thumbs up. The head of the ride ops at the controls had to give the thumbs up and make eye contact with each and every other ride op to make sure their thumbs up is legitimate. I had seen this on the Racer. I hadn’t seen it on my other roller coaster.

This was #97 and I was on my way to #98, The Beast.


I had heard a lot of good things about The Beast, but some people have said the ride was just OK. I guess I would have to find out for myself. The wait was about 20 minutes. The queue gave a lot of signs about ride stats, history, and how great the ride was. I was excited. After I rode it, I felt The Best was overrated.

It is a pretty long ride, but half of it seemed to be the first lift hill. I think it took about 2 minutes for the train to make it to the top. The two drops out of the lift hill were good and the coaster was fast, but it didn’t do too much for me. I was expecting a hill or a giant turn or something exciting, but the coaster had a lot of stretches were it just ran fast and that was it. After I rode it, I wondered why it was so highly rated. I think it was just an OK ride. The Beast doesn’t top my favorite woodie, Hersheypark’s Lightning Racer.

I headed back to Son of Beast and the line looked shorter.


This was my 99th roller coaster and the final one I would ride tonight. I waited about 20 minutes for my ride.

As for Son of Beast, all I can say is the ride was rough! I was holding on during the entire ride. Son of Beast had two nice helixes, but it was a bumpy ride all the way through. The only smooth part was the loop, which was over and done pretty quickly. I was wondering why the trains said expedition force or something like that on the sides. Were we looking for the son of the beast that broke out of the box up front? It wasn’t set up too well in the queue.

I finished my Son of Beast ride around 7:30, so I got seven credits in about 5 hours, even with the one hour Flight of Fear wait. I was looking for some flat rides to do, but the lines for Drop Zone and Delirium were way too long. The lines for Tomb Raider: The Ride and the new Scooby-Doo ride went out the door. The lines looked as long as the ones for Flight of Fear. I rode the Forwards and Backwards Racers again. I had no wait this time. I still like the Backwards Racer. I don’t know how much they grease the tracks, but the two trains were neck and neck. The Backwards Racer really slid down the first drop pretty fast while the Forwards Racer seemed to clunk up the lift hill.

I ate at the chicken and ribs place around the Wild Thornberrys log ride (which had no line because it was getting cold). I had the Rotisserie Chicken, which wasn’t too bad, but it was expensive. I walked around the bit looking at roller coasters and feeling sad that I couldn’t ride anymore. Vortex looked like a neat ride, but it reminded me too much of the headbanger’s ball on the Great American Scream Machine and Ninja. Still, I wish I could have ridden it. I also went up the Eiffel Tower. It gave a neat view of the entire park and some great video opportunities for the coasters. I couldn’t get much video of The Beast though, since nearly the entire ride was hidden by the trees.

I left around 8:30 pm after I couldn’t find any postcards. PKI was a nice and very clean park. I wish I had some more time to enjoy it. The park was really a credit hunt for me, but I think I need to return to enjoy PKI to the fullest. Maybe I should have given The Beast a second chance. After all, I didn’t like Millennium Force until my second ride. Six hours wasn’t enough to enjoy the park, even if I didn’t ride any coasters.

I left the park and headed to Sandusky. I thought it would take me 4 hours to get there, but it turned to be a longer trip. My directions from Microsoft Streets and Trips took me up I-71 and then up US-250. US-250 had some construction and I kept on getting detoured all over the place. I was getting a little mad at this point. I had arrived at the hotel around 1:30 am. I was staying at the Rodeway Inn on Cleveland Avenue, which was really close to the Cedar Point Causeway. I thought the hotel was OK. The rooms were fine, but nothing really to write home about. The room was pretty small. It did have an indoor pool, which I didn’t use. Sometimes in the bathroom, you could hear the conversations from the next room. Bring your own alarm clock because the room doesn’t have one.

I had a few hours of sleep before I had to arrive at the park around 7 am for my VIP ride on Cedar Point’s Top Thrill Dragster. I thought I would have trouble sleeping since I would be excited, but I was tired and feel asleep.

Monday, May 12, 2003 7:56 PM
I don't know why, but PKI's Flight of Fear is the roughest of the four spagheti bowl coasters, and trust me I know after riding all four last summer.
If you have a problem with clones, the solution is real simple—Stop traveling.
Tuesday, May 13, 2003 11:36 AM
Nice Report, so whats going to be your 100th Coaster???? I hit my 100th coaster last year on AIR, and at the end of this year I am going to hit my 200th(I dont know what it will be yet though) but I am getting quite excited
Tuesday, May 13, 2003 12:07 PM
He says it will be TTD, which he has already ridden.You can find that trip report here.......

It's quite long and very good.

As for you Intamin Fan, it could be because it is in the dark and you can't see anything. This was discussed in the games section where the person who built it had put the rollercoaster in a building and the intensity went up and the excitement went down. It was concluded that the reason this happened was because when you ride outdoors, you can see the track ahead of you, and therefore can brace for it. When Indoors, you don't know so your head gets banged in every direction, and you can't stop it.

Hope that helps.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003 12:22 PM
I don't consider the racer as two different coasters. Each side basically has the same layout with the only difference being that one side goes forwards and the other backwards.

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