Kings Island, Mason, Ohio, USA
I apologize (or perhaps state it for your gratitude) that I've not posted the full trip reports that have entailed what I intend to be the Year of 100 Roller Coasters, but I figured that I'd at least post some of the trip reports. In this case, I chose KI because I know a lot of you have been there and I knew you had your faces pressed to the screen waiting to see what my thoughts were on anything, especially a park so noteworthy as KI.
Okay, even I don't believe that, but roll with me.
I drove to the park straight from CMH on Saturday, getting through the gates at about 1400. The parking lot was beyond crowded, so my first order of business after walking through the gates was to get Fast Lane. That little wristband pretty much saved what was previously a complete train wreck of a vacation (I was supposed to be in NorCal). Every ride had a stupid-long wait.
The first stop was Diamondback. My last visit to KI was in 2005, and of course, this fine B&M attraction wasn't there at the time. Also, I'm a sucker for B&M hypers in general, the first two notwithstanding. I rode up front after about an hour of waiting, (it would've been 15 minutes, but a breakdown added 40-45). I very much enjoyed it, but I found myself wondering why people rave about the ride as much as they do. It was really very good, but...eh...I could think of 3-4 B&M hypers that I preferred. More on this ride later, though.
I ate a late lunch right afterward before really getting going. I picked the buffet right next to Diamondback. The price was actually quite reasonable, I thought. I walked around for a bit afterward to let the food digest, then I got back into riding.
I started with Adventure Express, having skipped it during my 2005 visit. I was actually quite impressed with the ride, and I think it's better than most mine train coasters I've ridden. I think the finale with the statues would have made more sense at the beginning, but hey, I liked it.
Next up came a second-row lap on Racer, which was rather enjoyable. I attribute that partly to the fact that I wasn't over a wheel, but it was a good time indeed.
My next stop was the X-Base area with Firehawk leading the charge. With Fast Lane, the wait was about thirty minutes. They had devoted one train to Fast Lane and the other to the stand-by line, with each getting their own side of the station. It may be Firehawk to most of the people who will ride it into the future, but to those of us who worked it at its first home, it will always be X-Flight. In all seriousness, though, it was good to see, and ride, it again, and I thought it was interesting how it seemed that the motors on the train were gone and replaced with some cool in-station mechanism.
I hopped off and walked over to Flight of Fear, which was down, and then decided to head over to Vortex. I barely had a wait at all, AND I got the front row due to last-minute switch by a party of three leaving the single rider spot open in the front. I enjoyed the ride as I have with all of the Arrow megaloopers, but they don't hold the same fond spot in my memory as they used to. Realistically, I could tolerate the terrible trackwork if the OTSR's weren't as low as they are. They dig into my shoulders long before they wind up in the same position the higher-up ones B&M and Intamin have developed end up in, and between that and the headbanging, I feel like I have to fight the ride for most of it. If I were one of the parks that still had an Arrow looper, I'd strongly consider getting Vekoma, S&S, or really anybody to put a fix on them. I would hate to see the likes of Anaconda, Vortex, and Viper go the way of Shockwave and Great American Scream Machine as I think they are really cool, classic loopers, but seriously, the discomfort needs to be mitigated.
Moving on, I proceeded back toward the front of the park, hitting up Invertigo on my way to Flight Deck. Invertigo was your standard Vekoma face-to-face inverted boomerang, which I think is probably the best of the three styles. However, I don't have much more to say about it than that.
Oh, well, I do. The colors look kinda nice.
Anyways, about Flight Deck: HOLY SHABUNGAS, that ride is fantastic. I rode the front row after about a 30 minute wait (no Fast Lane on this, but no biggie). Seriously, I've been on B&M inverts that weren't this awesome. It's short, yes, but it is stupid crazy fantastic. I loved it. I'd been on it before and remembered it being very good, but up front? WOW. Biggest surprise of the trip.
Well, maybe not the biggest. I rode Flight of Fear after this one, and it was also a big surprise. How so? It surprised me how rough it was. I don't remember any of the Premier spaghetti bowl coasters being rough in any seat, but yikes, I was wrong.
I followed it up with a far less vicious Premier installation, the Backlot Stunt Coaster. I miss the Italian Job tie-ins, but it was still good fun. Not the most wicked right on the planet, but don't think I've ever missed the opportunity to get a lap in on it.
By now it was getting pretty dark. I walked back over to Diamondback, but the Fast Lane line was almost full. I decided that I'd opt for the ride I'd been putting off all day in an effort to get a night ride and head to The Beast. It was about a 20-minute wait for Fast Lane, but no worries. I grabbed the second row of the front car. It really is a great night ride, but the braking prevents it from being mind-blowingly awesome. It seemed like every time we'd really get going, we'd hit a brake run. Oh well. It was a great time anyways.
I walked over to Diamondback once more to see that the Fast Lane line had dropped off substantially. I jumped in and wound up pretty much dead-center in car four.
It was during this ride that I finally understood why people really like it so much. The moments of airtime during the first half seemed to last forever. I'm sure the situation was helped by the complete darkness outside, but I don't want to take anything away from the coaster itself. The second half wasn't bad, but the differences between the front and the middle didn't seem to be as apparent during this portion of the ride. Ultimately, though, it was incredible. I still leave it about where I had it on my B&M hyper list, but the distance between it and the ones above it wasn't as gaping as it was earlier in the day.
That ended day one. Day two was far less eventful as I had less than two hours to spend at the park due to the drive back to CMH. I spent most of it taking advantage of the sunlight to get photos I couldn't get the previous day, but I did get two rides (well, one ride and one sort-of-ride) in during my visit. The first was truly a big deal for me: WindSeeker.
For those who don't know me, I have a major fear of heights. For some reason, I'm not as bothered by it on coasters or airplanes, but giant tower-style rides genuinely terrify me. Carrie and Ensign Smith can probably recount a my terror on a Power Tower ride at BooBuzz a few years ago, but that was nothing compared to WindSeeker. I couldn't believe what I was doing as I strapped into my seat, and I was nervous the whole time during the ride, but you know what? I did it, and I'd try and ride it, or any of CF's WindSeekers, any time I visit a park that has one. In the end, it really is a cool, fun ride. It took a lot to do it the first time, sure, but I can recall my first rides on the Comet, Grizzly, Great Bear, Sidewinder, and Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, all five of which were rides I was nervous about (or I swore I'd never ride), and it really meant a lot to me that I did it.
As for the sort-of-ride, it was the Eiffel Tower. I don't know why the height didn't bother me as much on this, although I bet it has a lot to do with the fact that I'm still pretty much in a building as opposed to a dangling seat. Anyways, photos taken and souvenirs purchased, it was back in the rental car up I-71 to CMH and my flight back home.
Overall, I was very impressed with Kings Island as I was seven years ago on my first visit. There may only be a few coasters I really think are outstanding, but if there's one thing the former Paramount's Kings ______ parks got right, it was being awesome parks in general. They're both scenic in their own ways, and both are some of my absolute favorite parks in general. I hope CF maintains that for years to come, because, honestly, Paramount did an amazing job building them into outstanding destinations I could visit again and again. I do give CF a lot of credit, though, for introducing B&M to each of the two, lol.
Was that genuine terror on PT? It was so over the top, I assumed you were just kidding. ;)
It's okay, though, 'cause Carrie was just as bad, if not worse, on TTD... :D
My author website: mgrantroberts.com
I admit I made have made it a little more theatrical for my fans, but there was some genuine terror mixed in.
You prefer 3 or 4 B&M hypers over Diamondback? There's only 5 others on the continent (7 if you count Leviathan and Goliath La Ronde).
Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."
Intimidator, SFOG Goliath, Silver Star, and maybe Nitro.
You know, now that I think about the quantity, it really wasn't my best comparison. I should've just said that if I were to go all Car & Driver and do a comparison test, I'd put it about at the middle of the pack. Realistically, though, they're all good rides, and Diamondback really nailed the floater air.
Excellent trip report!
Actually, I have heard the thing about Kings Island Flight of Fear being much more rough than the standard Premier spaghetti bowl. I had no trouble with the Kings Dominion one, but the Kings Island one has seemed to get that rough reputation as of late.
I still really wanna ride Diamondback. I'm a huge fan of Nitro and would like to check out the other B&M hypercoasters. Diamondback and Apollo's Chariot are two of my "must rides" in the near future.
I have the exact same fear of heights, actually. If I was to ever be stuck on a lift hill for an extended period of time, I'd probably have a nervous breakdown. I feel your pain, though I wish I could have seen the freakout on the aforementioned ride. I have no desire to ride Windseeker or anything like that, but perhaps I would also feel differently if I just DID it. After all, I did just discover that now I like drop towers, whereas before I hated them.
Beast still is also a "must" for me at some point. Guess I'll just have to fly out there some time (if I ever stop getting sick or injuring myself).
"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band
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