Trip Report:Kings Island
July 1, 2007
Today is a different kind of day at the park. Now that Kings Island has a competent live show schedule, including an ice show, and I wanted to show Mom how the park is improving under Cedar Fair, this was a family day at the park.
Since the shows don't get started till the afternoon, we didn't arrive to the park until shortly before 1pm. We use my parking pass to dodge the $10 parking fee, then using Mom's special blue pass, we park in the non-premium close in parking lot. Mom does not have a season pass, and upon researching my options, the best deal I found was a coupon for $22.95 Jr/Sr admission. I was kind of hoping to dodge the ticket windows by using the print at home tickets, but this was an even better deal. We first headed to the Ticket building which now sells both tickets and passes. We walked right up to a window and soon had a ticket.
We next headed to the security checkpoint where they didn't seem to concerned about the metal detectors, but any bag, like Mom's purse drew their intense scrutiny. I think it is becoming more obvious this is a food detection checkpoint and not a weapon detection checkpoint. I grabbed a park guide off the tables in the security checkpoint and then we headed to the gate. We could not enter the first lane we chose as they were still waiting for their ticketing computer to boot up. We chose another lane and were soon inside the park, and submitting to the Keyhole Photo ambush, though we did strike a pose that said "There is no way we are actually buying this"
Before watching the shows, I took Mom on a little tour of the park. We first headed to Action Zone, which was in No Action Zone mode. Son of Beast, Drop Zone, and Delirum were all closed. I didn't feel like subjecting Mom to the 3 mile hike required to see Top Gun, and suspected Face/Off would have a long line, I did point out how the movie posters had changed to attraction posters, how the Paramount logo has been removed from the water tower, and Mom watched a group fly on Extreme Skyflyer.
We walked through Oktoberfest, and Mom was fascinated by watching Slingshot. While she watched Slingshot,I grabbed a walk on back seat ride on Adventure Express. I have to wonder what the park has against the temple god guy at the top of the second lift. Recall he is supposed to spill a vat of hot molten lava on you. Lately, the drummers are still drumming as you climb the lift, but the dude at the top is turned off, not even any lights on him. Other than that, the ride is performing as usual.
We head into Coney Mall, and I point out the Roller Coaster Landmark plaque that was just added, and I take a quick 1 cycle wait ride in the front seat of forwards Racers red train. The past few seasons I have said there is a good coaster in Racer just begging to be let out. I think Cedar Fair is making progress, as I experienced some nice floater air on the outbound leg. We aren't going to have life on the return leg until they kill that turnaround trim brake.
I next showMom the new X-Base area. I get her situated on a nice shaded bench where she could watch Firehawk while I went to take a ride. I head to the ride entrance, which isnowapparently closed. The hostess is suggesting coming back in about an hour, yet the ride is still clearly operating. I spent a few minutes listening to the hostess explain to people why they couldn't ride an operating ride. I know this sounds worse when I amalgamate this, but here was how it was going:
Hostess: Sorry,Firehawk is not operating at this time.
(Guest looks behind hostess to watch ride operating>
Guest: What do you mean, I can see it running.
Hostess: They are emptying the people in the station, then they ae going to close the ride.
Guest: So if it isn't safe, why are you letting them ride?
Hostess: That train is okay, we are taking the ride down to work on the other train
(guest gestures towards queue area)
Guest: Well, can we at least get in line?
Hostess: No, Firehawk is closed, you can't get in line.
Guest: So, why are they allowed to stand in line.
Hostess: Because they are stupid. (Yes, she actually said that)
(Guest storms off upset)
Yes, that was an amalgamation of her interactions with several guests during the 5 or so minutes I stood watching. I admit I was feeling a bit bad for her, having to try to explain to guests why an operating ride was closed. Then a lead type person came out and explained to her that they had only closed the red station, they were still operating single train with the yellow station, and to let people in. Hostess flashed a look like "Don't make me look stupid in front of the guests" I suspect a little miscommunication took place here. Anyway, she was a bit flustered, gave the loose articles speech, and tried to tell us that it would take 2 hours in line. I looked over at the queue maze which was now only about 1/3 full, and knowing it took just over two hours last time when I started clear out at the archway, decided to risk it.
It took about 45 minutes until I was in the front seat of the yellow train. They did get red side reopened just before I got to the greeter who holds the line back at the split point and sends people to the station in small groups. One of the benefits on the bad station design is that people entr the station and all congregate at the gate for rows 5 and 6, so seeing only a few people at the other rows I kept on walking till I got to row 1, which only had 2 people in line. So not only that, I scored a window seat, and soon had the safety vest on and the attendant dropped the lap bar. I learned some things about Firehawk, once they announce the train is locked, you can't adjust the lap bar, not even tighter. The other item is apparently once the lap bar is locked, it locks the retractors on the safety vest. I still don't get the use of the yellow strap handles on the front of the vest, as it seems like the way to tighten it is to push down on the bottom of the vest after the retractors lock,
The rows are far enough a part where the view really isn't that much diferent up front, but you might get more wind in your face feeling. I noted they have put the lift hill so you are staring right into the sun. Time to close your eyes going up the lift. Upat the top we flip over and its time for that awesome flying coaster goodness. I love this ride and think its a great addition to the park. As a bonus the vest released the first time I pushed the red button at the end of the ride.
I exited the ride, regrouped with Mom, and decided to pay $10 for an on-ride photo:
At this time, I checked my watch and realized it was after 3pm. My plan for catching all the shows was based on seeing the first show at 3pm. I consulted the park guide and determined we can still see all 5 shows starting at 4pm.
We continue through Coney and I catch a minimal wait back seat ride on Vortex, which continues to run great this year. All while we are touring I point out stuff that has changed in the park since Mom's last visit. I point out the Three Point Challenge (aka License to Print Money), where even I am shocked that it has gone from $5 to $10. Well at least that's what the signs say, the$10 price may not be going over so well, as they had another sign advertising a special today, only $5. I point out Italian Job, and note the line is back in the queue house, so I skip this one for later.
I point out the Roller Coaster Landmark plaque for Beast, then we trudge up the hill into Rivertown. Once in Rivetown, we pause for a few moments at a table by Potato Works, before continuing on, I point out that Wings is now a buffet, and the new Phanton Flyer ride. Momtakes devious delight in watching people get soaked by the elephant on Wild Thornberries.
We enter Nick Universe and head to the Nick Theater, just in time to see Dora's Sing-a-Long Adventure. I know its the kids character show, but it's a start. To be fair, I hadn't ever seen Dora, much less know anything about the show. But, from watching the rest of the audience from the back row, it looked like today's youth were really into the show, and the show looked to be pretty well done. The show offered several opportunities for audience participation as it followed the adventure of Dora and friends in their quest to find Big Red Chicken to do the Silly Chicken Dance. I wonder if they incorporated the chicken dance into this show in the other parks, or if that was just for Cincinnati where we learn the chicken dance at an early age. I noted that they have bright new benches, recall that this was the Slime Bowl, then when the green slime era was over, the outdoor theater was converted from a show venue to a character meet and greet area. Now the theater seems to have been shrunk to a more intimate setting.
From Doras show we took a walk through Nick Universe, and I show off the unusual Avatar ride by riding it. Luck was not good to me as I got a middle row, in the middle of the row. As we were walking around Nick Universe, Mom announced that she needed dinner, like now. Knowing this is not something to mess around with, we grab some sandwiches at Central Grill. I have said food prices at Cedar Fair parks are out of control, as evidenced by the fact that dinner for two, including two sandwiches, two side items, and two cokes came up to $24. Yes, this is the same meal you can get at almost any fast food restaurant outside the park for about $9. And the fast food joint usually offers the fries while they are hot, and gives free refills.
The side effect of needing to grab a quick dinner is that we decided to skip Nicktoons Live at Five, despite the fact it got good reviews. That show, held at the bandstand seems to be the replacement for the parade. Seems the Nick characters are supposed to do a few song and dance numbers followed by meet and greet opportunities. This show was just wrapping up as we were walking down International Street towards the Paramount Theater.
We arrived at the Paramount Theater (and I wonder how long that name is going to last) with about 5 minutes to spare. The show in the Paramount Theater is "Endless Summer on Ice", the headliner of the parks live entertainment program. It looks like they placed a synthetic surface on the stage. The show offers a series of scenes hat depict the typical summer. Last day of school, camping trip to Jellystone complete with Yogi Bear, a day at the bech, a trip to a NASCAR race complete with Scooby Doo, 4th of July celebration, return to school, and the return to school dance. Lots of song and dance numbers complete with figure skating moves complete with some spins, flips and jumps, even some trick moves. All in all I thought it was a very good show, and I do think the parks live entertainment department is back in good hands, and unlike Paramount, Cedar Fair seems willing to fund it.
We continued on our tour of the live park shows. We next headed to the International Showplace for Twisting to the Sixties. We arrived at the venue just as the ropes were dropped. I also noticed all the benches just got a fresh coat of yellow paint. The show has some performers milling around the audience as people took their seats. The most interesting was the guy who was clearly playing the part of the nerdiest nerd you have ever seen. The show itself, like the others was pretty good. A revue of all your favorite sixites music, and scenes based around a dance competition, a surf competition, a humurours visit to the hair salon, and more. Thats three well done shows so far today.
By this time.Mom was getting tired of walking around, so I found her a space to sit by Eiffel Tower within view of the Bandstand, and I went off to ride some rides. I starte off heading into Rivertown. I was headed towards Beast, but saw no line hangng out the Tomb Raider cave. I had heard some bad things about Tomb Raider recently, but you know how you don't want to watch the train wreck, yet you feel compelled to? Well, for similar reasons I entered the Tomb Raider cave. The line was backed up into the excavation tunnel where its really dark. Some time later a greeter let us into the ante-chamber. As it has been for a couple seasons now, we walked right through the monkey room directly into the pre show chamber. Fromwhat I had heard I was a bit surprised that they still play at least the pre show movie, but without any other special effects in the room. We entered the ride chamber, and yes some of the seats on the end, have been replaced by a railing. Seats taken, bars down, the ride started.
Well, the ride still runs the same program it always did,but now there was no fog, and while the load and unload drum loop played, there was no audio during the ride, and the lava bit merely bubbles instead of streaming up and hitting the gondola. The end result is the pauses the ride takes where they used to be show scenes just look absurd, and the ride looks even stupider than it did before. The group I was with seemed to be pretty unsatisfied when they were exiting the show building. I also noted that the electronic lockers have been replaced with the usual mechanical lockers.
I next headed to Beast, and was surprised to find the wait clear back to the start of the vending machines. Normally this would be a long wait for this ride, but since one of the two lanes for the ride was reserved for the Gold Pass Speed Lane, and none of the optional switchbacks were open, the line actually moved pretty swiftly, maybe 15-20 minutes. When I was halfway up the ramp, I noted they were going to close the Speed Lane down, and I must write to say they did it right way. They held the entire line back at the bottom of the ramp until the station was clear, then they reopened the ramp with both lanes open. I must have lost my common sense as I headed to the back seat. You may recall that on prior trips this year I commented the ride seemed tobe running better, well its still brutal in the back.
I exited Beast, and passed by Italian Job, where the line was still back into the queue maze. I headed to Firehawk. This time the queue area was about 2/3 full, but both trains/stations were open. It took just around 45 minutes again, until I found myself on the yellow train in the back row this time. Ah, did I mention that I really like this ride?
From Firehawk, I headed to Flight of Fear. I was a bit concerned when I saw people coming out the entrance, and yes the line was almost out the door into the outdoor queue area. However, once I entered the hangar, the line was taking the short route through the hangar. Good thing too, since the pre-show video was turned off. At least the station audio track was working "The collector becomes the specimen". I snagged a seat in row 8, dropped the lap bar, and this time even though the buckle can go clean over the metal tip it refused to lactch. It took two thawckings of the buckle against a hard surface before it latched. They need to get more reliable buckles on this ride. Flight of Fear still delivers a nice smooth ride,owing in pat to the unfortunate situation of a really hard near stop on the mid course brake. Upon exiting the ride, I noted the "On ride video" booth is STILL under construction.
From Flight Of Fear, I made a mad dash to Delirium, and arrived just after the ride reopened from some down time. So I walked right into the queue and right onto the ride, they weren't even assigning seats, just "Go find a seat". Delirium is good, especially at night, but its not as good as MaXair.
From Delirium, I went to the funnel cake stand to get us a funnel cake ($6), then I rejoined Mom in time for the 9:30 showing of Hot Island Rythms. It's their night show on the bandstand. No band, but some dancers doing some song and dance numbers in front of a backdrop of palm trees and the like. It's an okay show.
After the show ended, I grabbed some free ice water from Starbucks, then we made our way to the front gate plaza area to watch the fireworks. There is a neat effect of the fireworks reflecting off the International Restaurant windows, and the Eiffel Tower decided to get in on the act with a red/white/blue light scheme.
After the fireworks we ducked into a front gate gift shop to kill some time. I found some attractive looking t-shirts, but none of those in XXL. But I did find what I think was the Sale of The Century. Yes, I know any Paramount stuff is 50% off, and WinterFest stuff is 75% off, but I found a Cedar Fair ere Kings Island logo-ed full size double canopy golf umbrella in a an attractive hunter green/dark blue color scheme for only $12.99. At least I thought it was a great deal, a good enough deal that I bought one, While waiting to check out, I found it humurous that the cash register could not scan any of the barcodes, so the attendant was on the phoe to the office with almost every transaction, which made the line move painfuly slow. Not what you want when you are trying to entice people to pay you money.
We then headed out to the car where we got to play a fun game of "Watch the family with a sub compact car try to find room for all the passengers and the giant prizes they have won".
Next trip: ???
Watch for it!
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Coasterville Dave said:
TR:Kings Island - 7/1/07
Trip Report:Kings Island
July 1, 2007
We next headed to the security checkpoint where they didn't seem to concerned about the metal detectors, but any bag, like Mom's purse drew their intense scrutiny. I think it is becoming more obvious this is a food detection checkpoint and not a weapon detection checkpoint.
Haha! This line was great.
Very nice TR. I enjoyed reading it from beginning to end.
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