TR: PKD 6-18-02..a cure for insomnia

Associated parks:

This was my first time doing two Paramount parks in two days. I did Carowinds as a guest on Monday and left there that night for King's Dominion. This was my second time up there and I had just as much fun as I did on the first one. I went up there along with two of my fellow associates, one of which is an enthusiast. We all left PC at about 8:45-9:00 that night. We finally make it to Doswell somewhere in the vicinity of 3-4 in the morning and spent the night at the hotel right across the street from PKD. So, later in the morning, after getting approximately...ZERO...hours of sleep (they slept, I didn't) we got up early and headed on over to the park. It was a little before 9 and we were able to use our employee ID's to get into the park. These parks are always so peaceful before all of the guests start swarming in. I was paying special attention to the theming this time around. My favorite section in the park is Congo and I love the drum music in that area. Volcano is still one of the best themed coasters that I have seen. At about 9:40 or so, we headed back on over to Volcano, hoping that we would be amongst the first in line to ride it, but that didn't exactly happen as we had planned it. Two of the park managers somehow spotted us and kindly directed us back to where the other guests were waiting. What's different is at Carowinds, all of our rides are usually open at 10:00 along with the park. But at PKD they don't let people into the whole park until 10:30. I kinda thought that all Paramount Parks would run basically on the same time schedule...but I can see that it's not so. Our only options were to ride Ricochet and a few other small things but we went on and did Ricochet twice in a row without getting off. After that, we just chilled for a bit near Stan Mikita's. As it got closer to 10:30, we headed over to the mob that had already formed ready to stampede into the park straight for Volcano...and we had walked up just in time because that's right when they started leading everyone in. It was kind of funny seeing people trying to sort of jog their way to the front of the crowd to be on one of the first trains...I was one of them. When we finally got to the entrance, there was what seemed to be a train load of people ahead of us but we still managed to be on the first passenger train out. Now, on to my experiences/observations/opinions about the coasters. These are in no particular order.

Volcano The Blast Coaster: This was my first "real" ride of the day and since I had never ridden it in the back, that's where we headed. We were strapped in and were off. My ride partner was like "Clear"...whooosh...he timed the launch perfectly, which i found to be funny because I didn't remember the launch being that early so it caught me off gaurd. The ride itself was just as intense and fun as I remembered it, except last time I was in the front seat and I think the front is the better half of this ride. And again, I think that the real highlight of the ride is the launch. The rest is just a fun fast paced spiral down the mountain. Like I said before, this is the best themed coaster that I've seen, complete with actual flames blowing out of the top and an occasional rumbling, which actually spooked me at first because I didn't remember the rumbling effect from my last visit. One small thing that we remembered from our last visit was the automated speil about securing loose "arcticles". We got a kick out of that. Moving on...

Anaconda: My second Arrow looping coaster and the better of the two. The first drop on this one is just plain sweet. This time around I have a gripe about this coaster. Everything after that brake is a bit too slow. It didn't really get to me that much on my last visit but this time it did. Plus that figure 8 whatchamacallit wasn't as pleasant. I like this one more than the Carolina Cylcone mainly for the first drop. Also I love the setting over the lake. Before the park opened, we were standing nearby when they started test cycling and doing their block tests, so that gave us something to watch...seeing how slow the train crawled through those corkscrews. On a side note, we noticed that the ratchet dogs on this ride are like 20 times louder than Cyclone's. That kinda killed the peace and quiet in that area for a while.

HyperSonic: Closed. Didn't even test cycle.

Ricochet: We hit this first only because it was the only coaster open at the time that we were there...which I kinda wanted to ride PKD's version anyway to see what their's is like. The 50 foot drop is fun...the rest of the ride bites. I like Carowinds' Ricochet better. The hairpin turns just weren't violent enough. I like their layout just wasn't fast enough around the turns. On a little side note, I noticed that all of their Ricochet cars are green whereas at PC, we have different colored cars. Also, I believe that their cars DO completly stop in the station just like the ones at PC..or maybe they just weren't sending them through fast enough or something...

Shockwave: I hated this one last season, but it was only slightly better this season because I knew what to brace for. Again, the first drop and loop are excellent. This time it didn't hurt going down into the helix, but it did coming out of it...D'OH! Just opposite of how it was last year. Then going up into the bunny hops was jerky. This is still my least favorite coaster in the park, but it did give a better ride than it did last year. I think the loading times were a little better too. Side note: it still has that awful boring slow lift hill.

Rebel Yell: This one is still running good, much like our Thunder Road, same roughness and all. RY still looks good with it's white paint job. I rode both sides during the course of the day. The last one though was racing, with me on the forward side. Backwards won:(. We had asked one of the ops earlier in the day to let us race, but they didn't get it right-on though. Their backwards lift moves slightly faster than the forwards one. Still fun though. One thing about RY that I like is the good view of Anaconda and the lake on the trip back towards the station.

Hurler: It was there, so I rode it. Carowinds' is better. I do however like their station better because its darker and seems like it is cooler in there on the hotter days. Also, from an op's perspective, I like how the trains move right into the station without stopping until it gets where it needs to be...and this is with most of PKD's coasters.

Grizzly: This is my favorite wooden coaster there. It too is just as I remember it. It was kinda on the rough side, but still enjoyable, unlike GA Cyclone. The main highlight on this'n is the first tunnel and the airtime around in that area. My pet peeve about this ride is how slow the train creeps over the's SFOG-ish. They were running only one train the first time I rode it (back row), and after the lift it took seemingly FOREVER for the train to come back through the fan curve (that IS a fan curve isn't it?). From the queue it was interesting seeing the wooden structure shift along with the train as it passed across it.

Flight of Fear: I saved the best for last. This is my all-time favorite roller coaster as of right now. I love everything about the ride. The theming is very well done and adds to the whole experience. That cobra roll is extreme. The whole ride is just unreal. I love it even ten times more than I did last year. I really would kill to have one of those clones here at PC. Anyway, I noticed that they have done away with the little hooks on the lapbars that were on there last season and replaced them with seatbelt buckles. These are better because those little hooks were hard to unfasten. The seats were tighter than I remember which made the lapbars a little too snug, but not really uncomfortable. This is the ride that makes it worth traveling hundreds of miles just to experience..IMO. Fast n' furious, disorienting, and intense.

Flat rides/attractions:
White water canyon: Just a typical old water rafting ride, but looooong.

Eiffel Tower: I didn't get to go up in this the last time I was there so I did it this time. Of course the view was beautiful and I like the fact that you can stay up there as long as you want and just look around. A single use camera would've been nice to have..

7th Portal: This is another ride that I did just because it was there. And since I'm talking about the FX theater, I finally got the chance to see Meteor Attack, but I did Meteor Attack on Monday at Carowinds. It sucked. I didn't like it.

Antique Cars: It wasn't my idea to ride these, but I just went on for the ride anyway. Slow and boring. The most amusing part of this ride was when a ride op approached us and "hi-jacked" the car and rolled it on in.

That about does it for the rides and attractions. Now, as a whole, I think that King's Dominion is an excellent park. Good looking landscaping and top notch theming. The weather that day was not too hot, thank goodness. Crowds...I want to say less than moderate, but I really can't say because I've never seen that park on a Saturday. Hurler, Anaconda, and Rebel Yell had relatively short lines throughout the day. Volcano's line was long ever since the ride opened. Flight of Fear had about a 20 minute line. As ride ops, there were some operational type things that caught our attention. One of the things included operations at the Grizzly. The first time I rode it yesterday, there was only one train running. There were 2 people running the ride. One op had to check the restraints on the whole train while the other sat at the panel. Ok, one particular girl couldn't seem to stay off of the telephone. When I was sitting on the train, her phone call seemed more important than the people waiting in line and on the train. She had been yapping away before I even boarded the ride. Train leaves the station...back to the phone she goes...justa yappin'... I noticed the different color employee shirts and that they had a larger variety of shirts that could be worn during operation. There were Ricochet and HyperSonic shirts that looked nice. PKD plays GOOD music in the park that is up-to-date, unlike PC. Well, let me cut this short right here and sum it all up in a sentence or two. I had a good time. Thank you for reading...those of you who actually read it.

-Hurler Crew 2002-

Great TR! You basically described everything I love about Paramount Parks! Yes, that is a Fan Turn on The Grizzly.

X-Flight World's Only flying coaster!
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