Yesterday was opening day for the 2006 season at PKI. After getting a late start, I got to the park at about 1:30.
First thing I notice is that the International Street music has returned to its old ways: DEAFENINGLY LOUD! I grabbed my phone to make a call to see about meeting up, that is as soon as I get as far away from the speakers as I can. The call goes to voicemail, so I put the phone away and proceed back to Vortex, first making a pit stop at the bathrooms by Swan Lake.
The Vortex line is out to past the entrance sign, so I get in. Halfway through, my phone rings, so I tell Adam I'm at Vortex before getting off the phone and waiting through the line.
I board Vortex in 2.1 and score my first coaster of the season. It's running pretty well, a little rougher than usual, but not bad at all. From the brake run, I saw Adam and Bill standing in front of Happy Days, so after getting off I walked over there.
Shortly after, Ryan, Ronny and Jeff show up, so after we talk for a while, me, Adam and Jeff take a ride on Vortex, them in 7.1 and me in 6.2. Had a great ride, I got ejector all the way down the first seat, I mean seriously, butt off the seat, legs up all the way down. Serious hangtime on the corkscrews.
After Vortex we head over to Happy Days to get some lunch. They get the burger meal things, and I just get a chocolate shake. We talk and have lunch, then Adam goes to work while me and Jeff head over to Nick Universe so I can ride Avatar.
We get there and entire the line for Avatar. It's about half an hour, so we wait it out. Just about exactly 30 minutes later, we board the end row on the end toward the service gate.
Avatar is seriously a great ride. I had pretty low expectations for it, but it's very fast and fun. We got off, and walked through Rivertown and into Coney Mall to ride the "new" Hanna-Barbera movie in the action theater.
We walked down the entrance and then stopped and cussed, because it was closed. So we walked back out, paused in front of Flight of Fear and looked over toward Action Zone, and headed over there, where after observing SlingShot begging for riders, and Delirium testing in the newly started rain sprinkles, we headed for Top Gun.
After getting a near walk-on for the back seat on Top Gun, we took a ride. It's running a little rough, but not that bad. After Top Gun, Jeff had to go, so I walked with him to the front gate and then returned to Action Zone, taking a bathroom break before checking the lines for Face/Off and Drop Zone. Face/Off was down with the queue emptied, and Drop Zone was a 2-3 cycle wait, and it felt like rain again, so I skipped.
Walking back over toward Delirium to head for Adventure Express, I saw a line forming outside the Delirium entrance. There were only about 40 people there, so I quickly jumped in line. A few minutes and two test cycles later, Maintenance walks out of the ride area, and they open the gates to let us in. Fortunetely we get to the loading area fast, because I had two rude smokers in front of me.
I managed to snag seat #46 on the very first Delirium cycle of the season! And it's running EXTREMELY well, no more of the jerking it was doing after it reopened last fall. It's finally back to its old, awesome self. Best non-coaster ride in the park.
At Delirium, I ran into Adam and Karen who had also just taken the first cycle of the season. So I followed them over to Top Gun, where we rode in 7.1 and had another good ride, and we took a look at the ripped up lower sections of the Son of Beast track, which has a crane parked near the base of the lift hill, and several sections protected by plastic covers.
Adam had to go home, so we went to the front gate, and then I went with Karen into Nickelodeon Universe, where we watched Avatar, and then chatted with Ryan and Bill again at the broken-down Phantom Flyers, before we moved on to Beast, where we got in line.
Beast's line was in the station, so we got into line for 1.2, where we boarded a few minutes later, and noticed a few things:
1. Beast has received all new PTC lap bars, including new locking mechanisms. They are actually adjusted properly, and have stiff return springs.
2. Beast has also received all new seats, with the padding replaced on the entire thing.
Here is the BAD NEWS. Before, the sides, back, and seat dividers were that awful molded foam crap, and the butt cushion was still padding. Well now the ENTIRE THING including the butt cushion has gotten the molded foam treatment. I hate that crap, and while it's not TERRIBLE, you can tell a difference in the seats. I didn't get a chance to ride Racer today, so I'm not sure if it's gotten the same treatment or not. I'll check on that next weekend.
It's 12:46 AM on Sunday now, so I'll return to this TR tomorrow!
9:28 PM Sunday... I'm back!
Anyway, Beast is running well. There is new track scattered around the course, most notably in the helix, where a great deal of the upper level has been retracked, almost eliminating the jackhammering. Also, they have physically REMOVED all but one tiny trim caliper on the drop off the second lift hill, so the speed is increased. It's an overall improvement.
After getting off Beast, we head to Flight of Fear, where we find a short wait with no inside switchbacks open, and the preshow TV's stuck on blue. The program is running, with the TVs displaying the security camera and the lighting changing, yet the preshow video is just a blue screen. We make our way quickly through the line and into the station, where we chat with a couple Carowinds people before boarding.
Flight of Fear has received new seats, which are orange instead of the old dark gray-black. Bad: The foot bars have been tightened again, and the Carowinds people said it's still suffering from uneven-belt-itis.
Flight of Fear is running well, although one bank of service lights had been left on, and the midcourse brake was on pretty hard, as usual. Running well though, and we got off and walked over to the Skeeball Arcade, checking our phones.
My phone rang, and my mom said storms were coming QUICK and to hurry back to the parking lot to try to beat the storm, so instead of finishing up on Vortex, I walked with Karen back up to the front of the park and out to the parking lot, where my mom picked me up, and we left the park fifteen to twenty minutes before closing at 8.
Unfortunately, we didn't beat the storm, We drove through insane lightning, and when we got to Waynesville, we had to pull into town and take shelter from the hailstorm in the nursing home lobby, where we watched the local news station's weather coverage, and after half an hour there, continued home in driving rain, finally making it home at about 9:30.
Overall, it was an iffy day. The park is definitely not in optimal condition, although Nick Universe came together very well at the last minute. Coney Mall is showing its age pretty badly, hopefully the rumors of a 2007 total makeover for it are true!
I'll chalk a lot of it up to Opening Day Jitters, and the fact that no dry run day, plus short offseason due to WinterFest and Nickelodeon Universe construction. With Paramount Parks for sale, it will be interesting to see how this season shapes up...
-Donald, Owner/Webmaster, KIExtreme.com - The In-Depth Guide to Kings Island
i barely missed the storm, the house i was stayin at was 30 min away so i was safe but next time i head out to ohio what are rides to hit and not to hit *** Edited 4/19/2006 5:23:30 AM UTC by BlakestaDaGangsta***
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