Trip Report: Paramount's Kings Island
Kings Mills, OH
Sunday August 11, 2002
"My least favorite planet is Saturn"
It's the day after the excellent Screech Fest at LeSourdsville, and I was hosting Jerry Dorf who figured he had a few hours until he had to present himself to airport security. Jerry was also in posession of a complimentary ticket to PKI. Therefore at 8:45 we left Coasterville and headed up to PKI.
We arrived at the park around 9:15 and there I verified that the obnoxious $8 parking fee has been replaced by an absolutely insane $9 parking fee. For those keeping score Preffered Parking also suffered a $1 increase to $11. Luckily we used my parking pass and soon found ourselved in the parking lot.
We headed up to the front gate where some promotional material about Scooby Doo and the Haunted Castle has been posted, and were informed that Phantom Theater would not be operating. What a, uhm, surprise.
We met at the former site of the ACE brick where I was informed that the ACE brick has been moved down International Street just slightly. Actually it's a very attractive setting in the middle of a cluster of flags, right in front of the American Flag, flanked by the flags of the State of Ohio and PKI. There we met up with the assembling masses of coaster enthusiasts and awaited our escort for the walkback.
The walkback was a choice of one of two rides, Tomb Raider or Beast. Since the rides are next to each other the group was able to split up. Knowing that we were on a tight time schedule and the low capacity of Tomb Raider we opted for the Tomb Raider walkback. As such we were placed inside the tomb in the dark crypt before the "monkey room"
Right at 10 we were admitted to the Monkey Room where we realized there were less than 10 of us, we scattered into preffered rows, where Jerry and I were the only ones that opted for the first row. You know the drill from there, the lights dim, the light patern shines on the door and slowly rotates until it matches the pattern engraved on the door, the big music and artifical fog greeting. We advanced into the pre-show chamber. Again someone forgot to prop that door open, it slid shut. The pre-show movie was screened, we entered the ride chamber.
It appears that most people chose the back row, Jerry and I were the only ones in the front row, and plopped ourselves in two seats just off center, taking the luxury of leaving an empty seat between us. I notice that the plastic loose articles bag with two plastic buckles has been replaced on some seats with a fabric bag with a zipper closure. This looks a lot more secure for your loose articles. Harnesses down, seatbelts fastened, the ride began.
I was pleasantly surpirsed that it appeared that all the effects were working. I was also impressed that it appeared that the gondola was allowed to flip over more often than I remember it doing in the past. Its still not up to carnival Top Spin madness, but it is doing better than it did in pre-season. Then we were held over the lava pit for an extended length of time, and I happened to unknowingly choose the 'water jet right to the center of the face' seaat, and the water jets were on high too. Yep, I came off of tomb Raider damp but not gratuitously wet. Jerry came off of Tomb Raider bone dry, and his impressions of the ride pretty much match up with the concensus.
We exited the Tomb Raider building and went to look at our on-ride photo. Not that I was going to buy it, but it never hurts to look at it. We also noticed the queue area was already nice and packed. Good call on that walkback ride.
We walked over to Beast and had a minimal wait of 3-4 trains. We opted for Seat 16 and were warned by others that the back car had been running excessively rough. It was, jackhammer city, I mean the Beast was faster and more ferocious than I recall it being in quite some time, but it has also developed a very rough personality. We also enjoyed the brakeless first drop, it appears that the 11th was the last day to get a brakeless first drop.
After the Beast, we opted to head to Flight of Fear, but of course to get to Flight of Fear, you have to walk right by the Flying Skooters, which was a total walk on, and the current ride cycle was just winding down. We couldn't resist a quick flight.
Flying Eagles is a patriotic themed Flying Skooters, I do sometimes wish they had kept the "Spirit of '76" name for it, but thats a minor detail. Seconds later we were boarding our Flyers on the wildest Flyer ride outside of Knoebels.
After my snapless rides on LeSourdsville's Flying Skooters, I was anxious to prove my Flyer Ability. Oddly enogh I did the exact same thing I was doing at LeSourdsville and remarkably I had the Flying Eagle snapping even crazier than Knoebels. There was one time I looked at the shoadow of my Eagle and I could see the cable was so slack is wasn't even funny. I immediately dived real sudden like making the LOUDEST "KERCHUNK" I have heard these make in a long time. Loud enough to get that "You did that on purpose, didn't you?" evil stare from the ride operators. Did that stop me, nope I was on a wild snapping spree and just couldn't let this super extreme Flyer ride go. I can't confirm it but I think the operators gave us the evil stare all the way until we were out of sight walking down the midway.
After having a wildly turbulant flight we continued our walk to Flight of Fear. You see I only had until 2pm and I also had to get Jerry on the lapbar only Flight of Fear, Son of Beast, and Rugrat's Runaway Reptar. We entered the Flight of Fear building and were pleased to find a minimal wait for this one too. Flight of Fear has gotten a LOT better now that it only has lapbars. Fast, smooth, intense, just the way a coaster should be.
After Flight of Fear we noticed that the forwards Racer was DDM, and Scott reported that it had been that way for a few days now. We were sticking to our course when we came upon the Slingshot. Slingshot is a new upcharge attraction at PKI. Its one of those Ejection Seat rides but instead of launching using bungee cords, it uses a very complex system of springs and pulleys, in fact it is often dubbed the Spring Shot.
Spring Shot fills in the lawn in front of where King Cobra used to be. We debated whether to do this now or after I got Jerry on those other two rides, Jerry commented about the very short (3 or 4 groups ahead of us) line and we went to inquire about tickets. The ticket seller offered us an 'unadvertised' Gold Pass special. You see Spring Shot is normally $25/person, and the Gold Pass discount is usually $5 off. The ticket seller offered to let BOTH of us ride together for $25. ($12.50 each) That was the deal maker, and soon we were using Scott's big bag to hold loose articles and made our way to the Spring Shot line. We watched a few suscuessful launches and then it was our turn. Our ticket was taken and we were shown to the spherical cage.
We took our seats in the cage when the operator went to fasten my lapbelt. It seems the buckle fell apart into three pieces in his hand. (the plastic part, the metal part, and the strap which had broken totally loose of the buckle). Needless to say there was a delay while maintenance was summoned to replace the seatbelt buckle. We watched time fleet away, suddenly this was not sounding like such a good idea.
Some time later the seatbelt buckle was replaced, some testing took place, and we were again escorted to the seats. On the Spring shot first a lapbelt is fastened about your lap, then a crotch strap comes up and a shoulder bar comes down and the crotch strap wraps aroud the shoulder bar making for a 5 point harness system, the crotch strap buckle buckles to the locking bar of the shoulder bar just out of reach of the rider, and to ensure no fould play, a key release buckle is used. After everthing is secured nice and tight, the operators get out of the way, and the cage is tipped way back like a recliner,in fact you are almost lying down on your back staring up at the sky, just about to comment on how annying the sun is when WHAMO you suddenly start falling UP to the sky. Its a very fast, forcefull and remarkably smooth and quiet launch. It also messes with your sense of direction as you fall up, do a couple flips, then bounce up and down a few times before being brought back down to the launch pad. With downtime and all our Spring Shot experience wound up taking 50 minutes.
We continued on around to the Action Zone. Yikes, The Action Zone is very crowded, we soon found ourselved in a very long Son of Beat line with a few of the switchbacks opened up. After about 15 minutes in the Son of Beast line we realized we should have tried to hit the rides manager at Spring Shot up for some 'exit passes' 50 minutes later we were in seat 14 of Son of Beast. Jerry's review of Son of Beast is that we can keep it. He commented that the loop is the smoothest part of the whole ride which is quite true. Now both sonny and Pappa give you that wonderful PKI Woodie Jackhammer effect.
We exited Son of Beast, stopped by to get a bottle of soda ($2.50) and headed to Reptar. On our way to Reptar we could not help but notice how crowded the park was getting, and how most people had a Saturn goodie bag. Yep, Saturn Appreciation Day. UGGH.
We arrived at Reptar and 40 minutes later we were in seat 2. Reptar is a downright too-cute-to-live family inverted coaster. Its also has a very interesting and fun ride layout.
After riding Reptar we looked at our watches, 1:40, we knew with the crowds there would be no time to get on any other rides, but at least I got Jerry on the rides we intended for him to ride.
Therefore by the time I made my way to the front gate it was going on 2:00, and we headed out to the car.
One thing to mention, since they have loads of money with that insane $9 parking fee, they could work on the parking lot EXIT signs. Right now the one arrow points you right into the fence demarcating the gold pass lot, so logically you turn down the next available lane, where just out of sight you can see the next Exit sign that is lined up perfectly with the exit sign you can no longer follow becuase of the Gold Pass lot.
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