Volcanomania Trip, Part 1

Associated parks:
None

Thursday, April 8, 2004 7:59 PM
Paramount's Kings Dominion
Volcanomania
April 3, 2004

Weather:
Rain early, then sun, high in the mid 50's
Coasters Ridden: 11
New to me: None

This is part one of a three part trip report. I will be going over highlights of the trip, as well as my view of the rides and the park, but I won't be doing a blow by blow report here.

I had decided to do a little tour of parks to kick off the new season, and invited my sister Rachel to come along. She had just gotten back from deployment overseas, and I thought this would be a nice way for her to get away for a weekend. Our first stop was Paramount's Kings Dominion outside of Richmond, Virginia for Volcanomania, an event being heard at the park by the Coaster Zombies club. We drove down the night before and were at the park bright and early for the event.

The event was great. It was kicked off with an ERT on the new Scooby Doo's Haunted Mansion interactive dark ride. The ride is a nice addition to the park, giving it a really fun family oriented ride. It has a nice layout and a really cool queue line, with all sorts of animated gimmicks going on to entertain those waiting in line. We rode it three times during the day, with my sister managing a high score of 1560, while I scored a pretty good 1630. It would be cool if they had a tally board to show the day's high score at the exit.

Once the park opened we started to wander about. We ran into Jane (Roller Coaster Talk Yahoo Group) and her family near Scooby Doo. She is a sweetheart, and was already having a good time taking pictures of her kids in the Mystery Machine mock up they hade there. We talked a bit, and then headed over to Flight of Fear. Her son will not ride anything big yet, but since Flight of Fear is indoors, he doesn't really know how big it is or isn't. We get in the station, and they are still running tests. After a minute or so they announce that there will be a delay of an undetermined amount of time, so Rachel and I decided to come back later. I never did get a ride. After lunch we tried again, and it was running, but I am a bit big, and was having trouble getting in. Once in, I was uncomfortable, and decided not to ride. No biggie, my sister rode and had a great time on it, but it is time for me to get back on a diet.

My first coaster of the season ended up being the Scooby Doo Ghoster Coaster. We went to meet a friend of mine, Joe (posts as nightride on Coasters2K) and his father Bill, so we decided to go hit the little wooden coaster. New this year is a nice, bright blue paint job, and seatbelts. They are retractable and there is one for each rider. Further, all of the wooden coasters received seatbelt in the offseason. They slowed operations a bit, but did not effect the ride itself, which was surprisingly good. The ride was running well and in the last seat offered up some good airtime.

Next up was Hypersonic XLC. The wait might have been 15 minutes, for the front none the less, if that. That was the most we waited for anything all day. The launch, awesome, the top of the hill, awesome, but the ride as a whole did not seem to be running too well. It was really rough, and it could be due to the yet again changed seats. They just did not seem that comfortable.

A run down of the rest of the park.

Hurler was OK. There was some nice airtime on the first set of hills, but the rest of the ride was pretty lackluster. Rebel Yell was fun. The ride got some major retracking, which was evident by all the new, unpainted wood, and it was giving a good ride, particularly going backwards.

Ricochet was running really well, with very little braking. Avalanche was also running well, fast and fun. I really like the ride, in fact, it is too bad there are not more of these around. Anaconda, well it is an Arrow, need I really say more? And I just don't really care for Shockwave.

Now Grizzly, oh boy. We waited until the sun went down to ride Grizzly, and were not disappointed. The tunnel took Rachel completely by surprise, and she loved it. We got several re-rides on it before heading for the Volcano ERT.

Before I get to the Volcano ERT, I've got to mention the rest of the park. All the rides seemed to be up and running. Drop Zone is one of the best drop rides out there. It is so cool how you can be all the way at the top and not even hear the park below you. Also, I actually got some small snaps out of the flying skooters (Flying Eagles I think) they have there, and I saw one guy really pounding on them. I think we narrowed it down to the cables being just a bit shorter, the ride looks shorter then that at Knoebels or PKI.

The park was very clean, and looked really good. There are new trash cans everywhere, you can't walk five feet without running into one. The bathrooms were impeccable as well. The employees were top notch as well, all were polite, friendly, and very helpful. The park has done some really great work, and provided one of my best park experiences in a long time.

Also, lunch was fantastic. Hotdogs, hamburgers, chicken, and ribs were all offered. All of the food was great, tasty and well prepared. They also gave everyone at the event a Hypersonic t-shirt, which was a total surprise, and gave away some really nice prizes for the drawing. Major kudos to PKD for the support of the event, as well as Sam Marks for setting it up.

Finally, The Volcano ERT, one word, awesome. they did a great job, Volcano was running great, and is so much fun in the dark. The crew was fantastic, and we were loading and unloading so fast that they actually had to end it early because the ride was overheating. That was OK though, as it was a long day and I still had a long drive ahead of me.

Photos can be found here:

http://www.penncoasters.com/tripreports/PKD/040304/040304.htm

*** Edited 4/9/2004 12:06:15 AM UTC by Black 7***

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Friday, April 9, 2004 7:40 AM
look for this to be an annual event, the park wants to have us back, and after nice reports like this, i know why.

SAM

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Friday, April 9, 2004 9:43 AM
That's good news, Sam. I couldn't make it this year, but would look forward to it if it does happen again.
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Friday, April 9, 2004 9:59 AM
Those are some nice pics, Black 7. Good TR, as well. I was also there Saturday, but I didn't attend VolcanoMania. Rather, I was there with a couple friends and my two older brothers for my bachelor party (getting married May 1st). :) Volcano was running extremely well--still the best ride there (Grizzly being a close second). I'm not sure I understand you about Hypersonic, though. Rough? The only unpleasant part of that ride is when it slams into the brakes. I can't even fathom it being rough otherwise.

What a phenomenal day to go to PKD. The crowds and lines were non-existant! While I'm sure the ERT on Volcano was awesome, I didn't feel like I needed it since it was practially a walk-on all day. In the 26 years I've been going to PKD, I have never seen it so empty!

Scooby Doo Ghoster Coaster was my last coaster of the night, all by design. I wanted it to be the first and last coaster I rode as a single person. Success! :)

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Friday, April 9, 2004 10:27 AM
Glad to see that you had a great time at Volcano Mania. We attended as well and had a great time due to the the great weather later in the day and the pretty much non-existant lines. We even almost got a front seat roll back on Volcano during the morning, when it was cold and rainy. The Hypersonic shirts they threw in were a nice bonus. Thanks Sam and PKD! I have to agree with you on Hypersonic though. We rode it in the front as well and thought that it delivered a pretty rough ride. Now we had only previously rode it in the back, so I don't know if it was due to the heavier forces in the front or the new seats. All of the other front seat riders that we talked to that got off the ride after us thought that it was rough as well.
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Friday, April 9, 2004 11:17 AM
Gatta love the work they did with Scooby Doo and the Haunted Mansion. The outside themeing on thta ride is easily on par with Disney level. It just looks absolutely fantastic! PKD is taking a turn for the better, though I can't remember a time that they ever took a turn for the worse, just more-or-less stayed neutral, and I hope this trend of building highly themed rides continues at PKD. Not to mention they have a great staff that provides, what sounds to be, amazing ERT. Congrats to PKD for the great work this year!
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