Kings Dominion TR (long)
Well, I woke up in the morning and my ankle was already hurting so that wasn’t a good start to the day. Took some anti-inflammatories and put some painkillers in my bag if needed for later and we left for KD. Adrienne took a meclizine before we even left after her motion sickness yesterday. We stopped and had a good breakfast as well.
Arrived at KD at approximately 9:50 am and literally got one of the parking spots in the very front. When we got in we went to Dominator and took a ride on the front row. I really liked it and Adrienne didn’t feel sick! She declined a re-ride because she didn’t want to overdo it so I went on again for a ride in the back row. I only had to wait one train. It was great! I always like the back on the floorless coasters better than the front.
We went down to the rope and they dropped it a little early so we went directly to Volcano. It was only filling one train but running 2, which I fail to understand because there was a good line already forming. We waited for the front row about 2 cycles and then boarded. I LOVED IT!!! What a GREAT ride! SO unique! I have never been on a full circuit inverted launch before (are there any others?) and I absolutely thought it was awesome. Adrienne did too and not only didn’t she feel sick, she loved it as well. I wanted to go right back on but there was a substantial line already there and they were only utilizing one train so we moved on.
Backlot Stunt Coaster was a walk-on so we went there next. The one at KI is better and has more of the effects working (at least it did when I was there last year). Adrienne didn’t like it at all.
I then wanted to see what all this hype about I 305 was about so I headed over there. I wasn’t letting Adrienne on that one so I went solo. They were only running one train but there wasn’t much of a line. I waited for the back row (only one cycle). Holy speed batman! That coaster is so fast you don’t even have time to get a “wee” in the belly (which I found a bit disappointing) but wow. Loved the restraints as well – I couldn’t imagine it with hard restraints – that would hurt. Trims after the first hill would kill that entire ride so now I see what everyone was so upset about. Excellent ride.
I went on FOF solo as well. I rode it several times at KI but I couldn’t remember if there were inversions or not so I went first. I forgot it didn’t open until noon but luckily I only waited 5 minutes and they opened it early at 11:45 am. Took the last row and it was a good ride. I thought it was smoother than I remember it at KI but I could be wrong. Too much light inside though. Why would you put flood lights inside an “in the dark” coaster? Stupid.
When we came in it had Anaconda listed as down but when I got out of FOF I saw them running trains so I went on. It was a walk on. OUCH! Hands down the worst Arrow looper I’ve been on in terms of pain and banging. I was really trying to appreciate that there were not many of them left, but I just couldn't appreciate this one for anything. There were 2 girls in front of me that were about 8 years old screaming "this is so freaking awesome!" the entire ride. I thought perhaps they had banged their heads too hard, LOL! Not a fan of Anaconda!
It was getting really hot and they kept announcing over the speakers about the heat advisory and to take breaks and go inside, etc. We headed to Rebel Yell, which was at one time (when I was 8 years old) my favorite roller coaster. It was a walk on (only running the blue side). Took a front seat and I loved it! It ran GREAT! Was super-fast and smooth for a 35 year old woodie. Maybe it was a bit of nostalgia but I thought it was the best woodie in the park. SFGAdv should hire them to refurbish Rolling Thunder! (but I am all for Mike's idea to demolish it for my very own Dive machine!)
I then went on the Drop Tower and I was a bit disappointed. The one at KI blows that one away. I didn’t like how they let you know when you’re going to drop – the anticipation is one of the great aspects of those rides and the one at KI spins so you can see the park and you have no idea when you're going to drop. Don’t get me wrong, I still loved it. Drop me from that height anywhere and I’m happy, I just expected more with it having the longest drop and all and have heard a lot of hype about it.
Adrienne got a sandwich at Subway and I got a shake at the diner place. It was too hot to eat for me but I needed something. I wanted to go on Hurler since we were right there but I couldn’t figure out where the entrance was! Found the exit with no problem but it took a bit of searching to find the entrance. Had that problem a few times there. They need better signage or a spot on the map for entrances. I thought from the looks of it I wouldn’t like Hurler much but I was wrong. I actually enjoyed it. Although there were a few banked turns (which I don’t care for on the woodies) it had a decent enough first drop and some speed. A little rough in spots but not terrible. Still thought Rebel Yell was better but I am partial to racing woodies.
My ankle was getting pretty bad by now (pain killers and all) so I wanted to try and hit all the coasters I wanted to go on before I became incapacitated. I went to find Grizzly but again, couldn’t find the damn entrance! Once again, finally found the exit but I had to ask an employee where to get on. It was very hidden. I took the recommended seat, 2nd from the last and OUCH! That ride was completely out of control! I was thrown like a rag-doll in every direction possible! It reminded me a little of The Beast, the way it was hidden from view and the out of control nature (Beast’s 2nd half) but I actually like the Beast. Can’t say the same for Grizzly. Almost wish I never found the entrance!
We were sweltering so we went on the log flume since we were right there. It was a very nice and relaxing ride with only a 5 minute wait. The entire course is in the shade which was also a bonus. Of course when you want to get wet, you don’t. Just a few sprinkles which was a tease.
So I did it – I agreed to go on the rapids ride. I HATE getting soaked but I was so hot and uncomfortable I couldn’t take it so on we went. I have to say that was a really great rapids ride! Very long and fun. We got drenched (as you always do on those rides) and I although I was a little uncomfortable walking around in wet clothes, it was nothing compared to walking around in dry ones!
We went up the Eiffel Tower for some pics and the breeze up there was great to dry my pants off a little. Adrienne just got back from Paris so she had a few comments about how it looks nothing like the real one. I told her not to judge and it was the poor man’s Eiffel Tower! ;~)
Some Eiffel Tower pics:
We then went on Shockwave. Adrienne actually went on it many years ago when she was on a school trip and remembers liking it. We got on the front row (walk on) and what a strange restraint system! That was a real PIA for the ride ops. Since we were in the front I was able to brace my left foot against the front so I could dangle my right to get my weight off of it. It was a decent ride for a stand up but at one point it jostled me pretty hard and killed my right armpit! I have bruises to prove it.
After that I wanted to ride I 305 again in the front. The line was the same as before and I only had to wait 3 cycles to ride (still only running one train). I liked the front much better, believe it or not. The speed that ride maintains throughout is ridiculous! I also noticed that after only riding it once before I was able to navigate it pretty well to avoid any banging around - you have to ride it like riding a motorcycle - if you lean into the turns it works nicely!
We walked over by Volcano and Avalanche but there was an impending storm so they stopped all the coasters. I was lucky enough to see someone in management by Avalanche and asked how bad the storm was. He said it didn’t look terrible and was moving fast so he didn’t anticipate the rides being down that long. Now, do I believe him or not? I wanted to but my past history at parks with bad information made me skeptical. Everyone came off line for Volcano (the line was pretty long) so we decided to wait it out a little and see if we could get another ride in. The storm came and went and the rides re-opened about 30 minutes after they closed, which was not bad at all. We ran with everyone else to Volcano and took a middle seat. Yep, still loved it. Got off and we went right back on but this time I waited for the back. AWESOME! Adrienne said afterward she thought she felt the twists more than before and I explained that’s why us coaster lovers love back rows so much! What a truly great ride.
I went on Avalanche next and I thought it was weird. A little rough and I didn’t like how you could feel things shifting under your feet. Didn’t like it but I’m glad I rode it. It is definitely unique but I liked the bobsled at SFGAdv (now at Lake George I believe) much better.
I couldn’t let my day end like that so I went back to the Drop Tower for one last thrill. And naturally, it was down. Adrienne wanted to get a henna tattoo so that gave me some time and it was up and running after a bit. There was a part of me thinking “they only tested it one time and there is a mechanic-looking guy watching it and I should wait a ride or two” but my need for “wee” got the best of me and I boarded. The ride was fine and it was a fitting way to end the day.
We had a great time at KD. Volcano was my favorite out of all the rides there, hands down. The employees were so incredibly nice and helpful and the park seemed well maintained. If it wasn’t for the obscure entrances to some rides, my painful ankle and the 100 degree weather it would have been perfect. There was virtually no waits except for Volcano and the longest we waited was 15 minutes the last time we rode. I did beg Adrienne several times to take me back to Busch Gardens to ride Griffon one last time but she said I’d have to take the bus ;~).
The thing that concerns me is that both parks were very empty. It was the same way on Tomes's TR too. While that's great for us riders I worry that people aren't going to the parks as much and we all know what that means. Hopefully we just hit them right and things will pick up.
We did survive and arrived back in NJ last night. And since my ankle is still quite painful and I still can’t walk very well I had the time to write these trip reports while elevating and icing my poor foot!
Thanks to everyone who helped me plan my day at both parks. Your tips were incredibly helpful and our days went much smoother because of them so again, thank you from the bottom of my heart! You guys on here rock! 8-)
* This Post Has Been Modified *
Love the tr! Brings back my happy memories from my trip there last year. Nice pics!
I am not too thrilled about the all green paint for shockwave.
I think Volcano has company in terms of launching inverts [the cylon coaster at Universal Singapore], but I think volcano is still the only one with two sets of lims.
I would so love to ride I305 with those more comfy restraints.
Grizzly should be 'easy' to find if you can find the go kart area. But agreed that it is pretty hard to find for the first timer.
Flumes, heh, I hate getting wet and would always sit in the back row if at all possible. That's how i keep from getting totally soaked. Even riding solo, only at most the lower part of my jeans gets soaked around the ankles.
* This Post Has Been Modified *
> Arrived at KD at approximately 9:50 am and literally got
> one of the parking spots in the very front. When we got in
> we went to Dominator and took a ride on the front row. I
> really liked it and Adrienne didn’t feel sick! She
> declined a re-ride because she didn’t want to overdo it
> so I went on again for a ride in the back row. I only had
> to wait one train. It was great! I always like the back on
> the floorless coasters better than the front.
Back is the only way to go with B&M. Love the pop of air off the lightly used block brake, too. Dominator, despite being an awesome fit for KD rarely has lines beyond what you saw. Seems odd, but the fact that it is so isolated from the other more popular rides in the park seems to make sense.
> We went down to the rope and they dropped it a little early
> so we went directly to Volcano. It was only filling one
> train but running 2, which I fail to understand because
> there was a good line already forming. We waited for the
> front row about 2 cycles and then boarded. I LOVED IT!!!
> What a GREAT ride! SO unique! I have never been on a full
> circuit inverted launch before (are there any others?) and
> I absolutely thought it was awesome. Adrienne did too and
> not only didn’t she feel sick, she loved it as well. I
> wanted to go right back on but there was a substantial line
> already there and they were only utilizing one train so we
> moved on.
Interesting, when I went early, they were only loading the front 6 rows to prevent roll backs. Not sure for the "SFA-style" run- one-load-one strategy. Not normally KD's style.
> Backlot Stunt Coaster was a walk-on so we went there next.
> The one at KI is better and has more of the effects working
> (at least it did when I was there last year). Adrienne
> didn’t like it at all.
I was surprised that the chopper was fully operational on my last visit (it didn't work hardly at all last year. The water effects have either been turned off or abandoned completely.
> I then wanted to see what all this hype about I 305 was
> about so I headed over there. I wasn’t letting Adrienne
> on that one so I went solo. They were only running one
> train but there wasn’t much of a line. I waited for the
> back row (only one cycle). Holy speed batman! That coaster
> is so fast you don’t even have time to get a “wee” in
> the belly (which I found a bit disappointing) but wow.
> Loved the restraints as well – I couldn’t imagine it
> with hard restraints – that would hurt. Trims after the
> first hill would kill that entire ride so now I see what
> everyone was so upset about. Excellent ride.
I-305's speed seems unreal. It is amazing how it approaches those twisty turns and does not let up AT ALL.
> I went on FOF solo as well. I rode it several times at KI
> but I couldn’t remember if there were inversions or not
> so I went first. I forgot it didn’t open until noon but
> luckily I only waited 5 minutes and they opened it early at
> 11:45 am. Took the last row and it was a good ride. I
> thought it was smoother