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KD Opening Day TR 4/6

alpengeistno3

Posted:
4/7/12 at
1:22:07 AM

Hey everyone. Just got back from KD's opening. For the first time in a long time, the park decided to open on a Friday. "Good" Friday, to be exact. I thought, "it won't be that crowded, it's April." and decided to show up around 12:00. Parking wasn't too bad, with plenty of space in the ends of the rows, but we opted to park in the season pass parking right next to the walkway. The front gate, on the other hand, was pretty mobbed at that point.

Having my pass processed, I went right in and headed to check out Dominator. To say the line was packed is a HUGE understatement. I couldn't tell if the queue was completely full, but it was spilling about 50-100 people into the midway area with 2 trains running. It's still relatively early in the day when Dominator can still draw a crowd (I would find out later, that the ride still drew a full queue line in the mid afternoon when it is normally empty.) No Dominator warm-up :(

We went on to the Congo area. Avalanche, full queue. Volcano, full upper queue coming almost to the entrance. FOF was just barely starting to fill the outside queue, but not knowing what was inside, we decided not to chance it. Intimidator had a full queue with only 1 train operational (the 2nd was added later). Even Anaconda had a full queue all the way to the entrance. Italian Job was down all day. Reason: unknown, but there didn't appear to be any work going on.

So, with the lines we have seen so far, it looks like it is going to be a long day. My friend and I head over to the Grove hoping for better luck there. Shockwave had a full station leading on to part of the ramp. Ricochet had a completely full queue. Even Hurler had a line extending under the ride structure. Surprisingly, Rebel Yell, with just 2 trains running on the South side track was only a 2 train wait for the back car. Nothing new to report with the ride. Rebel Yell is the same Rebel Yell.

We decided to take our chances with Grizzly. Also surprising, only a 2 train wait with 2 trains running. More trees have been chopped for the addition of Dinosaurs Alive, but other than the final T-Rex being visible from the lift and the huge brontosaurus-like creature being visible from the turnaround, it doesn't really impact the wooded surroundings of Grizzly as much as the clear cutting of all the trees from the ride's infield last year. Griz was very washboardy after the fan turn. I though they had worked on that part last year. If so, it needs more work already. Otherwise, Griz is the same as it has been (and to me, that is a good thing).

We decided that our view of Dinosaurs Alive from Griz made it evident that it was not worth the $5 to see the rest (my friend was really gung-ho to burn the cash until she saw how lackluster it appeared). I forgot to mention, the entrance and Grizzly Bear statue have been moved. You actually enter through the arcade/dinosaur store and bear left for Grizzly through to the old ramp up to the station or right around the 1st turn to the Dinosaurs. This also caused them to reroute the exit to Grizzly. After walking the ramp, you exit right next to the station, directly under the beginning of the turn instead of the middle. A new set of 3 steps have been added to the end of the ramp, so they have built a wheelchair lift for disabled vehicle entry. I didn't hang around long enough to see why they had to rebuild the ramp portion of the exit, but the lift is there now.

After Griz, we went to check out Windseeker and got our 1st introduction to KD's new Fast Pass program. There is a separate entrance for Fast Pass users. Once you reach the boarding station (the line did extend into the midway under the Skyflyer today, about a 30 minute wait), the line separates. Half of the ride (seats 17-32) is dedicated to the regular line. The other half (seats 1-16) is used for fast pass and topped off from the regular queue if not enough riders are available. It was still early (around 2:00), so I don't feel like the ride was as mobbed by fast passes as other rides (no more than 1 or 2 families/groups at a time). The cycle seemed short, so the line moved very quickly. As for the ride, the actual ride was nothing special. The view is almost exactly the same as you get from Drop Zone (it was nice seeing Grizzly and Hurlers full layout under your feet, but that was the only novelty.) They do play different music each cycle. We hear ET, Star Trek, Harry Potter, 2001 (which was terrible because they just looped the most famous part with no real conclusion. Sort of like Ric Flair's entrance music if he takes a long time to get to the ring.) I didn't hear any repeats while we stood in line, so it seems soundtrack lovers can have a fun time picking out all the themes they use each time they ride. It's a nice addition for the park, but not worth any more than a 15 minute wait (I only waited 30 today because the park was so mobbed and it was very windy up there with chilling temps later in the 50's, so waiting until later was not really an option without warmer clothes.)

We went to Hurler, which interestingly, had the longest line of all 3 woodies. (normally, it has been a walk-on ever since the year after it opened in '94.) Took around 30 mins to board. The brake is still on after the 1st drop, sucking the life out of any airtime that used to be had on the bunny hops. The shuffling around the turns is still evident (the 2nd over by Grizzly was really bad with some added washboarding.) The ride is just a mess and I would love to get my 30 mins back to use on pretty much any of the other rides I missed.

We decided to get one more ride on Rebel Yell, but the line had doubled. Grizzly, had gotten even shorter, but my friend is not a fan of wooden coasters "with teeth", so 1 ride was all I could get her to commit to. We started to head back to the front of the park. Spongebob has finally been evicted from the Action Theater. There is a new 3d Dino flick coming soon, so it wasn't open today. Hopefully it is not that terrible one that Gradv had that looked on par with the ill-fated King Arthur's Challenge at Busch. (both, I believe, only lasted 1 season. They were THAT BAD!!)

I went up in the Eiffel Tower to take some pics for my new laptop's wall paper. We decided to give Dominator and Congo another try.

Dominator's line was better, but still half of the switchbacks were full. I did not get to see how Fast Pass was implemented there since we did not ride, but I suspect they are being sent up the emergency stairs behind the station and merging with the line in the station. Maybe I will check it out tomorrow as we never made it back.

Volcano was down, so we decided to wait it out for 20-30 mins before the ops came and said that it could be several hours. I didn't believe him because they were constantly cycling trains and only left when it became evident that they were not looking for anything "specific" wrong with the ride, just cycling trains. The board op was not maintenance, so I get the feeing they just said "cycle trains until we get back". Possibly because the weather had cooled some. We went and continued to look around the Congo, seeing that Volcano's downtime had only increased all the other lines. We settled on a full Intimidator queue with 2 train operation before finally seeing legs dangling from Volcano. By the time we got there, the line had already filled to the old Smurf Mountain queue area (without switchbacks). A 45 minute queue, at most, right? WRONG!!! Once the fast pass users descended on the ride, there were now 2 queue lines; one leading into the tunnel just outside the gift shop for the fast pass users, the other above for the unwashed masses. Both were sticking outside of the mountain structure and not moving, but it doesn't take a nuclear physicist to figure out which was the shorter line. So KD, now has a problem. 2 massive lines for their major coaster with the least capacity (did I mention that the last 2 rows were roped off due to the cold weather? Oops, forgot that part, so EVEN LESS CAPACITY!!) What do they do? Load 1 train with fast pass riders and the other train with the regular queue line. 50% on a ride that has a max capacity of around 900 per hour to begin with!!! OMFnG!!! That 45 minute queue turned in a 1 hr 10 minute hate fest of everyone grumbling about how fast pass sucks!! (Yes, people in the regular queue were raining down insults on the waiting Fast Pass users below them by the time I got off!) For those of you who rode Volcano the summer of '98 when it first opened with only 8 seats per train, the line moved at that exact same pace. 15 minutes, we had only moved to where the security chair is positioned. 30 minutes, the mouth of the cave; 45 minutes, the top the ramp, etc. And this was after a shutdown. What will happen on a 30-40K attendance day in July? If KD is going to continue to offer Fast Pass on Volcano, they better come up with something new soon because I doubt even those Fast Passers who had to wait 20-30 minutes listening to kids yell at them from above went away "whistling Dixie" about how great Fast Pass is after their Volcano experience.

After the Volcano debacle, we had dinner in the old Tomb Raider Grill (now the Trails End Grill, formerly the Hungry Hippo). I wanted to see if Oismant's claim of increasing food quality could come to KD in what could be regarded as one of the worst restaurants in the park. In years past, the window would be full of aluminum laced bags with hamburgers of varying degrees of freshness waiting to be handed to the cafeteria style line workers.

Today, the burgers were somewhat assembled fresh in plastic containers (no more than 5 at a time in the display.) The fries were not plated until you order them, so they were somewhat warm (the gentleman serving did mix some hot fries with some that were already there, so I got some bone cold fries mixed with my fresh ones.) Oismant claimed to want to switch from frozen to fresh meat. As a former frequent visitor to Fuddruckers and Five Guys, I don't think they have made that move yet, but the burgers were better tasting than the dried up, shriveled up rocks they used to serve. Overall, I rate it a C+ (a vast improvement from the F- I used to give the place). Hopefully, as the season goes on, more changes will come to the food service and KD can actually be a place to look forward to eating in like BGE.

We ended our night with a ride on Anaconda (still had a 15 minute line that did not start to be contained in the station until 7:30) and Intimidator (why buy fast pass, when you can just go in the fast pass entrance and cut over into the regular line once you get near the station. No one is stopping you!! (I was about to explode after the 15th or so person did that!).

Overall, a busy opening day at KD, but everything except Italian Job and Drop Zone (high winds are a no go with that one, as usual) ran pretty smoothly. I see Fast pass is going to be an annoyance for us season pass holders that is probably going require some new strategies to conquer (Mike G, you paying attention!! This is going to really screw with our Saturday trip if the weather is nice :( I plan to make the Wave tomorrow with ACE and see if I can come up with a new plan of attack to get the rides that I missed Friday. If there is anything new I discover, I'll let you guys know about it on Sunday.

Thanks for reading,
Paul

Re: KD Opening Day TR 4/6 by beastmaster beastmaster Profile at 4/7/12 5:35:29 AM
Good to hear Windseeker opened. Although your opinion echoes most I'e read, I'm looking forward to trying it.

I'll put myself in your capable hands if we go on the 22nd as planned, but I may be at sea the day before when I'm with Deb and Zach.

Thanks for the report, Paul.

Mike

Re: KD Opening Day TR 4/6 by frontrow frontrow Profile at 4/7/12 12:09:26 PM
Great TR Paul. How is Intimadator running?
Re: KD Opening Day TR 4/6 by Cyclone_Phil Cyclone_Phil Profile at 4/7/12 5:22:52 PM
Nice tr. I was wondering about that Dinosaurs attraction, do the dinos do anything [growl, move their heads]? I guess it's probably best to skip it then.
Re: KD Opening Day TR 4/6 by alpengeistno3 at 4/7/12 8:31:44 PM
frontrow said:

Great TR Paul. How is Intimadator running?

Wow, after all of that, I didn't say anything about Intimidator? VERY well. We didn't get to ride until the end of the night, but all of the forces were there, the third hill brake seemed even less intrusive, and all the other airtime hills delivered on point.

You will not be disappointed!

Paul

Re: KD Opening Day TR 4/6 by alpengeistno3 at 4/7/12 8:34:47 PM
beastmaster said:

Good to hear Windseeker opened. Although your opinion echoes most I'e read, I'm looking forward to trying it.


I'll put myself in your capable hands if we go on the 22nd as planned, but I may be at sea the day before when I'm with Deb and Zach.

Thanks for the report, Paul.

Mike

Hopefully, with it being a school day, it won't be as bad as this weekend has been. I still think that fast lane is only an issue if the park is crowded because KD has "sold its soul" and will not stop selling those things as long as people are waving around their $50.

Paul

Re: KD Opening Day TR 4/6 by alpengeistno3 at 4/7/12 8:39:16 PM
Cyclone_Phil said:

Nice tr. I was wondering about that Dinosaurs attraction, do the dinos do anything [growl, move their heads]? I guess it's probably best to skip it then.

I did not observe any of them long enough to be sure. Just while going up Grizzly's lift and around the slow high turn. It appears that certain actions are triggered when a person is in the area. I can't tell whether it is a sensor or a timer, but the actions are limited to one or two motions (to prevent excessive wear and tear, I am sure.)

Paul

Re: KD Opening Day TR 4/6 by Cyclone_Phil Cyclone_Phil Profile at 4/7/12 9:57:39 PM
Hem, I see. I guess since I'll be there for a few days during my week in Virginia, I might go once just to check it out. If it is at least something like what IOA's Jurassic Park island had (triceratops walk thru), then maybe it won't be a total waste.