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Ultimate Rollercoaster > Discussion Forums > Roller Coasters, Parks & Attractions > G-Dog's Virginia Diary - Kings Dominion 6-11 & 6-12-12

G-Dog's Virginia Diary - Kings Dominion 6-11 & 6-12-12

Geauga_Dog Geauga_Dog Profile

Posted:
6/21/12 at
9:48:27 PM

**Since URC forums were down at the time I posted this TR at my site until I was able to post it here.

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I was taught a very good lesson on faith. I decided to take a trip down to Kings Dominion and Busch Gardens Williamsburg this year since I had not been to either in nine years. That's quite a long time and something I hope to never have happen again as both parks, especially Busch Gardens, are well worth the long drive. As for the lesson on faith, I had been keeping track of the weather situation for Doswell several days prior to my journey and they were predicting rain and thunderstorms for pretty much the entire length of my visit. I almost cancelled as I didn't want to take the chance of going all the way down there and have a gullywasher ruin all my fun. It turned out that the weather held out, though more clouds than sun, and the temperatures were comfortable the entire time. I am thankful and grateful at the same time.

The original plan was to go to Six Flags America on Monday since I was going to be driving through Washington DC anyway but with the iffy forecast I decided to cancel those plans and head straight to Kings Dominion since it was going to be too early to check into the LaQuinta across the street (YAY, they finally built a few hotels across from the park - about time).

I pulled into the lot a little after 11 AM to find that it didn't look like it was going to be crowded yet there were several busses in the lot. I guess school was not quite out for the summer down Richmond way so I paid my admission and went inside to find a bustling International Street filled with kids. Not having to want to wait in lines with a bunch of kids I went ahead and plunked down my $50 for their Fast Lane system which worked rather well on some rides though eventually I really didn't need it for my visit as the crowds were light to moderate. The park would only be open till 8:00 PM.

G-DOG'S KINGS DOMINION COASTER COUNTDOWN

As what as become a feature to my trip reports that some people tend to enjoy, here's how I rank all twelve major coasters in the park.

12. Hurler - Just like the Carowinds version I placed dead last on that report last year, Kings Dominion's is similarly bad. However I felt that this particular Hurler seemed to run a bit faster. Why it is dead last is the very bad vibrations the train had in the turns, so bad I uttered "Sh**" in rapid succession while traversing those turns. I actually said aloud at the end they needed to tear this ride down. This ride is on the Fast Lane system but I opted not to use it since there was no line for it.

11. Shock Wave - This was a flashback to the 80's and those rides on King Cobra at Kings Island. While not technically a "bad" ride you at least are not beating yourself unconcious like on the B&M stand-ups. Getting in and out of those awkward Togo restraints should be left to those who practice yoga and can bend their bodies in any configuration possible.

10. Ricochet - One of two rides that I missed on my last visit in 2003, this Mack Wild Mouse is one of the better mouse rides as there is more to it than just a bunch of zig-zag turns. Starting off with a decent, speedy drop this particular mouse isn't braked hard like the one at Carowinds. I believe this is the same model as The Fly at Canada's Wonderland.

9. Flight Of Fear - Like Ricochet, this was the other ride I missed on my last visit in 2003 and had to ride it for the credit. This was on the Fast Lane system and I used it as I didn't want to wait in the stuffy queue. You basically enter through the exit and with the lack of a ride attendant, who was busy letting people into the ride platform, I just walked right in and got in line. After my ride I have officially sworn off of these for the rest of my life. It's not the launch that bothers me but the spaghetti bowl layout is just too much for me to handle.

8. Backlot Stunt Coaster - Identical to the one at Kings Island. The helicopter doesn't work but it still has the fire effects. Not much more I can say about it other than it was on the Fast Lane system and I used it to my advantage despite a not too long of a line.

7. Avalanche - One of my personal favorites at KD, this speedy Mack bobsled is still a ton of fun to ride despite its short layout. This is the Cedar Point Ocean Motion (pre Windseeker) of the park as it's tucked away in that little corner next to Volcano, which makes it easy to overlook. Funny moment of the day: This ride is on the Fast Lane system and I decided not to use it as there was no line for it. The ride attendant at the station entrance saw my wristband and said I could use the Fast Lane entrance. I just told him it was okay as there was no line. His response: "Oh, uh, yeah".

6. Anaconda - One of the more picturesque rides out there as it towers above what's left of Lake Charles, I felt that this Arrow looper seemed pretty smooth for its age. The killer part is still the transition in the butterfly element before the corkscrews as you are pretty much guaranteed a pop to the jaw. I do find it funny some of the remarks I heard while riding Anaconda, basically saying it hurt. It seems today's generation has been spoiled by the smoothness of the Intamins and B&M's. Not to sound like an old grandpa but in our day Arrow was our Intamin and B&M.

5. Rebel Yell - For a park original this one ran very well, however in the case of all three wood coasters, Kings Dominion forgot to grease the wheels as they screeched around the corners, with Rebel Yell being the loudest. Only running one side on both days (the side facing Anaconda on Monday and the side facing Ricochet/Hurler on Tuesday) I thought the coolest thing was the view of Intimidator 305 as you coasted out to the turnaround and how close it seemed to the towering Intamin.

4. Grizzly - I have always felt Grizzly was very under-rated and under-appreciated for what it is and it always had the oddest location in the park. I also have always felt it was one of the standout rides. The ride is now next to Dinosaurs Alive and to get to Grizzly's entrance you have to walk through the Dinosaurs Alive gift shop (which is also where you enter DA) and out onto a small plaza. There seemed to be a good amount of work performed on Grizzly, especially on the hill before the drop into the tunnel. I will still not forgive Paramount for ripping out the trees as Grizzly was really awesome when it was secluded back in the woods back in the day.

3. Dominator - Oh, Dominator, how I miss you so however Cedar Fair must have altered your personality as you do not feel like the same ride that once graced the lakefront at Geauga Lake. Your location on a former parking area makes you stand out like a sore thumb. You are the first ride they run to when the gates open but later on in the day you are all but forgotten. While I tried to envision the lake to the left side of your lift hill you couldn't help but see a tall tower taking that vision away (though the view of the Eiffel Tower is pretty cool when you crest the top of the lift). Even as I approached the lift I tried to envision the wetlands that surrounded you. Finally, what is that rattle you've developed in the second half of the ride? Is that a lonely cry to wanting to be back in Ohio?

Dominator was on the Fast Lane system and I used it as it was my first ride on Monday. It had a full queue and the Fast Lane takes up the back of the station (the former lake side of the station). While the attendant was busy with loading/unloading the train and the station being full she probably didn't see me so I let myself in.

2. Volcano: The Blast Coaster - I only got to ride this once back in 2003 but this time I made up for it by riding it five times. This is where Fast Lane is worth having though they only allow you two rides due to the capacity of the coaster and I was assigned to row five each ride. This coaster is so much fun, a real blast (pun intended) especially that second launch that shoots you straight up through the top - brilliant. While the sound effects are still there (you can hear the rumblings before the trains are shot up through the top), the fire was not working. This ride alone could be the star of the park but that has been completely smashed by...

1. Intimidator 305 - WOW! WOW! WOW! I will admit that I did not like the layout of this coaster when it was unveiled two years ago but what Intamin has done was make one of the most intense rides I've ever been on. Do not get on this ride expecting Millennium Force. It's a very, very different beast and because of the intensity it might not be for everyone.

The first time I got a close up look at the coaster I was in awe. Pictures do not do this ride justice. I really like the look of the new, beefier track and support structure Intamin developed for I-305. It provides a very ultra-smooth and quiet ride and that loud clanging the trains do on MF when it disengages from the cable is absent here.

The trains are roomy and the OTSLB (over the shoulder lap bars) aren't too restricting. The restraints do have soft straps on them that make it look like a full OTSR but I didn't find them too confining (though putting the restraint up and down had wanted to take my glasses with them each time). While not having been on MF in a long time it felt, to me anyway, that the climb up the lift felt faster than the Force. I only had one experience with graying out, which was very noticable, coming out of the turn before cresting the second hill, which provided a nice pop of air. The quick "S" turns, you would think you'd get your head bashed, but with the soft straps you might get a slight bump to the head. The next air time hill has a brake, which was noticeable and did lessen the speed a bit but the ride still had a strong finish at the end.

This ride was on the Flash Pass system and even with the small line, mainly for the front seat, it was worth getting for Intimidator. BTW, in the which is better - MF vs. I-305 - personally I like Intimidator better.

KINGS DOMINION REVIEW

Before I continue I do want to add that I did ride Drop Tower, their new Windseeker, Berserker, Eiffel Tower, Flying Ace, and Blue Ridge Tollway.

Kings Dominion's Drop Tower is now my second favorite drop tower, right after SFOG's Acrophobia. It was odd, at first, that the ride carriage does not rotate yet it's location offers a great view of the park's surroundings. With the load/unload being at ground level, unlike KI's where you have to step up to board, the drop seemed longer and more forceful towards the bottom.

I actually like the Windseekers and its location in Kings Dominion, back by Hurler and Ricochet, is an ideal location for it. It sort of balances out the park skyline, which I find amazing since with four rides over 300-feet tall you can't really see them from I-95 unless you know where to look. I had the Harry Potter theme on my ride and it was really neat looking down on Grizzly, Rebel Yell, and Hypersonic.

WHOA! Wait a minute, G-Dog! Hypersonic's been gone. True, but Hypersonic's old station still remains, quite visible from Xtreme Skyflyer and, if you look closely, from Grizzly.

Looping Starships, despite the odd restraints, are fun and thrilling rides and a ride on Berserker was not to be missed. This is another ride that somewhat has an odd location but at least it's not alone with Dominator nearby.

KD's Eiffel Tower, though identical to KI's, actually has a few differences. First it still has the original, taller antenna at the top, now a bit taller with a flashing white aircraft beacon above the night beacon. The top levels are caged in but with less obtrusive metal bars, making it much, much easier to take photos. KI"s feels like you're in prison. Finally there is no ride attendant at the base of the tower. You push the button and wait for the elevator to come down, unlike at KI where there is someone to count the amount of people entering the elevator. I still find these observation towers to be beautiful structures.

I had to take a spin on Flying Ace, the Chance Aviator in Planet Snoopy. It's actually not a bad ride but it's no Flying Scooters. You pull the lever up or down to make the wings on your ride vehicle either swing in or out. It's nothing like the ride you get in RCT3 but for a family ride it's not bad.

Finally I got to ride Blue Ridge Tollway, the antique cars. The completely wooded location near the base of the Eiffel Tower is picturesque and beautiful despite having a simple layout.

I had wanted to ride The Crypt since it is one of the newer suspended Huss Top Spins but didn't. The decor of what was once Tomb Raider Firefall is very sharp and fits in well with the surroundings. It does have water effects but no fire. It looked to have a bit of Texas Twister's program mixed with other programs mixed in, which to me seemed like a very complete ride.

As for the park in general, Kings Dominion has truly matured since my last visit. The abundance of trees really add to the overall feel of the park. My favorite section of the park was the Congo section, where Volcano, Anaconda, Avalanche, and The Crypt are located. The ambient music played fit in well with the theme, leaving the Top 40 stuff to the Grove area. While not a big fan of country music, the Old Virginia area was abundant with it, even to the point I heard songs I haven't heard in ages (songs like "Waterloo" and "Stand By Your Man"come to mind).

The grounds are well taken care of. I absolutely love the look of KD's International Street over KI's, with the abundance of trees, the "park-itecture" is better, and the fountains more majestic.

I still like Kings Island better, likely because I have more of a history with that park, but Kings Dominion is really a nice jewel in the Cedar Fair crown. I just hope they don't start destroying the natural beauty to add new attractions.

Sorry for the length of this TR. Hope you enjoyed reading.

G-Dog

BTW, if anyone is interested in opening a fast food franchise, put it across from Kings Dominion. Other than the Denny's at the on-site Best Western Kings Quarters and Burger King across the street there is nothing in the immediate vicinity of the park.

Re: G-Dog's Virginia Diary - Kings Dominion 6-11 & 6-12-12 by MABrider MABrider Profile at 6/22/12 12:22:32 PM
Nice report, sounds to me like...well, me!

Two days at a larger park you don't get to once in a blue moon is the way to go since you just never know about crowds and weather. Nice that the weather held for you.

Oh, and I love "park-itecture."

* This post was modified at 6/22/12 12:23:00 PM *

Mike B.
Re: G-Dog's Virginia Diary - Kings Dominion 6-11 & 6-12-12 by alpengeistno3 at 6/22/12 5:45:57 PM
Nice TR, G-Dog. I have to admit Dominator looked way better as "queen of the lake" as opposed to "king of the parking lot". I do think it runs a little faster at KD (less block brake) than at GL.

Avalanche is a new addition to Fast Lane within the last month. I don't understand the move, since it rarely has a wait longer than 20 mins. And it has even poorer capacity than Volcano. I guess it was just a matter of the park saying they "could" do it as opposed to whether they "needed" to do it.

You won't get me to shed a tear for Hypersonic. If you didn't ride it, you did not miss much at all.

The indoor Flight of Fears have way more bumps than the outdoor spaghetti bowls. I think it has to do with the construction (the building was completed before the ride was ready, so they had to insert all of the track in some pretty precarious positions in order to squeeze it within its confines.) If the bumps are too much, avoid a wheel seat as they tend to send those bumps right up your tail bone.

Paul

Re: G-Dog's Virginia Diary - Kings Dominion 6-11 & 6-12-12 by Geauga_Dog Geauga_Dog Profile at 6/22/12 6:40:40 PM
Dominator as "queen of the lake" - I like that. :)

I did get to ride Hypersonic once in 2003 and even though it was a maintenance nightmare and the layout short and uninspiring I thought the launch and airtime at the top was awesome. When I saw the station remains last week I had figured they would have ripped it all out when they scrapped the ride. Maybe they will if they ever decide to get rid of Hurler.

I somewhat regret not getting to SFA despite all the things I've read about it but there's always next time. Even though I swore off of the Flight of Fears I probably would have still taken a turn on Joker's Jinx for the comparison.

G-Dog

Re: G-Dog's Virginia Diary - Kings Dominion 6-11 & 6-12-12 by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 6/22/12 6:55:46 PM
Nice TR! Boy do we differ on opinions. I think Anaconda was the absolute worst arrow I've ever ridden and I wouldn't ride it again, I thought Hurler was decent and Grizzly was the equivalent of a car accident, LOL! I hated Avalanche too (boring). But I do agree with you on Volcano and I-305, although on my TR from last year I had Volcano as #1 and I-305 as #2. Volcano is just such a fun a unique ride and you all know I LOVE the launch.

Funny how people see things so differently. Glad you had a great day!

Jen

Re: G-Dog's Virginia Diary - Kings Dominion 6-11 & 6-12-12 by alpengeistno3 at 6/22/12 10:17:29 PM
Geauga_Dog said:

Dominator as "queen of the lake" - I like that. :)

I just made that up. Maybe I should trademark it? Lol!

Geauga_Dog said:

I did get to ride Hypersonic once in 2003 and even though it was a maintenance nightmare and the layout short and uninspiring I thought the launch and airtime at the top was awesome. When I saw the station remains last week I had figured they would have ripped it all out when they scrapped the ride. Maybe they will if they ever decide to get rid of Hurler.

It is amazing that the station is still there. They built the haunted house on the queue line grounds, so they don't really need it for that. I suspect it is still somehow being used, so it's probably not going anywhere.

Geauga_Dog said:

I somewhat regret not getting to SFA despite all the things I've read about it but there's always next time. Even though I swore off of the Flight of Fears I probably would have still taken a turn on Joker's Jinx for the comparison.

JJ is significantly smoother, I think to the rides detriment. It really is quite boring completely exposed, but not having the block brake makes up for that somewhat.

Paul

Re: G-Dog's Virginia Diary - Kings Dominion 6-11 & 6-12-12 by Geauga_Dog Geauga_Dog Profile at 6/23/12 5:41:27 PM
GoYanks34 said:

I think Anaconda was the absolute worst arrow I've ever ridden and I wouldn't ride it again,

I must be one of the very few people to have a strong tolerance for aging Arrows (and the much hated Vekomas). The front seat was actually pretty smooth and you didn't get as much of that "pop to the jaw" in the butterly like I did by sitting in the middle. Plus I like the dive into the underwater tunnel and the long rise up into the vertical loop.

I also think that Arrow coasters are on the endangered list with several being removed in recent years so I try to ride them as much as I can when I'm at a park that has one.

I thought Hurler was decent and Grizzly was the equivalent of a car accident, LOL!

Grizzly did have its not-so-smooth moments,like the fan turn by the station, but it felt nothing like the ride I had on Hurler. It looked like they rebuilt part of the hill that dips into the tunnel so maybe it's going to get more refurbing in the coming seasons.

One other thing that I noticed is the wood coasters no longer have their logos on the front of each train. They just have the name in a plain, sterile looking font. Grizzly had one of the coolest logos back in the day with the bear claws holding a twisted coaster track and Rebel Yell had that cool, retro-70's logo.

I hated Avalanche too (boring).

While there isn't much to Avalanche I do find it a good ride for the entire family and a much better ride than the Intamin models that appeared around the same time. Plus it's rather unique being the only Mack bobsled in the U.S. I just like that twisting back and forth section in the second half of the ride.

G-Dog

Re: G-Dog's Virginia Diary - Kings Dominion 6-11 & 6-12-12 by theRock-steel theRock-steel Profile at 6/24/12 10:01:36 AM
I have a ways to travel "up" to MD/VA and haven't been there in a while either. That's bad since BGW and KD are great parks. I like your countdown. The order is good but here is mine. I can't make comments on the two coasters I haven't ridden yet.

10. Hurler - The first time I rode this I got hurt on it and spent two hours in first aid with sore ribs! The kiddie ride with a 8ft. drop may be worse but not by much.

9. Shock Wave - B&M or Togo, stand-ups give more pain than joy. There are one or two that are pretty good but this was not one of them. Chang seemed to be better than Green Lantern. We will see if having a theme will help make Apocalypse better than Iron Wolf.

8. Ricochet - Four of the six that RCDB calls large park models by Mack are in north America. With some more moderate drops and less painful zig-zag turns, these are not as bad.

7. Flight Of Fear - If this one puts on some serious brakes half way through like it's sister at KI did not long ago, I may only ride it this next time. The indoor one by Vekoma at WDW is much better, and the FOF builder did better with two outdoor ones in Maryland and Texas.

6. Rebel Yell - I worked in the park and on this ride WAY back when there were only four coasters in the place. Not much has changed with this; it's still a normal Philadelphia Toboggan out-and-back. The ride actually called Racer at KI is much smoother with better airtime.

5. Grizzly - It's a little small and short, but is still better than the average wooden. I have seen a picture dated 2010 showing plenty of trees. Is that wrong. The KD website has the same thing.

4. Backlot Stunt Coaster - Since Cedar Fair took over, the look of these are worse. I like Premier launch coasters so this is still pretty good.

3. Anaconda - I am an old grandpa. I will be 50 next month. There are four girls all with the same mom and dad. One will only ride certain things. The baby rode the Barnstormer at WDW twice. The oldest will ride almost anything. The dad and I have been on Tennessee Tornado and Vortex. Anaconda is second to Loch Ness Monster. I have never dropped in to a lake before. I am spoiled by B&M.

2. Avalanche - This is unique to me and a lot of fun. I could ride this all day. Disaster Transport and La Vibora I could skip.

1. Volcano - Just saying that you are lauching up and out sounds good. The same inversion over and over and over does get a little old (yes, there is a bad pun in there). With the ride breaking down kind of often, I don't see someone making a new one like this but I wish they would.

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* This post was modified at 6/24/12 10:09:56 AM *

Re: G-Dog's Virginia Diary - Kings Dominion 6-11 & 6-12-12 by drachen drachen Profile at 6/27/12 10:49:18 AM
Thanks for sharing this, and you Busch Gardens TR. I love your format - makes for an easy read. And of course, I've adopted your reverse countdown format - such a good idea.

I'm glad you finally got to ride Intimidator 305. What an incredible ride, and like you said, so different from Millennium Force. It's a ride that no coaster fan should miss.

Geauga_Dog said:

I must be one of the very few people to have a strong tolerance for aging Arrows (and the much hated Vekomas). The front seat was actually pretty smooth and you didn't get as much of that "pop to the jaw" in the butterly like I did by sitting in the middle. Plus I like the dive into the underwater tunnel and the long rise up into the vertical loop.

I also think that Arrow coasters are on the endangered list with several being removed in recent years so I try to ride them as much as I can when I'm at a park that has one.

Well said, and feel the same way about Anaconda and all of the old Arrow rides, in particular the loopers. I find them to be the most visually appealing of all steel coasters. They are just as fun to watch as they are to ride.

It makes me sad to think that there will come a day when they've all outlived their serviceable life.

drachen
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.90 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.55 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28.2%
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