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Ultimate Rollercoaster > Discussion Forums > Roller Coasters, Parks & Attractions > Kings Island First Time Trip Report and Review - With Photos

Kings Island First Time Trip Report and Review - With Photos

drachen drachen Profile

Posted:
8/14/12 at
7:52:50 PM

Date: 5th & 6th of August, 2012
Weather: Sunny, mid 80’s.
Time in the park: 10 hours
Time on the road: 15 hours

The Plan

This trip has been brewing for some time now. I’ve been ashamed for far too long as an amusement park fan that I had not been to Kings Island. I’ve been to many parks, from California to Massachusetts, and from Florida to Wisconsin. I live in the Northeast, so it’s not like Kings Island was that far away. I just never took the time to go. It would require at least a one night stay, and that’s not easy to do with a young family at home.

Fortunately, the Mrs. was fresh off a 5-day trip to Boston with her friends. I figured I could take one night away for myself. Off to Mason, Ohio I went…

With the recent trend of old Arrow loopers and suspended coasters being retired, Kings Island was a park I really wanted to get to before either Vortex or Flight Deck were removed. That played a huge part in my decision to finally go. I don’t know when I’ll make it back out to the park, but if those rides are to be retired soon, I’m glad to say that experienced them. I certainly hope they stick around for quite a while longer.

I wanted to make sure I did everything, roller coasters and unique flat rides included. So, I decided to spend part of two days at the park. Kings Island has a $20 evening ticket, and in August their daily tickets, “Pink Tickets”, are on sale for $31.99. So, I bought both online, along with two parking passes and a Fast Lane ticket for Monday. More on Fast Lane later. All told, I spent about $140. It was well worth it. For what you get at this park, $31.99 is the steal of the century. And I definitely recommend getting to the park with printed out passes in hand.

Odd Travel Note

While stuck in construction I was actually appalled by what I saw in the car next to me. Let me preface this by saying that I don’t smoke, but I don’t mind people that do. I actually like the smell of cigarette smoke, which a lot of people may find strange. But what I saw simply bothered me.

In the car next to me, there was a woman – who I’d estimate was in her late 60’s, puffing away on a cigarette. It was raining, so her windows were shut. In the passenger seat sat who I suspected to be a granddaughter, who was no more than 11 years old. In the back, there were two car seats – one with a toddler, maybe age 3. In the other was a baby, no more than 1 year old.

Smoke if you want to, but don’t force such young children to breathe it in. That’s about as ignorant and irresponsible as grandparenting can get. I pulled out my camera and snapped a photo. I don’t plan to do anything with it, but she saw me take a picture. I hope I at least scared her into putting out the cigarette.

Outside the Park

Mason is a real nice area. It’s not as congested as it looks on the map. Getting to the park is a real cinch. I do want to mention here that I did make a point to stop at my favorite burger joint in the Midwest – Culver’s. I hadn’t had it since September. So stinking good. Photo below…

The Park

There isn’t too much that I didn’t like about Kings Island. In fact, I can’t really think of anything at the moment. The park is beautiful. The paths are very well laid out, so it’s very easy to navigate. Having that big tower in the middle of everything certainly helps with that.

The rides and roller coasters are placed perfectly – none better than Vortex and especially Diamondback. The themed areas work really well. The Coney Island Mall area is so alive with rides and games. I even saw a Plinko game. A Plinko game! I’ve never seen that anywhere. If it had nicer prizes, I would have played. They only had inflatables, but I should have still given it a whirl. I loved the Price is Right growing up.

The word that kept popping into my head as I explored the park was “professional”. These guys at Kings Island are pros. They are professional park planners, ride maintainers, park upkeepers, landscapers, and especially ride operators. It’s always a breath of fresh air to go to a park that runs their rides so efficiently. That wasn’t exclusive to the roller coasters either. Rides like Windseeker, Delirium, and Drop Zone had very efficient operations with numbered, assigned seats.

Speaking of those rides, I was able to ride each of them. I also rode the train and went up to enjoy the Eiffel Tower. One flat that I didn’t ride was the Shake, Rattle and Roll, and I wish I would have.

Eiffel Tower is a great attraction. At both Kings Dominion and Kings Island, I wish I could bring a lawn chair with me and just sit up there and watch the roller coasters run. I love taking photos from up there, and that Monday was beautiful, clear day. I also filmed Vortex in HD so I could preserve it for myself. It’s posted to my Facebook page if any of you care to check it out.

Kings Island has nice train, but I found the ride to be a little boring. It’s relaxing, but it’s boring. Aside from the very beginning, during which you travel right under Diamondback, it’s just a jaunt out through the woods over to the water park. There isn’t much scenery to speak of or rides to look at.

I was sure to ride Windseeker, since I didn’t make it to any Cedar Fair parks last year to ride one. The ride isn’t terribly thrilling, but I found it to be very enjoyable. The view is spectacular, and the music adds a nice touch. I took two rides, both during the day. I need to ride one at night some time, as it looks really cool.

On my second ride, I strapped my camera to my wrist to snap some photos. I didn’t see a sign about picture taking, and there was no announcement regarding it. I’m sure there is a rule, but I opted to take some pictures instead of operating under that assumption. I’m glad I did, since the photos turned out nice.

I haven’t ridden a Huss Giant Frisbee, so I had to give Delirium a spin. I was really impressed with the quick operations. The ride was fun, but it wasn’t as intense as I thought it would be. It didn’t swing as high as I thought either. Have they shortened the ride cycle?

I loved Drop Zone. I have yet to ride Kings Dominions, since it was closed on both of my visits. This ride was open, and I got a Son of Beast view – which was really cool. The drop is quite intense, but not as intense as I thought it would be. Once you get passed the initial drop, and you get that initial scare, the feeling kinda’ goes away as you fall. It becomes quite… relaxing? Perhaps ‘free’ is a better word. Great ride.

Fast Lane

Let’s get something straight. Morally, I’m opposed to these sorts of programs. Basically, I don’t feel parks should make paying guests feel less important than others who are better off financially. Having said that, I felt like I should experience it at least once, and why not do it at a park where I wanted to experience everything on my first visit? In this type of situation the Fast Lane is ideal – a park fan who went to the park by himself for the first time and wanted to make sure he rode everything.

I’ve been to Hersheypark a handful of times this summer. Upon seeing the absolute train wreck that their system is, I have to say Cedar Fair’s Fast Lane is a very well-implemented system.

It does not interfere with other guests more than minimally, and has absolutely no impact on operations whatsoever. I was very impressed. Here’s why Kings Island’s (and I’m assuming the rest of Cedar Fair’s) system works:

1) Each ride has a separate Fast Lane queue, right from the start.

2) Each ride has a line attendant, and they do their job very effectively. They are managing the main queue anyway, so it’s easy to check Fast Lane bracelets and let the riders through.

3) They only allow so many to be purchased in a given day. So, the rides are never overloaded with Fast Lane riders.

4) They DO NOT block off any rows on the station – something that I once thought was a good idea until I saw Hersheypark do it. With the line attendant managing the situation, there is no need to do something that only impedes your normal operations.

Because of Fast Lane, I was able to ride Drop Zone, Delirium, and Back Lot Stunt coaster. I was also able to get multiple re-rides on many of the roller coasters. I do have to say that on every ride I did feel the eyes of guests in the main queue on me, with the exception of Beast and Vortex, whose Fast Lane queues are completely separated.

After seeing how well Kings Island implemented their program, when I finally make it to Carowinds and Canada’s Wonderland I will definitely be buying another pass. I’ll probably get one when I get back to Cedar Point again next year too. I’m a fan of the way they do it at Cedar Fair.

Roller Coasters

There wasn’t a ride here that I didn’t like. Kings Island is a great roller coaster park. Additionally, all of them are very nice looking. None of the coasters are faded or rusted. It seems like they all have a fresh coat of paint.

Even with a slow crowd on Sunday night, Vortex, Beast, and Diamondback all ran three trains. No coaster had less than two on the tracks at any point during my visit, with the exception of the two Vekomas.

Additionally, many of them are placed very nicely, particularly Vortex and Diamondback. The midways offer fantastic views of those two rides. I like how many of the roller coasters use the natural terrain of the park. The Beast, Flight Deck, Adventure Express, Vortex, and even the defunct Son of Beast all are built into hills and mini-ravines it seems, and it certainly adds to the ride experience.

Several of the coasters had what I called "penalty boxes" for children that are too small to ride with their parents. I thought that was pretty neat, though I don't know if I could leave my kids inside one as I rode. At any rate it makes for a funny image...

I’m glad I made it out to the park to at least see Son of Beast in person. What a massive, gorgeous looking ride. What a shame that they couldn’t make it work. It’s very impressive in person, and while riding Flight Deck and Adventure Express, you get some up close views. In the Flight Deck area, you can still access the queue. I wish I would have taken the time to get as close to the station as I could get before I considered myself trespassing.

I personally feel that wooden coasters were never meant to be big. You can make a great wooden ride and keep in under 100 feet tall. If you look at the history of these monster wooden coasters, out of SoB, Hercules, Mean Streak, Texas Giant, and Rattler, only Mean Streak operates in its “original” form. Even the large Voyage rips itself apart.

In all, I rode 11 coasters that were new to me. I chose not to ride Firehawk, and after thinking about it, I’m not sure why. I don’t dislike the Vekoma Flyer, but since I already had ridden the same ride when it was at Six Flags Worlds of Adventure in 2002, I opted to skip it for more rides on the more unique coasters. Since I had a Fast Lane, I could have/should have ridden it at least once.

The 11 I did ride are rated in the Geauga Dog countdown format.

11) Flying ACE Aerial Chase – 1 Ride

Two Vekomas to start the rankings. This wasn’t a bad ride by any means. I would have normally passed on this type of ride, but I’ve never ridden one of these Vekoma family suspended coasters, and it was open during the AM ERT. Even though it was small, it certainly felt like a Vekoma, as it rattled its way through the course, it wasn’t a bad little ride. It’s very sharp looking, and I like the Peanuts theme. There are TV’s with Peanuts episodes running too. It’s part of a what is a very nice kids’ area.

10) Invertigo – 1 Ride

Like I said, there was no coaster at Kings Island that I didn’t like. I enjoy the inverted boomerang, whether it be this size or the giant version. Invertigo, like the others, is smooth and fun. I like to pick a seat that faces lift as you load. It makes for an experience that’s the exact opposite of what you typically get on a boomerang. Invertigo was the first ride I rode when I got to the park.

9) Woodstock Express – 1 Ride

I know, it’s another junior coaster. I don’t ride junior coasters – I say it all the time. But I will make the exception on these old Taft/John Allen coasters. When I approached the ride the line was long, with most of the switchbacks full. I turned away a bit disappointed. I decided that I was just going to have to pass it up, since there was no way I was going to wait over 30 minutes for a junior coaster. I figured I’d be back at some point, perhaps with my kids.

I went and did a few more big boy rides, and on the way out of the park, I decided to check Woodstock Express one more time. The line was only to where the bridge crosses the track. Score. I lined up, waited about 5 minutes, and got a ride.

I actually enjoy these little coasters. They are fun, though this one has a trim on it before the second turn around. Kings Island likes their brakes. Perhaps it’s the dad in me, but part of the fun of these coasters is seeing kids having a blast riding with their parents. What a great way to introduce roller coasters to children.

8) Adventure Express – 2 Rides

I’ve heard “great” things about this ride, and I use the term sarcastically. In fact, d-lo775 said to be prepared to be disappointed. We rode the back seat first, and I have to say that I was impressed the first time. That’s a pretty wicked mine ride, and it was neat to see Son of Beast up close.

I like how you drop right of the station into the ride. You don’t come across that too often. I love how Adventure Express uses the terrain. There are some pretty mean turns and drops along the course. Sure there’s a lift hill at the end, but like they always say - what goes down, must come up. I knew the lift was at the end, but I had no idea that it was enclosed and themed. It was a bit silly, and now I know what “Now you will PAY!” means.

7) Flight of Fear – 1 Ride

I hadn’t ridden this ride since 2002 (at Kings Dominion), and I forgot how fun it is. I rode Six Flags America’s version two years ago, and it was fun too. But I think I like the indoor version better. It’s easier on the eyes while you’re riding and has some nice dark moments.

I got a front seat ride - thank you Fast Lane. It was fast, very smooth, and very fun. I was tempted to do it again, but the whole “awkward cutting in front of you” feeling kept getting the best of me. This is a better roller coaster than Vortex, but I liked the old Arrow more for other reasons.

6) Back Lot Stunt Coaster – 1 Ride

These are fun rides. The line was very long for it, probably because it got a late start on the day. But this seems like a very popular ride among guests of all ages. I’m glad I had the Fast Lane. I had a one train wait. Everyone else was probably waiting at least 45 minutes. I just didn’t have that kind of time. Had I not had the Fast Lane, I would have skipped this ride.

The launch is great, and the parking garage triple upward helix is powerful. It’s got a great illusion of speed as you whiz past walls and objects. The fire is a cool affect, and the second launch is a total blast. The dark portion of the ride is very disorienting, and the pop through the billboard has some nice air. This ride is a winner.

5) Vortex – 3 Rides

Vortex was one of the four coasters that I was really looking forward to riding. I’m a sucker for Arrows, especially Arrow loopers, and this one looked like a beauty. I also understand that these rides are quickly becoming an endangered species. I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself if Vortex was ever dismantled without me getting to ride it.

d-lo775 didn’t want to ride this one with me. I hopped in line, which I thought had an interesting set up. There is a long black rail that runs along a Vortex’s fence. There is not sign, or fanfare – just an opening to walk through. Vortex’s sign is on the station, which was another feature that I loved. It, of course, is the same one once occupied by the infamous Bat.

As for the ride, it is WICKED. It is MEAN. By looking to the right you get a nice view of what’s about to happen to your body. The lift gives you that classic Arrow anti-roll back noise – music to my ears. The noise quiets as you crest the lift and begin to pick up speed. The first drop mimics Loch Ness Monster’s, and the back seat has the airtime to match. What a great way to start the ride. The much less steep hill into the loops, that follows a turnaround, has a real out-of-control feel.

The loops are very strong, easily the most powerful set of Arrow double loops I’ve experienced. What follows the loops is just WRONG. You climb into that flat turn that is just WAY TOO TIGHT! I couldn’t believe it when I first experienced it. That is a mean turn, and slamming the mid-course brakes on you immediately after it is just pure evil. It was great.

You drop into the best placed double corkscrew I’ve experienced. It’s high off the ground, since the ride was built into a hole, and it splits the two loops you just passed through. Another turn sends you into the best placed batwing I’ve experienced. You are right up against a wall on half of it. The train pulls out and enters a nice upward helix that reminded me of Drachen Fire’s ending.

I rode Vortex three times in all – once in the front seat, twice in the very back. Looking back on my trip, I wish I would have given it a few more. The train does vibrate a good bit. The front and the back of the train give very powerful rides – I can’t say what the middle does, but I’m sure it’s easier on the riders than the ends.

I started a thread a few weeks ago about saving Arrow coasters by designing new trains for them. Vortex would be the perfect guinea pig. What an awesome layout. However, with newer, smoother coasters out there, those old Arrow trains are just too dated. If someone could design a train without the OTS restraints, more comfortable seats, and even with magnetic brakes, Vortex would be even more popular than it already is.

4) Flight Deck – 2 Rides

Flight Deck was the second coaster at Kings Island that I wanted to be sure to ride. Again, these Arrow suspended coasters are starting to meet their end, and again, I did not want to miss out on this one. I never got to ride XLR-8 at Astroworld, nor have I ridden any of the three over-seas. The Bat was long gone before I even started kindergarten. But of the others in North America, only Vortex at Canada’s Wonderland escapes me. Hopefully that’s still around next year when I plan to get up to Toronto.

Flight Deck is the newest of the Arrow suspended coasters. I find it interesting that Kings Island built the first one, and the last one of these models. Logic would have you believe that Flight Deck should then be around the longest. I hope that’s the case, because it was a lot of fun. It was my second ride at the park as I made my way around clockwise.

What a long, odd queue this ride has. It’s way off the beaten path, but I thought that added to the charm. It feels like it’s in its own little world back there. The queue itself become somewhat of a maze once you get close to the station. There is this real dramatic music playing the entire time, like you about to embark on a mission to turn the tide of the war. I only rode this ride on Sunday, and it was a walk-on for the back seat. I ended up getting right back in line to ride the front, which had a three train wait. I was happy to wait for it.

I think these suspended coasters are just a real pleasure to ride. The lift takes you directly out of the station, but then slows to a crawl. If picks up the pace just a little as you reach the top. I always loved how when you leave the lift on these rides, the ground just seems to drop from right out under you. That’s the case here. The ride consists of some speedy drops and turns, and some real close encounters with Son of Beast. Flight Deck too uses its terrain to its advantage, and it’s very affective.

I thought the back of the train was fun, but the front was great, as is usually the case with these rides, with more pronounced swinging. The visuals are particularly good on this ride, especially around that monster wooden carcass that sits next to it. I hope Kings Island adds another marquee attraction back there once Son of Beast is gone, to drum up some business for lonely old Flight Deck.

3) Racer – 1 Ride Red, 1 Ride Blue

I wish I could have ridden these guys a bit more. They celebrated 40 years this year, along with the park. The Racers were a lot of fun and have ‘Classic’ written all over them. I meant to make it back on Sunday to take at least one more lap on each, but I opted for more Beast and Diamondback rides.

The sides are mirror images, as you all know. They run very well and are filled with lots of great hills –large and small. The Racers share a lot in common with its cousin in Virginia – another ride that I really like. Having grown up in Pennsylvania, I have a special appreciation for these two rides. They are the coasters that inspired Franklin Shearer, former GM at Hersheypark, to want to build a racing wooden coaster there. It took him until 2001 to get his way, but the result was the pure genius in Lightning Racer.

Let me say too, that I would rate Vortex, Flight Deck, and Racer all very close together. Then there is a huge jump in quality to the next two:

2) The Beast – 5 Rides

This ride was a long time coming for me, and it was number one on my priority list. Upon seeing it for the first time, I felt like I was looking at a celebrity. Part of the reason I started with Invertigo was that I wanted to save my first Beast ride for the night. But the time 8:30 PM came around, it wasn’t quite dark, but I couldn’t wait any longer. As luck would have it, as we approached the station the ride was temporarily closed.

Back to Diamondback we went. As we headed up the lift, we noticed people entering Beast’s queue. By that time was pretty dark out, so we headed back over. We hopped on the train towards the back so that we could sneak two rides in.

Beast doesn’t have a queue just for the front seat. They should probably do that. At night, they only run a certain number of trains to close the ride. So you can’t wait for the front after a certain point. I really wanted a front seat night ride, but it wasn’t in the cards this time. Had I waited for the front seat though, I would have only gotten one night ride. Instead I did get two, the second of which was in the third row, front car.

The Beast is a fantastic night ride – probably the best I’ve experienced. The ride has such an out of control, ‘where-the-heck-are-we?’ feeling, that is only enhanced by the darkness. The tunnels become pitch black at night. It’s really something. There is an eerie feeling about it at night, and I loved it.

The Beast during the day is good too, but it’s not nearly as good as it is at night. The ride is all about perceived speed and powerful turns – both of which hold true day and night. There are some pretty serious turns on this ride, many of which have been re-tracked recently.

The finale is fantastic, and it’s actually pretty smooth, even in the back of the train. There is something that just doesn’t seem right about that double helix. When you sit on the left side of the train, you feel like you have to lean to the rights so you don’t hit the tunnel’s side wall. It’s quite intense because you hit the opening at such great speed.

The unfortunate thing about the Beast is that you can’t help but notice the trims brakes. I understand why they are there. That ride would rip itself apart at full speed. But from a rider’s standpoint, it’s a bit too much brake. Here’s what I thought about the four that are on the ride.

Brake number one is on the first drop. I was ok with this one, but it does tug on the train quite a bit. Perhaps with one less set, the drop would have been better.

Trim brake number two is the most egregious of the four. It comes immediately after the first turn. If it was not there, you would get some very nice air as you drop down into the ravine. Instead it just kills the momentum of that first part of the ride. It just hits so hard, it’s a real downer.

The third is at the tail end of the brake shed. I have no problem, as a rider, with having a brake here – the ride was designed with one after all. But again, it was just a hair too much.

The fourth is at the beginning of the long drop into the helix finale. I found this one to be the least egregious of the four. You still have plenty of speed and power through the helix. The brake is placed in a way that you still have plenty of hill to enjoy afterwards.

There probably was a better way to control the speed without interrupting the ride. I think of Skyrysh’s trims. They are short and spread out along the course. Perhaps in the Beast’s brake shed they could have done the same, maybe even the second trim.

All told, I really did enjoy the Beast, and I’ve very happy to add it to my list. If there was a little less brake, it would rival Boulder Dash, Legend, Voyage, and the rest of my favorites. I love a good, long roller coaster. So in that regard, the Beast is spectacular.

1) Diamondback – 11 Rides

All I’ve ever heard about Diamondback is that it is “ok”. I have to disagree. I don’t usually ride a ride that many times on a single trip, but I just couldn’t get enough of it. Diamondback is a great ride, and is easily the best roller coaster in the park. I placed it in my top 10, sorry Raptor.

I’ll start with the only negative first, because everything else is positive. The trains have a slight rattle to them. That is all.

People may think that Diamondback isn’t very intense – that there are no positive G’s. That may be the case, but this thing has negative G’s to spare – some of the best I’ve ever experienced on a B&M.

Thanks to d-lo775, who prefers the front of the train, I was able to get to the ride at 9am for ERT. What a fun morning that was! We rode it 6 times that morning, almost all in a row. If I lived in the area, I’d have a season pass just for the hour of free rides with no wait. The best part of the morning ERT? The park still had three trains running.

This ride is a real people eater. It simply devours queues. As soon as the train is ready, it is sent. The ride operators are quick to check the simple restraints. Even if the line backed up, the wait is not long. I love that in a coaster.

Diamondback’s first drop is phenomenal. It’s very steep, and it really tries to dump you out in the back of the train. Each hill has great air, no matter where you sit. We even took a middle-train ride for the heck of it, and it was very good.

I loved the ride’s layout. It is a long ride that sports big hills and two nice helixes, with portions that cross over each other. The drop into the splashdown is very nice in the back of the train. I really like the splashdown element too. It’s fun to ride that close to the water, and visually, it’s very impressive.

I prefer the back of the train. The first drop is better there, as are the other two large ones. The turnaround has a nice yank to it in the back. The drops off of the midcourse and before the splashdown are best in the back too. Great, great ride.

Wrap It Up

Well, I’ve finally been to Kings Island. It becomes park number 57 for me. I can’t believe it took me 56 parks to get to this place. If I had a top 10 of amusement parks, Kings Island would surely have a spot there. Clean, great rides, great operations, well-placed rides – again, the folks at Kings Island are pros.

More photos can be found on my Facebook page (link below).

Facebook - Park Connoisseur

* This post was modified at 8/15/12 10:42:32 AM *

drachen
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.87 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.57 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28%
Friend me on Facebook... Search Park Connoisseur
Re: Kings Island First Time Trip Report and Review - With Photos by mugen828 mugen828 Profile at 8/14/12 8:04:18 PM
All I have to say is....WOW! I read a lot of that but not all of it. A great review non the less, hell, an AWESOME review.

That park isn't mentioned a lot in coaster talk per say...of course The Beast is talked about, and now the dismantling of SOB, but as a whole, that park is overlooked.

So glad you had a good day, and yep, fast pass was the way to go in your case. I am a sucker for B&M Hyepers, so I will be out there someday soon. Maybe next year though.

Glad you had a great time and awesome pictures :D

- mugen828
157 Coasters -- Favorite Coaster -- Nitro (SFGAdv)
117 Steel -- 40 Wood -- Home Park: SFGADv
Re: Kings Island First Time Trip Report and Review - With Photos by drachen drachen Profile at 8/14/12 8:31:06 PM
mugen828 said:

All I have to say is....WOW! I read a lot of that but not all of it. A great review non the less, hell, an AWESOME review.


That park isn't mentioned a lot in coaster talk per say...of course The Beast is talked about, and now the dismantling of SOB, but as a whole, that park is overlooked.

So glad you had a good day, and yep, fast pass was the way to go in your case. I am a sucker for B&M Hyepers, so I will be out there someday soon. Maybe next year though.

Glad you had a great time and awesome pictures :D

Thanks mugen. I definitely recommend it. If you're a fan of Nitro, and I know you are, I think you'll really like Diamondback.

drachen
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.87 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.57 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28%
Friend me on Facebook... Search Park Connoisseur
Re: Kings Island First Time Trip Report and Review - With Photos by frontrow frontrow Profile at 8/14/12 8:39:22 PM
Great TR drachen. I have visited Kings Island numerous times, being that I pass it when I go to the boat. I'm glad to hear The Beast is running well this year. That coaster is hit or miss. One year I'll ride it 10 times in row, the next year 1 ride is enough. I'm glad to hear you liked Diamondback. One day I rode it 26 times. I feel its a good ride, but I don't have it rated as high as you do. The Vortex and The Racer are the other coasters that I really like at the park. I'm glad you liked the park. Kings Island for me is a good park, but not great. I probably don't rate it as high because I've been there so many times. I do feel that the park is beautiful and the employees are very helpful. Other than Diamondback and The Beast, I feel the coaster and ride collection is mediocre. Once again that's probably because I have ridden everything so many times. On all my visits to Kings Island, I only seen the park very crowded once. I guess I've been lucky, because I know that park can generate a large crowd. I'm glad you had fun and finally made it to Kings Island.
Re: Kings Island First Time Trip Report and Review - With Photos by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 8/14/12 9:24:37 PM
drachen said:

I live in the Northeast, so it’s not like Kings Island was that far away. I just never took the time to go. It would require at least a one night stay, and that’s not easy to do with a young family at home.

But it is a bitch of a drive. It's very hard on the car as well - lots of hills

In the car next to me, there was a woman – who I’d estimate was in her late 60’s, puffing away on a cigarette. It was raining, so her windows were shut. In the passenger seat sat who I suspected to be a granddaughter, who was no more than 11 years old. In the back, there were two car seats – one with a toddler, maybe age 3. In the other was a baby, no more than 1 year old.

Smoke if you want to, but don’t force such young children to breathe it in. That’s about as ignorant and irresponsible as grandparenting can get. I pulled out my camera and snapped a photo. I don’t plan to do anything with it, but she saw me take a picture. I hope I at least scared her into putting out the cigarette.

Horrible! When I was having a smoke at SFGAdv the other day a bunch of us were talking about the people that come into the smoking area with strollers and babies - unacceptable!

The Coney Island Mall area is so alive with rides and games. I even saw a Plinko game. A Plinko game! I’ve never seen that anywhere. If it had nicer prizes, I would have played. They only had inflatables, but I should have still given it a whirl. I loved the Price is Right growing up.

I LOVE Plinko! It was always my favorite game on TPIR! That must be new or I missed it when I was there several years ago. I wanna play!

I haven’t ridden a Huss Giant Frisbee, so I had to give Delirium a spin. I was really impressed with the quick operations. The ride was fun, but it wasn’t as intense as I thought it would be. It didn’t swing as high as I thought either. Have they shortened the ride cycle?

I love the huss frisbees and I'm hoping Gadv will get one (or a drop tower). I find them so relaxing with a bit of "wee"!

I loved Drop Zone. I have yet to ride Kings Dominions, since it was closed on both of my visits. This ride was open, and I got a Son of Beast view – which was really cool. The drop is quite intense, but not as intense as I thought it would be. Once you get passed the initial drop, and you get that initial scare, the feeling kinda’ goes away as you fall. It becomes quite… relaxing? Perhaps ‘free’ is a better word. Great ride.

Hands down the best drop tower I've ever been on and I've been on both that you've mentioned. I like the scenic spin the one at KI takes - the one at KD does not spin - just up and down.

It does not interfere with other guests more than minimally, and has absolutely no impact on operations whatsoever. I was very impressed. Here’s why Kings Island’s (and I’m assuming the rest of Cedar Fair’s) system works:

1) Each ride has a separate Fast Lane queue, right from the start.

2) Each ride has a line attendant, and they do their job very effectively. They are managing the main queue anyway, so it’s easy to check Fast Lane bracelets and let the riders through.

3) They only allow so many to be purchased in a given day. So, the rides are never overloaded with Fast Lane riders.

4) They DO NOT block off any rows on the station – something that I once thought was a good idea until I saw Hersheypark do it. With the line attendant managing the situation, there is no need to do something that only impedes your normal operations.

As you can see in my Knotts TR all CF parks do NOT operate like this - Knotts has no separate queue - they come up the exit ramp and choose the seat they want, Then the person in line has to wait - even if it's 4 times in a row! (happened to me on Montezooma's revenge)

After seeing how well Kings Island implemented their program, when I finally make it to Carowinds and Canada’s Wonderland I will definitely be buying another pass. I’ll probably get one when I get back to Cedar Point again next year too. I’m a fan of the way they do it at Cedar Fair.

It is addicting....

No coaster had less than two on the tracks at any point during my visit, with the exception of the two Vekomas.

Mike G will surely use his "what? No 2 trains on a boomerang" line here! LOL!

In all, I rode 11 coasters that were new to me. I chose not to ride Firehawk, and after thinking about it, I’m not sure why. I don’t dislike the Vekoma Flyer, but since I already had ridden the same ride when it was at Six Flags Worlds of Adventure in 2002, I opted to skip it for more rides on the more unique coasters. Since I had a Fast Lane, I could have/should have ridden it at least once.

It was better than S:UF (what flyer isn't?) but I still don't like flyers in general

9) Woodstock Express – 1 Ride

I know, it’s another junior coaster. I don’t ride junior coasters – I say it all the time. But I will make the exception on these old Taft/John Allen coasters. When I approached the ride the line was long, with most of the switchbacks full. I turned away a bit disappointed. I decided that I was just going to have to pass it up, since there was no way I was going to wait over 30 minutes for a junior coaster. I figured I’d be back at some point, perhaps with my kids.

Oh no, you didn't! LOL!

6) Back Lot Stunt Coaster – 1 Ride

These are fun rides. The line was very long for it, probably because it got a late start on the day. But this seems like a very popular ride among guests of all ages. I’m glad I had the Fast Lane. I had a one train wait. Everyone else was probably waiting at least 45 minutes. I just didn’t have that kind of time. Had I not had the Fast Lane, I would have skipped this ride.

The launch is great, and the parking garage triple upward helix is powerful. It’s got a great illusion of speed as you whiz past walls and objects. The fire is a cool affect, and the second launch is a total blast. The dark portion of the ride is very disorienting, and the pop through the billboard has some nice air. This ride is a winner.


And is in MUCH better condition than it's twin at KD - they have virtually none of the special effects working and it was horrible. I really liked the one at KI and was very disappointed at KD's version.

5) Vortex – 3 Rides

The loops are very strong, easily the most powerful set of Arrow double loops I’ve experienced. What follows the loops is just WRONG. You climb into that flat turn that is just WAY TOO TIGHT! I couldn’t believe it when I first experienced it. That is a mean turn, and slamming the mid-course brakes on you immediately after it is just pure evil. It was great.

LMAO!

4) Flight Deck – 2 Rides

Flight Deck is the newest of the Arrow suspended coasters. I find it interesting that Kings Island built the first one, and the last one of these models. Logic would have you believe that Flight Deck should then be around the longest. I hope that’s the case, because it was a lot of fun.

I hope you're right - this was the one ride I missed on my trip there - a bad storm passed through and they never reopened it :~(

1) Diamondback – 11 Rides

All I’ve ever heard about Diamondback is that it is “ok”. I have to disagree. I don’t usually ride a ride that many times on a single trip, but I just couldn’t get enough of it. Diamondback is a great ride, and is easily the best roller coaster in the park.

People may think that Diamondback isn’t very intense – that there are no positive G’s. That may be the case, but this thing has negative G’s to spare – some of the best I’ve ever experienced on a B&M.

This ride is a real people eater. It simply devours queues. As soon as the train is ready, it is sent. The ride operators are quick to check the simple restraints. Even if the line backed up, the wait is not long. I love that in a coaster.

Agree 100% - I really liked Diamondback but I'm also all about the negative G's! And that line is do deceiving - no matter how long it is it moves fast - the ride ops do a great job on that one for sure.

Well, I’ve finally been to Kings Island. It becomes park number 57 for me. I can’t believe it took me 56 parks to get to this place. If I had a top 10 of amusement parks, Kings Island would surely have a spot there. Clean, great rides, great operations, well-placed rides – again, the folks at Kings Island are pros.

Awesome TR and pics! Glad you had a great time. I really want to go back there but that drive was horrible and I had car trouble on the way (it was over 100 F, I had my 2 rabbits with me and one of my fuel injectors died but didn't know that was what happened at the time) so that sticks in my head and deters me a bit from a return trip while I still have the same car, LOL. I will go back someday because I, like you, really loved that park.

Jen

Oh, and when did they paint Invertigo? It was pink and yellow when I went.

* This post was modified at 8/14/12 9:45:25 PM *

Re: Kings Island First Time Trip Report and Review - With Photos by d-lo775 d-lo775 Profile at 8/14/12 9:59:51 PM
Awesome report, I'm glad that we got a chance to meet and grab a few rides together. I've been to KI about 300 times since I moved to Mason, 5 years ago and honestly it had become very stale and boring to me this season. It was somewhat rejuvenating for me to visit the park with someone who was there for the first time. To see your excitement and hear your opinions of the park made those few hours very enjoyable.

I just have one question for you. Did the shot glass make it through the day or did it become a casualty?

Re: Kings Island First Time Trip Report and Review - With Photos by drachen drachen Profile at 8/14/12 10:20:13 PM
GoYanks34 said:

Awesome TR and pics! Glad you had a great time. I really want to go back there but that drive was horrible

Jen

Oh, and when did they paint Invertigo? It was pink and yellow when I went.

Thanks Jen. I used to hate the PA turnpike, but now I really enjoy it. It's been greatly improved over the years, and western PA is gorgeous up in the mountains.

I'm sorry to hear that Knott's hasn't implemented their Fast Lane as well. I hope that's not the case at the other Cedar Fair parks. It was really nice at Kings Island.

To answer you question, they painted Invertigo this past off season. Kings Island is good about keeping their rides fresh looking it seems. It's the same color as Dorney's Stinger.

Thanks for reading!

drachen
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.87 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.57 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28%
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Re: Kings Island First Time Trip Report and Review - With Photos by drachen drachen Profile at 8/14/12 10:23:37 PM
frontrow said:

Great TR drachen. I have visited Kings Island numerous times, being that I pass it when I go to the boat. I'm glad to hear The Beast is running well this year. That coaster is hit or miss.

I'm glad you liked the park. Kings Island for me is a good park, but not great. I probably don't rate it as high because I've been there so many times.

I can totally see how Beast is hit or miss. There has been a good been of work done on it recently, and I thought it was running very well, even with those awful trims.

I get what you're saying about parks getting stale. We tend to find things we don't like about the places we are most familiar with. Meanwhile, new parks seem better than they probably are if we had a great first visit.

I guess I'll just have to re-visit the park...

drachen
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.87 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.57 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28%
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Re: Kings Island First Time Trip Report and Review - With Photos by drachen drachen Profile at 8/14/12 10:30:36 PM
d-lo775 said:

Awesome report, I'm glad that we got a chance to meet and grab a few rides together. I've been to KI about 300 times since I moved to Mason, 5 years ago and honestly it had become very stale and boring to me this season. It was somewhat rejuvenating for me to visit the park with someone who was there for the first time. To see your excitement and hear your opinions of the park made those few hours very enjoyable.


I just have one question for you. Did the shot glass make it through the day or did it become a casualty?

Thanks man. And thanks again for the good time. I wouldn't have had half the fun without your hospitality. I mentioned you in the post, but I forgot to mention that I had also met gad198 at the park.

You guys make URC users number two and three that I've met in person. The last person I met from URC was back in 1998. Since I prefer to remain anonymous online, I don't usually reach out to other members. But you guys weren't so bad...

Thanks for the shot glass too. It did make it back in one piece, and it matches the four I bought.

drachen
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.87 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.57 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28%
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Re: Kings Island First Time Trip Report and Review - With Photos by Geauga_Dog Geauga_Dog Profile at 8/14/12 11:12:07 PM
Awesome TR, drachen! Too bad I didn't know you were coming as I would have taken the 3.5 hour drive down to meet up. But I'm glad you finally got to visit.

I do want to mention here that I did make a point to stop at my favorite burger joint in the Midwest – Culver’s. I hadn’t had it since September. So stinking good.

I'm going to have to check this place out. A lot of people seem to rave about this place. Where is one located by KI?

Eiffel Tower is a great attraction. At both Kings Dominion and Kings Island, I wish I could bring a lawn chair with me and just sit up there and watch the roller coasters run.

I could do the same thing all day. I could spend hours up there.

I was sure to ride Windseeker, since I didn’t make it to any Cedar Fair parks last year to ride one. The ride isn’t terribly thrilling, but I found it to be very enjoyable. The view is spectacular, and the music adds a nice touch.

Your photos are stunning, especially of the one of Vortex. The view of Racer directly below you is also pretty cool and you can actually see the brake shed on Beast from up there.

I haven’t ridden a Huss Giant Frisbee, so I had to give Delirium a spin. I was really impressed with the quick operations. The ride was fun, but it wasn’t as intense as I thought it would be. It didn’t swing as high as I thought either. Have they shortened the ride cycle?

I didn't get to ride it on my most recent visit a couple weeks ago but from what I could tell the ride cycle hasn't changed. It also didn't seem to go up as high as when it first opened but it did just reopen after a recent bout of down time. I love the giant frisbees but I felt that Black Widow at Kennywood offers a slightly better ride than the Huss model.

I loved Drop Zone. I have yet to ride Kings Dominions, since it was closed on both of my visits.

I feel that Kings Dominion's has just a slight bit more intensity than KI's but both Drop Towers are excellent rides. Did you get to notice any construction equipment around SOB while up there?

Flying ACE Aerial Chase – 1 Ride

I actually took a spin on this during early morning ERT on my recent visit and I agree with you, it's got a little bit of bang and rattle on the train but, as you said, it's not a bad little ride. The line for this ride gets outrageously long so you picked a good time to ride it.

Invertigo – 1 Ride

Good job in picking it as your first ride as the line for this gets insane, which is why I don't ride it as much as I'd like since it is one of my favorite Vekomas.

Vortex – 3 Rides

As for the ride, it is WICKED. It is MEAN.

Despite being one of my favorite Arrows, Vortex really seemed to be a bit more wicked as it is showing its age this year IMO. I always sit in the back mainly because of that tight turn you mentioned - it's much more tolerable than up towards the front, as well as that nice pop of air you get on the first drop.

Now with SOB getting terminated if KI were to put in a big B&M multi-looper I'd think Vortex would lose some of its popularity. It is a marquee attraction, one that I always felt helped define Kings Island, but how much longer will those trains last?

The Beast – 5 Rides

Beast doesn’t have a queue just for the front seat. They should probably do that.

One thing I've really started to hate is how they limit the people in the station to one train load on the Beast. I can understand why they do it plus it doesn't really bother me on the other coasters but it irks me on this particular ride.

Did you have to wait until the fireworks were over? They shut down the ride for fireworks and reopen right afterwards.

Otherwise Beast seems to be running very well this year with all the work they've put into it. Maybe they'll get it to a point where the trim brakes aren't needed to be on as strong.

Diamondback – 11 Rides

I’ll start with the only negative first, because everything else is positive. The trains have a slight rattle to them. That is all.

I don't know if it was just me but it seemed liek the train had a lot more rattle on my last visit than I can remember, especially from the turnaround to the mid-course brake.

Thanks to d-lo775, who prefers the front of the train, I was able to get to the ride at 9am for ERT. What a fun morning that was! We rode it 6 times that morning, almost all in a row. If I lived in the area, I’d have a season pass just for the hour of free rides with no wait. The best part of the morning ERT? The park still had three trains running.

I have the Gold Season Pass and it is so worth it to get there early for morning ERT. Diamondback is one heck of a wake up call. BTW, do you remember if they had Invertigo or Drop Tower open for early ERT?

Diamondback’s first drop is phenomenal. It’s very steep, and it really tries to dump you out in the back of the train.

I prefer sitting towards the back, which is hard to do since they assign seats. Diamondback is probably the closest to Raging Bull for that feeling of being yanked out of your seat in the back.

I love D-back. I hope their next addition will be equally as great.

G-Dog

Re: Kings Island First Time Trip Report and Review - With Photos by d-lo775 d-lo775 Profile at 8/15/12 12:24:30 AM
Geauga_Dog said:

I'm going to have to check this place out. A lot of people seem to rave about this place. Where is one located by KI?

Just go south on KI drive and make a right turn before the entrance to I-71 south ramp, it's about 3 miles west on that road (Western Row turns into Tylersville Rd.)it is next to the 747 ft. WLW, Blaw-Knox radio tower. You can't miss it, if you do you probably have no business driving.

I feel that Kings Dominion's has just a slight bit more intensity than KI's but both Drop Towers are excellent rides.

I like it better because my fat a** can still fit into KD's drop tower, I'm not as lucky with KI's version.

I don't know if it was just me but it seemed liek the train had a lot more rattle on my last visit than I can remember, especially from the turnaround to the mid-course brake.

It's not just you. There is far more rattle in it this year than previously and it's more noticeable throughout the entire ride. The green train seems to be the worst of the three.

BTW, do you remember if they had Invertigo or Drop Tower open for early ERT?

It has been drop tower for about the last month, at least.

I prefer sitting towards the back, which is hard to do since they assign seats.

I haven't seen them assign seats on Diamondback, since they started the fast pass system.

Re: Kings Island First Time Trip Report and Review - With Photos by Overbanked Overbanked Profile at 8/15/12 12:42:36 AM
Great photo TR Drachen. Sounds like you had a blast. Boy that fast pass sure pays off, with all of those rides that you got in, 5 rides on Beast and 11 on Diamondback, wow!
Re: Kings Island First Time Trip Report and Review - With Photos by ray_p ray_p Profile at 8/15/12 2:02:48 PM
Outstanding TR, drachen. Great pictures as well. I am making a day trip to a "yet-to-be determined" amusement park and Kings Island was on that list. Reading this report has definitely bumped them up there with Seabreeze for where I want to go. I have heard that Diamondback is running great this year. I wasn't overly impressed when I first rode back in 2009. Perhaps it's time to give it another try.

And to anyone who hasn't been to a Culver's, in my opinion it is one of the best (if not THE best) fast food restaurant out there. Unfortunately the closest ones to me are both 2.5 hrs away, but the food is worth the drive. Their pot roast meal is delicious, their fried cod dinner is equally awesome, and their fried chicken is far better than KFC's (although still nowhere near as good as Lee's Famous Recipe). Their frozen custard is also a must have.

Thanks again for the TR. Great stuff as always.

Re: Kings Island First Time Trip Report and Review - With Photos by mugen828 mugen828 Profile at 8/16/12 1:59:48 PM
drachen said:

mugen828 said:

All I have to say is....WOW! I read a lot of that but not all of it. A great review non the less, hell, an AWESOME review.


That park isn't mentioned a lot in coaster talk per say...of course The Beast is talked about, and now the dismantling of SOB, but as a whole, that park is overlooked.

So glad you had a good day, and yep, fast pass was the way to go in your case. I am a sucker for B&M Hyepers, so I will be out there someday soon. Maybe next year though.

Glad you had a great time and awesome pictures :D

Thanks mugen. I definitely recommend it. If you're a fan of Nitro, and I know you are, I think you'll really like Diamondback.


Where is my "like" button?! haha you know me so well! :p

- mugen828
157 Coasters -- Favorite Coaster -- Nitro (SFGAdv)
117 Steel -- 40 Wood -- Home Park: SFGADv
Re: Kings Island First Time Trip Report and Review - With Photos by Fatsoccerguy191 Fatsoccerguy191 Profile at 8/17/12 3:18:11 PM
Kings Island is a very nice park. I liked your Windseeker pictures. How do you post pictures in your post anyway?. Im having trouble with that :P
Re: Kings Island First Time Trip Report and Review - With Photos by drachen drachen Profile at 8/31/12 1:39:45 PM
Fatsoccerguy191 said:

Kings Island is a very nice park. I liked your Windseeker pictures. How do you post pictures in your post anyway?. Im having trouble with that :P

Sorry, I'm just getting to all of these responses. I'll try to get to everyone today.

To post a pic, the image needs to be online already. You copy the image url and paste in in the post with the tags ["img"] and ["/img"], but without the quotation marks.

drachen
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.87 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.57 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28%
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Re: Kings Island First Time Trip Report and Review - With Photos by leviathan leviathan Profile at 8/31/12 2:55:07 PM
Wow...nice TR! It took a while to get through it all but it was worth it. My wife and I have not been to KI in several years. In fact, we had the pleasure of riding Son of Beast in its original state...that is the last time we visited.

I agree with much of your assessment...Vortex has always been my favorite Arrow looper. It is just a monster. And Beast...oh Beast...what can we say about Beast that has not already been said? I think it should classify as a totally separate coaster at night! That would help our coaster numbers, right? Beast Day and Beast Night!

I agree that the trims are a bit excessive but really, the last 2 don't bother me that much. In fact, I can't imagine taking the helix at full speed! The trim on the first drop bothers me and the next one REALLY bothers me. A trim on the first drop just sets the tone for the rest of the ride, even if the rest is good. It really alters the entire ride, even if only a little. And lets face it, the first drop is often the best!

Having ridden Behemoth at Canada's Wonderland and thinking so highly of it, I so look forward to riding Diamondback. The two coasters have their similarities but DB seems to have a better layout, which can only be a good thing.

Thanks for the read...I enjoyed it and look forward to a future trip!