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Ultimate Rollercoaster > Discussion Forums > Roller Coasters, Parks & Attractions > Trip Report: Kings Island (10/21/2012)

Trip Report: Kings Island (10/21/2012)

ray_p ray_p Profile

Posted:
10/23/12 at
11:43:05 AM

Place: Kings Island (Mason, OH)
Date: Sunday October 21, 2012
Weather: Sunny with a high in the low 60’s
Crowds: Low to moderate
Closed Rides: Congo Falls and White Water Canyon
Partly Demolished Rides: Son of Beast

With amusement park season just about over for those of us in the Northeast states, I decided to get one last use out of my Cedar Fair season pass and made the 4+ hour trek south to Kings Island. With the weather being cool and the fall colors in full bloom, it made for a terrific day at one of America’s most popular theme parks.

I arrived at Kings Island around 10:20 am, parked a few rows away from the main gate and headed in. The International Street entryway still ranks very highly on my list of best park entrances (as does Canada’s Wonderland and Kings Dominion). The fountain and Eiffel Tower create a very nice atmosphere that sets the stage for the rest of your day at the park. I flashed my Platinum Pass at the early entry point near the entrance to Planet Snoopy and decided to start my day on a kid’s ride.

That kid’s ride would be Boo Blasters on Boo Hill. Now, I like Kings Island quite a bit. It has always been a park that I have enjoyed visiting. But this ride stinks. I wasn’t a big fan when it was a Scooby Doo dark ride, but this new generic theme is even worse. Cardboard cutouts abound, the guns in my car didn’t seem to work (I know I can do way better than 120 points), and I didn’t get any sense of excitement in trying to get the props to trigger as they weren’t very elaborate. I’m not a huge proponent of Kennywood’s Ghostwood Estate, but that ride is WAY better than this. It pains me to see such a lame ride occupy the building that once housed such awesomeness as Smurf’s Enchanted Voyage and Phantom Theater. I know this is a kid’s ride though and the kids definitely seemed to be enjoying it, so I will stop my complaining.

Next stop, Diamondback. When I rode Diamondback in its inaugural season of 2009, I wasn’t overly impressed. Three years later, I have a new #3 steel coaster. I don’t know if it is just my personal preferences changing or what, but Diamondback was absolutely awesome this year. The first drop was great, the floating airtime on the second and third hills seemed like it lasted forever, and while the return leg after the mid-course brake wasn’t quite as intense as the first half, it’s still one heck of a ride. Diamondback was definitely my highlight of the day as I rode two more times, once near the front and once near the back. I thought towards the front offered more sustained air on the outbound trip while the back seemed to have more airtime on the return leg. Flying through the 50 degree air and watching the fall colors fly past made for a memorable experience. If I had to rank the B&M hypers that I’ve been on, I’d have to say that Leviathan is #1, Diamondback #2, Apollo’s Chariot #3, Behemoth #4, and Raging Bull #5. I’m still in awe over how great my rides on Diamondback were.

With the park now open to the GP, I wandered through Rivertown to ride an old favorite, the legendary Beast. The Beast was my first ever #1 roller coaster back when I was a kid and to this day still ranks as one of my favorite wood coasters, even if it isn’t quite as intense as it used to be. Beast was running relatively well on my visit. The climb up the first lift seemed to take an eternity as the lift was running in extra slow-motion and then stopped the train for about 20 seconds near the top before we eventually began our descent. The Beast’s first drop is so severely braked that you don’t really get going until the train reaches the tunnel. I know I’m exaggerating a bit there, but you do feel the brake down about halfway down the first drop. Once the train speeds through the first tunnel, it begins to gain a serious amount of speed before slowing down again in the “shed” straightaway portion. After briefly slowing, the train REALLY starts to haul through more stretches of track deep in the Kings Island woods before finally flying about halfway up the second chain lift. The ride’s finale has always been a favorite of mine as the train tears through a tunneled double helix. Laterals here are crazy and I actually thought that this portion seemed much smoother than my last ride in 2009. While I have become a Ravine Flyer II fanboy in recent years, Beast will always have a place as one of my top woodies. What other wooden coaster goes for nearly 4 minutes through a densely-wooded setting? A real classic in my opinion.

I walked past Backlot Stunt Coaster, debating if I should ride or not. It took all of 1 second to decide to keep on walking towards Flight Of Fear. Flight of Fear was a walk-on and what an incredible ride I had. I must be getting old because once the train returned to the unloading area, I had no idea what the heck just happened. I had to sit down afterwards because my head was spinning. The launch was quick and forceful. It was pretty dark in the “drum” area as the train twisted, turned and looped through the course, and while the mid-course brake was on quite hard, it didn’t take long for the ride to pick up speed once again en route to the awesome corkscrew element. This final inversion always feels like you will be pitched from the train! Flight Of Fear is a very underrated ride and has become a must-ride on any visit to Kings Island.

I backtracked to Vortex next to ride another coaster that I once ranked as my #1 ride. Vortex was also a walk-on and this Arrow multi-looper is still running pretty well for its age. I have always liked Vortex’s first drop. It seems much steeper than the 55 degrees that it actually is. The double loop section is pretty smooth and then the train comes to a near stop on the mid-course brake, which results in a VERY slow trip through the highly-elevated double corkscrew section. The boomerang turn completes the inversions before whizzing through a 360-degree helix at the end. I didn’t find Vortex to be rough at all and actually thought it was quite good. The orange paint is looking a bit faded, but that’s a minor complaint for an otherwise excellent ride.

I continued my mad dash across the park to beat the lines by walking briskly to the Action Zone area and hopped aboard Drop Tower. I had to wait one cycle, which is roughly about a 3 minute wait or so. There’s something about KI’s Drop Tower that makes it one of my favorites. I think it’s the fact that the ring actually revolves on the way up like the old Gyro Observation Towers. You get a gorgeous view of the entire park and surrounding area, and the view of the fall leaves was breathtaking. As the ring nears top of the tower, it slows a bit, stops at the very top, and then you wait. After what seemed like minutes, the ring drops and it feels like you are falling for about 30 seconds before you finally hit the ground, but in reality, it’s only a 3 second drop. Drop Tower may have a stupid name, but you can’t beat the true adrenaline rush it provides!

While in the Action Zone, I headed over to Flight Deck, one of the few remaining Arrow suspended coasters left, and the second suspended coaster to operate at Kings Island after the Bat was closed in 1984. Walking the 12 miles to the Flight Deck loading platform, I stopped and paid my respects to Son of Beast, whose lift hill and first drop are still standing. I know I was in the minority, but I always liked SoB and was sad to see it being destroyed. In any case, Flight Deck is awesome. It’s a short and sweet ride that flies through the course and has the hanging cars swinging like crazy. I rode this ride’s clone at Canada’s Wonderland back in May and enjoyed it, however I give Flight Deck the edge. It seemed smoother than CW’s Vortex and has an awesome setting way back in the woods of the park. I will never understand why these rides never caught on. They are thrilling and are sort of family-friendly. I will ride this while I can as I’m sure it too will be reaching the “end of its serviceable life” soon…

I ended my coasting with a trip on Adventure Express, which has to be one of the best mine train coasters I have been on. The Indiana Jones-like theme of the ride is well-executed as the train flies through skeleton-infested tunnels and past other neat props. The speed of Adventure Express is pretty nice too as the train navigates through many twists and turns before climbing the infamous enclosed tunnel lined with tiki gods pounding on drums and an evil tiki god at the top of the hill that threatens you with a booming “Now you will PAYYYYY!”. The ride ends after that, which still makes me laugh that they have this awesome build up only to result in the train rolling into the station. Regardless, AE is a wonderful ride that I hope lasts a long time at Kings Island. I give major props to KI for the upkeep of the special effects as well. Cedar Fair has never been one to maintain theming on their rides (Disaster Transport comes to mind), but it seemed like all the effects were in good working order and the sound effects from when the ride debuted were still being used also. Great stuff!

My final ride would be an elevator ride up to the Eiffel Tower observation deck. I REALLY wish more parks had something like this. It’s so nice to be able to take your time and just look at the park from the top without having to rush. I know I keep mentioning the fall colors, but from up here they were absolutely amazing and the park looked stunning. I could have spent a few hours up here just looking down at the park.

I had considered riding Racer, but the lines were starting to grow and the ride wasn’t racing, so I passed. I also can’t bring myself to ride Firehawk since the last time I visited a park and rode a former Geauga Lake ride, I got very angry and it pretty much ruined my visit. So I took a lap or two around the park and shot some very shaky video footage. I SO need a dedicated video camera for 2013. The image stabilization on my point and shoot digital camera is non-existent.

While I didn’t spend a lot of time at the park, the time I did spend there was highly enjoyable and my opinion of KI’s coaster collection has improved immensely, mostly due to Diamondback, but also in part due to Flight of Fear. Those are two amazing coasters that I need to try and get to more often. With big plans rumored for Son of Beast’s spot in 2014, I will definitely have to return.

Video is attached below. If you prone to motion sickness or seizures, you may not want to watch… ;) Thanks for reading.

Re: Trip Report: Kings Island (10/21/2012) by drachen drachen Profile at 10/23/12 12:56:22 PM
Thanks Ray! I always enjoy the read and videos.

I have to say, I agree completely with your assessment of Diamondback. All I ever heard was that it was "ok". In actuality, it is phenomenal. It's the best B&M mega coaster I've ridden, especially considering how sluggish Nitro was last week.

I appreciate your thoughts on the Beast. I feel the same way about that one too. If those trims could just be tweaked, Beast would push for a top spot on my list. I HATE long strips of trim brakes. Spread them out along the course so we don't feel them so much.

I share your thoughts on Vortex too. What a great ride, and a great looking ride. I shot some HD footage of it as well from the top of the tower. I posted it to Facebook. I don't have a YouTube account, so I don't know how to post it here.

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=336024723158016&set=vb.100002514735421&type=2&theater

Thanks again. I'm glad you were able to make it back down. I'm assuming you stopped at Culver's, correct?

* This post was modified at 10/23/12 1:46:25 PM *

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: Trip Report: Kings Island (10/21/2012) by MABrider MABrider Profile at 10/23/12 8:17:57 PM
Another nice one, Ray!

I always picture myself tagging along as you walk, backtrack, meander along and make those mad dashes.
And do some riding, too!

One of these days...

Mike B.

Mike B.
Re: Trip Report: Kings Island (10/21/2012) by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 10/23/12 9:46:36 PM
Awesome TR and video Ray! I want to go back SO bad now. I'm planning the trip to there and CP next year in my head as I type this LOL. I agree with just about everything you've said. I always liked Diamondback and never understood those that didn't, yet liked AC and Nitro. And you all know how I feel about that AMAZING Drop Tower. I can't go on it until later in the day or else I'll never leave it.

It never ceases to amaze me how graceful Arrow loopers look and how violent they can feel! Vortex is definitely one of the better ones though IMO.

Glad you had a good time.

Jen

Re: Trip Report: Kings Island (10/21/2012) by ray_p ray_p Profile at 10/24/12 6:45:21 AM
Drachen- Surprisingly, I did not stop at Culver's. I decided to try Raising Cane's in Columbus. I should have went to Culver's... ;)

Mike B- We definitely need to get to a park next year. Perhaps even get Jeff to go along. And I will do my best to not be in "flash mode" as I call it where I am running from ride to ride like a hyperactive kid!

Jen- Nice to see I'm not the only one who likes Drop Tower. While Waldameer's ARM model is still my favorite drop tower ride out there, Kings Island's just seems like you are falling forever and knowing that you are as high as the people on the Eiffel Tower is just crazy!

Thanks to everyone for the feedback!

Re: Trip Report: Kings Island (10/21/2012) by frontrow frontrow Profile at 10/24/12 1:44:00 PM
Great TR and video Ray. We ended up.going to Kings Dominion on Sunday instead of Kings Island. I'm going to write a TR hopefully later today. I guess Diamondback is getting better. I think I have around 50 rides on 5 different days in 2009 and 2010. Haven't been to Kings Island this year or last year. I always felt the first 2 hills of Diamondback were awesome, then the ride was mediocre at best. Very little air time after thos first 2 drops. I guess it's starting to run better this year. I'll have to visit next year and check it out. The Beast is a really good coaster if it's riding smooth, which one year it will be, then the next year it's rough. I know you didn't stay at the park all day, but how were the crowds in the afternoon? I noticed you didn't ride all the coasters. Just wondering if the crowds had anything to do with that.
Re: Trip Report: Kings Island (10/21/2012) by augustus35 augustus35 Profile at 10/25/12 12:45:05 PM
The Beast; however, I like the in backwards Racers very much, but since it's been modified so they both go ahead, that drive is off the record now.
Re: Trip Report: Kings Island (10/21/2012) by ray_p ray_p Profile at 10/25/12 3:29:17 PM
frontrow said:

I know you didn't stay at the park all day, but how were the crowds in the afternoon? I noticed you didn't ride all the coasters. Just wondering if the crowds had anything to do with that.

The crowds were getting a little bigger by the time I left, but from what I could tell, they still weren't anything major. Racer had only one train (there may have been two, but they were both on the same side), Backlot's line stretched into the final section of the covered queue with three trains running, and Diamondback's line looked to be in the 10-15 minute range... so nothing was really a super long wait. Well, I take that back. Flight of Fear's line was outside the building, but I don't know how many switchbacks were in use on the inside.

With it being a 4.5 hour ride home (which turned into 5+ thanks to traffic on I-71 north of Columbus), I didn't spend more than a few hours there, however the time I did spend was great and I definitely need to get back sometime in the next 2 years.

Re: Trip Report: Kings Island (10/21/2012) by Coaster316 at 10/26/12 10:39:13 AM
Hi Ray,

Great trip report and video, as usual.

Sad to see you are still wrong about Backlot Stunt Coaster (Backlot Montaña Truco, Backlot Stos Zeljeznica, Coaster Kaskaderów Backlot, Montagnes Cascadeur Backlot). I was hoping you would come around on that.

Totally agree with you on Flight Deck and Adventure Express. That is an awesome 1-2 punch in fun coasters in one section of a park. One of the best combos, perhaps.

Glad you made it out to KI, thanks for sharing the report and video, and hopefully we can plan something with Mike and anyone else next year.

Re: Trip Report: Kings Island (10/21/2012) by MABrider MABrider Profile at 10/26/12 5:40:58 PM
Coaster316 said:

and hopefully we can plan something with Mike and anyone else next year.

Yeah, Ray said two years, but I say, "why wait?"
:-)

Then again, every year is different, and there is always a park or two I want to get to, whether a first time visit or simply because it has been too long between visits to others.
KI will be in that latter category for me next year, at three years.
I was last there when Diamondback was new...and I loved it.

I hear there is "something" I might like being constructed at SDC :-) ...I've never been to Branson...so that could become a priority.

Why oh why do the years go by faster as I get older and slower!
:-(

Mike B.

Mike B.
Re: Trip Report: Kings Island (10/21/2012) by ray_p ray_p Profile at 10/26/12 6:41:20 PM
^ It definitely doesn't have to be a KI visit next year, Mike (although I wouldn't complain if it was!). We can figure out something I'm sure. Knoebels has been on my list since they added Black Diamond...

And to Jeff, thank you, merci, and gracias for your comments. I can only say it in three different languages because I am too lazy to look up the others. :)

Re: Trip Report: Kings Island (10/21/2012) by LoneStar LoneStar Profile at 10/27/12 9:36:46 PM
Thanks for the TR Ray. I bet the park was beautiful with the changing leaves. I've only made one visit to KI and loved every minute of it.

[quoteThe International Street entryway still ranks very highly on my list of best park entrances (as does Canada’s Wonderland and Kings Dominion). The fountain and Eiffel Tower create a very nice atmosphere that sets the stage for the rest of your day at the park.

Agreed. That is an impressive view, and no other parks have put so much effort into their entry plazas. Photos are always amazing


That kid’s ride would be Boo Blasters on Boo Hill. Now, I like Kings Island quite a bit. It has always been a park that I have enjoyed visiting. But this ride stinks. I wasn’t a big fan when it was a Scooby Doo dark ride, but this new generic theme is even worse. Cardboard cutouts abound, the guns in my car didn’t seem to work (I know I can do way better than 120 points), and I didn’t get any sense of excitement in trying to get the props to trigger as they weren’t very elaborate.

Sorry you didn't enjoy it. I love Scooby's Ghostblasters at SFFT (didn't they have that at KI too?) I find them fun and entertaining. Kind of like Gobbler Getaway. Sorry this one is cheap.

Next stop, Diamondback. When I rode Diamondback in its inaugural season of 2009, I wasn’t overly impressed. Three years later, I have a new #3 steel coaster.

I've yet to have a temendous ride on a B&M hyper, but I haven't ridden Diamondback yet. I hope I have a good as a ride as you did.


The Beast’s first drop is so severely braked that you don’t really get going until the train reaches the tunnel. I know I’m exaggerating a bit there, but you do feel the brake down about halfway down the first drop. Once the train speeds through the first tunnel, it begins to gain a serious amount of speed before slowing down again in the “shed” straightaway portion. After briefly slowing, the train REALLY starts to haul through more stretches of track deep in the Kings Island woods before finally flying about halfway up the second chain lift. The ride’s finale has always been a favorite of mine as the train tears through a tunneled double helix. Laterals here are crazy and I actually thought that this portion seemed much smoother than my last ride in 2009.

Too bad this woodie has been castrted like so many others. I still loved it back in 2006. And the helix is th best finale on any coaster I have ever ridden.

Flight Of Fear is a very underrated ride and has become a must-ride on any visit to Kings Island.

While I liked FOF, I prefer the outdoor versions. Ever been on Poltergeist or Joker's Jinx? The have no MCBR and the visuals are unbelievable. Awesome head choppers.


I backtracked to Vortex next to ride another coaster that I once ranked as my #1 ride. Vortex was also a walk-on and this Arrow multi-looper is still running pretty well for its age. I have always liked Vortex’s first drop. It seems much steeper than the 55 degrees that it actually is. The double loop section is pretty smooth and then the train comes to a near stop on the mid-course brake, which results in a VERY slow trip through the highly-elevated double corkscrew section. The boomerang turn completes the inversions before whizzing through a 360-degree helix at the end.

I love Vortex! I've admitted to loving many Arrow loopers, too. Vortex is amazing, and I love how you described it. Unlike most Arrow loopers, I love how slowly the coaster works through the corkscrews. The track is so high off the ground it gives awesome visuals.

In any case, Flight Deck is awesome. It’s a short and sweet ride that flies through the course and has the hanging cars swinging like crazy. I rode this ride’s clone at Canada’s Wonderland back in May and enjoyed it, however I give Flight Deck the edge. It seemed smoother than CW’s Vortex and has an awesome setting way back in the woods of the park. I will never understand why these rides never caught on. They are thrilling and are sort of family-friendly. I will ride this while I can as I’m sure it too will be reaching the “end of its serviceable life” soon…

I'd hate to see another Arrow suspended go. These rides are so much fun. I wish we would see the concept build on new technology and parks open more suspended coasters. Flight Deck was a fun one. Too bad Eagles Fortress is gone. That was an unbelievable coasters.


Thanks for the TR Ray.

- Pat-O

Re: Trip Report: Kings Island (10/21/2012) by Coaster316 at 10/28/12 7:14:42 PM
MABrider said:

I hear there is "something" I might like being constructed at SDC :-) ...I've never been to Branson...so that could become a priority.

Weather, office and home permitting, I'm scheduled to fly out to Missouri on Thursday night. After a night at a St. Louis casino I'm on my way to Branson for SDC's Christmas celebration next weekend. Can't wait.

- Jeff