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Ultimate Rollercoaster > Discussion Forums > Roller Coasters, Parks & Attractions > TR: Kings Dominion [04.10.13]

TR: Kings Dominion [04.10.13]

CortexBomb CortexBomb Profile

Posted:
10/5/13 at
9:10:28 AM

TR: Kings Dominion [04.10.13]

This will be a somewhat abbreviated TR (edit: or NOT!), but I haven't been to the park in ages and I think the last TR I did for the park, which was almost a decade ago now, has long since been eaten by the URC archive removal policy.

Even since I rode Skyrush and was impressed by it I'd been wanting to head to KD to ride what is often cited as its closest existing relative, i305. The ride, of course, was down for most of the Summer, but when I found out it was open again for the Fall I prioritized a side trip to Doswell to get some circuits.

This time of the year is the start of the Halloween Haunt, and I opted to visit on a Friday evening rather than a full day of operations banking on sparse attendance because it's early in October. That paid off in spades as the park was very, very light all Friday and I was able to get scads of rides as almost everything was a walk-on for much of the night.

A couple of general words. Though the theming of the park has been generified (a word...go with me) by Cedar Fair, the general feel and layout of the park remains similar to what it was under the Paramount regime. Cedar Fair doesn't seem to have done much to help or hinder, which I think is about all one could ask of an already high quality park.

I'd been on most of the rides before, but I'll offer impressions for the sake o' the TR.

One thing about Halloween dark theming though, it can make navigating an unfamiliar park difficult. As far as I could tell Outer Limit wasn't operating, as it had a dark maze inside the building (which was fine, but not what I thought I was queuing for!) and I couldn't tell if either Grizzly or Hurler were actually operating.


Anaconda (1 ride, front, walk-on):
I have something of a soft spot for these old Arrow head bangers. Not such a soft spot that I give up common sense and ride anywhere but the front, but they are, at this point, kind of a throwback, and the bigger ones are starting to be removed; so I try to ride them again after avoiding them actively for a number of years. Anaconda is one of the medium sized ones, and tends to suffer from the general problem that these rides have, a lot of shuffling and a general slow train speed. I do still like the batwing element, which takes me back to the original Steel Phantom, but in general the meandering portions of the course are both too slow to be all that good, and too shuffly to be really enjoyable. OK, maybe I don't have that much of an actual soft spot for them. :laugh:

Former Italian Job (2 rides, walk-on):
Strangely satisfying is all I can really say. I like zippy smaller coasters, and the elements and course of these rides, even with weaker theming, are still enjoyable for me. In some ways the forces remind me of a mouse combined with a more true mini twister. Nice air pops and good sustained speed. Small coaster winner.

Volcano (1 ride, walk-on):
The last time I was at then PKD, Volcano was the star of the show. I remember being surprised at how fast it was at the end, and hating the wait. Well, one thing taken care of at least! The overall ride experience and launch here is still good, but my opinion of it hasn't worn well. I do like the visuals and location, but the general layout...well, it's not as good as I remembered. Definitely not worth the long waits that it used to have, though also worth a ride on each visit for the novelty alone.

Avalanche (1 ride, walk-on):
I love Mack bobsleds. One of the odd things is that practically every major park in Europe has one of these and they're still as rare as penguin trousers in the US. Of the modern steel bobs they're by far my favourite as the trains are comfortable and sled-like, and the courses are zippy. Good side to side action, and well worth a ride every visit.

Dominator (1 ride, walk-on):
Batman: Knight Flight was once the second best ride at then Six Flags Ohio (trailing Villain by a wide margin when they were both young) so I was happy to see it rebuilt. The setting at KD suffers in comparison to the one at SFO (where it was partially on the water) and I also miss the old SF Batman theming that made the original ride more endearing. The ride, however, is still extremely solid. I like the high curve over the station, and the general design of the ride. I also remembered to sit in the back for the nice long drop off the block which is always a highlight. Basically, I'd rather see it operating in Cleveland, but I'm glad it was rescued and re-built as it's at least the equal of other solid standouts like Medusa @ SFNJ.

i305 (~15 rides plus or minus 1, mostly walk-ons):
Well, here it was, the reason I went to the park. I went back to i305 promptly upon arrival and experienced complete walk-on conditions for the first 1.5 of my visit. The rest of the GP were busy on haunts or in the front of the park, so even single train ops didn't matter, as I was getting on every second or third train dispatched. All of my rides were in the back, as I wanted violence and power over speed and smoothness.

i305 has about the most ridiculous, undignified theme a coaster of its type can have, but it also has one of the best ride experiences, so I can overlook it ;) I just wish Cedar Fair would re-theme this thing to the retro future and give Millennium Force this Dale Earnhardt stuff! :laugh:

Like Skyrush, the ride attacks the lift, and dumps riders into an extremely powerful first curve. Unlike Skyrush it has actual solid, working restraints that keep people who shall remain nameless from being crippled for two weeks with a bad back.

The first curve is a stand-out, and I wish I could have experienced it before it was re-profiled as it was still greying me out most of the way up the first air hill which is very, very impressive. I love rides that can do this to me, and I've never been on one that can do it consistently. When the train was cold it was only a bit of tunnel vision, but once the wheels had warmed up I was getting very long, sustained grey-outs. Crazy stuff.

The layout then runs into a nice air hill through the lift hill, some extremely strong and snappy turns, a trimmed floater air hill, an abbreviated air hill that dives to the right, and then a penultimate power snap that nastily yanks the train before re-snapping to the right and onto the brake run.

Some words about the general ride experience: this thing is powerful. I don't know if I've ever noticed a coaster with such sustained positive G forces before, and I liked it. I ride everything but Skyrush hands up at all times, but here it was physically tiring to ride that way as almost all of the course is low slung turns that produce strong positive forces. Very nice.

The restraint system here is perfect for this type of ride. It is comfortable, not intrusive, and provides upper body support that Skyrush could badly use. Please Hershey, take mercy on my back and get these soft vests!

I'm actually a little on the fence about where to put the ride versus Skyrush. I like Skyrush more for the sustained violence and the fear of an angry God that it gives me, but I really like i305's grey-out turn, length, and sustained power. They both do power and turns, snaps, violence, but i305 is much more ridable owing to the restraint design. I think for a fair comparison I'd have to see vests on Skyrush, or no vests on i305, because I think they really change my impression of the rides.

I think ultimately, I need to put Eurosat back as my favourite overall steel, because it really just is my perfect steel coaster. But I don't know if I should put Skyrush or i305 at 2. They're both definitely better than SROS @ SFNE and Expedition GeForce for my tastes, but I think it's very narrow. I'll give Skyrush a nose up for the time being based on the nastiness of its air and the fact that it's the only coaster I actually fear, but they're close, very close.

In any case, it was a very solid 5 hours in the park. I'd originally intended to visit again on Saturday, but northern-dweller at heart me and 90 degree + humidity forecasts means that I was happy to get everything in that I needed on one (cooler, pleasant) evening. i305 is definitely worth the trip and makes KD a destination park to me. i305 also makes me more intrigued about the Giavanola hypers in Texas and CA respectively, which were both originally known for their power. Texas is looking like a likely Winter trip for me this year, as I have some free flights coming from Southwest, so perhaps Titan, Texas Giant, and Rattler are next on the list.

Thanks for reading!

* This post was modified at 10/5/13 9:30:24 AM *

Michael W.
209: 62 (20 CCI/GG) / 147
Voyage / Eurosat
Re: TR: Kings Dominion [04.10.13] by frontrow frontrow Profile at 10/5/13 10:22:41 AM
Great TR. It was a very entertaining read. I myself only get to Kings Dominion once every couple years, with my most recent visit last October. Intimadator 305 and Skyrush are my top 2 favorite steel coasters. I love that greying out sensation. The only other coaster that I've ridden that gives you that sensation for such a long period of time is Titan at Six Flags Over Texas. I was fortunate enough to ride I305 in it's very original form. The greying out sensation was carried a little longer, but the current form is pretty close to the original. The end of the ride in the original form was better. There were no trims and you really flew through the last part of the coarse. In the original form I305 had hard restraints, which did cause some ear banging, until you learned how to ride it. The new soft restraints are great. Even though I liked I305 in it's original form better, it still is my favorite steel coaster. After reading your report, I now want to ride I305 before the year is over.
Re: TR: Kings Dominion [04.10.13] by HamptonRoadsRider HamptonRoadsRider Profile at 10/5/13 3:48:17 PM
Nice report. Sounds like you went on a perfect day for coaster enthusiasts. Volcano no wait?? WOW!! I also love Intimidator. Definitely top 3, maybe #1 for me. I rode it before any mods were made, and the greyout was intense...first time id experienced that.Skyrush was closed when i went the HP unfortunately so i cant compare them.
Re: TR: Kings Dominion [04.10.13] by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 10/5/13 7:40:02 PM
Great entertaining TR! Generified - LOVE it! LOL!

Why can't I ever grey out??!! Everyone greys out on I-305 but me!! I want to feel what it's like so bad....

Glad you had a good time!

Jen

Re: TR: Kings Dominion [04.10.13] by beastmaster beastmaster Profile at 10/5/13 8:23:27 PM
Enjoyed the report immensely. I'm in the "dislike SkyRush" camp, although I've only ridden it once and want to give it another shot. I305 remains my #1 steel coaster. As far as graying out goes, it only used to happen to me on a coupla coasters..I305 and Nitro's helix, to be specific. As I've gotten older it happens more often. But I don't dislike the sensation.

Mike

The amusement park rises bold and stark
Kids are huddled on the beach in a mist...
Re: TR: Kings Dominion [04.10.13] by antikythera antikythera Profile at 10/6/13 12:35:39 AM
I go to Kings Dominion at least a couple times each year as it's my second home park so it's always refreshing to hear a TR, as it intrigues me more than those I haven't been to.

I've ridden 305 in all its incarnations. It's up there as one of my favorites but not my top three. I actually put Skyrush higher than 305 for the same reason you do -- the sheer rush and fear.

I haven't had a chance to marathon 305 this year due to it being down but I hope to get that chance next Saturday.

Grizzly was most likely open. It's just so 'effing hard to find now that it always looks like it's closed.

I'm surprised you didn't hit any crowds on Friday night. It's been a horrible mess the last couple of years on Friday nights -- I need some of your luck.

I used to grey out more on 305 but now it's just an uncomfortable split second feeling where I feel like my contacts are going to fall out of my eye. I have to carry rewetting drops because they dry out so much from the forces.

Too bad you weren't able to ride FOF. Still my favorite spaghetti bowl, although JJ has a special spot as it was my first coaster with inversions.

You should come back on a Sunday before the season is over if you can. It's nice to see the park decked out for the families and it'll give you a better idea of the layout so you're not stumbling everywhere should you decide to go again at night.

Nonetheless, thank you for the TR. Enjoyed reading it.

* This post was modified at 10/6/13 12:39:37 AM *

Re: TR: Kings Dominion [04.10.13] by CortexBomb CortexBomb Profile at 10/6/13 9:32:42 AM
@frontrow

Interesting, I had wondered if the trim on the back half had been added after the other reprofile work. I can see where the remaining sequence would be pretty crazy without that loss of speed as that last hard snap turn to the left is still the most powerful one on the ride!

Was the air on the mid-course hill hard, yanker air instead of the floaty air that it delivers now? I ask because I think the one area where I feel that Skyrush is clearly better than i305 is the sheer violence of its negative Gs. The first big air hill is fine on i305, as it's easily SROS quality, but Skyrush is just in another category, another order of magnitude with its negative forces.


@HamptonRoadsRider

Yep, absolutely perfect. Particularly given how hot it is down south this weekend. Short lines, pleasant temps (jeans and light t-shirt all night without sweating, awesome). Early Halloween season short nights are often good for this though, as you don't draw out a lot of non-locals. Which means more rides for us!


@GoYanks34

I actually feel a little sad for you, not being able to grey out, as I find it novel. It's something that I've only experienced a few times prior, and those times were due, I think, due to dehydration as once was on the boomerang at SFNE on a very hot day, another was on Millennium Force's first turn opening year when you had to stand for 1.5 hours in the beating sun. Not sure if I had on anything else though, and i305 was very consistent, especially once it had warmed up.


@beastmaster

I would never begrudge anyone for disliking Skyrush, different tastes n'at. The kind of violence that it delivers throughout the course is something that you'll either really like or heartily dislike. It's honestly the steel coaster that I was wishing they would build for years, but I can totally understand people not liking it.


@antikythera

Well, now you're making me feel lucky for missing the crowds! I've found that at most Halloween events that early season short day crowds are usually sparse. But I had reserved Saturday in case they weren't. I'm glad I didn't have to go back for the heat on Saturday though, got to go to a Pens game that night instead!

I can live with missing FoF, though this is the second time I've not ridden it as it was down the last time I was at the park as well (though I did luck out then and get on one of only a handful of Hypersonic trains that ran that day, which I'll gladly take in trade!). I've ridden the one in Cincy on numerous occasions though, so it's not a huge deal.

Interesting that you bring up having your contacts dry out. I also wear them, and didn't have any issues, but I did notice that my mouth was completely bone dry from just having it open during the ride :)

Not sure when I'll get back to the park again, most likely early season at some point down the line so I can enjoy both the sunlight and pleasant temps! :laugh:

* This post was modified at 10/6/13 9:39:10 AM *

Michael W.
209: 62 (20 CCI/GG) / 147
Voyage / Eurosat
Re: TR: Kings Dominion [04.10.13] by alpengeistno3 at 10/6/13 3:05:15 PM
I didn't want to be the one to "poo poo" on Ken's fond memories of I-305, but those trim brakes have always been on the 3rd hill since day 1 (in various degrees as they have adjusted the speed/layout of the 1st half of the ride.) Here's video from media day where you can clearly see them at the 1:04 mark.

Paul

Re: TR: Kings Dominion [04.10.13] by frontrow frontrow Profile at 10/6/13 5:29:17 PM
I wasn't aware of the trims, but I can clearly see them on the video. In May of 2010 I never did feel the trims either. I was at Kings Dominion for 2 days in May of 2010 and I think I got 10 rides on Intimadator 305. Last October I got 6 rides. I did notice the trims last year, in which they really scrubbed off a lot of speed.
Re: TR: Kings Dominion [04.10.13] by alpengeistno3 at 10/6/13 5:42:09 PM
Depending when you went in May, it was when they started adding the trims to the 1st drop before they removed the hard orange restraints in favor of the vests. I'm sure the exact date is archived here (I followed the ride pretty closely back then, going to KD at least once every 2 weeks).

When the trims were fully implemented there, the overall speed of the ride was reduced, so they removed all of the trims from the 3rd hill. It sucked the life from the 1st half of the ride, but really cranked into the final brakes without those trims.

Still, none of us has had the chance to ride I-305 completely untrimmed, which I think would cause a very Skyrush-like experience on the final turns and snap into the final brake run.

Paul

Re: TR: Kings Dominion [04.10.13] by beastmaster beastmaster Profile at 10/6/13 6:39:52 PM
alpengeistno3 said:

Still, none of us has had the chance to ride I-305 completely untrimmed,

Paul

I did. Then I woke up.

The amusement park rises bold and stark
Kids are huddled on the beach in a mist...
Re: TR: Kings Dominion [04.10.13] by alpengeistno3 at 10/6/13 6:53:27 PM
beastmaster said:

alpengeistno3 said:

Still, none of us has had the chance to ride I-305 completely untrimmed,

Paul

I did. Then I woke up.

Considering your feelings on Skyrush, was that a dream or a nightmare?

Paul

Re: TR: Kings Dominion [04.10.13] by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 10/6/13 8:08:41 PM
alpengeistno3 said:

beastmaster said:

alpengeistno3 said:

Still, none of us has had the chance to ride I-305 completely untrimmed,

Paul

I did. Then I woke up.

Considering your feelings on Skyrush, was that a dream or a nightmare?

Paul

Lets see: A dream would be riding Skyrush with the most comfortable restraints with a little side support and thoroughly enjoying the entire ride with no pain. A nightmare would be more like a flashback of the last time you rode it. :-P

Jen

Re: TR: Kings Dominion [04.10.13] by frontrow frontrow Profile at 10/6/13 8:14:35 PM
alpengeistno3 said:

Depending when you went in May, it was when they started adding the trims to the 1st drop before they removed the hard orange restraints in favor of the vests. I'm sure the exact date is archived here (I followed the ride pretty closely back then, going to KD at least once every 2 weeks).


When the trims were fully implemented there, the overall speed of the ride was reduced, so they removed all of the trims from the 3rd hill. It sucked the life from the 1st half of the ride, but really cranked into the final brakes without those trims.

Still, none of us has had the chance to ride I-305 completely untrimmed, which I think would cause a very Skyrush-like experience on the final turns and snap into the final brake run.

Paul

I rode it the first weekend in May, which the first drop was trim free. In fact I never rode I305 when it had trims on the first drop. The first time I rode I305 was a Saturday evening. The coaster had just been reopened. I was told that the coaster broke a wheel and had someone pass out on it during that day. I got 2 rides that night, and I think 8 that next day, which was Sunday.

Re: TR: Kings Dominion [04.10.13] by alpengeistno3 at 10/6/13 9:04:09 PM
Found that date for you, Ken. Looks around May 21, 2010 for the trims.

http://www.ultimaterollercoaster.com/forums/roller-coasters-theme-parks/209500

(so much fun going through all of these old 2010 threads, but it did take a lot of time)

Paul

Re: TR: Kings Dominion [04.10.13] by frontrow frontrow Profile at 10/6/13 9:42:19 PM
Thanks for posting that Paul. That was before I joined URC. I knew I rode I305 before any adjustments were made. I remember going to Carowinds in June 2010 for Intimadator. The ride ops were talking about the trims on the first hill of I305 at Kings Dominion. That's where I first heard about the alterations. I believe I joined URC in December of 2010.
Re: TR: Kings Dominion [04.10.13] by Cyclone_Phil Cyclone_Phil Profile at 10/7/13 11:59:31 AM
alpengeistno3 said:

Depending when you went in May, it was when they started adding the trims to the 1st drop before they removed the hard orange restraints in favor of the vests. I'm sure the exact date is archived here (I followed the ride pretty closely back then, going to KD at least once every 2 weeks).


When the trims were fully implemented there, the overall speed of the ride was reduced, so they removed all of the trims from the 3rd hill. It sucked the life from the 1st half of the ride, but really cranked into the final brakes without those trims.

Still, none of us has had the chance to ride I-305 completely untrimmed, which I think would cause a very Skyrush-like experience on the final turns and snap into the final brake run.

Paul

Oh man, so pissed that I ended up on the very week or 2 after they added the trims on the first drop in 2010. What a difference it was to ride it again in 2012 with the new restraints and the no 1st hill trims. The re-profiling on the first turn did nothing imo.