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TR: Kings Dominion, my first trip, 7/3

LoneStar LoneStar Profile

Posted:
7/4/14 at
9:54:11 PM

Yesterday Rashandra and I made my first trip to KD. Despite traffic and weather delays, we had a glorious time, hitting almost every ride in the park. For this TR, I'll first give my overall impressions of the park, then give my personal take on most rides, starting with best to worst.


Kings Dominion is a beautiful green park. I was overwhelmed with the amount of trees! The flowerbeds are gorgeous. Just like KI, international street is perfectly done. The fountains and Eiffel Tower at night are quite a site to behold.


What impressed me most about KD is that it is not over-themed. With the exception of Safari Village, the other themed areas blend together nicely, and really don't have much to distinguish themselves from one another. This produces one single beautifully designed park.


Ride ops worked very well for us yesterday. No complaints (except for Shockwave, whose weird restraints necessitate slow load times). Park staff was friendly, and, as with all CF parks, the place was very clean.

Also, the wide selection of flats and coasters and attractions give you tons to do! I was expecting huge crowds on the day before the 4th of July, but lines were minimal. We logged 37 total rides.


Now onto the coasters:

Biggest surprises

Grizzly - Wow. I had no idea this coaster would be so much fun! By far the best woodie in the park. While not an airtime machine, I got stand-out-of-your-seat air on the first drop. The drop into the tunnel also produces fantastic airtime.

The coaster keeps its speed wonderfully. It has the perfect amount of roughness. Those PTCs give it that old-time woodie rocker feel, but it's not too much, and we never complained of pain.


Grizzly is a different animal at night! In the dark through the woods, Grizzly is quite thrilling. The tunnel is a complete blackout, filled with the screech of squealing wheels. It reminds me of riding Legend at night getting mooshed between Rob and Chuck Nungester.


Anaconda - while not my favorite coaster in the park, this Arrow mega-looper was a pleasant surprise. It is no where near as rough as I expected. Even the sidewinder had hardly any head banging!! While the MCBR kills the train before the butterfly element, the train still built a little speed and delivered some forces. Unfortunately the train just crawls through the corkscrews, which causes one to fall into the OTSRs, as with many Arrows. As an out-of-the-closet Toomer Arrow looper fan, I loved Anaconda. It's not as good as Vortex, but still a nice coaster....and so picturesque over the water!


Avalanche - man, this thing is fun! I was surprised by the speed and intensity of the helices, plus little hints of air time. We had to ride it twice. A fun little coaster.


The Best Coasters

Dominator - This uniquely designed B&M floorless coaster is unbelievably fun and intense! I love the floorless concept, and I rank Dominator right up there with Superman KC and Medusa West.

The HUGE vertical loop is perfectly done. The sharp high-g turn following the vertical loop is one of the best elements on any coaster I've ever ridden. It's so fast and intense, and nothing like any other floorless coaster.


While the inter-locking corkscrews after the MCBR are common place, Dominator's are fast and intense. The turn/helix transition from the corkscrews to the brake run are a nice way to finish the ride. I LOVED Dominator!


An amazing feat of B&M is they design their elements nearly perfectly to offer maximum Gs without overwhelming the riders. I'm thinking specifically of the 2 turns after the vertical loop and the final helix. I find myself greying/blacking out on many coasters now - Intimidator, Titan, Swarzkopf vertical loops, the upward helix on Backlot SC. But on B&Ms, I find the sharp turns and inversions forceful, but almost comfortable. I've never had a grey or black out experience.


Intimidator - This coaster is almost too much for me. The first 3 times I rode, I blacked out on the first curve, and didn't regain vision until cresting the first air time hill. After that, I was struggling to stay conscious that it was hard to enjoy the rest of the ride.


But on my fourth ride, I didn't black out and got to experience the coaster as it's meant to be. This is the most intense, and disorienting coaster I have been on (except for X).


While I loved the ride, it has a few drawbacks. First, for some reason the first drop leaves something to be desired. I got more airtime on Maggie, Steel Eel, and other hypers when compared to this super-steep super-tall steel structure. Also, the brakes on the air time hill half way through the ride break up the pace too much.


Intimidator reminds me of Maverick on steroids. I love all the twists and turns and speed. I think I prefer Millie, but I305 still rocks!

The Good coasters

Volcano - A bit of a let down. I loved the to launches! These are amazing. But after that the train crawls through an unimaginative track. The floating air through the inversions is cool, but I prefer something more intense.


Flight of Fear - Again, great launch, but the brakes kill it. I much prefer the visuals provided by Poltergeist, plus no brakes!


Rebel Yell - the trains were racing! But the launch was off so the blue side always won by a significant margin. A fun classic, great for the kids. We were amazed how much rougher and bouncier the front car is compared to the back.


Backlot Stunt Coaster - A fun little ride, I really enjoyed the super dark tunnel. It's a little lame with the helicopter and fire effects not operating. Now it's just annoying sound effects.


The Bad

Hurler - I wouldn't be surprised if KD tears this one down soon. It serves no purpose for the park. Rebel Yell is great for young and family riders, and Hurler is too rough for this crowd. The first turn especially is a neck-breaker, and there is little air. Plus, since the Wayne's World theme no longer exists, KD doesn't need a coaster named hurler.


Shockwave - I'm glad KD has kept this coaster for historical value, but it's just not a good ride. We left with bruises. The first drop and loop are nice. The 540 degree helix is kind of cool. But this coaster is so short, it's hardly worth riding.


Selected flats

Drop Tower - man, this thing is tall! If found the drop quite enjoyable. After the initial jerk of free fall, the rest of the way down is really chill


Flying Eagles - I forgot KD had these! When I saw them on the path, I literally stopped in my tracks and pointed, with my mouth agape! These are soooo awesome! I'm a little out of practice, though, and didn't accomplish any snapping.


Wind Seeker - I forgot how tall these things are. I got a little freaked out by the height!


We also rode the Crypt (pretty fun cycle with lots of flips), Bad Apple, a fun and fast Troika, the ferris wheel, and I loved the swingy chairs!


Overall a fun day, despite arriving late due to a traffic jam and a 2-hour rain delay. I loved my first visit to KD. In my opinion, the park has 3 top-notch coasters in Intimidator, Grizzly, and Dominator, followed by a large collection of decent coasters. A few ugly ones, but who cares, right!

Thanks for reading!!!


- Pat-O

Re: TR: Kings Dominion, my first trip, 7/3 by CortexBomb CortexBomb Profile at 7/11/14 10:06:30 AM
Thanks for the TR, some comments are interspersed:

LoneStar said:

Kings Dominion is a beautiful green park. I was overwhelmed with the amount of trees! The flowerbeds are gorgeous.

Cedar Fair in general seems to do a nice job of keeping trees and greenery; at least in their former Paramount properties. KD isn't perfect, as it does have some wide open stretches around Dominator, but the park is pretty nice all the way around.


Grizzly - Wow. I had no idea this coaster would be so much fun!

This is quite reminiscent of the Wild(e) Beast(e) at Canada's Wonderland. I haven't been on either in years, but they are most definitely fun, zippy rides when they are running well.


Anaconda - While the MCBR kills the train before the butterfly element, the train still built a little speed and delivered some forces. Unfortunately the train just crawls through the corkscrews, which causes one to fall into the OTSRs, as with many Arrows.

Sadly common, I've never ridden these coasters without that being the case. I find the back half of these rides outright uncomfortable as a result. I'd enjoy them while you can, as they are slowly starting to disappear.


Avalanche - man, this thing is fun! I was surprised by the speed and intensity of the helices, plus little hints of air time. We had to ride it twice. A fun little coaster.

Mack Bobsleds are friggin' awesome and I'm sad that there aren't more of them in the States; they're a dime a dozen in mainland Europe, but super uncommon over here. Much zippier and more comfortable than the common Intamin ones.



Dominator - This uniquely designed B&M floorless coaster is unbelievably fun and intense! I love the floorless concept, and I rank Dominator right up there with Superman KC and Medusa West.

Definitely a solid example of the style. I rather miss the Cleveland waterside location for this ride though as most of it was built over Geauga Lake. Still a fun ride with nice pacing and a good combination of elements though!


Intimidator - This coaster is almost too much for me. The first 3 times I rode, I blacked out on the first curve, and didn't regain vision until cresting the first air time hill. After that, I was struggling to stay conscious that it was hard to enjoy the rest of the ride.


But on my fourth ride, I didn't black out and got to experience the coaster as it's meant to be. This is the most intense, and disorienting coaster I have been on (except for X).

FWIW I find the grey-out turn one of the highlights of this ride, but I know many people dislike the sensation. I don't think I would like this ride as much if it didn't have that on the first turn as it accentuates the power of the ride to me.

I think I'd rate Titan at SFoT as more powerful in the positive G sense, but I305 is definitely a better overall ride.


Volcano - A bit of a let down. I loved the to launches! These are amazing. But after that the train crawls through an unimaginative track.

I would agree on the unimaginative layout, but I wouldn't say that the train crawls; I'd say that it really starts to haul right at the end of the ride. Unfortunately, it's going fastest right when its hitting the brakes. It feels incomplete to me.


Flight of Fear - Again, great launch, but the brakes kill it. I much prefer the visuals provided by Poltergeist, plus no brakes!

I prefer these inside the building for the disorientation factor, but they're all rather fun to me.


Hurler - I wouldn't be surprised if KD tears this one down soon. The first turn especially is a neck-breaker, and there is little air.

I'm still somewhat annoyed to have been to King's Dominion twice and still not gotten a ride on this thing. You say little air and neck breaker and I say, hmm, maybe my kind of ride? Probably not though! Ha.



Thanks for reading!!!


- Pat-O

Thanks for typing it up!

Michael W.
242: 66 (22 CCI/GG) / 175
Voyage / Eurosat
R.I.P.: Riverside Cyclone...
Re: TR: Kings Dominion, my first trip, 7/3 by Frontrider Frontrider Profile at 7/11/14 7:57:39 PM
Nice trip report, and I agree with much of it, especially the love for Grizzly, Rebel Yell, Avalanche, and Dominator (one of my fave Beemer multiloopers)

I also agree that the park is beautiful, and I love the entrance plaza, as well as the tree-heavy areas around Grizzly, flying scooters, antique cars, and log ride.

CortexBomb said:


Hurler - I wouldn't be surprised if KD tears this one down soon. The first turn especially is a neck-breaker, and there is little air.

I'm still somewhat annoyed to have been to King's Dominion twice and still not gotten a ride on this thing. You say little air and neck breaker and I say, hmm, maybe my kind of ride? Probably not though! Ha.

On my most recent visit in 2011, I got some solid moments of air throughout Hurler. I hope they are still there.

To me, the KD trio of woodies (4 if you count the family woodie) represent a great example of why parks should have multiple woodies, because each is different and has its own personality.

Grizzly is the deceptively physical one and a great night ride through the woods. Rebel Yell is the classic, iconic racing out and back.

So what does Hurler offer? Well, I found it to have a great sense of sustained speed, like a CCI or GCI. And really solid airtime throughout. Not real strong ejector, but nice, solid, floats.

The last time I got to ride the KD Hurler in 2011, I had made my first visit to Carowinds just a few weeks earlier. And there was a noticable difference in that even though they are identical layouts, the Carowinds version had a bit less air.

And the same seemed true for the Carowinds racing woodie - less air than Rebel Yell, at least on my last visits in 2011.

One thing I preferred about Carowinds was I much preferred their airtime-packed B&M Intimidator hyper (in my steel Top 4) over KD's Intamin. Between the blackouts and the OTSRs, the KD Intimidator is my least favorite hyper of the 14 I've ridden so far. I even prefer Titan, which at least has an outstanding sustained float on the camelback.

PS. In both parks, I like that they have dark rides, but I MUCH preferred these rides before Cedar Fair took out the cute Scooby Doo theming! ;)

* This post was modified at 7/11/14 8:11:37 PM *

"If it isn't wood, it's not as good!"
Favorite wood and overall favorite - Voyage, Holiday World. Favorite steel - Nitro, Great Adventure
"Voyage To Paradise" - http://www.ultimaterollercoaster.com/profiles/frontrider/blog/340
Re: TR: Kings Dominion, my first trip, 7/3 by LoneStar LoneStar Profile at 7/11/14 11:23:30 PM
Thanks for the response.


Sadly common, I've never ridden these coasters without that being the case. I find the back half of these rides outright uncomfortable as a result. I'd enjoy them while you can, as they are slowly starting to disappear.

Arrow mega-loopers are the dinosaurs of coasters. They had their hey-day and were on top of the world 20 years ago, but have been out-evolved by newer technology. They made their contribution to the evolution of coasters and have been passed on.

How have we lost? GASM, Shockwave, Orient Express, DrachenFire, Steel Phantom...any other?

But I do enjoy them. Vortex is my fav.

Mack Bobsleds are friggin' awesome and I'm sad that there aren't more of them in the States; they're a dime a dozen in mainland Europe, but super uncommon over here. Much zippier and more comfortable than the common Intamin ones.

It think I did enjoy the Mack bobsled more, but its just way too short. Intamins are fun too. We're lucky to have one in Texas.


Definitely a solid example of the style. I rather miss the Cleveland waterside location for this ride though as most of it was built over Geauga Lake. Still a fun ride with nice pacing and a good combination of elements though!

Agreed. That first turn after the vertical loop is perfect! You're hauling at that point of the coaster, and it's so unexpected. Ever been on Superman KC?

I love your Titan references - I ride that all the time down here in Texas!

- Pat-O

Re: TR: Kings Dominion, my first trip, 7/3 by LoneStar LoneStar Profile at 7/11/14 11:27:22 PM

On my most recent visit in 2011, I got some solid moments of air throughout Hurler. I hope they are still there.

To me, the KD trio of woodies (4 if you count the family woodie) represent a great example of why parks should have multiple woodies, because each is different and has its own personality.

Grizzly is the deceptively physical one and a great night ride through the woods. Rebel Yell is the classic, iconic racing out and back.

So what does Hurler offer? Well, I found it to have a great sense of sustained speed, like a CCI or GCI. And really solid airtime throughout. Not real strong ejector, but nice, solid, floats.

I don't think Hurler is a horrible coaster. It just seems like a waste of space at KD. While I agree that it's great to have 3 woodies, Hurler contributes nothing to the trio. They should replace it with a GCI twister. Then the park would have 3 re-ridable unique woodies.

I don't have Hurler. It does have a little air. It just doesn't do anything for me.

- Pat-O

Re: TR: Kings Dominion, my first trip, 7/3 by CortexBomb CortexBomb Profile at 7/13/14 7:08:13 PM
LoneStar said:

How have we lost? GASM, Shockwave, Orient Express, DrachenFire, Steel Phantom...any other?

I'd have to defer to people who keep up on them more closely. I just know that many of the mega loopers have disappeared and that the ridership on the remaining ones could indicate that they are likely to keep doing so in the future. I only really ever liked the Steel Phantom, and that one because it hauled through the layout as it only had a minor trim on the entry to the first loop. The big ones that have the longer, many loop layouts that feature blocks always seem to just be stopped into oblivion for the back half.


Ever been on Superman KC?

I love your Titan references - I ride that all the time down here in Texas!

Indeed, I just got back last week from a trip to the Texas Six Flags parks and Seaworld. I plan to do a Texas-sized TR once I get a few minutes to type it up. Spoiler: I really liked the Rocky Mountain retracks, Steel Eel, and Superman: KC. Or maybe that's not much of a spoiler. ;-)

Michael W.
242: 66 (22 CCI/GG) / 175
Voyage / Eurosat
R.I.P.: Riverside Cyclone...
Re: TR: Kings Dominion, my first trip, 7/3 by Great_Ump Great_Ump Profile at 7/15/14 2:14:14 AM
With Carowinds' Hurler getting an extensive rehab on theirs this past winter, maybe KD will get one this year?

I hate Hurler and won't even ride it anymore. KD is a home park for me.

It's a shame you missed Yogi's Cave by a few years.

Did you happen to ride White Water Canyon or Scooby Doo/Woodstock Express?

Grizzly is top 10 for me. For its short length, it packs one heck of a punch, especially in the back.

Glad you enjoyed yourself!

Joe
Great_Ump

Re: TR: Kings Dominion, my first trip, 7/3 by HamptonRoadsRider HamptonRoadsRider Profile at 7/15/14 11:44:50 AM
Great trip report! That's the first time i've heard KD praised for it's beauty, but really compared to some parks it is pretty nice from a scenery standpoint.

Glad you got to experience Grizzly, in the dark even. The coaster really lives up to its name and is just a fun, somewhat unique experience.

Re: TR: Kings Dominion, my first trip, 7/3 by Cyclone_Phil Cyclone_Phil Profile at 7/16/14 1:00:41 AM
Great tr! I totally agree on most of your thoughts on the steel coasters there. I love dominator and i still rank it among my fav floorless (even over kraken at swo). I haven't rode bizzaro/medusa much at gadv, so i will need to get a few more rides on that to see if it knocks dominator off the top.

Totally agreed on volcano, after the two excellent launches, the ride is just flat out boring with uninspiring rolls on scaffolding around the mountain. If they had a helix in between the launches or maybe another loop somewhere after the launch out the mountain it could've been better. Either way the train hits the breaks too soon when it feels like it could do a few more elements or length of tracks.

Intimidator, i had the misfortune to arrive the week after they added the trim on the first drop in 2010, but my return trip in 2012 without the trim and the new restraints made the ride much more pleasant. I dont think the reprofiled turn made a difference as i still grey out before getting to the 2nd hill, but i totally loved the ride now and rank it highly among my fav steel coaster.

Agreed on stunt coaster, i dunno why they no longer have the effects working on the ride. In 2009 everything ran fine, but in 2012, nothing. I mean it is a fun ride, but without the effects, the ride is just pointless imo. I mean even the sequences of the ride don't match up with what happened in the movie.

I don't dislike shockwave, but if it was a little longer, i'd like it more. I never had much issues with it after getting used to how to secure myself in the odd restraints. That said, if they were to replace it with something good, i won't be too upset over it.

Hurler really needs to go. I also agree they could put in a good gci coaster (it can also take up the former hypersonic station house space and they could relocate ricochet if they needed the extra spot. I want something good like goldstriker at cga or thunderhead at dw.

* This post was modified at 7/16/14 1:06:06 AM *