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Ultimate Rollercoaster > Discussion Forums > Roller Coasters, Parks & Attractions > TR: Six Flags America/Kings Dominion 7/23/14

TR: Six Flags America/Kings Dominion 7/23/14

alpengeistno3

Posted:
7/28/14 at
2:02:28 AM

Lots of coasters to cover, so this is going to be a long one!!

I was sitting at home in need of a coaster fix (been since my early July trip to Gradv.) I had originally planned to go up to Dorney Park, but the 20% chance of thunderstorms that were predicted had me deciding to stay a little closer to home. I got the crazy idea, why not try to go to SFA and Kings Dominion in the same day? It’s a Tuesday and I wouldn’t need all day to do either of those parks on their own.

So, Tuesday, I didn’t bother to set the clock and woke up in time to get to SFA by 11:00. Having missed the rope drop, Ragin Cajun was probably out of the question without a 30-45 min commitment. I gave myself until 2:00 to be on the road to KD (to beat the awful afternoon/evening traffic on I-95.) Passing by Ragin Cajun (which as I predicted, had the full queue by this point), I went to ride Wild One. I have come to appreciate Wild One more over the years. It was running absolutely fantastic. The trim before the final helix did nothing to tame the lateral G’s in the final helix. Only 1 train, so the line was just long enough to discourage re-riding.

Next, I did Apocalypse. Also 1 train operation, the line was about a 2 train wait, but I found a group of 2 in row 6. Ridewise, Apocalypse is what it is. It was interesting to ride both Apocalypse and Shockwave on the same day for a change and I’ll discuss that more when I get to Kings Dominion. The line actually started going down the stairs when I got off due to a bottleneck at the platform. No reride wanted anyway.

Next door was Roar. 1 train operation, no wait for the last 4 rows as I just missed the train that was currently boarding. I took the front of the last car (I took a pretty good beating last time I rode in the very back that I had no desire to repeat on this long trip.) This was the 2nd longest wait I encountered in SFA. 1st , the ops were insisting that guests not pull down the lap bars themselves. Without a 2nd train in operation, it was hard to mentally gauge how longer this procedure was taking, but it did seem to add quite a bit for the ride ops to wait for everyone to be seated and fasten their seatbelts before releasing the lapbars to finally pull them down and check them. (Wild One did NONE of this). 2nd, the back unloader, who is responsible for the dispatch button at the rear of the station, seemed to enjoy hanging out in the operator’s booth while the train was in circuit. And she made no hurry to return to her position when the train returned either time. I’d say the train sat in the transfer brake for no less than 30 seconds before she even decided to stroll back to her position. Small thing, but it did add up to my no wait ride on Roar taking around 15-20 mins. Pretty ridiculous!

Next up was Mind Eraser. Also, 1 train in operation (and ironically, the non-advertisement wrapped train. Wonder how Kia would feel about that?) I walked right onto the next to last row. Mind Eraser is also what it is. This was the only ride at SFA that I had an opportunity to reride as no one was in my row when we returned, but it was already 12:30, so I didn’t have time for that (or desire!)

I walked over to Joker’s Jinx. Again 1 train in operation. No wait for the back row. We had a special access boarding, so they had to hold the gates for her to disembark her wheel chair and board the train. I noticed that SFA has started announcing this on the PA rather than going to the guests whose wait may be affected. I find the latter more discreet, especially when the person may have a legitimately visible struggle with boarding and may not be at ease with everyone in the station staring at them as they try to board. Interestingly, I have never had trouble getting the seatbelts on JJ to reach, but they have some kind of latch in them that will not allow the seatbelt to buckle if it is at the slightest angle. After wriggling the seatbelt around for a good 30 seconds, the op was able to get it to catch. FOF does not seem to have this, so it is a real annoyance as I have been denied riding JJ before because of it.

Superman, with the tiny little seatbelts, was out of the question. Next up was Batwing. The sign announcing that the ride would not open until 12:00 was still blocking the pathway, so even though it was almost 1:00, I went back there without being aware if the bat was operating. Fortunately, it was. One train, of course, but the line was only at the bottom of the stairs. I had to wait 2 trains as I was able to squeeze into the station and find a group of 3 in the back row to hop on the 3rd train out with (when dealing with Batwing, no need to take chances as that ride will go down in a moment’s notice.)

It is now 1:15, so I figured I would give Ragin Cajun 1 more try. The line was only around 5-10 people shorter than it was in the morning. I started to wait until I said, “screw it!” and decided to hit the road early.

Coaster Count 6 (only 1 ride on each).

I started heading for Kings Dominion around 1:45 (after a bathroom stop). I made surprisingly good time thanks to the I-95 HOV lanes being “open to all traffic.” A slight back-up at Springfield and the merge at Triangle, I was able to get to Fredricksburg for lunch at 2:30. A quick stop at the mall for Chick-Fil-A that only cost $7 for a combo as opposed to the $15 ala carte mark-up KD charges. I was able to reach the park by 3:45.

I went straight to Dominator. 2 trains running, other than the front 4 rows, there was no line at all. I figured from the parking lot being only 1/3 full and Dominator being half empty, I would have no problem knocking off the credits at KD in 6 hrs, so I stayed on Dominator for 10 straight rides before leaving the station.

Walking past the back side of Scooby Doo, I noticed no one in the station, so I figured I would go cram my knees in those junior trains to get a quick credit there. As I said, no one was waiting, so it was to the back row. I was on and out of there in 5 mins flat (take that Roar crew!) No need for a reride as my knees took enough of a beating against the back of the seat in front of me.

Next up, I decided to go to Candy Apple Grove since I figured any chance for short lines on the woodies would be best had now while the waterpark was still occupied. I make a quick stop for a no wait ride on Drop Zone (had to wait as I just missed the cycle, but it didn’t take too long. )
From there I noticed an almost empty Shockwave station, so I figured I would get the 2nd stand-up coaster of the trip out of the way. 2 trains running, no wait for the back row. There was no one there when I got back, so I went again without disembarking. Having ridden Apocalypse and Shockwave in the same day, I can’t really pick one as any better than the other. Both have the vertical loop and a helix (plus to Shockwave for being completely horizontal and descending.) Apocalypse has the corkscrew, which Shockwave lacks (point to Apocalypse). Both restraints are awkward to board and check, with Shockwave being the less painful of the two (because I am tall enough to not have any contact with them. ) KD has the oldest currently operating stand-up coaster in North America and Apocalypse is the oldest B&M. Both are lackluster rides, so it is a tie.

Moving on, Rebel Yell is running 2 trains, 1 per side. I opted to go for the South (right) side 1st. There was no line for the back, so I went with the front of the last car (good seat on 3 bench trains to get some airtime going over the tops of the hills without the slam to the spine on the bottoms. The crew were racing the trains, but made no effort to compensate for the slower lift on the North side. We won every time easily. I rode 3 times before anyone showed up.
Next I was off to do Hurler, but noticed absolutely no one in line for Ricochet, so decided to tick that credit off. One ride was enough. Same old Ricochet.

Now Hurler. 1 train, no line. I decided to do the front of the last car (my last ride in the back was bone rattling!) Nothing new. The 1st turn still has a rib cracking bump before going into the banking and is still teeth-chattering throughout the rest. The 2nd turn next to Grizzly and the 3rd turn through the lift structure have been smoothed out some. The last turn is just as bad as the 1st. I did get one re-ride before someone took my seat. No need to change seats as I had had enough.

Grizzly was next. 1 train, no wait for the back half of the train. Griz was running very well. Great airtime going into the tunnel, but there has been times where the train seemed to lose steam in the final turnaround. Not today!! It plowed through that and gave a great pop of air on the last crossover before the brake run. Normally, I put Wild One above Grizzly, but today the two were neck and neck.

It was around 6:30 at this point (I think I calculated that I had taken twice as many rides in my first 2 hrs at KD than I had in the whole time at SFA. I had only the Safari Village rides left and 3 hrs to go before closing, so I decided to stop by Rebel Yell and do the North side for completion sake. (KD doesn’t count the 2 separately, so neither do I.) I went to take my usually seat in the front of the last car, but it was roped off. So was the seat in front of that. With all the other seats occupied, I found a spot in the last seat of the 3rd car. It has been YEARS since I have ridden that far forward on Rebel Yell and being in a wheel seat was not going to help. I don’t remember anything standout about the ride other than being bored and having to defend my spine on the drop before the turnaround. I think there was no line when I got back, but I had bigger fish to fry, so I didn’t wait around to see.

A quick walk to Safari Village, I saw there was almost no one in the station for Italian Job, so I decided to knock that out 1st. Found out the reason for the empty station was that they were holding the line at the actual entrance (for what reason is beyond me as there were only around 15 total people in line and I doubt anyone was using FastLane on such a slow day.) Once we were allowed onto the now completely empty platform, I boarded the back of the 2nd of the 2 trains (one group got there before me.) IJ is what it has become. Still no sign of any of the effects working. (I assume the fire went off when we went into the final tunnel, but you can never see it when on the ride, so it is just pointless.) A bunch of kids ran through the exit gate between the two platforms to ride again. I did not bother.

Since Anaconda was right next door, I went there next. ONE TRAIN was running (I don’t think I have EVER seen 1 train on Anaconda in the middle of the summer, no matter how short the line was.) Of course, a 2nd train was not needed as most of the platform was still empty. I walked onto the front of car 7 (back was occupied.) Anaconda has run much better since the paint job. Rumor is that they layered the paint on extra thick in trouble spots to reduce the play between the wheels and the track. I actually enjoy Anaconda anyway, so I switched seats to get 5 quick rides.

While on Anaconda, I observed that I-305 was also running 1 train and the line was well outside of the station, so I opted to head to FOF instead. As usual 2 trains were running. There was a one train wait for the back seat. Unfortunately, the crew was taking their sweet time getting the trains out (and I don’t mean fumbling with seat belts.) They were messing around in the operator’s booth, playing around on the mic after the train was checked and the kicker is when I got my ride. After the op fiddled around with her co workers, she said something about “I’ll dispatch when I’m ready”. Sitting in the back, I couldn’t tell. Maybe a guest said something to her about the playing around. We launched. Nothing abnormal, until we hit the mid course brake. The train came to a jolting stop, but instead of proceeding, the platform just lurched back and forth as we did not move. Not my 1st time being stuck of FOF’s block brake, but I didn’t notice how much everything else in there shook as well (especially the A-frame support directly in front of the cobra roll coming off the bump above the brake. It was REALLY visibly wobbling for a good 30 seconds. Now, I would say that the op somehow set the ride up, but the 2nd train had already parked and was unloaded long before we even launched. After a minute on the brake, the music finally came on (it apparently did not play as we went through the 1st half of the ride.) The op then came on the microphone and said “dispatch” before releasing the train to complete the course. ANNOYING!! Despite crawling through the start of the 2nd half of the ride, we did still pick up some pretty decent speed in the bottom part before the final corkscrew. Still, even with no line, I didn’t have time for this kind of foolishness. People got off the train yelling at the exit op for her stopping the ride. Some even went back around through the exit to give the board op a piece of their mind. I decided to come back later, hoping the ops would grow up in the meantime.

I thought I would get a good 5 or so rides on FOF until 9:00, but the aforementioned antics caused me to change plans. I went to I-305 instead. The line was completely in the station at this point, so I was able to find another single rider and board immediately. What can be said about I-305 that hasn’t already been said? INTENSE!! The 3rd hill trims were on full force since the spring, so there was plenty of slow down, but certainly no let up in the intensity. The station was still full, but since there was no line outside that, I was able to walk around and board immediately with another single rider for a total of 6 times before the line got long enough to prevent that.

I forgot Avalanche somewhere either before I went on FOF or Anaconda. I went to check out the line for Volcano and the last 2 queue rails were full. Figured it would be a walk-on if I came back later. I went to do Avalanche instead. 2 trains operating; I think I waited for 1 before boarding in the back. Avalanche was running as well as it can. Minimal braking on the block, no braking at the safety and service brakes. It was a great run! Too bad there were people in line as it would have been nice to get a 2nd ride.

After I-305, it was 9:00 and I only had Volcano left. I decided to try to give FOF one more try to see if the crew had got themselves together enough to actually run the ride properly. I encountered an empty station. I had to wait a train to board since train 1 was the next to load and the longer seatbelt is on train 3. (it is literally around an inch longer than the next longest belt. I can actually buckle it unaided as opposed having to be smashed in by the ops on the other train.) The crew once again took FOREVER to launch the train for their opting to play around rather than just dispatch. I forgot all of their specific antics but I believe one involved singing half of Happy Birthday before launching the train. As a former ride op, I have nothing against having fun with guests, as long as it doesn’t interfere with operations. If the thumbs are up, SEND THE DAMN TRAIN!! In 30 mins, I only got 2 more rides on FOF (with no line!!) Despite the slow down from the block brake, I definitely enjoy FOF better than JJ. The shorter 5 car train on FOF ride seems to attack the 1st three elements more than the heavier 6 car trains on JJ. Plus there are several imperfections in the assembly of the indoor rides that were ironed out when constructed outdoors. As we used to say with Drachen Fire, it gives it character :) FOF is simply a more exciting ride.

9:30, 30 mins to go for one more coaster. It was clear there was no line for Volcano, so I passed up an empty Avalanche station to try to get more than 1 ride on it. First time, there was a one train wait. Row 6 was blocked off on one of the trains, so that caused a little bit of confusion (despite the op announcing “row 6 is closed/open this train” every cycle.)
After my ride, the station was near empty, but the board op very clearly announced “no re-rides!” (I guess I should take the time to mention that this is the 1st time anyone had mentioned anything about re-rides all day, despite that “Cedar Fair” policy limiting re-rides back in May. Does anyone else find it interesting that this “policy” was announced a month before Coastin’ for Kids? Hmmm…

Anyway, I walked around for a total of 3 rides on Volcano before they closed the line for the night. Final total 13 out of 14 KD coasters (Taxi Jam was not an option. For those of you who like to count Rebel Yell twice, that is 14 out of 15). I took a total of 40 rides at KD alone, so clearly this was no challenge once I got there.

Grand total: 46 rides on 19 different coasters. And not a raindrop in sight! Not bad.

Thanks for reading and I challenge any one else to try to do better :)

Paul

Re: TR: Six Flags America/Kings Dominion 7/23/14 by MABrider MABrider Profile at 7/28/14 5:38:16 PM
Nice report, that's a lot of activity in two different parks, in two different states no less!
But it worked out quite well for you, especially at KD.

But one thing: July 23 was Wed, not Tues.
I'm confused... ;-)



Not really... :-)

* This post was modified at 7/28/14 5:41:22 PM *

Mike B.
Re: TR: Six Flags America/Kings Dominion 7/23/14 by alpengeistno3 at 7/28/14 6:40:36 PM
MABrider said:

Nice report, that's a lot of activity in two different parks, in two different states no less!
But it worked out quite well for you, especially at KD.

But one thing: July 23 was Wed, not Tues.
I'm confused... ;-)



Not really... :-)

Thanks for reading. After typing all of that until 2:00 AM last night, the LAST thing I was going to do was look up Tuesday's date!! Just go with it :)

Paul

Re: TR: Six Flags America/Kings Dominion 7/23/14 by frontrow frontrow Profile at 7/28/14 10:34:28 PM
Nice TR Paul. I'm hoping to make a visit to Six Flags America during the last week of August. Really looking forward to The French Quarter Flyers. We will probably visit the park for most of the day. We have Six Flags season pases, and can make a day trip out of it, without an overnight stay. I really would like to do a 2 day trip with Kings Dominion the 2nd day, but I don't see being able to afford that. I have a salmon fishing trip planned in New York the first week of October, so I have to save for that. Several people now have reported that Roar is rideable again, so I'm interested to how the off season track work has helped it. Can't wait to ride Superman Ride of Steel again, It's in my top 10 favorite steel coasters.
Re: TR: Six Flags America/Kings Dominion 7/23/14 by alpengeistno3 at 7/28/14 10:54:35 PM
Ken, they did A LOT of work on the drop leading into the 1st turn. That is as smooth as butter again. The next spot that needs the most work is the camera turn into the airtime hill. That is really bad, especially in a wheel seat

I never was a huge fan of Supes, even before they put the "shackle bars" on. It always seemed to run "heavy" compared to the other hypers that I have ridden. Especially through the 2nd helix.

Paul

* This post was modified at 7/28/14 10:58:44 PM *

Re: TR: Six Flags America/Kings Dominion 7/23/14 by frontrow frontrow Profile at 7/29/14 1:55:03 AM
alpengeistno3 said:

Ken, they did A LOT of work on the drop leading into the 1st turn. That is as smooth as butter again. The next spot that needs the most work is the camera turn into the airtime hill. That is really bad, especially in a wheel seat


I never was a huge fan of Supes, even before they put the "shackle bars" on. It always seemed to run "heavy" compared to the other hypers that I have ridden. Especially through the 2nd helix.

Paul

My last visit was in 2012 and I fit on Superman, I'm even smaller now than I was back then. Are the seat belts the same length this year, as they were in 2012?

Re: TR: Six Flags America/Kings Dominion 7/23/14 by mugen828 mugen828 Profile at 7/29/14 2:23:26 PM
so many rides! awesome! Also very nice read :)
- mugen828
157 Coasters -- Favorite Coaster -- Nitro (SFGAdv)
117 Steel -- 40 Wood -- Home Park: SFGADv
Re: TR: Six Flags America/Kings Dominion 7/23/14 by alpengeistno3 at 7/31/14 7:56:51 PM
frontrow said:

alpengeistno3 said:

Ken, they did A LOT of work on the drop leading into the 1st turn. That is as smooth as butter again. The next spot that needs the most work is the camera turn into the airtime hill. That is really bad, especially in a wheel seat


I never was a huge fan of Supes, even before they put the "shackle bars" on. It always seemed to run "heavy" compared to the other hypers that I have ridden. Especially through the 2nd helix.

Paul

My last visit was in 2012 and I fit on Superman, I'm even smaller now than I was back then. Are the seat belts the same length this year, as they were in 2012?

As far as I can tell, they haven't shortened them again. I am about 1 inch from being able to buckle them (if I could get someone to buckle it for me, it could probably work since my thumbs can't be behind the buckle when I try to close it. It is moot though because once I got the seatbelt buckled and still got disqualified by the lap bar due to my legs/thighs.)

Paul

Re: TR: Six Flags America/Kings Dominion 7/23/14 by alpengeistno3 at 7/31/14 7:58:05 PM
mugen828 said:

so many rides! awesome! Also very nice read :)

Thanks, Kyle. Glad you enjoyed.

Paul

Re: TR: Six Flags America/Kings Dominion 7/23/14 by Cyclone_Phil Cyclone_Phil Profile at 7/31/14 8:24:43 PM
Cool, nice that you got 10 rides on dominator. I was a little concerned they'd force you out after 2 rides even if the station was empty. In 2012, I got 8 strait rides without leaving the station and a total of 13 rides within an hour as the station was practically deserted.

Congrats on the rest of the rides.

Re: TR: Six Flags America/Kings Dominion 7/23/14 by ktujon ktujon Profile at 7/31/14 10:07:39 PM
Tuesday July 29:
SFA:Arrived around 10:45 already a line for Cajun and only running 2 cars so skipped that. So I ended up riding: Great Chase, Wild One, Jokers Jinx, Superman, Apocalypse, Roar.

Wild One had a near empty station, the op said not to pull down on the lapbar but I already did when I heard the sound. Roar on the other hand the op didn't mention about NOT pulling down on the lapbar in fact since I was waiting for the op to say something, the rider next to me said to go ahead and pull down my lapbar.

The train for Batwing was seen getting stuck on the lift hill as maintenance was working on it, from what I heard from guests the ride was going to open at noon but I had left. Mind Eraser was also down as maintenance was working on the train parked in the station.

Grabbed lunch in Northern Virginia in a shopping center off Van Dorn Street just inside the beltway they have almost every kind of ethnic food place there left around 1pm. Took the HOV lane down I-95 south as Paul suggested and was able to bypass the traffic jam right before the HOV lanes ended.

There were lines at KD I couldn't get many rides on Dominator as the station had every row filled with at least 4 people waiting.

Dominator twice, Italian Job, FoF where the ops asked if the folks on the train want the station lights on or off before the launch, Shockwave, Grizzly, Hurler (had a full station), Ricochet, Rebel Yell twice on each side, Scooby Doo had to wait an extra cycle because someone used an exit pass in my row!, Avalanche there was a boy who injured his knee in the station where EMTs quickly rushed to the scene, I-305 had a line that would stretch out to the entrance which never really shortened even at closing, Volcano had a full que and when I went at closing there was still a good row of switchback before going down the stairs. I ended getting 25 rides on Anaconda not in a row of course thanks to them running 2 trains but majority of the rides came in the 8-9pm hour they eventually made me get off around 9:45pm since the fireworks show happened which is when I got my last ride on Volcano in.

I couldn't do Great Pumpkin Coaster since I'm over 60 inches I'm required to ride with a kid. I also got in two rides on Drop Tower which ran beautifully since I got placed on the side facing Volcano.

So if I count that right that makes 47 rides on 19 coasters as well.

Re: TR: Six Flags America/Kings Dominion 7/23/14 by beastmaster beastmaster Profile at 8/1/14 9:43:42 AM
Jon, what's Great Pumpkin? Is that a re-name of Taxi Jam over near Scooby (I mean Woodstock?)

Mike

The amusement park rises bold and stark
Kids are huddled on the beach in a mist...
Re: TR: Six Flags America/Kings Dominion 7/23/14 by ktujon ktujon Profile at 8/1/14 12:30:00 PM
Yes Mike I actually rode Taxi Jam the year they opened not sure if they had that rule then
Re: TR: Six Flags America/Kings Dominion 7/23/14 by alpengeistno3 at 8/1/14 4:28:32 PM
Nice job maxing out Anaconda to catch up, Jon. Guess 19 is the magic number until someone has the stones to wait 45 minutes for Ragin Cajun!

Paul

Re: TR: Six Flags America/Kings Dominion 7/23/14 by alpengeistno3 at 8/1/14 4:38:00 PM
Cyclone_Phil said:

Cool, nice that you got 10 rides on dominator. I was a little concerned they'd force you out after 2 rides even if the station was empty. In 2012, I got 8 strait rides without leaving the station and a total of 13 rides within an hour as the station was practically deserted.


Congrats on the rest of the rides.

Even when they made up that crazy rule in May, they never enforced it on Dominator. Either the crew didn't get the memo, or never bothered to do so since there were more than enough empty seats to go around in the evening.

Paul

Re: TR: Six Flags America/Kings Dominion 7/23/14 by ktujon ktujon Profile at 8/1/14 6:43:25 PM
alpengeistno3 said:

Nice job maxing out Anaconda to catch up, Jon. Guess 19 is the magic number until someone has the stones to wait 45 minutes for Ragin Cajun!


Paul

You can blame SFA for not maintaining their Vekomas!

Re: TR: Six Flags America/Kings Dominion 7/23/14 by Cyclone_Phil Cyclone_Phil Profile at 8/1/14 10:07:05 PM
alpengeistno3 said:

Even when they made up that crazy rule in May, they never enforced it on Dominator. Either the crew didn't get the memo, or never bothered to do so since there were more than enough empty seats to go around in the evening.

Paul


Good to know, thanks!