TR: King's Dominion, 2+ days
I spent a couple hours at King's Dominion late afternoon/early evening on Sunday, June 15.
Then visited all day on Monday June 16 and again on Thursday June 17.
By "all day" I mean entering at the park's early entry for pass holders (riding at 10) and then staying until I couldn't handle the heat/humidity anymore!
KD was open until 10 PM all week. I didn't make it that late either day; couldn't or didn't need to.
In between Monday and Thursday was two days at BGW, to be covered in a separate TR (also hot hot hot!).
I was joined by a coaster enthusiast friend (Ken from NJ) late afternoon on Monday at KD, and for a half day Thursday.
I had been to KD before, even with my family once 14 years ago, my last visit was June 2010.
As always my main focus is on the coasters ridden and my recollections.
Strictly alphabetical (thanks rcdb!), covering my 2 plus days:
Anaconda: Seems better than I recall, head banging less severe, looks real nice, too. However, still worthy of just one ride.
Avalanche: one ride. Pleasant.
Back Lot Stunt Coaster: one ride. Why even have the stop with machine gun fire anymore? No other effects work from days gone by. As a coaster it is smooth, but mostly meh. One ride.
Dominator: still fun for me, which means it doesn't hurt or run rough. Didn't count rides, guessing four.
Flight of Fear: one ride, front row. Hadn't been on either for a while, even as I was in the front row it seemed new to me since I don't know it by heart; glad it doesn't have OTSRs! (Would have ridden again, but it was down the other two times I tried).
Grizzly: winner! Once I found the damn thing! You now enter through a gift shop...combined with Dinosaurs Alive...and yeah, there IS sign..but I bet 97.9874% of paying customers miss said sign as it sits above the gift shop entry. Anywho...Grizzly is running fine, just fine! Best woodie in the park. Smooth (not the smoothest in the park, however), good speed with some great pops of air. Entering and then inside the tunnel...I know ya know what I mean!
Hurler: fugghedaboudit! The turnaround after the first drop simple kills it is so rough. Ridiculous. I was...disappointed is the proper way to describe it. Truth to tell, I was pissed! I took one ride (could ya guess?).
Intimidator 305: winner! My only experience had been when it was brandy-new, with those awful original OTSRs.
They changed them the week after I was there (June 2010). Even though it is four years later I now know how good an Intamin can be when the restraints are "right." I know not what change they made in the turn after the first drop, but it still has enough forces to cause some greying...not every ride, I think more toward the front. There is a damn trim break that eliminates what would be THE airtime moment, but all in all I came out of my seat (into those comfy restraints) multiple times, so color me happy with Intimidator in its current state. Lost count of rides (it was open early both days, but see below also). Guessing 9 -10.
Rebel Yell: still a nice comfy mostly smooth* out and back. All week the right side (as you picked which side of the railing you took when you entered) was blue, and it always won, it was simply a train length faster; and they do dispatch simultaneously. Nothing to write home about for most of us, but kind of refreshing, ya know? I probably walked that lengthy entry walk (and exit!) eight times.
*front is best.
Ricochet: winner. I like this design, I like the forces going around the switchbacks, not overly braked. Fun! Five rides.
Shockwave: didn't ride. Didn't want to.
Volcano: winner! Still the same old great ride that I have always loved since riding with my kids back in 2000 or thereabouts. Smooth, and I come out of my seat multiple times during the "slow" descent around the mountain.
The redesigned common load/unload station is a great improvement. Five rides.
Woodstock Express: smoothest woodie in the park! Given the chance I always ride this, 'cause I like it and also for sentimental reasons. Two rides.
Saw the floral clock (it was 4 minutes slow) and the singing mushrooms (I like, but seems most are not interested).
Other rides ridden: Drop Tower, Boo Blasters, Flying Eagles (no snapping, no one else I saw could do it either), Flying Ace (yeah, in Planet Snoopy, but had to try it as it went higher than you would think due to a telescoping tower), Eiffel Tower.
And Windseek..oh wait, didn't ride that one, no one could, wasn't working all week but (begin sarcasm) it looks absolutely fantastic! (end sarcasm)
Walked through Dinosaurs Alive (free with SP).
I took in the "KD40" show in the main theater. Lots of singing, dancing, including a bit with the singing mushrooms
ala the play "Avenue Q" in NYC. Show was OK...was nice to sit, rest, and cool off.
Now a word about crowds. And the temp, which was hot. And the humidity, which was high. Oh, I mentioned that already, didn't I? OK, crowds then.
There were none.
Plenty of people around to be sure, but when wanting to ride any of the rides above, very little waiting going on.
Once, upon entering the Grizzly station, the train was just about to be dispatched and there were no people in the station. As in zero, zilch. We arrived and by the time the train came back (one train op) perhaps eight others boarded with us.
Intimidator? One train op, but it didn't matter (I mean have you seen how fast that thing climbs 300 feet!). Walk on except front...sometimes even for the back. No lie, it was that way both Monday and Thursday (my Sunday visit dealt with Father's Day crowds, but that was simply an "add on" 3 hour visit for me).
Volcano was never bad, longest waits were 3-4 trains, maybe 5, even for the front. Both trains running.
Bless KD for air conditioned rest rooms, and clean!
Mid-June is a good time to visit KD.
I know that heat/humidity combo was an aberration, isn't normal for mid June. We were lucky in all aspects except for the temps.
* This post was modified at 6/21/14 1:21:51 PM *
It is still possible to get a perfect race if the ops allow the North side train to dispatch slightly before the South side and the two catch up at the top of the lift. An experienced crew can do it, (I've seen them try with random success) but I think they have been discouraged from doing it because of the hands thing.
Also, I'm sure you remember that those trims have always been on I-305's third hill. The park determined very early on that the final turn into brake run would be too violent without slowing the train on the last straightaway section of track (which is, unfortunately, that hill). When the 1st hill trims were used before the reprofiling, they had reduced the 3rd hill trims to almost none (I think there was 1 set of fins still intact). It improved the pacing for the finale, but all that was pretty moot after ruining the 1st drop. Now, during the fall and early spring, they reduce the number of fins for the colder weather. If you want to feel the third hill with the least amount of trimming, then coming on a warmer day during that time is the closest you can get to it being completely untrimmed.
Also glad to hear that Grizzly was running well. You probably know that is my favorite coaster and it has been way too long since I've been on it. I was surprised, however, that you had a one word opinion of Avalanche. I don't recall us ever talking about it in the past, but I would have guessed you'd like it enough to ride it more than once.
Thanks for posting the report.