Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Friday, September 24, 2010

TR: A duo of Kings Island TR's

Okay, I want to clear some trip report backlog, so I present to you:

A Kings Island Double Feature!
Mason, OH
August 29, 2010 and September 4, 2010

The first visit started on August 29 when Rideman collected me from Coasterville and we arrived at the park around noon. We had hoped to score a close parking spot from one of those people who always seems to go for a few morning rides and then leaves. No such luck, but we spotted others parking up close in the RV lot, so why not? So we got a nice close parking space, and a short time later had cleared the gauntlet consisting of the security checkpoint, the ticket checkpoint, and the photo ambush.

We started the day with a relatively short wait for a wonderful ride on Delirium, my favorite flat ride in the park, and sure fire winner. We next proceeded back to Flight Deck. The crew at the Skycoaster tried to talk us into a discounted flight, but since a) They wanted $10, and I've flown for $5 a few times now, I don't fly for over $5, b) both of had done this Skycoaster, and c) the time we did fly on it together took ridiculously too long, we declined the Skycoaster offer. Instead we walked back the ridiculously long queue back to Flight Desk. At least thanks to the new alternate entrance for Haunt, it looks like it will always have a shorter reride path now. It was a walk on as usual, and so we collected the consistent, fun and short Flight Deck ride of the trip.

We headed back through Action Zone, but Drop Tower, Invertigo, and Congo Falls just weren't appealing to us right now. We left Action Zone behind and headed into Oktoberfest. There we walked up and took another walk on ride, this time on Adventure Express. It looks like they fixed the sound problem I noted on my last visit. All in all this really is one of the best coasters in the park, seriously, just look at the laterals!

We left Adventure Express and our noses took us to an honest to goodness grill sitting out in front out Outer Hanks. We wend to the stand next to it to find turkey legs and roast corn on offer. If a Bucanneer is a horrible price to pay for corn, whats $3.50 an ear. Behind the stand is the backside of the rock formation that forms the disused fountain in Tower Gardens. Toay the rock formation was getting use as a free, if not exactly approved, rock wall for the kids. See, who needs fancy harnesses and foot/hand holds? Yes, the park did put a pretty quick stop to it, but it was neat while it lasted. We then took a quick walk through Tower Gardens, a very quick walk since its now the smoking area. Most of Tower Gardens is now closed off for conversion into a Haunt anyway.

Next we realized we forgot Coney, so we doubled back past the Carousel, which Rideman noted the real band organ was concealing a sound system playing recorded band music. ("It's Memorex!") We took a look back in X-Base, and as expected the lines were a bit long back there. We did take a near walk on ride on another consistent Arrow coaster, Vortex. I know some say the multi elements are bad, but I kind of like this one. Coming from Vortex, we speculated where WindSeeker may go before deciding we need to ride a coaster not made by Arrow.

We headed to Italian Job, the line was just past the bridge and around the corner by the no chickens sign. So with a quick duck under, it was a short wait. Shame the ride was using a greeter, who sent us to the 5th row. Not a great ride back there, but at least the fire effects in the show still work. I laugh when i read TR's that say, recently even, that all the effects are working. Hello, water sprays in splashdown finale, and show scene, fishtailing cars, on board audio, working headlights in tunnel, subway stair rumble drop? At least enough of it works that it may be the most themed ride Cedar Fair has, and it still goes pat way into creating the movie making experience Paramount was after.

We headed into Rivertown, skipping the Beast for now, but were frightened when we looked at the Crypt. A quick inspection, however, relaxed our fears when we realized the ride was closed, as usual. Next I took a ride on White Water Canyon. It was a hot day today, and I hadn't ridden the rapids ride in a few visits. I can say that as soon as you enter the woodsy, and ridiculously long queue on the other side of the train trestle, the temperature drops like 10 degrees. I'm glad also that most of the anti-line jumping fence has been ripped out. That thing was an eyesore, plain and simple. I was expecting a long line for this, what with the hot weather, but the line extended just barely past the stile over the ride exit.

Rideman decided not to chance his electronics on the ride, so I rode alone. It was a nice ride up until the point where our raft seems to have gotten hung up for a minute or two, right next to a geyser, one that got us like 3 or 4 times before the next raft came and dislodged us. At least the part where the tunnel fills with water didn't get it, then again, I don't recall that nasty surprise happening the last few visits. I got another drenching in the shooting gallery area before finally hitting the end of the ride. A word of caution, they have installed seatbelts that use highly elastic straps rather than regular seatbelt material. You have to stretch them to get it to fasten, so be careful when you hit that release button, as it will come flying.

The nice thing about the long exit ramp is that you a ride of most of the excess water before you reach the main midway. We heard the train pull in, so we took a quick ride on that. The train now has some nice Diamondback photo spots, and for the first time in a long time, I noted they were running two trains on it. Rideman noted they did some work with the audio loop to smooth out the hard cuts between songs.

Next up, time to stop the lolly gagging, its time for Diamondback. The line was just back to the entrance using the shortest route. We were rewarded with a ride in the dead center of the train. Blech. Did I mention I hate seat assigners on coasters? We tried it again and quite frankly didn't get that much of an impovement. Let's come back later. It's not that Diamondback is horrid in the center, its just not as good as on the ends.

Since we are getting all our bad seat assigner karma out of the way, lets go to a ride where it really matters, Surf Dog. I like the new lifeguard chair in place of the pagoda at the entrance. I miss the big character cutout on top of the tub. We landed in row 2, center. Not the worst place to sit, but not even a mediocre seat. What made our loading more interesting was there was a girl in the row behind who clearly did not want to ride. I'm not talking apprehensive, frightened, or fearful. No, I am talking full on panic attack, and the parents at first wee not going to give in. This is the kind of thing that can scar a kid from amusement parks for life. At least the did get her off the ride before it started. It was an okay ride, but not quite what it was when it first opened.

We then did the rest of Planet Snoopy first hitting a walk on Flying Ace ride. Given the significant redesign of the train, and the numerous placards, decals, signas, station announcement, lift announcement about keeping your legs down at all times, there had to have been a problem with this model ride at some park.

We then scooted over to Woodstock's Express for a minimal wait back car ride. Still has its trim brake, but you know how everything old becomes new again? The primary color of the train is back to yellow.

After Woodstock, we headed for what was posted as a 30 minute wait for Boo Blasters. We walked right onto a waiting tub, 30 minutes indeed. Rideman got stuck with a "bad gun" as usual. The fog mist effect wasn't working, but overall not a bad trip through the haunted house.

We then paused for a stop for a snack at Graeters. How can you resist Raspberry Chip ice cream? We took stock in what we had accomplished and started round two.

First to Action Zone, we noted that Invertigo had a reasonable line, which for me means it doesn't extend back into the queue maze. So, we had a relatively short wait before sitting one row from the end nearest the operators booth. Invetigo is another once of the parks consistent rides, plenty of force, but not lots of capacity. We decided against Drop Tower and Congo Falls for various reasons, but for some strange reason found ourselves walking towards Viking Fury.

The first thing I noted about Viking Fury is the loading gates towards the ends of the boat do not line up well at all, leading to confusion at loading time. Looks like they nead to paint arrows on the ground, similar to Beast. Viking Fury still has an annoying loud rattle not usually associated with pirate ship rides, but is a high capacity ride, being able to hold 56 riders per cycle. Of course in this case it isn't like there is a throng of people waiting to ride.

We next noted the price on the SlingShot reflexed up, not to worry as we headed for another walk on ride on Adventure Express. After that ride we watched somebody give the Jacob's Ladder game a try. We first watched the operator demonstrate it in such a way that the game appears to require zero effort. Rideman said "Now watch, the player has just been shown what to do, and will now immediately proceed to fall on his butt" A few seconds later, that's exactly what happened. It took a few more tries in fact, for the player to win, leading others to foolishly give the game a try. While the winner was waiting for his super jumbo prize to be brought out from the closet behind the game, he admitted to us that he had just dumped around $50 into the game. That's at 3 tries for $5 people, even more if he used a gold pass discount.

We took a look at the junk in the "Everything under $10" store and then headed over to Racer. I do think Racer is trying to be a good coaster, but brakes and a rough ride are keeping it down. I have to wonder why the south side of Racer seems to get more care and attention than the north side.

From Racer, we spotted a short line for Monster and jumped in it just at the right time. A queue started forming behind us, to the point they went from using only two arms, to using 4 of the 6 arms. I didn't get as much spin as I did a couple weeks prior, but Monster is more about bouncing up and down anyway.

We declined a ride on Dodgems, but did snag a ride on Zephyr joining a mostly full cycle just before it started. Zephyr set us up well to go back and chek on Flight of Fear. The line was just back to the door, but using the short route. I mentioned, for probably the zillionth time, my idead of turning the UFO room of the queue into a Gravitron pre show. All in all, it wasn't too long of a wait for the front seat upgrade. The seatbelts do seem to be shorter in the front seat, but not so short I can't fit.

After riding Flight of Fear, we checked the line for Firehawk, but it was still longer than we wanted to wait, so we continued our way around the park with a stop at Shake, Rattle and Roll for a walk on ride, then over the Beast for a near walk on ride. I think the love affair for the Beast is coming to an end for lots of people. It just doesn't seem to draw people the way it did, and that's with the slower moving line. My ride in the back seat was, unfortunately, on the train we have dubbed "Ol' Square Wheels" Man that was brutal. For a coaster that really doesn't offer that much, it sure can deliver the pain.

After Beast we settled into Diamondback for the rest of the short evening, wht with an 8pm close and all. Our seat assignments were getting a little better but not quite where we eally wanted. One annoyance with Diamondback is that they went with exit through retail. There seems to be an ongoing war between the park and the photo booth regarding the chain for the gift shop bypass. Lately, though people don't even get to the chain as more and more people are ducking under the rail that separates the exit from the ADA entrance. They really should just get rid of that railing and make it one big exit, that can also be used as an ADA entrance like any other ride at the park. It's most annoying in the final hour of operation when you are trying to cram as many rides in as you can. For our final ride of the night, after park close, the seat assigner just said "Everybody find a seat" we managed to be in the back seat for the final ride of the night, The airtime on this ride, in the back seat, with a loose lap bar is unreal.

After that, we decided to grab dinner at Culver's which is most noteworthy for the fact that Culvers was out of their famous Root Beer.

Then, not a week later, I was back at the park. This time for a speial event. The park was having a reunion for anybody that has ever worked for the park. Registration was free if you had your own admission and only $22 if you needed a ticket. The picnic lunch was an extra $10 either way. The website was vague on this point, however, leading some season ticket holders to buy the $22 tickets they didn't need. I, however, registered and bought the meal ticket and waited until I got the park to see if I needed to cough up te $22.

When I got to the park, I wondered why they even did web event registration. I walked up to a group sales window, I registered again on a paper form, and was given an event wristband (which wasn't valid for free drinks) and a schedule of events. had chosen to wear the KECO era employee jacket as it was a bit cool today, and a Paramount era Star Shirt. Some had on even older park garb and nametags and such.

We met at the metal detectors, where they waved us in, and the first activity of the day is the event wristband got you into the gold pass ERT on Beast and Diamondback. We headed to Diamondback and I think I managed like 7 rides during ERT. The best part about ERT was there was no seat assigner, and for some reason while the line for seat 16 was long, seat 15 was a walk on. I took numerous seat 15 rides, and we even had to wait out a 5-10 minute spot of downtime. As ERT was nearing and end I decided to put my "It's Saturday" park touring plan into operation. While ET was wrapping up, I headed towards Beast in perfect time to hit the rope drop into Coney.

I headed right back to Firehawk. Here is where my luck got real good. I walked right up into the station and took a seat on a train. Presumeably the first train of the day and they were waiting for it to fill before dispatching it. So we took our ride, which was fun as always for Firehawk, and when we returned to the station the ride had gone down for some reason. So I got my no wait Firehawk ride in with the slimest of boarding windows. While in the area, I ducked into the Flight of Fear builing and managed a real short wait for that coaster.

Taking stock in the situation, its now 10:20, and I have already been on the three biggest rides in the park. I knew I should next dart to Action Zone.

Once I arrived in Action Zone, I darted for Drop Tower. It was maybe a two cycle wait at that point, which is very good for Drop Tower. I next zipped over to Invertigo but was stopped by a welcoming committee by the restroom building informing me it was closed. As was Stunt Crew Grill as it is getting its Slaugherhouse makeover for Haunt. I walked back and scored the Delirium ride after a short wait.

After that, I noted Invertigo was open again, so I darted over there, just in time to wait through another downtime. Somebody in line mentioned it was the third downtime this morning. I persisted and some time later I took stock in the fact it was only 12:30 and I had all the low capacity stuff out of the way.

I headed back to the usual wlak on ride on Flight Deck. I did note that some of the fence for Son of Beast's queue is missing, not much, but a little bit. Flight Deck actually had a line that stretched back to just around the re ride gate. I wasn't expecting this. I waited it out, and right around 1pm, I delcared Action Zone done, as it was too cool for Congo Falls.

Next up, Oktoberfest, I was able to get the Viking Fury ride with no problem, Adventure Express had practically a full queue, not that it means much for Adventure Express. I then cleared Oktoberfest off the slate and moved onto Coney Mall. I had a reasonable wait for the Racer, just down to the bottom of the ramp. Let's see this means its 1:30 and I just need Vortex, Beast and Backlot to complete the major coasters. I would never get to Vortex or Backlot.

I headed up Coney Mall and noted an overflowing Vortex queue. Having not had breakfast, and with a 2pm Beast tour scheduled, I skipped Vortex, and Backlot was back into the queue maze which is an instant disqualification. The pizza booth line was flowing back onto the midway and wasn't moving, the potato works line was stretched across the midway and was a slow go. At around 1:50 I bagged on it was well, and went to Beast without breakfast or lunch.

I wasn't there to ride Beast, but part of the day's events, which seem to folow the parks standard special event schedule is a walkback of Beast. It was the usual photo walkback where you walk back the road that goes alongside the brake run, then walk out alongside the lift hill to a spot right around the bottom of the first drop and the curve immeidately afterwards. This particular area is prime photo taking real estate. Some time was given for photos and a Beast operator came bak for a Q&A. While there were some coaster enthusiasts in the group (hey working at a park and becoming a park nut tend to go together) there were enough non enthusiasts asking cetain questions about the Beast which the coaster nuts would answwer in unison. We did get to walk back as far as the motorhouse for lift 2 before turnng around. It's been a while since tours have gone deep into Beast woods all the way to the very back of the ride. This tour, however, did go where no other Beast tour I have taken part of has gone before, we went up by the station end of the ride to take a look at motorhouse 1, the transfer shed, and the first lift.

After that our tour ended and we were escorted back to the midway. Fro there I latched onto a group with Adam and his friends/relatives. e took a look through the Emporium, we took a ride on the Racer, we took another look in the Emporium before headig up to the front of the park by the Kings Island logo for the group photo.

After the group photo, I needed to get something to eat, so I stopped by Cinnabon to try one of their famous cinamon rolls, which I don't think I had ever had in the past. Yum. While in the Emporium, I noted a full size Joe Cool/Kings Island flag. Now, you know I am a flag collector, so I asked at the Emporium, but was told they were out of stock, which led me to the Snoopy shop in planet Snoopy. They had a few of them, and at only $7.95, I thought it was a pretty reasonably priced item. So I bought one, and while waiting in the check out line, I spotted a rack of Peanuts DVD's They had one with all the Peanut's holiday specials, at $65.99 I left that well enough alone.

By this time the park was getting insanely crowded. I walked around a bit looking at the insane lines for rides, I mean it IS Saturday, of a holiday weekend, with perfect weather, after all. I decided to take a ride on the train. It was a shortened ride as they had already closed the water park for the night, so no stop there. By this time it was about 5:10, lunch isn't till 5:30 but I figured it would take that long to get onto any of the rides. I made my way to the picnic grove to meet an already formidable looking line waiting at the picnic grove gate. Between group picnics and the "Backyard BBQ public picnic" the grove is quite popular. So we stood around in a rapidly growing line until 5:30 and entered the grove. They collected the e-tickets but did not scan them, and we were directed to the Firehawk shelter. They have upgraded the soft drink station from a manned booth to having three self serve fountains. I grabbed a free drink while waiting in line for the food.

Teh spread was the typical: potato salad, baked beans, pull pork BBQ, hot dogs, chicken tenders, watermelon and popsicles. I reunited with Adam's group and we had dinner. The best thing on the bar was the pull pork BBQ.

After dinner, we headed back to Beast. Beast had a full queue all the way through all three queue mazes and starting to spread out into Beast Plaza. It must have taken 60-90 minutes in line, to be rewarded with a mediocre Beast ride. The good news it at least it was starting to get dark. We then had some of that strange coasternut behavior where you stand around trying to figure out what to do instead of actually doing anything. We eventually wound up on Adventure Express. A quick ride there and it was time to head to International Restaraut for more food. A quick wristband check, and it was upstais for us. They had all the typical reception foods: cheeseboard, relish tray, fruit tray, quiche, sweedish meatballs, chips, pretzels and soft drinks. We dined on reception foods while we watched slide shows of old park photos featuring staff members, intercut with the parks 20th aniversary TV special. A few brief remarks of thanks were offered, and people had time to mingle and recall park memories and the like. We watched the fireworks show from the dining room, and were then asked to remain there until we were escorted back to Beast for ERT.

I use the term escorted loosely as we pretty much just walked back to ERT as well as salmon trying to swim upstream against the throngs of exiting guests. We got to Beast Plaza and it was hurry up and wait. We got the usual looks like "Don't you know the park is closed" After a bit of this, they moved us into the queue area but held us on the ramp before the line split. All told, I bet we waited nearly 45 minutes to a hour for the ride to close for the day to the public. After that we were initially going to be offered one ride on Beast, but some of us were lucky enough to get two rides. After that it was the long arduos walk through the near empty park to get back to our cars.

Next up: Fall Affair at Holiday World


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