Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Monday, May 09, 2011

TR: Kings Island - April 30, 2011

Trip Report: Kings Island
Mason, OH
April 30, 2011

"It's opening day, it's the best day Cincinnati has seen in a month weather wise, the park is closed on Sunday, the park has a new ride! What could possibly go wrong!"

Ah, opening day for the coaster season regionally! As such, Rideman and I got a late start and got to the park around 2pm. It's a Saturday, nobody goes to the park anymore on Saturday's its way too crowded. It didn't look bad at first, when we got through the parking toll plaza with little to no waiting, just long enough to remark on the fact Premier Parking is now up to $20, Commoner parking remains $10. Better yet, gold pass parking remains free.

We enter the lot and head up and down rows, my this isn't looking good. They are parking people all the way back to Boomerang Bay, and it isn't even open. We head the other way, and claim a spot that makes the proverbial Clark Griswold spot look great. Yes, we are behind the buses, virtually in Great Wolf Lodges parking lot.

We use the Great Wolf Lodge walking trail to get to the front gate, and noted that $20 looks to be too high, even for those with more money than sense. We also note the season pass processing line to extend back into the parking lot. Suddenly, Rideman is glad he renewed online, and I renewed last fall.

As expected we had smooth sailing through the security checkpoint, and the ticket checkpoint. Once inside, we were even late enough to NOT get photo ambushed, and had smooth sailing all the way to Eiffel Tower.

With Windseeker out of commission, we headed to the finest ride the park has to offer, that being Diamondback. But first we have to squeeze our way through a path blocking cluster at the Chik-Fill-A stand, I don't think I've seen that stand that busy. It didn't help matters that they setup a *portable* carnival game right in the middle of the bottlenecked area, piching the path even tighter while making the game very unattractive to play when you can't hardly get to it. Did I mention the game is portable, and could have been easily moved to a less congested but still highly traveled area? I know its portable because by the end of the night it was in an entirely different location altogether.

More alarming is what they have done to the menu boards, or at least the one at Chik-Fill-A, they have selected a font for the prices that is so small, you have no hope of reading it until you are right up to the service window. By which time, you have wasted 15 minutes or more, and are pressured into the $8 chicken sandwich.

We continued on through a sea of people in Planet Snoopy and headed into Rivertown. Ugh, the line for Diamondback is all the way through the queue, overflowing onto the midway, and wrapped down Rivertown clear past the buffet and getting near the train station. Jaming the walkway in front of the DB Trading Post is a large crowd of people waiting for the single rider entrance to open up.

We pass on that, head down Rivertown to find Crypt to be actually open and sporting a full queue. No thanks. Beast queue is back to Rivertown Pizza, pass, Backlot Stunt Coaster has a full queue maze but no quite overflowing onto the midway. Ugh, is there some other park we could go to?

You now the park needs a nice high capacity coaster like Vortex to help abosrb the crowd, but Vortex is closed as it exits right into the Windseeker construction area. Troika has a full queue for crying out loud. We make the turn by Vortex. As expected the path is blocked right even with the Vortex Entrance on the Vortex side of the path, and by Speed Pitch on the other side of the path. The large closed midway on that side was being used by maintenance guys untangling a long steel cable.

Windseeker isn't near as ready as its last minute closue would have you believe. At least 4 cars sit disconnected from the ride in front of the restroom building, not all the fencing is in place and as I already noted there are some steel cables that still need to be installed on the ride somewhere.

What we saw next made no sense, a queue from the BLOCKED OFF BY CONSTRUCTION FENCING Vortex entrance all the way back to Juke Box Diner. These people are queuing up for a ride that is closed, has been advertised on the boards out front as closed, is sitting in a construction zone, and currently has no exit. Most curious.

The situation got more interesting when a crew arrived to start testing Vortex. Son, a line stretched all the way to Dodgems, with no announcement or any sign the ride would open.

Next, it started to become obvious that by moving some of the portable constrution fencing and some park benches they were carving out a path that would run from the Vortex exit, through a small opening to the left of the on ride photo booth, then run BEHIND the new bank of coin operated lockers, where portable fencing ran until it met up with a bank of vending machines that effetively sealed off the construction zone.

Not much longer, Vortex was open, there was much rejoicing, and fter about a half hour or so wait, we scored rides in the second to last seat. The trims don't appear to be on quite as hard, and the hill right after the two vertical loops has you pointed directly at Windseeker. All in all, a better than average Vortex ride, and a good way to start the season. Park security did have the new problem of having to be over zealous in trying to keep the crowd moving down Vortex's make shift exit path as said path also was cramped but provided the closest in close ups of Windseeker. How cute, the new ride has the Cedar Point style gates, but why did they put the control box such that it obscures an otherwise picture perfect view from the midway. A park associate in suit and tie also filled us in on the fact the Action Theatre entrance is being rerouted through the current exit, so now both entry and exit to Action Theatre will be between Windseeker and Vortex.

Starting back up Coney, the Euro Bobbles while in the park guide were absent, including all signage. Construction is also underway for the new upcharge Dino walk through attraction, which will start using the old Cinema 180 entrance. Fuether up, a snack bar that had been disused for numerous seasons is now an ICEE Mix It Up stand, and Zephyr was closed.

We continued down Coney, marveling at the new cobblestone walkway that has finally replaced the blacktop. Paramount committed several sins, mostly owing to cheap construction practies: blacktop walkways, chain link fencing, and functional but butt ugly lighting - it looks like Cedar Fair is on a campaign to purge the park of all three. Then, there is butt ugly, but ill suited for its use lighting, like the stand in Rivertown that has no lighting on the marquee sign.

Monster and Scmrambler both jammed, it looks like some kind of laser tag thing went in where the House of Darkness haunt resides, and Racer was down to just one side, with a full queue spilling over into the midway.

Will we ever get a second ride? The answer is yes, after fighting our way through a full Adventure Express queue with killer giant bees. But being Adventure Express, even a full queue doesn't take too long. It takes longer than it should due to one train being missing, but still not a bad wait. We were rewarded with a pedictable Adventure Express mine ride.

We headed into Action Zone - Delirum and Drop Tower spilled forth into the midway, but hey you can always count on Flight Deck for a quick ride, right? Not when its closed.

We ducked through Festhaus, and it has gotten its stage back. Really it'snot that far off anymore from returning to its former glory as a German Festhaus - really just change three things: The Menu, The Beer Selection, and The Theme of the Feature Show, and you have a wonderful attraction worthy of being in the Oktoberfest section of the park. We also noted Viking Fury was only through one switchback. We went for what would be one of our shortest waits the entire day, for a mediocre pirate ship ride.

We darted back around International Street, and headed to Boo Blasters. Planet Snoopy was crowded, as you might expect, but hey Boo Blasters is a continuous loader using an Omnimover system. Why then did the line start and stop of often. It appeared that the crew would slow or stop the turnstable at the mere hint of somebody being slow to load or unload. The queue area was also not scare conditioned, leading to a not so pleasant wait, on that was extended with some ride downtime. They are still trying to sell the useless 3D glasses as well. If was a fun ride, and our higher than average scores attest to how slow we moved through the ride. I'm finally glad Rideman won one for once, that way I won't have to listen to the broken boo blaster excuse once agan.

Surf Dog and Woodstock had full queues, the water maze was actually open for once on opening day, Flying Ace had *gulp* a full queue that was posted at 90 minutes. The Race for Your Life Charlie Brown log flume was closed. A glance at Diamondback revealed the situation had not improved there. A glance at the buffet revealed a $17 price tag for a meal of dubious quality.

We decided that since things were so packed and crazy to leave the park, grab a nice relaxing meal at the Outback Steak House, then we returned to the park right around 8pm. We got there just as a huge part of the crowd was leaving. We did score a parking space in Row 1 of Commoner's parking, and re-entered the park. We heade right to Diamondback again, and well the full queue was spilling out onto the midway a little bit. We sucked it up, and a about an hour later were rewarded with a back row, loose lapbar ride. THIS is what I had been missing all winter. This is what roller coastering should be about! Yeah. A slight modification to the exit gate allows for two exit lanes, this benefit is negated by them closing, locking , and blocking the first exit door in the forced exit though retail gift shop, forcing you to walk all the way through the shop. I mean the door is blocked on both sides. Hello, Fire Marshall!

We headed down to Beast, discovered the queue to be a bit longer than we wanted to wait on an overrated ride of questionable quality, particularly since it would mena we would have to give up a ride on Diamonback which is a known winner. We did go look at Windseeker, and the lighting package on the ride is FANTASTIC. IT screams German Carney Ride. It's really a look the park is sorely missing. We headed thhrough the Snoopy Starlight Spectacular and ended the day at Diamondback.

Might not have been the best opening day, but certainly not the worst either.


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