My name is Nick, I've been a long-time lurker here, but the Banshee Bash finally made me join; could not resist. So i figured a solid way to start my membership-hood here would be to post a few trip reports, of mini trips my girlfriend (Alisha), and I have been taking! I guess a good place to start would be our first trip of the summer, KING'S DOMINION! Living near Cedar Point, I never felt the need to travel to other parks until recent years.
Ever since the construction of Intimidator 305, I have had a serious NEED to go ride it, and this summer, the lady and I decided we finally would make the 9 hour drive to cross this one of my list. At this point in time (4-27-14), Alisha was still my little "enthusiast in training", so this trip was more for me than her.
I had heard BAD things about King's Dominion; that its dirty, stale, and basically a crap park with one SUPER COASTER. However, we were pleasantly surprised! The flowers were in bloom, there was a great canopy of trees, and the whole park looked like it had a fresh coat of paint. It also helps that we went so early in the season, it was a ghost town. More re-rides for us! So I guess I will put this into a more "narrative-style", commencing now.
After the EXCRUCIATING 9 hour drive, we finally arrive. Setting eyes upon a skyline of coasters/tower rides has a way of lifting your spirits
Parking at the Best Western right across the lot from the park (great hotel for the price by the way) , I feel overcome with joy, I am at King's Dominion, and i will be marathoning I305 in mere moments.
We enter the park, and I am pleasently surprised, we found the entrance plaza/fountain area to be beautiful; the flowers, the tree cover, the tower in the distance... We pose for our required "park sign photos".
After a short stroll down the main promenade, we come to the base of the "eiffel tower". I must say I love these things, such fond memories of King's Island when I was a wee boy. They look stunning
, and the views from the top TRUMP the views you can attain from an enclosed gyro tower, did I mention I love these things?!?
After a quick ride up to the observation deck, we peer out of our elevated cage, at the enjoyment that awaits us below, and take the photographs thousands
have before us:
Once we had enough of our birds-eye view of the park, we came back down the tower, and wandered down this beautiful pathway. This sold me on the park, Alisha and I agree, that King's Dominion 100% surpassed the expectations groups like Bojangles' Famous Chicken 'n Biscuits
had given us.
But I digress, enough of the greenery, aesthetics, and how "pretty" it is. Lets get into another type of "pretty"....
PRETTY F****** CRAZY!
My moment had come, I stand before the entrance of the beastly, menacing, intimidating
...No, INTIMIDATOR305! Looking down the stretch of path, up towards the monstrous lift, I know
, this is going to be incredible.
I305 did NOT disappoint. Our first ride, last car, last row, me left, Alisha on the right. We ascend the towering lift, I look to her as she looks back to me. She says "I love you". And smiles, though I can see it in her eyes that she's shitting her drawers right about now. I reply "I love you too". I reach out, grab her hand, our fingers laced, as we are sling-shotted over the apex of the lift. We are at the zenith, diving back to Earth at a hellish pace. I feel her grip on my hand get tighter; she's afraid. But when we hit that first low turn, she lets out a long WOOOOOOOOOHH!! And I know RIGHT then, that she would forever love coasters from this point on.
We TEAR through the first turn, my vision disappears entirely about 1/3 of the way around the turn, but I know I'm lovin' it. Screw seeing, right..? I begin seeing again as we crest that BIG camelback under the lift. MAJOR ejector air. Alisha is screaming like a banshee
and I suppose I am too. Hard left, pop of airtime, hard left, crazy transition, hard right, hard left, hard right, airtime hills. It felt like a matter of seconds, and it very well could have been.When we exit, I can see it in her eyes, she's my little Intamin Fangirl now
We WALK on 4 or 5 times, experimenting with seats, waited 5 minutes for the front. The front seat had its pros and cons. I loved ripping through the course, just watching the track fly-by underneath you, however, in the front, the first drop is sooooo meh. I couldn't overlook that, due to living by Millennium Force; which i feel has the superior first drop. We both agree though, our favorite seat is the absolute last row. Well i guess I should quit ranting and post some pics!
After I305, we head to Volcano, but its broken down. I start to panic and worry I'll miss out on this unique Intamin creation. We decide to ride Avalanche, since its near by. Unfortunately for this Photo TR, I didn't get any photos of it. I thought Avalanche was good fun. Some nice G's in some of the helixes, and a few of the S-bends had some pops of air with nice lats. Alisha liked it as well.
After we get off Avalanche, we see Volcano send out its first train of passengers, so we sprint to the queue. Got on in <5 minutes. LOVED IT! Volcano is a one-of-a-kind coaster, and I'm glad to have ridden it. The 2-phase launch was unique, and I absolutely adore the big inversion out of the top of the volcano itself (rollout, I think the call it..?). We ended up buying an ORP of it, I have my feet&fists straight ahead, as if I'm some sort of idiot version of superman... I can't find the ORP right now though :/ but when I find it I'll post it for a good laugh or two. Here's a few picture we took of the ride though:
After a couple re-rides on Volcano, Avalanche, and I305, we decide to go on "Backlot Stunt-Coaster". I thought it was better than I remembered the one at KI being, but I rode that one when I was younger, in its opening season. It had some nice snappy transitions, a few pops of air, and the lower portion of the 900 degree(?) helix had some surprisingly good G's. Alisha didn't like it though, she has an incredibly weak back/neck (I'll explain in a moment), and the quick transitions with no OTSR's kept throwing here upper body out of the sides of her seat. She described it as being "torn in half at the waist". We however didn't take any pictures of the coaster, sorry.
Next we rode Flight of Fear. Having ridden the one at KI I knew what to expect. We both enjoyed it, some good G's in the lower parts, and some good turns/transitions. Fun coaster, but we only rode once. This is due to the queue line smelling like a foul mixture of mid-summer body odor, bad breath, and taco-diahrea. Sorry no pics of the big "silo" the ride resides in, seemed pointless.
Next up, Dominator. I used to ride this ALL DAY at geauga lake, since it was never more than a 5 minute wait. It felt good to ride it again. I LOVE the high-speed over bank right after the loopity-loop. One thing I noticed though, was the occasional B&M rattle, which was not there at GL. I'm not sure if its age, or being transported. Overall though, a solid coaster, one of my favorite Beemers, and a unique layout. However, it looked better over the swampy area it resided in at GL. But I digress, a solid coaster to fill up the parks lineup. We re-rode quite a few times, once in the front by myself; Alisha sat out to take a few photos of this beautiful floorless.
At this point, Alisha is done with the coasters for the day. Remember how I mentioned her back/neck being weak? Well, when Alisha was a little girl, it was discovered she has an undiagnosable connective-tissue disease. This lead to a hole in her heart that required surgery at the age of 8; but thats a story for another day... Another effect this disease had on her body was the start of scoliosis around middle school, BAD scoliosis. Bad enough that she had to have two steel rods infused to her spine, that can never be removed. A side effect of this was her developing RA in the base of her neck in recent years (now 22 y/o). So ANY coaster she rides MUST have head-support (unless forceless), preferably OTSR's (still optional), and be relatively smooth. So no woodies, stand-ups, or Arrow loopers/hypers. So the rest of the day consisted of me playing single rider, and her photographing the coasters/park, or me ON the coasters. By the way I had to cut the resolution WAY down on these photos to get them to upload. So the rest of these coasters are done solo.
Shockwave, worse than I expected. Forceful loop, cool helix, GREAT neck-snapper turn at the end! To make things worse, the ride ops were bumbling idiots. It took them 24 minutes to dispatch my train, by then I just wanted OUT. They were rapping to the archetype BBB (big booby bimbos) that you'd imagine some idiot rapping to. Nothing worse than being miserable in a crappy coaster for 24 minutes BEFORE the ride even starts. Pardon me, getting fired up again.
Next up on my solo-coaster extravaganza, Anaconda. I remember seeing photos of the underwater dive when I was a young enthusiast, so I was excited to finally be here riding it. All in all, I thought Anaconda was smoother than its brother, Vortex, at KI, but less exiting due to the second half. The dive was cool, and the loop/sidewinder combo was a solid 1-2 punch. However, the MCBR ruined the rest of the course. I think the brakes are so aggressive due to that DREADFUL transition in the bottom of the butterfly(?) element (those two stupidly warped helixes back to back). Which was still awful at our ass-dragging pace. It goes without saying that we CRAWLED through the double corkscrew as well. Still a fun coaster, though, I still don't quite "get" the color scheme.
In between Anaconda and I305 I do a sped run for creds on Ricochet, Grizzly, and Rebel Yell. Hurler was still shut down (winter refurbishment i believe?), so I missed that credit. I thought they were all okay. Ricochet had some good air at times Same with Grizzly (back seat), and Rebel Yell. Though I found Racer at KI to be better, possibly because the last time I rode it, it was still running backwards on one side, which none of the three "racers" (Rebel Yell,Racer, and Thunder Road) do anymore as far as I'm aware. No pics for these, as we were literally sprinting to get back to I305 to get my marathon on.
From this point on, I got 21 rides (thats how empty it was) on Intimidator 305. I was really "feeling out" the ride; really taking everything in. And although I loved it, as it blew away my expectations. I still only, at the time, make it my #2; Maverick at CP just slightly
nudging it out. I think in combination with our rides earlier in the day, I very well may have ridden almost EVERY seat! Back-right is still my absolute favorite though.
Overall, it was a beautiful day; the sun was shining, the flowers were in bloom, the trees were full, and riders were screaming. I would gladly make a pilgrimage to KD again, possibly for their "next big thing".
THANK YOU FOR READING! I hope you enjoyed this brand new member's first Photo TR!
On our way home we stopped to tour a bunch of caverns, and drove to the tops of mountain overlooks, if anyones interested, I'll do a Photo TR of that too.
Next up, a Photo TR of *a park* with the ride that knocked Maverick down to my number 2. Can you guess it?