Okay everyone, brace yourselves… I’m about to do the unthinkable and actually write a trip report for a trip in the same year when the trip actually took place!
On our flight home from Florida I had had a few drinks and had started writing a Universal report with a DeLorean time machine joke that really tied the whole Universal thing together nicely before I came to the realization that I totally forgot that I needed to do a trip report from our Midwest road trip first so none of that sh*t would have made any sense so never mind. Now you’re getting a much less clever introduction.
I guess technically before I get into this I should mention that there are some trip reports that took place after our Wildwood trip that have already been posted elsewhere. If you want to follow along in order you should probably check them out, if you don’t care (and I assume you don’t, because I wouldn’t if I were you) then carry on.
------------------------------------Hersheypark with Boldikus and the gang from last OctoberHoliday in the Park with Boldikus from last December(Boldikus is a recurring theme since I just let him write the reports since I’m a lazy a**. If left up to me they would have never got done).Dollywood opening Day 2017 (I actually wrote this one… I couldn’t believe it either)Six Flags Great Adventure Opening Day 2017(after all that work I did on the Dollywood report I figured I’d take a much needed break and let Boldikus write this one too “for a change”. JRice, Lightnin Loops and nitoro make an appearance here too. It’s worth reading...
Anyway, I guess it’s time to actually get to the point (pun not intended, I really hate to be “that guy”)… our Memorial Day weekend Midwest trip 2017!
I guess I should probably start out by saying that this trip almost didn’t happen. I normally hate to waste 3 day weekends by staying home but we had a Florida trip coming up 2 weeks later and were really on a tight budget. Luckily thanks to Choice Privileges we had just earned a ton of bonus points and realized we could easily do a 4 day / 4 night road trip without spending a dime on hotels.
In addition to this, since Brit has a Prius and we already had Cedar Fair passes we realized we wouldn’t need to spend much on gas or park admission either. After playing around with some ideas we came up with a plan that included Kings Island, Kentucky Kingdom, Holiday World, Coney Island and Cedar Point. Kentucky Kingdom, Holiday World and Coney Island were new to us, we had been to Kings Island but were itching to try out the new hotness and there was absolutely nothing new at Cedar Point but there’s no way in hell I’d ever visit the state of Ohio and not go there so we threw that in too. A few days before we were set to leave we finally pulled the trigger on the trip, booked the hotels and packed the car for our trip to the heartland.
We both took Friday off so our journey began Thursday afternoon. We both cut out of work a little early, I picked her up at her office and we were on our way to Ohio!
Our drive was pretty uneventful and we got to our hotel (which was about an hour from the park) around 11:00. After a good night’s sleep we got up, grabbed some waffles from the hotel breakfast and were at the park in time for Passholder early entry on Mystic Timbers and Diamondback!
Since we had already been to the park and since we were on a budget we decided against Fastlane. The park was sort of crowded, but aside from Mystic Timbers we didn’t wait more than 30 minutes for anything (well… except food) until our Beast night ride so it really wasn’t too bad.
As tempting as it was to marathon Diamondback since nobody was headed there, we couldn’t turn down the new, mystical hotness so we headed to Mystic Timbers and were greeted with a station wait. The line for the front didn’t look too bad so we decided to hop in that line and as soon as we did the ride immediately went down for 30 minutes.
The breakdown was an odd one, apparently someone leaned on the gate so it couldn’t close properly and maintenance ended up going down below the station and banging on a bunch of sh*t in order to fix it. Eventually they got it working (to an eruption of cheers) and 5 minutes later we boarded the train.
The journey up the lift hill was pretty cool as they had speakers everywhere warning you not to go in the shed with an ominous music bed in the background. The ride paused at the top for suspense and a few seconds later we were barreling down the drop on a mystical, timberous adventure.
I’ll save you the play-by-play of the ride but it’s a lot of fun. The location is great and the ride has that typical fast, out of control feeling with a smattering of floater airtime hills that we’ve come to expect from GCI. The tunnel on the turnaround is cool and that weird trick track section before the shed is a cool moment also.
As for the shed, I actually thought it was really cool because I had set my expectations accordingly but I think I’m in the minority on that. Brit thought it was dumb as hell, and the riders behind us could all be heard loudly voicing their disappointment on the way back into the station, usually with statements like “that was it?” or the more traditional… “what the f*ck was that sh*t?!?!?!?!”
As for the ride itself, it was a lot of fun. There was nothing mind blowing about it (I’d say it’s an average GCI) but it was an absolute laugh fest and it would be a great addition to any park’s lineup. I think I probably prefer Diamondback, Banshee, Bat and (if it’s night time) Beast but it’s definitely an upper tier ride for the park and most importantly it’s a LOT of fun. It does have the dumbest name of any coaster on earth though.
Since it was next door and had a 5 minute wait, our next stop was Diamondback. I’m pretty sure this is my favorite B&M hyper. It delivers really impressive air for a B&M and everything it does seems to be slightly more abrupt and forceful than most of it’s counterparts. I absolutely love this thing and highly recommend the very last row. Not only does it offer great airtime but you can extend your hand backwards during the splashdown and grab a handful of water to throw at your riding partner. That’s one of my favorite parts of the ride but I don’t know if Brit would agree.
SKLOOOOOOOOSH!!!!! Oh sorry, wrong park.
Following that we just sort of walked around with no real plan. We made our way over to Beast and snagged a quick ride in the back row. As always it provided a great ride. It seems to be running pretty smooth (by Beast standards) and I’ll never get tired of it’s weird a** layout. After our Beast ride, we finally decided to head up to Action zone (hitting Adventure Express on the way of course) to tackle Banshee and Bat.
I knew I liked Banshee but it was even better than I remembered it. I love that you can now pick your seat since it’s definitely a front seat ride and while the elements themselves are forceless and floaty (which isn’t a bad thing), I love how the low sections of the ride all seem to pull a ton of g forces as the ride transitions between the elements. I also love how the changes in elevation are so drastic that at certain points you actually experience noticeable temperature differences as you dive into the valleys. This ride is an absolute home run.
Bat continues to be the most underrated ride in the park and probably our favorite ride at Kings Island aside from the 2 big B&M’s. We rode it a few times and it was absolutely flying every single time. God I love this thing.
At this point we were getting pretty hungry but it was becoming obvious that getting lunch would be quite an ordeal. Since it was the Friday of Memorial Day weekend the park was crowded, but they also had tons of staffing problems. To their credit, they did bring in food trucks to try to alleviate this problem but they could only do so much. The vast majority of food locations in the park were closed and every place that wasn’t had a line at least 30 people deep.
We figured since we had to wait anyway we might as well go to a food truck. Not only would the food likely be much better but they would also have much more efficient employees than Kings Island would and that turned out to be a good move. I don’t remember the name of the truck we went to, but we got pulled pork sandwiches and they were quite tasty.
I’ll be honest, I don’t really remember the order in which we rode everything after lunch. We really had a pretty laid back day and sort of just hit rides as we came to them or made spur of the moment decisions about what to ride. We skipped Flight of Fear and Backlot since we can ride them at Kings Dominion (even though we’re big fans of both). We skipped Firehawk because of it’s wait time and we skipped Racer (cry about it), the hang and bang boomerang train wreck and Vortex because we had no real desire to ride any of them. We did manage a ride on Adventure Express (which is as awesomely terrible as always) re-rides on Mystic Timbers and Diamondback and rides on some non-coaster rides like Windseeker, Boo Blasters, Drop Tower and Delirium.
By that point it was starting to get dark and we realized we needed to start planning out our night so we could get in line for the Beast at night and give ourselves a good chance for the front row.
We still had time for a few more rides, and while I’d managed to control myself for most of the day there was no way in hell we were going to spend a day at Kings Island without running for our lives with Charlie Brown so we headed over to the flume.
While I love this ride (as I love every Flume) this one was never one of my favorites. It spends most of it’s time aggressively banging into the trough and rolling down the track rather than floating. It’s also the most drenching flume this side of Ripsaw Falls. I guess when you’re racing for your life you don’t have time for floating when you can be hauling a** and slamming into sh*t so I’ll give it a pass.
All in all it was still a great ride despite my complaints, most of all I’m just thrilled that the park opted to keep it around since this time last year it’s future was very much in doubt.
Once we finished flumin’ it up we were up against the clock but we realized we had time for one more Banshee and Bat ride before heading over to the Beast so we headed towards Action Zone (noticing that the park was opening tons of additional food locations as more and more staff started to arrive late in the day) and had another great ride on each before heading back towards Beast.
One unfortunate thing about Kings Island in late May is that because it’s so far west it really doesn’t get completely dark until 10:00 so as much as we wanted night rides on Bat, Mystic Timbers and Banshee that really wasn’t to be. We got off of Bat at 9:15 PM and the sun hadn’t even completely set yet. Despite the fact that it wasn’t a night ride, it was still awesome so no complaints here.
After we got off Bat it was finally time to cap off our great day in the best way possible, with the best night ride in the world. We had been posting updates on Facebook all day long and had tons of messages telling us how we needed to ride Mystic Timbers at night but we only get to this park once every few years so we had absolutely ZERO interest in that stupid bullsh*t.
We got to Beast around 9:30 because we were hoping to get there early enough for a front seat ride. This is always a bit of a balancing act because on one hand you need to get there late enough that it’s dark when you get on the ride, but on the other hand you need to get there early enough that you can wait for the front since everyone else wants the same seat you do.
Our wait time was about 90 minutes since the ride suspends operation for about 30 minutes for the nightly fireworks show (which by the way was the most piss poor firework show I’ve ever seen in my life). Even without that the line was still the longest we saw all day. Everyone knows the Beast is the place to be at night.
As we were standing in the station, I kept seeing flashes in the sky. I kept rationalizing that they were camera flashes from nearby rides or something harmless but when we were about 3 trains away from boarding it started raining and the park’s PA system broke in with an announcement about severe weather, the national weather service, and some other ominous bullsh*t (we couldn’t make it all out from the Beast station).
We thought we were screwed, but the ride ops seemed absolutely determined to keep rolling trains and get everyone on the ride before they were forced to shut down. Security and a few higher ups were standing on the exit platform to sweep the park after the last train and we were worried that at any minute they would cut it off so we gave up on our front row ride (which wasn’t looking likely anyway) and headed for the back seat.
It’s hard to describe the relief we felt when our train rolled out of the station and we knew it was too late for them to let some trivial bullsh*t like common sense or some a**holes who don’t know sh*t about weather like the so called “National Weather Service” stop us from experiencing a Beast night ride.
It was lightly raining as we headed up the world’s slowest lift hill and we could see flashes in the sky but we were facing away from the approaching storm so it didn’t seem too bad. The anticipation built and built until finally we dropped off the lift and started our OMFG insane journey through the woods.
There’s nothing like the Beast at night, nothing. It sounds corny but this ride honestly feels like it’s alive at night. We spent most of the ride barreling through the woods unable to even see our hands in front of our faces but the occasional flash of lightning illuminated everything and served to make it even more awesome than it already was.
When we reached the second lift, we were facing the incoming storm and got to watch a REALLY impressive display of lightning on the way up. The entire thing was so surreal that I really don’t even know how to describe it but it perfectly set the tone for the amazing helix finale. I swear, that helix really feels like the ride is actively trying to rip itself apart. It’s an unbelievable end to an unbelievable coaster and as we pulled into the station the entire train was cheering like crazy. I think everyone was fully aware of how lucky we were to get a Beast night ride in a thunderstorm and I’m sure that’s not a ride that anyone on that train would soon forget.
As we exited the train we were still riding high, but as we started down the ramp the park music cut off and was once again replaced with the National Weather Service announcement about 70 MPH winds, quarter sized hail and a category 5 sh*t storm.
We were quickly reminded of the fact that we were in the very back of the park and had to walk all the way to the front and then all the way to our car which was almost at the big Kings Island sign by the highway. It was raining, but not pouring yet so we absolutely threw out the Cedar Fair “no running” rule and booked it out of there. Honestly I think they would have happily made an exception in this scenario.
The rain picked up a little bit it still wasn’t too terrible until we were about 100 feet from the car when the sky opened up and entered into full SKLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH mode. We were THAT close to escaping relatively unscathed but by the time we got to the car we were dripping wet.
Honestly though, neither of us cared all that much. We only had a 20 minute ride to our hotel and it was more than worth it for the most unforgettable coaster ride of our lives…
Up next: Kentucky Kingdom, Holiday World and some more crazy weather that would make Bill Paxton sh*t himself in his grave. Gotta love the Midwest!