It won't be, but I'm pretty excited to see a new Surfside Pier next year. Talked to my Mom over the holiday and she said construction is in full swing. Hoping to get down for Xmas and I'll check out the scene and drop some quarters @ Gateway.
Pouring one out for good old Flitzer and its brothers. It will be missed. I'm glad they're replacing it with another coaster, but it's still not going to be a patch on the silly fun that Flitzer provided for decades.
That coaster dad  and that coaster kiddo .Road trip buddies for life. Dad's faves: Fury 325. Phantom's Revenge. Intimidator 305. El Toro. Skyrush. Kiddo's faves: Storm Runner. Banshee. Top Thrill Dragster. Valravn. Apollo's Chariot.
Been a minute, huh? In a mad-dash effort to get caught up on some trip reports before the 2019 season officially begins (for me, at least) I've been spending these last few crapweather weeks going through tons of photos I'm excited to finally share with y'all because they're the first set of trip pix from my new phone. And how about the timing on this report? As the enthusiast community collectively mourns the loss of our beloved fiery Virginian Intamin, I'm here to swoop in and remind you all of how great a park Kings Dominion is, with or without Volcano. As it's clear some of you have forgotten.
Back in late October, in what is now an almost-annual tradition, I joined my good friends Coasterbill & his bride-to-be Brit for another whirlwind weekend just south of the Mason-Dixon line, only this time we finally managed to drag my fiancee, Dawn along with us.
I'm not getting into a whole backstory on this one - ain't nobody got the patience or time for that, and most of you know the drill by now anyway. On Friday evening after work, Bill & Brit headed down from the lovely town of Bumblef*ck, NY to eventually stop in Philthy, PA to scoop us up before the second half of their pilgrimage to the Old Dominion. Magically, we survived the long plod down I95, to arrive at the Sleep Inn Southpoint, in lovely Fredricksberg, VA around 11pm, before immediately retiring to our respective rooms and collectively passing the f*ck out.
The hotel was fine, nothing special. In fact, since it was almost 4 months ago I don't recall anything noteworthy about it at all. Maybe Bill can remind me? Going into the trip, we knew Volcano would not be running and were fully prepared to enjoy ourselves regardless since the rest of the parks lineup is straight fire on its own.
Feels good to be back. Right before this trip I splurged on some 2019 platinum passes for Dawn and I, so once in the main gate we had to make a pitstop at guest relations to trade our online vouchers for physical cards, which lucky for us was quick and painless.
The forecast for the day was a bit scattered, and while it was a little drizzly in the morning, just like every other time I've been to Kings Dominion, and the park seemed pretty dead, we found everyone once we headed back to Twisted Timbers.
Because of course that's where we headed. And let's be real - if Volcano was operational we would have done the same thing. That's what happens when you put in an RMC.
One of the things I was looking forward to the most on this trip was getting Dawn on Twisted Timbers, which would be her first ever RMC coaster. As some of you know from prior reports, she'll ride quite a bit but she has a limit when it comes to height/speed/minimal restraints and of course, extreme intensity.
Leading up to this I'd shown her some video of the ride and she said she'd give it at least one try but first ride of the trip first thing in the morning? She took a hard pass.
This iPhone has great zoom, huh? But yeah knew she would likely refuse to ride in the back of the train (she likes being able to see what's coming) so this was our chance to get some buckwild rear rides as she checked out that area of the park.
You know by now we usually won't shy away from splurging on skip-the-line passes if the lines warrant it, but since we'd just arrived we hadn't decided yet. It was one of the final Saturdays of Haunt and by now the weather looked like it was going to turn out OK, so it was looking likely we might need them. For now we only had to wait a train or two for a few back seat rides before we met back up with my better half.
How was the ride? Phenomenal but you probably already know that. For a more detailed review go back to the first page of this thread for my first ride reactions. I don't need to gush about it again. It's great. Go ride it.
From here we decided to move onto Apple Zapple but it was not yet operational so we headed onward to Racer 75, where we were all treated to a fantastic front car ride. I don't know why people don't talk about this coaster more. Sitting up front you'll get loads of air, and with the recent trackwork most of the course is smooth as butter. Not my favorite ride in a park with a massive bonkers Intamin and a shiny new RMC, but it's up there. Sadly we didn't take any photos of Racer but ya'll got google - knock yourself out! Instead we figured we would make our way over to the stock-car-safari area, stopping at the excellent Back Lot Stunt Coaster on the way.
By now you know Bill, Brit and I will ride just about anything but today we had to be a little more considerate of Dawn. Back Lot felt like a safe bet since while it has two launches, they're mild and it doesn't do too much else.
The only problem is she kinda hates tunnels - can't see where she's going and it freaks her out. So we just... kinda... avoided talking about the tunnel...
...and when we launched into it she promptly freaked out.
I'm joking, she was fine. She may have screamed a little bit inside the tunnel. Just a bit.
So, even though I've been to Kings Dominion a few times before, I have so far successfully managed to avoid the parks sh*tty old lake-diving Arrow looper, Anaconda. I managed to do this because we've always gotten fast lane and its not on there so we just skip it instead of waiting, with absolutely no arguing from me. Unfortunately today the ride had absolutely no line and if I rode it, it would be my 150th credit. And since I believe that enthusiasts putting so much importance on "milestone" credits is one of the dumbest things ever and have purposely ridden pieces of crap for mine, this felt appropriate. Bills irritating powers of persuasion didn't help matters. Brit and Dawn smartly sat this one out.
Yeah it f*cking sucked. The drop was cool but the rest was downright awful and instantly provided a headache. The slow-as-molassus corkscrews at the end is pure-torture-device-from-hell level sh*t. Sorry to the Arrow-looper lovers but you're all insane.
After that abomination I needed to cleanse my coaster palette with some facemelting Intamin!
I'm not sure what a TransFormer has to do with Nascar, but OK. I305 didn't have much of a line yet so Bill, Brit and I saddled up the walkway while Dawn hung back around the ride plaza to watch the thing.
As much as I would have loved her to try this - one of my top 5 coasters and arguably one of the most incredibly intense and forceful rides anywhere - I knew the chances were slim-to-none, and we didn't push it.
She did note that while it looked very smooth and actually found it fun to watch, she was blown away by the speed and height of the drop and said we were all crazy for riding it, noting she could feel it in her stomach as the trains dropped off the lift.
It was running incredibly well and since no one else was riding we walked around for another ride with Dawn's blessing. Since I already mentioned I305 sits comfortably in my top 5, I'll spare you the play-by-play. I'll just say that it didn't move any spots in my recently-submitted TPR Coaster Poll ballot, still just as good as ever. Its that one coaster I just can't believe exists. Like nothing else.
Peeking into Safari Village to say hi to Brit's favorite friend since no Kings Dominion trip report of mine is complete without this photo. (Don't try to act surprised, you knew this was coming)
Our recently dearly departed friend lies dormant today. Wish we could have gotten a few last rides, but life sucks and then you die, right?
It's like 11:30am so let's have a freaking drink at Outer Hanks!
KD's alcohol policy is wildly inconsistent and pretty much every single food service employee in the park except the supervisors are guaranteed to have a mini freakout when you try to order any adult beverages and today clueless was once again on the menu. We did eventually get some suds though. Super good waffle fries as well.
Since we were in the area, we could have stopped at Dominator but couldn't resist the magnetic pull of the shiny new RMC in the back of the park so we headed back that way, Dawn full of liquid courage and ready to give it a shot.
We actually stopped at Delirium on the way since it too was deserted this early, and Dawn surprised us by agreeing to ride. She's never done one of these giant frisbees but wanted to give it a shot at least once. We figured it was a good taste since Delirium has those automatically lowering OTSRs that try to suffocate you with security. Not to mention the rides' cycle is like 45 seconds max so if she hated it, at least it would be over quickly.
I sadly did not take any photos of Delirium at this point but instead took a bunch of all these other tall rides that weren't even running. Blame the beers. I have the best trip reports, believe me.
So far the park was pretty dead. We walked onto just about everything so far, but once we we got back to Twisted Timbers we quickly figured out where everyone was at. With the sun now peaking out, a potentially busy Haunt eventually descending upon us that evening, combined with the already very long (1+ hour) wait at the RMC, we went for it. Into the gift shop and pulled out the wallet.
God I love fast pass. A 60+ minute wait now turned into a 10 minute wait for front row. Bill and Brit wanted front as well so they just rode after us.
The missus was admittedly a little nervous, with us talking up the insanity of these hybrid beasts. I kept reassuring her of how smooth it was going to be, in spite of what it actually looked like. Dropping off the lift I felt a tinge of uncertainty not unlike how I felt dragging my tiny little nephew on the bucking bronco that is Oscars Wacky Taxi. Was this going to be a disaster? Off the lift, speeding around the turn, twisted down the drop and hit that first bunnyhop...
... and her arms flew into the air! Commence uncontrollable laughter from the both of us in between screams from her about how awesome it was as we careened around the course. Turns out she loved the thing and was smiling from ear to ear when we slammed into the brakes.
From here was just kinda wandered. I feel like we got another beer at some point and then rode the flyers, so here's a picture of some great Haunt theming that has nothing to do with either of those things.
It may have been late October but with the sun peeking out and temps crawling into the upper 50s, certainly warm enough for our resident flume junkie to start chomping at the bit...
Dawn and Brit again sat this one out, but I couldn't escape Bills prodding. We totally used fast lane even though like 20 other people were riding and while walking up the fast lane queue I walked through a giant (real) spider web and then freaked out about the spider(s) that were probably on me the entire ride.
The girls managed to get some snaps of us loonies. Full disclosure: it wasn't very cold/wet and Shenandoah Lumber Co is an excellent flume!
Back to the front of the park it was time to get dominated on the parks excellent, hulking floorless coaster. I love this thing. Dawn is a big fan of Bizarro @ Great Adv, hated Rougarou, and thought Hydra was "cute", so I was looking forward to her reaction to Dominator.
The crowds were now picking up.
Making us happy customers!
We were seated in the front row in less than 5 minutes.
While we normally would have gone for the back row on Dominator, Dawn asked for the front and since I'm a huge fan of the front of Bizarro, I was stoked to give this a try up here.
This is an excellent ride with tons of forces and near-perfect pacing.
This high-speed turn after the first loop may be my favorite part of a ride that is loaded with great elements.
Other noteworthy moments: the hangtime during the massive vertical loop and that wonderful pop of air off the midcourse.
With the sun out I went a little nuts on the photos of Dominator. It's just such a pretty ride.
This was the largest coaster of the weekend so far for Dawn...
... but I think its safe to say she enjoyed it!
Lmao @ that shit-eating grin Bill is wearing.
I'm not even sure what this is supposed to be but I'm certain it looks proper freaky at night.
The one downside of Winterfest: prep to turn this monstrosity into a giant Xmas tree was already underway so we couldn't take Dawn up for the great view. Bummertime.
Easily my favorite path in the park, even nicer when they don't muck it up with Haunt props.
You know... Haunt props for me to climb on.
Since we basically hit all the must-dos we decided to make the most of our fast lane wristbands and skip an almost 2 hour line over at Twisted Timbers a few times.
Once again, on the front row in less than 10. Don't ever tell me fast pass isn't worth getting.
We went on a quest throughout the park for dinner, finding most places had absolutely ludicrous lines, but wound up finding no wait @ the burrito place near the park entrance that we ate at last time we were here. I had a taco salad of some sort and it was good. Sorry, no photos. Once again we bought booze and the employee reacted as if we started speaking Japanese, but once a supervisor was called over we got our tasty beverages.
I'd never ridden Boo Blasters and for some reason Bill and Brit thought that would be a good way to let our food digest and relax for a bit before more drinks and night rides.
We skipped the little blue woodie this time around but folks seemed to be having a great time.
Couldn't resist getting some nice sunset photos of Dominator.
We found a massive line @ Boo Blasters but since we didn't want to ride an wild rides with full bellies, decided to wait anyway, which turned out to be an incredibly dumb idea.
Why? Because this ride is totally dumb and sucked ass. There goes an hour of my life I'll never get back.
One neat/creepy thing that happened was we spotted one of our earlier onride photos from Timbers in some weird montage playing on the FunTV's in the queue. Totally weird, definitely did a doubletake.
Once we were free of that abomination of a dark ride, our food now digested, and the sun setting, so it felt like a great time to head back over to that wildass RMC in the back of the park. Pretty sure we stopped for a beer on the way at one of the outdoor temporary bars they had set up for Haunt.
It wasn't even completely dark yet but to the surprise of absolutely no one, this ride is even better with the lights out.
Dawn doesn't typically shy away from drop towers, and is notably a huge fan of Zumanjaro so another ride I wanted to get her on was Kings Dominions' creatively named Drop Tower.
This ride was amazing! While these photos make it seem was pretty dark by this point, the sun was actually still setting. By chance we got seats facing the west, and as soon as we passed the tree line while ascending all of us collectively oooo'd and ahhhh'd at the most brilliant, beautiful, colorful sky. I wanted so badly to take out my phone and snap some photos, and almost did. But it seemed as soon as I thought of that, we slowed to a stop for the drop, and I didn't want to risk it.
Since I didn't get photos of the flyers when we rode them earlier, I made some fun gifs.
All day we'd be discussing trying one of the Haunts. We knew we'd have to wait a while as our FL passes wouldn't get us onto these quickly, but all agreed the one to wait for would be Tollway Terror.
For the unfamiliar, Tollway Terror is the parks old antique (gas powered) cars, which are already placed in a densely wooded area, but for Haunt they add props, fog, lights, gags and a bunch of scare actors back there. We'd all heard it was very good, and as someone who is not a fan of Haunt/trails, the idea of being stuck on an actual ride in the woods with scare actors jumping out at me was strangely appealing!
The line for this was incredibly long, spilling out onto and wrapping around itself on the midway, but having done everything we wanted to already we decided... to go get beers and then come back and get in line.
The wait wound up being a little over 2 hours! But turns out the ridiculous wait was actually worth it. While waiting we joked about who would actually drive our car once we boarded but eventually nominated Brit since she'd be most likely to spaz out during the ride.
I don't have to tell you that was the right move. Of course we got a slow car which made the affair all that more terrifying than if we were able to zip through it. Problem with that though was that the car behind us caught up to us, so then the actors were waiting until after our car passed to jumpscare the car behind us.
Didn't matter though. There are so many props and so much fog, and all the lights are pointed right at you, so your eyes are playing tricks on you and its impossible to tell what is real and what is not, so the entire ride you're on edge. Laughed our asses off the entire time, and were all a little bummed when we rounded the last curve back to the station. Definitely a highlight of the day.
We didn't get off and out of there til well after 10pm, but with a midnight close we had some more time...
... for more booze! These were rum cocktails we'd gotten a few times from another one of the outdoor beer stands and not only were they tasty but surprisingly stiff! Too easy to drink. Service at these bars were great, too. Walking around the park we couldn't avoid walking through a few scare zones, and just like two years ago I felt they were very well done. We saw some great costumes.
No trip to Kings Dominion would be complete without night rides on arguably the most insane roller coaster on earth. And after a few stiff drinks?
Obviously now completely dark outside, we figured we'd end the day with a few last laps on Timbers, but Dawn was cold and said she wanted to buy a sweatshirt before we rode it. This was concerning because if I know Dawn, I know Dawn likes to shop. I don't mean she likes to buy things, I mean she likes to shop. This might eat up some time. After like 5 stores later we were all the way back at the front of the park when she finally found one she liked.
We also found this enormous spider apparently on a shopping trip of his own.
I don't even know how to describe this ride at night. What I think always gets me about riding RMC's is how looking at the ride doesn't equal what it actually rides like. Looking at them, the wooden lattice structure and the shape of the track elements tells you its going to be a wild, possibly uncomfortable, potentially painful experience.
But then its not. Not at all. The forces are beyond intense but the rides are still somehow so incredibly, unbelievably smooth.
And riding one in the dark, and not being able to anticipate what's coming... you just have to give in and surrender to Schilkes' mad genius.
While the drop/entrance to the ride is lit up, the entire rest of the course is pitch black.
The line was much shorter now (30 minutes?) but we still jumped it and only waited 5 minutes for the front.
Note the new sweatshirt. She actually loves it and wears it quite a bit.
We could've gone for a few more laps but after a full day we were all exhausted and as you probably already figured out, had plans to visit another awesome park in the morning, so we called it a night.
Walking out through the empty Candy Apple Grove afforded us the opportunity to get a few great night shots of Delirium, since we slacked on that when we rode it in the afternoon.
If you've been to Kings Dominion you already know its a great park. Yes it sucks Volcano is being removed, I know how you feel and I'm right there with ya. But even without it I can assure you I'm still stoked to own a season pass and to visit the park a few more times this year. The ride line-up is great, the joint is nice, and beyond how much of a bitch it can be to get a drink I can't think of really any really negative things to say the about place.
No we didn't ride Grizzly. We planned on it, but just never got around to it. No regrets there. Skipped Avalanche too - really wanted Dawn to ride this one, as I love it, but it just got away from us. Flight of Fear was closed for a Haunt attraction and as I mentioned the Eiffel Tower was closed in preparation for Winterfest. Overall a fantastic day.
Twisted Timbers 7x Intimidator 305 3x Racer75 1 Dominator 1 Drop Tower 1 Shenandoah Lumber Co 1 Flyers 1 Delirium 1 Tollway Terror 1 Back Lot 1 Boo Blasters 1 Anaconda 1
Thanks for reading, and remember kids: comments are cool! On deck: A Visit With the Ghost of the Alps!
Last edited by boldikus on Fri Feb 15, 2019 7:45 pm.
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