Kings Island, July 10, 2020
Well, what remains of my 2020 Roadtrip got off to a start today, with a "9 hour" drive from Northern Delaware to Mason, Ohio, for Kings Island that I managed to do in less than 8, even with one stop for fuel and three bathroom/stretch breaks. I'll be here until Monday, then driving up to Sandusky for Cedar Point until Thursday, which is the drive home day.
I'll put the big four things that people care about first:
For anyone looking to get Fast Lane at KI: Note that it can only be bought online, they are not selling them at the park at all. That said, in this era of smartphones, it would be simple enough to purchase once your in the park and deem it necessary, then take your phone receipt to Guest Relations to be scanned and issued the wristband.
A brief note about masks and their usage and social distancing: For anyone who hasn't been to a park in 90 degree, sun beating on you, weather yet, yes continual mask usage sucks a big one. If I had a choice in the matter, I'd be going without. That said, it's a small price to pay to be able to get back on some rides. As for everyone else, every single person I saw had a mask on their face, and 98% were being worn properly. The remaining 2% were mostly teens and pre-teens. Social distancing markers in ride queues were respected, though some of the "one way" markings they've placed on pathways went ignored.
Requesting Specific Rows on Coasters: Every coaster I went on tonight had a grouper letting only the next train worth of people into the station, and they were assigning rows. Maybe I was lucky, but every time I asked for front or back row specifically, my request was granted.
Orion Review: In a word, Awesome. Great in the front (as with most gigas, which are about speed), even better in the back (dem forces and tiny bit of airtime). Yes, there's not a lot of airtime...but the park has Diamondback for that. At most other parks, it would easily be the #1 coaster. Unfortunately, Kings Island also has Banshee, Beast, and Mystic Timbers, all of which I'd rank ahead of Orion. Sometimes I feel we enthusiasts can get jaded to what makes a good coaster, thus why some of us feel underwhelmed with Orion. For me, it's great...maybe not a top 10, but still better than 90% of other coasters I've been on. Speed, height, twists, and even a little bit of airtime...it has all the makings of a great coaster.
Read on for the beginnings of the Trip Report...
Despite starting on the road 3 hours later than I had hoped, I made great time and arrived at my hotel (Super 8 Mason, 2 minute drive from the park) just before 4:00. Unpacked, got my computer set up, and checked the KI website for reservations - sweet, could still get in tonight. Made my reservation for 4:30 and made my way over to the park, arriving at around 4:35. Very light crowds judging from the lot.
Made my way through the temp check (done by a person with a handheld, touchless thermometer), security, and then to the ticket counter. A note to pass holders - your reservation is tied to your pass and you do not need to separately show your reservation on your phone. Quickly stopped into Guest Relations to activate my drink plan, and asked the above question about Fast Lane.
From there, it was into the park. Very, very dead International Street at 4:40. Made my way to Area 72, got my boarding pass for Orion (5-6:00 timeslot), and decided to kill some time on Flight of Fear. It took 21 minutes, including ride time, from entering the queue to walking off (all of my "ride wait times" will be in this format). When I was done, it was time to ride Orion for the first time! They took the boarding pass right at the start of the queue, and honestly didn't seem like they were even looking at them, so I'd guess that any pass would work at any time. This took me 15 minutes for the front row. See above for review When I left, they were no longer handing out boarding passes, and I would later be able to walk right in without a boarding pass.
Next up was Beast, which was awesome as always despite it being daytime. 20 minutes total, so maybe 15 waiting, for the front row. They were only running two trains. I feel like they added a new trim to the first uphill after the initial drop and turn, but I could be mistaken about its newness. From there, it was over to Mystic Timbers (skipped due to line, estimated at 20 minutes), Diamondback (skipped due to line, estimated at 20 minutes), and decided to cool off with a ride on Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown (7 minutes).
I'm sure I've been on this as a kid when I came here with my parents in the '90s, but I couldn't recall being on it as an adult, so figured what the hey and went for it. Great flume, though with only me at the very back of the boat, there wasn't too much splash. Luckily the "surprise" at the end got me sufficiently cooled down. From there I went to grab a grilled cheese from Tom + Chee, and checked Diamondback's line again - same length. So, I made my way back to Orion and got my second ride, this time in the back (10 minutes).
By the time I got off the ride, it was 6:45, so I started making my way back towards the front of the park and grabbed a walk-on ride on Backlot Stunt Coaster, which is worth it when you don't have to wait. All effects were working, even the fire. On the walk out, I had 5 minutes before closing, so I glanced at Mystic Timbers line and still found it unreasonably long, so I called it at night and headed back to my hotel. Not a bad trip for two hours and twenty minutes.
I'll definitely be back at the park for opening tomorrow, and possibly Sunday as well depending on the weather. I originally made reservations for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday (the day I travel to Sandusky) because the forecast was jumping all over the place. As it stands now, Saturday is looking perfectly clear and Sunday will be full of thunderstorms, so I might end up cancelling the Sunday and Monday reservations if I can get enough done tomorrow. If only CP would let you book a 3rd reservation...
Pictures to follow when I get to Sandusky or arrive home...they don't seem to want to upload on this hotel's WiFi. I took a TON of pictures of every aspect of Area 72, and they're good I promise!
Total Coasters: 150
Top 10 Steel: Maverick, Skyrush, Intimidator 305, Fury 325, Banshee, Millennium Force, Raptor, Superman: The Ride (SFNE), Top Thrill Dragster, Big Bad Wolf
Top 10 Wood: The Beast, El Toro, Phoenix (Knoebels), Boulder Dash, Thunderbolt (KW), Mystic Timbers, Comet (Hershey), Hercules, Shivering Timbers, Jack Rabbit (KW)
Top 5 Hybrid: Steel Vengeance, Twisted Timbers, Goliath (SFGAm), Wicked Cyclone, Great White