Photo TR: Kings Dominion Dominator Media Day

May 20, 2008
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Photo TR: Kings Dominion Dominator Media Day

Postby cfc » Tue May 20, 2008 5:30 pm

Stormy skies didn’t stop Kings Dominion’s Dominator Media Day. Despite a rather wet, windy drive up from Williamsburg, the rain let up, making for a fine day for a pretty damn fine ride.

Yes, Dominator! It dominates the front of the park. It makes Scooby-Doo’s Ghoster Coaster tuck its tail between its legs and run. Even Volcano has to assume the position. Dominator is now KD’s dominant ride. Ohio’s loss is Virginia’s gain.

KD’s vice president and general manager, Pat Jones, said in her welcoming remarks that Dominator, the park’s 14th coaster, helps to keep KD on the “cutting edge of our industry,” with a ride that’s “unique to our market.” I’ll go along with that. I think Dominator is just what the park needs—a first-class, smooth B&M floorless ride that’s forceful enough for enthusiasts, yet enjoyable for, well, non-enthusiasts.

Here are the vital statistics:

4,200 feet of track (the world’s longest floorless coaster)
161-foot-tall lift hill
157-foot first drop
A record-breaking, 135-foot vertical loop, followed by four other inversions
A top speed of 65 miles per hour
A ride time of 2 minutes, 6 seconds

Ms. Jones also commented that placing Dominator in the front of the park was “key,” because it puts front-and-center what KD is all about: “Kings Dominion is known for having one of the country’s widest varieties of roller coasters.” That’s true enough, as the park’s offerings range from the launched Volcano: The Blast Coaster all the way to classic wood, as in the Rebel Yell.

"If you can speak (after your ride), we think you're gonna say it's one of the best coasters you've ever ridden," she said.

As for me, I liked Dominator a lot. There’s nice airtime in the back seats (you’re just hurled into the first drop). But I really think this is a front-seat ride--it’s quite cool the way you just fly over the track with nothing underneath. It does “lug” a bit through the loop, but the cobra roll is amazingly smooth. You could bang your ears a bit in the corkscrews, though.

This year is significant for KD for other reasons, too. It’s also the 10th anniversary of Volcano and the 20th anniversary of Avalanche (the only Mack Bobsled coaster in the U.S., I think).

Here’s a look at Dominator Media Day.
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Mother Nature seemed intent on dominating Dominator's Media Day.
01a.jpg
"Bah!" says Dominator. "Nature rain! Dominator run!"
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OK, but where the heck is Dominator?
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Hmm--maybe if I go this way.
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It has to be around here somewhere.
04a.jpg
Oh, is that it?
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Phew! Confirmation at last! Let's take a closer look, shall we?
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Happy riders, ready for domination.
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Consider yourselves dominated!
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Note the how the camera rig dominates the front row.
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I live for bondage and domination! Me next!
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"Very well, slave! First comes my Plunge of Peril!"
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"Behold my Loop of Lunacy! You'll soon be a drooling idiot!"
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"So, you're still semi-coherent, eh?"
11a1.jpg
"Dominator will soon fix that!"
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Prepare for the fangs of the Cobra!"
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"Do you feel my wrath now! Pathetic fool! Bwa-ha-ha-ha!"
14.jpg
Hmm--time to find a better vantage point for photos. More to come.
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Postby cfc » Tue May 20, 2008 5:45 pm

More from Dominator's Media Day.
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"Where did all these trash cans come from, Scoob? Yoiks! Looks like the Ohio Dominator Ghost has followed us to Virginia!"
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One great thing about Dominator--there are plenty of excellent vantage points for photos.
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You might want to protect your ears here . . .
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. . . and here.
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Let's head topside and get the real lay of the land.
21a.jpg
Here's what Dominator would look like to a bird--if the bird had a zoom lens.
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Look! There's my car!
21b.jpg
Aw, you don't wanna look at my little blue Saturn.
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Well, maybe my Saturn would rather look at a cobra roll than you, eh?
22a.jpg
Yes, you'd probably find Dominator's midcourse brake run far more interesting than a 2004 Saturn Ion.
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I know I do.
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Yeah, my car's nice and all, but . . .
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. . . I don't think it could take that curve very well.
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They put on a second train later that morning.
27.jpg
Hmm--looks like it speech time. Best head down. More to come.
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Postby cfc » Tue May 20, 2008 6:14 pm

Aliens, people, and speeches--more from Media Day.
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Looks like Dominator has attracted alien media!
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"Relax everyone! They're just the media reps from Rides on the Moon.com. They come in peace!"
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Pat Moore, KD's vice president and general manager, welcomes the crowd.
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We also heard from Ken Moore, the assistant regional representative of the American Coaster Enthusiasts.
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Then they opened the ride for all guests. But first, . . .
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. . . the buffet! Hmm--bit of a line, but it was for a very nice spread, which included . . .
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. . . an ice sculpture . . .
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. . . and chocolate fountain.
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A local Christian rock band was jamming away, too.
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Well, let 'em jam. We need more domination!
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"Berserker! You will kneel before Dominator!"
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This loop is pretty forceful.
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Especially if you're sitting in the back.
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Relax--the net is there for your protection. Not theirs.
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There's a nice pop of air here--especially if you're in the back row.
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Here's where Dominator squeezes your train like an accordion.
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"Mama's got a squeezebox . . .
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. . . Daddy never sleeps at night!"
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Thanks for a great day, Kings Dominion!
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But on our way out . . .
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. . .we take a few last looks . . .
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. . . at Dominator. Thanks for reading.
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Postby deano » Wed May 21, 2008 3:28 am

Thanks for the pics Chuck, Dominator is a sweet addition to KD.

The new paint job looks good, it's a shame they didnt paint the rails though, that overspray looks average.

BTW, I think i'll never be able to ride a floorless now without singing Squeeze Box to myself......
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Postby Dombel » Wed May 21, 2008 3:37 am

Whys the loop yellow. It looks like it changes colors.

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Postby Kingbooba » Wed May 21, 2008 4:27 am

Aww! I forgot about the media day! I was invited, but you know how school is...

Anyway, it actually looks like the loop is rough from when I saw it testing.

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Postby CoasterExpert13 » Wed May 21, 2008 6:01 am

Awesome P:TR! I love Dominator (Got a chance to ride it back in 2000 when it was Batman Knight Flight and Geauga Lake was then Six Flags Ohio). Very awesome ride, smooth and its speed is fluent throughout! You had a lot of great photos! I like the Orange better than the tattered yellow!
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Postby pkd freak » Wed May 21, 2008 6:16 am

The reason the painted the loop bright yellow is to initial the tallest loop, and also the loop is very smooth with A LOT of air, this is one of the best B&M's I've ever been on. I rode it 20 times yesterday, and my friend rode it 34. I hope I didn't ruin my the experience, lol.

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Postby KDCOASTERFAN » Wed May 21, 2008 6:31 am

I thought for sure that media day would be postponed when I woke up to rain in my neck of the woods yesterday morning but it looks like the park did a great job of pulling it off.

Only problem for me is that I've gotta wait about two months before I'll be able to ride it.

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Postby packfanlv » Wed May 21, 2008 6:34 am

Thanks Chuck! I really enjoyed all of the angles of Dominator. It almost looks like they did a Six Flags type landscape under the coaster. Did they use rocks or something under it? Was Dominator built in the old parking lot? Thanks again.
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