It's been less than a year since Kings Dominion finally ended months of speculation--and started fresh rounds of new speculation --by announcing Intimidator 305, the largest single capital investment in the history of the park. Yes, the park and the coaster world have been posting, Web camming, and tweeting their little hearts out about this ride since last summer, but, at last, the long wait is over. KD unveiled their new, NASCAR-inspired pride and joy on April 1.
But does the ride deliver? Indeed, it does!
Intamin and the park have maintained that this is a "rider's ride," and they're right. I-305 is one of the most intense coaster experiences anywhere. Here are some stats and facts for those of you who like numbers and info (and you know who you are):
Physical Dimensions Track Length: 5,100’ Maximum Height: 305’ (that's higher that the observation platform of the park's Eiffel Tower) Lift Hill Angle: 45 degrees Length of First Drop: 300’ Angle of First Drop: 85 degrees Height of Second Hill: 150’
Time, Speed, Capacity Top Speed: 94 MPH Ride Time: 3 minutes Theoretical Capacity: 1,350 riders per hour Number of trains: 2 Vehicles: Eight - 4 passenger cars with open design and overhead lap-bars
Structure and Design Design: IntaRide - Glen Burnie, Maryland Braking System: Fail-Safe Eddy Current Braking System Lift Hill Structure: 400 tons Track: 1,000 tons Supports: 1,000 tons Foundations: 7,750 cubic yards of concrete 450 tons of reinforcing steel Whiting and Turner Contracting Company (foundations and station construction) Steel Erection by (OK, stop snickering): Adena
Minimum Height to Ride: 54 inches or taller
Total Investment: $25 million
Stats and other info are fine, but they really don't answer the most important question of all: Is the ride any fun at all? Based on my personal experience and what Robb and I were hearing all during the media day, the answer is a resounding "hell, yeah!"
This marks the first time I've ever "grayed out" on a coaster. After that initial 300' drop and the huge banked curve, the world became a little fuzzy around the edges, but came into focus again as we crested that second 150' airtime hill (there's plenty of ejector air on this ride). Be prepared to whipped around a lot as the train tears through the twisty, turny course before coming to a relatively gentle stop at the end. There was only one minor glitch during the media day, when the train stopped on the last brake run into the station for a few minutes, but other than that, I-305 ran beautifully. Well done, KD and Intamin!
Robb had been at the park since 5:00 am working on POV and B-roll footage for the park's media kit (he'd been there the day before, as well). I was there to take the photos and cover the media day. Here's a look at the event--but mostly at KD's incredible new attraction.
"Yo, Dominator--dominate this!"
There was a bit of a line . . .
. . . to get one of these.
Everyone who visits KD must take this picture. I think Thomas Jefferson put it in the Virginia Constitution. The park was looking really spiffy today.
OK, where is this new bad boy?
"Hmm--Watson. Unless I miss my guess, Intimidator 305 is somewhere nearby."
"I say, Holmes! How the deuce did you deduce that?"
You know, Intimidator isn't the only new thing at KD this season. Say "hi" to the Peanuts gang.
Not sure what's going on here, but Sally seems to be totally into it.
Here is the "Ace of Cakes" interpretation of I-305.
Complete with its own working roller coaster.
"Cake will not be served while the ride is in motion. Thank you!"
Mmm--chocolatey Volcano . . . o-o-o-o. . .
Of course, Dick Kinzel was there. Next to Fort Kinzel. Which makes perfect sense!
Looks like we're ready to go.
Cameras were fired up and ready to go.
As was Mr. Earnhardt.
Dick Kinzel chats with Intamin's Sandor Kernacs.
Ed Kuhlmann, the park's director of marketing, is starting his 35th season with KD: "This is the ride I've been waiting 35 years for!"
Pat Jones, KD's vice-president and general manager: “The numbers speak for themselves. At a cost of $25 million, and with a first drop close to the height of the park’s landmark Eiffel Tower, you’ll have to see this coaster to believe it. . . . The ride experience is as intense as it is exhilarating.” With speeds reaching 94 mph, Intimidator 305 is the fastest gravity driven coaster in North America, according to KD.
There are three Earnhardts in this photo--and one of them is dad.
Lt. Governor Bolling promised that he would make his wife ride at the announcement ceremony last year, but she was nowhere in sight. I don't know if he rode it or not. This could be a major political issue! ;)
OK, here come the real VIPs.
Crank up the country and southern rock, and let's get a'ridin'.
It pays to know the right people at any park you visit.
Q: What would make this picture better? The answer in a moment.
OK, you've seen the Peanuts gang, the cake, and Dick Kinzel--you're ready to check out I-305! Here's a "photo essay" (well, of sorts) to give you a taste of KD's awesome new ride--with plenty of pics taken from the park's Eiffel Tower.
Q: What would make this picture better? A: Happy, smiling riders! This is what Dale Earnhardt would've drove if he raced stretch limos.
Here's what you're getting yourself into. Intimidated yet?
Here's a sight that KD should see pretty often this season--a busy queue. (The I-305 crew was great during media day. Excellent work!)
Look--NASCAR "stickerness," or something.
OK, get your butts in the seats, strap yourselves in, and hold on tight!
Step right up folks! Hoop Robb Alvey and win yerself a seegar!
"GENTLEMEN, START YOUR ENGINES!" I'm sure the crew will never get tired of hearing this.
Sheesh! That lift is faster than a ferret on speed!
Let us pause a moment for a deep, cleansing breath. Thank you.
"I'm travelin' down the road, and I'm flirtin' with disaster!" (Matt will be humming this while he rides.)
"Brain to body! Brain to body! May day! You're on your own! Over!"
"Brain to body! I'm back! Never mind!"
At this point, when the fuzziness clears and the world comes back into beautiful focus, you begin to think, "Help me, Jeebus!"
Well, Jeebus wants you enjoy the ride. So, quit bothering him.
"Command Central to the 101st Curviness Brigade! Commence 'curviness' in 3, 2, . . .
. . . 1! Commence!"
"101st to Command Central! 'Curviness' achieved! Proceeding to next objective! Over!"
OK, it gets pretty interesting here.
If your butt is still in the seat at this point, you must've sat in Gorilla Glue.
"Whee! That was fun! Can we do it again?"
Sure--with a twist!
"Command Central to the fighting men and women of the 45th Tactical Twistiness Assualt Team! Commence 'tactical twistiness' in 3, . . .
. . . Hey! I didn't say '2, 1, commence!' Wait for it next time!"
"You people are getting a bit premature with the twistiness here! Knock it off!"
Time for one, last little twist.
OK, the ride's over--now what?
How about an onride "photo finish."
Who needs Botox when they have Intimidator 305? One more set of pics to come.
Here's a last look at Kings Dominion during I-305 Media Day with some additional photos from Robb. My thanks to the staff at the park for putting on a very nice media event; to Robb for asking me to attend; and to the park and Intamin for an excellent new coaster!
Where's there's a ride, there must be merchandise. I think this is in the U.S. Constitution.
Hmm--I think Dale Earhnardt drove car number 3. Call it a hunch.
Remember the cake?
Well, it was great! Especially the chocolate-mint section.
There are a few other new things at KD this season in addition to Intimidator. Scooby-Doo, where are you?
Soon, Snoopy will strike!
Panda Express has arrived at last! The prophecy is fulfilled.
Remember: This is Snoopy's planet. . . .
. . . We just live on it.
Behold the Shrine of Snoopy! Virgins will be sacrificed here during Haunt! (OK--I just made that up. Sorry.)
Still a bit of work left to do, though. The old Kidsville rides have been "de-Hanna-Barberafied," too.
Here's one more look at Intimidator 305.
And here's a geeky TPR exculsive: Intimidator being backed onto the transfer track!
Here's what it takes to get all that awesome video you see. While it might look like just duct tape, there IS actually some skill to this! (Don't try this at home!)
Will Holder and Clint Novak of kdfansite.com about to take their first ever I305 ride! It's an orgasmic occasion for these guys.
Here is the line on opening day. Would you believe they chewed through that line in about 35 minutes? Great job crew!
Opening day riders about to experience gray out awesomeness!
Hopefully by this point you're regained your sight! =)
I305 delivers some serious high crazy speeds around these turns.
Could this be the steepest brake run in the world?
Mega-Lite airtime on steroids!
Even more TWISSSTYYYY!
Another birds eye view. But this time the whole park is OPEN!
Could this now be the best first drop in the world?
Just awesome! Would you like a wallpaper version of this photo? Sure you would! (Download it below!)
This is the moment right here where my gray out started to go away.
For those of you who heard the rumor that they changed the height restriction on opening day, here is the proof that it was 54" as of 3/31. You can see the date where the state signed off on the ride. They can't go back and adjust the height restriction without the state signing off on it. So the ride opened at 54" and there never was the incident of "the height restriction changed during the day." That simply just didn't happen.
Kings Dominion execs shakes hands with Sandor Kernacs of Intamin on a job VERY well done!!! Congrats to Intamin and Kings Dominion on the AWESOME Intimidator 305!
DOWNLOAD THE INTIMIDATOR 305 WALL PAPER! CLICK THE LINK BELOW!!!
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