August 10, 2007
After checking in we showered and got read to head to Kings Dominion. Around that time, Tina called. The extended plan for Saturday was to drop Matt and Bill off in Beckley with Tina, who would continue to chauffeur them along to Camden Park and Ohio. Instead of all of that, though, Tina decided to ‘surprise’ us by coming to Virginia, and she was about 2 hours from Kings Dominion. She was going to meet us there the next day…but since our plans had changed, Tina had to readjust. She had a motel for the nite and was ready to crash for the evening, so we told her we’d meet up with her and go to Busch Gardens the next day as we headed out to Kings Dominion.
We hopped in the car and headed to the park. When we got to the gate the one coaster that Bill & Matt wanted to ride, Avalanche, was listed as closed for the day. Bill and I had season passes that worked on the new system they had installed, but Matt had to take his Worlds of Fun season pass to Guest Services. It didn’t take long, though, and soon we were inside International Street and headed for Hypersonic XLC. You may know about my experience last time I was at the park and how I didn’t get to ride this coaster. In 2001 I planned to visit the park to ride the then new coaster, but it was closed. I knew this when I went, however, a week after my visit, the ride re-opened.
And since I really did want to ride it, and since it has been listed for sale by the park owners, and since it isn’t really a very close park that I got to a lot, I wasn’t taking any chances. I hadn’t seen it launch when we first arrived at the park, but we did eventually see it cycle. The line wasn’t very long so we hopped in line for my first credit of the trip. Matt and I opted for the back half of the train. And as we were 2 trains from our ride, the ride shut down. There was an issue with some kid on the train, I’m not sure what happened, and his dad was being an idiot, jumping over the rails into the station. Bad move. After the train sat in the first staging area for a few minutes, they rolled it back into the station and everyone was made to get out of the train. Then they tested it about 4 times. Finally, the ride started back again.
Hypersonic XLC–I have to say, for such a low capacity ride, they were really moving the 2 trains. Eventually we got on and, finally, I was sitting on the launch track waiting to go. And go we did. Wow! That was by far the most intense launch I’d ever experienced. I can’t even describe the feeling, it was so amazing And I’d heard it was so rough, but it was really good. You shoot up and over the top hat with major ejector airtime at the top. Then you drop down, bank & turn, turn, hop, and hit the very loud brake run. I really loved it.
Bill told Matt and I that it was terrible for him, but Matt agreed that we got a great ride. It was so good. As we headed back towards Hypersonic’s entrance, Matt and Bill passed by the Flying Eagles, which they wanted to ride. But first we headed across the midway to Grizzly, another fun wooden coaster.
Grizzly–We had to wait for the 1 train running to get to the empty station in order to ride. Matt and I rode in the back which delivered airtime in quite a few spots. I loved the first drop, but the turnaround kind of killed the pacing. Then the ride just goes and goes. The hill just before the tunnel was really slamming, and the tunnel section was crazy. Matt and I both had a great ride. As soon as we got off, Bill moved back and we all rode again since there was no line. The second ride was just as good as the first. We were really having great luck with the wooden coasters today.
I took a break to snap some pictures of Bill and Matt while they rode the Flyers. A kid on the ride just before them snapped one really good time, but didn’t know what he was doing. Everyone started commenting on it, including the woman beside me, who thought something was wrong until I explained what happened to her and told her to watch the boys when they got on. Matt snapped at least once, but Bill didn’t get any. Matt says the tubs were heavy and it’s hard to snap.
I wanted to get a courtesy lap on Shockwave, but that wasn’t meant to be, so we headed to another new credit for all three of us, Italian Job Stunt Coaster. I was excited to ride this at Kings Island earlier in the year, but ended up not finishing my trip.
Italian Job Turbo Coaster–Another short wait, and Matt and I rode in the front of the faux-Mini Cooper. I’m glad that the speakers were working, more coasters need soundtracks. The launch was ‘cute’, but that helix intense! The mid course show was mostly working, except the Helicopter didn’t rise up. However, the launch into the tunnel was fun, and the tunnel was crazy. I really liked the quick boost out of the billboard at the end. This was a fun little coaster.
Up next we headed to Volcano and then Tomb Raider. However, as we arrived in the Congo section we noticed the Avalanche was running, and with people in it. So we hurried over to Avalanche. This was the first and, if I recall correctly, only coaster my mother ever rode together in it’s debut season.
Avalanche–I rode near the back, and honestly only expected an okay ride. Avalanche just wasn’t my thing. Thankfully, though, it was running well. The first section was swift and the lateral forces were great. And everything after the mid course was just full on crazy. The helix was great and the ride was running better than I’d ever seen it. Matt and Bill both rode after I got off so I snapped some pictures of them.
I was glad the park wasn’t crowded because Volcano always had a long, slow line. So we hopped in the queue. This was the first time I’d seen the line start in the station, just near the bottom of the steps. Usually the queue is pretty full. Matt and I had gotten in line for the front, while Bill was close to the back, but 2 empty seats in the 2nd row came up and we decided to take it.
Volcano The Blast Coaster–While the launch wasn’t quite as intense as I remembered it, Volcano was still really great. The launch into the turnaround was still good, and the boost up into the mountain was great. Still, I wish they’d have done a better job at themeing inside the mountain, perhaps with steam, lights, & sounds. The barrel rolls were so smooth and swift. The drop into the station was always good, and the brakes just after that drop didn’t seem to hit as hard as usual.
Paramount was doing a decent job of making consistent themeing choices before Cedar Fair took over, and as we had walked over to the Congo section Tomb Raider really stood out with the music and water and fire. Bill and I wanted to ride, but Matt decided to sit out. We got in line for the back row of the ride and waited one cycle.
Tomb Raider Firefall-First off I must say that the themeing on this was probably some of the best, if not the best I’d seen come out of Paramount Parks. Tomb Raider was fun. I really hated those shoulder harnesses, but once we started flipping, it was more comfortable. The most flips we got were 5 in a row. I think more parks need themed Top Spins, and this was a great addition to Kings Dominion.
It was starting to get dark. Matt wanted a Slushee, so we waited for him to order, and I had him get some water for myself. It was getting darker by the second as we walked to Flight of Fear.
Flight of Fear–Having ridden Joker’s Jinx earlier in the day, I’m glad that the launch was more powerful here. Flight of Fear was the better ride to me regardless because of the lights, music, and theming. Even though the mid course brake hit hard, the 2nd half wasn’t slow. You launch into the cobra roll, then into another inversion. The rest of the ride is just a spaghetti bowl of steel track, and I wish more parks would add clones of this.
Matt and I got in line for Anaconda next. The queue is really long for this coaster, and the lines are never long. We sat in the middle of the train and noticed that what we had discussed earlier had come true, that Anaconda had been retro fitted with seat belts like all of the other Arrow coasters under Cedar Fair.
Anaconda–This was my first nite ride on Anaconda. Its actually an okay Arrow coaster. The first drop into the lake was still a cool visual, the 2 inversions were actually rather smooth, and the hop into the brake run was throwing people out of their seats with airtime. At least it did for me and Matt. The second half had some rough spots, but was still good.
I told Bill and Matt after we got off of Anaconda that I needed to ride Drop Zone before I chickened out. Bill informed me that he wouldn’t let me chicken out and off we went. They were only filling about half of the gondola since there weren’t many people in line. This was the tallest Intamin drop tower in North America, and I’m really terrified of even smaller drop rides. But just a few minutes later I was sitting on the ride waiting to go.
Drop Zone-I have to say, in all honesty, even though it was huge the trek to the top of the tower wasn’t so bad. Even sitting at the top for a couple of seconds wasn’t bad. I wasn’t nearly as nervous as usual. Of course, then there is the drop, the part I like. And this Drop Zone had THE drop. Even better than Pitt Fall. Even better than Kings Island’s Drop Zone. Matt took a victory shot of me under the ride’s sign after we got off.
It was dark and we went to Rebel Yell where Matt rode on the backwards side and Bill and I rode on the forwards side. The station was empty. Bill and I rode in the front seat. As we waited for the train to come back, one of the park managers struck up a conversation. His kids and, I assume, some of their friends were there and were power riding Rebel Yell. He was very nice as we talked about the new owners and what not. He said he hadn’t made it up to Cedar Point yet. When the train rolled back into the station, we got in the front seat for our ride.
Rebel Yell (Forwards)–I was they were racing the trains, especially since there wasn’t a long line, but they did not. One great thing about Rebel Yell was the fact that it wasn’t surrounded by lights, and goes out between the wooded area and the lake, so it was rather dark. Rebel Yell was running very well. The darkness added to the ride, and there was airtime over every hill and the turn around. I wasn’t looking forward to riding but it was fun.
Bill wanted to ride again, and I wanted to ride on the backwards side. When we got off, we said goodbye to the park official in the station and headed back around to the entrance. Rebel Yell’s main problem was that the exit dumps you quite a ways away from the entrance. They should fix that. Bill and I got back in line, but this time I headed for the backwards side. I decided I would ride in the last car facing backwards at the end of the train, and since Bill was in the back of the train on the forwards side, we side by side.
Rebel Yell (Backwards)–Bill asked the ride op if they could race the train, and she said yes. The ops running the forwards side waited a couple seconds and we dispatched at the same time. Our train was more than half full, unlike the other side, so it wasn’t hard to see who was going to win. I have to say, backwards on Rebel Yell was almost as good as Thunder Road backwards. The first drop flings you over, and after that you’re out of your seat the whole way. Plus the tunnel was really dark.
Time was running short and we still wanted to catch night rides on Grizzly, a few flyer rides, I wanted another ride on Hypersonic. Also, we wanted to rideHurler. Since we’d done everything else on our list thus far, we headed to Hurler first. I was dreading this as the last time I’d ridden a Hurler, it was rough, and the only time I’d ridden this version, it was rough. I decided to ride in the front, as it was usually more bearable, and off we went.
Hurler-Wow! This may have been the best ride I’ve ever gotten on this coaster, ever! It was running well, not very rough, the airtime (which is always there) was fun and not painful, I couldn’t believe it. The first drop was good, the turn into the hills was smooth and noticeable once we hit the turn, and the hills all delivered. The turns provided good laterals, and I just couldn’t believe how we’d lucked out with all of the wooden coasters today. Hurler was good!
There was no line so Matt and Bill decided to ride again since it was running so well, but I decided to run to Hypersonic instead and told Bill and Matt we could meet at the flyers. I got all the way into the station to find no line, 2 trains running, and no wait. I got in line for the front row.
Hypersonic XLC-The train was almost full. I rode in the front. We rounded the corner to the pre-launch section, and then headed to the launch section. Hypersonic still managed to give me the same great feeling at launch. It was really incredible! The front was significantly and noticeably rougher than the back, so we bounced around a bit more on those rubber tires, but this ride was all about the launch anyways. Arriving back in the empty station, I hopped in the back as some of us switched up trains, and took another ride. I couldn’t get enough. The back was where it was at. Three rides and they all felt just as good, just as powerful, and just as fun. But the back really was the best spot. And I finally got my credit!
I went over to the flyers hoping we’d have enough time for Grizzly, but the park was closing. Matt and Bill got a ride on them, but then the ride op was giving one final ride for the nite, so I hopped in with Bill and waited until the ride started, as people kept coming over to ride.
Flying Eagles-No snapping for us, but this was a better ride than my first and previously only other ride on a set of flyers. But flyers make me queasy, so they aren’t something I often ride. It wasn’t a long ride, but it was longer than I’d have liked. Spinning just makes me sick. At least Matt got a few good snaps.
And with that, we were done for the day. Making our way back to International Street I took a few night shots. The park really was beautiful at nite. I would have liked to have had a ride on the Scooby Doo Coaster, the Scooby Doo dark ride, Shockwave, and Ricochet, but of those 4, the only one that was new to me was the dark ride, and I knew I could ride again later. We had a lot of fun during our evening trip to Kings Dominion. And in the end, Matt and I commented on how we were glad the day turned out like it did.
After we left the park, we went to the Waffle House on our exit. I had a triple order of hash browns with onions, ham, and cheese. And lots of water. I love Waffle House hash browns. It didn’t take long to get back to the motel that evening, and after a quick shower it took even less time to fall asleep. Saturday would be Busch Gardens, and I was excited.