Kings Dominion 2018

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March 30, 2018
Richmond VA

Hurler at Kings Dominion had been closed for some time.  Rumors swirled, announcements were made, and in March of 2017 Twisted Timbers, the successor to Hurler opened to the public, an RMC hybrid coaster with the same layout but major re-profiling and 3 new inversions. Over the past few years I’ve spent Easter weekend in Virginia for Kings Dominion and Busch Gardens, but this year, though I had Good Friday off, I had prior plans on Saturday and couldn’t make a weekend of it as I had been. The weather outlook for Friday was not looking good initially and I considered going to Dollywood instead. Friday morning, however, the weather forecast was much better so I left my home just north of Charlotte, NC and headed north to Virginia.

I arrived at Kings Dominion around 1:30 and saw a fairly light crowd of cars in the parking lot. I noticed that Dominator wasn’t open, but lots of other visible rides were up.  Once I was in the park I went to the Burrito place on International Street, but the line was long. So I went to Panda Express. Long line there too. I looked on the KD App to see what restaurants took the all season meal plan and noticed one in Candy Apple Grove. I passed by Chik Fil A (another long line) and headed to Mac Bowl, which was kind of like a Subway for Mac & Cheese. It was decent. Then I headed to the back of the park to see what the wait for Twisted Timbers was like as it wasn’t listed on the app showing wait times though most every other ride in the park was a five or less minute wait.

The line was out near the repurposed store near the ride’s entrance. It didn’t take me long to figure out, though, that the ride was not open. They were sending a train out periodically with 6 people in, but the line was closed. I stood around for a bit and took some pictures, but eventually decided to leave the line. But before that I got a message that some friends of mine were in the park for the ride as well, so I texted Craig. It took a while for him to respond. But in the interim I headed over to Intimidator for a ride.  Sadly, just as I was about to get on, the ride went down. Bummer. So I headed to the next nearby coaster, Flight of Fear. I got in line, but sadly after a bit of standing and not moving, I left and headed to Grizzly.

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Busch Gardens Williamsburg 2017

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April 14, 2017
Williamsburg VA

In 2017 easter came in early March, the weekend lots of south eastern parks opened since it was a three day weekend. This year, it was much later in the spring, with parks having had time to open their new attractions and get them ready. Carowinds hadn’t completely done that yet, and I’ve been twice already. Six Flags over Georgia won’t open their new for 2017 attraction till May. But Kings Dominion & Busch Gardens had their new rides open and ready, so again on Easter weekend, we headed north, this time with 2 extra people in tow. There were some hiccups (as there so often are) before the trip, but this time not so much with me. Isaac, Stefan, and eventually Blake made their ways to my house on Thursday nite, and around 8:30 we headed north to Richmond.

Getting up early Friday morning, we got breakfast and headed about an hour east to Busch Gardens Williamsburg. This was a hot mess. After getting close to the exit, traffic stopped. We went around and tried something else, and eventually found a ‘quicker’ (I use that term very, very loosely) way in, which shaved off…an hour of waiting in traffic. But we still waited in our car. For Two (2!) Hours. Just to park. Right beside the parking lot (I was literally less than 50 yards from the parking lot). Ridiculous. They must not have been in any way prepared for a busy weekend. We could see several failures in directing traffic in the parking lot that were a major cause of the problem. But there was nothing to do.

On the bright side, the park was waiving the parking fee complementary because of the wait. Even at that, I would have had my staff waiting outside of the parking toll booths waiving people thru instead of making them stop to tell them parking was complementary. This itself could have saved a lot of congestion.

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Kings Dominion 2016

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March 25 & 27, 2016
Doswell VA

Day 1

On Friday morning we woke up a little later than planned and headed north to Kings Dominion. This weekend would include 2 new parks for Isaac and a new credit for me. Traffic was a problem for the first part of the weekend, but we finally made it to the park around 1 PM. The park wasn’t very busy and the weather was overcast but the temperature was great. We got in to the park and beelined to Volcano. I wanted to check out the way they re-worked the entrance and station. Sadly, the ride was down. Instead, we headed over to I305 instead.

I think Fury is probably my favorite giga coaster to this point but I305 was very good. It had ejector air, speed, and even though it’s really compact, the ride was a lot of fun and very intense. There was barely a wait to ride. Next I believe we went to Flight of Fear. I have to say, I like that they shortened the queue, but could they please just repaint the queue area, add some lighting, dust it, and make it look less trashy? The ride still ran great. I wish it’d been moved to Carowinds as planned. The Flights of Fear both tend to launch as designed. The Six Flags versions, for the last few times I’d ridden them, did not.

We walked over to Delirium. It looked great, and the ride was a lot of fun. The cycle didn’t seem as long as the 2 Huss Giant Frisbee rides that Cedar Fair operates, but it was still really good, and we got a decent cycle. And the lighting package was great. We went over and had some issues finding the entrance to Grizzly as you have to go thru the Dinos Alive gift shop, which seems like a cluster, and no-one was over by Grizzly. The station seemed like it had gotten some renovations and there was new wood on the ride. I thought it was running as great as ever. I love that ride.

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Kings Dominion 2012

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May 26, 2012
Doswell VA

I’d been trying to get to Kings Dominion for I305 since it opened but no such luck. Since I was in the area, though, I couldn’t pass a trip up since I was so close. I got up slightly later than I’d planned, but was hoping for light crowds on a Sunday. After arriving at the park and finding the season pass/preferred lot right near the front gate, I snapped some photos and walked on in. The park was already opened and the rides were running. I hadn’t been to the park since 2007, so I walked around the newer area around Dominator, and thru the Peanuts area, then back to Intimidator 305.

Intimidator 305The drop was great and the first hill hill was absolutely insane. I greyed out on the first turn. The ride was very intense, and delivered major airtime on the hills. After the second hill there are some very quick turns with major lateral forces in the infield of the ride. The lateral forces were kind of rough with the restraints, but not totally unbearable. Then you hit the 2 bunny hops near the end of the ride. The trim was definitely noticeable, but didn’t kill the end of the ride, which consisted for a couple of more tight turns and a turn/hop up to the final brake run that gave major airtime.

The ride delivered. I didn’t get a chance to re-ride, but I definitely enjoyed my one ride with hopes to ride it again soon. Next up was the closest coaster to me, Flight of Fear. There was no one in the queue inside the building until you got to just outside the station.
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Busch Gardens Williamsburg 2012

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May 25, 2012
Williamsburg VA

I’d been watching with much anticipation as Busch Gardens Williamsburg announced and started construction on Big Bad Wolf’s replacement. Would it be just as good? What would it be? When Verbolten was announced I thought it looked really interesting. My original plan was to go ride Verbolten on opening weekend, but since Matt didn’t want to go that weekend I changed it to the following weekend. Matt decided not to go that weekend either, so I made plans for BuschGardens on Saturday and Kings Dominion on Sunday.

Then, of course, a week before opening, Matt decided to go. But he wanted to go opening weekend, and I already had plans. So he wasn’t going. Then he was again. So finally, the week of, I made reservations for Friday and Saturday nite in Richmond. Leaving on Friday of Memorial Day weekend was rough at first since everyone was heading to Charlotte. Traffic was a mess for about 20 miles, but then lightened up. I made my way north in about 5 hours. Matt showed up around 11 PM. I wanted to go to the diner beside the motel for a late dinner, but they closed at 11 PM. What diner by a motel closes at 11 on a holiday weekend?!?! We swung by Burger King instead before heading back to the room where I was fast asleep about an hour later.

Waking up early Saturday morning to beat the rush and get breakfast, we headed out to Busch Garden. We were anticipating lite to mild crowds, but you never know. Breakfast was at a McDonald’s about 20 minutes from the park and eventually we made our way to the parking lot where we met up with Chuck, who decided to come down for Verbolten as well, a surprise to me.

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Busch Gardens Williamsburg 2007

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August 11, 2007
Williamsburg VA

Busch Gardens Europe is a park that I’ve wanted to go to since I was a kid. It wasn’t too far away, but always further away than would be easy to get to. Everyone I knew had been and loved it. But I just never got to go. Every year I’d say “This year, I’m going to get to Busch Gardens”, but by the end of the season no luck. I hadn’t initially planned to visit in 2007, but the trip came together and I’m happy it did.

I’d heard for years about how beautiful Busch Gardens Williamsburg was. That the food was decent. That the rides were fun. The park was presented as quality over quantity, and that proved to be correct on my first visit. I was disappointed that we were forced to change plans the evening before, and Matt was on the verge of devastation because we had to change our plans.

But on Saturday morning we quickly got ready, checked out, got gas and breakfast, and headed out. The mood had changed from disappointment to excitement, in large part because of the great time we’d had at Kings Dominion the evening before. The plan was to meet Tina on the way. After just a couple miles on the road, the traffic wasn’t good, and I was not happy that we could have a repeat of the day before, but everything worked out, and around 9:30 a.m. we were meeting Tina at a rest area 30 miles from Busch Gardens.

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Kings Dominion 2007

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August 10, 2007
Richmond VA

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.

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Paramount’s Kings Dominion 2002

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June 17, 2002
Doswell VA

It had been about a decade since my last visit to Kings Dominion.  When I was younger, my extended family would go during the summer when we were visiting my grandparents, who lived closer than we did. Some of my brother’s friends were going, so we were supposed to go with them, but he flaked out last minute. I really wanted to go and ride their newest coaster, Hypersonic XLC. At this point in life I was really starting to get into coasters and parks as the internet had introduced me to a whole new community. Eventually I decided I would drive down myself during the week for a day.

So after a weeks delay in my plans I headed south on Monday June 17 for a day at the park. The ride to Doswell, VA was LONG and BORING, but an easy one mostly consisting of interstate. After getting lost in Richmond, turned around, and back on the right track, I found myself on Interstate 95 only a few short miles to PKD. There is a large sign right by the interstate marking Kings Dominion so that you know to get off on the next exit. The park is kind of in the middle of no-where, with a few factories and gas stations near it.

I arrived around 11am, paid to park, and found a close spot near the entrance. After getting my backpack and heading towards the main gate I was happy to see that the whether was very mild, and of course since it was a Monday the crowd was very light.  While making my way to the front entrance 3 people around my age stopped me to ask if I had purchased a ticket yet, to which I replied no. They had an extra ticket since a friend dropped out of going and asked if I wanted to buy it for $20, which is half of what I would normally have had to pay to get into the park. Score!

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