TR: Kings Island

Trip Report: Kings Island

Mason, OH

October 25, 2009

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Well, all good things must come to an end, for me its the 2008 coaster season.  One of the coaster clubs had arranged a fall event at the park, so that seemed like just as good a way as any to end the season, surrounded by a lot of friends.  So I registered and then headed to the park on the 25th.  The park was slated to open at 11am that day, but we could start checking in as early as 10am.  Park arrival was easy, and soon I was checked in and was looking through my FUNvelope, but not just a normal size FUNvelope but a manila envelope stuffed full of goodness.  Okay, it had the usual stuff, an event lanyard, admission ticket, picnic ticket, wristband for all day free drinks, as well as a copy of the days schedule of events, a park guide and a haunt guide.  What really made the packet special were four little pieces of paper that might easily be missed.  These were front of the line tickets for four different Haunt attractions.  Knowing this is a Saturday, having some Haunt express tickets would come in most handy.

Leading up to the event, we didn't know for sure what rides we would have for our half hour private ride time. In fact when they first opened the gates they told us one thing, but owing to the non cooperation of a certain ride, we wound up with another.  In the end we wound up with Flight of Fear and Racer for our early ride time. What made the Flight of Fear rides really special is they had the work lights on inside the show building, allowing for a very unique ride experience where we got to see just how tight that trackwork is.  Talk about headchopper effects, wow.   I took 2 or 3 rides on Flight of Fear, then headed over to get a token ride on Racer. Not many people riding the one side of Racer that was open, and to make matters worse, they made you walk around every time.  So I got one ride on Racer, but I could see Firehawk testing.  So, right after my Racer ride I zoomed down and planted myself to be one of the first people in line for Firehawk.  Of course it didn't open on time, but still I got that ride out fo the way.  Nice to have two of the low capacity popula rides out of the way just minutes after park opening.  It would wind up being my lasdt flight on Firehawk for the season.  

After Firehawk, I knew I had to pay special attention to the schedule.  This event is loaded with tons of activities, and you can opt to do as many or as few ot them as you wish.  The next activity was a lights on tour of Club Blood.  So, I took the time to snag a ride on Adventure Expres, and Son of Beast while I waited.  I'lll miss Firehwak in the off season, Son of Beast, not so much. Right around 11 a section of Club Blood queue rail was removed so we could walk up to the front door of Club Blood.  Before going in we were told the rules - no touching anything, especially the props, the lights will be on, all that common sense stuff.  We were led into the building and I noted a lot of detail in the sets and props that you just can't see well with the lights off.  I also noted that there seems to be a service channell all the way around the perimieter of the haunt, along with numerous exit doors you don't normally see.  In addition the maze itself is riddled with curtained off escape paths that you normally can't get to because thats also where the actors place themselves.  It was a pretty interesting tour, even if you did have to use your imagination as the actosrs and some fo the loose props were not there.  The animatronic in the hopsital scene was working which caused a few t jump even in this behind the scenes tour.  The park had converted an onld 80's era vending machne into a "Condom and Lubricants" machine I hadn't noticed before.  We followed the usual tour path and were soon outside, but not alowed to leave the area yet.  This caused some confusion as they hadn't explained to us the whole tour experience.  Now, we are going to tour it again, still no actors, but with the sounds and lights in their show setting.  It is amazing haw easy it was to get disoriented even after just taking a full lights on tour.  Later tonight, we can come back a third time and get the full experience using our front of the line ticket for Club Blood.

After the Club Blood tour, I took the chance to score a ride on Face/OFf before heading out of the park to get my season pass processed.  I had bought the platinum pass this year, then got absolutely no use out of it, and barely got enough uses here to make it worth its while,  So, I downgraded to a Gold Pass for 2009.  That mean an all new photo session of course, and soon I was racing through the park at the speed of light hoping I didn't get shut out of the next behind the scenes tour.

The next tour was Racer.  I headed to the gate nearest Zephyr and was delighted to learn I could still get in.  The person working the gate just explained "the rules" and let us in.  Racer tour was more of an access to this concrete pad right at the base of the first drop from which we could take some cool close up pictures.   Hey, it's better than nothing.  After this tour I got my Vortex and Italian Job rides in just before making the trek to Massacare Manor.

Our Massacare Manor tour would be handled much like the Club Blood tour.  One pass wiht all the show lights on, one pass with work lights on.  Due to the use of blacklight in this haunt there are some things you can see only with the work lights, and some you can see only with the show lights.  Oh, and thery left a couple of the mechancial props turned on, just to get a few scares in early.  After this tour, I decided to rest for a few minutes with a couple slices of Larosas Pizza back in Rivertown.  I hadn't gotten breakfast and was starting t get hungry.  I finished up just in time to snag a Beast ride before heading to beasts tour.  

It started out as just another Beast photo tour, the likes of which I have done numerous times.  This one only went as far as the area right past the first drop, instead of going all the way to the far reaches of the ride.  I don't think anybody minded becuase it wasn't really Beast we were coming to see this time, you see the Beast tour spilled over into the Diamondback tour.  That's right the first photo tour of the 2009 new ride Diamondback.  We got to see some track pieces on a truck behind the Tomb Raider building.  Walk along side the first drop which came to an abrupt end.  We then followed the footings down a steep hill, then back up an even steeper hill.  We notices a Hsunt prop of a man hanging from the train trestle, but nobody could figure out who in the park could actually see it. Up on top of the steep hill we could look at the footings for the turnaround, and judging by some of the fittings, it will have some interesting banking.  Then it was back down the steep hill, adnd out the way we came.  Thanks for the sneak peek, Kings Island.

It was then almost time for dinner, but I knew the Eiffell Tower would close at 6pm, so I took the time to go up and get some photos from on top of tower.  This had the side effect of making me one of the last people to get to the International Restaurant.  I made do with what was left of the Skyline Buffet.  The salad bar was pretty much totalled, as was the cheese, but not to worry, I could still take a dinner plate and pile it high with pasta, chilli, and onions.  I formed walls around the sides with coneys.  

There was the usual Q&A and presentation in the International Restaurant about Diamondback after dinner.  Then I headed to Graeters to have some black raspberry chip ice cream.  I ate my ice cream while standing in line for Redbeard's Revenge.  Mind you it was COLD tonight, somebody asked me "How can you eat ice cream in this cold weather?" I responded "With a spoon." I note the former General Store is NOT a part of the attraction, except its porch and the entire pathway between the general store and the little sign carver's booth (man, I remember when that was the Rib Pit!) was filled with a rope queue maze for RedBeard's. Soon enough the gate was opened, and I made the journey into the unknown. The first part of the attraction is outdoors in the space formerly used as the Back Porch Stage. Creepy. I make my way at a fast clip though the boat dock themed outside area, as there was really nothing to obscure the path. Then I headed into the former Mining Company building which is the inside of the haunted pirate ship. Ah yes, this is more of a haunt than the fun filled CarnEVIL. I think my favorite scene is when you see, I think its the captain's wife looking all pretty in bed and just as you are looking at her someone else pops there head in through a slot right above the bed telling you to get moving on. Distraction, its a wonderful device in haunting. So I made my way through the haunted pirate ship and soon find myself back out on the midway next to Wings.

After that, I noted the line for Tombtone Terrortory was stretched back past the White Water Canyon Entrance, and it doesn't even open for 30 minutes.  Knowing what a low capacity drag it is, I get in line and endure the wait.  There was one comic moment where one scareactor was doing a pretty bad job standing right in front of this girl and the girl thought he was just being annoying, what he was really doing was distracting her so the other one could some right up behind her,  Loved it when she jumped about 5 feet.,   The Tombstone Terrortory line stretched all the way to the train station where they had an extra wueue maze setup.  Eventually I make it onto a train.  Juding from how far I moved right at 8am, they must not let people into the actual queue area early.  During the train ride the narrator tells you a rather lame ghost story to kill time. At least they have dropped the charade of the train breaking down, now the story is you have arrived in some abandoned ghost town. Ah, that does work better considering the train does stop at a train platform. You know that train platform you see on the left just past white water canyon wihen you ride the train, thats where the train stops and they tell everybody to get off the train. You exit to the platform then the directions were to exit the train and go to the left through the gate, well there are gtes at both ends, and I followed a crowd that went through the gate to the right into the grass field where the pumpkin patch is during the day. I think the crew is learning they have to take more control of the crowd as they didn't sound that happy. So we walked through the grass field and rejoined those that took the proper gate. The train returns to Rivertown empty.

You are then led down a paved road, and I know what is coming, so I am jockeying for position all the way down the road, but so are other people. At the end of the paved road, you cross over the railroad tracks, and go through a service gate that leads to the very back of the White Water Canyon observation area. The back part of the observation is a queue area where you again have to wait in line. Seems that now that they brought hundreds of people here at a time, they now want to group you into small groups. They dutifully group us into our group, and we enter the walking part of the haunt. Which has some old west themeing and winds through the canyon observation area. Then they have what could have been the feature of the haunt, its a simple device where they have a small one person wide tunnel built with several sheets of burlap about 2' apart, oh and they are constantly blowing artificial smoke into this contraption. So you can't see whats ahead, you are worried that just beyond that next burlap sheet is a scene worse than death, but all in all nothing jumps out at you in this device. What actually happens is that people take it so apprehensively that they are going through it one at a time, and a huge bottleneck forms trying to get through it. This means that by the time you get out of it at the other side, the rest of the haunt is a long 'conga line' of people. Which means for the majority of the haunt you just have one long solid parade of guests going down the White Water Canyon exit path. From here on out the scareactors are innefectual at best, because you can see ahead what is going to happen, you just don't know who its going to happen to. I think it richly deserves the rating of SUCKFEST it received in the message boards. Oh it had its moments like the hanging heads in the covered bridge, or jumping up at you on the rampway up, but all in all this one did not end with a "It's over already!", it ended with a "Thank goodness thats over with"

After Tombstone Terrortory I start to feel good, all I have left in haunting land are carnEVIL, Cemetary, Club Blood, and Massacare Manor.  (Recall, I don't care for Death Row), and I have express passes for three of those, and Cemetary never has a line, what could go wrong? I head to CarnEVIL and the line is wrapped clean around Little Bill's Giggle Coaster heading up towards towe Not the use of the passes had never really been explained, so I figured I would head down the exit path.  It worked as the person working the exit let me in the exit door and secretly join the next group entering.  Folks in line will never know they got linejumped, and the people in my group could plainly see my VIP lanyard.  CarnEVIL is a good fit for Nick Universe. For one, it's the only haunt that has the lights on for most of the maze, all the better to see those special "3-D" patterns along the walls. I don't think this would scare anybody, unless you are of those people that has a distinct fear of clowns. The place is bright and cheery and themed to a fun house. You have the hall of doors, (plenty of good jump out opportunities there), a fortune teller, the light tunnel where you cross a bridge through a revolving drum and the light patterns along the wall make it feel like you are moving instead of the walls. My favorite scene in this one was the room that is all black with polka dots all over the walls, standing dead ahead of you is a scare actor dressed up in exactly the same pattern as the walls, add a strobe light to that and you have a great effect, such a good effect that it has been a staple in haunted houses in the area for quite some time. On the way out, you are allowed to keep your glasses, or toss them in a bin. I note nothing special or collectible about the glasses, so I toss them in the bin, and go up the exit ramp which comes out by the Scooby Doo Meet and Greet.

I then go take my lumps at Cemetary.  The line is all the way back past International Showplace, not only that they actually have a queue maze set up around the Carousel.   Tell me I didn't just wait nearly 45-60 minutes for Cemetary.  What's wose, the haunt hasn't really impved since last year.  Oh, they changed the routing so you exit across from the airbrush shop now, but mostly the same thing,  You walk through a graveyard and spirits come following you.  

After Cemetary, I head to Festhaus to catch Ghouls Gone Wild. Think your typical theme park rock music revue with a haunted theme and you have it.  Lots of haloween music, some coarse language.    Apparently the park does offer a family friendly version during the day, but at night the inunednoo and course language is allowed.  It even has some indoor pyro effects, what's not to like.  After the show I duck out the back door of Festhaus and head to Club Blood.

At Club Blood, they have the VIP lanyard situation under control, and even handle it in theme.  A club bouncer greets you as you approach the haunt.  "Ah, VIP List?" He then shows you right past the line to the doorway into Club Blood.  Club Blood is one of the newer mazes, in a brand new building loctated behind Extreme Skyflyer. It is the much talked about R rated haunted maze. We enter and first you head down an ally towards Club Blood where the actors talk openly about drugs and the like, then you pass a bouncer to enter the club where scantily dressed women are doing exotic dancing and cages and poles are invovled but they do keep their clothes on. Hey, this is a family park after all. You then go though the very gross haunted clubs bathroom, where some poor schmuck is worshiping a very nasty looking toilet. The second half of the attraction seems to be a haunted hospital, and the key scene is a nurse appearing to give head to a cadaver. Scary, no, risque yes, and potentially disturbing, yes. After the haunted hospital like area it is the hall of mirrors and then as you leave you go past the club's bar.

Okay, one more haunt to get out of the way, but first I take a spin on Delirium.  Ahh, fast, forecful, love it.  Okay, I get to Massacare Manor, and they have a VIP entrance setup next to the regular entrance.  Well thought out here as well.  This is your traditional haunted house, where the theme is well, a house.  Watch out for that freezer!

After Massacare Manor, I stop by the funnel cake stand for an outrageouly overpriced Apple funnel cake, before heading to Dead Awakenings.  We have passes for prioirty seating, and so I get seated right in the very first row.  Dead Awakenings is a stage show designed for mature adults, and the park is sure to make that known before the show starts. Adult subjects are key to the show, including some bondage, what looks like either a rape or knifing scene, a lap dance scene, straightjacketed dancers, and lots of song and dance by scantily dressed performers and a lot of fishnets. Even the music is a bit edgier than you would expect in a theme park show. I was seated center house towards the rear of the seating bowl, and it was fun watching the crowd reactions. Yes, there were a lot of walk outs, but I liked the ones where the wife/girlfriend/whatever looked sincerely ticked off, practically dragging their husband/boyfriend/whatever behind them who had this look like "I WAS enjoying this, but I know I had best better act morally offended for the sake of me own relationship" I admit, I quite liked the show.  After that, the formal event schedule had concluded, so I decided that since the park was crowded anyways, to just call it a season and head home.  See you next season!


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