Trip Report: Paramount's Kings Island
May 23, 2004
"Can we just move the Flyers and Delirum next to Scooby Doo?"
This was my third trip to PKI for the season, but it was the first trip of the season with Eric Huelsman. Opting to get the day started with a good breakfast, we ate and arrived at the park shortly before 11AM.
Upon pulling into the parking lot, I flashed my parking pass and recvied the day's notices. PKI has the parking toll collectors pass out a little flyer with any important notices on it. Today for example, they were stressing that it was the last day to purchase a Gold Pass, and they made clear that Boomerang Bay was not open to the public today. (May 23rd was a Gold Pass private party at Boomerang Bay). What interested me, though was the usual disclaimer about the security inspection at the front gate. They listed a variety of items that were prohibited for 'security reasons'. All but one of these items involved carry in food. How is prohbiting me from carrying in lunch "for my safety" improving park safety and security. I think Dave is on to something with his Me_al Detector running gag. It's a myth, I tell you a myth.
Anyway, we had a slight delay in entering the park as Eric had to stop off at Guest Relations in order to use his Carrowinds pass, then we were off into the park. Standing at the head of the fountain, and not really having a clear idea which was we wanted to circle the park, we relied on that highly scientific method of flipping a coin to determine which way to go.
It turns out that the flip dictated we tour the park in a counter-clockwise direction, which made Scooby Doo the first ride of the day. This would be Eric's first time on PKI's Scooby Doo, though he has ridden it at other parks. The line for Scooby Doo was only back to the bridge over the moat, which means about a 20-30 minute wait. Approximately that time later, we were being shown to Mini Mystery Machine #13. Appropraite for a Haunted Castle, don't you think? Mini Mystery Machine #13 was good to us as we both scored in the mid 1500's. I am happy to report I won battle 1 on Scooby. Eric reported that there seemed to a be a lot more to shoot at in PKI's version, and that our version has a higher capacity. Both good traits to have.
After riding Scooby, we headed over to Beastie. Beastie seems to be allowed to run the closest to what the designer intended, the line was only up to the high point in the stile over the track, so it wasn't a bad wait at all until we were taking up seats in the back car.
Once around Beastie, which delivered a sound ride except for that mid-course trim, then it was off towards Ghoster Coaster. We took a look at Ghoster Coaster's line and decided that we could better spend the time somewhere else. That somepleace else happened to be Reptar (Reptar, Raptor, what's the difference :) ) Reptar's line did not SEEM that long, in fact it was all contained in the station itself. What I did notice is an apparent procedural change. This year, at the end of the ride the attendant on the load side starts at the back of the train helping to unload riders. The station gates do not open until this attendant makes there way to the front of the train. This causes for a perhaps safer but less efficient loading proceudre. Given the cramped layout of the station, we slithered our way up to the front seat line and found it to be the same length as any other seat. Sitting in the front seat, Reptar gives great visuals, and for the most part a good fun ride.! I mean yes it has a nasty transtition or two to remind you that it is a Vekoma, but for the most part its acceptable.
We exited Reptar, walked around Reptar, and saw that Wild Thornberries River Adventure was a walk-on. Accordingly we walked right on, and I did not hesitate in claiming the back half of the log, leaving the front for Eric. Wild Thornberries is a major thematic, and structural makeover of the parks original log flume, a log flume that came from Coney Island (Ohio). Accordingly th station has been themed to an "Outpost", wild thornberries characters adorn the ride, the building you pass through at the top of the lift hill has been themed to a powder factory, and the track has gone from fiberglass to metal.
On this day it seems as if the park was trying to set a speed record for gettng the logs through the trough. In addition there are some thematic elements, a few of which are designed to get you mildly we with trickling streams of water. We made our way through the course, up the second lift, where I noticed the only access to the operator booth seems to be a ladder, and then down the drop. All in all we didn't get too wet on the drop. That wasn't bad at all. Or so we thought, untill we were introduced to the Evil Elephant. This was my first ride where the Evil Elephant was woring properly. When it does it basically shoots water out its trunk in such manner as to ensure that the riders get unavoidably soaked. We got off the ride nice and drenched.
Continuing on around the park, we skipped the White Water Canyon which is way too wet, and skipped the Train so that the gold pass water park party goers could make their way to the water park. Looking ahead to Tomb Raider, I noticed no line of guests making their way into the tomb. At first I figured the ride was in its usual state of "Closed" Upon closer inspection the ride was actually open. We walked right through until about halfway down the tunnel between the tomb entrance and the monkey room. Moments later the gate was opened and we made our way into the monkey room, and then without stoppinig we were ushered directly into the pre-show room. Moments later the movie started but without the lights going out, or the big sliding door closing. I suppose I should be glad they decided to show the movie. I suspected the movie was tied into the ride control system somehow becuase the overhead door usually opens within seconds of the line "Famous Last Words!" but that did! not happen and we were held in the pre show room a bit longer. I noticed they did think ahead and put a bit of extra film to cover for the delay.
Incidentally, having recently watched Tomb Raider, the pre-show movie is pretty much just a highlights reel and then it doesn't tell the same story as the movie as scenes are out of order and sometimes just spliced together in ways that make no sense. The pre-show movie tried to combine the best elements of both tombs into one. Soon enough the overhead door opened and we made our way onto the ride. Being in the front row, I was a bit alarmed when I pulled my shoulder bar down and it was wet. How do I always manage to get the wet seats. Not to worry, however, because while the gondola seemed to flip more than usual, the water effects were mercifully wimpy and did not give me an extra squirt in the face. After that uhm, interesting ride we headed to Beast.
Not wanting to mess up a good thing, I directed Eric to seat 1.2 which is known to be a safe seat with a smooth ride. Beast was basically a walk-on, and oments later we were off on our way through the woods on a nice smooth (albeit slow) enjoyable Beast ride. Not much special to report here.
After Beast we continued our tour to the North side of the park, and accordingly started wth Flying Eagles. Flying Eagles had about a 3 cycle wait, which is perfectly fine. It should be noted that we had no problems sitting in seperate tubs. A fine display of aerobatic artistry later, and we continued our tour of the park
Next up on our tour of the park was Shake, Rattle and Roll (Huss Troika). We just missed the start of the current ride, so we had a one cycle wait, walk on of course. While waiting I noticed something that should be addressed. I don't think ride operators should be allowed to talk on cell phones during rides. Particularly ride operators who are leaning back in their chair facing AWAY from the ride while the ride is running. Something about giving your ride and its riders your undivided attention. Troika gave a orinary ride, then we headed to Vortex.
Vortex was also a walk on, and so we decided on the front seat of the back car. More legroom but still great airtime on the first drop.. Vortex seems to be running pretty well this season, and after an incident free ride, we declined to watch either motion movie, I pointed out the Carrowinds map at the Laser Tag, and we made our way down Coney Mall.
We were headed to Flight of Fear and stopped along the way at a walk on Zephyr (Wave Swinger) that was being loaded. Zephyr had its top scenery panels refurbished this year, perhaps the tower is next off season. Zephyr was a fun diversion, then we headed into Flight of fear. The line was about halfway through the indoor queue area, but was moving pretty steady so that we only got to watch one complete screening of the pre show video. We did note that the lights didn't go off in the hangar as they used to, at least the end furthest from the entrance door stayed lit. In order to accomodate both of us, we chose seat 1.2. I'm sure its getting tiring hearing that Flight of Fear is vastly improved since the removal of shoulder bars. I'm not saying that it always runs glass smooth, but the lack of shoulder bars negates any concern for the roughness. Today I was thinking about how painful a shoulder bar equipped ride on this must have been. The mid-course brake is back on, Awwwwww.
After leaving the Flight of Fear hangar we headed back to Coney Mall, where we skipped the flat rides in the older half of Coney and instead headed for Racer. Racer was a walk on, and this time we went to seat 5.2. The positive of this ride is that they actually raced the trains, however Racer has a lot of potential that isn't being realized, it used to have a bit more action to it.
From Racer we headed around to a sit-right-down Adventure Express. We nabbed the front row of the last car and went for a quick peppy trip. It's a fun enough ride, now if we do something about the theming in the final tunnel, I haven't seen the lava god or whatever that thing is at the top of the hill light up once this season, nor have I heard his lines.
From Adventure Express we headed into the depressing FestHaus. Low-quality overpriced food combined with the lack of a live floor show, and most recently the removal of all the great wall murals. How dare they still think of this as a Fest Haus. Ah well, at least an upshot to this is the Fest Haus has its own restrooms, and with its low usage they are generally amongst the cleanest in the park. But wait there is a surprise treat today, set up on some of the front tables were roller coaster models. From what I could gather they were having some kind of model building contest in the local high schools, I saw a lot of good themes, some real neat coaster ideas that wouldn't look out of place as concept art at IAAPA, and even a coaster that must have takend queue building ideas from my RCT parks.
From the UnFestHaus we headed to the Action Zone. We started out tour of the Action Zone with Delirium, which is one of the best thrills the park has added in a while. It was about a 20 minute wait to ride the spinning swinging pendulum ride, but the ride is consistant and delivers an awesome ride. There was one hiccup, as apparently the exit gate lock is controlled by the control booth, and there was some delay getting the control operator to unlock the exit.
From Delirium we headed back to the coasters of Action Zone. Being a courteous host, I rode Son of Beast with Eric. Eric had sensed that I was not loooking forward to it. Son of Beast was also a walk on, and we went to seat 6.2. We rode the ride, and as we hit the brake run the people in the seat in front of us said "That was kind of rough!", we said "KIND OF ?!?". I can't put it any better than Eric did, Eric comments whereas before the ride just had a nasty lateral shuffle, they have no mamanged to add to that a weird vertical shuffle where it bounces you up and down in your seat (Jackhammering). We agreed that the ride is still awful. Ya know, the big part of my problem with how Son of Beast runs is I know what the ride is capeable of. I was there on a season pass night when the ride first opened, the ride opened late in the evening, but Eric and I were persistant and might have been in the first 10 trains out. On that day the ride ran sluggish but so smooth, with great air on both the first drop and the drop into the loop. Eric and I declared Son of Beast a top-shelf ride after that ride. Then of course the ride ran for only a handfull of hours then closed for a month or more. It has never ru anywhere near as good as it did that first evening.
We then took a trip on Top Gun, Top Gun was a complete walk on, and in fact we only waited for the front seat to delay our walk up the exit hill. I have noticed the re-ride gate has generally been locked this year. Top Gun is another fun, fast, great coaster that only suffers from being too short. Oh, and it could use the artifical smoke/fog effects it once had during dispatch. While waiting for Top Gun, Eric mentioned Drop Zone, and I indicated that I am real borderline for fitting on Drop Zone. We decided not to ride Drop Zone, but instead headed to about a 20 minute wait for Face/Off.
Face/Off, we rode in seat 7.1 (or 1.2 depending on how you look at it :)), anyway it is the second seat counting from the operators booth. Its an intereting seat as that is apparently where the life mechanism engages for the first lift. Face/Off is delivering reliable inverted boomerang rides with much more reliability than those Deja Vu rides that other park chain went with. After riding Face/Off we decided to go off-site to get some dinner, however a very unusual event happened as wer were leaving the park. As you may know Coca Cola recently released BerryClear ReMix. (A Sprite variant). There was a booth out in front of the park that was passing out FREE, you read that right FREE, 12 oz. cans of Ice Cold Berryclear Remix. Yumm, just what I needed, a nice free soft drink to help combat my hydration levels. Ya know, the park could take note of this free soft drink deal and make it a regular feature. Just a suggestion.
So we left the park, had some dinner, came back and re-entered the park. Upon reentering the park we headed straight down International Street and up in the Eiffel Tower. Upon reaching the 275' level of this 1/3 scale model of a famous French landmark, we took a long look around, noted you couldnt really see much of the rehab of Boomerang Bay from the Tower, and so we spent a few minutes letting our buffet dinners digest. We had heard some of the staff talking about a storm moving into the area, so we headed to Scoobdy Doo. This time the line was just back to the secret passage, so we rode again, got much lower scores than our first ride. (However I still had the high score). We then walked by Ghoster Coaster. The line was much shorter but we did not ride it, particularly after watching how hard the trims were hitting. Some light rain came through, but it was never bad.
We headed into Rivertown, and boarded the train ride. I ask again, from an earlier TR, "How many stars are on the American flags on the fronts of the locomotives" (You need only count one side of one flag......) It's not the answer you might expect. We took a relaxing ride around the Rivertown woods on theis Crown train and when we got around to Boomerang Bay I couldn't help but notice that it just doesn't look that different from the train station. By this time Boomerang Bay had closed, and Eric didn't have a Gold Pass so our only observations were from the train cars. I mean a new paint job, some new slides. But you can't really see much without going inside. Maybe on a later trip. We rode back around to Rivertown, and noted that it was about 7:30 on a 9:00 close. Time to be making our way towards the Flyers.
When we arrived at the Flyers we notices some unusual sights. Mainly that every bird had two riders, that there was verry little to no snapping going on, and that I didn't notice anybody in the line that I am used to seeing congregate at the Flyers around close on a Sunday evening. It was all family-types. Having ridden the ride earlier in the day solo, we entered the ride area and took seperate birds. That was when we found out that riding solo was no longer welcome. I don't know how long this rule lasted (I figure if it was still a rule a month later I'd have heard about it on RRC by now), but it killed my enthusiasm for the ride. I mean they were nice enough to let us ride solo, but also told us that if we wanted to ride again we would have to pair up. We knew when we weren't welcome, and headed over to Delirum instead.
Delirium still had about a 20 minute wait, but thats not bad when you consider its one of the best rides in the park. Fast fun, intense, what's not to like. After Delirium, we headed back over to Scooby Doo, and managed to squueze in 4 more rides on Scooby before park close. Sccoby Doo was a walk on at this point, but still a walk-around. Besides it took 4 more rides for Eric to finally beat me on a lap. Though our last lap was helped when we sat in the dining room scene before the Great Hall for a few minutes, followed by the ride start siren, still we had scores in the 2,000's I also noticed that the readbout would not be able to display a score in the 4,000's as one segment of the LED for the thousands digit is missing.
The park had closed while we were on our last ride, so we took a trip through the gift shops, then out to the parking lot,
Another fine day.
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