TR: Paramount's Kings Island - 7/16/06
I had not planned on going to the park today, but it so happened that when I was checking my email this morning, I received an invite to join Rideman at the park for a day of thrills. I had already had some commitments planned but I could get those finished by noon. So I called up Rideman, made suitable arangements, proceeded to take care of my prior commitments, and then headed up to the park.
Editors note: This is not going to be a long and detailed report, if you want one of those, kindly look at my July 9 TR which is probably more detailed than you want. It is available here.
I wound up pulling into the parking lot at around 1pm, and owing to this being a popular arrival time, it took a while to clear security and enter the park. I find Rideman at the front gate as we had arranged, so we proceeded to head onto International Street. I instinctively headed to the Return Visit Booth to pick up some Speed Lane tickets, but then realized that Rideman did not purchase the gold pass upgrade. We dodged a Keyhole Photo Ambush and headed to Action Zone.
When we arrived at Action Zone we headed to Top Gun. Top Gun was a walk on as usual, so we took a ride in our usual seat, 7.1. We remarked on the construction going on over at Great Wolf Lodge and then proceeded to enjoy our Top Gun ride. We verifiied that Son of Beast's trains had not moved since last Sunday then proceeded towards the heart of Action Zone.
We passed Delirium, so I asked Rideman if he minded if I used a Speed Lane ticket. This idea was to get a quick in/ quick out ride on Delirium. Rideman indicated he didn't mind, so I entered the queue and was admitted directly to the bullpen area, dodging a sizeable queue. It was all going to plan until the ride got tempremental and would not "home", which meant they could not raise the floor, which meant they could not get the prior load's riders off. The ride went down, but at least to me, it didn't seem like too bad a delay, I don't know what Rideman thought of the delay. I saw two ride mechanics, a ride technician, and two upper managment types decend on the ride. As suspected, they merely had to move the ride to "home" manually, raise the floor, let the riders off, run a test cycle, then reopen the ride. During that time, though I decided that using the rest of the Speed Lane tickets would be awkward, besides this was supposed to be a day at the park together. On a lark though, I decided to test the parks customer service, due to the delay at Delirium, it was clear I would not be able to use part of the Speed Lane tickets, so I asked one of the higher ups at the ride about getting a new later strip of tickets. I was informed that I would have to talk to Admissions as that is not a ride issue. You know I would have to follow that one up, as that sounded like dropping the ball to me.
Delirium reopened and I took a fun filled ride on it, and rejoined a patiently waiting Rideman. I did go up to the admissions booth to complete my test of the parks customer service, and am happy to report they did replace the ticket strip upon request. We headed up International Street and we had to deal with another Keyhole Photo ambush.
We headed back to forwards Racer, and took a ride in seat 5.2. On July 9 I commented about the inconsistent enforcement of the 2 click polciy. It seems I was OK to ride in click 1, but they insisted Rideman ride in click 2, they even opened his bar and reclosed it so they could count the clicks. Mind you he was sitting right next to me, and when they got done it could be visibly demonstrated that my bar was higher than his. Sorry, Rideman! Remember it's happened the other way around. It was an average Racer ride, and at least Rideman was not torque locked.
We next headed to Flight of Fear. We were concerned when the line splled out into one switchback in the outdoor queue house. We aked the greeter who told us the line was about 45 minutes, but the indoor queues were not open, and two trains were on. Something didn't sound right, but then we also forgot to put it to a stopwatch test.
We didn't really mind the wait, as we had both finished different vacations witin the past month, so we had plenty of stories to share and discuss. We headed through the queue, and found that indeed the indoor queue was taking the shortest route possible. I also noted they had the air conditioning on inside, and they were not totally turning off the lights over the stairs during the power failure scene in the pre show. So they do seem to be correcting problems from earlier in the season. We noted how the inside of the flying saucer bears a family resemblance to a gravitron, and joked about putting in a gravitron as a preshow for the ride. We entered the loading area and headed for the back seat.
We had timed it all out to be in the Good Train as opposed to the Bad Train. Unfortunately, when the Good Train arrived it only came halfway into the station before stopping. This meant a ride closure, and a call to maintenance. It seems the crew isn't allowed to just open the brakes and advance the train on their own. We got to watch the ride crew manually push the train into position, the queue gates opened, we started to board but then they announced "Do not board this train!" The launched the Good Train empty, then the Bad Train came in and they started to load it, and we had a hard time convicing the people in back of us to go on ahead in front os us and ride now. I noted the rider taking the seat I would have had was smaller than I am, and he had trouble getting the safety belt fastened. They launched the Bad Train, then the Good Train came back in, we sat down, and I was able to lower the lapbar to a reasonable level, and easily fasten the belt. Of course they will say there is no difference in any of the seats... I really enjoy being able to ride this ride without getting stapled into it. The mid course brake was on harder than I remember it, but it was still a good ride. Considering what happened to the rides twin at Kings's Dominion, I suppose we should be happy the ride is open. We exited the ride and I noted the on-ride photo booth was open, I thought I saw them removing it in April.
We headed back to Vortex, which was a walk on. We rode in our usual seat, 7.1, and had a nice Vortex ride complete with the first drop airtime. This visit, it was Vortex that decided it wanted to keep Rideman, and torque locked.
From Vortex, we headed to Italian Job, the queue was just through 1 switchback, so we waited it out. When we got to the grouper we were assigned to the back seat. While waiting to board he asked about the yellow line, and the ride host responsed that the gates aren't working right, so they added the yellow line. So let me get this stright, instead of fixing whatever problem they have with the gates, they took the cheap and easy route of just painting a safety line. We porceeded to have a fun ride on Italian Job, and the back seat ride is a fun place to be. The quote of the day occured during the show scene. Rideman had just finished saying "Now these non-functional special effects may never get fixed" Right then one of those non-funtional special effects got offended and retaliated against Rideman in the form of a blast of water that hit Rideman right between the eyes. I guess you had to be there.
From Italian Job, we headed to Beast. Beast was also a walk on today, and having learned my lesson I steered Rideman to seat 2.1. After this ride, Rideman will either think I am nuts, or he will really worry about that back car ride. The 2nd car ride today was just as downright brutal as the rear car ride was last week. I recall a couple years ago, Beast had one train that rode a lot rougher than the other two, but we seem to have forgotten which one it is so we could avoid it. Of course Rideman's Beast ride experience wasn't helped as I again was allowed 1 click as he got stuck with the operator who insisted on two.
Rideman remakred that Beast had given him a headache, so we went to ride the train ride to relax. I noted new signage indicating the train rides hours as 11-8. More noticeable was the soundtrack for the train ride. Last week there was no music, and the spiel was completly given by the attraction host. This week the train played country and western music on the way to Boomerang Bay, and the "Land Down Under" Aussie theme song on the way back. All the announcements were also obviously canned except for the one asking us to wave to the crossing guard. So it looks like the train recieved an autospiel just this past week.
We next headed to Avatar, we managed to totally miss Reptar this visit. When we arrived at Avatar, we were surprised to find no line and an open ride. They have now started assigning seats on Avatar in hopes of allievating some of the boarding confusion in the station. We recived a middle of the inner most row seating assignment. Boo. However, even in the tamest seats on the ride Avatar still really performs well.
From Avatar we headed to another walk on ride over at "Fairly Odd Coaster". We took seats near the back of the train, and got the usual fun ride on this coaster. There were some empty rowa ahead of me and I notices that for three straight rows the green paint had already worn off the solenoid box inside the car, but not only that it had worn clear through the orange paint so that bare metal was exposed. I asked Rideman and his seat was the same way, so it appears that for some reason the paint isn't holding up well on the solenoid boxes. Rideman conjectured that it may be due to those boxes getting rubbed against all day.
I paused to show Rideman the removal of the lapbars on Blues Skidoo then we headed to Scooby Doo and the Haunted Castle. Scooby had a full queue, however people were allowing each other more personal space than usual. You see this was a heat emergency day, which may have explained the sparse crowds in the park (and a jammed waterpark), and so people were more aware of each other. I also relished this time to stand in a nice air conditioned queue house. I knew we were in trouble as the score readouts in our Mini Mystery Machine did not reset as we entered the ride. Out of three guns in the car, none of them worked right. Not only that, this wasn't a case of the ride not registering point blank hits on targets, this was the guns would not even make their usual firing noises. I wonder if the cables for the guns are working loose or getting shorts, on our car the guns were very tempremental and only worked for part of the time. Neither of us wound up with a score we would be proud to admit to.
We headed to International Street and stopped in Graeter's for some ice cream. Make that a double black raspberry chip for me! We paused in the air conditioned ice cream parlour and chatted. I noted how the theming on International Street is suffering. After all last year they installed two new sit down eateries, they put the French style ice cream parlour in the Italian building, and the Italian style espresso/cappuchino bar in the French building. Rideman remarked that I still knew which building represented which country. I pointed out to him how the German building has a big bier stein on the outside, the Spanish building has the Don Quixote (Man of La Mancha) statue in front, then Rideman noted the swiss chalet lines of the Swiss building, and so forth. I also commented how the buildings used to fly the flag of their represented nation. Except for the Eiffell Tower, International Street is looking more like Main Street USA, than International Street.
We finished our ice cream and headed towards Action Zone. We went to Face/Off and noted the line to be back to the midway but no switchbacks were being used. It took some time, but we eventually found ourselves in the end row by the control booth. I don't know about Rideman, I thought I had just as smooth a ride as last week, but Rideman complained of headbanging. I pointed out the new large signs about keeping your head against the headrest and the seatbelt fastened at all times. It also seems little "Keep hands, arms, legs, and feet inside the car" signs are starting to appear on lots of ride seats. Stranger yet, some of the seats on Face/Off have obviously been repaired, you can tell which ones they are becuase the seat casings are pink.
From Face/Off we headed to Aventure Express. A walk on wait, so we went to our usual seat, the front of the last car. We had a fun Advneture Express ride, and no things have not improved in the speical effects departmet.
We then headed clear down Coney to the Action FX Theater since Rideman had not seen the HB ridefilm. Again it was a very small turnout for the ridefilm. We didn't get to see the preshow, as we had timed our arrival just right. I pointed out the Enchanted Voyage theme song to Rideman, and we rode the movie. Did you ever notice how the seatbelt buckle is hot when you unfasten it at he end of the ride. We headed back to the midway and engaged in that strange coasternut behvaior where you stand on the midway talking about parks and rides instead of riding rides. At least we chose a shady spot, and we stopped by Rivertown Pizza for some courtesy ice water. We did look at the smoothie stand, Paradise Island near Italian Job. They seem to have quite an eclectic menu this year, and seem to be popular enough, even with the seemingly poor location. We were a bit concenred that one of the cold drinks dispensers looked like it contained Windex.
From there we took a trip to the top of Eiffell Tower for a panoramic view of the park. Nothing much to see over by Son of Beast, and the park had put garbage bags over the telescopes. We took a walk around tower and Rideman noted a flower bed in Rivertown that looks a lot like home plate. We wondered if you looked at early aerial photos of the park you could find the other bases, sort of like an inside joke. Unfortunately the park has been renovated so much that there were no other bases visible.
We finsihed our panoramic view from tower and headed back down to the midway. We deicded that with the heat, with the waterpark closing, and the desire to have a nice dinner before Rideman took the long drive to Columbus, that we decided to leave the park and grabbed a bite at Culvers.
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