Trip Report: Paramount's Kings Island
By all schedules PKI should be closed today, the season was slated to end on October 29, then FearFest extended it to Oct 31, then for some unknown reason they decided to add on one more weekend, 11/4 and 11/5.
To ensure its success they used corporate sponsor, LaRosa to promote the hell out of the event. Every pizza box came with a little color flyer, with three panels, one advertising "Free Gift" drawings at the park, another advertising a chance to win 1 hours ERT on Son of Beast, Face/Off, and Beastie (no i didn't win,:( ) and the main section advertising to bring this ad and get in for only $16.99. Folks, PKI is a $39.99 a day park. Talk about substantial savings.
Park hours were short (10-6) so we'd have to work fast. Dave Althoff and I arrived at the toll booths shortly before 9:45, and used our Season Pass Renewal Bonus to enter the lot. The toll collector also gives us a couple handouts. One of them is a promotional piece for CBS television, presumably to give you a guide to waht you can watch on TV since the park is closed for the season. (Actually a nice handout, and why does it run in my mind that there IS a CBS/Viacom connection somewhere) the other handout is a coupon good for $16.99 admission. In other words the park intended for NOBODY to pay more than $16.99 to get in today. Add to this that every person who proceses their season pass gets 2 free "Bring a Buddy" tickets, which also expired today, and you have a situation where probably very little of the gate actually paid admission today. I mean you literally could not give away a PKI ticket. (And we noted that this was hurting the PKI ticket scalping ring, as they were shamefully trying to get at least $10 a ticket) Anway we noted a sign stating there would be Fireworks, a nice touch on this final weekend.
We soon enter the park and register for the aoforementioned gift drawing, a couple stops later and we learn that the walkback was a Beast walkback. So we know we missed it but what better place to hang out to catch up with the group. We succesfully catch up to meet all the ususl suspects (minus Sean F.) and then some. We start the morning off with a walk on Beast ride, back seat, no grief about lapbar being in 1st click ride. Not a stellar ride, but a Beast ride nonetheless.
We then started on our lap around the park, stopping off for two Flying Eagles rides. Two very good Flying Eagles rides, especially the first one, I mean I thought I was on the Phlyers for a minute! One member of our group even tried to board the flying Eagles from the inside. Dave Althoff was heard to mention that he wished he could get a *TIGHTER* seatbelt. I mean these things were on the verge of scary today.
A quick stroll accross the midway brought us to Vortex: "The I Need-A-Paint-Job-In-The-Worst-Way Coaster" The mid course brake was on a bit tighter than my last ride, which meant you got both the airtime going down the first drop, then the hangtime in the final 4 inversions.
The group paused outside 007, and it was meantioned that this was the last chance to ride this movie. No one was interested in the simulator though.
A bit further down the midway we noted that the words "Outer Limits" were removed from the arch typically sperating that section of the park, but bypassing that we headed down to the Racer. We took a forwards front seat ride. Now those who have been paying attention to the Six Flags thread about lapbars may have noted Dave Althoff;s comments about the inconsistency of lap bar checking at PKI. You get some ride ops who check bars by pulling up, and others that check lapbars by pushing down, you get some ops who only care if it locked, you get other ride ops who want at least 2 clicks, more if they can get them. Sometimes you can get two totally different experiences on the same ride, on consecutvie rides. Frustrating to say the least.
So I sit down in the front seat and don't have too much time to lower my bar as the attendant is already there, so I start to pull it down when she offers to check it. I remember I am wearing a sweatshirt and a coat so the already tight train is getting tighter, and the already wonked lapbar settings in this park are intensified. She explains in a professional, yet couteous tone that she needs two clicks out of the lapbar. Push down (nicely even)*CLICK* "That's one" she says, I suck it in, she pushes down a bit more firmly (hey my gut is putting up some resistance here) *CLICK* :That's two" Enjoy your ride" and she goes on. At about his time I realize I have the bar embedded into my gut, but at least with the winter clothing I have some nice cushiony padding between me and it. We ride, and while I get some nice hints of airtime, I lament not getting the full effect.
Then we went a bit further and decided to skip Adventure Express for the moment and go for the Big RIdes, the Realy Really Big Ones.
That of course being Son of Beast, not a bad wait about 30 minutes during which time we saw but did not ride the Wild Mouse at PKI , Dave even videotaped the Wild Mouse in action, and we were in the back car. And I noted that the rubber floormats, and flooring of the car we were in is shot, exposing the bare wood and metal flooring, the ride however was running well with less squeal than a couple weeks ago. Got some airtime, and I still love the loop.
Then we get in line for Top Gun, and our group decides to bail becuase of the line. Hmm, its not even THAT long. Seems some fools were regretting passing up breakfast this morning. Tis led to a stop past the Stunt Crew Grill which did not appetize me, while others headed to off site dining (On an early close night? You guys could not have suffered it out to close?) Dave and I being congenial, went in search of a snack of a more appetizing nature, the Bagel Deli on Internatioal Street sounded good, but was found to be closed. Dave settled for a "Hand Rolled" Hot Pretzel, and I had an Elephant Ear. Good carnival junk food, which gave me a ncie sugar rush to discover that Adventure Express was now closed. Time for another Racer ride, this time on the recaR. This time with a ride op who did not attempt to surgically implant my lapbar, this timw I was to experience airtime. Impressive airtime was to be had on the last speed hill before the turnaround, to the tune of launched into lapbar and held there for a coulple seconds. Really nice. Sooner or later we decide to do a run out to the car to ditch coats and stuff, but first a souvinner run, I mean season passholders got a 50% off shopping spree. We hit the Emporium like there's no tommorow. We noted the unique family of coaster bears, (Beannie Baby like things) which are coaster logoed. An interesting quirk is that they offer the Vortex both in the original blue and the current faded out blue. Nice touch. I beleive Dave got the Beast family bears together for a family portrait. After throughly crituqing the gift shop. (Like at the Action Zone shop (near SOB), SOB souvineers were not included, but at the Emporium they were. Scott and I also found Beast logo golf shirts. Both same style and size (XXL, a real find at PKI as they no longer make them!) and both managed to pay different prices for them. Even after some refunding was done. Then out to go play "Dave Lost His Car" Scott happened to have a GPS system with him, too bad Dave's car wasn't a data point.
Back into the park, and after some hem hawing around, we decided on an Adventure Express ride, I still find this to be a great ride, one of the better coasters in the park, but the two paint cans, squeegee, and blue stuffed monkey really cut into the theming. Especially the blue stuffed monkey. By this time we were to meet for ITOT on Drop Zone, so we went over, used some facilites, and waited a bit and researched the ride line length, and thought, "we can do better than that"
But ya know, I kinda like King Cobra, and I really wanted one last ride on it this season, so while they were figuring out what they were doing I went and took a solo ride. About a 15-20 minute wait, and then i had to use every ounce of strength to get the two buckle ends to pair up. (I tell you those orange belts are useless, hidoues and more trouble than they are worth) and this ride is not known for capacity in the first place, after sucking it in and deciding not to breathe for the next few minutes I was off on my way. And King cobra still is an awesome powerful ride, the drop, the loop, the helix, the speed hill, te trick track, the buny hops, everything, it's just that I feel like I am in a vise. So I stand uncomfortably on the ready brake, and witness a delay to load a weelie rider in the station. So I decide to address some "Rider Discomfort Issues" Thanks Scott for taking a photo of me addressing "Rider Discomfort Issues" youre' so thoughtful. I want the negatives.
After that ride, we decide to try to ride Beastie, full queue house, Ghoster Coaster, full queue house, ok maybe HB isn't such a great idea. Into Rivertown, look at the Kings Mills Log Flume from holes in the fencing, not much to see, head down to Beast, pass, head over the Flyers, pass, head around to "_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _" Flight of Fear. Ya know a rummour had been flying all day that they lost the rights to the _____ ______ name. Now its all starting to fit together. When we entered the park, I noted a strange absence of park maps. The signs merely said they were gone for the season. While that could be, they knew about this extended season long enough that they could have had more printed if they wanted them. And they had 4 revisions fo the map this year, you can't tell me they couldn't scrape up enough park maps for one more weekend. Then we noticed all signage in the parkthat reffered to _____ _____ had been either painted over or duct taped over. They even went as far as to remove the words _____ _____ from the big red arch that singaled the entrance to Fort Cooper. (Can I still say Fort Cooper?) A bit further on we determined that the wait was relaly long (both interior and exterior queues and decided to come back.
We headed down to Top Gun, where we waited through a line that was longer than the one we bailed out of earlier. Go figure. Top Gun however did but on a solid performance. We exited and noted the line had vanshied, Dave suggested that maybe the Cedar Point effect is happening, and we returned to _____ ______Flight of Fear. Got through the exterior queues, and were just going inisde when the ride went DDM. Time to bail! But we did stay long enough to notice the preshow was not running, and the work lights were on in the saucer room. A quick trip up the exit ramp revelled that the saucer was still there and the ride ops were careful in how they named their ride.
Being denied that ride, we headed back towards HB to get that Beastie ride, whcih we did get, and it waqs a satisfactory ride, then headed over to meet The Beast. Scott and Dave went to try to ride the Flyers but came back enpty handed. We hung out to right before park close then got in line for the Beast. Then I dunno who arranged it but they arranged for us to wait down by the kid check area, so that the normal guests could all ride and be cleared, then we were admitted for the last train of the night. And what a phast and phurious Beast ride it was. I mean I'd almost say I enjoyed the airtime on the second hill. And the phast and phurious phinal (sorry wrong park) a great gift from the park. There were applause both before and after the ride, where the ride ops got a sitting ovation (Hey no stadning on the rides)
We then met and thanked Angie up at GR for the great season, then headed to a final banquet at the Waffle House. Now how many ways are there to order hashbrowns at the waffle house? I wound up wiht somethng Scattered Covered and Topped. Some went with Smothered as well.
And so ends my year, my decade, my century, my millennium!
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 - "Renew & process your season pass by November 5th and recieve a free parking pass"
 Policy usually dictates that there will be no fireworks on a 9pm or earlier close
 Wild Mouse - a rodent found in the SOb queue area which when disturbed ran around like a ,well Wild Mouse.
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