Attention: no eating, drinking or smoking, remain seated keeping hands, arms and legs inside the car while reading this trip report. :)
Trip Report: Paramount's Kings Island (10/20/01)
Upon observation of the calendar, some upcoming plans of mine, and some serious projects at work, I projected this to be my last chance to go to PKI this year. Given my rather odd set of transportation circumstances, it took me about as long to get to PKI as, say Rideman. Yes the ride out to PKI via public transit was both extreemly reasonable (50 cents from Cincinnati), and efficient, dropping me off at the park 20 minutes ahead of the psoted timetable. Then again $1 for round trip public transit VS. $8 to park in PKI's parking lot adds another dimension to that equation
Anyway, due to being ahead of schedule I arrived at the park at 8:25am. Most PKI regulars will realize the problem. Nothing happens at PKI till 9:00am, and there just aren't any good breakfast options in walking distance, and not many bad breakfast options either, for that matter. (I briefly considered Main Street Cafe at the Kings Island Inn, but decided not to)
So upon walking up to the front gate plaza to chill for a half hour, I got treated to the experience of walking through an empty parking lot, not unlike the scene at Wallyworld in that cult classic movie. Having some time to kill, I looked over the posters advertizing the haunts at this year's Fearfest, as well as about a dozen signs. Like any good coaster enthusiast I started with the infamous "Ride Closings" board. "Waterworks, (DUH), the water rides, Phantom Theatre, and *GASP* Flight of Fear" I noted the FoF magnet to be much shorter than the others, like they just took a scicors to the "Outer Limits:" part of it. Other signage had some stuff on various promotions going on today.
As you may already know PKI invited all rescue workers and their families up to PKI this weekend on the park. There was signage about that, signage about the Gold Pass "Bring a Friend Day" today, signgage about leaving your fannypack, large bags, bookbags, etc in your car, signage about the heightened security, signage about Fearfest. I know rather dull, but it killed some time. I also looked over the general admission rates, and when did PKI become $41.99?????? Man, I can remmeber when $45 was a SEASON PASS. . However, with all the various free ticket promotions that exist around the end of the season, I doubt anyone pays near $42. I have a stack of coupons from local stores for $21.99 tickets)
Anyway, the season pass sales window opened up shortly before 9am, so I was able to purchase my season pass. I was given a voucher, and told that the processing center was inside the park, and I coud get my photo taken at my convenience during the day. Another way that PKI's admissions department does things right. They have just eased one major time consuming bottleneck.
I made my way to the front gate, just a few minutes before they were opened and everyone was admitted. Just past the turnstiles they have set up a serious array of portable fencing, these force every 4 entrance lanes to merge into 2 lines for security. They have both hand held metal detection wands, as well as tables for searching bags. Knowing my keys were on a caribeaner, I already had those out of my pocket before walking through the turnstile to ease the security process. Much to my surprise I was directed to a by-pass lane which bypassed all security checkpoints. The word is "spot checks" I guess.
So they eased on bottleneck and created another, but in light of recent events, I doubt many people will have any serious objections to a venue taking the adage of "one can never be too careful"
Upon entering the park, I made my way to the season pass ID center, which would not open till 10. Circled International Street, Stopped off at the bakery to learn that Hot Cinnamon Rolls were NOT ready yet, stopped past the pizza joint to learn that pizza WAS ready. Pizza for breakfast did not sound appetizing. Made my way to the ACE brick to receive further instructions. There was a nice group of ACE members in the park today. Say about a dozen. Hi Guys! even if I didn't catch any names. The park sent Jabber Jaws over to welcome us, and later sent our friend Angie out to welcome us. Walkback would be to Son of Beast today. Beast will be operating, she informed us, with two train operation, and that the Flight of Fear on the ride closings sign was from FearFest last night and had not been removed yet.
Along the behind the scnes tour that is the ACE Walkback we learned that due to some minor equipment misplacement, that we'd have to enter Sonny's station via the stairs. Funny, someone quipped if the Screamon Demon would be operating today. This revised entrance to SoB reminded me of one aspect of a Screamon Demon ride. All present agreed that this modified entracne which meant we got to walk under and through some of Sonny's structure was really neat. (Coaster nuts always like to go to parts of the park we normally can't)
While waiting for SoB, I noticed that the park now wakes up with the playing of "God Bless America" A very needed and appropriate patricotic touch. Several parks have woken up to a patriotic tune for years, and its always a very human and appreciated touch. (hint: if you are doing a SoB walkback, and are looking for a flag at that moment, there are a few in the Top Gun queue line theming). Right before the playing of "God Bless America" I watched something interesting happen that reminded me of the Williams' Grove Cyclone, and a few minutes later SoB opened up.
For the first coaster ride of the day, I foolishly declined a short wait for 1.1, and opted for 1.3 I must admit that SoB was running nicely this morning, a little bit rough, but not un-enjoyably so. My favorite part of the ride is still the loop. Now if only they would have added a nice section of airtime laden hills. (and do something about the awful posture the trains force your legs into). To the rider Sonny's trains merely need two things. Nice soft cushy padding to help absorb some of the roughness and shakiness, and something to make the ride easier on your legs. Still though not a bad ride at all.
I then took a quick flight on Top Gun while in the area. The theming of this ride taking renewed relevance given recent events. Ya know there is a nice LARGE American flag in the themed section of the queue that is no longer used. It can barely be seen as you climb the steps to the station. Ya know if they aren't going to use that section of queues, there are a lot more places in that park that could better utilize that flag. It may be a short coaster, but it sure does pack a punch, short but effective.
I deicded to play "Typcial Tourist" and stuck around the Action Zone. My next stop was Drop Zone. DZ had a 15 minute wait, which is the the shortest I've ever waited for DZ. Note to self: a seatbelt you can barely fasten with a T-shirt on, becomes much harder with a sweatshirt, turtleneck, and jacket on. I opted to let the ride-op handle the seatbelt, and said ride-op was friendly about it. Even noticing my DCA sweatshirt. (I'd buy a PKI sweatshirt (or T-shirt) but that park has seemed to think that XXL clothing is not worth selling). I admit my initial recation to DZ when it first openned wasn't very warm, but the ride has grown on me. Even with the OTSR stapled as a necesity for the seatbelt, I still managed to feel very weightless on the drop, It's, an awesome experience.
While riding Drop Zone, I heard the lift startup alarm for Face/Off and visually confirmed it wasn't open yet. So upon exiting DZ I headed to King Cobra. I entered the King Cobra area to learn that I could walk right onto the front row. Now that's what I'm talking about. Perhaps I should always wear three layers of upper body atire while riding KC. You see KC's restraints allow only one part of the the male anatomy to be comfortbale. You can either have your shoulders be comfortable, or a certain gender specifi part be comfortable. But not both. However with all the excess clothing I was dealing with i didn't notice any discomfort anywhere. Here we go on the TOGO Stand Up. I really like this design. Loop, helix, then some genuine airtime hills and trick track. I find this one easier on my body than the B&M Mega Stand Ups. Specifically, I found this ride to comapre favorably to my ride on Mantis a couple months earlier.
I decided to take care of that pass ID card so I wouldn't loose the paperwork. As i was heading towards the shortcut from the Action Zone to the Paramount Theater, a golden ray opened up, and the barricade (ok, trash can) was removed from the entrance to Face/Off. Can one reisit a two train wait for Face/Off? I think not.
Face/Off is a fine Vekoma ride. No, I'm serious. The Invertigo marries their boomerang and SLC concepts together and really produces a smooth, forceful ride. It's only issue is it has the capacity of a Boomerang. I opted for a ride in row 5 (counting from the midway end of the train while docked in the station) Say what you will, I really find the Invertigo (Face/Off) to be a great ride. It's smooth, its's fast, it's forcefull.and you get to talk with 3 other guests while clibming the lift hill. The unique seating really encourages group interaction. Upon exiitng Face/Off, I noted the quick ride window to have elapsed, so I headed up to the Paramount Theatre. PKI must have sent scouts to SFKK to watch their season pass proceudre. (Put processing inside the park, in the parks indoor theatre)
I was told processing was in the Paramount Theatre, and I noticed the front lobby entrance to be open. However the lobby entrance greeted me with an "Exit Only" sign. It didn't take long to discover that I was to enter through the side doors. The doors that in tradiitonal theatre tradition would be the post-show exit. I noted a sign saying to fill out the registration card before entering. However, no writing devices were provided. Am i suppoed to buy a pen in the gift shop? I entered the theatre anyway, and followed the yellow lines down the right hand aisle (stage right that is) to a table set up right in front of the stage. Writing devices were provided here, so I filled out my registration card, before I was proceeded to walk up a ramp onto the stage in the Paramount Theatre. I noticed they had the stage lit up very brightly with stage lights, and they had you stand along the backdrop so that you were facing the audience as you had your photoshoot. I suppose they could better control the lighting for your awful photograph in here. (Not a knock on PKI, but to photo ID photos the world over) Not to mention that the magician who was playing the Paramount Theatre is allegedly playing Cedar Point for their halloween event, so the house was dark anyway. After the photo you collect you pass and courtesy ticket in the theatre vestibule. Again following yellow lines. For a moment I thought why not put down a yellow carpet and tell folks to "Follow the yellow brick road" but that is a different movie studios product.
All in all it was only shortly after 11AM, Not bad at all to have the Action Zone out of the way already. .I stopped by the FearFest ticket booth, and discovered that an in-park special allowed me to buy a FearFest wristband for only $16.99. Folks FearFest tickets retail for $24.99 if you buy them at the normal admissions ticket windows. Lesson to the wise: If attending both FearFest and PKI on the same day, don't buy your FearFest tickets at the main admission gates. Except that they didn't sell me a wristband, merely a ticket, which would have to be redeemed later. I briefly considered renting a locker, but a brisk breeze qualmed that desire. Back on the riding circuit to Adventure Express.
Adventure Express was another total walk on, and another ride i really like. You have to judge it againt its peers, i.e. other Mine Rides. Adventure Express performs quite well Its got speed, tight turns, it's good for familes. Its a winner, and its always a blast if you ride in a car with newbies. GP are better than enthusiasts in this regard. You don't even have to set them up for the "AE Newbie Trick" the ride does it all by itself.
I then headed into Coney Maul (not a mispelling), and to the Racer. Only Racer North was open, so it would be a forwards ride. Upon seeing only two riders in the front seat queue, I opted for a ride in 1.1 Here and on all subsequent woodie rides, the ride ops atempted to get my bar into notch 2, but did not make an issue if it didn't "click"
Racer was performing nicelt today as well. I think I even got some airtime. So good in fact, that even though it wasn't the Rebell Yell, I was having fun on the coaster, so I rode it again. This time in 5.1. Ahh GP that get it. Man to son: "You have to leave the bar up a little so you can float over the hills" Coaster enthusiast in training right there, getting good practical lessons. Racer while running nice in back, was running even better up front. Airtime can exist at PKI.
I headed down Coney Maul, deciding to save the flat rides for later, to Flight of Fear. Flight of Fear was, you guessed it, another near walk on.Since my last trip to PKI they have done away with the annoying dog clip and eyebolt system for the go-.no-go strao. And replaced it with a seat belt buckle. The male end being welded to the outboard lapbar support. We must have some intelligent guests here today who were watching the riders in front of them deal with the belts, so they knew what to do. That didn't stop some from tring to mate both riders belts as you would expect a seatble to go, or to look for the 'other end' between the two seats, but overall the belts were not an issue. Flight of Fear with the lap bars is an awesome experience. It turned a long agonzing ride into a short snappy fun ride. So fun, that i took another ride. Its near perfection of how to operate a multi-element coaster.
I left Ft, Cooper, and headed down to Vortex. Vortex's paint job is complete, and while only running two trains it was running well. The back seat float is still there, proividing one of the more outstanding airtime moments in the park. However, after the ultra smoothness of Flight of Fear, the roughness of this ride comes out. Maybe its those shoulder bars. :)
Upon exitng Vortex, I wandering into the FX Theatre, where a show was just about to begin. Only 7th Portal was playing, and although some of the 3D effects are quite good, the movie itself is quite stupid.
I then walked through what will be the Scarezone to get to Beast. Basically one won't be able to walk straight to Beast for awhile as several obstacles have been placed in the way.
Upon arriving at Papa Beast, desires of food, and desires of shedding this coat were making themselves known. However the Tomb Raider contruction sitte was also making itself known. The building while quite tall is also quite small in footprint. I hate to say it, but I think the Flat Ride in a Box Theory is soudning like a winner. Unfortunately the shell of a building is just that, a shell. Nothing interesting inside yet. I then opted to ride Beast, opting for seat 6.3 (the back seat) As i was the 3rd person in my seat queue, I watched the train come into the station, be unloaded, and then just sit there as the gates did not open. Turnging my head to face the lifthill, I noted a train stopped about halfway up the lift. The train on the lift was stuck there for awhile, and the park sent representatives to comfort the riders at least twice while a slew rides operations personnel came to assss the situation. It didn't take that long for them to clear the stuck train. Then they cycled them though empty, then they reloaded them. While waiting my turn I noticed something else odd.
According to the fronts of the trains, they were running trains 1 and 3. According to the backs of the trains, they were running trains 2 and 3. I will leave any conclusions up to the reader. Additionally it has already started amongst the GP. "Hey did you hear 3 people DIED on this ride last weekend" Geez, as if the media exxagerating things wasn't enough. In due time it was my turn to ride, and I must say I thought Beast was running nicely. I got a hint of airtime, the laterals were good, and even beign in the back seat, the shed didn't seem to kick in till we were in the downtrack end of the shed. i really was the best Beast ride i have gotten this year.
After Beast had built up a noticeable wait after the downtime, I headed down into Rivertown with thoughts of FOOD running in my head. I also noted a train just pulling in to the train station. Time for a train ride on the shortened red train. Just 3 passenger coaches. Call me cynical, but the only side of the TR building to have siding on it is that alongside the railroad tracks. After getting what glimpse I could the rest of the train ride was merey a sit down breahter. I did notice a lot of the 'tree stumps' around the western town and fort sections of the train ride were either missing, kicked over or otherwise revealing that they actually held electrical recepticles. Theming going in? The last shreds of theming going out? Total neglect for the area? Who knows?
Upon exting the train ride, I noted the Gelati joint was, as expected, closed. I did pause at the Skyline joint for a coney to take the edge off my appetite. I was only planning on one meal, but a coney would help keep me going. That said footlong coney's are totally impractical. I opted to break mine in half.. . .
I observed Wild Thornberry's but decided not to ride, even though the elephant seemed to be taking the day off. I did decide to ride Rugrates Runway Reptar (RRR), which is an inverted coaster that sort of sounds like Raptor if you sayit fast enough. :) Its even got green supports. All kidding aside, Reptar is a fine family ride, and a cool way to get the kids introduced to the inverted concept. There are no inversions, this taking the path of a Rollerskater. It had a bit of a line, but nothing terrible, and as usual if you can get to the front half of the train, shorter waits usually exisit. It may be small, but it gives an interesting, even FUN ride experience. Sinister thought: Is Reptar really trying to get kids used to accepting OTSR as standard practice??? So I walked the lift, soared over Nickelodeon, and had a blast.
Upon exiting Reptar, I walked over to Ghoster Coaster, took one look at the line, and declined to ride it. (Not that Ghoster Coaster is high on my list, I think anything over 4 people in line whould have been "too long") Failing that I headed to the Sea Dragon. Ooops, wrong park, sorry. It looks kinda like the Sea Dragon, but it sure doesn't ride like the Sea Dragon. The annoying seatbelts were jamming every train out, I saw a parent force a kid to ride who was expressing his desire to not ride in very loud and clear unmistakanble terms. Terms made even more clear and unistakeable, and did I mention loud, when the train returned to the station. That really upsets me to see that happen. And I have the wouldn't ride a coaster for 10 years becuase of a bad childhood experience on a coaster history to back me up. Although Beastire was osrt of good in its half hearted attempt at fun. The ride just isn't the same after the trim brakes and reprofiling the final dip.
Once that was over, I looked at Phantom Theatre, which, as the ride closings board stated, was closed. Curious, as there is NO Fearfest event in the Phantom Theatre, (or any of Hanna Barbara Land) this year.
It was at this point that it was getting hotter, and I had to pass the coin operated lockers, so the coat and keys, and 75 cents when into the locker. Ahh, this feels much better. I had to attend so some business outside the park for a few minutes. Soon re-entered and found the fencing to totally bypass re-admissions from screening.
Lap 2 started with Son of Beast. Lines were starting to build up, but nothing bad, I mean SOB's line only stretched halfway down the ramp from the station to queue area. I rode in 1.2 which is the best place to ride SoB. All the fun, all the laterals, no unnecesary roughness. I could actually start to like SoB. Maybe some more variety added to the course (airtime hills) would improve my view of the ride.
I then took another flight on Top Gun, this time in the back row. Then I watched some poor fool try the ladder climb game, before chancing fate and taking another ride on King Cobra. A short wait existed, and I opted for the back row this time. My sholders didn't quite feel comfortbale in the loops, but pulling the whole affair up would have presented a much worse discomfort. I rode, and while a fun ride, it wasn't as much fun as this morning. Yet, I'd ride it again.
I then headed over to Viking Fury for the requisite ride. Nothing special here, just pick those feet up off the floor as you hit the peak for some weighlessness. Now I know both halves of the boat are supposed to be equal. Why does the ride seem better on the back half of the boat. (to the right as you enter the ride)
I then took a tour atop Eiffel Tower. Nice view, pretty nice fall colors. Not much more to lear about TR:TR. Safety spiel now includes "It is against state law to throw, drop, spit, or launch anything from the top of the Eiffel Tower. Tee-Hee. I don't know what I did to deserve it, but the ride op stationed at the top of tower seemed to be following me around. A nice view all in all, no news about TR:TR, and its time to get back to coasters.
I cut through the Paramount Story, where i see the idol from Indiana Jonesis back (it often seems to be missing), and I headed for the Monster.
I just really like Monster. And it gave me a spin ride today quite interesting, the arms seemed to be dipping and boucning and just seems a lot more wild than normal. Almost like how a carnival would operate a Monster.
I headed back over to recaR and wondered why it had a longer line. Upon reching the station and riding in 1.3 I learned that Backwards was running 1 train, to Forwards 2. Odder yet, there were no trains on the transfer tables, and it was a blue train missing. Backwards was offering up some nice airtime, and I took a ride on Racer. This time in 1.4 nice ride again.
I was headed back to FoF but the entire indoor queue area was full. Pass. I noted the Helicopter Tour attraction was operating, and that the Voyager simulalor was down to $3 and actually had riders. I then headed down toka another back seat ride on Vortex, rode the Troika, and yes, the Flyers. I know I would have had to forfiet my RRC membership if I declined a ride on the Flyers.
Flying Eagles are one of the better Flyer rides outisde of Knoebels. I am happy to report I had a very bumpy turbulent flight :) The ride op merely groaned but did not make an issue out of me wanting to fly solo. Gotta love those interactive attractions hwere you can show off.
Let me back up, while accending the lift on Vortex, I noticed Beast train stopped on Life 1, ride ops on the lift comforting passengers, and so on. I knew better than to head to Beast. But I do wonder if Beast is rejecting its two train programming, or rejecting some new more conservative blocking programming. I opted for another spin on Vortex, and a mini-marathon on the forewards Racer till the park closed at 7pm. The Racer was running that good.
Around 7pm they park has staff members strolling the parks waving wads of wristbands around. If you have a Fearfest ticket, you can exchange your ticket for a wristband from one of these staff members. If you don't have a Fearfest ticket, you can buy one from the Rock Shop in Coney, or the Return Ticket Booth on International Street.
I noticed a lot of plush walking the park. What intriued me was Scooby Doo in a red raincoat. It's not a far strech of the imagination to call it Firefighter Scooby Doo. This particular piece of plush was a nice, but not obnoxisous size. (Maybe 18 inches tall). It also happened to be offered at a water race game next to the Rock Shop in coney. I knew I wanted one, so I sat down forked over an ungodly $3 to play, and luck happend to be with me as I nailed the center of the bullseye with water the second the water turned on and did not let up. I now have a Firefighter Scooby. (When your plush collection grows depending on how good you are at athletic games of skill......)
Which presented a new problem. Hauling it around for the rest of the day. The orange key dangling from my arm told me what to do with Scooby. However, since there was no riding being done till 8pm, it was the perfect chance to hit the Biergarten (Oktoberfest Gardens) for some of the better food offering in the park. Like a $5 Pulled Pork sandwhich that was SO HUGE I coulnd't finish it. Mind you it was very delicious and used Montgomery Inn sauce. I then deposited Scooby and 75 cents into the locker, and realized that re-paying while annoying, is still better than those $3-$8 all day locker charges at other parks if you don't need in it very much. Also by the main gate lockers, there is, (surprise) a change machine. Here some bright idiot decided to reprogram the changer so that the orange light is lit if the changer is WORKING. As opposed to the convention of lighting the light when its empty. Folks, don't fool with an accepted standard. At the front gate, I noted admission was handling things very well with the park tunrover, by opening an alternative exit gate so that the enitre main gate could be used as an entrance.
I then went back and got in line for Trail of Terror. But first a little orientation around Fearfest:
(I didn't orient you on the PKI rides as its already been done several times, in a much better way than I am equipped to do, but since a relatively small group here has been to FearFest I think it prudent)
There are 5 haunted mazes, a ScareZone, and a horror themed motion simulator film. Along with several rides being open. You will note that makes 7 haunted attractions. I happen to have last years FearFest program here, and it references, EIGHT haunted attractions. So in the grand scheme of things there is LESS to do at FearFest this year, unless you are a ride fanatic. (Yeah Rides Fanatics!)
Okay, everybody sitting down, the park actually CLOSES the International Street shops. International Street is decorated, but it's clear they want everybody back in Coney Maul.
HB is sealed off, Nick is sealed off, Rivertown from the Wild Thornberries to the Red's Dugout Shop (Sorry historical reference there) to TR:TR is sealed off. The pathway around the antique cars is sealed off, and Eiffel Tower is closed off, as are Paramount Story and the Carousel.
Your only access to Coney Maul is through Oktoberfest. The only things open in Oktoberfest are the Festhaus and Adventure Express. the festhaus being the "Circus of Horrors in 3D maze" (Okay, maybe a thrid of the Festhuas is Circus of Horrors, the rest of it is the main food joint for Fearfest.) Action Zone is open so that people can ride Face/Off, Drop Zone, and Son of Beast. (The pay extra Skycoaster and Go-Karts are open as well, are you the least bit surprised?) Action Zone is really out of the way for this year's FearFest, If I were BMIC Action zone would have been sealed off. Ride nuts can appreciate the value of being WAY out of the way, however.
Most of the action is centered around Coney Maul. Fog machines, red lights. (Coney Maul becomes a red-light district :) ) and creepy characters help to bring the spirit of Halloween to Coney Maul. Professional fortune tellers (tee-hee) will tell your fortune for only $10. "I see your financial situation worsening in the near future" (tee-hee) In Coney Maul, you can ride the Racer, recaR, Flight of Fear, and Vortex. In Rivertown, you can ride the Beast. Beast is also WAY out of the way, however if you want to ride Beast, you've got to survive the ScareZone, not ONCE but TWICE. (to get to and from Beast). I'm sorry but if I were BMIC Beast would not be open under the current setup, however if I were BMIC a key Rivertown attraction would be a haunt, and thus would make Beast a legitimate ride to have open. The train ride is just LOADED with unlocked scare potential.
Okay, now for the locations of the scares. As i mentioned Festhaus holds Circus Of Horrors in 3D. in Coney Maul, the bacck half of the building that houses the Rock Shop, Virtual Reality Arcade and a water race game hold the House of Darkness. The back of the main games of skill building houses the "Curse of the Crypt" Back by Flight of Fear, a red barn like structure houses the "Maze of Maddness" (FKA "The Morgue" before being renamed due to sensitivity concerns, according to the local paper) Behind the Flight Tours helipad lies the Trail of Terror. The Smach Factory theater holds Elvira's house of Superstition, and the walkway between Vortex and Beast is the ScareZone.
Now that you know the lay of the land. lets begin.
I started out at the Trail of Terror. Trail of Terror starts out on a nice well lit paved road. Unfortunately, thats just the queue line. (Queue line - brought to you by the Department of Redundancy Department) further down the line the lights go out, until at the start of the haunt the only thing lighting the way is the 4 way hazard flashers of a parked vehicle. Please form groups of 6 (the magic number for touring a FearFest maze) The groups are given a safety road to hold onto. (Just a normal yellow rope) The whole thing reminds of the Blair Whitch Project. Unfortunately the scares are rather lame, with, I'm sure the main fear is being out, in the dark, in the woods. Eventually you come out, of the woods by the start of the Trail of Terror queue where you give up your safety rope and say "I hope it gets better than this"
I next toured the Maze of Madness where I got *gulp* elected to lead my group. I haven't felt this honored to be elected since I was voted to Student Council. (I found Student Council to be a very unpleasant experience) Maze of Madness is the highlight of FearFest. And friends, if this is the highlight, I'd suggest you pass this Fearfest up, unless you like to pay above and beyond your season pass price for rides.
What makes Maze of Madness interesting is that there is no one surefire way through it. Instead it is a maze in the truest since fo the word. Dead ends, paths that lead you around in circles, Dark curtains that you push through and pass into suture trays amd other medical appratus. I did get an idea for a new Spin Ride in here. But all in all the haunts did not live up to last years. Here the main fear was not being able to find my way out of the building. An astute member of our group is accusing them of moving the walls around so the exit is only visible after they want you to find it. I've been around every inch of that corner a hundred times, I never say that exit sign before.
I exit the Maze of Madness, and head for the Curse of the Crypt" Now I realize why logistically it is good to contain as much of the event into one confined secure area, Coney Maul. but at least plan out how you're gonna do it! The line for Curse of the Crypt, goes from its position in front of the Plate Break game, accorss Coney Maul to in front of Skyline, down the Skylien side of Coney Mall to the Fried and Truejoint, back across Coney to the Sweet Tooth side, then back up towards the games midway. Baiscally making a circle of thhat half of Coney. The wait for this,my last maze, was about 40 minutes. 40 minutes for me to realize I didn't really care for the mazes all that much. A brief incident occured when we were making the last turn of the 40 minute line, right by Skyline. You see there are no ropes or chains for most of the line, just white lines painted on the ground. A small group of jerks decided they would forecfully merge themselves into the line at that point. The shouts of Lineumper quickly alerted the FearFest Staff. One of "the Jerks" turns to me and says "You were behind me the whole time" Luckily for me, I knew who I was behind becuase I had joined up with some folks and was touring FearFest with them. I could honestly say "No, I was with those two guys up there, and you jumped right between us" Some protestations of The Jerks insued, until the guys I was with acknoledged that yes I was with them. Case closed, and they won a free ride back to the end of the line.
(I'd have preffered they won a free ride back to the parking lot, but thats just me) My reunited group toured thw Curseof The Crypt which as nothing but Lame. It was at this point that I decided I was through with mazes. Besides by now all the mazes had siazeable waits. I bid my temporary firneds Good Night, and made my way to Elvira's Superstition. Uh, Oh, the line for this moton sim was all the way back to the midway. Painful exprerience with Days of Thunder had taught me that was an hour wait. But I really wanted to see Elivra. 50 minutes later I was in the pre-show area. (Couldn't they try like, using BOTH ride-itoriums!!!) Anyway, I wonder if the folks at Walt Disney World have seen the preshow for this ridefilm. I'm sure Walt Disney is having a heart attack in his freezer! We get introduced to Elvira Mistress of the Dark who starts out, kinda like a sales pitch. "Tired of those happy Theme Parks, you know singing dolls, cheery people, and thrill rides where everybody survives?" Have Igot the place ofr you "Tragic Kingdom" and then pulls out a hat, that looks like a Mouseketeer hat with sharp blood tinged knives where the mouse ears should be. Then she says.let me show you some of my concepts. Splash Mountain! Oozing blood! "it's a Small,Small Terrifiying World" along with some others, ending with the House of Superstition. Thereis then a cmodeic scene of her research lab, and a vertual reality experiment which goes shockingly, humorously wrong. (Surprised?)
We then get uhered into the main screening room, fasten seatbelts and we're off. The concept is a virtual reality tour through the House of Superstion, a dark ride at Elvira's Tragic Kingdom. It looks like a dark ride as you see Elvira get into a car and take off, then you get into a car and take off. It is pinted out to you that you are in car 13, hope you aren't Superstitious. As somne of the ACErs commented to me this morning, the elvira ride film feels like ariding a Wild Mouse. And I have to admit the ride sequence is very Wild Mouse like. Hey, us rollercoaster fans have had our coasters copied by these motion sim geeks, its high time the Dark Ride enthusiasts have their turn at being motion simed. All in all it was a very entertaining movie.
I exited Elvira, and though about going for a ride on Beast, but due to some time commitments, Ididn't want to expendthe time, espeically since after riding Beast I would have had to basically walk back to the front gate the LONG way. I made my way up to the other end of Coney Maul. Saw the maze lines bordering on absolutely criminal. The line for Elvira was now back to the Doniker at the Vortex end of Coney and growing. The maze of Madness was wrapped around to the skeeball building, and it had some intergral queues back behind Racer. Trial of Terror had exhausted its long intergral queue and was sneaking past the Flight of Fear archway, Curse of the Crype was snaking all over Coney Maul, House of Darkness line cirlled the Scrambler and was headed back behind Skyline and the Dogems. Ugh, EXIT!!!! CAN'T STAND CROWDED MIDWAYS! .I decided to take some no wait rides on Racer. I took them in the Herb Schmeck Seat. It may be a John Allen, but friends John Allen must have been schooled by Herb! It worked on the Skyliner, it worked on the CP Blue Streak, and it's working here. 1.3 is an airtime feast! After some impressive rides, it was time to go back to locker rental to claim Scooby. (Though, I wonder if I should have left him with the Kennel staff instead, it would seem much more appropriate).
Claiming my goods in a unlighted locker rental area (Geez guys, can't you spare a few dimes to keep stuff lit) I nearly chanced upon an unannounced FearFest attraction that would have been more suited for. Well I'll let the gentle reader figure it out.
I then headed out the main exit, noted the NO REENTRY" signs, noted folks still pouring in after 11pm. I almost wanted to tell these guys that they aren't gonna be able to see very much. Then headed down the long walk through a parking lot that was more crowded than it was during the day. I reached the Coasterville Shuttle in the pickup area and was off.
now I'm back home, typing this excessively long, way too detailed TR that folks probably won't even read, much less acknowledge. Scooby is sitting on the table next to me, looking on longingly. Maybe I should have gotten some of those plush Scooby Snacks to go with Scooby.
From here in Xanadu, Ohio, Dave and Scooby say "Good Night"
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