Well as tradition dictates, I was in attendance at the first Sunday of PKI's season
The ususal details:
Trip Report: Paramount's Kings Island
Crowds: Light to Medium
Admission: $38 ("Thank you season pass")
The day started around 9:30 when Althoff Transportation picked me up and we headed to PKI. Upon nearing the park we figured, "Well we already missed the walk back, and we do need to eat sometime, and it will be cheaper now" So we headed to Mcdonalds for a quick breakfast. Then proceeded up to the park.
The folks at PKI have obviously spent some time in some key Florida theme parks, and this shows as soon as you approach the parking toll booths. Upon inspecting the rates, we notice "Parking - $7, PREFFERED PARKING - $10" (And gee its only the third day in the seaon and some letters are missing from "PREFFERED PARKING") Just what is preffered parking? Well PKI's parking lot is roughly devided into 4 sections, with a grass bern running down the middle of the lot perpendicular to the front gate, and the main aisle bisects the lot the other way. Well now to park to the North of the main gate, in the closer half cost you $10, to park in either the North or South lots in the farther out half (by the road) is only $7. A chain link fence has been installed down the center of the lot to enforce this. Close Up South is all Handicap Parking, and IIRC staff parking, then the waterworks lot is way out by waterworks behind staff parking. There were a couple dozen cars spotted taking advantage of Preffered Parking.
The second Florida influence came when we parked (in the cheaper lot) and made our way to the park gate. Now a big brochure rack has been installed that almost completely covers the wall betweent he Guest Relations Window and Front Gate Gifts all of its multitude of slots hold the park map.
Then when you look at the map, you will see the date on the bottom of the map (or a range of dates), (another FL like touch, and the show schedule is incorporated into the map. While on the subject of the map, the front cover shows a drawing of an incomplete SOB, I wonder if that drawing will be completed when the ride opens. :) Upon opening the map it is actually one of the better PKI park maps to come out in a long time. Another convenient feature besides the built in show schedule is that the ride restriction chart is on the same side as the map. Upon looking at the map further I think PKI stands for Pay-Extra Kingdom, Inc. More on this later.
"We wanna go on the BIG rides, the REALLY REALLY BIG ONES"
Well SOb is not open yet, so we decided that the Paramount No Action Zone was probably crowded and started at Coney Mall on Racer.
MY PKI season has officially begun. Racer has had its minimum height to ride upped 2 inches and Racer' entracne is sporting a new ramp on the entrance side, (I do question its slip-resisitance), and soon I was in seat three, where I noticed what appeared to be bright shiny new lapbar springs. Well maybe they were bright and shinny and they dealt with the lapbar but they weren't very good as springs. Anyway, we rode Racer forwards which was giving decent airtime, but was running a bit on the rough side. We return to the station and Dave Somebody gets his first case of Racer torgue lock! We were all laughing on the unload brake, well that is everybody except Dave Somebody. This called for an immiedate ride on the recaR. recaR has recieved a lot of new trckworkj this year, and was also running pretty good. Of note the Shaft in the center of the former Flight Commander pad has been filled in.
After recaR we started down the midway, Dave suggested the Monster, but John said something about his breakfast not settled in yet. However that did not deter us from riding. Monster has had some osrt of antiskid surface put onthe seats so single riders can't slip and slide accross so easy. John and I rode together, and Dave A. rode solo. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" John and I got a non-stop continuous fast spin the whole ride, while Dave's tub pretty much sat in one spot as it went around. that was the best ride I have ever gotten on that Monster. It was right up there with Paul Revere's Midnight Ride. Upon being unloaded we met some more coaster fans who had puased to wait for us at the exit turnstile (which recieved a digital electronic counter) We decided to team up and we hit Racer again, then went down to Adventure Express
Adventure Express has also had its minimum height to ride uped two inches. Adventure Express, while lacking in theming upkeep, it now serves nicely as the SOB Preview Center. As it gets you up close and personal with SOB and has a good view of the vertical loop. After drooling from AE, it was time to headeven closer, So after noticing the new radio control cars in front of AE, we headed around to Top Gun. Along the way to Top Gun is what appears to be a miniature mockup of a SOB car sitting atop a merch cart. Upon reaching the top of the ramp to Top Gun, you note the crate that was holding the Son Of Beast has now been borken open, and Sonny has escaped! You will also notice the rather tacky entrance ramp for SOB. You see what they did was to put a chain link fence down the Top Gun exit ramp, so that about 1/3 of it its now the SOB entrance ramp. Oh this gets better the chain link continues all the way down the ramp, through the tunnel which has som minor theming about a "High Security Area" (fitting for both the themes of Top Gun and SOB) and something about a containment area, and a checkpoint B. Then if you recall there was a rather wide rather odd shaped observation area for Top Gun. there is now a rahter narrow observation/exit for Top Gun, and the rest of it has been taken over by speed rail to form a shoddy looking SOB queueline, that will be unshaded. I see lots of line jumping abuse potential here. I mean this looks like something we might have done in RCT to cram a queue line in. Then it appears you go straight up a ramp into the station, but that ramp was fenced off. The exit looks even more RCT-ish, you may recall the Top Gun exit ramp was a curved afair with a big grass path in the middle of it. They have build an exit ramp such that it comes down perfectly right into that clearing and connects near the top of the Top Gun exit. ramp.
But enough of that, we came here to ride Top Gun, so after making outway through the line (where the themed area was blocked off) we marched up the steps into a rather empty station and proceeded to wait for the front car. Why front car, for some excellent visuals at the close proximity of TG and SOB. We also wanted to hear TG whine and squeal worse than SFGADV's Rolling Thunder. Man that was a loud whiney sound the whole way through from brake release to station apporach. We exited Top Gun and were just observing the rahter tacky queues when we noted men working on a car onthe SOB track. Cameras were out, then as we exited the Top Gun area what just happend to park on the TG bridge but a flatbed with two SOB cars. Other folks made mad dashed to cars and lockers to grab camera equipment, and luckily they made it back in time to get some awesome photographs of the two cars. Dave got real close (as close as one good while still being on a pathway) and made his notes on he cars. Wow what a show! (Much better than what's on the show schedule) But the path Dave and I were on was the Top Gun queue line so just like RCT guests we proceed to ride Top Gun again, okay the sqeaul appears to be limited to only one train. We then exited and some more phots and videos were taken, Then a worker got in the flatbed and drove the cars out of our camerarange. Ahh, time to head to Eiffel Tower. In retrospect, how would you feel if you were working and a group of total strangers showed up with video camera and started videotaping your every move at work? Or was having the Top Gun train fly by every couple minutes more annoying?
We arrive at Eiffel tower (using the new short cut, as Festhaus now has a backdoor by the Action Zone though it is obscured by a game joint. ). Or wait the map still calls this the Festhaus, but the wall murals have been removed, the stage has been hacked into a shell of its former self, the place sells burgers and pizza, what is so Festhaus-ey about this??? At least the clock looks to be freshly mainatined, and now plays the Beer Barrel Pola while the figures move. At Tower they were using the lower of the two observation decks. ("Welcome to Drop Zone" :)) We then staked camp out on top ot Tower and watched as a car went from forklift to crane to track to being pushed around by hand to just uptrack of the station. It;s movement checked by a wooden board nailed accross the track. WooHOooo!!!!!! Also about this time cameras and video recorders were running out of ammunition. So a trip was made to cars to chuck these things in secure spots. We also looked at the Official ACE Plaque in the ground at the official ACE meeting area. We also picked up our season pass premium books. Nothing too exciting, and wha tis exciting usually has some string attached to it. Though I must comment after last year, is it really wise to have Urgent Care advertise in the season pass coupon book???????? We also took the time to NOT pay $2.50 for a bottle of Coke and enjoy some cold soft drinks from John's cooler. We then reentered the park and headed to Hanna Barbera Land
First stop was to confirm that Phantom Theater requires us to rent a kid, yep 60" or less or with a kid. (Hmm, can Dana get us on this?)
Then we headed to Beasite. Beastie also recieved some new wood, and the trains recieved retracting seatbelts. This in and of itself is not evil, the way they did it is. They mounted the retractors to the outsides of the cars, cut a hole in the sidewalls of the trains, and threaded the belt though. It looks pretty tacky. (Hmm tacky, a new PKI standard) Beastie ran good but the brake was on.
Speaking of seatbelts, it was time to ask Scott Short about King Cobra, (sicne I never would get a ride today), yep a 'belt' has been added that basically lashes both grab handles together.
We then walked down to Ghoster Coaster which was obviously closed, as it had two trash cans and a ride op blocking the entrnce. But Dave went around to look at the new car chassis anyway. while their I heard them prpare to open ride, so we quickly walked around ang got inthe queue only 2 guests before us in line. All of us riding solo. (Well Scott Short had some size issue and didn't get to ride) I took my second ever ride on this and after jamming my body into it, having the vice like bar closed. I moved out onto the elevator where I was told to brace both for the stop on the elevator but also to hold on until the car is relased at the top of the elevator, Whcih I did. I did let go to hold my hands up as I flew though the back half of HB. Big Mistake <insert high pitched girl voice here> "Trim Brake 1 Was Great Value" </high pitched girl voice> OUCH! I did brace heavily for the sudden station brake, and just as last time I had more trouble getting out of the car than getting into it. I think this marks the end of my Ghoster Coaster rides.
We then headed into Rivertown where we noted the big stockade fence blocking off the Log FLume (which is still standing but SBNO). that and it ins't on the park map. I hate to say it but I think this ride is done for. We then walked through rivertown annd began to notice the excessively high food prices. We finally made it back to Beast which recieved loads of new wood, and was only running two trains with the line back to Coke machines (Only 40 minutes, so reasonable) The second half of Beast was running excellent, poweful and all out, now we just need to work on the first half, or maybe just turning off the serivce lights in the tunnels? Whomever said Beast is more like a mine ride than a wooden coaster hit the nail right on the head. So we exited Beast noticed the big Daytona game was gone, there is no Pinball in the park (even the Pinball Derby racing game is gone), the pizza place is purple, the Rivertown antique car ride is fenced off (The coney antique car ride is still open) And headed up to the Flying Skooters. I do not consider myself in the same class as the Flyer experts in the group, but I alsways seem to have fun on these, so if I''m having fun, the ride served its purpose, right? The center piece of the ride is repainted this year and they were having no headache about riding single so we had our first Flyer ride of the day. Then we headed over to vortex, which also was only running two. Vortex is still in need of a paint job, but the backseat still has great airtime on drop 1. The rest of the ride was par ususal for Vortex. We then headed down to Wave Swinger, caught a quick but uneventful ride, noted the new Voyager simulator (one of those non-inverting portable simulaotrs), but did not ride despite no one in line, because the Voyager is a Pay Extra. Yep $5 per ride. In true carney style we noted they were advertising it was air conditioned over all else. We headed back through the archway to Outer Limits. We breezed through the queue which began at the bottom of the UFO stairs. The sounds in the station werent working, the station floor got a paint job, and the shoulder bars seemed to grow more padding, and less room for shoulders. Seems their answer to complaints is to add more padding, maybe their real answer lies right over in the SOB trains. I have really tried to like this ride, but after Hulk at IOA, I have no more respect for this piece of steel track. Event though the launch is still great, the ride it launches into is still a rough piece of tangled mess that someone proabably deigned with RCT after a case of beer. Afer OL we do some research at the Aeiral Tours Flight Desk
Well we have come full circle, but we are to meet Eric at 6:00 so we fast forward ourselved over to Drop Zone, to iscover onyla 45 minute wait. after the post here about the belts I was a bit nervous about this ride and my eligiblity to ride. And it was only my second time. After waiting in the queuehouse we were given out number, and since I had pole position I was to be escorted by a ride op to Seat #3 (Why not start with #1????) The ride op escorted me (and the rest of the gang behind me) around to my seat the long way, I guess this is to have a nice orderly load. Riders are also to place their belongings at the bottom of the steps directly in front of their seat, lower the OTSR, fasten the belt, and place our hands above our heads, palms open and facing out. Loose article inspection. Well i lowered the bar, and was still working on fastening the belt when the op came around. (I could get the buckle about 3/4 of the way over the metal tounge. The op pushed down one more click on the bar, and then could fasten the belt. Then it was Scott, then John, then Dave Althoff "Sir you can't wear your glasses on this ride" ""Either I wear my glasses or I don't ride" "You can't ride" "Ok, fine" "UPBAR", (Dave gets out and marches through the exit gate "DOWNBAR" but no recheck (though if the belt is fastened I guess the bar must be locked.......) We ent up ncie and smooth, circledaround saw WORKERS IN THE SOB STATION WITH WATER DUMMIES, circle stop wait, wait, DROOOOOOOOPPPPPPP! AIRTME!!!!!!! Ok, this ride is a bit better than I thought it was before. Then I go fetch Eric, we chat and meet the rest of them gawking as the seventh car is loaded onto the track.. We wait awhile, we ride Top Gun, we wait some more, ok, no more activity, we go ride AE, where th eneitre train consited of Dave Althoff, Scott Short, John Peck, Eric Hueslman, and Me, all in the front car. WOOHOOO! Then it is over to Racer, then recaR, then Flying Skooters (Is that John Cline????) Then over to Beast, where the line is halfway up the ramp. We ride just about at park close, then make our way up to the front at a nice slow talkative coasternut speed. Down International Street, another look at the tile, then out to cars.
We then go to a local Fuddrucker's to eat. Said Fuddrucker's has a pinball machine (Theatre of Magic) In the time it took to get my food I had put in two queartes, and won six replays (Ok, one was the Match Game, but the other 5 all came from scoring the 300,000,000 needed to win 1 credit.I even left credits on the machine when I left to go eat, and just left them there for osme lucky soul.
After eating we talked, we talked during dinner, we talked inthe parking lot after dinner, etc.
Now to discuss the Pay-Extra Kingdom, Inc:
Seems PKI has installed an awful lot of pay-extra attractions recently (as if the gate price and obnoxious food prices aren't bad enough)
1) Extreme Skyflyer - Skycoaster (1995) - $45 per flight (split evenly amongst 2 or 3 flyers), videos extra.
2) Days of Thunder - Go-Karts - boring oval track - $6 driver/$4 passenger
3) The Edge - Rock Climbing Wall - $7
4) Voyager - Motion Simulator - $5 - "For my money I don't know why anybody would rahter sit in a plastic box pretending to have an experience when they can be hving the real expeirience"
5) Aeiral Tours (flight Team) - $25-$155 per person depending on lflight - Helicopter tours in Raven chopper
a( $25 - Aerial tour of PKI
b) $60 - Aerial tour of Cincinnati Area , roughly from the park to Dave's Dominion (my house) Realy!
c) $95 - Aerial our of Cincinnati all the way down to river
d) $155 - Add Dayton
Souvinner photos and videos available. Souvnner photo of you next to chopper taken with a Sony Mavica - $12.50
6) Lazer Runner - Laser Tag - $3.50
And I'll cut themsome slack ont he VR zone, which is all Virtualloity games
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