Trip Report: Paramount's Kings Island
April 30, 2000
"What do you mean that SOB isn't open today!!!"
Talk about spontenaity, at around 4pm on Saturday, I sent an email to Dave Althoff asing for a ride, not knowing he was at the IX today. Out of a shred of hope I set the alarm for 7:30 this morning, just to check email. In fact there was an email form Dave, telling me to expect him, and he wanted to make the walkback. Okay to make a dull story short I was ready for Dave and John Peck when they arrived. We promptly drove up to the park, pulled into the toll plaza and saw two bad signs.
Sign 1) WELCOME Girl Scouts
Sign 2) Son Of Beast Will Not Operate Today
Some profane language was used, but we calmed down before proceeding through the tollbooth (thank you parking pass) parked in the 2nd class parking area where we spotted Paul Drabek emerging from his car. Now we have a crew. Head up to the ticket booth, Paul buys a day ticket, ACE discount, and after a little hesitation on processing the discount, we proceed into the park where I do not like the turnstile setup being used. I mean it works fine for 99% of the parks. A ticket or pass is scanned and validated, the green light comes on, and you walk through the turnstile. Well PKI retrofitted this system onto their existing front gate many years ago, where the turnstile is actually a good 6-7 feet past the ticket taker. Result: The system times out and locks the bar, just about when your stomach crashed into it.
One in the front gate, we head to the Official Coaster Nut Meeting Area. Yes this year a plaque has ben embedded into the ground which reads "Paramount's Kings Island Salutes American Coaster Enthusasts" We wait there till Coaster Angie (the real cool GR person) comes and tells us she has good news and she has some bad news. We knew the bad news but she confirmed it. Claimes they were doing some trackwork, and that there was a slight chance of it opening. When asked what kind of chance she replied 95% chance that it would not open. Well I know Angie talks straight to coaster enthusasts, and that I have gotten vague hints when a down ride might open, so I wrote the coaster off for the day. (To save speed readers, it never did open)
So we were offered a Beast walkback, which we took, and were depostied in line a good time before the ride opened. You should have seen the looks on the GP faces when they headed around that bend "I'm first in line!, Whaat How did you guys get here!" So at 10:00 we entered the queue for Beast, opted for front half and walked into an empty station house where many of us decided to use this early opportunity to take the drivers seat. We also noted a television crew filming what was probably meant to be a train full of ACErs, and in truth probably a lot of seats were taken by same. We rode Beast and had a pretty noninteresting ride from the front seat. So unitneresting that we returned to the station with deadpan faces. We exited and a few of our party were pulled to do an interview with what was later identied as A&E. Of particular note was the last person to be interviewed who was none other than John Peck. Now John was last on the interview list, and most of us walked a respectful distance down the exit ramp where we could still talk coasters and not distract the media crew. However, Dave Althoff silently stood right accross the fence from where the interview was being conducted. Halfway through John's interview, Dave LOST IT, I mean hand over mouth doing all he could do to not laugh. Of course we waiting on the exit ramp wanted details. A partial Transcript follows:
A&E Reporter: What do you like best about the Beast?
John Peck: The airtime, the incredible amount of airtime on the Beast.
A&E: How would you compare The Beast to other coasters you have ridden?
John Peck: I've ridden Magnum, Outer Limits, and Vortex and it doesn't compare to any of them!
<end partial transcript>
I KID YOU NOT! Here we have an RRC lurker, who gets in front of a TV camera and tells the world that the Beast is an incredible airtime ride!!!!!! I don't have John's email address but he is schduled to appear at Stark Raven Mad if you wish to discuss airtime and the Beast with him.
The rest of the group rubbed this fact into John all day long, as was our right.
That over we head to Coney where we have a Flying Skooters ride and winds must have been just right becuase I got one snap. Then we rode Troika, then Vortex, which was running about normal for Vortex, got that great airtime pop on the first drop (which is more than I can say for the Beast),except that John Peck made some oddball comment as we hit the final brake, I mean almost as bad as Airtime on the Beast. I found another thing I don't like about OTSR's: You can't lean forward and hit the rider in front of you!
We then headed down the midway, noted the Trampoline Thing wannabe ($7) (Which seemed to do a steady business), and then noted the Voyager Trailer Motion SIm ($5) then headed back to find OL:FoF to be closed. So off to Racer it was, a little delay in the station from an ill rider, and then we rode and noted that Racer is starting to recieve some trackwork, and was running a lot smoother than opening weekend, and was delivering airtiem, which is more than I can say for the Beast.
We then decided to skip recaR, and go ride Adventure Express instead. Adventure Express is linving up to its new position as the SOB Preview Center. And its an excellent mine ride to boot. We then headed down to the Paramount No Action Zone, to find Cobras line too long, SoB closed, so we rode Top Gun. Front Seat. Excellent visuals now. Whast we also noted was that NO work was being performed on SoB, and that solidified the hunch that we would not get a ride on it today.
We then took a trip to the car for potato chips and Cokes, headed back into the park, and prmptly decided to test the Phantom Theater Rule. The signs stating you must have a child are still uip, but our party of five adults was met with no incident on the loading platform and proceeded to enjoy a trip on Phantom Theater. Well most of us did, we entered the haunted ride with 5, and exited with 4. What's us with that?????
(No no one jumped out midride, the 5th person decided to part ways shortly after the ride)
We then headed over to Beastie, where I encounted a hint if airtime (which is more than I can say for the Beast) Beastie is actually running in fine shape. We passed the Kiddie Tumble Bug, and the data plate confirmed it was a Chambers (and therefore a direct decendant from Traver) We then proceeded through Rivertown, noted that the woodcarver was moved over by the merchandise area, then proceed to walk through Rivertown and proceed straight on into Coney after noting a really long Beast line. We decided to head downand check on Outer Limits status, the outdoor queues were full, no word ont he indoor queues. We deicded to pass on the ride at this time, and headed over to the Dodgems Dave noted the in the brake light, warning lights and headlights in the car. (When you let go of the pedal the headlights go off, and the amber flashers come on, easy way to tell if the rider has the pedal pushed down). We then went and rode the Carousel, talked about the recent carousel news (aka Whalom) and all and procced to enjoy this fine examplle of a classic carousel that has a fully functional band organ. (Its a PTC(I think #26) and was originally at Coney Isaland (Cincinnati)) Then we headed up onto Tower and further confimed nothing up with SoB today, did some speculating, looked around, Dave came up with an idea to enhance the Tower for the younger guests, and rode back down. At this point we decided to ride the Viking Fury where we looked in the gift shop (I have yet to see a Wood Rules pin in the gift shop!), then ran into PKI GUY, talked coasters and what not then rode Viking Fury. Where the Tastes Great/Less Filling bit is now officially park sanctioned and encouraged. Exited the Viking Fury, and decided dinner was in order, but we could not hear each other becuase we were trying to discuss this on International Street where the music is entirely too loud. We decided on Wings, where I got A BBQ Rib Sandwhich dinner (Sandwhich, cole slaw, Saratoga Chips, large drink, and dessert for the budget, theme park price of $12.12 However the meal was filling and the portion size good, We decided Beast was still too long, and headed bback for another Flying Skooters. At this Time Eric Huelsman surpised us all and showed up. Well my earlier Skooters performance was a fluke and I had the lamest performance of my Skooters career. I was even disaopointed in it. Eric says my Skooter skill is digressing instead of progressing. Well we checked OL again, still too long, headed to Racer, rode forwards another great ride. (Need I mention that airtime John????). Down past Adventure Express, had another great AE ride, nicknamned the coin op radio control cars "Son of Days of Thunder", and headed into the Action Zone. Face/Off, 90 minutes, forget that, King Cobra, naw, and headed back for another ride on Top Gun. Near front this time. I think they have solved the squealing train problem from last time I was here, and Top Gun was fun but way too short. We exited top Gun where I found the most reasonably priced food item in the park: The gumball machines that dispnese a handfull of sweet tarts for 25 cents. We then deicded to bite the bullet and ride King Cobra, we had commented about what a great standup it is, how it had great airtime (Unlike the Beast, John!), and procced to walk into a 1/2 filled queue house, but it was running two trains.
We have a hucnh they slowed the lift down to reduce train stacking. After a bit of a wait, while we played "If I owned Americana", we were up at the station, getting into rows 3 and 4. Gates opened Eric got in and I attempted to get in but the bars were locked. Learning from Lightning Loops I stood on the platform between the queue gates and the train. (I could have stomped on a near by pedal and helped myself in, but then I'm a good enthusast and stomping on lap bar release pedals is not my role as a park guest) In fact I would have thought the ride op who asked me to step out of the way so he could get thorought o statt checking bars, and knowing how long it takes to get situated into this Torture Device of a ride, would have stomped the pedal and I could have been getting myself strapped in. But noo (I'll help you in a minute sir", and he procceded to the front of the train. thsi was educational as I got to see Dave Althoff restrained into the ride. I'll let Dave comment about his ride, I'll just say that Dave had an upset look on his face as soon as he was loaded in. (So upset looking the ride op asked like 3 or 4 times if he was okay. I didn't know whether to laugh or be concerned. But then the ride op stepped back and it was time to show me to my own set of restraints. Waving the ride op off, if I am gonna be tortured I want it to be self inflicted. The lap bar was fine, adjusting the height was fine, shoulder loops were fine it was just that seatbelt. I had to squeeze the shoulder loops a little more than usual, and then adjusting the belt is a pain since they added a velcro strip, where the end of the strap gets connected so the adjustment doesn't "slip" Makes it incredibly hard to loosen it all the way whcih I had to do just to get belt to meet buckle. It clikced and we were off. For myself I had a great Cobra ride, and was standing behind Dave A. when he made sounds of agonzing pain the whole way. Cobra is still a great stand up, I like it a lot especially becuase of the airtime. When we hit the brake run, Dave announced that he was in Major Pain. Dave may have been the only one to admit it, but we could not wait to be out of that train, headed down the exit. Then we headed back to Beast for a final ride. Beast was particularly dull this evening, (and I cetainly noticed NO airtime, John), and we sat on the final brake for an extended period of time. I closed my eyes, and rested my head while stooped ont he brake run as if the ride had put me to sleep, and kept tht position till we parked in the station, however the inteded audience was looking at something more interesting. We then headed up to the front of the park, where I noticed they added a Virtual Reality Arcade on International Street (between Pizza and Ice Cream) headed to cars, and headed home.
Back to Trip Reports