Dominator debuts at Kings Dominion [with video]
By Russell MeyerIt’s billed as the longest floorless coaster with one of the tallest vertical loops in the world, and the 4,210 foot long B&M creation does not disappoint. Typical guests won’t realize it, but the Kings Dominion’s newest addition is not new at all.
Published: May 20, 2008 at 9:04 PM
It’s a coaster that was installed at the now defunct Geauga Lake (formerly known as Six Flags Worlds of Adventure) in 2000, as Batman Knight Flight. Six Flags operated the coaster for 4 years until Cedar Fair bought the Aurora, OH park in 2004. The newly renamed Dominator operated at Geauga Lake through last year, when Cedar Fair made the announcement that the park would operate exclusively as a water park for the 2008 season.
Kings Dominion became the biggest benefactor of the transformation of Geauga Lake, as their most valuable asset, Dominator, made its way 400 miles southeast from central Ohio to central Virginia. The move is likely to pay off for Cedar Fair, as Kings Dominion continues its success drawing fans from Virginia, Maryland, and the Washington, DC area, while Geauga Lake’s popularity wanes.
Dominator gives Kings Dominion its very first B&M roller coaster. It is also a coaster that can handle large crowds, a trait that is not seen in any of the other coasters at Kings Dominion, particularly the now dismantled Hypersonic XLC. Dominator also features more inversions (5) than any of the other coasters in the park, bringing the park’s total inversion count to 18 between the 13 roller coasters.
Dominator is conveniently located near the front of the park, just a short stroll off of Main Street. The coaster is readily visible from the main parking lot, and the roar of this steel beast will likely taunt guests before they even walk through the front gates. Unlike Geauga Lake, where the coaster track was predominantly over water, Dominator is situated at Kings Dominion around a large pedestrian plaza, where guests not wanting to ride can observe virtually the entire ride. The only problem with the placement of Dominator is that bathrooms are a bit of a hike, with the closest ones all the way back on Main Street or in Kidzville. It’s likely that the park will do a brisk business during the hot humid days of summer selling cold beverages with no water fountains nearby, especially considering the majority of the queue line is not covered.
Those who rode the coaster in Ohio will not detect any changes. Dominator features five inversions, a 135-foot tall vertical loop, a cobra roll (2 inversions), and an interlocking pair of corkscrews. Fans of B&M designs will be very familiar with these inversions, but will likely be surprised by the intensity of the twists and turns between the inversions. The coaster starts out with a 157-foot drop accelerating the floorless trains to speeds approaching 65 miles per hour, making Dominator the second fastest coaster in the park behind Volcano: The Blast Coaster. Riders are then sent through one of the largest vertical loops in the world before negotiating two highly banked turns.
The coaster then goes through a cobra roll, which provides the best opportunity for “foot-choppers” in the front row, before reaching the mid-course brake.
After the brake, riders are given a rare treat on a looping coaster, airtime. The drop after the brake provides almost a full second of airtime that is best experienced in the back row. The train then sends riders through two interlocking corkscrews, a common element on B&M looping coasters, before going through a tight helix and back to the station.
My impression of this coaster hasn’t changed much since its move from Ohio. The coaster is pretty intense, particularly for a B&M, but with only five inversions and a layout that doesn’t really take advantage of the floorless trains, it still falls behind Kraken and Superman: Krypton Coaster in the floorless coaster hierarchy. Its billing as the longest floorless coaster seems deceptive, since there are parts of the coaster at the beginning and end that seem like filler to achieve the length record. However, the unique layout sets it apart from other coasters, and fills a needed void at Kings Dominion by offering a high capacity, high-thrill attraction that will keep guests coming back for more. Dominator will open to the public just in time for the Memorial Day Weekend on Saturday, May 22, 2008.
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