Intimidator 305 debuts at Kings Dominion
"Gentlemen... Start your engines!"
Those are the last four words riders of Kings Dominion's newest roller coaster, Intimidator 305, will hear before they are taken on one of the most intense, incredible, extreme rides on the planet. [Editor's note from Robert: As an IndyCar fan, I hate that NASCAR's stolen our most famous phrase.] The Intamin AG creation was previewed Thursday by the Doswell, Virginia theme park for dignitaries and coaster aficionados alike. It is definitely the most anticipated new roller coaster opening in 2010, and quite possibly the best coaster to take its first spin around the track in years.
Kerry and Taylor Earnhardt and representatives from Dale Earnhardt Incorporated along with Cedar Fair CEO Dick Kinzel and Virginia Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling were all on hand to open the coaster, the park's 14th.
Even Duff Goldman and Food Network's "Ace of Cakes" staff drove down from their Charm City Cakes store in Baltimore, MD to commemorate the opening of the ride with their own interpretation of one of the East Coast's tallest and fastest roller coasters.
The name Intimidator 305 - similar to Carowinds' Intimidator, which took its first official rides last week – may fool visitors into thinking that the two rides are very similar. After all, Kings Dominion's monster new machine has theming elements nearly identical to Carowinds' marvelous B&M hypercoaster. From the famous black Monte Carlo in the entrance plaza, to the plaques commemorating Dale Earnhardt's Hall of Fame career, to the NASCAR replica front end on the coaster trains, if you weren't looking at the coaster tracks themselves, one might assume the two are pretty much the same.
The style, an Intamin giga-coaster, might convince others that this coaster is just a slightly smaller copy of the famed Millennium Force at Cedar Point. Millennium Force, one of the world's highest rated roller coasters, features the same incredibly fast and efficient cable lift system, 300-foot first drop, sweeping turns and massive airtime hills as Intimidator 305. So what about this new coaster is going to make coaster fans sit up and take notice?
Basically, you need to experience this coaster to believe it. As you leave the station, the cable lift system speeds you up the 305-foot lift hill. Before you even have time to catch your breath, you're dropping 300 feet down at 85 degrees. Once the train negotiates the paralyzing first drop, it enters a sweeping, somewhat benign-looking right turn. Those familiar with Superman: Ride of Steel at nearby Six Flags America might think this 270-degree banked turn would be pretty similar to Superman's two helix elements, which are exciting but not earth-shattering. At 94 MPH, though, this turn is incredibly intense. Unless you happen to be an experienced fighter pilot, plan to experience a near-blackout/greyout sensation just before the train lifts up into the second 150-foot tall airtime hill. Let this be a warning to all who take on this ride, because this turn WILL be one of the most intense positive G experiences on a coaster you will find without somehow coaxing Six Flags Magic Mountain personnel to turn off the mid-course brakes on Goliath.
After a great shot of air over the second hill, the train enters a not-nearly-as-intense left turn, a couple of quick crossovers, and another sweeping right turn before entering another huge airtime hill. This third big hill features magnetic trim fins, which slow the train just a bit, making passengers in the front few rows feel like the train is going to fly off the track.
Another quick shot of air follows the third big hill, and then the train goes through a couple of quick turns with a crossover in between and a strange over-banked left turn before entering the final brake run.
Intimidator 305 features Intamin's 2nd generation trains, with over-the-shoulder restraints similar to Six Flags Great Adventure's Kingda Ka and Cedar Point's Maverick. Larger riders that have been unable to ride older Intamin trains featuring T-bars and seat belts should be accommodated by the significantly improved restraint system on this coaster. However, the restraints and high-sided trains do not offer the same freedom or open-air feeling found on a B&M hyper. Some guests may also be frustrated by the shoulder pads that can be rough on riders' neck and shoulders as the train races around the 5,100 feet of track and insanely wicked crossovers. Guests with earrings would be wise to remove them, lest they be removed for them by Intimidator 305.
This coaster is not for the casual theme park goer, and that goes for the average-run-of-the-mill NASCAR fan as well. This is somewhat unfortunate, given the proximity of this ride to Richmond International Raceway, and a large local contingent of motorsports enthusiasts. Rather, Intimidator 305 is a coaster that will be known for speed and intensity- perhaps more intensity than even the most seasoned coaster fan is accustomed to experiencing. As well, the high speed, head-jarring crossovers will catch many first-time riders by surprise. Hands-up may only be a mantra for repeat riders, and enthusiasts might find their ride experience enhanced by actually holding on to the hand bars!
Intimidator 305 represents a $25 million investment by Kings Dominion, the largest in the park's 35-year history, but for whatever reason, all that money could not buy a nearby restroom. Given the long lines that come with a new roller coaster, be forewarned - it is a lengthy walk from Intimidator 305 to the Congo and the nearest facilities. Still, if the biggest complaints about Intimidator 305 are that it might be too intense for some people and that there is an overly long walk to the nearest restroom, that says a lot about what kind of coaster it really is. Here's the bottom line: this is a potential top-5 roller coaster just waiting for people to ride it!
Let's take a ride:
Russell, my jealousy knows no bounds. I do hope, however, that the grounds around I-305 are tidied up a bit before I hit KD in July. I'd like a little scenery to go with my blackout event!
Looks like a blast to ride. I may have to make a trip for that one. I haven't been to Kings Dominion in a while anyway.
Derek, the new restraints are still lap bars, but they just go over the shoulder. It should accommodate larger riders who could not fit in the old T-bar style seats.
Awesome report, as always, Russell! Thank you so much for reporting this.
Great to see KD finally has a new coaster. God Bless you, Cedar Fair.
As far as the landscaping goes, the grass around the supports will grow in with time. Those not local to the area need to understand that the Mid-Atlantic received a record amount of snowfall this winter, and it's amazing Kings Dominion was able to get this coaster open for the first official day of operations. I'll cut them some slack and trade for not having pretty grass and landscaping along the ride right now for the chance to ride this amazing creation.
The problem with Intamin's OTSRs is that for shorter people like me, if your shoulders don't go all the way up to the bars you end up getting smacked in the head violently during every direction change. I walked off I305 with bruises on my jaw where I kept hitting the restraint.
The Intamin OTSR system is by far my least favorite. The t-bar style absolutely rocks, but I'd take any other manufacturer's version of OTS over Intamin's.
Rode it twice, almost blacked out both times. The turns were a bit rough also, and hurt my neck on the OTS restraint on one of those turns. The theming is nice and I like the NASCAR highlights showing while waiting in line, but I don't think I'll ride it again.
I hate those maverick-style restraints. I'm shorter, and my head whacks those things on my ears.
Thes bars are just like the ones on Farenhight at hershey pa. also these restraints have been seen on maney modern coasters like kingda ka and also stormrunner hershey pa. These restraints can be very uncomfretable I found it hard to breath with it being so tight over me. I have seen heveyer people try to ride rides like this and they do close but not easaly.
So far this coaster has a "5" rating out of "10" on this site. I have a hard time believing that rating is correct after all I have read and seen.
Great coaster.I also had a grey/black out on this wonderful new coaster. Basically, all I hope for at this point is that they dont make any changes to slow or modify anything about this high speed gem to satisfy those who might complain of something as wonderful as a greyout on a rollercoaster. Didn't think they would ever design something so fast into such a small area basically forcing alot of high speed, high g turns. When I got off the ride a boy about 15 was trying to get himself together after an obviously tramatic ride as he was trying to stand up after falling out of the car when the train came to a stop.It wasnt pretty but I now have a good idea of how this ride may affect some people.Its GREAT !
I'm still a newbie to the site, but this "almost blackout" portion of the coaster has me worried. Is this something that riders should legitimately be worried about before riding? I've been on more than 150 rollercoasters, and my only "almost blackout" was during and right after the pretzel loop on Superman Ultimate Flight at SFGAdv... can anyone compare the intense portion on I305 to the intense feeling of the pretzel loop?
Quick question: is the height requirement for this coaster 54" or 48"?
The blackout potential is very real, so if you weren't crazy about that sensation on Superman: Ultimate Flight, I would probably think twice about this coaster.
Um... "blacking out," or losing consciousness, even for a moment, is a *bad* thing. No coaster that does that to a significant number of riders will stay open long before being closed for track and possibly restraint modifications.
Does anyone else find it ironic that these Nascar themed roller coasters feature right turns?
OK, we ran down to ride this thing this morning (it's about all we did, 4 rides total and back out of the park).
Just came home from KD today and rode this beast 3 times, went back only the 3rd time to be able to hop up front. Being Easter Sunday the lines were pretty much irrelevant. There wasnt a "line guide" until late in the day i could literally see people begging to be able to sit in front however this woman was very adamant about not really caring and moving people to their assigned row. This was about 645pm. I had heard people throughout the park speak of this so-called "blackout" and didnt take it seriously until i got off the ride....
This MUST beat Milleniunm Force in the Top 10 of the Golden Ticket Awards! The Intense Gs and airtime will do the job.
I'll admit I've yet to ride Intimidator or Millenium Force but one of the things that bothers me about these rides are the cable lift system. I guess I'm one who loves the slow ascent of a roller coaster and feeling like you'll never reach the top. It also always looks like you're going to fast once you finally hit the crest and begin your descent. There's something about that slow crawl that I love. Random complaint, I know.
We rode The Intimidator on opening day (Friday) and it was amazing. I have been on Kingda Ka, so it wasn't the tallest coaster I have experienced, but it was intense, incredibly FAST and very smooth. The day started without a glitch. Many people had early access to the park due to online bidding to be the first riders. (Not us, though.) We were probably among the first 100-200 people to ride it. No crazy wait time (we waited less than 1/2 hour as a family of four and my teen sons got on immediately as single riders when they wanted a second ride). There was a band playing, T-shirts were distributed to the first riders, and there was a feeling of excitement throughout the park. I have not been to Cedar Point but a KD employee told us that Intimidator is more intense than M Force. Looking forward to testing his theory! -- Paisley from NY (too lazy to sign in today)
We were at KD for opening day and Saturday morning for my 223 coaster credit on Intimidator 305. I got a total of 6 rides including 1 front seat ride and 3 in row 16. This ride is intense, but IMO not that much fun. The drop is great but is followed by a hard right turn that make you think of the rides namesake before he hit the wall in Daytona.
A lot of good comments here as usual. I'm not in any hurry to ride this coaster. I hate these restraints too. Just like Maverick, these restraints are sure to crush your thighs, hurt your shoulders, and leave you with a headache. I ride Maverick once per trip, but that's about it as the pain exceeds the enjoyment. I much prefer the restraints on Millennium Force and Top Thrill Dragster.
Thanks Mr Meyer for covering a local park in my area. Hey, can you make it to Kennywood and cover the SKY ROCKET launch too?
I rode this 5 times yesterday with my 11yo son. I'm a big guy (220lbs 6') and liked and hated the restraints. The "open cage" feel really let the air time come through. But whip on the "switches" is rough. I have some bruises. My son said it hit him in the side of the head. Some actual padding would be welcome.
I rode this once on opening day and then three times on Easter. We got in early opening day because of our season pass and we were one of the first on after the charity auction riders. By the time we got off the line was over an hour. Sunday morning the line wasn't even five minutes. Easter is normally a slow day, we ere there early, and they seemed to be managing the ride loading much better.
From what I am reading here, it is only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured on this ride. This won't be good. I am getting on in age and unfortunately, some of the more intense coasters (Behemoth, Ride of Steel, even Italian Job Stunt coaster) are making me sick. I have been looking forward to taking another trip to KD but from what I am reading, I am not so sure I will be able to handle this ride. Anyone who is in there upper 40's having this problem?
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