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Dominator is Average

Kings Dominion: Dominator is not the great coaster KD claims it to be.

From Mike Ebeling
Posted June 29, 2008 at 10:35 PM
Like many others here, I looked forward to the coming season at KD and the addition of a new coaster, Dominator. However, I have to say I am a little disappointed. Yes, it is a fun coaster that I ride at the park. It is not the great coaster that was advertised. It is definitly not the best coaster at the park. Both Volcano and Flight of Fear are superior. Given all of the hype and promise of this coaster, I'd say its an average coaster, something I'd expect to see in the kiddie world known as BGE.


Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From Tyler S.
Posted June 30, 2008 at 6:06 AM
Are you related to Jake Rivers?

From Christy Shuman
Posted June 30, 2008 at 7:04 AM
OMG you are crazy. Dominator is by far better than Volcano and FOF. Can you explain why you dont like it? I gotta hear this.

From James Rao
Posted June 30, 2008 at 8:41 AM
I would love to get your whole KD trip report. It has been a while since I visited KD (about 20+ years) and since you were just there, detailed info about your entire visit would be interesting to read.

As for your sarcastic BGE comment....that's a good way to guarantee some responses! ;)

From Derek Potter
Posted June 30, 2008 at 7:02 PM
Dominator not that good? Personally, I think you are mad. It's a great ride. Perhaps you should jump off the Eiffel Tower or get shot out of a cannon, would that be thrilling enough for you?

From James Rao
Posted July 1, 2008 at 3:19 AM
Coming this summer to XXX Theme Park, a brand new ride for the thrill seeker in all of us:

DEATH - The Ultimate High!

We take you 1000 feet straight up, then send you careening straight down to the ground with no net and no chute.

DEATH - One Ride Is All You Get!

Disclaimer: Proper waivers must be signed before riding.

From steve lee
Posted July 1, 2008 at 2:09 PM
James, if you've never seen it look up the Mr. Show skit "Thrill World" on Youtube (featuring DEVASTATOR, with a full two minutes underwater!)

From James Rao
Posted July 1, 2008 at 3:53 PM
Thanks Steve, that was awesome!

"I ain't afraid of no rollie coaster!"

From Eli Katzman
Posted July 2, 2008 at 6:34 AM
dang, steve, that was funny! How'd you find that? friends?

Christy, I know that's not you. Yes, I haven't been on Dominator, but I know how much you love Volcano (besides how much it brakes down).

From Ryan B
Posted July 4, 2008 at 7:43 AM
Dominator is very average. It's better than Medusa, I guess. Floorless coasters are just not that exciting. It's like a newer, dull version of an inverted coaster. I'll keep Hypersonic.

From Christy Shuman
Posted July 4, 2008 at 12:28 PM
Eli- You are right I love Volcano, it used to my favorite ride in the park before I rode Dominator, now Volcano is #2. If Volcano was longer and offered more and more inversions, it might would compete with Dominator. But no Dominator dominates KD IMO.

From Eli Katzman
Posted July 4, 2008 at 1:20 PM
Christy, where does Dominator rank in your favorite coaster list compared to Volcano? Well, Dominator must be so sweet because only Griffon is before Volcano on my list. I think I might really like it because I love tall loops (tallest in the world, I think) and floorless coasters. I get to go on only my second one on July 20th, Hydra. Still, they're awesome!!! (Hydra is in Dorney park, if you didn't know.)

From Christy Shuman
Posted July 5, 2008 at 12:57 PM
Ive only been on 2 floorless as well Eli, Medusa and Dominator. Dominator is definatly better. My number 1 coaster overall is Alpengeist, then el toro, then SUF(SFgradv), then Dominator.

From Eli Katzman
Posted July 5, 2008 at 1:05 PM
I thought you said you've ridden Griffon... well, sorry anyway. I think Alpie is still sweet though! (tied for #3 on my list with AC.)

From Peter Stephens
Posted July 5, 2008 at 8:11 PM
Mike,

Dominator is a very good coaster (and, an especially good fit for KD who seriously needed a high capacity coaster of decent duration) AND Busch Gardens Europe has three B&M coasters that would be classified as "world-class". I'll have to give you "randomness-points" for slamming KD and BGE in the same post, though! ;0) Anyway, the back seat of Dominator is right up there with the best for intense, diverse g-forces. (And, while I'm taking up for VA coasters, Apollo's Chariot is as good as anything out there, period, and Alpengeist is the best B&M inverted coaster I've ridden, so I don't get the put-down on BGE. They are a little thin in the coaster dept., but what they DO have is pretty darn good!)

From Christy Shuman
Posted July 6, 2008 at 5:23 AM
Couldnt have said it better myself Peter!!!!!

From Eli Katzman
Posted July 6, 2008 at 7:00 AM
So, peter, you're saying that the BACK is the best seat for dominator, or it still gets an amazing experiance? (I need to know for when I first ride Dominator.)

From Christy Shuman
Posted July 6, 2008 at 1:37 PM
Eli-I personally like the middle of the train the best IMO. The back whacks my ears too much thru the corkscrews. Front is really good too.

From Justin Spisto
Posted July 6, 2008 at 1:42 PM
Jeez, Did Jake get into your head? Why do most Cedar Fair fanboys have beef with BGE. It's not our fault BGE is far superior when it comes to things other than coasters. But there coasters are also extremely good.

From Eli Katzman
Posted July 6, 2008 at 2:22 PM
Christy, how is the middle better than the front? I mean, I assume I'd get the front because of the view, especially on B&M's gigantic flips (that's usually why I get the front on their flipping coasters).

From Peter Stephens
Posted July 6, 2008 at 7:28 PM
Hey Eli,

I "reviewed" Dominator on Coaster Crew about a month ago (aka, posted my opinion on their message board). I'm up to nine or ten rides now, all front or back, so I can't comment on the middle. (If it is a little smoother there, it might be a good choice to prevent the ear-banging Christy mentioned, above). My opinion of Dominator...

It is a very unique coaster in that the track, the station, and the lines of riders awaiting a ride are all very much a part of the experience. Multiple passes within a few feet of spectators and high-speed passes over and around the boarding area make for a lot of energy and a lot of noise. This coaster invades your space!

The ride is not as smooth as other B&M coasters I've ridden but, while the ride could be described as shaky, it is not jerky (at least, not to a detrimental level). But, compared to MOST coasters, I'd categorize it as a relatively smooth ride.

I found the back row better than the front. There are several locations where the the back row experiences speed in conjunction with change of direction thanks to the bulk of the train having gone ahead. For example, good air-time is achieved in two places, the first drop and the drop after the MCBR. The acceleration at the top of the big loop is best in the back (owed to the rest of the train starting downward). Similar forces are at work in the cobra roll and heading into the spirals.

Conversely, the close encounters with the ground and people and structures are best experienced up-front where the lack of a floor (or anything else) in front of you makes for a totally different sensation (aka adrenaline rush).

Dominator is a great fit for CF-KD. The cue line moves steadily. A lot of people get on this thing every hour. The nature of the ride makes the interior rows and seats "good seats". The "skyline" of KD gained a lot of personality with that big drop and loop added to the Eiffel Tower and the Drop Zone Tower Thing (name du jour). Having very little in common with Volcano, the two "stars" of KD complement each other well.

Hopefully, KD will get the painting and landscaping completed, soon. Initially, I had concerns that the location next to the (unsightly) parking area would hurt the appearance of Dominator. Thankfully, the waiting area is a few feet lower than the parking surface and, with some (significant) landscaping, visitors won't see a poor view to the north. Hey, I spent most of my time in that area looking straight UP!

From Eli Katzman
Posted July 7, 2008 at 5:21 AM
Thanks, Peter. I love how much info you gave me. That was also for other people who haven't ridden it.

In the last paragraph, did you mean KD needs to pick up on the paint because not all of it is Blue and Orange? I've seen youtube videos, where everything except the lift, cobra roll, and something else was blue and orange. The lift, cobra roll, and something else was still Black and Yellow from when it was Batman Knight flight, and CF never changed the colors after they changed the name to Dominator.

From Mike Ebeling
Posted July 7, 2008 at 3:35 PM
I did not say Dominator was a lame ride. I also did not say that KD was a bad park. I like KD. I find it much better than BGE. I've ridden all of the rides at both of them several times. (I live in Williamsburg) I agree that the coasters at BGE are good. (I love Alpengeist. My son prefers Apollo's) My entire point of the post was that Dominator is not as exciting as any of the ones I mentioned in the above post and definitly not as good as Alpengeist. I've been to KD 4 times this year. Twice since Dominator opened. The first time, we got there early, right after park opening. The line was 10 minutes. Granted, it has a fast loading time since they continuously run 2 trains with 4 across seating. However, the second time we went, still only 10 minutes. I figured, well, its early in the day. Later, at 5pm, zero wait. Yet Volcano? Slammed with people. Yes, it has less capacity but it still seems to be much more popular. To be fair, FOF had only a 15 minute wait. Anyway, Dominator is a fun coaster, but I figured when a park opens a new coaster, it should be trying to out do the ones already there. Dominator does not do that. BGE to its credit did open its Sheikra clone Griffin which is a pretty good coaster and is very popular. (Kodos to them) I ride Dominator but I still feel its average for the park.

From Eli Katzman
Posted July 7, 2008 at 6:39 PM
Well, about Fof, it only has a 15 minute wait because barely anybody knows about it. When I talk to my friends about KD (who've been there), only half or less of them have any clue what flight of fear is. Yes, it's awesome, but it's hidden right behind volcano and is barely visable from the Eiffle tower. From my experiances at KD (not statistics), I'd say no more than a sixth of the people at KD during a normal day know what flight of fear is.

Before my first time at KD, I checked the site to see what coasters are there so I know what to look for on the map when I get there. That's my stratagy, but I guess not the general public's...

From Peter Stephens
Posted July 9, 2008 at 11:55 AM
Mike,
I follow your logic. Dominator is arguably the #3 to #6 coaster in Virginia, depending on your taste. And, I've experienced the same lines for Volcano and I would agree it's still the more unique ride; maybe a better ride. (Hey, it's one-of-a-kind as an inverted launch coaster, right? And 90 degrees straight up beats 90 degrees straight down, no?) I like Dominator and I can appreciate those who "love it" but it pretty much does things that have all been done before (perhaps better, by Alpengeist, for example).

Eli,
The paint comments were referring to the partially painted parts. Some of the blue is new and glossy, some old and dull. Minor stuff like that. The actual color-scheme is fantastic.

VIRGINIA COASTERS - RATE 'EM (my list follows):
1. Apollo's Chariot
2. Alpengeist
3. Volcano
4. Griffon
5. Dominator
6. Grizzly
7. Flight of Fear
8. Big Bad Wolf
9. Loch Ness Monster
10.(tie) Avalanche & Richochet
That's my list. What's yours?
See you at Kingsfest this weekend!

From Eli Katzman
Posted July 9, 2008 at 3:34 PM
Umm, here's my list:
1. Griffon
2. Volcano
3. AC/Alpie
5. FoF
6. Rebel Yell (backwards)
7. Grizzly
8. LNM
9. Anaconda
10. I have left an extra space for when I ride Dominator. (Oddly, my first 4 coasters on this list are also in the same spots in my all-time top 10.)

Yes, I think Volcano is awesome, and VERY unique (that's part of the reason why I love it so much), but Dominator is sorta like Alpie. I agree, they both do the same stuff as their relatives, but Dominator is also the biggest (loop). Am I getting through to anyone?

From Christy Shuman
Posted July 10, 2008 at 8:06 AM
1. Alpengeist
2. Dominator
3. Griffon
4.Volcano
5. apollos chariot
6. FOF
7. Loch ness
8. BBW

From Donna Tolliver-Walker
Posted July 10, 2008 at 8:11 AM
Haven't ridden Dominator yet. I can guess from its design and specs that it will be much as Eli, Mike, and Christy have said -- a really, really good ride, but clearly not record-breaking.

But, for me, the salient question is: Does it add to the park's overall appeal? For me, the answer is a very resounding "yes!" Even if it's not BETTER than Volcano, it is quite different from Volcano, and a high-class ride. I want to ride it, and, further, will make a special effort to go to KD to ride it.

As for the hype, I really don't see what choice KD had. It is a major new attraction, and they'd be foolish not to capitalize on it. At the same time, they can hardly base an ad campaign on, "Come and ride our new-to-us-but-used coaster that's a lot like other coasters in VA." Of course they've got to make it sound like it's the greatest thing since sliced bread.

From Shannon Weimert
Posted August 7, 2008 at 11:10 AM
I've been coming to Kings Dominion since I was a little girl (the Rebel Yell was my first coaster), and I eagerly await every new ride that comes to the park. So naturally, I was really looking forward to getting on the Dominator when I heard about it. Sadly, I was very disappointed. The speed was okay, and the big loop WAS cool, but I was too focused on my ears getting battered by the arm restraints that I was unable to enjoy it. I will not be getting on it again. The Dominator actually reminds me of the Flight of Fear BEFORE they fixed it and most especially of Drachenfire, which you all may remember was removed from Busch Gardens. Also, in case you all are wondering, yes, I rode the Dominator both in back and in the middle, and still got beaten around. If the front is the only place you can really enjoy the coaster, what's the point? That's how it was with the DF too!

As for the other roller coasters in the area though, here are my ratings.

1. Volcano
2. Alpengeist
3. Anaconda
4. Loch Ness Monster
5. Apollo's Chariot (Quite possibly the COOLEST coaster I've ever been on)
6. FoF
7. Grizzly
8. Rebel Yell (backwards was my favorite, but they don't do it anymore, so this has moved down my list)
9. LNM
10. Anaconda

Note that the Griffon isn't on here yet, but I haven't been back to BG since they brought it in.

From J Whetzel
Posted August 7, 2008 at 1:40 PM
I also rode in the middle of the train 2 times, 2nd row 1 time and the back 1 time. At no spot did I ever experience any roughness. Dominator is a good ride, not great but good. The park definitely needed a solid, high capacity coaster. While both volcano and flight of fear are also very good rides, volcano lacks in length and flight of fear lacks comfort for bigger riders (not just weight, but height too).

From Eli Katzman
Posted August 7, 2008 at 2:11 PM
Shannon, what do you mean by Rebel yell "doesn't do backwards anymore"? I haven't been since early last year...

From J Whetzel
Posted August 7, 2008 at 2:32 PM
Eli,

I have been to KD twice this season. The first time, only one side was running. The second time, both sides were running, but they both were going forwards.

From Eli Katzman
Posted August 7, 2008 at 7:03 PM
NOOOOOO!!!

From steve lee
Posted August 8, 2008 at 1:59 PM
Sorry, Eli. That's across the board for the former Paramount parks. Rebel Yell at KD, Thunder Road at Caro, and The Racer at KI all had their backwards trains turned back around. The only official explanation that was ever provided was that CF wanted "consistency within each of the parks."

I have no clue what the hell that means. Isn't the point of visiting a new park to see something different?

From Eli Katzman
Posted August 8, 2008 at 6:56 PM
I agree, Steve. I love(d) Rebel yell because it was the only experiance on a coaster going backwards... I only got to ride it 2ce! (or 3...)

From Justin Spisto
Posted August 9, 2008 at 2:46 PM
I will find out in about a week how good this coaster is and I can't wait.

From Eli Katzman
Posted August 9, 2008 at 4:35 PM
Have you been to KD before? Will you still ride everything else?

From Justin Spisto
Posted August 10, 2008 at 9:58 AM
I have not been to KD before so I am very excited. Of course im going to ride everything else. Im excited for Volcano too.

From Eli Katzman
Posted August 10, 2008 at 2:56 PM
You should probably post an article... I can help a bunch (with everyone else's help, too), but I don't want to let it out right here.

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