A theme park gift under $10? Theme Park Insider: 2016 Year in Review
Dominator: Definitely. (As people say... I haven't ridden it.)
Back lot stunt coaster: Yes if you have time after riding others
Anaconda: Yes. front is cool, but not needed.
Berkslayer: Awesome ride! but not totally recommended if you don't like getting held upside down for seconds.
Drop Tower: Never ridden it, but I can't wait next time I go (early august)!
Flight of Fear: YES!
Grizzly: Pretty good woodie. The end is way better then the beginning of the ride. Also, a must ride at night!
Hurler: OK woodie, but it throws you around a bunch. So don't ride it if you hate rough.
Rebel Yell: Red is kinda smooth, blue is back-snapping. Used to be much better when the blue was backwards!
Ricochet: Cool Wild mouse because you start out with a drop, not turns. Nice ride
Shockwave: OK standup coaster from Togo... not a must ride...
The Crypt: Sweet, upside down ride
Volcano: BEST RIDE THERE! But underestimated if you don't ride in the front. So get the front before you leave, no matter how long the line! Also, I would recommend riding it in the front in the daytime first.
If you go on a busy day, you should get there when the park opens. You will be able to ride ONLY dominator or Volcano 1ce, so choose wisely... and then the lines will be horrendous, as my brother said. But, the other lines will have nothing. Have fun! I have to go, so I can't finish this.
For the most part, KD is a typical iron ride park. There is very little in the way of theming or narrative attractions (Cedar Fair has pretty much removed everything Paramount had in place), and there are no shows, simulators, or otherwise immersive attractions of any note. Still, KD can provide a fun day of thrills if you are into riding coasters and like at least a few midway rides.
For almost any iron ride park the plan of attack is as follows: arrive early with tickets already in hand (around :30 minutes before opening) and hit the headliner attractions first (in this case, roller coasters).
(As you requested, I have tried to compare KD rides to Carowinds rides whenever possible).
For KD, head clockwise around the park hitting Dominator (a floorless coaster relocated from the defunct Geauga Lake park), Volcano (the best ride in the park, imho), Flight of Fear (same as the one at King's Island), Backlot Stunt Coaster (still has a bit of the fun theming from the Paramount days), Shockwave (stand up coaster - if the line is too long, skip it and try back later), Rebel Yell (old school out and back woodie), and Grizzly (the best wooden coaster in the park).
Eat lunch around 11, or after 1 to avoid crowds. Honestly, I recommend eating outside the park as all the food pretty much blows at KD. If you don't want to leave, Chick-fil-a and Subway are your best choices, although the prices at these fast food chains are considerably higher inside the park (keep in mind, Chick-fil-a is closed on Sundays).
With your first sweep around the park complete and lunch out of the way, circle back around making sure to hit The Crypt (a nicely decorated Huss Top Spin, and one of the few themed attractions in the park), Avalanche (a rare bobsled coaster), Anaconda (a rough but fun looping coaster with an underwater tunnel - it never has a long line so you can catch it anytime), Shockwave (if you had to skip it earlier), Ricochet (a standard wild mouse like the one at Carowinds), and Hurler (keep the ibuprofen handy - this is the same coaster as the one at Carowinds).
Once you have completed the main tour of the park, some midway rides you might want to hit are Berserker (a looping starship ride like Southern Star at Carowinds), Drop Tower (the largest freefall ride in North America), El Dorado (similar to Da Vinci's Cradle at BGW and new to KD for 2009), White Water Canyon (like Rip Roarin' Rapids at Carowinds), and Shenandoah Log Flume (standard log ride). These attractions are not great rides by any means, but they can be fun diversions if you have not ridden their ilk over and over again at your home park.
Finally, take a ride to the top of the Eiffel Tower (similar to the Carolina Skytower at Carowinds) for some nice views of the whole park, as well as a look at the construction being done on KD's new GIGA coaster.
Not sure if you care about this info or not, but there are two sections of Kings Dominion set aside for families with very young children: KidZville and Nickelodeon Central. With few exceptions, most of the rides in these areas are standard kiddie ride crap. Honestly, I would not bring anyone to KD who is less than 48" tall, as there is just not a lot for them to do. KD is a park run by teenagers for teenagers (or teenagers at heart!).
WaterWorks is the requisite free water park included with your general park admission. It is a fairly mediocre attempt, but if you are interested in getting wet at an average water park, prepare accordingly. It generally opens an hour or two after the main gate.
What else do you need to know?
While BGE attendance exceeds KD's, the parks are quite different and both offer certain features that are superior to the other park. Where BGE has better scenery, better food, and better shows, KD has WAY more coasters and flat rides. BGE has three world-class coasters. KD is building its third world-class coaster but it has SEVERAL very good "lesser" coasters whereas BGE has only one (now, with the closure of BBW). KD has improved DRASTICALLY in many ways. The scenery is very good in most areas. The park is cleaner than ever. Park employees are the best ever. Food is still not too great and shows - show(?) - are't much. Volcano (front row) is my favorite ride at KD and in my top three anywhere. Dominator is intense. Drop Tower is awesome. Flight of Fear is great. I love Avalanche (bobsleds). The Flying Eagles and Triple Spin and Scrambler are better than any flats at BGE. There are four wooden coasters (to BGE's zero). Back Lot and Ricochet are fun for young and old. Honestly, I am a big BGE fan but KD is simply a better overall choice for RIDE WARRIORS!!! I-305 will likely be better than any of BGE's three great B&M's - well, maybe. You cannot lose with King's Dominion unless you hit a very crowded day. Hope to see you at KD in 2010 (or at BGE, for that matter).
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