A theme park gift under $10? Theme Park Insider: 2016 Year in Review
A buddy and I were in charge of one van full, about 10 kids and had to be at the church at 6:30 for our driver/leader briefing. Getting up that early on a Sat, ugggh! Anyway, we finally got the kids loaded up and on the road by 8 for our 2 hour commute from Indy to Cincy. Breakfast stops, potty breaks, and well you know the drill...we arrived 3.5 hours later. LOL
The crowd was already packed. I had forgotten how busy it could be. I always take my family on a Thur or Fri when we go to minimize crowd and waits. On this Saturday in mid-July it was packed out! People were still streaming into the park at 1 o'clock.
Well I came on this trip for one reason only...DIAMONDBACK! I couldn't wait to ride the newest addition to KI. So after we briefed the kids on meeting times AGAIN, we set them loose and made our way for the big red track in the sky. The wait was at 90 mins and wrapped passed the queue towards the rest of Rivertown. We got in line and were ready to wait it out. The weather was a mild 70ish, light breaze, and clouds so a great day to just chill.
We finally got to the main queue and I noticed an off shoot to the left that was open with a staff member standing there. So I stepped out of line to speak to them. "Hi, do my eyes decieve me or is that the first ever Single Rider Line here at KI?" "Yep, this is the first one and there are only about 10 people waiting in it, do you want to use it?" "ummmm...let me think about that for about...YES!"
So the four of us that were together hopped over and walked basically into the station. There were now only 5 people in front of us. The bad news was the guy directing the loading was new but had a good trainer with him. He overlooked us once or twice then his trainer would see it and had to call people in. So overall they kept the trains full. The new guy was starting to get overwhelmed and the back car queue had no riders so teh trainer looked at our group which was facing one another talking so it was obvious we had 4 and said "Do you guys have 4?" "YEP!" "Go ahead and fill that last car!" "Woo Hoo!"
It had only been 15 mins and we were heading up the lift hill looking out over the hundreds of people in line thinking how lucky, blessed, or smart (pick one) we were. Diamondback is the tallest coaster in the park now and about 75% up the hill you could feel it. "Ok, anytime now!" LOL
I love to ride in the front of coasters so I hadn't really thought through what riding in the back of this coaster was going to mean as far as ride experience. As the train crested and more cars began their decent the train quickly gained speed and about 2 cars before us quickened at a speed I had yet to experience on a coaster. As the train began rushing to the bottom, our car was pulled over the top and whipped us (in a good way) over the top. Took my breath away completely and left me with a stupid grin all the way down. 3/4 of the way down I couldn't catch my breath at all so I held what I had until we bottomed out. Wow, that first hill was a RUSH! But wait, there's more!
The rest of the ride is about speed, air time, hills and towards the end some nice twists and turns. And the finishing hill with the water spray behind the train was really cool to watch. But didn't get us wet at all which was nice.
Overall - this is one of best, smoothest, most fun, exhillerating coasters I have ever ridden. Reminded me of Voyage at Holiday World but better. With no inversions or cork screws, it doesn't have the intensity of some, but is top of the line for sheer fun. Solid 9/10 maybe a 10/10 but I need to ride it again.
The park was packed as I said earlier. Beast and Vortex were 90 mins, Firehwak was 2.5 hours, Flight of Fear was 2 hours, and Invertigo was 90 minutes. So we hopped on Flight Deck which was about 40 minutes. This ride always has the smallest wait being tucked back in the corner but is one of my favorite smaller coasters.
It didn't disappoint, so smooth, fast, and unfrotunately a shorter ride than what you would like. But always fun.
We met up with our group at 2 and made sure the kids were all accounted for and then decided to get some lunch. LaRosa's Pizza was close and shorter line so we hopped in. Prices weren't that bad. 2 Slices for $5.49. A side salad for $3.50 and drinks were $3.79. I got out for around $13. Breadsticks would have been a cheaper side but I was trying to eat a "little" healthy. :) Pizza was good, fresh, and had a moist crust. Salad was freshly prepared with cheese, onions, tomato, and olives. 8/10
Being the park was so packed, the weather so nice, and we were all tired from being up so early and herding the cats...errr...kids to the park we sat by the fountains and chatted while we ate for quite a while just enjoying the weather and downtime.
We finally got up and made another loop around the park. All the waits were still as crazy as earlier. Being such a mild day, the water park wasn't pulling it's weight as would be usual in the middle of July so all the rides were running at capacity.
The Racers were only 30 minutes so we got in line for one of the oldest coasters still in operation. It's a classic out and back with good airtime. It's old school style and appeal make you appreciate it's origin and contribution to the coaster evolution. 8/10 for nostalgia sake. :)
Next we got in line for Invertigo which used to be Face-Off back in the Paramount days. I believe this is the Vekoma Boomerang style coaster that our James loves so much. After a nauseating 90 minute wait in a queue packed so tightly sardines would have been uncomfrotable, we finally boarded. This ride puts riders facing one another so each train holds 4, 2 facing each way. I started in the facing backwards position and was pulled up the hill. This is a suspended car style coaster with your feet dangling. Being in the position I was in, I felt like I was going to fall at anytime and was white knuckled holding on waiting for the break to release us. It wasn't a fun filling and made you tense up in your shoulders and kneck which then makes it hard to get loose and enjoy the ride. Well enjoying it would have required that it be a good coaster. This might have been the greatest waste of my time yet. 6/10. If you can't walk on it, don't ride it.
We met back up with the group and hung out for a while. One group was leaving, some wanted to switch cars, some wanted to eat, some wanted to ride, and some were sleeping...the day was catching up with everyone.
We all got dinner at the Juke Box diner (50's Style with burgers and fries). I was surprised how good the burger was with lots of toppings, fresh bun, and good portion of fries. I have been eating healthier for about 4 mos now and burger and fries haven't been on that list so this was kind of a nice treat. Fries were ok, nothing special but the burger was quite good. With drink, it was $12...amusement park prices rock! :D
A couple of midway games and a potty break later, we head back to Dimaondback. Wait is 2 hrs so we wait in line until we can get to the single rider queue. Well looks like the secret is out. There were 40 people in line and estimates were that would be a 90-120 min wait even there. We had 45 mins to meet our group and knew it wasn't going to happen so we skipped through kiddy land and grabbed a ride through Scooby Doo's haunted castle to shoot some ghosts. I scored 780 and had the second highest out of our group of 12. 800 was expert or so Shaggy told me on the way out. ;)
I would normally classify 5-6 rides as a slow day at the park but we had a lof of fun and most importantly I got to ride Diamondback. Truth be told not much else was going to measure up to it so I was satisfied. We got kids back to the church about 1 am. I rolled into bed at 1:30 am scheming how to make time to get back and ride Diamondback again!
You know, those 90 minutes you lost waiting for Invertigo can never be reclaimed. As a card carrying TPI member, you have to show better sense in the future! ;)
How's the park overall, it's been eight years since I was there last.
Since I spend 2 to 3 days at any one park, what I miss one day, I can catch the next. Because all the coasters will be new to Zachary, we'll probably hit the old ones first day, plus one or two of the newer ones, and catch the rest the next day, any recommendations? :)
Taking 60 kids to Kings Island in the middle of July on a Saturday is not something I would ever do. Don, you are either a good man, or completely insane.
@ James: I had never ridden Invertigo before so now I know. :P
@ Bob: The park was in good shape. It's never been a super clean park like Holiday World but I rarely see it trashed. The bathrooms had full time attendants keeping things clean and fresh. Thought that was a nice touch that I haven't seen in days gone by.
Walt Disney World
Tokyo Disney Resort