Kings Dominion: Curious

From bryan shepard
Posted April 28, 2010 at 7:41 AM
So im just curious as to if I305 is what everyone expected or if you are a bit let down or what? Also for anyone thats been there since Easter, have they added any shrubs, grass or that pond they are suppose to have? In my opinion its sad to spend 25 million on a ride and not spend a tiny bit more to make it actually look appealing to the eye.... KD really needs a make over... it has no culture...

From Nick Markham
Posted April 28, 2010 at 2:42 PM
First the ride is a huge success, even said to be better than Millennium Force. As to the park, what do you expect? You aren't going to get a Disneyland out of an Amusement Park.

From bryan shepard
Posted April 28, 2010 at 11:46 PM
well we all have opinions...

From Adam Nodjomian
Posted May 1, 2010 at 4:06 PM
I agree, KD needs to do something about their theming. I mean come on, a racecar attraction in the congo section! More theming and nicer aesthetics=more guests, at least it would entice me to go more often

From Mark Newman
Posted May 19, 2010 at 6:07 AM
Hey all. Just received this from KD:

There have been some serious issues with the Intimidator 305 since it opened. The first is the intensity. While KD advises everyone waiting in line that only they know their limits, we are receiving numerous complaints everyday about the ride. In addition, our first aid office near the front of the park is seeing 15-20 people per day with medical issues resulting directly from Intimidator 305. This includes people who are disoriented from the ride, people with whiplash type injuries, and people with severe neck and shoulder pain. Two people were even taken from the park in an ambulance for further medical treatment. As the crowds increase this summer, KD, CF, its insurance company and attorneys are very concerned about this persistent problem and worry that a lawsuit may result if the problems are not addressed. The insurance company even recommended shutting the ride down until the problems are corrected.

Maintenance is another issue that is a big concern to KD and CF. Intamin estimated the average life span of the wheels on Intimidator 305 at 14 days. Instead the wheels are being chewed up in one day. Intamin states this is because the ride has been faster (speeds over 100mph have been clocked since opening day) and therefore more intense than originally estimated. Right now, the cost of the wheels are covered by KD’s maintenance agreement with Intamin that ends June 1 (60 days after ride opening). CF and KD cannot afford to replace wheels every day.

Based on the above, Intamin engineers have been working to correct both problems. Unfortunately, this means slowing the ride down. A trim plate is being installed on the first drop. Similar to trim brakes, this will slow the coaster down, after it is comes over the lift hill and begins descending the first drop, by approximately 10mph. The lift hill will also be slowed down. Additional trims may be added to the second drop or elsewhere if it is determined the ride is still going too fast. This will save the wear and tear on the wheels and the lessened intensity will hopefully, reduce the discomfort experienced by some of our guests.

From Erin B
Posted May 19, 2010 at 4:08 PM
I just spent the weekend riding both Intimidators and I was impressed with both. 305 exceeded my expectations...or moreso blew them out of the water. I honestly didn't expect too much from 305 because I'm really not impressed by Millennium Force. This ride makes MF look like even more like a piece in my eyes. It is so freaking intense & it really whips you around. But the intensity is where I have a problem -- it was TOO intense at times. I greyed out multiple times & I experienced headaches. I also had some soreness in my shoulders & neck the next day from bracing myself for the twists & turns.

Overall, I loved 305 but it was too intense to be re-rideable in the way that I like to re-ride my rollies :)

From Mark Migliaccio
Posted May 19, 2010 at 6:22 PM
That's unfortunate that they'll have to turn it into intimidator light. And a little ironic. I better make a trip up there asap to get the original experience.

From Satch Foley
Posted May 22, 2010 at 8:47 PM
I just completed a coaster tour. I hope to have a trip report shortly. This coaster is fast. It is "oh my God" fast. The restaints do not lend themselves to air time like the new Intimidator at Carowinds. The restraints are the over the shoulder with a lap/waist bar attached. The Intimidator 305 is very rough considering the speed that you achieve. There is this weird, s-curve that just throws you around. Many riders complained of being bruised and battered. The transition between the ride elements is so fast that your body can't adjust fast enough. Did I enjoy it? ....yes. The web site says it is 305 feet tall, Millennium is 310' tall. The operator claimed it reached 96 mph, while Millennium reaches 93 mph.
Anyways, I suggest you hold onto the hand grips on the lap/waist restraint. Many riders complained of bruising there hands/arms due to the sudden shifts in direction.
If the park was going with a sand and gravel and concrete theme, then they succeeded. The area lacked any type of landscaping.
Tip of the day: The crowds waiting for the front row spills out onto the platform. This crowd obscures the line for row 2. Row 2 often had nobody waiting there. The ride operator had to announce that there was no wait for row 2.
Another unrelated tip. The Intimidator at Carowinds has a single rider line. This line is easy to miss because the regular line is so long it spills out into the park. The staff creates an additional queue area because the line is so long. People just wander over to the end of the extended queue. By the time they get to the "official" queue area, they miss the entrance to the single rider line. There was very few patrons in the single rider line.

From Mike Gallagher
Posted May 23, 2010 at 7:48 AM

You mentioned I-Carowinds has a single rider line. So does I-305, and it's clearly marked at the entrance to the queue. It wasn't always open when I was at KD in April, but I was able to make extensive use of it on my 13 rides over two days. And for what it's worth, the restraints didn't bother me, no grey-outs, arms up all the way every time, and nothing more than the usual coaster soreness for me. I loved the ride, and consider it my co-#1 steel coaster with MF.

From Peter Stephens
Posted May 24, 2010 at 7:11 PM
I-305 has the most awesome drop imaginable... or, I should say HAD. By far the best feature of I-305 was the 300' drop, providing free-fall like few other coasters. However, trims have been added in an attempt to reduce excessive wheel wear. This has been extremely detrimental to the experience. The sensation of free-fall is gone, replaced with a hurky-jerky descent. The great air-time hill that follows has been neutralized, as well. And, since those are the only two world-class elements this ride posesses, there isn't much left. Worse, the park claims that the trims were added to enhance comfort. Sure! Spend $25 million on a state-of-the-art coaster, reaseach, design, construct, and advertise the heck out of that 85 degree, 300', 94 MPH drop and then put brakes on the entire steep section of the hill! FAIL! This has GOT to hurt Intamin's chances of building large coasters, in the future. Whether it is the black-out curve (like no one saw THAT coming) or bad wheels or whatever, this is unthinkable. AND, the blackout section still has the same effect. The positive G-force may be slightly reduced but the duration is longer so, no reduction in blackout (which is a GOOD feature - the only one left!) KD finally got a world-class ride... and kept it that way for about a month!!!

From Russell Meyer
Posted May 24, 2010 at 8:23 PM
I rode I305 for the first time since media day yesterday, and was SHOCKED when I noticed the ride has been trimmed. They installed magnetic trims on the FIRST DROP, which probably drops the top speed of the coaster about 5-10 MPH. While the first turn still pulls some amazing g's, the airtime is lost on the second hill. Also, it's just strange going down such a huge hill and being noticeably slowed down.

On the positive side, the turns between the two big airtime hills are significantly less violent, and after riding Millennium Force the very next day (today), I can vouch that I305 is still superior to MF even trimmed out.

Alas, another major ride that has to be toned down significantly shortly after its debut. This seem to happen every 3-5 years to major attractions around the country (Goliath at SFMM and Mission: Space at EPCOT come instantly to mind).

From Charles Reichley
Posted June 20, 2010 at 9:07 PM
I still think the real problem with the ride was that stupid S-curve, that seems designed to break people's necks, not to give them a more thrilling experience. There is nothing "thrilling" about a ride that has you leaning left, and then for no reason just flips you to a right-lean without warning.

I'm surprised they don't have more people complaining about neck injuries. It's really not that hard to make reasonable and realistic curve transitions.

The trims really to detract from the 1st-drop experience. I wish they could put them in the curve instead; or even at the top before you start down the hill. Being slowed down once the free fall starts is just weird.

From Louie Lehman
Posted June 23, 2010 at 7:18 PM
My wife and I attended KD today and started conversing with random people throughout the day while waiting in lines for other rides. We wanted to save the best for last, so to build hype we were inquiring about other folks ride experiences on the I305. The reviews were almost the same and included words such as "blacked out", my neck hurts, too fast, too rough, "It gave me whiplash". We quietly said to ourselves "drama queens" and ignored their complaints. I mean how bad can it really be?

Folks we waited until last and I am ashamed to admit I'm glad we did. It ruined our day.

This ride simply needs more room or more transverse room in the twists of those s-turns. I did not black out at all as my body does not respond to G-Forces like some folks. My wife however went limp twice and at one point, while semi-conscience heard, and felt, her neck pop with associated pain to follow. At the end of the ride we heard two separate persons in the vicinity of our car proclaim "I blacked out", or "What happened?"

Now being a guy my first impression was "That was freaking awesome" right up until the first neck snapping s-curve transition...well lack of.

The trim brakes are not the problem. They simply need a redseign of the track (25 million...really?). It's too much track, with too much speed, in too small of a space. They could put more transition in the s-curves and let that sucker drop at full speed with no problem. Give the track more room and give the transitions physical track length to smoothen them out and this ride would be a dream.

As it is...It's a one ride per visit gig without paying a higher price price on ones body. For folks like my wife it's a no touch ride. Take this into consideration when you go or take your loved ones aboard.

I would like to point out that I'm the first guy to say WOO HOO and BRING IT ON! I have done more dangerous things in my life not involving roller coasters but this ride was only enjoyable for the first few 5 seconds. I found myself dreading the S-curve transitions and literally anticipating the rolls to reduce neck strain. In the end gravity and speed won the fight.

This is the fastest roller coaster I have ever ridden and the largest drop and g-forces I have experienced outside of an airplane. The price it demanded far outweighed its amusement for this rider.

I went so far as to put my name on file with the park, spoke with a ride manager, and left a feedback form at guest relations concerning this ride. Something has to be done or this ride will cause a public relations, liability, nightmare for KD.

Rookie in posting...Louie

From steve lee
Posted June 24, 2010 at 4:29 AM
A. Welcome to the site, Louie. Don't be a one-hit wonder.
B. I'm sure some folks will play Internet Tough Guy and tell you you're a wuss for your comments, but I for one appreciate the honesty.

From James Rao
Posted June 24, 2010 at 5:58 AM
Agreed...nice first post, Louie.

Honestly, I have heard so many negative things about I305 I am tempted to forego my annual trip to KD in July and head over to Six Flags America (Maryland) instead. I've been to KD many times and the only thing I was really looking forward to riding was I305... I've never made it to SFA, and my $49.99 season pass makes it a free trip.

So, should I give up on I305 for this year and hope for improvements for next season, or ride now just to say "I survived"?

From steve lee
Posted June 24, 2010 at 12:02 PM
Apparently there have been changes made for the better today. Some folks may recall the different restraint system that was in the test chair about a month ago.

Today the new restraints showed up ON THE TRAIN. Early reviews have been positive, though it should be noted that mostly KD fanboys have been the ones posting the reviews...

From James Rao
Posted June 24, 2010 at 1:51 PM
Six Flags America is looking better and better all the time!

From Louie Lehman
Posted June 27, 2010 at 6:54 PM
Thanks for the positive feedback fellas.

I will admit their is some machissmo factor rolled into "surviving" the I305 with the un-improved restraints. It's rather peculiar that the new restraints showed up a day after my review and trip home. I would love to find out if those new restraints included the reduction of side to side head movement. Do we have a recent rider who can provide such feedback?

Someone above mentioned spending the $50 or not since the only thing they were looking forward to was the I305. While I was smart enough to ride the I305 last I have to say we had an abosolute blast. We rode every coaster there except for avalanche. If it's your first visit in awhile or the 1st visit of the year, I305 or not, that place just rocks. I still can't get enough of Volcano. I squeal like a school girl on that thing.

At the end of the day if you "feel" like you had a great time than the price of admission is well worth it. My only advice is wait until the temps drop a bit. It was brutal for us the 2 days we were there.

Once you're at the park, and despite my own opinion, the I305 will call for your soul. It will beckon you in it's direction. Go pee first as the last bathroom to go is in congo WAY before you even start down the path.

So go have a good time and finish the day with the Grand Finale "ala" I305, asking for Ibuprofen, and cussing yourself for not listening. Two days after you have recovered you will regail someone with tails of mind blowing speed, drops, g-forces, and WAA HOO's. GET SOME!

EDIT - The day after we left the red, metal bar, head banging restraints were removed and the newest "strap type" restraints were installed. See the Video below. With this newest piece of info I am willing to bet it is time for all to RIDE THE I305!

VIDEO >> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgB9Jpvlsb4

From James Rao
Posted June 27, 2010 at 7:06 PM
I wasn't asking if it was worth it for $50. I was asking: if the only thing I have not ridden at Kings Dominion is i305, it is alone a compelling enough reason to go to the park, or should I hit Six Flags America (where I have never been) this year instead?

I am thinking I can always go to KD next year when everything with the new coaster is ironed out and ready for prime time.

From steve lee
Posted June 27, 2010 at 8:01 PM
Based on nearly everyone's opinion, I think you should go to Six Flags America because you'll stop hating on Six Flags St Louis so much...

From James Rao
Posted June 28, 2010 at 3:05 AM
AHH, shucks, and here I thought my latest SFStL review was all filled with love....

So SFA is even worse, huh? KD it is then!

From steve lee
Posted June 28, 2010 at 5:46 AM
Hey, I haven't been to SFA so I'm only passing on secondhand info. Your results absolutely may vary.

From Erin B
Posted June 28, 2010 at 6:37 AM
James, I have some friends going to SFA this weekend & I could pass on their opinions to you if you'd like. We all went to KD a couple months ago, so they may be able to help sway you one way or the other.

As for the new restraints, I'd really like to try them out. I hated the old Maverick-style restraints & only just recently figured out how to get a comfortable ride on Maverick with the restraints [which requires a ton of effort & I don't think would have been possible to do on I-305]. Maybe my friends & I could take a trip back at the end of the season...

From James Rao
Posted June 28, 2010 at 11:21 AM
Yes, please, Erin, let me know their opinions. Thanks in advance.

From Heather Priest
Posted June 29, 2010 at 4:08 PM
Just left KD a few days ago...to the person who said it was better than MILLENNIUM FORCE? OMG NOOOOOOOOOOOO WAY....NO WAY...NOT IN THIS LIFETIME. The ride was OK...nothing special. the best ride i got out if it was from the back seat. The shoulder harness SUCKS bigtime and to whomever wrote that people are complaining of arm, and shoulder problems i can see why, you are suctioned in that seat like no other..if anything it should have a restraint such as Maverick...much much less confining and hurtful!! and to whomever asked about the landscaping...the answer is no it still looks bare.

From Erin B
Posted June 29, 2010 at 4:42 PM
Heather, I-305 previously had Maverick-style restraints & they were terribly painful. My friends & I had bruises for a couple weeks afterwards [we didn't really complain because we're kind of used to it].

As for thinking Millennium Forceless is better, I guess we just have very different opinions. I find MF to be boring & lackluster, & the only real advantage it has over I-305 is the restraint style. I'd most definitely pick 305 over MF any day.

From Erin B
Posted July 1, 2010 at 4:59 PM
James, I spoke with three of my friends who have been to both parks & all 3 agree that KD would be a much better choice than SFA.

From bryan shepard
Posted July 1, 2010 at 7:06 PM
I agree, I have went to six flags in Baltimore and was very disappointed... it was nasty, half the coasters were not working, and the only one that stood out to me was superman...KD is a much better choice in my opinion, plus this year they have I-305, and old favorites volcano, dominator, FOF, back-lot stunt coaster, the huler has had some track redone which is much smoother and better, as well as the grizzly... KD has in my opinion more to offer...

From James Rao
Posted July 2, 2010 at 4:38 AM
Thanks for the info... I will be heading out to Annandale, VA in the next couple of weeks and will definitely follow your advice. It sounds like SFA is not worth the trouble, even if I305 is somewhat of a disappointment.

From James Rao
Posted July 18, 2010 at 8:22 AM
Okay, making my way to KD this week and I have one question for the park regulars: do I trek to I305 first, or is the front row on Volcano still the first ride of the day for those who want to avoid the worst waits?

From Russell Meyer
Posted July 19, 2010 at 3:34 PM
No need to do the new coaster first. Lines have been minimal, even on busy days. The intensity has really kept people away from this coaster, and I wouldn't expect you to have to wait more than 30 minutes to ride if the crew is loading efficiently and there are no breakdowns in 2-train operation.

From Charles Reichley
Posted July 19, 2010 at 9:19 PM
I dont' know how they are doing on breakdowns. I was there July 9, and the ride was broken for some time and they were "hoping" to get it open before closing.

I did find out that they had added water sprays to cool the wheels on the cars, and that had increased their longevity tremendously (the girl didn't know exactly how long they were going between changes, but it was a lot longer than the every day changes they had before the slowed it down).

I've never seen much of a line on the ride, it moves people quickly, but I haven't really experienced long lines at the park except on July 9 (Kingsfest with Toby Mac), and it was broken.

From James Rao
Posted July 20, 2010 at 8:17 AM
Thanks, Russell, for the advice, and I am sure you are right, however today park management only ran one train on I305 all day long. And the ride ops were not that efficient either, which created a situation where mid-range lines led to very long waits. I am not sure why things went down the way they did, but I only got to ride the new coaster twice during a 12 hour stay as waits were very prohibitive in the hot sun (and sometimes pouring rain), and riding in the front car was completely out of the question.

From James Rao
Posted July 20, 2010 at 8:18 AM
Anyway, the new giga is a fine addition to Kings Dominion and is definitely the most intense coaster in the park. The initial drop, even with the infamous braking, is still very fast. It does seem to lack a little of the freefall one would expect from a 300 foot plunge, but overall the sensation is still quite thrilling. I did not experience any blackouts or other head banging issues, and despite the abruptness of several of the banked turns, I experienced far more fun than pain. I rode in the back car on both visits, and would give the coaster an 8.5 rating if I could. Since we can't do halves, I will round down to an 8 rating, just because of the total lack of scenery and theming on and around the course.

** Partial Thread-Hijack Begins Here **

IMO, Volcano is still the overall best ride at Kings Dominion, and is truly one of the better coasters I have experienced. Sadly, the beleaguered beast broke down no less than four times during the day, and the ride ops seemed to be in a constant state of apprehension as to when the ride would break down next. Cedar Fair needs to do whatever they can to ensure the constant operation of Volcano, because it truly is a unique masterpiece worth the price of admission. I would give this coaster a 10 rating except for the misstep of being completely devoid of theming inside the volcano itself. Otherwise, the ride is pure genius.

FWIW, I rank the KD adult coasters as follows:

Volcano - 9/10
Intimidator 305 - 8.5
Dominator - 8
Back Lot Stunt Coaster - 7.5
Grizzly - 7
Avalanche - 7
Anaconda - 6.5 (the MCBR is devastating)
Rebel Yell - 6
Flight of Fear - 5.5 (very disappointing)
Shockwave - 5
Hurler - 4.5
Ricochet - 4.

I had high hopes for Flight of Fear, but after the initial launch, it was a HUGE disappointment. Rock 'n' Roller Coaster at Disney's Hollywood Studios, despite appearing to have a much tamer layout, offers a significantly better and more thrilling ride than FoF. And calling FoF a dark ride is a total misnomer as the inside of that building is nearly bright as day. Epic fail.

As for the rest of the park, it was clean, well tended, and pretty much interchangeable with most any other Cedar Fair park in the chain. I have no complaints about my adventures today, long waits on I305 notwithstanding. However, in comparing Virginia theme parks (and not really wanting to start a debate) Busch Gardens Williamsburg remains #1 in my book.

** Sorry for the partial hijack...now back to your regularly scheduled discussion thread **

From Anthony O'Neal
Posted July 20, 2010 at 9:25 PM

It appears as if we have similar thoughts on the coaster and the park itself. I was able to ride I305 several times in a day, but I still got some of the head banging.

Volcano, in my opinion, was the best coaster in the park.

From Erin B
Posted July 22, 2010 at 11:01 AM
Sounds like the new restraints may have helped with the head & neck banging. It's good to hear some more positive reviews of this coaster, as it seems to be getting ragged on a lot.

James, have you been on Millennium Force? I'd like your opinion on which you think is better, if you've experienced both.

From Mike Gallagher
Posted July 22, 2010 at 2:15 PM
I may not be James, but since I've been on both this season....

I have the two rides tied for my top steel spot. I see MF as a graceful swan and I-305 as a vicious wild dog. There's room at the zoo for both, but they're totally different animals. And my love of I-305 comes from riding it PRE-trims and with the "old" restraints. From what I've read, I better hang onto my memories from April, because I'm not sure I'd even look forward to riding it again at this point.

From James Rao
Posted July 22, 2010 at 2:54 PM
Been a few years, but I give the nod to MF for overall speed and scenery. In fact, I even like Apollo's Chariot better than I305, to be honest. But, maybe I am just getting jaded.

Regardless, I need to get back to CP soon, especially now that two of my three kids have busted through the all important 54" barrier!

From Russell Meyer
Posted July 22, 2010 at 5:23 PM
I rode I305 and MF 3 days apart (post trims), and I still think I liked I305 better. The overbanks (aside from the last one) just don't do it for me, and the airtime is about equal between the two.

Post-trims, most B&M hypers are better than I305 (Intimidator, AC, Nitro, and maybe even Goliath).

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