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.
Overall, I loved 305 but it was too intense to be re-rideable in the way that I like to re-ride my rollies :)
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.
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).
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.
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
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"?
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...
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
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.
So SFA is even worse, huh? KD it is then!
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...
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.
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.
** 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 **
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.
James, have you been on Millennium Force? I'd like your opinion on which you think is better, if you've experienced both.
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.
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!
Post-trims, most B&M hypers are better than I305 (Intimidator, AC, Nitro, and maybe even Goliath).
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