Heading home for the summer...which parks to visit?

Where would you recommend I go?

From Will Black
Posted May 30, 2010 at 5:40 PM
Hey all,

Well, I am finally done with college. Just graduated from University of Texas at San Antonio and now I'm off to go to the Army (I did ROTC).

But, I'm heading back home to Atlanta (where my folks live) for the summer and I was thinking of making a road trip out of it. One of the main stops I'm going to do is go visit my cousin in DC.

So, I was going to go up north through indiana, ohio area and cut across to DC then head back down to Atlanta.

Here's the scoop:

I only have enough money for one, maybe two parks. So, I want to make it count. I'm on a budget.

I've also been to Cedar Point. I went with my dad when I was in jr high back when the Millenium Force opened up (goodness that feels like ages ago)...well, it was 2002. So, 2 years after. Anyway...I've also been to Busch Gardens Williamsburg (twice). I loved Busch Gardens tremendously, but would like to see what else is out there.

I hear Kings Island is good, but would it be worth it to just drive the rest of the way up through Ohio and go see Cedar Point again? Even if I only have a day to spend there? What about Kings Dominion? I've heard mixed reviews about it.

I love thrills, but I also don't like parks that are a concrete jungle with no theme. Cedar Point and Busch Gardens were great to me. So, what do you say all?

- Will

From Nick Markham
Posted May 30, 2010 at 5:51 PM
First off, you are an incredible person for going into the Army. Good luck in doing so.

Now, this would be a hard decision. Both Kings Island and Kings dominion have A LOT in common, but I'll point out the coasters differences and you can decide which of the unique coaster selections you would rather see (any coasters not listed below for either parks are completely or nearly identical.

Kings Dominion
-Avalanche- Bobsled Coaster
-Dominator- Floorless B&M
-Grizzly- Wooden Coaster
-Hurler- Wooden Coaster
-Intimidator 305- Intamin Giga Coaster
-Volcano: The BLAST Coaster- Intamin Launched Invert
-Ricochet- Mack Wild Mouse
-Shockwave- TOGO Stand-Up

Kings Island
-Adventure Express- Arrow Mine Train
-Beast- Wooden Coaster
-Diamondback- B&M Hyper Coaster
-Firehawk- Vekoma Lay Down Coaster
-Flight Deck- Aroow Suspended Swinging Coaster
-Flying ACE Aerial Chase- Vekoma Junior Inverted
-Invertigo- Vekoma Inverted Boomerang
-Son of Beast- Wooden Coaster

So here is your dilemma: Both parks have 8, high quality coasters unique from each other (4 other high quality coasters are of similar layout). The other problem: they have the same name, a variety of same rides, same park centerpiece, and same park themes. These parks are so similar it really comes down to your taste in thrill, or where you would like to spend your time.

Oh, this keeps getting harder and harder for me! Can you list some of your favorite coasters and parks, that would help A LOT!

From Mike Gallagher
Posted May 30, 2010 at 6:15 PM
Will, I think it's fair for me to jump on Nick's reply and address Son of Beast. Although I am one of only a few "enthusiasts" I've encountered who like the ride, you should be aware that the chances of it operating this year are slim and none, and Slim just left town.

That said, I love both parks. I'll be heading to KI in late June.

If you're going to D.C., Six Flags America has a one GREAT roller coaster (Superman,) a couple of good ones (Roar, Wild One, Batwing) and a couple of somewhat unique non-coaster rides. Plus, the park is reasonably close to Kings Dominion. I don't know how much you like gigas, but it's a shame you'll be introduced to the NEUTERED Intimidator-305 if you go to KD.

From Tim Chatlos
Posted May 30, 2010 at 6:29 PM
While Kings Dominion is a nice park, there's something to be said for the significance of Kings Island in the history of theme parks. It's sort of the "father" park to Kings Dominion and Canada's Wonderland (which both use the hub-and-spoke design of Kings Island, complete with a central icon at the end of an International Street and fountains).

Kings Island's Racer is often credited as reigniting interest in roller coasters in the 1970s. And while opinions certainly very on whether or not The Beast deserves its reputation as one of the greatest wooden coaster of all time, it's hard to deny its uniqueness in the world of amusement parks. Few coasters cover 20 acres of dense woods. Again, no matter how one feels about it, The Beast is an iconic ride.

Of course if Kings Dominion works into your travel plans more easily that's fine too. It's a solid park with a unique collection of coasters and rides.

Hope this helps. Have fun with whichever park you choose!

From Nick Markham
Posted May 30, 2010 at 6:40 PM
Um, mike, what do you mean about Intimidator 305 being neutered? Every single review says it practically destroys Millennium Force or, as Robb Alvey put it, "Intimidator 305 craps all over Millennium Force".

But Mike, you are not alone on liking Son of Beast. I've truly never met a roller coaster I have never liked. So sad to see Son of Beast in such bad shape.

EDIT: And Tim, Racer is exactly like Rebel Yell at Kings Dominion.

From Tim Chatlos
Posted May 30, 2010 at 7:18 PM
Racer and Rebel Yell are very similar rides, except for the far turn-arounds on Rebel Yell are pushed together while Racer's are spread apart and I think, although I don't remember for sure, Rebel Yell still has the extra dip before the final brake run that Racer lost when Outer Limits: Flight of Fear was added in 1996 at Kings Island.

I was mostly pointing out that Racer had some historical significance in theme park history. It was enough of a hit in 1972 that it was essentially copied (with the major difference noted above) at Kings Dominion three years later. Admittedly the two ride experiences are nearly the same except perhaps for a slight difference in how the trains enter and exit the turn-arounds.

From James Rao
Posted May 31, 2010 at 5:28 AM
Nick, they just added trims to I305 to slow it down. Apparently the black out complaints did not fall on deaf ears. So the ride is now slower and less intense.

Will, is Holiday World (Santa Claus, Indiana) an option? If so, I would make it a stop so you can ride the #1 wooden coaster on the planet (The Voyage) and the world's longest water coaster (Wildebeest). And, you'd be just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Kings Island.

From Mike Gallagher
Posted May 31, 2010 at 7:45 AM
Nick, James' reply should clarify what I meant by "neutered." After my rides, I had it ranked as my co-#1 steel with MF. It was quite intense. After what I've read from people who have ridden it since the addition of the brakes on the first drop, I'm not even 100% sure I WANT to ride it again anytime soon. I just hope I can still fit on MF next month...

From David White
Posted May 31, 2010 at 12:32 PM
Don't go to Cedar Point or Busch Gardens Williamsburg again. If you only have the time to visit two parks, why go to a park you've already been to?

I would suggest Kings Dominion as one of the parks. It has a better coaster collection than Kings Island and both parks offer similiar experience. Besides, if you've been to BGW and ridden Apollo's Chariot, you've basically ridden Diamondback... So Kings Island is pointless.

How about Hersheypark for your second park? It's 2.5 hours from DC, but looks to be worth it.

Dollywood is also something to consider while on your way home from DC.

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