Kings Dominion closes Volcano: The Blast Coaster

February 9, 2019, 5:53 PM · Virginia's Kings Dominion announced yesterday that it has closed and will remove its Volcano: The Blast Coaster ride.

The Intamin launch coaster opened in 1998, but had been down more than up in recent years. A Suspended Catapult Coaster, Volcano: The Blast Coaster offered the unusual combination of an inverted track with a launch. The ride's mountain setting also distinguished it from typical coaster installations in regional parks.

"This wasn’t an easy decision for us, because we know that people love this one-of-a-kind coaster; however, over time it became nearly impossible to keep the ride up to our high standards of reliability and guest satisfaction, and for these reasons we had to make the tough call," the park said on its website.

The coaster's mountain was opened in 1979 as The Lost World, featuring several rides. In 1984, the track ride was renamed Smurf Mountain, which is what the entire structure was called until it closed in 1995. Former owner Paramount Parks ordered and oversaw the installation of the new Intamin coaster after that.

Kings Dominion recently placed two of its coasters in the finals for this year's Theme Park Insider Awards: Intimidator 305 and Twisted Timbers, so the park continues to offer great alternatives for coaster fans. No word yet from the park as to plans for the Volcano site, but the park promises new announcements about the 2019 season soon.

Replies (8)

February 9, 2019 at 6:06 PM

This is a perfect example of why Intamin sales have been so low for 7 or so years, and why ever since Kinzel retired pretty much all of Cedar Fairs big coasters have been B&M. I consider myself lucky to have been on Volcano, it was a cool ride, but the cost just didn't equal the returns. The industry went through a phase where buying the big fast Intamin was the cool thing to do, i'm actually kind of amazed Volcano lasted this long (to be fair it didn't operate much of the time and was SBNO its entire last year), but as George W Bush says "fool me once." I know some guys that had try and maintain those impulse coasters with their Six Flags budgets, very tough thing to do lol. They would NDT the trains and find cracks all over them and then the ride would be closed for months.

Buying an Intamin coaster like this is like buying a Lamborghini, you feel like a bad a** when you get it but reality comes crashing down the first time it needs repairs and you realize its going to be an endless money pit.

February 9, 2019 at 7:15 PM

Had a long run and that mountain can become home to yet another new attraction. I remember the Land of Doozies from its Lost World days with a Doozie of a thene song. Adnit to missing that when it was Smurfed;)

February 10, 2019 at 11:02 AM

Brutal news. Volcano was one of my top 20 favorite coasters. I am, very sad that Cedar Fair has given up on the attraction. I know it has always had operation and maintenance issues, but when it was working properly, it was a fantastic adventure. I do hope they revitalize that space in a Knott's Berry Farm fashion, revamping the mountain with some sort of narrative theme, and rebuilding the coaster with more seats and more reliability.

*sigh* It is a sad, sad day for Kings Dominion and for coaster fans in general.

February 10, 2019 at 11:45 PM

Out with the old and unreliable. It's true, this coasters reliability was completely unpredictable, 2 hours on, 2 hours off. Wasn't much of a fan when it was up and running. Looked more appealing and interesting than the actual ride. Referring to the_man, I agree about Intamin. Hopefully they've made grave improvements since its rumored for BGW next coaster to be from them.

February 11, 2019 at 8:39 AM

It's a real shame, because every time I went to the park last year, it was either down or had an intolerable line (over 30 minutes). I hadn't actually ridden it since the end of the 2017 season, so I'm extremely disappointed that it has been closed so abruptly. Volcano had a long history of maintenance issues, so its closure is not surprising, but the timing is hard for long time fans. The first year it opened, lines for the unique coaster (even before its demise, it was still the only complete circuit inverted launching coaster in the world) were consistently over 2 hours because of frequent roll-backs and technical issues. In fact, in order to increase reliability in its first season, Paramount's Kings Dominion removed half the seats from the trains halfway through the summer to ensure they could make it out of the volcano and through the rest of the course. That's right, one of the most anticipated roller coasters in the US ran for much of its first season with just 8 seats per train, and with the systems only able to launch trains every 90-120 seconds or so, the overall capacity of the ride was pathetic. Eventually, Intamin added a second boost launch just before the flip out of the mountain to decrease rollbacks, which eventually led to them returning the trains to their full compliment of seats. Reportedly, the reason that KD no longer wanted to maintain the ride was because stress cracks had formed on a number of critical supports. Between having to replace those members, which would have required even more cuts into the mountain's structure (over the past year, a number of cuts were made into the mountain to access and inspect these supports) and the cost for a ride that is already one of the most expensive in the park to operate (because of the 2 launches using older, inefficient LSMs), Kings Dominion probably made the right call.

The problem is that trying to keep the mountain in place will likely cost too much, and I wouldn't be surprised to see KD demolish the entire site to build a new attraction on the old footprint.

Fans have lost one of the most unique roller coasters in the world.

February 11, 2019 at 11:27 AM

Fans have indeed lost one of the most unique roller coasters in the world. Everything about it was remarkably different from anything I'd experienced, from the configuration to the utterly surprising second launch. I feel fortunate to have found it operating when I visited Kings Dominion last April. It seemed possibly a bit rougher, especially during the 155-foot rollout, than it had during my previous visits but was otherwise running right as rain. I hadn't really considered the capacity issue b/c I almost invariably purchase Fast Lane at out-of-area parks and therefore get on quickly. As to how long it ran, 20 years doesn't strike me as a long life span for a coaster - certainly not when you consider the fact that the Coney Island Cyclone celebrated its 90th birthday two years ago - although with a coaster of this complexity I suppose that one should figure in a reduction in life expectancy. In any case I am very sorry to see Volcano go. This coaster was truly a blast!

February 11, 2019 at 8:09 PM

Sorry to see this coaster go. Growing up in VA, KD was my home park. I remember spending the summer of 98 visiting the park weekly as this ride was delayed opening, but thoroughly enjoying the ride.

February 12, 2019 at 1:37 AM

Volcano was in my top 5. I’m so happy I was able to ride it on my visits to the other side of the country. I wish they’d just rebuild it better, faster, stronger. That second launch and shooting out of the volcano was always exhilarating.

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