Trip Report: King's Island

Kings Island: A trip to KI with the wife and Kids

From Don Neal
Posted June 21, 2007 at 8:05 AM
This past Friday (6/15) I took the day off and drove the hour and fourty-five mins from Indy to Cincy with the family for a day at KI. I grew up in Cincy and have a lof of great memories. But since moving to Indy in 2002 from Detroit and being closer to KI, I have made some even better ones in taking my kids and enjoying it with them.

This year my oldest son (almost 8) broke the epic 48" line and made himself eligible for riding some of the big boy rides. He had done really well in the past with riding kiddy coasters and such so now it was time to see if he really had the coaster love. Another couple joined us on our trip so once we arrived we split up and the ladies took my two daughters (4 & 6) off to Nickelodeon land while me and my friend headed to the coasters with my son in tow. This was a big first step for him and I had to reassure him that we would make it back to the Nick area so he could ride some of his favorites too. Heck even I like to ride Avatar and Scooby Doo. And I knew my 6 year old was ready to start the kiddy coasters and dad would want to be there when she took her first hill. :)

I figured my son would get a kick out of the Italian Job and without a huge first hill it is less intimidating. So we headed straight back and got in line. Good news right away - only 10 people in front of us and the ride was running! WOO HOO! So we hopped on. His voice began to tremble a bit as they checked our belts and restraints but he showed great courage. The Italian Job has taken it's beating as well it should, it's short, some of the effects don't work anymore, and the que can be long, but for an 8 year old it was perfect and he had a blast. I even loved the dark part at the end in the tunnel. He did well and came off with a smile on his face. Thorughout the day he kept saying it was his favorite, but he eventually changed his mind. More on that later... :)

Second we decided to head to the Racers. One of the classics and older roller coasters in the United States. KI has done a great job of keeping this ride up as far as it being clean, well kept, painted, and such. So we head up the first hill and again the trembling voice returns. So I point to the people riding it backwards on the track next to us to which he laughed at and was a good distraction as we neared the top of the hill. I tried to laugh and scream as much as possible to show him how to hav a good time. He held his breath through the first two hills but on the third one he let it out and started to enjoy it. By the time we got back in the station he was all smiles again and was happy. Two coasters down, so far so good. While we were on the Racers, I had seen the line for Firehawk and it was HUGE. We had walked onto EVERYTHING so far but now I knew why. Everyone in the park was in line there. So we passed on it and headed for Top Gun.

Now I love Top Gun. It's short yes. But's it's so smooth and I love the perspective it gives you. And without a large hill and no inverts, I figured it was the next logical step in my son's coaster experience. However I underestimated the effect of seeing it go sideways would have on him and the tangled metal track weaving through the woods. After some serious discussion while we waited all of 5 mins to get on, he decided to pass on it and waited in the child que while my buddy and I rode. I was dissappointed because I knew he would love it. But I told him he could think about it and we would come back to it later if he wanted.

Next we headed to the Vortex, now he is tall enough but I wasn't even going to try and talk him into this one. And he laughed at me when I even joked about it. "Dad, you're crazy if you think I'm going on that!" LOL So we waited maybe 10 mins, hopped on while he waited in the child que and enjoyed the Vortex. Not as smooth as it once was but still a great coaster. :)

I felt bad that he had waited twice so we wanted to find something he could ride. So we headed to White Water Canyon. IT was really starting to warm up and we all didn't mind a little cool down. Fortunately they had just opened the ride and there were only two boat fulls of people in line in front of us. The walk back to the ride was longer than our wait. And I thought Dueling Dragons was a long que. GOSH! So we soaked ourselves and had fun. My son and I had ridden the Popeye ride at IOA like three times last time we were there so this brought back fond memories. :)

We then headed to the Nick area to meet up with the girls and grab some lunch. IT'S SKYLINE TIME! Now I know that for most people Cincinnati style chili is a love it of hate it thing and in my case it's a LOVE IT! I grew up on Skyline and Gold Star so it's a KI tradition for me. :)

After lunch, we headed to the Water Park. I love that KI includes this in the price and is a great value. There is a ton of new stuff in the last few years that make it great. The layout is a little strange and you walk alot but we always enjoy ourselves. The lazy river kicked off the experience allowing our food to settle. Then my wife took the kids to one of the three kid's areas. All very nice and well done. While my friend, his wife, and I headed to ride the FUNNEL style ride. I love this thing. It has different names at each park but basically you ride a 4 person raft down an enclosed dark tube and are dumped into a giant funnel on it's side where you rock back and forth all the way down. Great stuff. We did some other slides and then I took the kids to the wave pool while my wife took the youngest back to the Nick area to see the Dora show. My two oldest loved the wave pool. And I had fun getting tossed around in there with them. And the provided laife jackets were perfect for my 6 year old. That appears to be something new that Cedar Fair has provided as I don't remember them there last year when we went and it was still Paramount. Very nice touch.

A little while later we headed back to the Nick area and met up with my wife. It was time for my 6 year's old first coaster ride. So we got in line for the Scooby Doo/Beastie/Fairly Odd Coaster (so many names thorughout the years) and were greeted with a short wait. Only one train to go and we are on. My daughter showed no fear and my son treated it like old hat. After all he had already rode two "big" coasters. :) My daughter enjoyed and begged to ride it again. Looks like I might have two coaster kids! SWEET! :D It was really neat having kids old enough to ride with me on rides and enjoy it. New experience. And you have to love their enthusiasm. :)

Next my wife took my son on the Rugrats Reptar coaster while I took the girls to another ride. My wife hates coasters so this was pretty big of her to do that. :) Then my son and I rode the Avatar ride. I think this ride is the most original concept for using classic elements of rides. It's a blast and a ton of fun. Last year we rode it three times! Great for young and old!

My wife was ready to get out of the kids area by now so we all headed thorugh Rivertown and into the Coney Mall where they did a few of the fair type rides. I can't do these, makes me terribly dizzy. I can ride the biggest, tallest, fastest coasters, but please no spinning. :P As we left the Coney Mall area and headed into the Action Zone it was time for the big question. "Son, Top Gun is right here, you ready to give it a try?" "Yep, I'm gonna do it dad, let's go!" WOO HOO! Worked out well since my friend's wife wanted to ride it as well.

While waiting in line (again, maybe 5 mins) there was some doubt but again he was determined and showed great courage. As we headed up the hill his eyes were closed, his hands clinched, and voice trembling..."Dad are we gonna go sideways?" GULP! Truth or lie? HAHAH! "Yep son, we sure are, but you're strapped in and dad is right here!" And then we are at the top, making the slow turn to the drop. "Son, it's about to go REALLY fast!" 2 minutes later in the station que..."Dad..." "Yeah son?" "CAN WE RIDE THAT AGAIN?!?!" YES! Of courese we can! So we ran through and took the short cut, got back in line and this time eyes were opened and and laughed and screamed the whole way! So in total he had ridden 4 coasters and 2 of the kids. He was living the coaster kid's dream! :)

All in all it was a great day. Beautiful weather. Park was spotless. Service was friendly. Waits weren't long (minus Firehawk). And they have the best Blueberry Ice Cream ever! Cedar Fair has at least kept with Kings Island's level of service and quality if not improved it. I am excited to see where they go with it. And they win the Best Kid's Area for theme parks every year for a reason. It's truly amazing. We headed out around 8, stopped at Big Boy for dinner (mmmm), then drove the 2 hours back to Indy. Wife and kids passed out and just my iPod and the hum of the highway to keep me company. Lots to reflect on. Another year of memories and enjoyment. And as always we'll be back next year!

P.S. Wife and I are going to Orlando in September for our 10 year anniversary with friends and no kids. Headed to IOA, USO, and WnW. This trip really got me excited to ride the Mummy, Hulk, Spiderman, and Dueling Dragons again. I love those rides! :)

From HSM Freak
Posted June 23, 2007 at 12:46 PM
I agree with you, the Vorex is MUCH faster this year. Also, if you like to read the safety signs in line, I saw the they changed the intesnsity rating from a 4 to a I know why. Also, since we went on Father's Day, I thought it would be good to ride the White Water Canyons, and we were just up right next to the loading zone when we heard that the ride was being shut down for upcoming weather, and we were all so bummed. Why? It rain for 5 minutes! Literally! Well, there was about 1 to 3 lightning strikes but it was a rip-off! Also, we did the bungee jump. Man, that hurts your thighs! I was flipping like every other jump! Also, we had a picture taken by those annoying camera people and we got that as a cute little present. We didn't get to ride the Firehawk though, that's one of my riding goals this year. We didn't ride all the rides we wanted to, but it was a great way to celebrate Father's Day. :)

From Don Neal
Posted June 25, 2007 at 12:52 PM
Yeah, we avoided Firehawk due to the long lines but we also talked to a few season ticket holders and they told us that it was not worth the wait. Very slow, and a small hill. I guess at some point I will ride it. And at least it creates a new draw to pull people from other lines.

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