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Everything posted by homestar92

  1. Great trip report as always, and thanks for all the nice pictures of Vortex (both in this post and in the past). Vortex is really special to me. I sure don't have anywhere near 1200 rides on it, but it's my most ridden ride by a landslide as well. The park is sure going to be different next year. Vortex has always been my constant thing that I ride every single visit to the park. Maybe it's the emotions talking and things will change in the coming months, but for now, I don't see this hobby ever being the same for me. I already renewed my platinum pass for next year, so I'm going to try and keep enjoying the park, but it might be time for me to move on to a new hobby now with Vortex gone. We will see what the future holds. Since my #1 and #2 rides have been removed over the last two seasons, I would just like to announce loudly and publicly that my favorite coaster is now Invertigo. Yep. Definitely Invertigo. Golly, I sure love that ride bunches and it sure would be a darn shame if it were the next coaster to leave.
  2. There is though because a US dollar is worth 1.31 Canadian. That's a pretty hefty savings even with the sales tax being more than double what it is in Mason.
  3. I will enjoy my Vortex rides, as I always do... But I can tell you that for me and probably many others, it will probably not be a happy day. There will be tears, and probably not only from me.
  4. However, it is very likely that they share many common parts and therefore Firehawk's train could still be useful as a parts donor.
  5. I get what you're getting at, but Vortex doesn't really fit that profile actually. Vortex's ridership is still higher (as of 2014 which was the last time stats were published, anyway) than many coasters that are perceived (perhaps falsely) as being more "popular" and it has historically not been an expensive coaster to operate. I highly, highly doubt that corporate arbitrarily told them they need to get rid of a coaster, even if there was one with above average maintenance cost and below average ridership (Firehawk fit that bill, but the reason for its removal is quite obvious and was definitely not a last minute decision). All we will ever have is speculation, but the closest thing we have to a "consensus" among those speculating is that something is damaged in a way that would be extremely expensive to fix. The apparent suddenness of the announcement would also seem to point that way. In my mind, the most likely thing is metal fatigue or other structural issues that would require complete replacement rather than a patch job. However, deep down in my mind, I would really appreciate the irony if it turns out the reason it's going away ended up being because a sinkhole formed under it. That would actually make me chuckle, which is something I haven't done much of regarding this removal. One did form seemingly out of nowhere under the Corvette museum, so I suppose that's a thing that can happen.
  6. Did they turn on Vortex's tracer lights at Winterfest the last two years? Seems weird to turn those on for a coaster that's closed for the year. They never ran Son of Beast's lift hill lights after it went SBNO.
  7. I've ridden a great many B&M Inverts and I can say that in my experience, Banshee does have a noticeable rattle that doesn't exist on any of the others, and is my second least favorite B&M Invert besides Patriot at WoF. Banshee is definitely the least smooth of all of them. In fact, the only reason it beats out Patriot (which is far smoother) is because Patriot's layout is unbelievably boring. Shame, too, since it has my number one all time favorite paint job on a roller coaster besides maybe the Joker at SFDK (seeing a coaster with two different colored track rails was so different that I had to love it)
  8. Mantis and Vortex (CA Great America) got overhauls while remaining largely the same ride (stand-up to floorless conversion). Obviously that's not happening to Vortex, as nobody makes floorless trains compatible with Arrow track. Hurler at Kings Dominion and Mean Streak both got RMC'd. However, I would argue those are a whole new coaster. If there were any RMC-like treatment for steel coasters, this would be the most likely chance of Vortex not *really* going away. But no such conversion exists, so this won't be happening. The Flying Cobras at Carowinds got a new Vekoma train upon its relocation to replace the old Arrow train it ran at Geauga Lake. If anything were happening to Vortex that would cause it to not actually be leaving, this is it. Though, I don't think the park would try to claim the ride was being "retired" if that were the case, but rather renovated. Especially with Vortex being a staple of Kings Island and one of the most immediately recognizable coasters in the world, nobody would fall for it as a "new" ride the way they did with Rougarou. If there is some plan to upgrade Vortex in some way, this is what it would be, though the odds of that are a million to one. Frankly, if Vortex were in a good enough state that new trains would breath new life into it, then there would be no reason to do that as it still gets great ridership with the old ones. The interesting one to take note of was at a SIX park. Ninja at Six Flags over Georgia (a Vekoma, but in terms of track design they are Arrow's closest relative) got new paint, trains, and extensive track work in its conversion to Blue Hawk. If Vortex has any future (and that's a big if, and one that I've already come to terms with simply not being the case) then that would be it. Technically speaking, you could maybe get away with marketing it as a new coaster so it would explain the "retired" verbiage, but the 99.9% certain reality is that Kings Island is going to look very, very weird, empty, and wrong to a lot of us next year. All that said, don't get your hopes up guys. There are very few people on this planet who love Vortex more than me, so believe me that it brings me unbelievable pain to say this, but the old girl is done. Get your rides in before the 27th and say your goodbyes because you aren't getting another opportunity. I would absolutely love to be wrong. It would literally make my year if I'm wrong. But I just don't think that I am. And as much as I would have loved a farewell season, at least we got a little bit of warning and time to say our goodbyes. That's more than the Son of Beast or Tomb Raider fans got, and for that much, I'm grateful.
  9. While I GREATLY prefer Cedar Fair parks, and I love the way they manage Kings Island, now that the imminent threat is gone and I can think more rationally, I don't think Six Flags would be the death knell of Kings Island if a theoretical merger happened. I certainly don't WANT Six Flags Kings Island to ever be a thing, but realistically, the park would survive. They have at least one park that is very Kings Island-y in Six Flags Great America, and I actually love that park (it's my second favorite right after KI, in fact). I think they could actually manage KI fine and the things that they would change for the worse are fairly minor things in the grand scheme. Almost every other park in the chain, I think they could do fine. In fact, I think many of the smaller FUN parks would see far increased capex if they were to get "flagged". Heck, Worlds of Fun in particular has an extremely Six Flags vibe to it in my opinion already. Cedar Point, however, would definitely suffer under Six Flags ownership. Mostly because it's so incredibly different from any other seasonal park out there. Six Flags certainly has no experience running a park like that. Especially not when you consider the beach and all the activities available there, the two hotels, the campground and cabins, etc. That's the one that I don't ever want to see fall into Six Flags's hands. Especially because "Six Flags Cedar Point" sounds icky and wrong. There's always the possibility it wouldn't get rebranded, but it's generally only the very small parks that don't, like Great Escape and La Ronde. In my perfect world, The chains would merge, Six Flags would relocate Whizzer onto Vortex's plot of land for some reason, and then somehow the merge would be undone and everything would go back to how it was before, but with Whizzer now located only 20 minutes from my home. This is my favorite timeline (other than Vortex remaining where it sits, naturally).
  10. If you have a group of 6 or more, the cabins and cottages at Lighthouse Point turn into a great deal since the price per person ends up well under 100 most days. I prefer the cottages over the cabins because of the patio with the lake view, but on my last stay, the cabin I was in was essentially directly under Maggie's turnaround, which was a really cool thing to wake up to out the window.
  11. Most of the people I associated with (this was long before I was interested in roller coasters so I was associating with non-enthusiasts) interpreted the news as Cedar Point, not Cedar Fair, being the ones acquiring the park, and believed that we were going to be getting a 300+ foot coaster every year from now on. Obviously, that was not realistic, but people had a certain perception about Cedar Point and were expecting that Kings Island would turn into Cedar Point South. Which I am thankful didn't happen. I don't think they would encounter any issues with such a merger. Keep in mind, the two chains really aren't in competition as it is because there is very little overlap in their current markets. Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area are the only markets where both currently operate a park, and in both of those markets there are other amusement parks outside of either chain.
  12. Important and iconic rides like Colossus or Rolling Thunder, right?
  13. Aight. I'mma head out. The only thing worse in my mind than a Vortex-less Kings Island is a Flagged Kings Island. I've been to many Six Flags parks. Only one of which qualifies as "better than average" in my mind and that's Great America. The only winner here would be Six Flags who would finally have a few decent parks in their portfolio.
  14. To be fair, I think this is the first Arrow coaster that I can recall Cedar Fair retiring in the last decade or more. I don't think we can take one closure as a trend or an indication of things to come. Besides, the only other "big" Arrow looper in the chain is Anaconda, which is newer and far less beloved than Vortex. So if it were to close, there's no way it gets this kind of reaction.
  15. Are we not considering the Darien Lake Viper as one of the "big" loopers? What about Dragon Mountain? Both are several years older than Vortex and have not had any indication of an impending closure.
  16. I don't think they really make those anymore. I feel like floorless coasters have kinda rendered them obsolete.
  17. Man oh man where to start. So, I think it's no secret that Vortex is extremely sentimental to me. Some members around here who used to be very active know the reasons, but most of the new faces probably don't. So I'll start with the beginning so that people understand why I love Vortex so much in particular. 2010 was my first visit to Kings Island in many, many years. I had been deathly afraid of roller coasters up to that point, but was dragged kicking and screaming onto Flight of Fear by a girl I was dating at the time and I loved the ride (not that it matters to the story, but that is not the girl I would eventually be married to, though our breakup was amicable and I do still consider her a friend). The next one we did was Vortex, which was her favorite and I think that enthusiasm for the ride rubbed off on me and made me love it. That was my first serious relationship and I think the desire to impress the girl can change someone in more ways than they might realize. We rode that ride over and over that day. I didn't actually have a pass in 2010, just a two-day ticket and then later a single-day Haunt admission, but I think that year I rode Vortex more times in those three visits than in any other season to date. Well, during one of those rides that day, we were in line in the section at the top of the stairs that overlooks the brake run and a mutual friend, Jeremy, was on the train below making a fool of himself as was pretty typical. He always was the class clown type. So we spent the rest of the day riding with him and while we had been friends for years (our parents ran the childrens' ministries at our respective churches and we ended up at A LOT of events and such together so we'd been friends for basically our whole lives but never extremely close) it was those days at Kings Island and on Vortex in particular that we really bonded and became the closest friends I think either of us had ever had. I didn't see him much except in the summer though because I went to college several hours away (Muskingum University, just east of Zanesville). Summer of 2011 rolls around and I have a gold pass now that my parents got me for Christmas the past year. Through May and June, Jeremy and I probably made 15 visits to the park, always making it a point to ride Vortex at least a dozen times. Vortex was our "classy lady" as we called it. So I leave to visit my grandparents in Milwaukee over 4th of July weekend. I remember WindSeeker having opened pretty late in the year that year and I hadn't yet had a chance to ride it. Jeremy and I were going to ride it that first visit after I got back from Wisconsin. One of my other good friends who would later be the best man at my wedding got a chance to ride it the day it opened to the public and had told me good things about the ride experience. I was really looking forward not only to the new ride but to all the cool new angles to watch Vortex from. On the 4th of July, I felt pain that I sincerely hope nobody else ever experiences in their lives. I got a call while I was away in Wisconsin that Jeremy had been killed in a car accident. He was with a couple of his other friends (I didn't know these ones, thankfully, as the day would have been that much worse) and they were driving far too fast and lost control and hit a tree. To this day, I can't drive through that part of Hamilton because seeing that tree shakes me to my core in a way that I can't even begin to describe. It was really hard to go to KI for a while without my riding buddy. If anyone here remembers seeing a strange man sitting in a fetal position crying at the entrance to Vortex in July of 2011, that was me. I didn't get to ride Vortex for a while after that because you may remember that just a few days earlier, its chain broke. I'm a religious man and I don't believe in coincidence, and to this day, I think God himself knew that I couldn't emotionally handle riding Vortex for a while and that he stepped in to make sure I didn't jump the gun and try before I was ready. On a similar note to that, I did get to ride WindSeeker on my first visit back after he passed. It was a night ride and it was right as the park closed. My first ride on WindSeeker was a fireworks ride and in that moment, I was happy at the park again, for the first time since the incident. That's part of why I have a deep sentimental attachment to WindSeeker too despite not even particularly liking the ride. Make no mistake, Vortex IS my favorite ride just based on my enjoyment of the ride experience, but because of everything I've written here, it became not only a favorite, but deeply sentimental and important to me. So for me, losing Vortex is not just losing a roller coaster that I like as was the case with Firehawk, I'm losing my last earthly memento of that friendship and it's not something I expected I'd have to part with so soon. Fast forward a few years to 2013. The aforementioned girl and I had actually just recently broken up. We had been together for three years. It was hard emotionally, but the long distance thing during the school year was just too taxing on both of us emotionally and we decided it would be better to call it off. Anyway, at the Ed Alonzo show during the KIC day event that year (still the best enthusiast event I've ever attended, BTW) we were all in the KI Theater waiting for the show to start and I overheard someone talking about how much they love Arrows and in particular, Vortex. Being the socially awkward dork that I am who can't pick up social cues, I didn't realize that he was chatting with his girlfriend and that it's really not an appropriate time to butt in. But thankfully, he decided to have a conversation with me anyway about all our favorite Arrows. Some of you may know him because it's the now-banned KIC member TheDevariousEffect. Anywho, we end up bonding over our mutual appreciation of Arrows and ended up becoming close friends over the following months and years. We were roommates for a while and ended up becoming extremely close friends and he was actually a part of my wedding party (just to alleviate the fears of those who know him, no, I did not ever let him have a hot mic at the reception ). I can tell you right now, that had Vortex not been so important and meaningful to me, I probably never would have butted into that conversation, and that's a very important friendship that I never would have made. I have so many Vortex memories and I could never even *begin* to share them all here, but this should summarize the important ones. The ride has been central to so many pivotal moments in my life. Losing it is going to be extremely difficult. It's going to be hard for a long time to go to the park and not see it there. I understand the business sense in the removal. While I probably will avoid the park for a while, it's not like I'm trying to punish them or boycott them. I'm just not quite ready emotionally to see Coney Mall without my Vortex yet. I'm not angry, bitter, or resentful at the park. Just sad. Very sad. I understand that they have to do what they have to do, but that really doesn't make it much easier. I happened to find one of my on-ride photos from that visit in 2010. I'm amazed I even kept it this long, but I found it funny. Try and forgive me for being in the wrong seat - this was before I realized that 7-1 is the only correct place to sit. Me and my ex-girlfriend are in the front and Jeremy is behind us acting silly because that's just what Jeremy did.
  18. No. It would be unwise for them to do so. PTC has said they don't want their trains being run backwards. That may not have been the reason for flipping them back to both be forward (the park denies this and claims the reason was to restore the ride to its original experience) however, with that in mind, it opens the door for possible litigation if any incident, related or otherwise, were to happen on Racer. If a rider were to be hurt on Racer and their lawyer found out the ride was being operated outside of the manufacturer's recommendation, that is the kind of thing that any competent lawyer would jump on.
  19. Note that I didn't say I categorize by what the wheels are sitting on, I categorize by what material is the predominant one between the upstop wheels and the drive wheels. Yes, all wooden coasters' wheels are directly contacting a series of thin steel strips. But between those thin steel strips? Wood. That's the key. RMC topper track wheels ride on a steel box with no wood in its construction whatsoever. It's no different than the construction of a mine train coaster, which are universally regarded as steel. The differentiation between topper track and I-box track is just enthusiasts and manufacturers being pedantic to claim records. The fact is, in either case, No wood exists between the wheels whatsoever.
  20. If no wood whatsoever exists between the drive wheels and the upstop wheels at any point on the ride cycle, I have a hard time calling the coaster "wooden". Intamin prefabs, while certainly not traditional wooden coasters, are wooden coasters because the wheels ride on wood. It's not about "feel", it's about what the wheels are actually riding on. If we're going by "feel", then Adventure Express is a wooden coaster and El Toro is steel and both of those are obviously not true. The majority of Adventure Express is also wood, as are the majority of all RMC Iron Horse coasters (except Storm Chaser). Not a single person is calling those wooden coasters. A few wooden boards that sit under the actual track rails on a coaster where no wood exists between the wheels doesn't make a meaningful differentiation with something like a mine train coaster. RMCs are steel coasters that the manufacturer has decided to claim as wooden so that they can claim records.
  21. Wait, are you implying that you think their announcement was fine? I'm not sure what would be a "good" announcement other than giving us a farewell season. What I can say, however, is that a 6AM push notification is the second-worst way this could possibly be handled. The only worse option would be to announce it after the park has already closed for the year.
  22. To be honest, I just assumed that was where Stricker's got their Mosier tower. I guess not.
  23. All we have to go off of are the published ridership numbers, which we haven't had in several years, but we do at least have a few years after Banshee, which means the numbers should still be fairly accurate relative to each other (I don't imagine Mystic would take riders away from Vortex in the same way that Banshee might). The most recent years when those numbers were published still placed Vortex's ridership solidly above average for coasters at KI. That's the only empirical data we really have, and that data pointed to it being reasonably popular. KI is a local park that caters primarily to season passholders (AKA, repeat visitors). If Vortex is pulling numbers, that means people enjoyed the ride. There aren't a ton of people at KI on a typical day who are ignorant to what the ride experience is like and will ride it without knowing what to expect and hate it.
  24. This is generally why I believe the reason *must* be structural. People can claim nobody liked Vortex, but they'd be wrong. It may not often have a line, but it still sends trains that are usually mostly full, which means it still operates at close to capacity. The ride is still popular and KI acknowledged that in the blog post. I imagine the park knew that the news wouldn't go over well, which is also why I don't think they would remove it if it was within the realm of reason to keep it going. Anything other than a structural problem would be relatively inexpensive to fix, and I imagine that's the route they would go if they felt it was possible. I just wish it got a proper send off. The biggest hurt in all this is that the news was broken by a 6AM push notification from the app. That's like getting broken up with via a text message, and that aspect of the removal, I think we can all agree, is not cool. It feels wrong that freaking Mantis got a better send off than Vortex (and Mantis didn't even really go anywhere!)
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