After managing to actually catch up on my homework as well as attempt to conquer a Physics exam, I definitely felt ready to go to Haunt for the evening! Usually I go by myself, but this time was an exception as one of my school friends joined me for this trip. Needless to say, both of us were excited!
We were originally planning to arrive at the park at 6, but we didn't arrive until 7 due to traffic. I did hear that President Trump was in the area, and that happened to be true in Lebanon when I (attempted) to head south on State Route 48 after turning off of U.S. 42. I didn't get too far before having to turn around, so I had to figure out an alternate route on the spot, using my fairly sharp sense of direction and my friend's phone's GPS to find a way around the road closure and reach 48 via another intersection farther south. Even though it took time away that we could have otherwise spent at Kings Island, we got to explore Lebanon a little, and it made the moment that much sweeter when we finally reached Kings Island. There was some traffic on 71 (since it was rush hour) but as usual, it moved quickly. Now I know that I should never take for granted the low traffic and lack of lane/road closures I face on 99% of my 45-minute, Kings-Island-bound trips.
Upon arriving, I noticed long lines to enter the parking lot from both directions on Kings Island Drive. Fortunately, the associate parking lot had no wait. #perksofworkingatKI
I wondered if we should invest in Fast Lane to make up for the lost time (there was even a line at the Fast Lane stand when we entered the park) but I decided to see how the ride lines were first, as we came for the rides and didn't care about doing any Haunts. Since it was cold and rainy, I hoped that the lines for the rides would remain short while most flocked to the Haunt attractions.
I instead chose to spend my money on riding Xtreme Skyflyer, since both of us wanted to ride it (and I wanted a night rain ride on it for the experience!). The rate was only $10, but with my Platinum Pass discount it was only $9 each for the two of us! We got suited up for our dark, rainy, and COLD flight. After rising above the fog and watching the park shrink below us, we heard "3, 2, 1, Fly!" after which I pulled the ripcord and we free-fell for a solid 2-3 seconds before our harnesses caught us and we flew back and forth over Action Zone! It was still as fun as I remember from my two rides back in August! Even though riding Skyflyer first was my decision, I still thought we were crazy for making Kings Island's scariest ride (in my opinion) our first ride of the evening. I don't regret it though!
While at Skyflyer, we saw that Drop Tower had no line! The Bat was next though since we were right by the entrance. Passing the long lines for Blackout and Wolf Pack, we made the scenic journey to The Bat's station, where we waited only one cycle to board. I say "cycle" because only one train was running (which I guess has to do with the rain, much like how a certain other Arrow runs 2 of its 3 trains in the rain). We rode in 4-2 because a group wanted us to go in front of them in line. For the record, it was my first time riding The Bat with one train operation. And of course it was great! The dark and the rain made the ride feel much faster than 51 mph. And like Skyflyer (and any ride we rode that night), it was COLD.
Next we joined Drop Tower's nonexistent line, and we rode in seats 24 and 25. It had been a while since my last night ride on Drop Tower, so I was excited for this (and so was my friend, as she LOVES thrill rides like I do). Since it was raining, I got to feel the rain go "up" as we dropped (since we fell faster than the rain) much like on August 18, 2016, when I rode Drop Tower in a downpour!
From Drop Tower, we saw Invertigo's short line so we decided to ride it next. The line looked like roughly a two cycle wait, but the separator was seeking out groups of two to fill in the few remaining empty rows. We were a group of two, so we got to get on the next cycle! We were sent to one of the end rows (which are my favorite seats!) and we rode on the backwards-first end on what I would say is Kings Island's most intense coaster! We had fun on another one of my favorite rides at Kings Island!
After getting off Invertigo, I noticed it was already after 8:00. We decided to head into Coney Mall Maul. I knew Coney Maul was a scare zone so I kept my eye out for scareactors, of which I saw a good number of them scaring fellow guests (and me on one occasion ). I loved the atmosphere of Coney Maul and how it used the already present "classic midway" theme of Coney Mall to portray a haunted carnival of sorts. While we didn't get around to Pumpkin Eater, I have heard good things about it so I will make sure I can see it at some point between now and Closing Day!
We approached X-Base to see if Firehawk was open...and it wasn't. My friend has never ridden Firehawk, so we hoped to ride it at some point since it would (attempt to) operate for only three more weekends including now. We decided to ride Vortex and then check back at Firehawk later.
Vortex happened to be down as well, but it didn't look like it had been down for long and had actually started cycling as we approached. The line was still closed though, so we waited outside the entrance with a few people in front of us who ended up leaving after a minute, so we were the first ones in line. Other guests, upon seeing the ride cycling but still closed, either waited with us or walked away. Knowing Vortex, I knew that cycling trains makes an excellent indication of how soon it will go back up, especially since I saw the trains cycle with a few riders on board (the guests who had stayed in line for the time it was down). A few minutes passed before my fellow associate opened the line, and we went in. As I guessed, Vortex was running two trains because of the prevalent showers. Train 2 was on the transfer track while 1 and 3 were running. Since we were first in line, we of course took the opportunity to walk on to the front row. Train 3 waited in the station as we arrived.
Now we already knew that riding in the rain on a cold night such as this would already make for a crazy experience like we had on Skyflyer, The Bat, Drop Tower, and Invertigo. But little did we know that Vortex would more than willingly kick it up a notch or even two. I already knew we were in for yet another crazy ride when we rolled out into the rain. The view was excellent as always for the 56 second ascent up the lift, after which we proceeded to get blasted in the face with cold rain and wind for the next two minutes! And let me tell you (and don't ignore this just because I'm a huge Vortex fan...I promise I am not sugarcoating! Please hear me out! ), the ride was absolutely HAULING. Not only was the train running quite smoothly (Seriously, it was pretty smooth! Fellow KICers who rode it last night: would you agree?) other than the snappy transitions of course, but it was FLYING through the elements and would not let up until reaching the brakes! It was absolutely crazy, especially since the temperature was only in the mid- to high-40's!! And also, on a side note, my Toothless hat I was wearing was spared, as it did not fly off; thank goodness.
After that epic, wet, and COLD ride, we headed back to Firehawk. Surprise surprise, it was still closed. Either it had not reopened since the first time we checked, or it had gone back up only to go back down a short time after (we were not at Vortex for too long, 5-10 minutes tops). Flight of Fear was right next door but it had a big line...
...so we headed right back to Vortex and rode it a second time! This time we rode in the back for what would be our craziest ride yet. We thought our front seat adventure was crazy enough, but add in all the airtime and intensity of a back-seat Vortex ride...and that was just what we got! Another HAULING night ride complete with a 55 mph, 40 degree blast of wind and rain as Train 1 pulled us over each hill and through each inversion! It literally left me speechless as we disembarked; I was thinking, "WOW...what just happened? That was totally wicked!!" I think it's safe for me to say that aside from my downpour ride on June 12, that was the craziest ride I have ever experienced on Vortex to date! It was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!! Both of us could hardly feel our faces after the ride, but we had SOOOO much fun.
Back to Firehawk, for the third time...only this time it was OPEN! I got a locker for the few loose articles we had with us, and we got in line. However, the third time would not be a charm for long as it went down AGAIN...and we were only two trains away. Firehawk was actually running only one train (the red train) but at least the line was short. It was just before 9:30, and we had to leave the park by 10 since my dad wanted us back at my house by 11. I suggested riding Vortex a third time, but we were still recuperating from the crazy experience that was our previous ride, so we decided to stay and see if Firehawk would go back up before we had to leave. It started cycling at roughly 9:45, but had not reopened by 9:55 when we left the line, so we ended the night with our failed attempt to ride Firehawk.
On our way out (after grabbing our stuff from my $2 locker), we decided that Friday the 26th would make a good backup date, and that hopefully we can go again then so my friend would have one last chance to ride Firehawk. We also wanted to ride WindSeeker, but it was down until it went up RIGHT AS WE WERE LEAVING. As for Vortex, it stayed up for the rest of the time we were there after its brief downtime just before our first ride. We got a total of six rides in the three hours we were there (we took our time ) so even though we didn't do EVERYTHING we wanted *cough*Firehawk*cough* we still had a blast! Quality over quantity!
We loved the idea of getting a ride on The Beast (especially since Vortex was quite epic) but like Flight of Fear, it had a pretty long line, and we didn't get to Rivertown since we spent our time in Action Zone and Coney Maul. But hopefully we can come back together on the 26th and fix that (especially if it rains again ).
It definitely was AMAZING in here at Kings Island, and we're glad most of the ride lines were short! I always underestimate how much I enjoy Haunt season, even though the fall season is my favorite part of the season! Getting the occasional fog cloud in the face, walking under the numerous spotlights and the other ambient elements, listening to the area-specific music (which of course fits extremely well), and watching my back for any scareactors in the vicinity nicely contributed to our experience.
We'll be back! Fingers crossed that my friend can finally ride Firehawk on the 26th! My next time there will be next Friday night when I'll visit with another friend (who has gone with me before, in 2010 and 2013)!
(and you may notice, I don't have any photos for this trip, other than one dark Firehawk photo I took while waiting in line. I forgot to charge the battery for my digital camera, and I didn't want to expose my phone to the rain for too long. )
+Xtreme Skyflyer: 1
+The Bat: 1
+Drop Tower: 1
YTD: 154 1/3
Total: 647 1/3