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VortexBFForever

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VortexBFForever last won the day on March 27

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    Female
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    Either at KI, at school, or at home in Xenia, OH
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    Computers, technology, and, of course, thrill rides. I <3 Dollywood and Kings Island!
    Vortex/WindSeeker Ride Operator 2017-2019. R.I.P. Vortex.

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  1. My overall best is 6240 in August 2020, with the help of a ~5ish-minute stop from a delay in the station. My highest score without a ride stop is 2980, from sometime last year.
  2. Part 3 (August 17): Carowinds, Day 0.5 ft. Remnants of Fred Today was a day for which I waited years. After seeing it in pictures, I finally saw Where the Carolinas Come Together with my own two eyes as my mom and I drove down Interstate 77. The park’s skyline finally appeared after being on the road all day, and I even spotted a Fury train heading down its first drop! We already planned to spend two full days at the park after the day we arrived, but we arrived early enough that we could spend some bonus time at the park if we wanted! After we enjoyed a hearty Southern-style lunch at a local restaurant, we headed to Carowinds for the very first time. With the remnants of Tropical Storm (now Depression) Fred passing by to our west, it was cloudy and windy. The areas west, north, and south of us were under tornado watches already, but we did not have one…for now. Fred, plus it being a Tuesday, made for a very empty park when we arrived around 4pm. I was pleasantly surprised at how close we could park to the north gate! Walking over the bridge that houses Fury’s “Hive Dive,” a beautiful instrumental rendition of “All I Ask Of You” from Phantom of the Opera met my ears. Instrumental music! Actual orchestral pieces! It set the mood perfectly as I realized I was finally, actually at Carowinds! After walking the state line into the park, I quickly noticed Nighthawk nearby. I kind of wanted to “practice” where I would go first as if I was getting here at opening (in that case I would be going to Nighthawk first), but seeing how dead it was, I realized that ride order would not matter today. Either way, I made Nighthawk my very first ride at Carowinds. The one train running was already being loaded as I walked up into the station, but the crew reopened the gates and invited me to board in row 3. Nearly every aspect (if not all) of Nighthawk reminded me of Firehawk. The most obvious differences were Nighthawk’s station had a single track instead of two, and the in-line twists were more like squished corkscrews. This was the prototype Vekoma Flying Dutchman, after all. Moments later, I was on my way, on my back for the first time since Firehawk’s closing day. The lift hill is night-and-day compared to Firehawk’s lift; Nighthawk’s lift is quiet! Since it was cloudy, I did not yet have to deal with the sun in my face. From the top of the hill until the twists/corkscrews, it felt pretty much the same as Firehawk, albeit a little rougher than I remember Firehawk ever being. I still had a blast though, especially since at one point I didn’t even know IF I would make it to this ride! And yes, the loop is my favorite part of Nighthawk, as was my favorite part on Firehawk. I love the positive G’s from being pushed down onto my back while entering the loop, plus briefly hanging midway through where the train slows down slightly, before going back onto my back headfirst as I exit. The loop is SO GOOD! The twists/corkscrews were definitely different but were fun in their own way. Lastly, there was no helix or Fly-to-Lie but rather we stayed on our backs until gently (NOT abruptly) stopping on the COVERED brake run! Nighthawk has the brake run Firehawk wishes it had, lol. What a great way to start my first Carowinds trip! Intimidator was right across the way, so I walked right into its station and onto the back row of one of its two running trains. As I expected, it’s basically a Diamondback with slightly different stats, a slightly different out-and-back layout, and no splashdown. But like any B&M hyper I’ve ridden, it’s fun! Diamondback may have spoiled me with its splashdown, but I still enjoy sailing by the nearly empty parking lot aboard Intimidator! As I disembarked, I saw a few people staying on, as Carowinds allows rerides. I am so used to quickly getting off and going around! With the currently empty park, I knew I would have to include a reride or two on this abnormal evening. I didn’t reride Intimidator, but I eventually would on a couple of other coasters. I was going to make my way around the park through South Carolina first, but after riding Intimidator I didn’t want to resist the urge to finally ride Fury 325 any longer, so I headed there next. As I approached Fury, my phone buzzed with the notification that a tornado watch was issued for the area. My fear of tornadoes immediately began to act up, but I tried my best to push it aside as my mom and I had been gifted with extra Carowinds time due to our early arrival. For the first time, I was finally face-to-face with arguably the best B&M giga, Fury 325. I was ever-so-ready to “feel the sting” as I walked through its empty queue up to its nearly empty station. The front row had only one person waiting for it, so I joined that row with two other people joining behind me. My very first Fury ride would be in the front seat! I had a nice conversation with the person already in line for the front row, of whom I sat to the right. He told me he had been riding it for the last hour or so and had around 10 rides (if not more). I heard him and others say they rarely, if ever, had seen the park this empty! I knew I was in for a treat. My excitement grew as my train approached the looming 325-foot-high lift hill and the spiel began to play. I saw the top get closer and closer…and then we were there. I threw my hands up as we stared at the ground and flew down the 320’ drop, the wind blowing right in my face! I felt the speed and intensity as the train raced through turn after turn up to the treble clef, where I met sideways airtime. I floated in my seat as we began the “hive dive” into the tunnel and made the return trip over airtime hills and through the helix. When the train hit the brakes, I caught my breath as I realized…I finally rode Fury 325! And it was amazing! Much like Orion, though, I knew it would take a few rides for me to warm up to Fury, but I now had a great idea of why many enthusiasts consider it one of, if not their favorite coaster of all time! Upon returning to the station, a few rows in the queue were empty (and it was one train op!), so a few of us, including myself and the aforementioned person to my left, claimed the empty seats. I ended up on the far left seat in row 4. This ride felt a little more forceful, confirming my initial thought that Fury is more forceful than Orion. It also excited me wondering what the back rows would feel like. I love the back rows on Orion, so I knew I would love the back rows on Fury (and I would find out the next day!). While on the brakes during that second ride on Fury, I saw a familiar-looking, vibrant purple train traverse the corkscrews on the nearby Carolina Cyclone. Excitement and anticipation welled up once again as I saw another long-awaited opportunity finally at hand. I got off Fury, got my on-ride photos, and immediately headed toward Cyclone. I noticed the station remained empty while the train was cycling, indicating that it too was one-train op. For reference: purple train is Train 1 and yellow train is Train 2. I saw only Train 1 (purple) running, which I was fine with since I wanted my very first Cyclone ride to be on the same train that took me on my last Vortex ride (Train 1). By the time I reached Cyclone, another cycle had begun, so I walked over between the first corkscrew and its preceding turn and waited for Train 1. I watched the train drop 65’, navigate the two loops, and turn right around me into the corkscrews... ...and just like that, I was once again face-to-face with one of our Vortex trains, 660 days after I last rode it and 621 days after I last saw it. I was overwhelmed. I didn’t cry, but I felt the same euphoria as one would feel when seeing an old friend for the first time in years. In that very moment, Where the Carolinas Come Together became where a Vortex train and its former operator were together once again. After all this time saying goodbye to Vortex, I finally got to say hello, reminding me of the ending of "How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World," where Hiccup and Toothless are reunited after saying goodbye years ago and they once again enjoy a flight together! I made my way to the entrance and walked in, realizing what was happening as I climbed the stairs to the station. Train 1 had just loaded and the front seat was available, so I hopped in line to ride in the front when the train would return. I knew that train was from Vortex the moment I saw it, most notably the silver piping that was on either side of Vortex’s orange stripe. Plus I had kept tabs on it ever since it had left Kings Island, and Carowinds had published a blog entry on it. I watched the train leave the station and make its way around Cyclone’s short layout. The loops are right next to the station which is so cool! A couple minutes later, it was my turn. For the first time in 660 days, I stepped aboard Train 1. I sat down in the front left seat just as I did my first ride on Vortex. The whole time I still felt so many things at once: nostalgic from all the memories of this train’s previous home, grateful to have finally made it down here, and excited to ride a familiar train on an unfamiliar ride, something which I had never done before. I noticed a physical difference on the train…the seat cushions on which Vortex riders sat were gone, so the restraint would be higher on one’s head. I noticed my restraint reached up closer to my ears, where on Vortex they were closer to my jawline. I would find out soon this would be a factor in how I would adapt my habitual Arrow looper riding position. “All Clear for dispatch” filled the air, and Vortex…er, Cyclone took me on my way. My first ride on Cyclone and my 1,223rd ride on a Vortex train took me up a familiar sounding 95-foot tall lift hill and then turned me left into the drop. This whole time I expected it to be a slightly bigger Cedar Point Corkscrew, but those expectations were about to be blown away. The two vertical loops were forceful enough that my head in its usual forward position would have been snapped back if I wasn’t paying attention – and that nearly happened! To avoid that, I leaned as far forward as I could as my surprised self careened through the typical Arrow transition and into the corkscrews and around the helix at speeds approaching its 41-mph top speed. I’m glad I leaned forward because unsuspecting heads may become human ping pong balls if kept back between the sides of the harness in that transition. The corkscrews were even wilder than the loops, and the helix packed plenty of positives! The ride did not let up until the brakes! On the way back into the station, I saw the back car of Train 2 (yellow) sticking out of the train storage shed below the queue. I made sure to say hi to it as I rode by. This would be the closest I would get to Train 2, as only Train 1 would run for the duration of my trip. I didn’t mind, though, since I have already ridden every seat on every Vortex train. Cyclone is literally a smaller Arrow looper with Vortex’s intensity. That is how I would describe the world’s first four-inversion coaster in a nutshell. Well, that and calling it “Nostalgia: The Ride” since it has two of my trains. Once I had remembered Carowinds’ reride policy, I did not forget it. There were people waiting for the front row, so I hopped out and went back to my favorite row on Vortex and the row where I took my last ride…7-1! I reboarded and sat in the left seat of 7-1, where I last rode those 660 days ago, for my second ride on Cyclone. Naturally, I expected some airtime on the first drop, and I did get a little pop! Not as sustained as Vortex’s drop (obviously, 65 ft and 138 ft are very different drops), but the intensity in the already intense elements made up for it. I think I even got some brief hang time in the loops! I found myself hugging the restraint in order to keep my head forward, something I didn’t usually do on Vortex. In the corkscrews I thought out loud, “I think this train likes its new home!” No matter how I rode it, I had fun, and I am glad I was getting to ride it! I love Arrow loopers still and I will keep riding them for as long as I can. I stayed on in 7-1 again for another intense ride, after which I began to exit thinking three was enough, patting the front right seat’s headrest…and then I saw the front seat was empty once again. So I hopped back on for a FOURTH ride straight, in the front right seat! No one else was on the train, so I enjoyed a very fitting zen ride on this Vortex train. I was in the same seat (different train) from where my 1/3 ride occurred, only my train didn’t stop at the peak this time and continued normally. This “catch up” time on Cyclone was definitely a main highlight of this whole highlight of an evening. I was ready to take advantage of other rides’ lines (or lack thereof) so I headed to Cyclone’s fellow Arrow and Carowinds’ original coaster, Carolina Goldrusher. As someone used to our 1991 mine train, I knew that Goldrusher’s 1973 cars would be different. Compared to our Adventure Express trains, Goldrusher’s trains are basically benches with the old T-bars. They looked cramped but I was actually comfortable! Long story short, Goldrusher has some character! Its transitions aren’t as “refined” as Express’ but that’s what makes it fun! The tunnels and on-ride photo add to the fun as well. Flying Cobras’ Vekoma MK-1212 train awaited me next. For years I had wondered if or how a newer Vekoma looper train would have enhanced the ride experience on Vortex when we still had ours, but I suppose riding Flying Cobras would be close enough. I walked into 2-1 and pulled down the vest restraint. While it did push on my collarbone a little, it was not as tight as the B&M vest restraints (thankfully). While a tiny bit bumpy, Flying Cobras was intense (like any boomerang I’ve ridden) and the vests did as I expected as I imagined what Vortex would have felt like on a train like this. Across the way, Electro Spin was finishing up a cycle. I rode one other Mondial Top Scan, Space Roller, at the Ohio State Fair in 2014 and I liked it, so I wanted to try Electro Spin. It was the same as I remembered from Space Roller, albeit a little slower. While Electro Spin was fun, it also became one of the few rides that left me feeling a little queasy afterward. It may have been because I hadn’t eaten for a few hours or hadn’t drunk enough water. Had my stomach met its match? I didn’t let the queasiness stop my excitement for Copperhead Strike, my first Mack multi-launch! A ride of this type has had my vote for what should succeed our Vortex, so my first ride on Copperhead would either make or break that deal. I wanted to ride in the back but figured an odd numbered row would offer the better view of a single car, so I rode second-to-back (row 7). I was excited for the jojo roll at the beginning and I hoped I could add it to my list of favorite elements…and it did not disappoint! The jojo roll had me hanging on the lap bar as if I was hanging upside down from playground monkey bars. The shed/preshow was very well themed. Both launches were fun. That first loop had almost as much hang time as the jojo roll! The other elements too offered an extent of hang time. The hills offered amazing airtime. I found Copperhead Strike a forceful, hang-time-filled, air-time-filled, fun ride, and YES, I still vote for a Mack multi-launch to succeed Vortex! I stayed on twice more, in rows 7 and 3. I had not experienced hang time this strong since my last ride on Vortex, and even then, Copperhead’s hang time EXCEEDS what Vortex offered (all the more reason to succeed it!), especially in that jojo roll. I love Copperhead Strike and I was very impressed, and as of tonight it was my favorite ride so far (I was still waiting for Fury to grow on me). I was not too far from WindSeeker, so I headed there, because why would a former WindSeeker ride operator not visit their counterpart at another park? (before you ask, this is a panoramic photo. Mine always seem to bend tower rides like this ) I figured it was at least closed for wind, but I would eventually learn that it was a casualty of the park's limited attraction offerings due to staffing. The lack of associates at the ride only confirmed that. While all the coasters would remain open, I would see some rides open for part of my trip, while others wouldn't open at all. Sadly, WindSeeker would be in the latter group. At least seeing it in person is better than nothing! I now have officially ridden both Ohio WindSeekers (KI and CP), visited both 2012 WindSeekers (KD and Carowinds), and have yet to see or ride the other two (Wonderland and Worlds of Fun). Due to the tornado watch, Carowinds closed at 5:30 instead of 7. I got 14 total rides in just the couple hours we were there! I had a great first impression of the park and its rides, and I looked forward to exploring it more tomorrow, once we dealt with tonight’s weather...
  3. Part 2 (August 16): Dollywood on National Roller Coaster Day! We got to go to Dollywood on National Roller Coaster Day! On my last trip four years ago, I wanted Lightning Rod to be open but it was closed all day. Hopefully my third trip would be the charm, especially given what day it was. As we rode the Pigeon Forge trolley to the front gate, I looked at Lightning Rod for any signs of life and saw two trains waiting on the track. Once inside the park, I joined its growing line outside the entrance. Just before the 10:00 opening time, I saw a train launch! Things were definitely looking promising. Finally, at 10:00…Lightning Rod opened!!! I finally had a chance to experience this ride, on National Roller Coaster Day nonetheless! Better yet, I discovered its Single Rider Line just inside the entrance, so I took that and ended up getting paired with another single rider in the FRONT ROW! I did not plan any of this! What an amazing start to National Roller Coaster Day with riding in the front row on Lightning Rod’s first train of the day for my first ride! To say I was awed was an understatement. Once I was seated in the front row, all I had left to do was enjoy it. And I made sure I did. Once the 45-mph launch kicked in, I had my hands up the whole ride, from the first drop to the quad down to the last turn. I finally rode Lightning Rod, five years after it opened! The line was growing fast, though it didn’t matter much since I had the Single Rider Line. In case Lightning Rod went down later (since it has AMAZING reliability lol) I rode again. This time I was in row 11, the second to last row. As expected from the back, there was great ejector ESPECIALLY in the overbanked elements and quad down. I didn’t care where I sat as long as I was ON the ride, because I was finally riding Lightning Rod!!! After those two rides, we headed into Craftsman’s Valley where I walked onto Blazing Fury. Though I wasn’t surprised at the short wait due to its high capacity, this made a great case for making this Dollywood trip my first without buying a TimeSaver. Could I do it? Right after Blazing Fury came the first Arrow looper I would ride in roughly eleven months. My last ride on an Arrow looper was on Corkscrew at Cedar Point on September 13, 2020. Though my plan was to ride my must-rides at least once each before any repeats, I knew two rides were in order for Tennessee Tornado once I reached its nearly empty station. Despite running only one train (and Train 2 being nowhere in sight) the most I would have to wait today for most rides was one cycle. My first Tornado ride in four years was in 2-1 since I didn’t bother to wait for the front. The 128-foot first drop feels a lot like Vortex’s 138-foot drop, as it felt rather familiar when flying through that mountainside. I sent my hands up as I flew through the two loops and sidewinder at 63 mph. Even though Tennessee Tornado is shorter in length than Vortex (2,682 feet vs 3,800 feet), it is taller (163 feet vs 148 feet) and faster (63 mph vs 55 mph) so it packs the mega-looper experience into a shorter layout. I still wonder to this day what the ride would be like if it were able to have a larger layout. I walked back around and rode again, in 5-1. Not that the magic seat matters as much on an Arrow looper as smooth as Tornado, but the back rows were taken and this row was open. Another smooth, 3-inversion, 63-mph ride ensued! Firechaser Express’ line didn’t look too bad so I went for it. Though it is a family coaster, I simply love the fact that it includes a backwards launch. My 20-25-minute wait wasn’t so bad though, especially since it included a pleasant conversation with some other guests in line. I ended up in the front row and it was as fun as I remembered it from last time. Now it was time for Wild Eagle, which was my first B&M wing coaster when I rode it in 2013. I'm thankful that this was a fairly common sight today! I rode it twice, once on each side, in case I didn’t get back to it later. My first ride was row 6 on the right. I expected some airtime on the drop (like my back row rides last time) but it didn’t quite match my recollection. But I still had fun and was glad to be back on Wild Eagle. My second ride was in row 2 on the left. While it had more positive forces characteristic of any ride toward the front, it also reminded me of why I prefer the back. Either way, Wild Eagle is a fun coaster for what it is. It finally came time for me to visit Wildwood Grove in person as we walked over the late River Battle’s footprint (good thing I got three rides on that on my last trip!). I enjoyed getting to see a kids area themed to something other than Peanuts, complete with beautiful scenery, a variety of rides, and a handful of costumed characters. Of the rides, the Mad Mockingbird flying scooters were the first I rode. I came rather close to snapping but I am not sure if I did. Still fun as always from a ride of this kind! I’m usually not one to prioritize family coasters or chase after them for the credit, but I had always wanted to check out Dragonflier. As a next-gen Vekoma family coaster, I knew it would be wildly different from the Flying Ace that we’re used to. There was a line but I was on within 5-10 minutes, in row 2. I will say that, like Firechaser, Dragonflier gracefully dances the line between thrilling and family-friendly. In other words, kids love it but adults enjoy it too. I became one of those adults as the train zipped through its layout. Not only was it quick and fun, but it was SO SMOOTH! I already like Vekomas old or new but Dragonflier is without a doubt the Smoothest. Vekoma. Ever. (at least out of the Vekomas I’ve ridden) I hopped in line again and rode (in row 5 this time) to relive what pleasant surprise I had just experienced and to confirm Dragonflier as my new favorite family coaster, something I never thought I would enjoy finding! Mystery Mine had a longer line than most of the other rides while I had walked past it to Wildwood Grove, so I decided to come back to it later in case that changed. Fortunately, most of the line had disappeared when I returned, and I found a full station wait. I noticed a difference in operations compared to my previous visits: they were loading only one car at a time as opposed to two at a time from my previous visits. The length of the line made for a roughly 15-minute wait, but my being a single rider helped shorten that if they needed an empty seat filled. The only tradeoff was riding in the second row with the obstructed view. I was okay with that, though, since I didn’t need a TimeSaver Pass to ride Mystery Mine in a short wait time this time around. The modified part of the layout fit in with the rest of the ride; however, I already missed the beyond-vertical drop and following horseshoe turn that were the casualties of this modification, as that was my favorite part of the ride other than the end. But still, Mystery Mine is still quite fun and is still so “Dollywood.” (side note, I enjoy seeing these wait time screens around the park. They helped me make sure I was at the lesser crowded rides!) Drop Line was a walk-on, literally, as I walked right on to the ride. Due to no line, the operators were telling us to sit wherever we wanted – a first for me on a Drop Tower! I picked my seat and enjoyed the view of the park before plunging back down to earth. I was once again back at my first GCI, Thunderhead! On my first visit it was one of my top favorite rides at the park along with Tennessee Tornado and Mystery Mine, but on my second visit it underwhelmed me slightly. But I remembered how much I enjoyed it at first and I still looked forward to riding it again! Thanks to its absence of a line, I got three rides in rows 12, 1, and 7. Thunderhead is another coaster I find good in any row, and I don’t care where I sit even with the slight nuances that may make other rows different. I welcomed Thunderhead back into my trio of favorite Dollywood coasters as I careened around each curve aboard partially-filled trains. I find it too different to compare with Mystic though I find both these GCIs quite fun in their own ways. (another side note: it seems I did not take any more photos, even after adding the HEIC photos. Shows how focused I was on getting my last rides...and keeping my phone dry from rain I did not see coming ) Now that we were back at the front of the park, I returned to Lightning Rod. Between my first two rides and now, it had gone down for maintenance and had since sidetracked one of its two trains. The Single Rider Line was still short, but it took a little longer to get a row and load. I didn’t complain, though, since it was still operating in the first place! I would ride three more times, in rows 6, 3, and 8. That 45-mph launch up that hill is definitely a unique feeling! The launch and the quad down are my favorite parts! At the end of my third ride, it started sprinkling. I decided 5 for the day was a good stopping point and went to meet back up with my mom where she was waiting. My decision to meet Mom at Reds Drive In where she was waiting proved a good one. Seconds after finding her, it started pouring! I headed inside to get a cheeseburger, fries, and a strawberry milkshake for us to share. They were good! I found during my research that Reds was a recommended choice, so I am glad we ended up here when this small storm came. I checked the Dollywood app and virtually all the rides were closed for weather. I wanted to ride the train but it was down for maintenance. Meanwhile, we took the time to enjoy our food. The storm passed, but all the rides were still closed for weather. That is, all the outdoor rides. Blazing Fury still showed as “open” on the app, so I headed back up there while Mom hung back at Reds. Surely enough, Blazing Fury was indeed open, and it had only a station wait! I got two more rides in, during which the crew announced that the park’s ongoing lightning ban was just lifted and we should see the other rides opening shortly. I headed to Tennessee Tornado but it had not yet reopened, so I checked Firechaser Express in hopes of nabbing another ride without waiting as long. Surely enough, it was open and I waited only 10-15 minutes! In half my previous wait time, I got a bonus ride. Mystery Mine was virtually a walk on. The switchback in the station was nearly empty. The crew had just loaded a car and closed the gates, when I happened to tell the separator/grouper that I was trying to ride in the front, if possible. There happened to be one open seat in the front, so they graciously let me on to the aforementioned car so it would be full! Thank you, Mystery Mine crew! I wanted to ride Wild Eagle one more time, in my favorite row from last time (back left). I had loved this row because the first drop feels like Diamondback’s first drop (but obviously shorter) in terms of the forces and whatever little airtime I get with those vests. That was what I got this time. Wild Eagle may not be the biggest or most forceful B&M wing, but it doesn’t have to be for it to be the plain fun ride that it is! Plus, it was my first B&M wing coaster, and I can’t argue with sentimentality! (and a corkscrew on ANY wing is fun!) It was once again time for my obligatory mini-marathon on Tennessee Tornado to end the trip. On my previous two trips I had cut it pretty close to where I had just enough time for one, maybe two rides at the end of the day, so I made sure to allow more time this time. Despite running only one train, it remained rather easy to get a seat on the next cycle. I returned to Tennessee Tornado just before 5:30 and was able to get 4 more rides, in 6-1, 7-1, 5-1, and 7-1. I loved each ride, as always, and I loved getting to ride an Arrow looper again and of course I made great use of that chance (and the one to follow; stay tuned!). For the last ride, the crew held operation around 10-til-6, after which they waited for any more people who would come during that time. I am a fan of this as it takes away the worry of attempting one more ride and then being too late for last train. They did this on my previous visits, so I was glad to see it was still a thing. Plus, it gave me a few minutes to just chill aboard the train and appreciate this Arrow. At 6, LROTNOTT was underway, and we cheered on our way out of the station. I took in the 63-mph excursion through the massive loops and sidewinder for one more time until next (hopefully sooner than another four years from now!), hands up the whole time. Unbeknownst to me, Mom waited out the line at Grist Mill during my mini-marathon and bought the two of us a loaf of cinnamon bread. I had expressed interest in it earlier but was fine with forgoing it if neither of us cared to wait. What a pleasant surprise to find the quintessential Dollywood snack in a paper bag she was carrying when we met back up! Until next time, favorite theme park! Lightning Rod, thank you for operating fairly consistently on this National Roller Coaster Day! +Lightning Rod: 5 +Blazing Fury: 3 Total: 7 +Tennessee Tornado: 6 Total: 17 +Firechaser Express: 2 Total: 3 +Wild Eagle: 3 Total: 8 +Mad Mockingbird: 1 +Dragonflier: 2 +Mystery Mine: 3 Total: 10 +Drop Line: 1 Total: 4 +Thunderhead: 3 Total: 9
  4. After writing bits and pieces about this wonderful trip in between shifts as well as forgetting about it for a while, I finally present to you my detailed novel of my second trip to The Island in Pigeon Forge, my third trip to Dollywood, and my first visit to Carowinds, thanks to Carowinds' daily op ending one week later than KI's. Let's go! Part 1: The Island in Pigeon Forge On Sunday afternoon (August 15), Mom and I arrived in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. We lounged around in our hotel room for a couple of hours before deciding to check out The Island. I had gone to The Island during our previous trip namely to ride The Wheel and watch the fountain show. I originally wanted to go after Dollywood, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to use the extra time tonight to go (which would be the right decision since inclement weather kept us away the next night). Five minutes of driving and another five of walking later, we were back at The Island, home to a 200-foot-tall Ferris Wheel that dwarfed everything in its vicinity. I wanted to eat something first as I was rather hungry, so I eventually ended up with an Auntie Anne’s pretzel and honey mustard. Now I was ready to ride some rides. I ended up purchasing the unlimited rides wristband ($35) plus the high ropes course and its jump ($10 + $5) so to get my money’s worth, I had to do at least $50 worth of experiences, including the high ropes course. (spoilers, I didn’t, but I did what I wanted to do). I’m not usually one who rides whatever coasters they can find, but I did just happen to see a coaster of a kind that I enjoy. Spinning Parrots is an SBF Visa spinning coaster. It may have just a simple figure-8 (exactly like Nuclear Rush at Scene75 Columbus), but I like Nuclear Rush so I decided to take Spinning Parrots for, well, a spin. As expected, it was fun for what it was, and I considered it a warm-up for tomorrow. Now came the main attraction, the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel. After four years, I looked forward to riding it again. I boarded Car 35 and got comfy for the roughly-ten-minute ride. Mom did not join me since she doesn’t really like Ferris Wheels or most rides that are high, so she became my personal photographer from the ground. The panoramic view that the Wheel offers never gets old, and I hope I don’t wait another four years before I can do this again (I will say this a lot during our time in Pigeon Forge). One waiver and harness fitting later, I ascended the Island Ropes Course. I figured it wouldn’t be much different than some of my climbs at Kings Island (while also being rather different since the rides usually don’t have ropes on them lol). My favorite part on the whole ropes course were the two ziplines one could ride across on the middle and upper levels. It started raining while I was up there, which made for a rather fun zipline experience, and fortunately the rain didn’t last long. After losing count of zipline runs, I joined the short line for the jump off of the top level. The jump down concluded my time on the high ropes course, as well as my time at The Island as it was starting to get late. I took in the atmosphere just in case we didn’t make it back tomorrow. +Spinning Parrots: 1 +The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel: 1 Total: 2 +The Island Ropes Course: 1
  5. September 30, 2007. After hearing countless accounts of my brother's visits to this place called "Kings Island," I got to see the park for myself courtesy of my mom who had won a drawing for two tickets at a blood drive. Son of Beast's massive lift hill was the very first thing I saw. The Grand Carousel was the very first ride I rode. I knew all the different coaster types thanks to RollerCoaster Tycoon, but I realized that building them in a game and riding them in real life are two completely different things, so I rode mostly the smaller rides. I remember seeing a red train rolling backwards over Racer's many hills, and sadly I wasn't willing to try it under the assumption that I would eventually ride it in a future year (that aged well). I stood in line for Dodgems but didn't ride it because the totally normal sparks of the car's poles rolling along the grated ceiling was unsettling to me somehow (I made weird assumptions as a kid ). I first laid eyes on Vortex (one of my brother's favorite rides) and watched it for at least 10 minutes before deciding, "Someday, I'm going to ride this...just not today." I already knew Vortex would be a special ride to me but still wildly underestimated the epic decade that would follow of my history with it. Finally I found myself in Nickelodeon Universe, home to more rides that better suited my preferences. I did ride Little Bill's Giggle Coaster (3 times) and Backyardigans' Swing Along, but the main attraction happened to be the Fairly Odd Coaster. My mom rode with me the first few times since I was nervous, but eventually let me ride by myself when I got more used to the ride (hence my riding again repeatedly - a technique I would go on to use on bigger coasters ). I remember the operator on the mic encouraging us to put our hands up at the start of the ride, as well as the male-voiced spiel "Welcome to Cosmo and Wanda's Fairly Odd Coaster. Please remain seated..." During another ride, I found a 2007 brochure under the seat in front of mine, which I read cover to cover on the way home. I have a mental note of this attraction they kept calling "Tomb Raider - The Ride" but thought nothing of it (including the fact that 2007 was that ride's last season as such). By the end of the trip I had amassed roughly ten rides on Fairly Odd Coaster alone - my first marathon! We ate some pizza by the fountains before we went home, to mitigate my sadness over leaving. But I knew I would return. Side note, during the '07-'08 Cedar Fair ride name change en masse, I thought it was normal for the park to change their ride names each year so needless to say I was confused when all the names remained the same after the 2008 season, while also being aware of the arrival of our favorite B&M rattlesnake. But that's a different story for a different time.
  6. I love Invertigo! It's one of my favorite rides. I love riding on either end (partially because I normally ride by myself or with one friend). After just over 100 rides on it, my best experiences come from staying relaxed throughout the ride (as tensing up will make you feel worse), and taking a deep breath during the more intense moments to avoid blacking/graying out. I hope you can get a better experience on it.
  7. I also rode Blue Racer last night, in row 9 (a wheel seat!) and it was the smoothest ride I have ever had on it. There were still small bumps here and there as expected, but it is a night-and-day experience from my first ride in 2008 (which was the roughest). As the first big coaster I rode, I have a whole new appreciation for Racer and will definitely make sure to ride it more often!
  8. Hopefully this summer I can once again see and ride two of the trains I checked for three summers...and of course get my first rides on Fury 325.
  9. Rankings are not my strong suit. I group my rides instead. But I will give it a try! Orion Diamondback WindSeeker (for sentimental reasons ) Invertigo Delirium I love a lot of rides, and these are just five of them! And yes, Vortex would be on this list if it were still here.
  10. empty plot of land on Coney Mall's east end > Vortex Boo Blasters > Phantom Theater Madame Fatale's > Tomb Raider: The Ride
  11. As of Saturday, March 13, the last coaster I have ridden is now Nuclear Rush at Scene75 Columbus!
  12. A few weeks ago I dreamt I was riding Orion in a prone position, as if I was on Skyflyer. Imagine taking a 300-foot drop lying facedown! On top of that, Orion had SINGLE CARS instead of trains, and on one of my flights/rides, I valleyed. Even though I was lying down, I still rode on top of the track (like on a sled). Long story short, I dreamed the result of Orion and Skyflyer having a baby, and it was indeed very interesting (and thrilling!!).
  13. As much as I enjoy and appreciate Orion, Diamondback, and Banshee, I do not want a B&M in Vortex's space. I personally hope for Vortex's successor to feature a handful of inversions with a lower height requirement (48") as I know from my experience working at Vortex that a lot of young thrill-seekers set foot inside Kings Island. Dare I say that it MUST be as photogenic as Vortex was, in its own way. Bonus points if it breaks a record! Right now, a Mack multi-launch has my vote. Granted, I have not yet ridden one, but Copperhead Strike looks fun (and photogenic) and I hope to visit Carowinds this year to find that out for myself!
  14. Thanks to a several-minute-long station stop, my highest score on Boo so far is 6240, on August 23, 2020. Part of this may have to do with the fact that part of my job is maintaining and testing the blasters...
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