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Everything posted by VortexBFForever

  1. Orion, for me, is a "wish list" ride. I hoped for some time that Kings Island would eventually get a B&M giga (since I have still never ridden Fury or Leviathan) so our getting Orion is literally a wish come true! When I rode today, I waited 2 hr 15 min with the line beginning just outside the ride entrance/old Firehawk exit. After so much time waiting to ride Orion and imagining it, my actual riding it feels like a dream. I'm fully in the moment and I know it's actually happening, yet at the same time I feel like I am quietly and smoothly flying through a dream. I rode in row 4 on the far right, and I happened to look straight down during the turnaround, which had a super cool view! The speed hill is my favorite element, with the wave turn and last hill close seconds. I can safely say that the speed hill gives AT LEAST the same amount of airtime that Vortex's first drop gave to anyone who rode in 7-1. On the wave turn I pulled my feet up and tapped my toes, which was something I always did in Vortex's corkscrews just for the fun of it. Orion means so much to me already. It became a light at the end of the tunnel in my still-ongoing dealing with losing Vortex, especially since Orion is the ride which I hoped Kings Island would get. Seeing the empty hole in the back of Coney Mall saddens me a good bit, but once I get whisked into that 300-foot drop, I am reminded that I will be okay and more great things are still to come.
  2. No pictures in this one, so I hope my word pictures suffice. After losing count of how many weeks had transpired between last season and today, I more-than-readily made it through a near-zero-visibility thunderstorm for a six-mile stretch on I-71 to Kings Island to attend Friends & Family Day. One parking spot search and sunscreen slathering later, I made my way to the front gate, donning my mask as I approached. I first entered the health screening tent, where I was asked the health questions we all know and love before proceeding to stand in a marked rectangle where a camera system checked my temperature (not sure how that works yet, but it's pretty cool!). Right after that came the security screening, which remained unchanged since Winterfest (walking through the metal detector without putting your things on the table). Lastly came scanning my own voucher at the turnstiles, and then I was in. All these things were done in roughly a minute, and the entry process in general was quite streamlined. I had made the earliest reservation time, which was half an hour before the rides' scheduled opening at 2. The earliest time basically gives you half an hour to roam the park before it fully opens. I-Street's shops were open, so I briefly perused Emporium (so much Orion merch!) and Sweet Shop before beginning a lap around the park. It was nice to just walk, especially with the non-crowded midways. It was close to 2, so I figured I'd hit the first open ride I would eventually come across. That plan would change, though, when I arrived at Adventure Express and struck up a conversation with two of my ride op friends who were greeting at the still-closed entrance. Although it was after 2, we still had to wait for the inclement weather to move fully out of the area. Not long later, the flat rides began opening and most of the coasters ran their startups. It finally came Express' turn to open, just after 2:30. I made my way through the clearly-marked queue to the station, where I made a beeline for the last row on Express' first train of the day. With hands up before I was even out of the station, I knew I was excited for my first Arrow of 2020! The now oldest steel coaster in the park took me past snakes, ruins, spears, lava, and drummers with its usual dose of laterals. Earlier this year I had done some work on Express, namely with the spears and drummers, so I loved getting to point out the things on which I worked while I rode past them! After one Arrow came the next, as I headed off the beaten path to The Bat. Like Express, I rode in the back (7-1 since 7-2 was blocked off). Notably, I was in 7-1 on the left, the same seat in which I took my final ride on Vortex eight months and three days ago. I sure missed flying and swinging through the treetops! Next came Skyflyer, as its $5 price tag made the deal (I'm always most likely to ride Skyflyer when it's $5). I felt so ready for an adrenaline rush on what I believe is the scariest ride at Kings Island. Even though I know I'm completely safe, some part of me still thinks I'll fall to my death when I pull the ripcord. It definitely feels like it during those three seconds of freefall! Invertigo followed that exhilarating flight and would bring my first inversions since October 27. I arrived a few minutes before it opened as it was just finishing its startups. Despite other people waiting in front of me, I had arrived just in time to make its first train of the day! Every other row was used starting with the end row facing the front gate, which meant everyone would ride backwards-first. I got pulled backwards into my first inversions of 2020 before repeating them forwards, and needless to say I loved finally getting to be turned head-over-heels again after an eight-month inversion drought! Invertigo was where I first noticed the staggered unloading of riders. When a train has more than a few people aboard, the operator spiels to us to remain seated until we're told we can exit. After the train stops and the restraints are unlocked, each row is unloaded one by one starting at either end, working toward the middle. This is done to reduce the normal clustering at the exit. It adds time, but thankfully it does not take very long. Banshee continued the inversion trend when it conveniently opened not even thirty seconds after I finished my walk there. Like Invertigo, I made it onto the first train of the day by a landslide...and in my favorite seat too! I had Row 8 on the Teal train all to myself. Unlike the coasters which loaded every other row, Banshee had people in each row. Groups were seated together, while single riders like me occupied one seat of an entire row. I waved to Orion and Vortex's former spot as I got whipped off the lift and into Banshee's seven-inversion knot. The rattle is very much there, but at this point I'll take it! I'm just glad we still have a batwing in the park... My most-anticipated ride of the trip, Diamondback, had opened by this time; I headed there immediately after my 13-inversion dose concluded. From here on out, you will likely hear me call Diamondback "my original favorite." Prior to my riding Vortex, Diamondback was my favorite ride from the moment I first rode it on August 14, 2009, 11.5 months before my first ride on Vortex (July 23, 2010). At that time, I had loved Diamondback and was just as obsessed with it as I am Vortex, to the point where I called myself a "Diamondbaddict" (Diamondback addict). Obviously that all changed when Vortex dethroned Diamondback as my top favorite ride. Diamondback still remained a favorite, but had remained on the back burner for nearly the last decade. Vortex's departure to the realms of defunct attractions has opened up a unique chance for Diamondback to reclaim that top favorite spot, although I know undoubtedly that Orion will steal the spotlight at least for this year. Either way, Diamondback means just as much to me as Vortex, and I'm eager to see how it will "fill the gap" that Vortex left in dealing with rides with high sentimental value. That being said, I have some catching up to do on the once-tallest, once-fastest, but still meanest coaster to ever strike Kings Island. Diamondback's line was on the stairs, but because groups were spaced out it equated to a station wait for a half-filled train. At most five minutes passed before I boarded the Red train in row 14, a moment for which I had waited ever since I first became excited to ride Diamondback in March. This was where I made another observation: On most of the coasters, the front half of the train uses the odd-numbered rows, while the back half uses the even-numbered rows. This ensures that the front- and rear-most rows are used for those of us who love a bona fide front- or back-seat ride. There are exceptions, though, as I saw on Invertigo and The Bat which used every even row and every odd row, respectively (remember, I rode in 7-1, or row 13, on The Bat). It's very interesting to see the different variations of the new protocols! Anyways, on to my first Diamondback ride of 2020! I will greatly enjoy getting used to the view of Orion from Diamondback's lift, as it will definitely soften the blow of having to get used to the current view of Vortex's old stomping grounds. Fortunately, the sad reality is forgotten for a moment while flying down that 215-foot drop! I thought "Nothing like the original favorite!" while floating over each hill. I am confident that Orion will become another favorite of mine, and it will join Diamondback, Invertigo, and others on my list of favorite rides. No matter which of those favorites becomes my new #1, I'll still make sure to give my original favorite ride some extra love this year and in future seasons! Additionally, even though I knew I was wearing a mask, it's nothing to worry about on even the big rides. Sometimes I even forget I'm wearing a mask, especially since it hardly moves in the middle of a ride! I crossed the midway to my favorite water ride, Flume, where I walked on to my own boat. Thanks to the mask rule exception for water rides, Flume is now my go-to RelaxZone! I took the liberty of enjoying a mask-less first Flume ride of the season while taking care to put my mask back on before getting off. I sure missed getting splashed on the final drop! I even got a reprieve from the Snoopy fountain, which for some reason wasn't firing. If the drop doesn't get me wet, Snoopy definitely will...most of the time. I went back to Diamondback for a second ride just in case I didn't get back around to it before 6 (closing time). The line was a little longer than my first time, but I still didn't wait too long. Half the available rows were filled by the time I reached the station, so I requested to ride in row 16 which was granted. Preferred seating is still a thing, at least when it's not too busy. This ride in row 16 was what I called a signature Diamondback ride, as it featured the Diamondback Dive (leaning forward as you go into the drop) and my getting sprayed with water while sticking my hand back during the splashdown. I never tire of rides like that! From Diamondback, I could see Mystic Timbers' line (or lack thereof) and decided to head there next as I wanted to hit all the available big coasters. I enjoyed another back seat ride as I was assigned to row 12! I believe Mystic is a strong front-row ride, but of course the back is pretty good too. Mystic offered a great first wooden coaster ride of 2020, and of course brought back memories of my "Mystic marathons" during Winterfest! The world's longest wooden coaster sent nearly empty trains (and it's running all 3!) as I headed to Rivertown's back end. My favorite row, 17, is currently a casualty of the new protocols, so I made do with the very last row, 18. Obviously with it being a wheel seat, the ride was a little rougher than I'm used to since I typically ride in 17 or 8 whenever I can, but what else can we expect from a 41-year-old wooden coaster? Also, roughness is nothing new to me and I've learned to just roll with it and it hasn't hurt terribly. The Beast still offers a beastly hike through the woods, day or night, rain or shine, and my 30th time in its clutches reminded me of that. Making my way into Coney Mall, I found myself taking the first of six zen rides I would get from now (about 5) until 6. I arrived at Backlot to find the ride ops waiting for riders and both White and Blue trains (Red was on the transfer) sitting empty with restraints open. I took the front row of the White train, which I had all to myself, for my 15th spin overall! My favorite part of Backlot (besides the launch) is the pitch-black warehouse following the fire effects. My first launch of 2020 was fun, and I am so ready for when I can take my first Flight of Fear ride of the season! Time for some flat-ride fun! Sticking to the theme of riding whichever of Vortex's neighbors were open, I rode Shake Rattle & Roll (Troika) next. This led me to another observation/realization: Some flat rides, including Troika, Scrambler, and Monster, can still operate at full capacity since their ride units are already spaced at least six feet apart. That will definitely help their lines move quickly (as well as Banshee and its aforementioned seating in each row). I believe WindSeeker's gondolas are also far enough apart; I have not seen for myself yet since it was not open today (not all the rides were open). Like Mystic, Troika brought back some Winterfest memories, with the added bonus of an increased need for adjustment. After all, my favorite thing to do while riding Troika was...watching Vortex. Obviously that cannot be the case now. This ride also happened to be my 75th ride on Troika! I crossed over to Antiques, in hopes of seeing some more of my friends there. I did and gave them something to do by boarding the first available car for a leisurely drive around the track of Kings Island's now second-newest ride. I swung by a socially-distanced Zephyr. This by far is one of the biggest changes we will see this season in terms of protocols. Zephyr's normal capacity is 48 riders, yet for this season it will hold only 16. And literally 16, as 16 of its seats are present, spaced 6 feet apart. For its next cycle, only one of those 16 seats was occupied...by me! My first Zephyr flight of 2020 (and my 60th ride on it overall ) was also my second zen ride of today. At this point, I hadn't eaten or drunk anything since I arrived. Flat rides and their repetitive motions never bother me...unless I'm dehydrated and/or hungry. You know you need at least a drink of water when even a ride as gentle as Zephyr can cause even the slightest queasiness. I headed to the nearby drink stand and got a free cup of water in the same way as before. It looks like one would need to ask for not just water but any particular drink upfront, after which they bring a disposable cup with the requested drink. Seems simple enough. I walked past Dodgem, which was also empty and waiting for riders. Getting a zen ride on a bumper car attraction isn't nearly as fun; they're most fun when they're busy! So I headed next door to Scrambler to take a spin in its new cars. Scrambler and other rides whose units are adequately spaced "by default" have their only change in the queue lines; otherwise, the seating and ride experience is still the same as before! More Winterfest memories came from this spin on one of my favorite family rides. I was originally going to skip Monster, but a couple ride ops there recognized me from my working with them. After a short conversation (they were waiting for riders too), I boarded for my third zen ride of the day. It's not too often one can ride a full Monster cycle minus the waiting for other riders to load! This turned out to be my 20th ride ever on Monster. I raced (not really) over to Racer, whose red/south side was open and also waiting. A train with a few riders was getting ready to leave as I arrived, and no one had joined the line behind me, which meant I would have the other train all to myself for Racer South Ride #35 and Zen Ride #4. Moments later, I was seated in the front and ready to roll. I may not ride Racer too often, but I do enjoy riding hills for the length of Coney Mall and back. It also offers a pretty good view of its new neighbor to the left, especially if you ride on the blue/north side. At this point, it was about 5:50. I had time for two more rides. I wanted to head back to Diamondback but I had already ridden twice. I came back to where I started at Express, so I decided to give it and The Bat some extra love by taking a second ride on each of them. Zen Ride #5 came in Express' front seat as it took me on another adventure past snakes, ruins, spears, lava, and drummers with abundant laterals. I will always love hearing the drummers and the anti-rollback simultaneously in the finale tunnel! Finally, I took Zen Ride #6 in the front right seat on The Bat and enjoyed another treetop flight. This was my 120th flight overall on my first big steel coaster! I ended Friends & Family Day with giving The Bat the same "goodnight" I always gave Vortex. In light of the events that transpired in the last eight months and then some, I only found it more fitting to not only have an "all-Arrow day" (riding all the Arrow rides in the park: Bat, Express, Flume, and formerly Vortex), but to also start and end my first guest visit of 2020 on the same two Arrow coasters. I did not have any problems with wearing my mask almost constantly for four hours. The only exceptions to wearing it were my riding Flume mask-less and briefly slipping it down to take a sip of water. Everyone else I saw had a mask on and were keeping adequate distance. Yes, I did see a few masks being worn improperly, but for the most part everyone was wearing them. And of course hand sanitizer dispensers were found in every restroom, store, and ride station. Here's to more visits in the shortened-but-starting 2020 season. Pandemic Protocol Recap: Stores: Entrance doors propped open, designated exit doors closed but can be opened from the inside. Signage reminding to practice social distancing. Touch only items you plan to buy and scan them yourself when you check out. Rides: Social distancing markers throughout ride queues. On most coasters, the front half of the train uses odd-numbered rows while the back half uses even-numbered rows. On The Bat, Adventure Express, and Invertigo, it's every other row all the way. On Banshee, every row is still loaded from what I saw. Staggered unloading to prevent clustering. Sanitation every 30 minutes. Most rides now require you to tug on your own seatbelt and/or restraint, as the operator visually checks. This minimizes contact between rider and associate. Drink stands: No self-serve drinks. Tell the associate what drink you want and they will bring it to you in a disposable cup. Food stands: Queues clearly marked, just like rides. Enter one door and exit another. General: Wear masks except when riding a water ride, eating or drinking, or within a RelaxZone. And of course, keep six feet between your party and others. +Adventure Express: 2 Total: 74 +The Bat: 2 Total: 120 +Xtreme Skyflyer: 1 Total: 8 +Invertigo: 1 Total: 56 +Banshee: 1 Total: 43 +Diamondback: 2 Total: 138 +Flume: 1 Total: 42 +Mystic Timbers: 1 Total: 67 +The Beast: 1 Total: 30 +Backlot: 1 Total: 15 +Shake Rattle & Roll: 1 Total: 75 +Kings Mills Antique Autos: 1 Total: 19 +Zephyr: 1 Total: 60 +Scrambler: 1 Total: 41 +Monster: 1 Total: 20 +Red Racer/Racer South: 1 Total: 35
  3. ^ I second. No cars were missing, which was confirmed even more when I got trained there last season. As for headbanging, I hardly notice when my head taps the shoulder harness (emphasis on taps ). I love Invertigo's intensity and its forwards/backwards experience, and it is another one of my favorites. I hope it stays for a while longer, and in the meantime I'll take advantage of when its line is short. -BFF, who cares nothing about which ride may leave next after losing 2 favorite coasters in 2 years, and is very excited to ride Invertigo in mere days. Also her cumulative ride count on Invertigo is currently 55 with the first milestone (100) in reach hopefully soon.
  4. 2019 is still missing something. Pertaining to the topic: even if waits got a bit long *cough*Orion*cough* I'll gladly take that over waiting days and days for the park to even open! I'm glad our wait for Opening Day is almost over.
  5. This is more of a side note, but I really love how Orion's logo is an upside-down triangle, much like a certain other ride... It's been so cool to watch this behemoth come to life, and I am super stoked to ride it! -BFF, witnessing the most unique segue into her fourth season...
  6. I wish But 1221 1/3 is still a great number to have for how many times I rode Vortex. For future reference, my Vortex ride count is in my signature.
  7. A couple of nights ago, I had a dream that Banshee was removed along with Vortex. 11 inversions lost in two years is crazy enough, but apparently in my dreams it's 18?!?
  8. While not riding the best fireworks ride, one can take the best pictures of the best view of the best fireworks ride. On July 30, 2019, I hopped up on Vortex’s Fast Lane bridge after my last ride of the night, and I was not disappointed!
  9. Seven years after I took this picture, it remains one of my all-time favorite night photos. Windex and the moon were the stars!
  10. I have had countless hours at Vortex and WindSeeker where I get into the groove and have fun. Before I know it, I get rotated out and the first thing I say is "Wow, this hour went by way too quickly!" The beautiful part about working rides at Kings Island is the variety. You have different styles of rides with different height requirements and different positions. If you're operating your favorite ride, that is a special bonus. Working Vortex had its stressful moments as well as fun, but its being my favorite ride added a strong passion that shone through to fellow associates and guests. One of my favorite spiels was always "Thank you for riding my favorite ride, and enjoy the rest of your day here at Kings Island!" My passion for Vortex also spread to other rides. Any other ride I have worked or even rode only once always yielded an increased appreciation for that particular ride for what it was. I definitely did not appreciate WindSeeker, Bat, Express, Invertigo, Firehawk, or even the Carousel as much when I first started. This is very much why I'm always so happy when I work, at least as a ride op! But I must say I was always the happiest at Vortex.
  11. I have been organizing my own photos...and I have a lot of worthy contenders including photos of Troika in its previous green color scheme. And of course lots of Vortex photos, a few which I submitted a little while ago! In other words: expect to see a lot of submissions from me in the coming days, depending on when I get around to it.
  12. @Klabergian Empire @IceePirate I know from experience that Vortex's mid-course brakes could completely stop a train. And it stopped hard. One moment you're cruising around that tight turn still going at least 30 mph, and the next moment you're jerked forward from the sudden deceleration and look around to see you're completely stopped and the track around you is shaking. It was crazy! After the train released, it took to the corkscrews at a slightly slower speed (which of course enhanced the hang time and that was wonderful) due to its starting from a dead stop, and would gain back its speed as it reached the batwing and helix. While driving Vortex, I would see the train stop and the track and supports shake, which is supposed to happen yet still fairly weird to watch. If you were ever in line when a train was stopped completely, you would have most likely heard the station bell ring three times, and that occurred simultaneously with a three-beep alarm at the drive panel in case the stop was caused by the driver's not paying attention. I also got stuck on the mid-course brakes twice, including in a torrential downpour! Nothing like enduring an abrupt stop while already having trouble seeing and breathing due to rain hitting your face at 55 mph. Now THAT was an experience!
  13. I have high hopes for the speed hill right after the felc elbert (reverse treble clef). I'm guessing that will be my favorite part besides the first drop.
  14. ^It's not wrong. Vortex did indeed see more than 45 guests!
  15. I was at Media Day too! I got to be interviewed, rode Banshee eight times, stayed on Delirium for three cycles straight (they weren't assigning seats so I didn't need to go back around!) and marathoned The Bat for 17 rides including staying on 15 straight times (still my record for most rerides in a row - not even Vortex beat that!). Also free food was a thing that day. Free Chicken Shack and Banshee Twist ice cream for the win. @faeriewench even got a picture of me on The Bat during my marathon.
  16. I believe WindSeeker opened on June 21, 2011. Pertaining to the topic: Happy birthday Banshee and Diamondback!
  17. The day was September 18, 2012. Just over one month after joining KIC and making clear her fascination for a certain Arrow, a young(er) VortexBFForever found herself in a dilemma as her laptop kept failing to boot. The hard drive had failed, rendering everything on it inaccessible by traditional means. Among the casualties were documentation of several epic amusement park adventures from the just-passed spring and summer, including her first (and still only) trip to Kings Island's sister park, Kings Dominion. None of the pictures and videos were backed up, so VortexBFForever attempted to grasp the new reality of her dozens of photos and videos she had lost in an instant...or so she thought. Fast forward to April 7, 2020. Different laptop, new recovery software with a 96% success rate, a 2.5"-SATA-to-USB adapter, and the same failed hard drive all joined forces for a momentous event. For the first time in over seven years, most of these 2012 park photos and videos saw the light and were "rescued", and they are now in several safer locations for posterity. Those from Kings Dominion will now appear here as part of VortexBFForever's 3,000th contribution to the Kings Island Central community. Now, let us travel back in time to Tuesday, April 10, 2012, via my best first-person recollection skills and my successfully recovered photos. After a 6.5-hour drive on April 9 came the day for which I eagerly waited since the idea was first conceived. Kings Dominion had a spot on my list of parks to visit ever since my thrill-seeking side was born two years prior, thanks to a certain B&M hyper and Arrow looper at our beloved home park. I had also developed a fascination for Kings Island's past rides and hoped to experience something like the late King Cobra, which made Shockwave a priority during my visit. Kings Dominion is also home to Anaconda, another Arrow looper, which also topped my must-ride list. Say what you want about these two rides, as it won't stop me from appreciating them. Those who know me well know that I have a soft spot for rides with generally mixed/controversial opinions. Mom and I departed our room at Hampton Inn Charlottesville to start our fun day. We spent the morning at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello and then drove another 90 minutes east to Kings Dominion. Unlike Kings Island, Kings Dominion is difficult (if possible at all) to see from Interstate 95, and that makes for a "wow" effect of the entire park's skyline appearing at once while pulling into the parking lot! The first thing I noticed while walking into the park was the instrumental music playing on International Street. I was so used to hearing pop on I-Street (thanks KI) that it took me a little bit to get used to the instrumental music. But once I did, it seemed to fit the area better than pop music would (and that would be further confirmed in 2017 when instrumental music would return to our I-Street!). I will say early on that I did not cover much of the park, as it closed at 6 that day and we had arrived at 2, if not a little later. Reriding my highest priority rides took priority later in the afternoon, so numerous other rides remain yet to be experienced. Fortunately, the rides I did get to ride include two steel coasters that had since gone the way of Firehawk and Vortex. Also, dispatch times were not the best, which further diminished time for the other rides. Consider this trip an example of quality over quantity, as I did enjoy what I got to do. Either way, a whole slew of rides await my first ride on them should I return hopefully soon enough. Taking in my first impressions of the park, I took the first left turn to what would be my first ride I have ever ridden at Kings Dominion. Seeing Dominator's station wait only increased my excitement to ride it. Dominator turned out to be the second former Geauga Lake ride I have ridden, with Firehawk the obvious first. Walking into Dominator is a treat as I'm surrounded by inversions in a moment's time. I rode in the front row on the right. The time from my boarding to my train's dispatch was around four minutes, but that was quickly forgotten once I was on my way. Moments later, my train whisked down its 148-foot drop from its 157-foot-tall summit at 65 mph and twirled through its five inversions. I know from experience that Dominator is a great thrill-seeking start to a Kings Dominion visit, especially my first! I continued past the rides of KidzVille and eventually I started hearing drums, as if I was walking into the jungle. That's when I knew I had entered Congo. Anaconda calls this section home, so it was my next destination. Just before entering the queue, I watched the train on the lift hill reach its 128-foot peak, plunge down the 144-foot first drop and disappear into the underwater tunnel...with no splash. This day was particularly windy, with gusts in excess of 25-30 mph. Thanks to the wind, Anaconda's splash effect and Volcano's flame effect were turned off, and Drop Tower and WindSeeker were closed. I headed into Anaconda's queue as the train finished its four-inversion run shortly before the other train began to ascend the lift. Like Dominator, Anaconda also had a station wait so I waited only 5ish minutes. Unfortunately, the slow dispatches I saw at Dominator were consistent across the park, as I would see similar times at the other coasters. I felt that if dispatches were quicker, the lines would be even shorter. They were already short to begin with, so I can't complain. I did not let the slow dispatch times stop me from having fun! I queued for the front seat. I had a tradition of sitting in the front left seat for my first ride on any Arrow looper, as that was where I sat on my first ride on Vortex on July 23, 2010. I would sit in that seat for my first rides on Viper at Darien Lake (July 25, 2011), Corkscrew at Cedar Point (August 4, 2011), Anaconda (today, April 10, 2012), and later Loch Ness Monster (June 26, 2012) and Tennessee Tornado (April 3, 2013), and I still plan to do that on any and all future Arrow looper first rides. Just before 3pm, I took my first ride on Anaconda! As I heard the "All Clear" over the speaker and felt my train start to move, I kept repeating to myself that I was finally riding Anaconda after waiting two years for this moment! The lift hill ascent wasn't much different from Vortex, other than the obviously different view and location. Anaconda has no pre-drop; the train careens right into the drop at the mercy of gravity, enabling the 50mph top speed to be obtained sooner. Not even a minute passed before I saw the massive drop in front of me, where I plunged 144ft into Lake Charles and up just as quickly into the loop and sidewinder before hitting the midcourse brakes. I do agree about the middle "figure-8" section being lackluster, but the corkscrews made up for the second half. Like Vortex, the corkscrews are navigated at a slower speed which means hang time! Anaconda's corkscrews have an advantage with their being over the water. If you guessed that I hopped right back in line and rode again...ding ding ding! It was common of me on my earlier theme park visits to reride a priority ride a handful of times before moving on, which I have since changed as I found myself running out of time for other rides (and this trip was the epitome of that ). For future visits, I would find it beneficial to hit at least all the major coasters and then return to any priority rides/favorites to reride them in the remaining time, and that strategy has proved superior. Second ride in the second car, namely 2-1! I must have first arrived during a small influx as the line had shortened now. From this ride on it was a walk-on/stay-on. After another fun ride through and over Lake Charles, I heard the magic words "If you wish to ride again, please choose an empty row..." I immediately hopped out of 2-1 and headed back to claim 7-1. I really looked forward to experiencing that first drop in that seat! (that's me with my arms up!) Anaconda in 7-1 did not disappoint, at least on the first drop. I got pulled up and over the top of the lift into the drop, and the loop and sidewinder were fairly intense. It was that ride that determined that Anaconda had my favorite first drop, at least on an Arrow. That title has since been challenged, but if I return sometime in hopefully the near future, I can see if that is still true. Three rides on Anaconda sufficed for now, so I headed into The Grove in pursuit of another priority ride: Shockwave was a must for me only because I was interested in experiencing any idea of what King Cobra was like. I understand that many say that King Cobra was superior, and I believe that is true even though I cannot speak from experience. I wanted to ride Shockwave anyway since it was the closest I could ever get to it. Like Anaconda, I waited two years for the moment I would step aboard Shockwave for the first time. (peep Triple Spin and Rebel Yell in the background) The 95ft lift climb was (and still is) by far the slowest lift hill I've ridden, and I heard that is typical for a Togo. At least there was a great view. From the first turn onward, I was pleasantly surprised by the abundance of airtime. Each hilltop lifted me off the train's floor, from the first drop to the bunny hops. The circular loop proved quite intense, and remains the most intense loop I've ridden as it is still the only circular loop I have experienced. I found Shockwave fun, especially compared to Mantis (which I rode the summer before) which I thought was just okay. I walked around again to ride a second time, and upon my train's return the queue for the second row was empty, so I rerode in that row. My three rides on Shockwave on this day would be the only three rides I got before its closing three years later on August 9, 2015. Next was Wave Swinger. Yes, we have a ride like it, but I couldn't resist. I don't remember much about this ride (I forgot I even rode it until I found my hand-written Kings Dominion ride log) but I know I had fun on it. Since the Carousel was nearby, Mom and I rode that next since it was more her speed. She doesn't ride big roller coasters (but rather takes pictures of my riding them) but she'll ride select smaller rides including carousels, antique cars, teacups, and occasionally Scrambler. As I previously mentioned. WindSeeker and Drop Tower remained closed the entire day due to the high winds. Otherwise, this WindSeeker would have been the third of its kind that I would ride. As of this writing I still have ridden only Kings Island's and Cedar Point's WindSeekers. After briefly lamenting my inability to obtain my third WindSeeker credit, Mom and I enjoyed the view from Americana, another ride that called Geauga Lake home. It may not have taken us nearly as high as WindSeeker or Drop Tower, but it would have to suffice. Plus, it was one of only a few chances per year that I could ride a Ferris wheel (the other chances being Cedar Point trips and when the county fair is in town). Americana gave a pleasant ride with yet another great view. I headed back to Congo, as only one hour remained until park closing and there were rides in a certain X-Base-esque area that I wanted to hit before I ran out of time. Of course I had to get another ride while on the way... ...as I enjoyed another spin on Anaconda before checking out three of its neighbors. My target ride was Intimidator 305, conveniently next to which stood Flight of Fear. I ended up riding Flight of Fear first and had fun tricking myself into thinking I was at Kings Island (which is surprisingly easy on a cloned indoor ride!). As Silly Bandz were still a thing, I was wearing a few glow-in-the-dark Silly Bandz and looking at them sometime during the ride. I finally arrived at Intimidator 305 and joined its short line, a station wait and then some. Soon I was seated and secured in a new Intamin shoulder restraint, ready to ascend 305 feet before racing down a 300-foot drop and reaching 90 mph. (peek-a-boo Anaconda!) "Gentlemen! START YOUR ENGINES!" It took only a few moments to ascend the fastest lift in the park (its and Shockwave's lifts are night-and-day different!) and before I knew it, I was staring right at the ground. The drop was fun and I joined the ranks of riders who greyed out on the turn at the bottom. Once the next hill restored the blood flow to my head, I tried to keep my hands raised through the brief pops of airtime resulting from the rapid directional changes. To put it simply, Intimidator 305 remains the most intense roller coaster I have ever ridden. And yes, I had fun. Mom was convinced I had "met my match." I believe her. The last of the trio brought me into a mountain and into a 20-minute line for the ride believed to be Kings Dominion's signature coaster. I was ready to have a blast on Volcano: The Blast Coaster. If memory serves me right, I was seated in row 3. The first launch started the adrenaline surge as my train swooped around the turn and back into the mountain, where I felt the second launch kick in. The next thing I kicked would be the clear blue sky as we shot straight up through the mountain's peak at 70mph and rolled out at 155ft above ground. Each of the three heartline rolls brought considerable hangtime, and I was all for it. All too soon, the train rocketed back into the mountain for the final time and hit the brakes. My only ride on Volcano was literally a blast. I loved it and it would become my favorite along with Anaconda and Shockwave. 6:00 was now mere minutes away, and what better ride for this up-and-coming Arrow nerd to end the day on than... ...Anaconda, of course! If memory serves me right, I rode second-to-last train of the day. As I snaked down 144ft, through the tunnel, and through the loop, sidewinder and corkscrews for my last time, the setting sun made an orange glow that covered the park, as it happened to be golden hour. What a great (and beautiful!) last ride of the day on Anaconda, and a good way to tide me over for the month and six days between now and my first 2012 visit to Kings Island. After saying bye to Anaconda for hopefully not the final time, it was time for us to head out as Kings Dominion was now closed. I took in International Street a good long last time. Peek-a-boo WindSeeker. Bye, Kings Dominion. Until next time, which is who-knows-how-many-years from now (hopefully not more than eight ). +Dominator: 1 +Anaconda: 5 +Shockwave: 3 +Wave Swinger: 1 +Carousel: 1 +Americana: 1 +Flight of Fear: 1 +Intimidator 305: 1 +Volcano: 1 Thank you for coming along with me on this throwback. As you return to the present, please remember to cherish your past memories, enjoy the present moment, and look forward to what future adventures have in store. Who knows how many more wild amusement park trips will transpire in VortexBFF's next 3,000 posts...
  18. ^I call it the felc elbert. ("treble clef" backwards)
  19. You don't have to ask me twice! In all seriousness though, I'm missing Vortex a lot already. It literally defined the last ten years of my life, from my first time being flipped upside down in 2010 to my first job as a ride op from 2017-2019.
  20. I had a dream a few bights ago where I was riding The Bat, but each of the train's cars could spin freely (e.g. a spinning coaster or spinning wild mouse) and the layout was Vortex's. In other words: Riding Vortex on The Bat's train while being able to free-spin. What if this actually becomes a thing someday? I know at one time Arrow experimented with inversions on their suspended model.
  21. Troika and Zephyr were my favorite rides in 2008 and early 2009. I still remember my first rides on them on June 30 and July 4, 2008! I especially loved watching a certain one of Troika's neighbors , and being able to do that while riding made it even better.
  22. Because I can. And also because today is Vortex's 33rd anniversary.
  23. I applied. Should Defunctland create any more Kings Island episodes, I have countless Firehawk and Vortex photos to add to the mix!
  24. Last fall, a friend and I decided on the nickname of Oreo. We got the idea while riding Vortex, so I am definitely sticking with it.
  25. King Cobra was before my time (or at least before I was big enough to ride anything), but I did get to ride Shockwave at Kings Dominion in 2012 and I loved it. It's still my favorite standup. I understand why many loved King Cobra - especially since some consider Shockwave to be inferior (and I enjoyed that!).
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