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KIC Local

KIC Local (2/13)



  1. Orion has had some issues. All modern roller coasters are marvels in physical and computer engineering. All operations are controlled by the Programmable Logic Controller (PLC), essentially a large computer located under the loading platform in a climate controlled room. The default response to any problem in the PLC is to stop operations and have maintenance review the issue. Keep in mind there are over 300 separate inputs and any one wrong input can trigger a fault. The trains will advance as close to the station and stop there. Braking systems are fail safe closed; they need power to open rather than close. The brakes are located in the track, not on the train. Needless to say Orion is 100s of times safer than driving to the park in a car. All Orion faults are attended to by both area supervisors and maintenance personnel. Both groups have to clear the ride for operation before guests are allowed to ride. Kings Island has a seasoned team well versed in the particulars of roller coaster operations. Ride operators are told specifically not to tell guests what is wrong with the coaster (the majority of times they really don’t know!). But be patient. The first priority is always to get guests off the ride, the next is to determine what has happened and prevent it from happening again and the third is to resume operations. In my experience downtime is kept to a minimum as the maintenance and operations teams work quickly to resume operations.
  2. The aerial from the unused train station came from a Cessna 172. I will try to get up periodically and snap a few shots. That shot was taken by my 9 year old with an I Phone, so i'm pretty sure I can do better with a real camera.
  3. Not a ton to see that hasn't been posted, but... Apparently the unused train station has a use.
  4. While all the coaster fans were lining up to hear the announcement of Mystic Timbers I had to work. As usual. So Teterboro NJ, 10 am till noon the next day. Hmmm, what's close I haven't been to? Dorney Park, just 90 some odd miles down the road! I changed in the plane and hit the ground running! After a fun filled trip down the NJTP (cash only, please) and I-78 I arrived at the park at 12:30. I exited off I-78 at PA222 and immediately saw Stinger, Possessed and Steel Force to my left. Scanning my pass/security/entering the park was a non event. I might mention it was hot, 90 degrees plus so the far majority of patrons were at the waterpark, not the dry park. I didn't really have any clue of where I was going upon entering so I went to the first coaster I saw, Talon. Walking through the queue brought me to the station where I saw the ride was a walk on. I got in line for the back seat and asked the attendant which side was better; he said the left, so I chose the left. Neat B&M Invert. Similiar, yet shorter than Silver Bullet. Sitting on the left brought me very close to the ground in the final helix. Good ride. On the lift hill I spotted Hydra, The Revenge so I headed there next. Hydra is a B & M Floorless with an unusual feature, Its first inversion (heartline roll) occurs right out of the station, prior to the lift hill. It was a walk on as well. I first rode in back then came back to wait one train for the front. Hydra is a well paced invert that doesn't have the abruptness of Rougarou, Scream or Bizarro. Probably my new favorite floorless. On the way out I noticed Dorney has some really cool T-Shirts (Tie Dye) for their coasters. I spotted Demon Drop and had to ride. My wife had a bad experience with Demon Drop in high school when it was at CP so I had to ride and send texts to her. She still doesn't like it after my ribbing. I rode by myself and while I'm not fan of heights I found it pretty neat. I remember thinking right before the drop (no warning), this really isn't too high!. After the drop the elevator sort of crashes it way back to the lower level for loading/unloading; that was the most uncomfortable park of the ride. I then headed to Thunderhawk, a coaster first built in 1923 (as the Coaster). As I walked up the queue I realized it was completely empty. At first I thought the ride was closed, but no, it was open but no one was riding. I sat down in the front seat and someone else got in one of the back seats and off we went. It was a pretty good woodie, not GCI or RMC level but still a good coaster. Even though the queue only had 3 people in it when I got back they made me exit and re enter the queue to ride again. Good, front or back! Next up was Steel Force. I'm not a fan of Magnum so when I saw the paint and the layout I was somewhat leery. I walked on to the back seat. The girl in front of me changed seats so her hair wouldn't be in my face. Thanks. I appeciate that. I can say I really liked this ride. Morgan really improved on the design!. The midcourse brake prior to the bunny hops make all the difference! I elected to ride again in the front and was paired with a handicapped man who was a wealth of knowledge about Dorney Park and roller coasters in general. He told me he prefers Hershey because its cheaper but he said Dorney's handicap policy was better. The ride attendants let me ride down the elevator with my new friend (a first for me) and we chatted for about 15 minutes after. His goal was to get to Cedar Point and ride everything. Tim, I hope you get your wish and I hope my pictures whetted your appetite even more! Stinger was next. Normally I skip clones of KI rides (kinda been there, done that) but there was no line, so what the hell. I ended up across from a boy who had a Gatekeeper shirt who also knew a ton about roller coasters. Interestingly, on this ride they made me leave my sunglasses in the station during the ride. The boy, who never told me his name, told me Stinger was smoother than Invertigo. After riding I have to agree. Much less head banging and it did seem smoother. I took a bunch of pictures to try to compare the two. It does seem in the Cobra Roll there is less track between the corkscrews on Stinger, so maybe that's it. Or additional bracing in the loop, who knows? The boy did ask me why I wasn't at KI for the big announcement. (Grrrr!) He seemed disappointed that Dorney rarely gets anything new but KI and CP are always getting something new. I had to agree but we both were happy our home park isn't Worlds of Fun or Michigan Adventure! ( He did seem to think the wing coaster track at CSF is for Worlds of Fun, and launched at that. He knew a ton!) Possessed was next and was a walk on as well. I expected a similar ride to Wicked Twister and for the most part I was right. The difference is the reverse spike is straight and on the third time up there is a brake that grabs you just for a split second before dropping you again. A sweet little surprise that really changes the ride experience. I had to ride again just to experience it again. I stopped at the Monster Cafe for lunch and being close to Philly, I figured a Philly cheese steak would be good. Mmmm, not so much. While the sandwich was huge it had no onions, peppers and only a tiny bit of cheese and had no real flavor. Fries were standard Cedar Fair, so not good. Seriously considering dropping the meal plan for next year. Food doesn't seem to be Cedar Fair's forte. The Whip was recommended, so I headed there after lunch. It is the same ride as Kings Island's whip, except its adult sized! A neat classic flat ride. Glad I took the time to ride. I then rode the Apollo, a spinny flat which was a lot of fun. At that point the rain and lightning began. I figured it was time to make my exit. I stopped at a gift shop and bought a few t shirts and a couple other trinkets. I chatted with the supervisor while I waited for the rain to let up. He asked me what I thought the new KI ride would be (got CGI Woodie, but missed the name) and what I thought of Dorney. (Liked it a lot!) A few observations about Dorney, their ride signs are univerally excellent. Everything had at least a 2D rendering of the name and logo, even the flats. I liked the effort and it says something about the pride they have in their rides (even the hand me downs) The logos were all distinctive and translated well onto mechandise. (Which I bought more than I planned). Secondly the majority of the associates were foreigners. It just surprised me but perhaps shouldn't have. If I was coming to the US to work I would rather be 1 1/2 hours from the airport that takes me home rather that 1 1/2 from an airport that takes me to another airport to take me home. All associates I encountered were very friendly and spoke English well. I highly recommend Dorney. Its not a big park but its rides are impressive and its coasters distinctive.
  5. I was very surprised that there was no waiver to be signed or anything like that. OHSA requirements are very strict, for the very reasons you speak of. If you were determined/crazy/ill you could fall on (and through) the track or overtop the railing. The tether prevents any movement like I just mentioned (you have to drag it with you). If you fainted or fell you would end up on the platform with your midsection off the ground as the tether was only about 18" long.
  6. We bought season passes and in three different visits have yet to ride Lightning Rod. We're trying again in late August. If you can manage a stay at DreamMore they offer a Fast Pass (their version) for everyday you are at the park. Its a pretty nice hotel.
  7. I think Knott's hotel is getting refurbished; that would eat a lot of capital.
  8. R.E. Middleton Construction did most of the concrete work on Banshee and Valravn. Here they are pouring sidewalks and a parking lot..... Or adding footers for a totally sweet B & M Giga Inverted Dive Wing coaster for an elementary school.
  9. We have activity... at my daughters' elementary school. I did ask about when they were starting at KI they said they couldn't talk about that.
  10. I was in that line too. Follow the paw prints to the first of three queues. Bought drinks in the third queue (Now second queue). Spit in the pond (yeah, I was that idiot kid) , finally the ride of a lifetime. I rode it again today with a 5 minute wait. Still a great ride! And even better memories.
  11. I would guess the teasers have stopped due to the plans being discovered. There is no reason to give away more than what has been found already. A wooden coaster is pretty much guaranteed, so what else can you tease? Manufacturer? (for the 1% who care?), track layout? (it's going back in the woods, probably interacting with WWC in someway), Inversions? (maybe, maybe not) The only substantial thing left is the official announcement and the name. I'm guessing the end of August and Sasquatch as the name.
  12. Valravn shakes big time, but only when running and is designed to do exactly that. I have a video of the supports shaking as the train moves through the course. When we were at the top (obviously the ride was not running) it didn't move at all. They said if it didn't shake, it would break. I get that. Airplane wings do the exact same thing.
  13. Along these lines I learned on the CP Sunrise tour B & M has special harnesses that allow people missing limbs to ride their newer rollercoasters. Both Diamondback and Valravn has the attachments for these harnesses.
  14. A few more pics.... Centerpunched light... MF.. Maverick..
  15. A few weeks ago my wife and I signed up for the Sunrise Tour at Cedar Point to take place on Thursday, June 16. We arrived the day before and enjoyed the park and an overnight stay at The Breakers so we would be sure to make our show time of 6:30am on the 16th. Crowds were minimal on the 15th with Valravn down for most of the day. (yet all the Intamins were up and running...) We awoke on the 16th to the sound of heavy rain. Not good. But checking the radar it seemed to by one isolated cell and it was moving to the southeast. We checked out of The Breakers at 6:15 and drove out of the park and immediately U Turned back into the park for the first perk of the day, preferred parking. Want to be in the first spot? Arrive at 6:20 in the morning! Dustin, a supervisor in customer service, greeted us at 6:30 and scanned our tickets and our passes (to allow our season meal plan to activate). We would be the only people on the tour today! About 30 seconds later the phone rang from the rides department... might be to wet to do the Valravn climb. I told Dustin that we would be OK with just an elevator ride to the top (my wife wasn't going to get out, anyways). They did offer to reschedule the tour but I figured things were drying out and I didn't know when we would be back. We were assigned Allissa (I know i'm missed the spelling, sorry!) as a tour guide. She was in her first year of customer service, her second at the park, having previously been on the Dragster crew. She said most of the customer service folks (at CP) were on internships from the various universities represented. Hopefully people will remember that when they complain ! Time for the money shot. We headed to the Valravn for the signature event. We were met by Kayla (i'm screwing that up, sorry) and W. They said we would go up the elevator and they would check to see if it was too slippery to walk around. I told them I had completed my OSHA fall prevention training at work in April. (It didn't matter to them!) We belted up and entered the elevator. Reaching the top, W secured himself and Kayla using the belt using a 2 tie off method to the one tie off method. From what I remember from the OSHA training, very proper. Kayla went up, walked to the end and came back and said the outside tour was ON! They attached my fall harness and I left the elevator. The platform is sheet steel with wingwalk compound (sand in paint for texture) and not slippery at all. (I very much appeciate their caution, however!!) I stepped out on the platform and was amazed by the view, almost forgetting I was 223' in the air! Kayla showed me the do not cross red line and pointed out the workings at the top. I found out the holding brake is not a brake at all, its simply a chain drive that moves very slowly. You never actually come to a complete stop, unless the ride goes down. I took a ton of pictures and could have stayed up there all day. It was almost a religious experience and I never got scared (I have a mild fear of heights) I guess I was out on the platform 7 minutes or so. My wife in the elevator said it was a few lifetimes. The elevator ride down was quiet as I was trying to remember everything I saw. Now time for the Valravn "ground" tour. We saw the underside of the station (1st level,strangely empty) and the second level with various computers, proximity sensors and all the workings of the fold away floor. Very complex! On a table they had a summer wheel, winter wheel (bigger diameter and softer) , a chain dog and the hydraulics of the seat restraint. (released by a selaniod, no way it can open without electrical power, either in the station or by a battery pack). We then moved over to the storage shed/maintenance shed. The water dummies were down below and upstairs all three Valravn trains were parked in the shed. (I didn't realize they could all fit at the same time). Got some cool pics of the underside of the trains and wheel assemblies. At that point we headed over to the employee cafe for breakfast, which was included. I laughed at the prices. Egg sandwich, $1. Omlet, $2. The girl working the cafeteria line asked for our CP identification , to which Allissa said we were the Sunrise Tour so everything was "free". The omlet was very good and the fruit fresh. The food may be better in the cafe than in the park. We then headed back to Valravn for the test runs. We watched a few empty runs, then runs with a single ride attendant. (Who wants to ride now? Me! Me! I guess it pays to be good to the boss.) Apparently they run all the trains empty, then with a ride attendant, assuming everything is trouble free. At 8:45 we took our first ride of the day. We choose the front right, Allissa rode in the back right. I had riden it once before in row 2, middle and was disappointed. Row 1 was a MUCH better experience! After our ride, the floodgates opened and we headed to Dragster for an infield tour. We walked on the infield, past the power shed to under the tower itself. As we stood in awe under the tower the first test train of the day shot up the tower. SWEET. Allissa pointed out why they are so strict on loose objects, especially on Dragster. She showed us a tower light where they had recovered a cellphone. She said losing phones is one of the biggest complaints. We cut through Dinasours Alive to get to MF. They put stuff everywhere, especially for Haunt, just outside of a normal field of vision. It paid to look around! MF was having issues getting going so we did the full walk around underneath while the ride was locked out and maintenance at the top. By the time we reached the middle of the lift hill the ride began test runs. Its fast, especially by the tracks coming off the lift hill! We cut behind the petting zoo, and by the not so nice camel (Allissa warned us to walk on the far side of the path) to Maverick. We went behind the Frontier Inn to get into the infield but the gate was locked. Maintenance came by to let us in but not before a group of angry patrons showed up... Looking for a phone dropped on Maverick. Allissa gave them the standard answer about it may be retrieved at the end of the night, file a report on the website, etc.. They got a little rude and Allissa shrugged her shoulders. I felt very bad for her. She didn't drop the phone and had no power to help them immediately. She recovered quickly and gave us the infield tour of Maverick. She then walked us up the back steps and asked us where we would like to sit. Front row, please. As the train left the station I saw the missing phone on the roof of the tunnel. They dropped it before the ride even started. Idiots! As usual, Maverick was an awesome ride!! Allissa walked us out of Maverick through the normal exit and gave us 2 one time Fast Pass Plus and 2 Fast Pass tickets. The tour ended at that point (about 10:45am) Allisse and everyone we encountered from CP was very friendly and very accomodating. Loved the tour and would do it again.
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