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Everything posted by cdubbs727

  1. Yeah, maybe saying parts weren't available was a wrong choice of words (I have no engineering or mechanical expertise). But I see it feasible that, for some reason, a 33-year-old roller coaster just can't do what it used to. At 40, I feel ya, Vortex.
  2. I'm curious when this starts to really affect Cedar Point. It's been a long time since they've said a real goodbye to a roller coaster (Mantis and Mean Streak just got transformed). I think Wildcat and Disaster Transport were the only two to actually close in a very long time. But I have to imagine some of them are really showing their age. Magnum is historic and my hunch is they want to keep it going as long as they can. But, like Vortex, it's an Arrow. It's also not aged particularly well; it slams you around something awful. Same with their Corkscrew and, I have to imagine, Cedar Creek Mine Ride. I'd also wonder how much life is left in Blue Streak and Gemini, although it seems that wooden coasters have a bit more of a lifespan to them. As we get older (and I'm 40 now; 25 years older than when I started riding these things), we're going to see a lot of favorites retired.
  3. They said in the release it had reached the end of its service life. It's likely as simple as that. No more parts available for a 33-year-old ride. There could have been inspections or maintenance that revealed it was not going to be feasible to run it another season.
  4. Sure, if you live nearby. For those of us who live out of state, it's a bit harder to plan a weekend trip like that in a month.
  5. I agree that I don't think it was necessarily a spur-of-the-moment decision, but I do wonder if their timeline was unexpectedly accelerated. Maybe all year the plan had been to announce at Haunt that Vortex would cease operations after the 2020 season, so prepare to come next summer and get your last rides in. But maybe some recent repairs or inspections revealed that it was going to need to come down sooner. Then again, if it was seen as becoming unsafe to ride, why keep it open for the rest of Haunt? I don't know. Maybe the team at KI underestimated the love for this one; it still seems unfair to announce the closing of such an iconic ride only a month in advance. They're usually pretty good about respecting park history, so I wonder if something forced their hand.
  6. That's quite a contrarian post. I highly doubt 99% of park guests will see The Vortex leaving as an improvement. Just the reaction here shows how beloved it is, even if it wasn't in its prime. I mean, if you hate the ride, why chime in just to trash other people's love? Seems rude. Let people love what they love, dude. Crap, did I just feed a troll?
  7. Wow, you're right. The Bat and King Cobra were the only other two roller coasters the park got that decade. That makes me sadder. But at least we still have Congo Falls.
  8. Aren't most Coke Freestyle Stations's also SBNO?
  9. I'm not sure of what they could do to it or what the options are (just because I'm in no way an expert) but that's an interesting thought. I can't say I agree, but it would be interesting. And there is precedent for it in Cedar Fair history. Cedar Point announced the closure of Mantis only to overhaul it and bring it back as Rougarou the next season and then they did the same thing with Mean Streak and spent two years transforming it into Steel Vengeance. I don't know what the options are for a steel coaster; you can't exactly RCM it. But I feel like it's such a unique structure on such a great footprint that I feel like Kings Island has to know something has to go there soon. Otherwise, you just have a large, empty field (or, worse, a decaying, non-operating roller coaster).
  10. When people started talking about the funeral set up at this year's Haunt, I saw someone mention Vortex and I literally commented "no way it's Vortex. That ride deserves a full farewell season. It's too iconic." I'm old enough to remember when the ride briefly got the same treatment as The Beast -- just as that one had the pawprints leading back to it, Vortex had its logo on the Coney Mall paths for a bit. When I was a kid, The Vortex was one of those coasters I initially thought I would never ride. It was too scary. Riding it the first time was like an initiation, and it was the rare roller coaster that still gave me butterflies in my stomach well into adulthood (the airtime on those barrel rolls). I still think The Vortex has one of the best first drops at Kings Island, and its structure is gorgeous. It's my favorite place in the park to take photos and I honestly cannot imagine the park skyline without it. I've had a great time riding it with my nephews as they've grown older and tried new things. My 7-year-old son just hit the 48'' mark this year. He did Mystic Timbers but was still apprehensive about The Vortex. I told him not to worry; one day, he'd be brave enough to try it. Now, he never will (we live in Detroit, so I doubt we'll get back for a final run). I do feel like I aged out of The Vortex. Some years, I didn't ride it at all. To say it wasn't the smoothest ride in the park is an understatement; I often had to pop an Advil upon leaving, and there was one year it popped the lenses right out of my glasses (which were in my pocket). I'm glad I took time to ride it this summer -- and that first drop and those barrel rolls were just as good as ever. I am surprised by the rushed nature of the release. As others said, Firewhawk seemed to get a much grander send off and, to be honest, it wasn't a quarter of what this ride was. Vortex is iconic, and I'd argue it played a big role in building Kings Island's reputation. I wish there had been one last season to ride, but I wonder if this was something initially planned for next year that had to be accelerated. Kings Island has shown too much respect for its own history to think that it would intentionally relegate the closing of one of its best coasters to a time when most people can't revisit. Like I said, I'm going to miss Vortex being part of Kings Island's skyline. I'm sure Orion is going to be a great addition, but the back of the park will look really empty without those loops and that hill. I really hope they don't leave it SBNO for a season; respect the ride. Once it's done giving its thrills, take it down. Don't leave it decrepit and silent.
  11. Yeah, I think that's interesting and would make sense. I feel like Congo Falls and Invertigo are kind of pushed off in a corner ... they're technically in Action Zone, but they feel kind of out of it. And neither are great rides. Cedar Point really changed its atmosphere with GateKeeper, and I could see Cedar Fair wanting to do the same with Kings Island (although IS is a much more breathtaking entrance to the park than Cedar Point's Midway is, and part of the charm is that there aren't roller coasters bombarding you as soon as you walk in). I do think that the main gate needs some renovation. I can't see them going for a full tear-down, because you'd lose A LOT of real estate -- two bathrooms, guest services, several shops. Plus, I feel like they're starting to use the International Restaurant a bit more strategically throughout the year ... I wonder if it's a test to gauge whether there might be an interest for re-opening the restaurant. But I feel like something needs to be done to make the building feel a little less seventies.
  12. Would they host a funeral for a non-returning haunt? I haven't been to Haunt, but I guess my assumption was that haunts tend to come and go over the years. Maybe I'm wrong, though. I know VF was down quite a bit this summer, but I really hope that's not what's being lost. I haven't convinced my son to try it yet, lol. But it's in such a beautiful location, it's an amusement park standard and I have a lot of fond memories of riding it with my grandmother. I heard some people mention Vortex (because everyone mentions Vortex when it comes to removal rumors) but I have serious doubts about that one. It's been a park icon for more than 30 years. It's not only historic, it's been a part of the Kings Island skyline for three decades. I would think a ride like that, especially when it's still working fine, you'd give a full final season to. I wouldn't be sad to see Invertigo...um, go. It's an anticlimactic ride and I haven't taken the time to wait in that long line for about a decade. Boo Blasters, I'd be okay losing. But again, don't see it happening. Kids still love it and it gets the people in, and it's cheaper just to keep it going. But who knows!?
  13. Kings Island rectified the Antique Cars removal, but it's impossible to undo the damage -- there was a picaresque ride in the middle of the park that is now taken up by a noise, ugly (but fun?) roller coaster. But I think the biggest loss in terms of memories and aesthetics has been the removal of Kenton's Cove Keelboat Canals. They were taken out for Tomb Raider and now there's just a big ugly building sitting there. I know KI still has a (pretty fun) log flume, but KCKC was a different experience. It was fun to float up so high among the treetops. It was another fun family ride, a great way for kids to build up their courage. And it was a really nice-looking ride; it fit in nicely with the Rivertown theme. Granted, I don't know that we'd have Diamondback if KCKC was still there. But I do miss that ride. Also, it was obviously necessary to remove the Paramount theming from the Tower Gardens when the park was sold. But I don't feel they've replaced it with anything special. It was a smoking area -- is smoking still permitted there? I didn't get that sense this year. So, it's a gross-smelling area of the park and there's nothing special or beautiful about it. Kings Island is so renowned for its floral scenery and landscaping. Why not turn that into a walkthrough garden with beautiful flowers, waterfalls and more? A nice place for older people who aren't there for the rides or people who need a respite in the middle of the day.
  14. When we were there a few weeks ago, the ride ops were great. On The Bat, they told us to enjoy our ride on "Firehawk" and welcomed us back to Cedar Point; they also sang songs. The Beast's operators had long rhymes they'd say as we left the station. But yeah, I cut them some slack. They're mostly kids working a low-paying, often repetitive job in the heat. And they have to also be emcees in addition to doing safety checks? I'll allow it. Having said that, the food ops definitely need some more thorough training. I received a lot of blank stares or mumbled replies. Retail employees were great, but almost every food service employee just gave us an "uhhh..." with a question or seemed very disinterested, in a job that is very customer-facing. The worst was when we went to Hank's Mexican Grill. We needed to get our meal plan wristbands. I told the kid behind the counter this and he muttered "f***" and was very curt. We didn't go to Guest Services because I didn't want to drag my kids all the way across the park, but it definitely was the worst service we received at Kings Island.
  15. What are you talking about? Kids come from hundreds of miles away just to hug Schroeder!
  16. I think Kings Island is definitely a "have" park, and I think it's short-sighted to view a park's worth, importance or prestige solely on roller coasters. I live in the Detroit area, so CP is my "home" park. I like CP, but I've always loved Kings Island more. Part of it is that CP has always been a day trip. It's where you went as a teenager to scream your guts out on roller coasters. As a kid, that help little appeal until I hit 48 inches. As an adult, I love coasters, but I find myself wanting more from a park. Which is probably why it's been six years since I've visited Cedar Point and we do a two or three-day trip to Kings Island every summer. And I think Cedar Fair knows these two parks have different identities and personalities, and the way it spends its money wisely keeps the parks on brand. Cedar Point receives a lot of roller coasters -- it should. It's the roller coaster capital of America and its identity has always been tied to thrill rides. That's what Cedar Point does, and Cedar Fair throws money at it accordingly. I feel like Kings Island has always been more of a family destination. There's a greater number of hotels in the area (aside from the Cedar Point property hotels, Sandusky is pretty slim pickings for places to stay), which means you likely have more people making a day trip of it (admittedly, that could also be my limited perspective as someone who had a two-hour drive to CP and a four-hour drive to KI). They have always had a larger, better kids area than CP, which means it's likely more people went there as children and built memories. Hence, throwing a lot of money at renovations this year that made it feel like the KI many people grew up with, including that wonderful renovation to International Street, the Antiques (with their callbacks to KI history) and even The Beast pawprints. None of that likely came cheap; it's a smart brand investment. Kings Island doesn't need a ton of coasters -- one every few years is great. I was more excited to see fresh paint on the International Street buildings and a quality fireworks/fountain show. I'd be happier to see a charming dark ride than a giga. And I think that's what Cedar Fair knows...there's a lot of nostalgia tied up in Kings Island and it's smart to throw money at it. You'll bring in parents and their children and you'll establish Kings Island as a place with a storied history (I wish Cedar Fair leaned more into the 100-year heritage of Cedar Point).
  17. I know part of the building is used as a theater for kids' shows (Space Beagle is in there this summer). But from my recollection, that theater space is really small -- and I don't think Boo Blasters takes up a ton of space (I could be wrong)...and it stops on the opposite end from where EV started. Not sure whether they use the rest of the building for storage or not...perhaps the track does go further than I thought. I never rode EV in its original iteration; the first year I went to the park was the year that the Smurfs Enchanted Voyage was opened. That was my favorite ride as a child -- it delighted and terrified me (not that Gargamel was all that scary, but I always had a fear of the boats stopping and the lights shutting off). I rode BB several times this year with my kids and was disappointed. The volume seemed extremely low at points, the blasters don't make any noise (did they ever?) and it just feels like an after-thought (although my kids loved it). I wish they'd gut it and put a special dark ride in there. Honestly, I'd take that over a giga.
  18. Took our annual trip to KI this year (from Detroit). It was especially meaningful to me because it was the way I chose to celebrate my 40th birthday. A trip to Kings Island for my 30th found me a bit miserable; being able to take a trip with my wife and two kids (son, 7, and daughter, 3) was wonderful, and I was glad my mom, along with my sister and her kids, decided to join us. Was a bit surprised to find crowds generally lighter on Sunday than on Monday. Not that Monday was slammed, our longest wait was probably 30 minutes for The Beast, but it was still a bit noticeable. But it was another great year. A few notes. I love the new look of International Street. The pavers are great, the new paint on the buildings really adds to the festivity, and I love the new look of the fountains. Sure, it took a little bit of time to get over the missing pedestals, but it really looks sleek and fun. Also, I don't have to yell over the roar of the fountains anymore. I love Kings Island's kids area. It's a great training ground for my kids. My 3yo daughter was able to do The Great Pumpkin Coaster this year and she was hands-up all the way. My son, who is a bit more timid than I was at his age, finally conquered Woodstock Express (it's always and forever The Beastie to me) and Surf Dog. He might have bit off more than he could chew by doing Mystic Timbers next...he was not ready for that. But, undeterred, he went on like a champion and found new favorites in Adventure Express and Backlot Stunt Coaster. For anyone who calls for their removal, I'd just say they are fantastic middle steps for young kids who can't do the bigger coasters but still want to push themselves. Next year, maybe he'll try The Racer and The Bat. The Beast at 40 is still a mean, at times painful, coaster. I loved every agonizing mile. Mystic Timbers grows on me every year. It's one of my absolute favorites in the park. I just love how fast it is...you don't stay in your seat for more than five seconds at a time. That said, I might be aging out of The Vortex. It's still a muscular, fun ride. But man, did my head pay the price. Speaking of muscular, I was surprised to find just how well The Racer holds up after all these years. Still packs a punch. I did, unfortunately, have to do my first walk of shame, as I was a bit too...husky?...for Flight of Fear. Was a bummer, but at least it was the only one I had to deal with that on. Gives me a new fitness goal...get back on next year. Loved looking at the teaser posters in the old Firehawk site. Was a lot of fun to come back to our motel (good ol' Shaker Inn) and follow the day's developments. I also think at one point on Monday I spotted Don Helbig walking from back by FoF onto the Coney Mall midway (his nametag said Don and it looked like him). I work as a writer in marketing, journalism and PR and should have introduced myself and asked about job opportunities (lol) but he looked like a man on a mission. I loved the new antiques. What I loved most was the signage and callbacks to Kings Island history throughout. I kept telling my wife how much fun it had to be to write and design all that. The thing that impressed me the most this year was all the attention paid to Kings Island history throughout the park. From the restored colors on International Street to The Beast paw prints to the new glockenspiel on Festhaus, Kings Island really honored its heritage this year, and it made me feel like I was able to show my kids what the park was like when I was their age. Sitting alongside the fountain waiting for the fireworks, it made me get a bit choked up. Speaking of which, I loved the new fireworks/fountain show. I've always appreciated the fireworks, but the coordination with the music and the fountains just made it a special way to end the night. My kids were dancing throughout it. I also thought the service at the park was fantastic throughout this year. The ride operators were all energetic and I had a lot of fun listening to some of them throw out the wrong rides/bizarre stats while we were in line. Many of the retail workers responded with a "my pleasure" when I thanked them for helping me, which is so much nicer than "you're welcome" or "no problem." At one point, I was an idiot and wore a baseball cap on Surf Dog. It blew off and landed in the area under the ride. Some supervisors were extremely helpful at telling me how to retrieve it at the end of the night and the employee working at Lost and Found was extremely helpful. As someone who's spent hours in line trying to exit Cedar Point's parking lot, it's always refreshing to get out of Kings Island's lot so quickly. Both nights, we were back at our hotel thirty minutes after the park closed (when you have young kids who are exhausted after a long day, that's a huge help). Another great year. Maybe one of my best years in my nearly 30 going to Kings Island. Great rides, great food and great memories all around.
  19. Dang...we're going Sunday and Monday and I was really hoping to convince my son to overcome his fear of it this year.
  20. It's not like they were floating away. But they were definitely off the ground.
  21. Very true. But parking close to our car an navigating one row is easier and safer than walking across the whole parking lot at night, especially when you have young people driving like maniacs trying to get to the exit.
  22. Its possible my brain is mis-remembering what the news called it; it was a funnel cloud that never touched down. But it definitely hit Water Works 20-25 years ago, blew the tenting off the top of one of the slides.
  23. So, the discussion about trams earlier got me thinking about a really weird memory I had from KI from probably about 25 years ago or so. I remember we were at the park on a day where it was particularly rainy; we're talking downpours, and I think a waterspout was actually spotted at Water Works. We came out that afternoon to leave the park and go get some dinner, and the parking lot was flooded. It was so flooded close to the park, in fact, that several cars were actually floating. Does anyone else ever remember this happening? (Not that day, but I assume if it happened then it might have been a common occurrence). My grandpa used to have video of it, but I'm sure it was lost to time. Any other weird KI memories you all have?
  24. Kings Island's parking lot isn't huge, and the app alleviates the problem of having to remember where you parked. But I do wish they had the trams. It would make a big difference with kids. It's nerve-wracking to walk with them through the parking lot, especially at night when people are often not paying attention to where they're going and kids have a tendency to run and wander. Also, at the end of the day, us and our kids are usually so tired from walking that a tram would be a great way to ease our legs a bit and restore our energy before the drive back to the hotel.
  25. Honestly, the older I get, the less interested I become in them adding a roller coaster. I'm sure whatever they add will be fun and I'll ride it and enjoy it, but I'm more excited about all the nostalgic things they added this year than anything they've done in the past (and I say that as a big Mystic Timbers fan). In the next five years or so, I'd love to see a lot of attention paid to Action Zone. Re-theme it to something. Tear out Invertigo, Congo Falls and maybe even Timberwolf (I have a lot of Spirit Song memories there, though) and put some fun attractions, not necessarily coasters. A heavily themed, innovative water ride, maybe some really unique thrill rides and a nice outdoor dining area. Other things I'd love for them to focus on in the next few years: * Do something with Fountain Garden, which right now is basically just a really gross, sparse smokers stroll. Maybe make it an outdoor museum of Kings Island history, with models of older roller coasters, plaques and signage commemorating old attractions, even videos of old commercials. I remember loving that area when it was owned by Paramount because it was a nice distraction. Now it's just a place where people go to smoke cancer sticks. * Re-theme and re-open International Restaurant, maybe as a coaster-themed bar and grill. * Gut Boo Blasters and turn it into a peaceful, family friendly dark ride attraction. * Either tear down the old Crypt building or create some sort of immersive indoor attraction in there. Right now, it's just a waste of space except for storage and Haunt stuff. It's not quite the eyesore Disaster Transport was (since that was spoiling lakefront views at Cedar Point) but it's still pretty atrocious. * Won't happen, but close Backlot Stunt Coaster. Raze the ride and make it a collection of flats and family friendly attractions. * Add some tables around the base of the Eiffel Tower, add a few cafe/coffee/drink options to make that a fun gathering place. * Rebuild a campground. Even if it's off-site and you need to add a shuttle service. * Another thing that won't happen: Bring back the trams. The walk from the front gate to the back of the parking lot at the end of the day is exhausting for people with kids.
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