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Posts posted by cdubbs727

  1. Took a trip to the park last week with my wife, son (he's 4) and my sister and her sons (8 and 5). We tried doing KI with our son last year, but he was a tad too young (and my wife too pregnant with our second) for it to be a great trip. This year, we left the baby with grandparents and the three of us drove from Detroit to the Kings Island area. 


    We stayed at the Shaker Inn, which I kind of hate mentioning, if only because I don't want anyone else to find out about it. You can't beat the price, it's clean and quiet, and we had the pool all to ourselves when we checked in. Great little location, and it feels like our own little secret. 


    It was hot as blazes both days, which I think kept the crowds down. Planet Snoopy was packed early in the day both days, but the longest wait we had was about 20 minutes for Diamondback. My wife and I used parent swap or we took turns watching the kids, so we were able to ride pretty much all of our favorites. I've been riding The Beast since I was 10, and it's so great that it still holds up nearly 30 years later. Banshee's quickly becoming one of my favorites at the park and I don't think you can beat the airtime on Vortex (well, maybe with Diamondback). 


    As a parent, I'm simply amazed how great Kings Island's kids area is. We obviously spent a lot of time there and I never felt like it was drudgery. Sure, there were things we had to sit and wait for our kids to ride, but we had fun shooting ghosts with our kid on Boo Blasters. I took the boy on the Great Pumpkin, which he loved. I also as able to get him on Woodstock Express (which I'll still always call The Beastie). He got done and just said, "that was fast," but wouldn't go on again. Still, no tears, so that's good (but I couldn't get him on Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown). 


    My wife and I did each did the $30 meal option the first day, which was a lifesaver. We thought the food options we had were great and it kept us full without breaking the bank. 


    The only thing that I would count as a negative is that whenever we had to deal with non-ride employees, like at stores or food stations, there always seemed to be an issue. Sometimes they would appear to be spacing out a bit. Other times, they were a bit rude. Sometimes they didn't seem to know what they were selling or how to deal with the offers that came in through the app (I had a heck of a time trying to redeem 40% off an Icee). But that's kind of par for the course when dealing with high school and college help, whether at an amusement park or elsewhere. I will note, however, that so many of the ride attendants -- particularly in Planet Snoopy -- were extremely friendly, funny and outgoing. The only other negative was totally our fault; when it came time for the fireworks, we gathered on the side of International Street closest to Planet Snoopy (where we had been), but close to the Eiffel Tower and the fireworks were obscured behind a tree. Bummer. But it was also the shortest firework show I can remember. 


    Although Cedar Point is our "local" park (still about 2.5 hours from us), Kings Island has always felt more like home to me. My grandparents started taking me and my cousins when I was about 4, and it was a yearly tradition until my late teens. In my twenties, I'd grab friends and go to Spirit Song and power through three days of riding and music until we were exhausted. I met my wife seven years ago and we started going together the next year after we got engaged, and we've tried to make it into an annual tradition, just like I had growing up. It's amazing how much nostalgia can be had just from glimpsing the Eiffel Tower on the freeway, standing alongside the Royal Fountain, or even smelling the lumber on The Beast on a hot day. Kings Island's a different park than when I was a kid, but not that different. So much of it has remained unchanged. And it's very moving to see my son get excited about the same things I loved as a kid and even try to rationalize himself to get on rides as I did. It's a special place for me, and I'm kind of glad I only get to come once a year, so that it stays that way. 

    • Like 7
  2. Does anyone else remember when the path to get to The Beast's entrance had yellow "paw" prints stretching about from where Backlot Stunt Coaster is today? I can definitely remember that. 


    But for some reason, I'm also remembering something similar for The Vortex, like the iron glove holding tracks. Does anyone else remember this, or am I mis-remembering? Was there something similar with any other rides? I vaguely seem to recall something else, but I'm blanking on what it was. 

    • Like 6
  3. I remember it well from childhood, because I'd always be listening for whenever the Smurf/Scooby Doo/Flintstone show would start. From what I remember, they still do it before certain shows. 


    That makes me think of some of the other sounds I miss. I remember when International Street's music was an orchestral-type music, not radio hits (or, in the Paramount Days, movie themes). I remember it really added to the charm of the area. 

    • Like 4
  4. Multiple rides don't really bother me, but I've learned as I grow older that I can't do the sustained pace I used to keep in parks. In my teens and twenties, I'd be nonstop, hopping from ride to ride for 2-3 days. A few years back, my wife and I went to Spirit Song and did 3 days at the park; by the end of it, we were literally crawling to our campsite. 


    Now I have a kid, so we spend a lot of time in Planet Snoopy anyway. But as long as I hit all my favorites at least once, I'm good. I've come to enjoy just sitting by the fountains on International Street eating a pizza and taking in the sites. 


    Oh wait...getting older means the pizza angries up the blood! 

    • Like 2
  5. I live in the Detroit area, about two hours from Cedar Point. When I was a kid, our big trip each summer was to Kings Island, something we've started doing with my own son in recent years (he's 4). So I've been going to both parks for more than three decades. 


    All of this is subjective, as people have said, and I have fond memories at both parks, as well as a lot of love for them. But at the end of the day, Kings Island is the better park experience, in my opinion. 


    Cedar Point's a great park for thrills. Really, it's roller coaster collection can't be beat on pure thrills. TTD, Maverick, Millennium Force, Magnum. Classics. 


    But Kings Island is a prettier park, hands down. It doesn't have the lake like Cedar Point, but everything feels more spread out and roomy, with more attention paid to its landscaping, themes and layout. Cedar Point is handsome and clean, but it's basically Frontier Town and then a collection of midways. Which is fine...but at Kings Island, you have a fantastic kid section, a thrill section, an old Coney Island, Rivertown and International Street (which, as I get older, becomes my favorite place in the park). 


    Kings Island is the park I want to spend days at. I can take my kid, who isn't tall enough to ride the big rides, and still feel like I've had a full, enjoyable day. If we can't hit rides, there are great shows, great food and fantastic sight-seeing. 


    And while CP tops Kings Island in number of record-breaking thrill rides, Kings Island has so much more variety and beauty to them. I'll take swooping through the valleys on Vortex over the Corkscrew or Rougarou any day. Diamondback isn't quite as thrilling as Millennium Force, but it's no slouch, and that first drop is incredible. There's simply nothing like The Beast anywhere else. Sure, CP has a dive coaster and a wing coaster. Kings Island has one of the best indoor coasters, best mine rides, best flying coaster, and a great suspended coaster. Also Banshee > Raptor. 


    I'm happy to go back to Cedar Point this summer for day. But in two weeks, we're driving down to the Shaker Inn for a few days and hitting Kings Island for a family vacation, and I know which one I'm more excited about. 

    • Like 4
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