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TombraiderTy last won the day on March 5

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About TombraiderTy

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    KIC Tourist
  • Birthday 10/04/1993

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  1. ^Have you tried the CoasterDynamix models? I haven't had any issues with their quality compared to Lego, even when disassembling and reassembling the same sets.
  2. The set they sell is what you described - it's just track, track supports, cars, and directions. It doesn't include a motor, which would bump the cost up. In my opinion the price is also comparable to the Lego coasters, only with a lot more versatility. Instead of only 3 or 4 track pieces you have to assemble Roller Coaster Tycoon style, CoasterDynamix gives you a lot more control with their track system. Regarding CoasterDynamix in general, I'd recommend anyone interested in their Lego-style coasters to watch their Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/coasterdynamix/). Sometimes they have a "Scratch and dent" sale, where they almost half the cost of the Cyclone model (https://www.coasterdynamix.com/collections/cdx-blocks/products/lego-compatible-cyclone-roller-coaster) just because the box has minor wear and tear.
  3. Yep, all the ponds and lakes at Kings Island were man made. I'd suggest checking out HistoricAerials.com, searching Kings Island, and setting the year to 1964. Before all the coasters and what-not, it was just flat farm land and some splotches of trees.
  4. That's an employee access path, probably to KCKC's pump house (seen at bottom right). You can see the fence between the main path and KCKC continues over top the smaller path, where a guest in white is. At the end of the main path is the entrance to the old nature trail though - you can see the dirt pathway near the top of the photo.
  5. Bumping this thread a bit, but... The smaller image, with the Troika name on the ride, isn't our ride. That's just a generic shot of the ride model. If our ride was ever named Troika, it was only 1975... newspapers and publications called it Troika that year, but they also called Zodiac "Giant Double Wheel". I think they just referenced both rides' model names. I'm still searching for a 1975 photo of Shake, Rattle, and Roll with its sign though - one of my many Kings Island white whales That's the Giant Double Wheel at Kuwait Entertainment City. Zodiac was not SBNO at Kings Island for years, as a lot of sources incorrectly claim - it operated for at least part of 1986, then was completely removed by 1987. It re-opened at Australia's Wonderland in 1989, and was ultimately SBNO there for a short while after the park closed in 2004.
  6. To be fair, I don't think Adventure Express has had a piece of standalone merchandise since the mid-1990s
  7. I'd assume the removal of the pedestals was more due to Winterfest - wasn't the park already taking out half of them for the ice rink? And having to work around the remaining few? Having a flat, clear surface will make operating and maintaining that ice rink a lot easier.
  8. Based off all the pictures and videos I've seen, I love the details on the International Street buildings, the new paint, the refurbished Festhaus clock, and I'm personally glad to see the trees cut back. But I agree that the fountains are, thus far, disappointing - they look more like what you'd find at a local suburban mall than what was previously there. I don't mind the pedestals being gone (Canada's Wonderland and Kings Dominion's fountains look great without them), but the fountains seem almost neutered - they used to be these grand columns of water, tossing gallons and gallons of water into the air. Now it's all little spurts of water in an oversized pool. As someone said, it was allegedly windy. Maybe the fountains will shoot higher in the coming weeks and it'll return some of that grandeur.
  9. Ironically the old fountain was converted into a planter (likely late 1990s), then was removed in 2011... and now a new planter has been returned to that area.
  10. Kings Island operated this way in the late 90s / early 2000s. Personally, I'm glad that set-up is gone and I can enjoy a beer (almost) anywhere in the park.
  11. You're correct; guests originally entered and exited the same side, but the park added staircases to both stations for the 1973 season. Here's a fall 1972 shot, showing construction of the staircases (photo courtesy eBay user momthrewitaway) And completed staircases in 1973 (photo courtesy flickr user tshiverd)
  12. I've collected them for maybe 5 years now. I display most on a trio of custom-built shelves I bought with a haul of Kings Island shotglasses on eBay a few years ago. Here (link) is a shot of them. I love how they look, but they only hold 87 glasses total. My collection has surpassed that size, so all the extras are now just lined-up above my kitchen cabinets. Maybe they'll introduce some Copperhead Strike shotglasses later in the season - I'd still love to add one to my collection. And I didn't consider liquor laws between states, but I could definitely see that as a reason for the strict alcohol policies. I haven't done Electro Spin itself, but I rode a topscan at the Ohio State Fair in 2016. It was easily one of the most disorienting rides I've ever ridden, so to be honest I'm not sure I would've ridden Electro Spin even if it was open. Hope you have fun! It's a great park! Part 4 After a couple rides on Afterburn, our group split. A couple went to Copperhead Strike again, while the rest of us went to try a Carowinds-original: Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare: 3Z Arena. This renovation of the former Action Theater was introduced in 2016 and I've been interested in it since. If memory serves me right, Kings Island's own Action Theater hasn't been used for a film since 2013 and is now strictly storage and Halloween Haunt's Urgent Scare. When Carowinds' new interactive ride was announced, I was hopeful a similar attraction could be added to Kings Island's theater. The queue area featured some fun props, although I assume the windows are screens and normally have some media on them. There was also a small preshow, featuring Dr. Zomboss. It did a good job explaining the story to anyone unfamiliar with Plants vs. Zombies (self included). No pictures from the attraction itself, but a quick web search can show you the set-up. It's sort of a hybrid of Disney's Toy Story Mania and the former Action Theater simulators, with moving seats synchronized to on-screen motion. I was super excited to give this ride a try, but honestly a little underwhelmed... you have 20+ participants all shooting at the same screen, so it marks your hits with a colored number. I assume the number corresponds to your seat, but I must've not noticed the number before the attraction began and it was too dark to see it once the experience began. The gameplay itself was also a little repetitive - several people in our group got tired of it and just stopped playing before the end of the attraction. I really wanted to like this attraction, so it was a bummer it wasn't as great as I hoped for. In typical theme park fashion, the attraction ended with a gift shop... and these unique Fury 325 hats. But no shotglasses From the exit of Plants vs. Zombies, there's a great shot of Copperhead Strike's twisted profile. Next we did Carowinds' other interactive ride, Boo Blasters on Boo Hill. The attraction is similar to Kings Island's version, albeit the omnimover-style ride system is replaced with individual cars. The sets had a lot of the same characters and props, only on a much smaller scale. Everything seemed a lot more consolidated. A lot of the effects also didn't appear to be working when compare to their Kings Island counterparts. But one thing I really liked about Carowinds' version of the ride was the laser guns - you can see a red dot wherever you were shooting, which made it a lot easier to recognize if you were successfully shooting a target or not. Overall I prefer Kings Island's though, and I really appreciate that we have such a high-capacity ride system for our ride. As far as I can tell, Kings Island is the only park in the country outside of Disney with a omnimover-style system. The next coaster, Nighthawk. This ride is similar to Kings Island's former Firehawk, with a few small changes - it ends with a pair of corkscrews instead of inline twists, doesn't have the final helix, and lacks a dual load station. But its setting near the park entrance is fantastic - the ride soars above water and pathways, and one of the main park midways passes directly under the ride's lift hill (which, side note, was eerily quiet when compared to Firehawk's). The ride itself isn't as good as Firehawk was though, especially the corkscrews or slower operations thanks to only one load station. We started to wrap-up the night with a final few rides. First, Mountain Gliders, a set of Bisch-Rocco flying scooters that previously operated at Kings Island. I enjoy that the park brought-back flying scooters with Woodstock Gliders in 2015, but I selfishly want "our" original set back But I'm happy to see this antique ride still running. My phone died around this point, so no more photos from Saturday. But to quickly summarize the remainder of the night - we did two successive nighttime rides on Copperhead Strike. The ride is even better after the sun sets, and the headlights on the trains are crazy cool. I love how they illuminate the track as you speed around it, and I would have loved if Mystic Timbers had something similar. Then we wrapped-up the night on Fury 325, which was great. I got myself a Fury 325 shotglass too, adding to my collection. Overall, fantastic day at the park. A few of us returned for half the following day, which I'll cover in the next (and probably last) part.
  13. I haven't been to La Ronde, and I last visited Canada's Wonderland in 2009, so I can't really compare it to either. And to be fair, my biggest issue was the lack of a specific item - shotglasses. I collect them and across all the park gift shops I visited, I only found one (abnormally sized) shotglass. There also didn't seem to be that many Copperhead Strike items, despite being the new ride. The merch for it was consolidated to a single table display in the park's main gift shop. I don't think Fury 325's placement (alongside the parking lot) detracted from the overall ride experience, but maybe I would've liked the ride even more if it roared across the park... although I'd probably then have issues with it detracting from those themed sections Thanks for sharing that infographic! Very interesting to see how all the Cedar Fair parks compare in their land availability and usage. Hope you get the chance to go! It's a great park. Thank you! And agreed - once you past the route to Fury, there isn't much else on that path. Even less now that the park has unexpectedly shuttered their rapids ride. Good to know the structure has a use during the summer though and isn't just sitting there the majority of the year without purpose. I don't think I've had enough experience with Kings Island's food in recent years to compare it, but I think I'd personally give Carowinds a slight edge on landscaping. I especially like the waterways around the front of the park. Part 3 So after a somewhat painful ride on Carolina Cyclone, we walked back to Copperhead Strike (again). On the way we passed the park's county fair area, one of my favorite themed sections in a Cedar Fair park. I really wish I took more photos of this area... it was based off a 1958 county fair and had a lot of fun details, like photo-ops, stringed lights over the pathways, and a diverse collection of nice-looking carnival rides. For an example of the 1950s county fair theming, the restrooms had record-shaped signage. I should've gotten a better shot from the front, but the park's music express is one of the only music expresses I've ever liked the look of... I usually find them a bit on the tacky side, but this one was like a big jukebox and looked super classy. The topscan, Electro Spin, also looked great. It had some banners in the back about spaceflight to wrap-up the theming. Unfortunately the ride was closed all three days we were at the park. And finally, we were back in line for Copperhead Strike again. There were no operational delays this time around, and we were on in about 15 minutes. A fun detail is that you can see the launch scene from the exit platform. The window is mostly obscured with newspapers, otherwise the exit would probably crowd-up too much. I absolutely love the look of Copperhead Strike's station and launch building... it looks fantastic and really helps push Carowinds into the theme park realm. We rode Copperhead Strike a couple times, waiting 15-20 minutes in the FastLane each round. It was now a bit after 3pm and we hadn't eaten since Starbucks, so the group decided on lunch at Blue Ridge Country Kitchen. I ordered the same meal as yesterday, only swapping the mac and cheese for potatoes. I even had the same cashier as the previous night, but was oddly charged $1.47 less than before... I don't know which price was correct, but I'll knock it up to first weekend challenges. Another first weekend issue was the consistency between the meals... this meat was much more done than yesterday's, and both the potatoes and meat were cold. This was an issue across our group - no one's food was hot, no matter what they got. If this was my first exposure to the restaurant, and not the previous night's, I wouldn't recommend it or return a second time. After lunch I decided to try the Copperhead Strike Indian Pale Ale. I really like how the Cedar Fair parks have been partnering with local breweries to offer attraction-based beers. This one was pretty good - nothing phenomenal, but I'd definitely get it again. This is something I found odd though... alcohol consumption at Carowinds was restricted to the immediate areas around the bars they were sold at. Kings Island had the same policy years ago, but now you can walk around the park with a beer in hand. I wish it was the same rule at Carowinds. Next up, Vortex, one of last four B&M stand-up roller coasters in the country (and also one of the first). I didn't have any strong memories of it from 2012, but this time around... meh. The stand-up trains didn't add anything to the experience outside longer load times, and the layout is so short and simplistic it pails in comparison to some of the newer coasters at the same park. It wasn't bad, but also nothing great. I do wonder if it'll be swapped-out for floorless trains in the foreseeable future - the former Vortex at California's Great America has a similar layout and was swapped from stand-up to floorless trains a few years ago. After a ride on Vortex, we took a lap on Intimidator again. Just to compare Intimidator's station (2010) to the one of Copperhead Strike above... I love the leaps and bounds Cedar Fair has been making in theming and details. Intimidator's gift shop had this table filled with Thunder Road, the defunct racing wooden roller coaster, merchandise. I wonder if this is all remnants from before its closure, or an attempt to offer nostalgic merchandise to guests. We still had one B&M roller coaster to hit-up at the park - Afterburn, the inverted roller coaster that opened in 1999. I adored this ride back in 2012 and was really looking forward to riding it again. I think I enjoyed it a bit more in 2012 than I did this time around, but I think part of that was having had the opportunity to ride Busch Gardens Tampa's Montu so many times since, and I think the Florida coaster is a bit superior. But Afterburn is still a fantastic ride. I love how this ride interacts with its surroundings, diving under and over pathways. The few remaining pieces of Top Gun theming are also cool. I also liked this shot from Afterburn's station, showcasing Imtimidator and Dinosaurs Alive!. Is Carowinds the only Cedar Fair park still with it? I'll try and post Part 4 some time this week. Feel free to share any comments or questions (and big thanks to everyone who has thus far)!
  14. Thanks for the comment! Carowinds is a great park, I'm sure you'll have a great time! Thanks for the comment! Per Google Maps, the most ideal-looking route from hotel entrance to park entrance is almost exactly a mile. But that route doesn't include crosswalks, so it wouldn't be the safest. And I'm lucky I like my meat a bit more rare, although I assume servings will be more well-done after the first few weekends wrap-up and employees become more experienced. Part 2 After our two rides on Copperhead Strike, we started walking toward the Starbucks at the entrance to the park for some coffee and breakfast. En route to the front of the park, we passed through a few different areas. I was surprised how much asphalt there was - Kings Island has done a tremendous job replacing almost all of its asphalt with pavers or concrete. I think the last remaining asphalt is around the Eiffel Tower, although I wonder if that'll be gone with this year's renovation of International Street. Starbucks was comparable in size to Kings Island's and immediately in the park's entry area. It wasn't too crowded, possibly because most guests had prioritized Copperhead Strike over cappuccinos. We only had to wait maybe ten minutes before we had our food and coffee and were sitting outside, watching the crowds pass by. We also reached-out to the remainder of our group during this time - whereas two of us had driven up the night before, the remaining few opted to leave crazy early Saturday morning, drive through the night, and make it to the park by opening. These few were a little late on the "park opening" goal, but we met up with them at the park entrance around this time. While waiting in the entrance plaza, I noticed this big truss structure. I assume it was from Winterfest, but seemed mostly unused now that the 2019 season had started. I like the column design at the bases, and the discrete green color, but it was a little odd to see the whole thing standing there seemingly without purpose, especially at the park entrance. Once we met-up with the rest of the group, we headed to the next ride - Intimidator. Comparable to Kings Island's Diamondback, this B&M hyper coaster opened in 2010 and borders the parking lot. When I last rode this in 2012 I loved the ride, ranking it above Diamondback and Canada's Wonderland's Behemoth. Maybe it was because I had just ridden the arguably superior Fury 325, maybe it was because I've ridden a lot more coasters since 2012 to compare Intimidator to, but I wasn't too thrilled by the ride this time around. It was still fun, but not as phenomenal as I had remembered. After back-to-back rides on the hyper coaster, we headed back to Copperhead Strike as the rest of the group hadn't ridden it yet. We queued around 12:30pm and instantly saw that crowds had picked-up. Whereas we waited 5 minutes in the FastLane before, the line stopping at the steps into the station, it now stretched down and around the queue and toward the test seat. We only expected a 15-20 minute wait, but almost immediately after getting in line the ride appeared to undergo some technical difficulties and cease operation. We still waited 15 or so minutes, hoping it'd go back up, before bailing and deciding to return later. Instead of Copperhead Strike, we headed toward Fury 325 and passed Hurler on the way. Hurler, manufactured by the long-defunct (and almost mysterious) International Coasters, Inc. in 1994, was unfortunately closed during our visit. The park appears to be wrapping-up some off-season trackwork on the ride, so it's great to see them caring for and preserving their only major wooden roller coaster. I really dig Fury 325's sign. Fury 325 has an exit gift shop, similar to Diamondback or (previously) Banshee. As I'll discuss later though, I was a little underwhelmed by Carowinds' merchandise selection though. After a great ride on Carowinds' biggest ride, we opted to hit-up a few of the park's smaller attractions, starting with Carolina Cyclone. Carolina Cyclone is a miniature Vortex. It opened seven years earlier and is a fraction of the size. It has two vertical loops, two corkscrews, and a helix. Maybe I just sat in a bad seat (car 2, row 1), but the ride was a little painful. The ride interacts with the pathway though, which is a cool feature. Part 3 coming up. Any comments or questions appreciated.
  15. It's been about eight years since I last wrote a PTR, but I had the opportunity to visit Carowinds last weekend and had such a great time, and I used to love writing these trip reports, so I decided to relive the experience and share it with others. I'll break it into a few posts and share my thoughts and opinions on all the rides and the park itself - enjoy! Part 1 So a coworker and I made the impulse decision to join some other friends on a Carowinds trip for the opening weekend of Copperhead Strike, the park's new Mack Rides launched roller coaster. Whereas the others had planned this trip a month out, got their tickets and FastLane early, and booked an Airbnb near the park, the coworker and I decided to visit the park a day out. We quickly got FastLane, season passes, and a hotel, and prepared to drive out the next day. Day 1 - Friday, 4/22 We left Friday, March 22 at 12:30pm and arrived to Carowinds about seven-and-a-half hours later for season passholder preview night. I last visited the park in 2012, so Fury 325 was a new (and welcomed!) sight after the long drive. Sorry to start the PTR with a Snapchat screenshot... guess I didn't take a normal photo. But wow, this ride makes quite the statement. I quickly processed my pass (kudos to Carowinds for how efficient the process was) and headed in, straight to the new Copperhead Strike. As expected, the queue was long. Considering the typical Cedar Fair policy of not closing queue entrances until park closing (10pm tonight), we decided we should eat first and then we'd get in line. We did Blue Ridge Country Kitchen for dinner, which is new for 2019. It's across from Copperhead Strike and seems comparable to Coney Bar B Que at Kings Island. I ordered beef with a side of mac and cheese, and all entrees come with a biscuit. So some thoughts on the food and service... the beef was a little more rare than I'd expect, but it tasted really good. They weighed-out each serving, which I appreciate since it should help ensure consistency between customers. The mac and cheese was very cheesy, but just okay. And the roll was a bit on the burnt side, but not bad. The restaurant also has a new Copperhead Strike spicy sauce, which was really good but wasn't offered or suggested by the crew - I only knew about it because someone else asked. The whole meal was served on a piece of paper loosely placed into a wire frame basket, which looked nice but wasn't really efficient. It made cutting the meat a challenge and made things a little messy. With a season pass discount, the meal cost $14.70. There were some issues, but it was also the first day of operation - hiccups should be expected. Overall, I was pleased with the meal. Most of the theming in the restaurant consisted of tin signs, but there were a few custom posters that had some Cedar Fair Easter eggs. I especially like the one second-to-the-left, with everyone's favorite Miami River Lumber Co. After finishing dinner (around 8:45pm), we walked back to Copperhead Strike and prepared to queue... until we discovered they had closed the line early. I understand the reasoning (the line was allegedly 2+ hours at this time), but it was still disappointing to expect to ride and be turned away. Regardless, we'd be back the next day. Instead of the new Copperhead Strike, we took a ride on the old Carolina Goldrusher. I love Arrow mine rides (and worked at Kings Island's one for years), but didn't remember anything noteworthy about this one from my 2012 visit. My new thoughts: The seats were incredibly small, the restraint lock/unlock procedure somewhat inefficient, but the ride experience... wow. I love how wonky old Arrow mine rides are, meandering for long stretches of straight track. But the second-half of this one was much more intense than expected, with a thrilling helix (with some fun headchoppers) and an elongated underground drop. Definitely a hidden gem. The crew was also very enthusiastic, which I think only adds to the experience. We queued for the last ride of the night, the massive B&M giga coaster Fury 325, at 9:50pm. We only had to wait about 15 minutes before we were on. I've done a handful of B&M hyper roller coasters, but neither of the giga ones yet. I've heard a lot of praise for this ride, but was still blown away by how good it was. It had relentless speed, aggressive transitions, and an overall out-of-control feeling. The way it interacted with the park entrance was also great, especially the dive under the midway. After our ride on Fury, the park was closed for the night. We only got two rides and dinner in, but we'd be returning the next day and were satisfied with the couple hours in the park. We headed to the hotel, checked-in, and prepared for the next day. Day 2 - Saturday, 4/23 Check out the view from the hotel... what a skyline. The park was set to open at 10am, so we left the hotel at 9:30am to drive over and park. Almost immediately after leaving the hotel's parking lot though, we joined a dense line of cars with the same plan... and waited. It turns out we were lucky we left the hotel when we did, as we were just barely able to make it into the turning lane for the park. We sat at a standstill for 20 minutes on the road, discovering that the parking tolls hadn't been opened yet. Traffic was beginning to worsen, and a police officer had to start directing cars to keep moving instead of queuing for the park to prevent an eventual backup on the highway. The tolls didn't open until 10 minutes before park opening, which I assume was just a first weekend hiccup. Despite the parking challenges, we were out of the car and approaching the entrance shortly after 10am. It's impossible to miss the giant Fury 325 that completely dominates that area. I love the green and blue paint scheme, and this element itself was one of my favorites... the transition from a curve to the drop was super thrilling. I don't really rank the roller coasters I've ridden, but I suppose Fury 325 would be in the top ten or so if I did. This ride was easily one of the highlights of the trip. Once in the park (only a small wait through security and then turnstiles), we first needed to redeem our FastLane Plus. The kiosk immediately inside the gates had a massive wait for redeeming FastLanes, but we figured we'd be able to pick it up from any merchandise stand that sold FastLane. So we headed toward Copperhead Strike, planning to stop at a gift shop on the way. This proved to be a smart idea, as we avoided the long line and got to the new roller coaster before most park guests. And here we are, Copperhead Strike. We queued up in the FastLane and were on the train, second row, less than five minutes later. The restraints were incredibly comfortable and the ride operators were very efficient and courteous. It felt like we spent no time loading whatsoever before we were out of the station and into the ride. I'll spare a play-by-play of the full ride layout, but here's some thoughts on a few elements and the theming: The jojo roll out of the station was very delusional and a great start to the ride. The barn show scene was a fun touch, albeit I still don't know what the characters said or what the story is even after I a cumulative six or so rides The hangtime in the loops and the cutback was a lot of fun I absolutely love how this ride interacts with the queue under and around it. There are so many great perspectives of the track while waiting for the ride, which I think really adds to the full experience. The ride itself also looks fantastic. The color scheme is great, the track looks so perfect, and watching the trains navigate all the twists every minute or so is incredibly entertaining. The entrance marquee was very cool. I like how realistic it looked, whereas the ride's logo is on the cartoony side. I was surprised to see so many park guests climbing on the structure though and treating it as a playground. The entrance plaza was a little weird... it's a long meandering path into the heart of the ride before you get to the FastLane and stand-by split with the test seat and an associate. It seems like this should have gone at the front, immediately next to the entrance marquee. I never saw the stand-by queue's themeing, but the few details visible from the big entrance path and the FastLane were fun. Nothing was outstanding, but it all definitely added to the ride's overall feel. I've noticed that Kings Island has been slowly incorporating similar details into Mystic Timbers' station, which I think is great. And some pictures of the ride, station, and queue. So overall, Copperhead Strike is absolutely fantastic. I've heard it compared to Maverick a lot, so to join in that comparison... it's less intense than its Sandusky counterpart, but in my opinion a lot more fun. It's not as intense or aggressive, but it's just a back-to-back collection of incredibly fun and wonky elements. Definitely my new favorite ride at the park. After two morning rides on Copperhead Strike, we returned to the front of the park for some breakfast and coffee and to meet up with the other members of our group. Part 2 coming up. Feel free to share any thoughts or comments!
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