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The Great Zo

Trip Report for 10/14/2007

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This is a bit belated, but wanted to get the trip report up for the record book. Most of this was written for an audience of some non-park-enthusiast friends of mine, so be sure to take it in that respect. Thanks!

First off, here's a directory listing for a bunch of pictures I took at the park that day.

http://fiveninety.dyndns.org/~thegreatzo/p...14-KingsIsland/

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I will preface the trip report with the following: the park was dead. My longest waits were two 10-minute waits, but nearly everything else was a walk-on or one-train-wait. I have never seen an amusement park so empty. Because of this, at times, I actually pushed my limits of how much riding I could take before feeling sick or getting a headache. That's virtually impossible for me to do.

I got in about 15 minutes before opening, which means that all guests must wait at a rope, which is not removed until 11:00 even. At 10:59, the national anthem played on the park's audio system, and we were let on into the park. I decided to go first to Firehawk, which I expected would have the longest lines of the day. I was right, but it was no big deal. I got on the second or third train of the day. Firehawk is a Vekoma Flying Dutchman coaster, the first of the two major makes of flying coaster, and the inferior one. The ride is a bit uncomfortable, not to mention it's rather small, short on time, and doesn't do a whole lot. Still, it was a unique experience, on a coaster in the "flying" position. I very much want to get on a B&M Flying Coaster at some point because those are supposed to be even better.

I went to Flight of Fear next, which is an indoor launched "spaghetti bowl" coaster. My first ride on it was a rare ride with the lights on, since the park had just opened and their electricians had not turned them off yet. The second ride was front row, and I was one of just two people on the entire train. The ride is pretty rough and goes through a bunch of tightly wound turns and inversions. It's a literal pain in the neck.

I went back to Firehawk for another ride and waited 10 minutes, which turned out to be my longest wait of the entire day.

After that, I went to The Racer, a classic out-and-back wooden coaster by Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters. There are two separate tracks, one with the trains on forwards, and one with the trains on backwards. My first ride was in the back seat of the forwards car, and it was the roughest ride of the whole day. The up-and-down shaking was very difficult to handle. I rode again in the front and it was more enjoyable. I then tried the backwards version, which actually featured some more air time, and the tracks seemed smoother too. Certainly, riding a roller coaster backwards was an interesting experience.

I then went for five consecutive rides on Vortex, a late-80s Arrow looping coaster; one of the best in the world from that particular make. It was also one of the last coasters Arrow made before revolutionizing the industry with Magnum XL-200 in 1989 at Cedar Point. Vortex gets a close second place for my favorite coaster at the park. It's well built and rides fairly smooth, and has six inversions. It's also a fairly long ride that does a lot of things. Finally, the airtime going down the first hill from the back seat is the best air time in the entire park! It is interesting to note that this is the same make as many of the very simple and puny Arrow corkscrew-type coasters found in tons of park across the planet -- including Corkscrew at Cedar Point and others elsewhere. Vortex is pretty much the pinnacle of the design.

After this, I went to the Italian Job Stunt Track, which is sort of a gimmicky movie tie-in. The seats were really uncomfortable and this ride didn't do much for me as a whole.

Next, I went on The Beast, which is certainly the most legendary coaster at the park. It's still the longest wooden coaster in the world, and it very much revolutionized the way the wooden coaster is looked at. It paved the way for some of the modern wooden coasters currently eating up the top-10 lists, but The Beast is still right up there among them. It dives back into the forest and is completely invisible from the rest of the park, except for the two lift hills. The final element of The Beast is a ridiculously fast double helix through a couple of tunnels, and is easily the most intense finale of any roller coaster I've ever been on. This wins my vote for best ride at the park, but this would hardly come as a surprise to anyone who has been there.

I went on The Beast once, and at that point, had been on 16 roller coasters in just over two hours. I had a killer headache and took a short break, before riding again in the front.

After that, I went back to the car to get my camera and begin photography of the park. I knew I'd need to do photography, because at the current rate, I would end up with over 50 roller coasters on the day and would probably end up bored. I didn't want this to happen, mainly because I would probably have killed myself going on 50 rides. So, I went up to the top of the "Eiffel Tower" -- a 1/3 scale replica of the real thing in Paris. There is an open-air walk-around observation deck on top, and this is one of the few places where Kings Island has a really awesome feature that Cedar Point does not. I took a lot of pictures from the high perch atop the park.

After that, I went into the northern sections of the park. I went on Adventure Express, an old Arrow mine train type ride. This one wasn't particularly interesting, but wasn't a bad ride for a beginning coaster rider. It's sort of a hybrid -- a steel coaster built on wood. At the end of the ride, there is a final lift back to the station, through a tunnel with Easter-Island-type head statues with moving arms and lit eyes, and it was rather creepy.

Next, I rode Delirium, which is a Huss Giant Frisbee, and the same exact model as maXair at Cedar Point. So, I knew what to expect. It was good, but being a few years older, was a bit rougher than Cedar Point's slightly newer version.

I went to the far north end of the park to ride Top Gun, an Arrow Suspended coaster -- the last one ever built. It didn't do anything for me at all, and was pretty rough too. Not to mention, the entrance is far away from the rest of the park! It's a 5 minute walk just to get back there.

After two rides on that, I went to Son of Beast -- a coaster is more infamous than famous. I wanted to like this ride more than I did, but it was so much less interesting than The Beast, and so much rougher too. It does get some "high marks" (ha) for being the tallest coaster in the park.

To close out the middle part of the day, I went to Face/Off, a Vekoma shuttle coaster (or boomerang). It's an incomplete circuit coaster that pulls the train up one spike, releases it through a series of loops, then back up a second spike adjacent to the first. Then, it releases it again and does the loops again. The gimmick with Face/Off is that it is inverted, with back-to-back seats so that people face the other people in the next car. Or, in my case, I faced empty cars since the park was so empty. It was interesting, surprisingly intense through the inversions, and actually pretty fun.

Next, I took another break, and got some LaRosa's pizza for dinner. They had on the Cincinnati Bengals game. I got to watch them lose, as expected. Another comment on the Bengals -- I saw more Carson Palmer Bengals official shirts in the park than I can count. As an aside, the shirts I saw the second-most of were from University of Kentucky.

Time was starting to run out, and still feeling a little wobbly, I took the last two hours a little bit easy. I went to The Beast for another ride, and then back to Face/Off to ride in the facing-direction I had not done before. I did Delirium again, and also re-rode Vortex and Firehawk once more each. Insert the interesting Firehawk not-trying-to-be-pedo story here.

I closed out the night with two rides on The Beast, the last one being in the front row as dusk was falling. Riding The Beast at night is said to be one of the best roller coaster experiences in the world, and it was pretty good at dusk. It's too bad the park closed at 7, since I would have loved to ride it in total darkness.

It seems to be my tradition at parks to ride the marquee attractions in the front seat after closing time, and be on one of the final trains of the night. I have done this at Cedar Point with Millennium Force and twice on Top Thrill Dragster. I did it again on The Beast, riding in the front seat on the third-to-last train of the night.

After that, I stuck around the park for a while, and got a few more pictures. The best were from the elaborate fountains in front of the park, which made very pretty patterns and utilized different color lighting as well.

Forgot to mention up higher in the report, but about half of the coasters were allowing re-rides. So I got to stay on (or jump into a different seat on) a lot of the coasters. A few weren't doing it, such as both "Beasts", and Firehawk (the only one with a steady line).

The end.

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IN: 10:46 AM

OUT: 7:45 PM

Rides (chronologically, with waits in minutes):

(note: 1 means a one-train wait, and usually a wait of 1-3 minutes):

1 Firehawk

0 Flight of Fear

0 Flight of Fear [Front]

10 Firehawk

0 The Racer (Forwards) [back]

0 The Racer (Forwards)

0 The Racer (Backwards) [Front]

0 The Racer (Backwards) [back]

0 Vortex

0 Vortex [back]

0 Vortex

3 Vortex [Front]

0 Vortex

1 Italian Job Stunt Track [back]

3 Italian Job Stunt Track [Front]

0 The Beast

10 The Beast [Front]

--Eiffel Tower--

1 Adventure Express

0 Adventure Express

1 Delirium

0 Top Gun

0 Top Gun [back]

0 Son of Beast [back]

5 Son of Beast [Front]

1 Face/Off

1 Face/Off [Front]

--Dinner Break--

1 The Beast [back]

5 Face/Off [back]

1 Delirium

1 Vortex [back]

1 Firehawk [Front]

1 The Beast

5 The Beast [Front]

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Rides (by number):

6 - Vortex

5 - The Beast

4 - The Racer

3 - Firehawk

3 - Face/Off

2 - Flight of Fear

2 - Italian Job Stunt Track

2 - Adventure Express

2 - Top Gun

2 - Son of Beast

2 - Delirium

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Very nice report, but how can you say both these things:

Firehawk is a Vekoma Flying Dutchman coaster, the first of the two major makes of flying coaster, and the inferior one. The ride is a bit uncomfortable, not to mention it's rather small, short on time, and doesn't do a whole lot. Still, it was a unique experience, on a coaster in the "flying" position. I very much want to get on a B&M Flying Coaster at some point because those are supposed to be even better.

Having not ridden a B and M Flyer, how can you possibly say that Vekoma's version is inferior? I, for one, GREATLY prefer the Vekoma Flying Dutchmen to the three US B & M Superman Flying Coaster installations....

Tatsu? That's a totally different story!

If you think Flight of Fear is a pain in the neck now (I don't...), you should have had the 'pleasure' of riding it with over the shoulder restraints. Or better yet, the pleasure of doing so on Batman and Robin: The Chiller, back at Six Flags Great Adventure.

Glad you had fun. Sounds like it was an awesome day!

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Interpreter -- I'm mainly going on what I've heard from friends of mine who've been on them. As it was I was writing that for a non-coaster-people audience and really just wanted to get across that from what I've heard anyway, there's newer and better versions out there from another company. I'd absolutely love to get on one myself and actually make my own call on it :)

standbyme -- Really wasn't using anything too special! I was using exposures of between half a second and a full second, with the aperture setting cranked way up. I guess the intended effect was to acquire the same amount of light to get a good picture over a slower period of time, to smooth out the fountains and give the picture a more "full" look to it. Very glad you liked the pictures!

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Man that lot was dead. Good trip. I can't ride The Beast more than two or three times in a row tops. Too much on the old body.

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Next, I rode Delirium, which is a Huss Giant Frisbee, and the same exact model as maXair at Cedar Point. So, I knew what to expect. It was good, but being a few years older, was a bit rougher than Cedar Point's slightly newer version.

Delirium, I believe, is one year older than maXair. I really don't see how Deli could be rougher than maXair. And, I have been on both and it's the same sensation. The only difference I could tell was that it seemed that Maxi did more swings than Deli.

Great pics and TR!

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I don't know for a fact, but this previous summer like KiBeast I noticed the cycle was a bit longer on maXair, either that or it takes their ride longer to reach the home position.

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