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KI Friday 8/7/15 TR: Enjoying the Little Things with Mom, and Bad Surf Dog! Bad!


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My mother has been wanting to see Cirque Imagine all year, but her schedule hasn’t allowed it between dealing with a kidney stone and her mother (my grandmother) falling and breaking her back. She finally was able to squeeze it into her schedule this week, and we picked Friday, August 7, for the trip because of the good weather forecast.

She picked up a ticket at Kroger for $36 earlier in the week, and picked me up at my house at 10:45 Friday morning. I didn’t want to have to make her wait at the front of the park during morning ERT, and I knew that the toll booths got really long lines right at 10:00, so I wanted to arrive past then. We ended up pulling in just before 11:30 and were able to pull directly up to a parking attendant at the north tolls. The parking lot was already quite full, but we found a spot just five rows from the center grassy area on the south side (row 55). On our way in, while she used the restroom, I went into Guest Relations to ask about night ERT and whether my mother would be able to hang out in Rivertown during it, but the young man behind the counter by himself didn’t know, so I just went out and met my mom after picking up a show guide.

My mother refuses to ride most of the big rides (Diamondback, Banshee, etc.), and others she has to avoid because of minor neck and back problems (the last time I got her on Racer, she had to pay for a visit to the chiropractor the next day), so she can only ride the smaller, smoother rides. As such, I knew a large portion of the day would be spent watching shows and shopping, which was fine with me since I get plenty of chances to ride the big stuff. I don’t slow down to appreciate the little things often enough. She was willing to sit and wait for me while I rode bigger stuff, and I did check lines on various things occasionally, but I ended up not riding anything without her.

Anyway, we picked our first two shows (the 1:00 Down Home Country and the 3:00 Cirque Imagine) and checked out the Lotsapalooza shop, where she spotted a tote bag that she really wanted. It was normally $24.99, but was offered for $14.99 with a $15 purchase. So we looked around for a bit, her looking for anything of interest while I took a close look at the retro shirts on the wall. After that, we started walking back toward Beast. I checked the line there, but it was spilling into the lower queue house, which is longer than I care to wait for a solo day ride (I’d only wait that long for a night ride or with friends). So we continued around the perimeter of the park and came upon Shake, Rattle, and Roll. Mom really enjoys SRR, but when she came with me last year, it was late August, well after the ride had been removed for refurbishment. After looking at the new paint scheme for a couple of minutes, we entered the line and rode after waiting one cycle.

After that, we wandered down Coney Mall, briefly walking into the Attitudes shop, where Mom, as she expected, found nothing of interest, so we went down to the Coney Confections store and briefly looked around. By this time it was about 12:30, so we began moving toward the Festhaus for the country show. On the way, I decided that I wanted to ride Adventure Express, but she wouldn’t ride because she couldn’t see the ride from the midway (so she didn’t know how scary it was). I hopped in line, but it was almost to the midway, and we wanted to be seated with food before the show started. Knowing that the food lines would be long in the noon hour, I ditched the line and we walked toward the Festhaus, while I pulled up an Adventure Express POV on YouTube on my phone. We stopped for a moment and watched it, and after seeing it, she decided she would try it later.

At the Festhaus, we got in line for Panda Express. I got a two-entree plate on my dining plan, while she just got a single entree and side. We each got a drink, and we combined them into one transaction so that my pass discount would apply to hers also. We ate while we watched the show. The male singers were pretty good, but the female singers, not so much. Mom also commented that the girls’ outfits were “about as country as my tennis shoes”, and said that they would have been better off in blouses tied at the waist and blue jeans. I tend to agree with that.

After the show ended and we finished eating, we only had a short time before we needed to be at the KI Theater for Cirque, as I had impressed on her the importance of being there about 45 minutes early for the best seat choice. First, we went back to Adventure Express and waited in line about 10 to 15 minutes (the line was back to the queue entrance). I took her to 1-2, and we were off. She commented after the ride that it was a lot jerkier than she expected. From there, we split up; she headed toward Starbucks to get a beverage, while I went to check whether I had time to wait for Banshee. Alas, the line was just a bit too long, but I did play the wheel game while in Action Zone. I won a coupon for 50% off an airbrush product with the first spin, and scored a front-of-the-line pass for two with the second!

I then headed back toward International Street to find Mom, but on the way I spotted LoraX and Magenta Lizard sitting in front of the Theater. I chatted with them for a minute and told them that my mother was coming to the first show and hadn’t seen it before, and they offered to sit with us in the front row. (Thanks!) I found Mom still in line at Starbucks, and after getting her Frappucchino, we returned to the Theater. I introduced her to LoraX and Magenta Lizard, and we all chatted with each other until the doors opened. We did get seats in the center of the front row, and in the end she was utterly amazed by Cirque, saying afterward that it was worth the price of admission by itself. We got our picture taken with the cast after the show, and on our way out she decided to see it again at 5:00, so we had about 40 minutes to be back at the front of the theater.

She used to enjoy Beast, but her last experience on it was in 2010 when the roughness was really bad. I had been working to convince her over the past few months that that was no longer a problem, and that it was way smoother than Racer, and she finally agreed to ride with me. The line was still down into the lower queue, but wait a minute, I have a front-of-the-line pass for two! :D So we went up the Fast Lane entrance and got directly into the station. I took her to 1-2, figuring that that would be the smoothest seat. It paid off, with a ride that was almost glass smooth. She later said that she couldn’t believe I had talked her onto two coasters. :)

We returned to the Kings Island Theater by way of Juke Box Diner, where we each picked up a Coke Freestyle drink to satisfy our dry mouths. When we walked up, LoraX and Magenta Lizard were already there (they were planning to see all three shows). We ended up with the same seats as before, and again Mom was mesmerized. Meanwhile, I figured out how to fix a problem with low-light photos on my phone, and ended up taking about 90 photos, a lot of them action shots. I still need to sort through them and see how well they came out.

We decided we were hungry again, so we opted for the Reds Hall of Fame Grille. On our way there, we stopped at the Emporium for some more shopping, where Mom found a jacket that she immediately fell in love with. It was the exact same style as the Gatekeeper jackets that were given out at CoasterMania! 2013, just in pink and with a Kings Island logo. She decided that she wanted it, but wanted to wait until the end of the day rather than carry it around. She also found the tote bags she had been looking at earlier in the Emporium also, with the same deal. Following that, we walked back to the Reds Grille and checked in; after being told it would be a 20-minute wait for a table and putting in Mom’s cell phone number, we walked over to the Diamondback gift shop to browse. Mom ended up buying a novelty keychain for her mother, and I caved on a bundle of eight Kings Island keychains (photo below) to go with my Banshee keychain that I was given by the guy that runs the “Kifansite” Facebook page earlier this year. However, the bundle actually rang up at $9.99 even though the price tag said $11.99, so yay. :P

As we were paying, Mom got the text message that our table was ready, even though it had only been 10 minutes. We hustled back and were seated. I ordered the Homer Burger, while Mom got the chicken tenders. The food came out fairly quickly and was good, and the service was decent; the only hitch was that we didn’t get silverware and napkins until a couple minutes after our food was brought out. I finished my burger, but Mom ended up requesting a box to take half of her meal home.

Not wanting to carry that box around the rest of the day, we strolled out to her car to put it in the trunk, then walked back in. While eating, we had discussed the possibility of her getting a season pass next year, so we stopped at Guest Relations after re-entering the park to ask about when the fall sale would start. The lady working there said it would be around October, which doesn’t sound right. Usually the Guest Relations office gives you quick and accurate answers, but that didn’t seem to be the case Friday. We looked at the show guide again, and decided to see the 8:30 Let It Rock and 9:30 Off The Charts shows.

We walked down International Street, checking out the Sweet Spot; unfortunately there was almost nothing in the place that my mother could eat, due to the large number of medical restrictions on her diet. At that point, Mom wanted to ride some of the Coney flats, so we headed into Coney Mall and got on Monster right away. For some reason, our car literally did not spin at all; we stared at the center of our arm for the entire ride. The teenager in the car next to us, however, spun constantly and even managed to get and keep his car spinning while we were waiting to unload. Why can’t we do that? :P

We crossed the midway to Scrambler, which was a three-cycle wait. Nothing special about that ride, so we decided to head over to Surf Dog figuring that we would have just enough time to ride it and get back to the Festhaus. However, this is where things got interesting. We waited through one cycle, and thought we were going to have to wait through a second cycle, but they needed three groups of two to fill out the ride, so we spoke up and were called forward. Perhaps we should have kept our mouth shut. :P The ride started fine, but then, as the it began to slow down, we went through the loading area and up the center hill, and nearly stalled out, needing several seconds to get over the hill. Right away, I had a suspicion that we were going to valley on the far side, and indeed we only went a relatively short distance up the far end, and then didn’t have enough momentum to make it back over the center hill. We oscillated back and forth a couple of times before they cut the power, and a few moments later we settled in the valley as the queue began to empty.

After a few minutes, one of the ride ops came over to talk to us through the fence, but I couldn’t hear her, being on the far side of the car with minor hearing problems. A few minutes later, maintenance showed up. After examining the ride for a few moments, maintenance powered it up and tried to restart it to bring us back to the loading area, but the vehicle never moved. After about thirty seconds, they gave up and powered it down again. A couple of minutes after that, maintenance and supervisors opened the gate in the fence next to us and pushed the special stairs that are kept over there for evacuations up to the center of the vehicle. Since the vehicle was stopped with the open loading side facing the station side, not the side the gate was on, a maintenance worker climbed up on top of the center of the vehicle, opened a panel, and manually released a brake, allowing several others to grab the vehicle and manually rotate it 180°. With that taken care of, the stairs were first pushed up to the other side, their lap bars were released, then riders got off one row at a time from the center to the back row. Then they pulled the stairs back, rotated them, and pushed them up to our side, and then did the same thing on our side, asking us to get off one row at a time. We walked past several supervisors, a gold tag (full-time employee), and a security officer and paramedic (brought in just as a precaution), and through a big wooden gate back into Planet Snoopy, and that was that.

The whole incident ultimately caused us to miss Let It Rock. We wandered our way back to Shake, Rattle, and Roll, which was all lit up with the new light package, as the sun was just setting. After a two-cycle wait, we rode with all the pretty lights. After that, we headed back to the International Showplace to catch Off the Charts. It was a decent show, but not as good as the two showings I saw back on July 25. As it ended, Mom ignored my assurances that the Emporium would remain open past the fireworks for a short time and raced back there to get the jacket and tote bag before they closed. She ended up missing the fireworks completely as a result, even though the fireworks were her original reason for wanting to stay until closing. I caught a couple minutes of the fireworks, though I noticed that it seemed shorter than usual, plus the regular soundtrack didn’t play. I don’t know what was up with that.

We walked toward the front of the park, and I went into Lotsapalooza and bought a retro Bat shirt. After that, Mom found a place to sit down and rest for a bit while I headed back for Gold/Platinum Pass rides night. However, I went to Beast first and found that the general public line was still filling half of the lower queue house, so I knew that passholders wouldn’t be getting on right at 10:30. Walking back to Diamondback, the ERT line stretched from the entrance all the way back to the edge of Planet Snoopy, which I estimated at 20 to 30 minutes. As I had wanted to grab a ride and be on my way out by 10:45, and didn’t want to make Mom wait that long, I decided to ditch ERT and head out. We left at 10:40 and there was still heavy traffic northbound, with the line to make a left from KI Drive to Kings Mills Road backed up past Great Wolf Lodge. We eventually made it onto the interstate, and I got home shortly before midnight.

Here’s a few photos for your enjoyment.

The bundle of keychains I bought:


(From top-center clockwise: Firehawk, Soak City, Diamondback, Beast, Halloween Haunt, Peanuts, Eiffel Tower/Nights of Fire, Vortex.)

The Bat shirt, draped over the back of my computer chair:


And finally, I leave you with a fireworks photo:


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I've heard of employees giving guests free front-of-the-line passes to compensate for ride evacuations.  Was this the case for your Surf Dog evacuation or did they just offer their apologies? 


Just apologies. Mom even commented to one of the supervisors (or maybe it was even the gold tag) that we had missed the show and all we got was a "Sorry!".

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Great trip report. Sounds like a nice time, though the issue causing you to miss one show. It's nice to see a some brief thoughts about the shows on here for a change; you don't see it as often :)

Also want to add that that was very nice of you to ditch ERT for your mother. A lot of people would've just waited the half hour and left rather than leave it all together :P

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  • 3 weeks later...

Enjoy your Mom while you can; wish mine was still here to have fun. She was a kid at heart. :)


I do. She's 61 years young. ;) I'm fortunate to still have both of my grandmothers; one is 83, and the other is 88. Sadly, both of my grandfathers died last decade, my dad's father a week before Thanksgiving 2000 (I was 13 at the time, and was pulled out of class during a Friday afternoon movie without being told what was going on until my parents arrived and arranged a meeting with the counselor), and my mom's father shortly after high school graduation (I don't remember precisely when, as I only saw him about once a year and never really had a relationship with him).

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  • 10 months later...

Enjoy your Mom while you can; wish mine was still here to have fun. She was a kid at heart. :)

I do. She's 61 years young. ;) I'm fortunate to still have both of my grandmothers; one is 83, and the other is 88. Sadly, both of my grandfathers died last decade, my dad's father a week before Thanksgiving 2000 (I was 13 at the time, and was pulled out of class during a Friday afternoon movie without being told what was going on until my parents arrived and arranged a meeting with the counselor), and my mom's father shortly after high school graduation (I don't remember precisely when, as I only saw him about once a year and never really had a relationship with him).

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