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11/01/2015: Best Closing Day Ever!


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Though I had posted that I would be there at 4, my mom was a little late in getting home from a previous commitment so we didn't arrive until 4:45. It was late enough that there was no one at the parking gates. Being warmer than past Closing Days, it was a bit more crowded than I expected, but the lines were still short!








Before entering the park for the last time this year, I contemplated on getting a quick ride on Invertigo, but I knew I needed as much time as possible to make my way to 300 on Vortex, since I was still at 285. I cringed at the idea of being only one or two rides away and it being too late to finish at park closing, so I made a direct beeline for Vortex once I redeemed my Fast Lane Plus voucher at the booth inside the gate.




I entered through the regular line for the first ride, which ended up being on Train #2 in 5-1. (I had brought my notepad with me so I could better keep track of rides like I did in the past) I was going to start in my favorite back row, 7-1, but the separator was blocking off the last few rows in the queue because there was a mysterious substance on the floor (I don't know exactly what it was but it looked disgusting. Fortunately, there wasn't much of it) not far from the line to rows 6-2 and 7-1.


As I was being carried up the lift hill, this soundtrack from Wall-E popped into my head (believe it or not). This continued for the next few rides, since I was so determined to meet this big goal before the season's end.


I knew my mission to 300 would go a tad faster with the Fast Lane pass, since it saved me a lot of time by not having to walk all the way back around to the main entrance. Even though the trains stacked for the first few rides, things started going a little faster especially when the sun went down.


Another perk with going through the Fast Lane line was a photo opportunity I rarely capture:



Ride #287 was on Train #3 in 4-2, and #288 was in 6-1 on Train #1.



And yes, every ride was fun. I just choose not to describe every single one as they are all quite similar. Meanwhile, I discovered that riding on the right side gives you more noticeable hang time in the first part of the batwing. I know it's the same on the left, but in a left seat you end up leaning against the side of the train, so it's not as noticeable compared to riding on the right, at least for me. Therefore, half my rides that day were on the right. :)


Train #2 got another turn for #289, which I experienced in 1-2. I was going to ride in 2-1 for #290, but I changed my mind at the last minute and chose 7-1 by the time Train #3 arrived to whisk me away. It was around that time that the gorgeous sunset was in full color. Going up the lift hill, my eyes were glued to it, at least until reaching the 148-foot summit. That beautiful sight, coupled with one of my favorite sounds (the chain, of course)...what could be better?






Those two sunset pics ended up being my last ones until after dark, since I was in full concentration mode by that time as I recorded one ride at a time on my notepad, enjoying #291 in 3-1, #292 in 2-1, #293 in 7-1, #294 in 2-1, and #295 in 2-1 with each of the three trains "taking turns" so to speak. After #292, I saw a few other KICers beginning to congregate at the exit. One of the first people I saw was Beastie1980, which in turn got me excited enough to jump out of the train and run right to the exit to meet her and everyone else for the first time in a (too) long time! After a brief conversation, I headed right back into line. Before either #294 or #295, I saw malem and another person (silver2005, was that you?) lined up for the same train a few rows back. I was thinking "That face looks familiar..." but I didn't speak up.




As I queued for #296 at approximately 6:20 p.m., the train in the station at that time was almost dispatched when suddenly the riders were told to exit the train and get back into the queue, accompanied by the dreaded words "At this time, Vortex will be suspending operations due to a minor technical delay. We do not know how long this delay will last..." The funny thing was that I had a premonition that there would be one more hurdle to overcome before taking the prized 300th ride, and this was it. Plus, on my previous ride, the train jerked once about halfway up the lift and I was thinking "That didn't feel right." so I knew this delay had something to do with it.


By 6:30, everyone else in the queue had left. I was the only one who stayed in the station with the crew. I parked myself in the line for 1-1, refusing to leave the side of my special favorite ride. I was not going to lose hope of reaching #300 by the end of the night. Most of the gathered KICers remained at the exit with unsure looks on their faces.

A maintenance worker had arrived to look at the ride and see what was going on. The ride started back up and cycled a few trains, but went back down soon after.




Meanwhile, it happened to be the perfect time for the crew to get wind of my mission. The driver asked what my name was and the approximate ride total at the time, which was 295. I went on to mention that my goal was to get to 300 rides ever by the time the park closed for the season. We had a nice conversation!


At 6:35, the sound of the start-up siren greeted us once more. It was music to my ears! After testing for a few minutes, the driver said what we all wanted to hear: "Vortex is fully operational!"

I stepped into 1-1 on Train #1 at approximately 6:40. Now that the crew knew what was going on in terms of what I wanted to accomplish, they went into a power-hour type mode, sending the trains out as quickly and efficiently as they could. As they checked the harnesses, I heard them saying, "Quick! She still needs five more cycles!"

For #296 and onward, it was like this. In fact, they let me stay on without having to walk around again, which really helped! For #297 I rode in 2-1, followed by #298 in 6-1 and #299 in 7-1. On #297, my train was dispatched early enough to be going up the lift right as Train #3 rolled down the adjacent drop into the corkscrews -- there was the "criss-cross" I had been waiting for all season! I waved and said, "Hi, Train #3!" though all the riders on board had their eyes fixed on the corkscrews ahead. :)

On ride #298 the KICers began gathering in the station and were cheering me off as the driver said "Enjoy your 298th ride on Vortex!" I absolutely LOVED how we were personalizing the experience. For those last rides he was saying "Welcome back riders; how was that 297th ride?" (of course depending on what the number was) as my train rolled into the station and also in the same way rolling out.


As Train #1 carried me back into the station after the 299th ride, I looked at my watch and it said 7:02. The park (and Vortex)  had just closed to the public for the season, which meant we were going into a bit of overtime by riding after closing!

Everyone had chosen their rows and were all ready for the time we had all been waiting for. Beastie1980, despite having refrained from rides like Vortex for a while, had decided to ride with me in the front row for my 300th ride, which was very special to me since she was doing it entirely out of friendship. As I jumped into the front row with her (thanks to the crew who held the front row for us!) I handed my camera off to one of the crew members to get our picture taken as I shouted, "Everybody SMILE!!"




This special moment sealed the fact that this had just become the most memorable Closing Day I've ever had. Not only was the crew so accommodating of my big mission, we were riding the EXACT SAME TRAIN (Train #1) that I had taken my 100th and 200th rides on (which meant I was sitting in the exact same SEAT, row 1-1 on the left, as I did for those rides). Plus, this ride was at night, the same time of day that I took my very first ride back on July 23, 2010. PERFECT TIME AND PLACE!!!! :D

Not to mention, it was on the VERY LAST TRAIN OF THE SEASON, a goal that I've been wanting to accomplish for a long time!

As the "All clear!" was said, I shouted, "I MADE IT!!" as we rolled out of the station together cheering and hearing "Enjoy your 300th ride on Vortex!"


Going up the lift hill, we took in the sights, smells, and especially sounds of Vortex for the last time this year. I still think "At least those lights are going faster than me" every time I ride at night, especially since I had taken my very first ride at night. I took in all this chilly night ride had to offer as we zipped past The Beast, sped through the loops, hung in the corkscrews, twisted into the batwing, and almost got blinded by the camera flash, which is something that always happens when you ride at night. :)

We all cheered again as Train #1 carried us into the final brake run to finish off this amazing milestone. That ride, spent with many of my friends/acquaintances, will most certainly be remembered for a long time!


"Welcome back riders, how was your 300th ride?!?!?" were the first words we heard when we arrived back in the station, and of course we all responded excitedly and loudly. As I started to walk towards the exit, my mom suggested that I get a picture with the crew, since they had played a big part in making this Closing Day very special.



This was with the crew on the platform. Notice that you can see the "1" on the train if you look closely...:)



Same people, plus the driver and separator. I can't wait to see them again next year as I start riding my way to 400!


I absolutely love how this night was special for everyone who took part and not just me. One of the crew members said this had made the last hour very fun for him and the others, and it had made their entire season to have met someone who LOVES Vortex as much as they do, since they have heard a lot of riders saying "This hurts my head", etc. over the course of the season.

For me, what I had experienced tonight was something I had been waiting for all season. I had noticed that throughout the summer, the trains were stacking a little too much for my liking, including earlier this evening prior to the technical delay. Plus, I had found the mood in the station to be rather unenthusiastic, which made me feel a little sad (and I was imagining how I, being a potential rides associate, could make things a little more jolly for those waiting in line). Tonight was most certainly a breath of fresh air, especially since I now have a whole new group of Kings Island friends! :D


















After saying bye to Vortex (and of course the crew) for what seemed like 6437259 times (I just typed random numbers and yes, I'm obviously exaggerating :P) it was time to enjoy the ERT!

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^That's okay! You're not the only one who missed it... :)

Anyway, on to the ERT "after-party"!!!!


After making our way to Rivertown, we were so pumped to ride Diamondback, especially since it would be my first Diamondback night ride ever!! We got even more excited when we saw how short the line was. For my first Diamondback night ride, I chose the back row (Row 16). After talking about what it is like to be an employee at the park (I learned a lot!), Beastie1980 and I rode together on the Brown Train while IndyGuy4KI and the other person with him rode in Row 15 on the Red Train. On the way up the lift hill, Beastie1980 taught me the "Diamondback Dive," where you sit back in your seat, touch your toes, and let the train throw you back as you go over the hill. I tried it, and it made the 215-foot plunge all the more fun. Let me tell you, there is NOTHING like flying at 80 mph in those back woods AFTER DARK when it is approximately 50 degrees Fahrenheit. It's cold, but it's fun!!! During the splashdown, I stuck my arm out (I had rolled my sleeve up) and got to feel the nice, cool water of Diamondback's splashdown pool. It was great!

After that ride, jcgoble3, IndyGuy4KI, and Beastie1980 had to leave, so we decided to meet again at Taco Bell. I still had some time left, so I rode Diamondback again. This time, I chose the very front.

I thought it was really cool to look at the monitor for the lift hill camera and see the train! (especially when you can't easily look at the monitor of Vortex's lift camera because the windows are tinted - plus you can't see it from the queue)





I was convinced that there were at least eight associates on the platform! Plus they were sending trains out at forty-five second intervals, much like what the Banshee associates do a lot. I ended up on the Brown Train again for my first front seat ride at night on Diamondback. I tried the Diamondback Dive again while HANGING OVER THE TOP with a clear view of what lay below before plunging back into the darkness. The full blast of 50-degree Fahrenheit air blowing in my face at 80 mph was EXHILARATING. I'm surprised I didn't get wind burn!! :P On the hammerhead turn, I was picturing myself sitting inside my warm house wrapped in a blanket as I was thinking "That would feel nice right now." I can't say it enough; it was COLD!!!! And of course SO FUN!!!!!!!

On the brake run, we didn't even have to wait. After the first stop on the last brake run, the train in front was already leaving! I'm sure I'm not the only one who wishes it was like this consistently all year and not just on nights like this. :D


I wanted to ride again, but I had already ridden twice and I STILL had never taken a night ride on Banshee. As I made my way over to Action Zone, I remembered that a few Planet Snoopy rides were open, including one little woodie that was my first favorite ride here back in 2007...




...the Fairly Odd Coaster/Woodstock Express, formerly known as Scooby Doo and also The Beastie!

Those memories of waiting in its little station came back to me as I walked through that same little station and right on to the orange train in the third row, remembering how my mom and I always sat in the middle when we rode. A woman and her son had boarded in the front row. The three of us had the train to ourselves, as no one else had walked on by the time the gates closed. A moment later, I was off on my first night ride ever on Fairly Odd Coaster/Woodstock Express! (and I'm STILL not used to hearing "Woodstock Express"!) The drops and turns (and airtime! Lots of it!) were all still as fun and wild as I remembered it as an eight year old. :)

After that nice trip down memory lane, we continued to Action Zone.





Knowing that I had enough time to squeeze in a ride on Drop Tower (especially with its short line!) I decided to take my second night ride (my first was on the rainy evening of August 29, 2014 on the cycle after Fire-Beast-OF FEAR had the ride all to himself)!
I was assigned to my favorite number, 7!


Believe it or not, I decided to ride with bare feet. Surprisingly enough, they didn't get cold, even at nearly 300 feet in the air or during the 65 mph fall back to earth! Since I was on the side facing the back of the park, I got a good bird's eye view of the rest of the park at night. It was so weird seeing how empty Coney Mall was... :blink:

Finally, FINALLY, it was time to ride Banshee at night for the very first time!









After joining Banshee's non-existent line I once again decided to ride in the front row. After waiting one train I got the Aqua Green Train. My first Banshee night ride row at night was once again remarkable. Did I mention it was COLD?? The lights along the ride are a nice touch, though I prefer it be totally dark. Enough said; it was awesome!


Of course, I wanted to ride it again, but it was either that or the meetup at Taco Bell. Since I said "See you at Taco Bell!" exactly, I knew staying true to my word was better than even another exhilarating night ride. As any good time, this lovely night had to come to an end, especially since these seven rides were closing soon. I now had to say bye to one of my favorite places, and start the five-and-a-half-month wait whether I wanted to or not.








We had one more stop: Guest Services. After meeting that amazing Vortex crew (plus the mechanic who fixed the ride in a very timely manner during the twenty-minute technical delay), I knew it wouldn't feel right to not leave a compliment!

Now, it was time to walk out of the gate and call it a season. After all, it was 9:00, and the park was calling it a season as well...



Bye, Kings Island. See you in April!

The offseason's start was made more comfortable by our little get-together at Taco Bell.

Thank you for all the support on my 300th ride! I was not expecting it to get this much attention. And another big THANK YOU to the crew on Vortex!!! Can't wait to see you next year!!

+Vortex: 15
YTD: 40
Total: 300

+Diamondback: 2
YTD: 4
Total: 83

+Fairly Odd Coaster/Woodstock Express: 1
Total: 14

+Drop Tower: 1
YTD: 4
Total: 27

+Banshee: 1
YTD: 6
Total: 14

Notes have now been added; see my next post.

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-Like I said, best Closing Day ever. Thanks once again to all my KIC friends who (with the crew) helped make my 300th Vortex ride very special! Also another special thank you to Beastie1980 for choosing to take the ride in the front seat with me even though it was not the most comfortable for her. I'm so glad we became friends the moment we first met on October 28 (Closing Day), 2012!

-As for those who didn't make the ride, I'll see you at the next meetup I attend! :)

-Also thanks to Kings Island for keeping seven rides open two hours after closing, including three that I had never ridden at night before that night!

-The efficiency I saw on Vortex, Diamondback and Banshee is something I hope to see more throughout future seasons.

-I'm sure WindSeeker offered another great view of the beautiful sunset. Too bad I was too busy riding Vortex to find out :P

-As I walked out of the gate, I saw (and heard) Drop Tower drop for the last time...

P.S. I sure hope I can make it to next season's preview night. But first, let's enjoy the winter ahead!

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  • 4 months later...

Thank you!


I just read the report now and my eager-to-return-soon feeling of excitement welled up inside of me. With the season starting in only a matter of weeks, I know that time to return is soon, and when I do, It'll feel soooooooooo good to return at last to one of my favorite places... :D

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