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VortexBFForever

June 12: Anything BUT Ordinary!

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I knew this day would be quite chill thanks to it being a weekday and the forecasted rain, but little did I know that even more surprises awaited!

The day started off like many others; I worked an opening shift so I arrived at the park at 8:50.

Not long after I arrived came the first surprise of the day. It started off normal though, when I went back to Vortex to start the usual morning tasks, such as opening the line, making sure there's no trash on the ground, etc. I guessed correctly which train was in the station (it was Train #3). :)

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Looking back from the station, I saw we still had two trains on the track and one on the transfer from the previous day (when it rained a lot). That would not be for long though, as maintenance arrived soon after I did. I got to watch them transfer the third train back onto the track and cycle the trains themselves! It was pretty cool. #geekmoment

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I had brought one of the chocolate bars that I bought at Sweet Spot last year (which fittingly enough had a Vortex wrapper on it) and I munched on that while I watched maintenance do their thing.

After they were done, I continued with the morning tasks, including my favorite task which entreats me (and any associate who walks down there, pretty much) to some cool views from the ride area.

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When I returned to the station, it was time for startups. Since maintenance was here earlier, we had just enough time to get everything done by 10:00 (we usually finish with 10-15 minutes to spare). In fact, I was the last person to test ride and "Come Alive" was playing as I rode so I belted it out as I test rode! It surely is fun to multitask. :P

My shift was very chill as I expected; my hourly rotations were at Dual, Clean/Separator (and I got to hop on WindSeeker for a ride during the time I was cleaning!), WindSeeker Drive, Break, Unload, and Vortex Drive. Not much happened at all except for a brief downtime at Vortex. We occasionally had almost full cycles on WindSeeker and at least three-quarters full trains on Vortex, but on a day like this, those happenings were few and far between.

After driving Vortex for an hour, the time came for me to clock out. I headed to the locker room to change into my street clothes so I could reenter the park as a guest. Little did I know what would await me in the next several hours...

...which actually started out as a typical, sunny, not-busy summer afternoon.

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Toothless and I rode the Carousel (with our usual pre-ride pic, of course) and I picked up some gummy bears and gummy worms at Sweet Spot before heading to the Kings Island theater to catch Gravity at 5:00. I sat in the middle of the second row (where I normally sat for Origins last year if the first row already filled up). This was my third time seeing Gravity. While it's obviously not Imagine or Origins (both of which I dearly miss), Gravity definitely suffices! I noticed the rola-bola act was missing, so the show ended a little earlier than usual (5:20ish).

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Toothless got his own seat next to me. :)

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If you want a unique souvenir, ask the cast to make silly poses at the meet-and-greet! :D

I had plans to binge-ride Vortex, but before then I had seen that Diamondback's wait was only five minutes. So I went there first, but not before...

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...heading to the Inside Peanuts museum and the Peanuts Sketch School, where they had just started drawing Snoopy. After skimming the exhibit, I grabbed a clipboard with paper and pencil and slid into a seat next to @Magenta Lizard. I frantically did my best to catch up (which I didn't need to do much of, thankfully) and my Snoopy drawing turned out pretty good!

After that fun detour, I finally reached Diamondback. It had barely a station wait. I waited only one train before boarding Red in Row 14.

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I got a weird surprise here: I had always been able to ride Diamondback with my fanny pack, ever since I started visiting with one in 2011. This time, however, was the very first time I was told I could not have it on the ride with me. The op said the policy never changed from last year, but the funny thing was that I rode Diamondback with my fanny pack last year (I was even told word for word "You can ride with a fanny pack...") and this year when I last rode it in May! I willingly complied and handed her my fanny pack to put in the bin, but I was SO BAFFLED. Not mad at all, just baffled. After riding Diamondback 100+ times over the last nine seasons (and this year!), I was always allowed to ride with my fanny pack...except for this time. :blink:

Going up the lift hill, I saw Vortex had gone down. :( But since it was just after 6:00 and I still had about two hours to enjoy the park, I wasn't too worried, especially when we FLEW down the 215-foot first drop at 80 mph!!

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Since Vortex was down, the line was short, and my fanny pack rejection didn't stop me from enjoying my ride, I hopped right back in line and rode Diamondback again! This time it had started to rain, so I got my first legitimate (as in, a steady rain) rain ride on the tallest, fastest, meanest coaster to ever strike Kings Island!

This time, I did put my fanny pack in the bin along with Toothless when I again boarded the Red train. The only differences were that it was now raining and I rode in Row 11 instead of 14.

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As you could tell, we had our eyes closed and/or were covering our faces as rain hit us at 80 mph! I had my eyes closed for most of the time as I knew that getting hit in the eye with a stray raindrop at that speed would not feel pleasant. :)

Vortex was still down and I didn't feel like putting Toothless in a locker for five minutes just so I could ride Mystic Timbers, so I headed back to The Beast.

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...which was a great decision! I walked right on to Row 17 (second to last row). I heard about how much fun The Beast is in the rain, so I was excited to see what my very first rain ride on the world's longest wooden roller coaster would be like. And, it was Toothless' first Beast ride!

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I will definitely say that this was my favorite ride EVER on The Beast. It was absolutely HAULING! I clutched Toothless in my arms as I was at the mercy of The Beast, hurtling through the woods at 65 mph with a steady rain coming down. It was EPIC! My favorite part (the shallow drop into the helix following the second lift) was fun as always, and my train passed right next to the next train coming down the first drop!!

Note to self: RIDE The Beast WHEN IT RAINS!!! I may not ride it very often as I prefer twisting through inversions, but it's definitely fun!

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Vortex was still down, but the rain was light enough that it could be open. I noticed Troika (Shake, Rattle & Roll) was open and literally waiting for people to board. So I did, along with two ladies who had entered behind me. I enjoyed a great rain ride on Troika!

In fact, while I was riding, I noticed that one of Vortex's trains had been transferred off and the ride was once again in 2-train operation. I figured it would not be too long before it reopened...

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...which it did, ten minutes later! I stood outside the entrance as one of my crewmates opened the line. Not surprisingly, I was the first rider on the rain-laden Vortex. I had Train #1 all to myself as the rain picked back up to a steady rain. I knew I was going to get wet (as I already was from my other rain rides) so I had no choice but to feel my clothes getting wetter by the second. Like the other rides. I had to either close my eyes or look to the side, as getting pelted in the face with rain at 55 mph hurt as much as it felt good! The inversions each offered me a half-second break from said pelting, which was nice. :)

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I took Toothless along with me on the first ride, but he was already getting pretty wet, so I put him and my fanny pack in the closet adjacent to the station (where we store our belongings while working) so they had the chance to dry off a little. I rode Vortex a few more times, aboard Train #1 in rows 7-1, 1-1, and 3-1 respectively...

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The rain let up a little and had slowed to a sprinkle by my fourth ride, so I was actually able to keep my eyes open for a good amount of the time. But it wouldn't stay that way for long, as my last surprise for this day would be the biggest yet.

I finally ended up on Train #3 in 4-1 for what would happen to be my last ride of the day. The rain was still steady at dispatch, but during the climb up the lift hill it started POURING. And I mean POURING. The visibility was soooo low that I could hardly see anything past the loops. I had to put my hands over my face like a visor so I could at least see as much as I wanted/needed.

What followed was an experience I can barely describe. The view from the lift was unreal and would make for an amazing picture if picture taking was allowed and I didn't need to sacrifice my camera (which in the meantime was in my fanny pack in the closet, THANK GOODNESS). The downpour continued as we plummeted down the first drop and through the loops. It was a bit of a struggle to breathe as the 55 mph rain pelted me and the two other passengers on board to seemingly no end. I covered my face from the watery onslaught as I felt an abrupt stop as the train stopped in the mid-course brakes for a brief time before continuing. As we hit the corkscrews and batwing, the rain slowed once again as I finished my 537th, and by far most epic/wet, ride on Vortex:

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That ride was SURREAL, considering Vortex usually doesn't run in a downpour. It was truly an experience like no other. And yes, it was so worth completely soaking my clothes. My two fellow passengers up front enjoyed the crazy experience as well! I can now say that I rode Vortex in a downpour. :D

I will remember Tuesday, June 12, 2018, for a long time and quite possibly forever. Rain rides are something one must experience firsthand to find how great they truly are.

After I got off Vortex, it went down once again for weather. Vortex has a love-hate relationship with the rain, and today definitely epitomized that; it can run in a steady rain but to a certain extent (especially if it spontaneously downpours!).

Today was definitely anything but ordinary. I didn't care that I was soaking wet, because the numerous rides I enjoyed in this rain were sooooooo worth it!!

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After hanging out with my crewmates and filling them in on my crazy adventures aboard the first water ride to go upside down six times, it was time for me to head home and close the book on one of the best days I have ever had at Kings Island. I retrieved Toothless and my fanny pack from the closet, said bye to my Vortex family, and headed out.

I keep saying this, but it's true: today is a day I will not forget anytime soon, ESPECIALLY my 537th ride on Vortex!!!

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+Vortex: 6

YTD: 44

Total: 537

+WindSeeker: 1

YTD: 9

Total: 128

+Grand Carousel: 1

YTD: 4

Total: 40

+Diamondback: 2

YTD: 4

Total: 113

+The Beast: 1

Total: 17

+Shake Rattle & Roll: 1

YTD: 4

Total: 35

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