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McSalsa's Coaster Adventures: Winter Wonderland (KI Winterfest December 29th, 2018)

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Hi everyone! Get ready for a McSalsa Trip Report...IN DECEMBER!?!? Yep: I went to Winterfest at Kings Island for the first time yesterday! But first, here is ride rating system as usual:

F- Garbage. I regret ever riding this and will not make the same mistake of ever riding it again!

D- Mediocre. A disappointing, or painful ride, though there might be a little fun here. I might give a D-Tier ride a second chance but it is gonna need to be a walk-on or something.

C- Average. A fun ride, but either there is enough roughness/pain to dilute it, or it just does not blow me away. Will still ride this if the wait is not too bad, though.

B- Good. A ride I enjoy, but it may have some flaws, but I will happily re-ride this unless the wait is pretty crazy.

A- Awesome. These rides leave me with a huge grin usually, and I will ride them over and over if there is a short wait. If there are long waits around the entire park, I may aim for these anyway, as if you are gonna wait, best to be for something worth it. Surpassed only by...

S- Epic. The best of the best. I am usually giddy and my happiness meter is maxed out after riding one of these. Tragically, these are not the most common rides out there, however.

Note: If you wan na take this as a 1-10 system, S=10, A=9, B=8, C=7, D=6, and F=5 or worse.

I was with the same group of people I have done most of my 2018 trips: it was me, my sister, and the 2 usual friends: A (Who Doesn't Really Do Looping Coasters) and B (Who Does). On a small side note, both sides of I-74 heading from Central Indiana to Cincinatti have finally been fixed, and the road construction that has been there all year is finally gone. In spite of this, we arrived a bit late- the park opened at 4, but we showed up around 4:30PM. We still arrived in time for the lighting ceremony though. But first, we headed for...

Ride #1: Mystic Timbers
Wait: 15 Minutes
We headed for Mystic Timbers first, as we figured its line would grow after the tree lighting and stuff. When we arrived though it was still only at 15 minutes, even with only 2 trains. The ride ran pretty fast for such cold temperatures (BRR BTW) but the airtime was a bit weak, but I figure that was because the ride had just opened not too long before this and hadn't broken in for the day yet.It was still a very fun ride though, nice way to start the day. BTW, we got Snakes in the shed.
Rating: A-

After Mystic Timbers, we headed over and saw the "Tree" Lighting. It was fun, the singers were good, and I LOL'ed at the fake snow which was soap. There was this one strand of lights on the Eiffel "Tree" that was constantly green, so I assume that strand was busted. Then we headed through Candy Cane Lane, aka the Tower Gardens. It was BEAUTIFUL as the lights had turned on by now. Then we headed to Coney Mall, as my sister wanted to do a Horse Carriage ride. They were $40 but for 4 people, so $10 per person (which is not a bad price for carriage rides), so we went ahead and did it.

Ride #2: Coney Mall Carriage Rides (Note: Upcharge)
Wait: None
This was a nice, relaxing way to go up and down Coney Mall and see all the pretty lights. Monster is taken apart for the year, it was kinda shocking to see it in pieces like that. I do like Racer's new "Millennium Force" style lighting package, it looks cool. We then turned around and went down the other way. A fun Winterfest-exclusive attraction.
Rating: C

After the Carriage Rides, we headed over to Flight of...Cheer (LOL Winterfest). My friends wanted to smoke so I took advantage of the single rider line.

Rides #3-6: Flight of Cheer (x4!!!)
Wait: 2 Cycles or so each time (Less than 5 Minutes Each)
And the Single Rider Line, ironically, had no line! I just walked up to the station, waited for a empty seat (which happened almost every train) and boarded in whatever row I was put in. For the first ride, I got put in the back of the 1st car. I'll "review" my rides at the end of this section. After I got off and headed out, I found out that my sister and Friend B had finished smoking and were in line now, via Friend A who couldn't do loops (much- hence he didn't ride). So I went around again, and rode the ride 2 more times via Single Rider Line- from the middle car, and then the front of the very back car. After that (and a few minute breather) my friends got off the ride and said they waited 15-20 minutes. So via Single Rider Line, I rode 3 times to their one. And they decided to smoke AGAIN when we got off from their ride, so...one more ride, rode in the middle again.

4 rides in a row is enough to really get a good sense of what I like and don't like about this coaster. I love the launch and first few inversions, it feels like you are going super fast. The midcourse brake run kinda kills the speed, and hanging over the edge while turning is a bit awkward in the front car, but after a few drops and turns you are going again. Then you start going into more and more aggressively banked turns, and finish the ride with the final corkscrew- which is a great ending, IMO, as the banked turns tease you will flip and then the corkscrew does just that. Flight of Fear is a rock solid ride, probably my #5 in the park behind the "Big 4". It was also running pretty smooth from all seats for all my rides, which was a nice plus as it can sometimes be a bit rough. Also: STUPID ALIEN AT THE END, CHRISTMAS IS OVER!!!:P
Rating: B+

Leaving Flight of Cheer and the "dead" Firehawk behind (I only rode it 4 times from 2009-2018: FOF matched that total in 20 minutes tonight!), we headed out of X-Base, but my sister wanted to ride Zephyr, so we did.

Ride #7: Zephyr
Wait: 1 Cycle (About 5 Minutes)
Brr, these really are the "coolest" swings in Coney Mall, with WindSeeker closed at least (that would be stupid cold and possibly dangerous to ride in these temperatures). It was fun to swing around even in the cold, and the ride op had us play a fun game during the ride: sing the Spongebob theme song!
Rating: C+

After a fun ride on Zephyr, we checked the line for Scrambler, and it was crazy. Looked like a 20 minute wait, which was worse than some of the roller coasters! I wonder why Scrambler was suddenly super popular. Instead, we decided to ride the Grand Carousel.

Ride #8: Grand Carousel
Wait: 1 Cycle (Again About 5 Minutes)
The Organ was working, which was a plus. This ride looked GORGEOUS all decorated for Winterfest, props to the Winterfest guys/gals who did this ride. I ended up having to ride a horse that didn't move, but I did enjoy going around in the cold on this old classic from 1926.
Rating: C

After the Carousel, we headed to International Street to locate The Beast Hot Chocolate, but when we did we found it sold out (Beast be popular yo). So we settled for some regular hot cocoa at Blitzen's Hot Drinks, and I got a season long drink refill soda. We then used the bathrooms, warmed up near a heater thing the park had kindly put out (THANK YOU KI!!!) and then headed for Action Ice Zone. We saw a little of the Ice Sculptors, took some pics in the big globe, and then rode...

Ride #9: Action Zone Sleds
Wait: 15 Minutes
Since they were next to Drop Tower (and even using some of its que) these sleds were not intimidating at all. It was a bit of fun to slide down (I struggled to get going for a second) but I have slid down a much bigger hill on sleds before (a few years ago) and this was nothing in comparison. Still, it was a Winterfest exclusive attraction, and we had time to kill.
Rating: D+

After the sleds, we left Action Ice Zone, and cut through Festhaus where I got another glimpse at a show. It looked well made from the brief glimpse of it I saw. Then we headed to Rivertown, as we wanted to ride the Train.

Ride #10: Kings Island & Miami Valley Railroad (12 Days of Christmas)
Wait: 15-20 Minutes
We boarded the Green Train, only for them to decide to put it up. So that is why there was a 20 minute wait- we had to wait for the Green Train to go in its shed, and then wait on Blue Train to pull up.

The Train itself was pretty fun, you got some nice views of Diamondback at night and Mystic Timbers you don't often see. And the lights for the 12 Days of Christmas were nice. But, there was ONE thing we all hated- the song gets old, and playing 4 versions of it doesn't help much (and I didn't even notice sometimes when the changed versions). I much, MUCH perfer Ghost Riders in the Sky!
Rating: D+ (would have been a C but hated song by the end!)

After the KI & MV RR, we ended the night with the nearby roller coaster...

Rides #11-13: Mystic Timbers (x3)
Wait: Under 5 Minutes, 15 Minutes, Walk-On
My friends decided to smoke again first, so for the first ride, I used Single Rider Line again and waited less than 5 minutes. As with Flight of "Cheer", I will do the review part at the bottom here. When we rode as a group, we waited 15 minutes, and then we got back in line for last train of the night with next to no wait (and rode in the very back)!

Earlier, Mystic Timbers had decent speed, but kinda weak airtime. Well, after it has been running for a while, that changes and it has MUCH better airtime like it did on all 3 of these rides. The ride also felt even faster, too, as it had broken in. My solo ride was in the middle, I got some great Diamondback-style sustained floater air from there. We then rode from the front, and those seats gave semi-strong ejector air instead! The very back was also very fun, but I was expecting even more airtime there and it was actually a bit worse than the middle (though still a good amount). As for the shed endings, I got Snakes, Snakes AGAIN, and then finally Bats. I was actually glad to see Bats because I was getting tired of snakes! Anyhow, Mystic Timbers gave me some awesome rides to end my coaster riding in 2018.
Rating: S

After Mystic Timbers, Kings Island began to close. We headed out, took in the International Street Ambiance one more time, and headed out. And thus ends not only this Trip Report, but my 2018 Coaster Season. Before I get into Overall Season Stuff, here are the Pros/Cons of this trip:

+The Park is GORGEOUS for Winterfest! There are a insane amount of lights, and little touches like changing most of the signs for the shops goes a long way too!
+Flight of Cheer and Mystic Timbers were running great
+I didn't do a whole show from start to finish, but what little I saw was neat, and I liked the roaming actors too

-Many rides closed, it is to be expected (they have to do upkeep and maintenance and some rides can't run in cold) but it does suck a bit to see so many favorites closed
-BRRR!!! COLD!!! Not park's fault but still a con.

This was a AMAZING trip, and a great way to end the season. Now, as this was my for-sure final visit to KI in 2018, here are my ride totals for the year:

Visits in 2018- 6
Passholder Preview Night: April 13th
April 21st
June 16th
August 5th
Haunt: September 29th
Winterfest: December 29th
There are Trip Reports for all of these BTW, search "McSalsa's Coaster Adventures" in Trip Reports to find them!

KI RIDES RIDDEN IN 2018 (In Order of 1st Ride)
Adventure Express- 6
Red Racer- 6
Vortex- 4
The Beast- 10
Diamondback- 9
Banshee- 6
Zephyr- 2
Eiffel Tower- 3
Mystic Timbers- 11
Backlot Stunt Coaster- 5
Flight of Fear- 7
Boo Blasters on Boo Hill- 1
Delirium- 2
The Bat- 4
Blue Racer- 2
Woodstock Express- 1
Dodgem- 1
Grand Carousel- 2
KI & MV RR- 6
Shake Rattle and Roll- 1
Drop Tower- 2
WindSeeker- 1
Firehawk- 1 (R.I.P)
Viking Fury- 1
Invertigo- 1

Soak City
Zoom Flume- 1
Splash River- 2
Tidal Wave Bay- 1
Note: Did not do too much in Soak City!

(Looks at List of Rides Ridden) Woah that is a lot of rides taken in 2018! Wait a sec...OOPS! I forgot to ride Monster in 2018. I actually like that flat a lot, granted I did ride a semi-similar ride twice at fairs. I also didn't ride Surf Dog, or Woodstock Gliders, but I did get the same models at Cedar Point. I still need the credit for Flying Ace Aerial Chase too. Oh well, I did renew my pass, so those rides are ones I can aim for in 2019.

Mystic Timbers, thanks to me getting 4 rides during Winterfest, was my most ridden ride at KI (or any park) in 2018 with 11 rides taken. Beast was #2 (Beast: "Grumble Grumble Stoopid Winterfest Why Do I Have 2 Close 4 It I am Wooden Too!") with 10, and Diamondback claims the Bronze with 9.

And that does it for 2018. Kings Island really did a GREAT job this year. The park was nicer looking than I have ever seen it during my visits from 2009-2018, with the great landscaping in summer followed by Haunt's awesome atmosphere and of course Winterfest was incredible. Most of the food I ate was good too, and outside of preview night I didn't have any issues with food service at KI. I would say the Chicken Wrap from Chicken Shack and the Chicken Tenders at Island Smokehouse were my favorite KI foods in 2018 though. And of course, Kings Island has a solid ride selection as well. KI is one of the few parks I would say has both great steel AND wooden coasters while lacking a truly terrible adult coaster (Invertigo is my least favorite and it can still be fun sometimes), and there are some fun flat rides. And the ride crews were great most of the time too. Waterpark is OK, nowhere near as good as Splashin' Safari at Holiday World but it does its job.

Now I look to next year. The Antique Autos will be a nice family addition in 2019, and I look foward to whatever special events they do as well, like the Peanuts Celebration they did in 2018. Not to mention we might start seeing construction for the nearly confirmed mystery B&M. Speculation is usually pretty fun.

Well, that is all! This is the end of my 2018 Trip Reports. See U all in 2019! MCSALSA AWAY!!!

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