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Trip Report, 7/28-29

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Took our annual trip to KI this year (from Detroit). It was especially meaningful to me because it was the way I chose to celebrate my 40th birthday. A trip to Kings Island for my 30th found me a bit miserable; being able to take a trip with my wife and two kids (son, 7, and daughter, 3) was wonderful, and I was glad my mom, along with my sister and her kids, decided to join us. 

Was a bit surprised to find crowds generally lighter on Sunday than on Monday. Not that Monday was slammed, our longest wait was probably 30 minutes for The Beast, but it was still a bit noticeable. But it was another great year. A few notes. 

  • I love the new look of International Street. The pavers are great, the new paint on the buildings really adds to the festivity, and I love the new look of the fountains. Sure, it took a little bit of time to get over the missing pedestals, but it really looks sleek and fun. Also, I don't have to yell over the roar of the fountains anymore. 
  • I love Kings Island's kids area. It's a great training ground for my kids. My 3yo daughter was able to do The Great Pumpkin Coaster this year and she was hands-up all the way. My son, who is a bit more timid than I was at his age, finally conquered Woodstock Express (it's always and forever The Beastie to me) and Surf Dog. He might have bit off more than he could chew by doing Mystic Timbers next...he was not ready for that. But, undeterred, he went on like a champion and found new favorites in Adventure Express and Backlot Stunt Coaster. For anyone who calls for their removal, I'd just say they are fantastic middle steps for young kids who can't do the bigger coasters but still want to push themselves. Next year, maybe he'll try The Racer and The Bat. 
  • The Beast at 40 is still a mean, at times painful, coaster. I loved every agonizing mile. 
  • Mystic Timbers grows on me every year. It's one of my absolute favorites in the park. I just love how fast it is...you don't stay in your seat for more than five seconds at a time. 
  • That said, I might be aging out of The Vortex. It's still a muscular, fun ride. But man, did my head pay the price. 
  • Speaking of muscular, I was surprised to find just how well The Racer holds up after all these years. Still packs a punch. 
  • I did, unfortunately, have to do my first walk of shame, as I was a bit too...husky?...for Flight of Fear. Was a bummer, but at least it was the only one I had to deal with that on. Gives me a new fitness goal...get back on next year. 
  • Loved looking at the teaser posters in the old Firehawk site. Was a lot of fun to come back to our motel (good ol' Shaker Inn) and follow the day's developments. I also think at one point on Monday I spotted Don Helbig walking from back by FoF onto the Coney Mall midway (his nametag said Don and it looked like him). I work as a writer in marketing, journalism and PR and should have introduced myself and asked about job opportunities (lol) but he looked like a man on a mission. 
  • I loved the new antiques. What I loved most was the signage and callbacks to Kings Island history throughout. I kept telling my wife how much fun it had to be to write and design all that. The thing that impressed me the most this year was all the attention paid to Kings Island history throughout the park. From the restored colors on International Street to The Beast paw prints to the new glockenspiel on Festhaus, Kings Island really honored its heritage this year, and it made me feel like I was able to show my kids what the park was like when I was their age. Sitting alongside the fountain waiting for the fireworks, it made me get a bit choked up. 
  • Speaking of which, I loved the new fireworks/fountain show. I've always appreciated the fireworks, but the coordination with the music and the fountains just made it a special way to end the night. My kids were dancing throughout it. 
  • I also thought the service at the park was fantastic throughout this year. The ride operators were all energetic and I had a lot of fun listening to some of them throw out the wrong rides/bizarre stats while we were in line. Many of the retail workers responded with a "my pleasure" when I thanked them for helping me, which is so much nicer than "you're welcome" or "no problem." At one point, I was an idiot and wore a baseball cap on Surf Dog. It blew off and landed in the area under the ride. Some supervisors were extremely helpful at telling me how to retrieve it at the end of the night and the employee working at Lost and Found was extremely helpful. 
  • As someone who's spent hours in line trying to exit Cedar Point's parking lot, it's always refreshing to get out of Kings Island's lot so quickly. Both nights, we were back at our hotel thirty minutes after the park closed (when you have young kids who are exhausted after a long day, that's a huge help). 
  • Another great year. Maybe one of my best years in my nearly 30 going to Kings Island. Great rides, great food and great memories all around. 

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I got Walk of shamed of FoF for the first time this year too, but 2 weeks before I didn't have an issue and haven't gained any weight, so I dunno...  For myself, I've been testing a theory, but I've found if I try to sit on the right side I end up getting WOSed.  Left side no issue... Found this to be true on MT.  Haven't had a chance to test on Steel Vengeance yet, but first time trying to ride resulted in WOS from the right seat

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