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IndyGuy4KI

Sharing your Vortex Memories

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As Vortex has been announced to be retired at the end of the 2019 season, it felt it appropriate to start a thread to share our memories of Vortex over the last 33 seasons. Vortex was my first upside down coaster. The first drop to this day is one of my favorites in 7-1 or 7-2.  The trains I thought were so cool looking as a kid and still do. My first two children loved Vortex and was their favorite ride when they hit the 48" mark. The memories of getting my children on Vortex and seeing their faces in the brake run after their first Arrow Looper will be with me forever. Arrow sure paved the way for steel coasters, and we are loosing a classic at Kings Island. Vortex will be greatly missed by me and many other KIC members!The landscape here will never look the same!

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Vortex: 1987 - 2019.

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A little more history about Vortex:

Vortex was a record breaking coaster when it opened on April 11th, 1987. Vortex was the first coaster to feature six inversions with two vertical loops, one double corkscrew and one boomerang. Vortex reused the station from The Bat (the original coaster by that name that opened in 1981).  Also, some of the stairs from The Bat were reused to access Vortex`s block brake. 

A look back at Vortex construction: 

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A few more pics I wanted to share. Feel free to share your story and pics of Vortex in this thread!

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It was the first ride I ever went up side down, I still remember when I thought it only went upside down only 2-4 times and freaking out when the ride op mentioned it went up side down 6 times. After my first ride I fell in love with it and rode it several times. This season my love of Vortex was rekindled. I enjoyed riding it 50 times during one afternoon this season. I’ll definitely appreciate the many memories I’ve had on this ride. 

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Vortex was, like many other people on here, my first looping roller coaster. My first ride was in 2009, and this was only the 2nd coaster I rode on that trip that broke my fear of them (Beast was the 1st). I enjoyed it, but it was not until I found out how good the ride was from 5-1 in 2010 that I fell in love. Since then, I have ridden the coaster on all but 2 of my recent visits to Kings Island: in 2014 when Banshee opened (waiting 4 1/2 hours for Banshee sucked up all our time) and on a day last year when a bad wheel seat Beast ride hurt my shoulder, making Vortex a no-go.

I do have some memories already from 2019, which will be the ride's final season, from my trip back in July. Beast was down, so I headed over and got what may have been the best ride I ever got on Vortex from 7-1 after about a 30 minute wait. A old guy was sitting behind me in 7-2, and he also loved it. Later on, I came back for a night ride while the rest of my group was smoking, and saw a little kid who had just hit 48 inches who's parents said he had ridden it twice in a row and was going for a 3rd. That made me "D'AWW". I feel bad for that poor kid, and his parents, who now have to explain the coaster he loved so much isn't going to be there in 2020.

RIP Vortex: I will probably be there for Haunt to get last rides on you. Please don't be like Firehawk and be down the entire time, open up, I wait 20 minutes and then go down again. Then again, Vortex has generally been much more reliable to me than Firehawk ever was.

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I rode Vortex during it's inaugural season.  A friend of mine from high school were at KI, and after riding The Beast, we decided to get in line---the line went to about where Dogems is today.  The sign said it was a three hour wait, so we went to RT LaRosa's got pizza and went back and in line, which instead of 3 hours, was about 30 minutes despite being that far up Coney Mall.  

We rode and I distinctly remember the first loop--the first time I had ever been upside down on a ride--I was terrified the restraint was going to fail, and I would meet death.  Then, the corkscrew seemed in slow motion.  The batwing was intense and the ending helix made me nauseated.  I barely made it to the CM restrooms after the ride, where I lost my pizza.  We got back on and rode again several times and I loved it.

 

Fast forward to 2014 and I became obsessed with KI and roller coasters.  Wouldn't do upside down coasters because when I rode FOF in 2008, I was green.  In 2015, Thunderbird cured my fear.  I have ridden Vortex ever since. 

 

My friend and I lost touch after college, we actually sat beside each other at the college ceremony because of our names.  The university ceremony, didn't see him.  That was the last time I ever saw him.  He became a youth minister.  He committed suicide in 2007, so I silently dedicate every ride to his memory when I ride Vortex now.  

I normally ride The Beast at the end of October, but this year I am to make Vortex my final ride.

 

 

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As said in a previous post, my first Vortex ride was shortly accompanied by my first Beast night ride.  It was really tough building the courage to finally do both after a while, but it was so cool to have that in combination. 

My dad used to work at P&G, so we used to always go during the weekend they bought out the park.  If you've ever been that weekend, you know its walk on city.  Even Firehawk in the first row was a walk on that day.  Back when Paramount still owned the park and allowed re-rides if no one was waiting in your row, I got 6 straight Vortex rides without leaving my seat in row 6-2.  

I really liked to ride it early in the morning or at dusk when it was cooler, especially in the front row.  The breeze coming off the nose feels great.  Of course, riding it near the back is great for one of the greatest first drops ever.   The lift provides one of the better views of the park.  

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This may not be allowed. This was from the first year they had cameras on The Vortex. We found the cameras and decided to do this. Back then they would let you buy the pictures like this. I can't remember what that year was but I know it was the first year the cameras were installed. 

 

 

 

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In my younger and more vulnerable years I was petrified of roller coasters. This was back in the days of my family visiting the park once a year. I waited in line with them as they were wanting to ride Vortex with the promise that they’d dump me in the station cage while they rode. When the gate swung open my dad jumped in front of me as I tried to cross of the cars. He told me to “sit down and  shut up.” I rode Vortex and loved it. Good times. 

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My dads favorite, it took me a lot of years to get the nerve to ride it, never has been a favorite but very memorable and sad to see it leave. It’s a historical part of the park and if not for the uncomfortable restraints and jarring effect the ride gives, it would be one of my favorites. I defiantly will still need to get 10+ rides this October! DSCF2004_zpsfncwihnt.jpgB413B29E-FCA8-41D0-BC15-DB89F692FDD3.jpeg

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I stated riding Vortex the year it opened when I just 7 years old. I still remember the first ride that I took with my Brother. It was love from the start. I used to marathon the ride the last hour the park was open during the 90s, they were also a certain operator who would let the last train go twice which was always awesome. I remember my Mom finally getting brave enough to ride it and she loved it. I got the pleasure of being on the Crew in 2001, which was the year the ride got a complete repaint. Vortex has always been my all time favorite ride, my first big steel and first looping coaster, it's going to be hard to say goodbye, and I've already have had tears.

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Man oh man where to start.

So, I think it's no secret that Vortex is extremely sentimental to me. Some members around here who used to be very active know the reasons, but most of the new faces probably don't. So I'll start with the beginning so that people understand why I love Vortex so much in particular.

2010 was my first visit to Kings Island in many, many years. I had been deathly afraid of roller coasters up to that point, but was dragged kicking and screaming onto Flight of Fear by a girl I was dating at the time and I loved the ride (not that it matters to the story, but that is not the girl I would eventually be married to, though our breakup was amicable and I do still consider her a friend). The next one we did was Vortex, which was her favorite and I think that enthusiasm for the ride rubbed off on me and made me love it. That was my first serious relationship and I think the desire to impress the girl can change someone in more ways than they might realize. We rode that ride over and over that day. I didn't actually have a pass in 2010, just a two-day ticket and then later a single-day Haunt admission, but I think that year I rode Vortex more times in those three visits than in any other season to date.

Well, during one of those rides that day, we were in line in the section at the top of the stairs that overlooks the brake run and a mutual friend, Jeremy, was on the train below making a fool of himself as was pretty typical. He always was the class clown type. So we spent the rest of the day riding with him and while we had been friends for years (our parents ran the childrens' ministries at our respective churches and we ended up at A LOT of events and such together so we'd been friends for basically our whole lives but never extremely close) it was those days at Kings Island and on Vortex in particular that we really bonded and became the closest friends I think either of us had ever had. I didn't see him much except in the summer though because I went to college several hours away (Muskingum University, just east of Zanesville).

Summer of 2011 rolls around and I have a gold pass now that my parents got me for Christmas the past year. Through May and June, Jeremy and I probably made 15 visits to the park, always making it a point to ride Vortex at least a dozen times. Vortex was our "classy lady" as we called it. So I leave to visit my grandparents in Milwaukee over 4th of July weekend. I remember WindSeeker having opened pretty late in the year that year and I hadn't yet had a chance to ride it. Jeremy and I were going to ride it that first visit after I got back from Wisconsin. One of my other good friends who would later be the best man at my wedding got a chance to ride it the day it opened to the public and had told me good things about the ride experience. I was really looking forward not only to the new ride but to all the cool new angles to watch Vortex from.

On the 4th of July, I felt pain that I sincerely hope nobody else ever experiences in their lives. I got a call while I was away in Wisconsin that Jeremy had been killed in a car accident. He was with a couple of his other friends (I didn't know these ones, thankfully, as the day would have been that much worse) and they were driving far too fast and lost control and hit a tree. To this day, I can't drive through that part of Hamilton because seeing that tree shakes me to my core in a way that I can't even begin to describe. It was really hard to go to KI for a while without my riding buddy. If anyone here remembers seeing a strange man sitting in a fetal position crying at the entrance to Vortex in July of 2011, that was me. I didn't get to ride Vortex for a while after that because you may remember that just a few days earlier, its chain broke. I'm a religious man and I don't believe in coincidence, and to this day, I think God himself knew that I couldn't emotionally handle riding Vortex for a while and that he stepped in to make sure I didn't jump the gun and try before I was ready. On a similar note to that, I did get to ride WindSeeker on my first visit back after he passed. It was a night ride and it was right as the park closed. My first ride on WindSeeker was a fireworks ride and in that moment, I was happy at the park again, for the first time since the incident. That's part of why I have a deep sentimental attachment to WindSeeker too despite not even particularly liking the ride. Make no mistake, Vortex IS my favorite ride just based on my enjoyment of the ride experience, but because of everything I've written here, it became not only a favorite, but deeply sentimental and important to me. So for me, losing Vortex is not just losing a roller coaster that I like as was the case with Firehawk, I'm losing my last earthly memento of that friendship and it's not something I expected I'd have to part with so soon.

Fast forward a few years to 2013. The aforementioned girl and I had actually just recently broken up. We had been together for three years. It was hard emotionally, but the long distance thing during the school year was just too taxing on both of us emotionally and we decided it would be better to call it off. Anyway, at the Ed Alonzo show during the KIC day event that year (still the best enthusiast event I've ever attended, BTW) we were all in the KI Theater waiting for the show to start and I overheard someone talking about how much they love Arrows and in particular, Vortex. Being the socially awkward dork that I am who can't pick up social cues, I didn't realize that he was chatting with his girlfriend and that it's really not an appropriate time to butt in. But thankfully, he decided to have a conversation with me anyway about all our favorite Arrows. Some of you may know him because it's the now-banned KIC member TheDevariousEffect. Anywho, we end up bonding over our mutual appreciation of Arrows and ended up becoming close friends over the following months and years. We were roommates for a while and ended up becoming extremely close friends and he was actually a part of my wedding party (just to alleviate the fears of those who know him, no, I did not ever let him have a hot mic at the reception ;)). I can tell you right now, that had Vortex not been so important and meaningful to me, I probably never would have butted into that conversation, and that's a very important friendship that I never would have made.

I have so many Vortex memories and I could never even *begin* to share them all here, but this should summarize the important ones. The ride has been central to so many pivotal moments in my life. Losing it is going to be extremely difficult. It's going to be hard for a long time to go to the park and not see it there. I understand the business sense in the removal. While I probably will avoid the park for a while, it's not like I'm trying to punish them or boycott them. I'm just not quite ready emotionally to see Coney Mall without my Vortex yet. I'm not angry, bitter, or resentful at the park. Just sad. Very sad. I understand that they have to do what they have to do, but that really doesn't make it much easier.

I happened to find one of my on-ride photos from that visit in 2010. I'm amazed I even kept it this long, but I found it funny. Try and forgive me for being in the wrong seat - this was before I realized that 7-1 is the only correct place to sit. Me and my ex-girlfriend are in the front and Jeremy is behind us acting silly because that's just what Jeremy did.

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