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Vortex's Closing day and weekend October 27th 2019

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I'm a little late to the party, but I thought I would wait a little while before I posted this trip report. I live about 9 hours from Kings Island and while Great Adventure is my home park, Kings Island feels more like home than any park in the world. This year has been really tough on me. In June out of the blue I developed a severe anxiety disorder that still hasn't been fully resolved and my ability to ride coasters went dormant. I really thought I would never be able to ride coasters again. Then, September 27th came along and the news broke. Vortex was closing forever. I knew deep down this day would come eventually, but I never thought it would be this soon. It had been months since I had gone more than an hour from home in fear of a panic attack, but regardless I planned a trip for the final weekend of haunt to see my #1 coaster off. IMG_20191027_091210.jpg

A little background. I made my first trip to Kings Island in 2011 when I was 14 years old. At the time my favorite roller coaster was the recently defunct Great American Scream Machine at my home park Great Adventure. Then I was introduced to Vortex. I was hooked after my first ride, and instantly had a new #1. fast forward almost a decade later. After riding rides like Intimidator 305, Skyrush, Steel Vengeance, nothing could displace the old arrow coaster as my #1 it just has a special place in my heart and makes me happy unlike any other coaster. From the drop, to the loops, to the helix at the end. Everything to me was executed perfectly. So when the news came, I knew I needed to be there for the end. IMG_20191025_182925.jpg

Friday night I arrived at the park, after a 9 hour drive I was tired, anxious and not feeling to well, but I made it. For the first time since I was stricken with this horrible panic I managed to leave the state of New Jersey (thank god to that place stinks don't go there). I took Friday night as an opportunity to take everything in and do some smaller rides with my girlfriend including the antique cars which are an awesome little addition to the park!IMG_20191025_182810.jpgIMG_20191025_182906.jpgIMG_20191025_191042.jpg

After a few hours at the park, I was really struggling and found my way back to the hotel. I was disappointed in myself and frustrated at not being able to ride, and with rain in the forecast for Saturday I decided to take my girlfriend to the Newport Aquarium. A nice unexpected detour. IMG_20191026_114230.jpg

After the aquarium it was still raining, but since we were passing the park I decided to give it another shot and made my way to Adventure Express. After having absolutely zero fear of any coaster for years it's really strange to be scared of a mine train, but I overcame that fear and rode my first coaster since this started. This was awesome progress, so I quickly made my way to The Bat and nervously conquered that too. 

At that time I decided to make my way over to Vortex and low and behold she broke. IMG_20191026_151849.jpgIMG_20191026_151727.jpg

About 25 minutes later she started testing again, and even though my mind told me no I made my way to the entrance and when the line opened I led the crowd through to the mighty old arrow. As I boarded the train I was petrified. My mind said get off get off get off, but in my heart this is what I came for and I had to do it. After a bit of an internal battle, my restraint was down and I was off ready to conquer my favorite coaster, and first looper since this nightmare began. And I'll say it went from fear to happiness very fast. You can see me in this picture in my camo jacket arm held high proud of myself and happier than could be. 

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Feeling much more confident now, I quickly took a few more rides and boy was the old gal running good for her final days. received_3073342069361122.jpegIMG_7858.jpg

Following this success, I got about 5 rides in and then decided to save the last of my energy for Sunday, the final day of Vortex's long career, so with that we went back to the hotel, making a quick stop for gas as my 20 year old truck was in desperate need after the long journey from New Jersey. IMG_20191026_173355.jpg

Then came the final morning... I made sure to be at the park bright and early for ERT and got my last front row ride at about 10:57amIMG957885.jpg

Following this I quickly took 2 more rides on old Tex before heading off to Mystic Timbers and The Beast as my girlfriend absolutely loves them14134209.jpg

Time drew on and I got a couple more rides at around 1-2 on Vortex, meeting a bunch of lovely people along the way. IMG_20191027_130027.jpgIMG_20191027_131309.jpgIMG_20191027_131752.jpg

As time wore on, it got closer and closer to the time I was dreading. The last ride of Vortex. Mentally I wasn't ready. I'm still not ready. It might just be a roller coaster, but to me it is so much more. It is my childhood, memories, friendships, the definitive piece that defines my passion and now, hope in overcoming my anxiety and getting back to what I love. IMG_20191027_134257.jpg

Then at around 6:45 I couldn't wait any longer and I entered the line for the last time IMG_20191027_180643.jpg

As I got closer and closer my heart was filled with so many emotions. There was joy, sadness, and all the memories I've had with Vortex. IMG_20191027_185211.jpgIMG_20191027_185729.jpgIMG_20191027_185937.jpg

Finally at about 7:20 I made my way onto train 2 for the final time. Going up that lift hill one last time hearing the beautiful sound of the anti rollbacks, cresting the hill and hitting that wicked drop. Coming around the turnaround I looked at the loops and corkscrews and just thought, this is it. This is really the last time old gal. Before I knew it, it was over. I teared up a bit, but held together for a good while. I stayed around as long as I could snapping photos until the final train had been run. IMG_20191027_190821.jpgIMG_20191027_191146.jpg14145360.jpgIMG_20191027_191555.jpgIMG_20191027_191558_1.jpg

And with that she was gone, I heard taps on the way out and it was beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. Thank you Vortex for being my #1 and meaning so much to me as a coaster enthusiast. You gave me more than my #1, you gave me my start to being an enthusiast, some of my best memories, and hope that I can beat this anxiety. I'll never forget you. 

 

With that I went back to New Jersey now left with just the memories of a beautiful arrow looper that was so much more than just a coaster. 

Thanks for reading everyone! 

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Great PTR! So glad you were able to get over to KI to ride it there final weekend. Thanks for sharing with us.

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I. SO. RELATE. TO. THIS.

You described exactly how I feel about Vortex. Even after riding other greats like Steel Vengeance, Vortex stayed my #1 as well, and it too helped me overcome a lot.

Thank you so much for sharing! :D 

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1 hour ago, VortexBFForever said:

I. SO. RELATE. TO. THIS.

You described exactly how I feel about Vortex. Even after riding other greats like Steel Vengeance, Vortex stayed my #1 as well, and it too helped me overcome a lot.

Thank you so much for sharing! :D 

I think you might just be one of the few people that Vortex meant more too, but I'm really glad there are people like us that share such a love for this coaster, it really felt like home to me and if I lived closer you can guarantee I would have worked there, deep down inside even though I am an engineering major and have terrible anxiety, being high up on Vortex or any coaster for that matter is my happy place and I would love to at some point be a ride mechanic that way I can be where I feel at home all the time, but as for losing Vortex I'm still thankful for all the memories it gave and the people it had such an impact on. Seeing that final night I really saw a community that came together for Vortex with enthusiasts of all ages and races. It really made me happy. Every enthusiast has a ride that really means the world to them, and I'm really glad Vortex got to be mine. It will forever live on in our memories, and now as a nanocoaster :D

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