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Delirium_Guy

TR: PKD, BGW, and Carowinds

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This past weekend a group of friends (myself, coasterdime, Snapper, Nick) and my boyfriend Robb took off on a pretty random coaster trip. It was already decided that PKD and Carowinds were going to be in the mix, however BGW was a last minute addition.

We arrived in Richmond late Friday night, had quite the experience at a Denny's next door and finally hit the sack. Arriving about 10AM at PKD the next morning, we had about 30 minutes until they dropped the rope. This gave us some time to explore International Street. I had been to PKD before, but no one else in my group had. International Street was looking superb, very clean, freshly painted, just beautiful.....it had a much more cozier feel than PKI. We took a trip up the Eiffel Tower while we waited and checked out the rides as they were testing. Finally, the ropes were dropped.

Hypersonic -- We headed here first due to the crap capacity that the ride has, plus I'd rather get the worse ride in the Park out of the way first :-) I rode this in 2002, one ride was enough to convince me it was crap. I had hoped it may impress me a bit more this time, but it was not to be. The launch is intense, I think way more impressive than the Intamin rocket coasters.....unfortunately there is the rest of the ride after that. Yawn.

Hurler -- Holy crap. Its safe to say that wood coaster maintanance at PKD has gone down the drain. No grease on the track, it felt as if it hadn't had track work in years, and the train just puttered around the course giving a rather uneventful ride. Its sad, the Hurler rides are truly fantastic and are able of delivering top tier rides. One ride was more than enough.

Richochet -- Not the worse mouse, not the best. The first huge drop it way fun, rest of the ride runs OK.

Rebel Yell -- One ride on the forward side, as the backwards side was closed. Was relatively smooth, but still uneventful. Hey PKI, no brakes on Rebel Yell PLUS they still have the final bunny hops.

Drop Zone -- The surprise of the trip for me. I have read many trip reports talking about how fantastic this ride is. It still surprised me. Definitely better than our version at PKI, longer free fall. Capacity on this thing is NUTS. If only PKI could retrofit our Drop Zone like this. The ring HAULS up the tower. On the ground, FOUR people checking restraints. The loading process is flawless. People are split off into four sections, with color coded circles on the ground to correspond with whatever section they were assigned. Paramount hit the nail on the head with this, flawless execution!

Shockwave -- Meh. It made me miss King Cobra even more, however I still find this version of the ride horrendously rough. Why couldn't they have sent THAT one to the scrap yard instead.

We made our way down the midway and towards the Congo section. I've always loved this area of the Park, but now it has a new addition to it this year......Tomb Raider.

Tomb Raider: Firefall -- I know there was a huge debate over which would be better a few weeks back. I'm here to report that, at least for me and everyone else in my group, Firefall is the superior attraction. For starters, they worked the ride into the surrounding area VERY well......right next door to Volcano. The park has created an awesome viewing area in front of the ride. Upon entering the queue line, minimal theming but it still has some. This is the one area that I'll give PKI the nod. After walking the queue you climb the ramps and can choose which side you want. For visuals, we found the front side best. Ride experience, choose the side facing the fountain. To the nay sayers that think that the fire and water effects aren't noticeable while you are on the ride, think again. You come darn close to those water jets, can only imagine what that'll be like in the summer. The fire was amazing and the heat is definitely felt while on the attraction. The ride features a fantastic soundtrack, better than the PKI version. It booms throughout the Congo area, it truly gives the ride a presence. The ride itself was crazy. It lulls you into a peaceful climb, then suddenly spins around and flips you multiple times in a row. One of the best Top Spin programs I've ridden. Kudos to PKD on this attraction, it is absolutely awesome and I think well done. We spent quite a bit of time just standing in front of the ride watching, its too much fun. The whole thing is orchestrated very, very well.

Volcano -- The star of the park as far as I'm concerned. This was definitely a favorite of my group, all came off the ride grinning ear to ear. The ride still rocks. Intense launch, the awesome climb out of the top of the mountain and an amazing view as you spiral high above the midway. Why couldn't this ride have been cloned?

Avalanche -- Fun. Whacky. That about sums it up. :-) Love to ride it!

We took a quick spin on Scooby dark ride. Once again, I MUCH prefer these versions to PKI's. The queue is themed well and actually fits in with the story of the ride. It is set up differently than Carowinds, I think I may actually like this one a bit better. Its a tough call. Both are superior to PKIs with the ride system and the way the theming is executed inside.

It was about 3PM, we had done everything. Rode Tomb Raider 3 times, took a quick spin on Anaconda which had just opened. Someone mentioned BGW. I have a season pass for Busch, so I was all for it. So we hopped in the car and made the hour trek over to Williamsburg for a random stop at BGW. Everyone else in the group took advantage of the 2 year Platinum Pass deal, which bills your credit card $8 a month for two years. Included is unlimited admission to all Busch Parks, free preferred parking at ALL the parks, discounts, etc. Shortly we were in the queue for Apollo's Chariot, however the weather was not on our side. A severe thunderstorm, which I later found out spawned a tornado just a few miles from the Park, made its way through. It shut the Park down until around 7PM, sadly they closed at 9PM. We did well in the two hours though:

Alpengeist -- Got about 5 rides on this. The first half still kicks ass, intense and fast. Unfortunately the Park darn near stops it on the block brake, so the last half (which is headed back UP the hill) is pretty slow and uneventful. Still a solid ride.

Apollo's Chariot -- I didn't like it when I rode it on opening day, still don't. Beautiful ride. Has some fun moments, I especially like the differing elevations of the drops that follow the terrain. However, its like the other B&M Speed Coasters. Its like sitting in a lounge chair with a fan blowing in your face. Its too smooth, too controlled, blah. Definitely is a crowd pleaser though. Got goose :-)

Loch Ness Monster -- Old school. Still a classic, still loads of fun. Just took one ride.

Big Bad Wolf -- Got three quick rides. Still the king of the suspended coasters. Exceptional use of terrain. The village part is still a blast, its fun careening past the buildings and swinging close by. The second half is still intense. It blows my mind that it was designed that way, considering it was to be the first suspended built after The Bat. It works though!

Dar Kastle -- darn thing opens on Sunday :-( The outside of the building is phenominal though. THATS what I call a haunted castle.

We left BGW around 10ish and made the LONG drive down to Charlotte. Headed to Carowinds promptly at opening the next morning. I'm not going to go into a lot of detail, as this was my second visit to the Park this year. My thoughts still stand. This truly is the gem of the Paramount Parks. Unbelievably clean, FRIENDLY ride ops, VERY efficient two train operations on all the coasters.....except the wood coasters. Everyone in the group seemed to be impressed with the Park, I don't think they really believed me about all the positive things I had said about the place earlier. Most of them spent a lot of time on the Flyers. Robb & I enjoyed the Park for a change. We did a lot of walking around, took some pics and just relaxed. I did get two killer rides on the Flyers though. They are incredibly popular and had nearly a full queue all day long. We got a ton of rides at the Park. We think I managed around 8-10 rides on Top Gun, as did everyone else. Two spins on Borg, wish we could have done more. The Park was pretty empty, so lines were non existant.

It was a hell of a weekend and one of the best coaster trips I've taken. We went to two different Paramount Parks and all came back with the same thoughts. What has happened to PKI? Why does the Park look so ran down this year? Has anyone noticed the midways? The cracking asphalt? The park truly looks like a cheap carnival :-( I hope that the future is a bit brighter for PKI and they focus on maintaning what they've got before they add anymore to the Park. Both PKD and Carowinds looked fantastic. The differences are incredibly noticeable. Kinda sad, I used to think PKI was the tip of the top.......

- Todd

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how long did it take you guys to get to richmond from pki?

Well, we stopped by my parents house in Huntington, WV on the way. I think total, it took us around 8.5 hours to get there. It is really a pretty easy trip.

- Todd

i am thinking about making the trip. Good tr by the way.

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I agree 100% on unbelievably clean, FRIENDLY ride ops. When I was at PKD and Carowinds the ride ops was more focused on their jobs than the ones at PKI.

I would fire some if they worked for me, like the one in security who said he thought I was stupid for driving 200 mile to goto PKI. Also the one working FOF in the front right who made us wait 3 cycles on double ride friday last friday 5/22, I would have got on faster getting back in the line.

Not all are bad, I did see Alien Seed doing his job well.

I have never had a bad day at PKD and Carowinds, I can't say that about PKI.

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Not all are bad, I did see Alien Seed doing his job well.

I have never had a bad day at PKD and Carowinds, I can't say that about PKI.

Thats very true. There are some ride ops at PKI that do an outstanding job and really do care about what they are doing. Sadly, they are few in number and most of them post here. They do make a difference, so I hope they don't stop. The thing is, I used to feel this way about PKI. I never had a bad day there, regardless of what was going on. Now, after I ride Italian Job this weekend, I could care less when I get back to the Park......and I literally live next door! I mostly will be using my pass to go to Boomerang Bay.....not to go ride rides at the Park. However, another trip to PKD and Carowinds is DEFINITELY in the works for me and I'm definitely going to head up to Canada this summer as well.

- Todd

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Now, after I ride Italian Job this weekend, I could care less when I get back to the Park......and I literally live next door! I mostly will be using my pass to go to Boomerang Bay.....not to go ride rides at the Park.

What's the deal? Granted, the park has made some good and bad decisions in the past year or so about their ride selection, but it's not like it's not worth riding anymore.

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Now, after I ride Italian Job this weekend, I could care less when I get back to the Park......and I literally live next door!  I mostly will be using my pass to go to Boomerang Bay.....not to go ride rides at the Park.

What's the deal? Granted, the park has made some good and bad decisions in the past year or so about their ride selection, but it's not like it's not worth riding anymore.

I agree with the said above. THe majority of the ride ops are lazy and power hungary. When i moved up here from southern Ky i noticed that most everybody in cincinnati was rude. Not only are the ride ops slow and don't care, they feel the need to run their mouth and argue with you. I come to a park to ride rides, not be bossed around by a 16 year old punk! Even at SFKK they call me sir and treat me like a king. I haven't been called sir at PKI yet this year.

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What's the deal? Granted, the park has made some good and bad decisions in the past year or so about their ride selection, but it's not like it's not worth riding anymore.

Whats the deal? Good and bad decisions, yes. You have to understand though, I have NEVER been one to praise the ride selection at PKI. I find the collection to be mediocre at best. So the rides have never been the reason I've visited the Park. I always enjoyed visiting because of the atmosphere, settings, employees, the little things that set it apart from all the others. I'm sorry, its just not there this year. I spent 4 hours in the Park two weeks ago, it was a struggle to stay that long......if I didn't have friends with me I would have left. Its become more and more evident since I've visited both PKD and Carowinds (2 times this season so far) that PKI is certainly not on par with the other parks. I think I mentioned this in my first Carowinds TR, but even my mom noticed the differences. She doesn't even give a crap about what Park does what, but there were VERY noticeable even to her. Oh well, to each their own.

- Todd

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Did you thinh any pkd staff or ride op were rude to you? I find them very nice and focusing on thier jobs... smile.gif

Like Snapper said, most of the employees were very friendly.....both at PKD and at Carowinds. There was one example at PKD that stood out to all of us. Rebel Yell. Two people working the ride. One driving.....the other checking bars and hitting the co-dispatch. Somehow, they managed to get the train out of the station within about 1-2 minutes. Thats with only two people working. Racer always seems to have 3 people per side, yet I somehow always end up sitting on that darn brake run for at least 5 minutes while they poke around a dispatching the train. Go figure.

- Todd

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Well, to put it straight up, what do you think PKI would have to do in order to get on par with its sister parks?

Employees here don't care. They are slow and don't give a f***. And i have noticed that the supervisors look like they encourage slowness. Whenever you go to Cedar Point, the crews are working like fine oiled machines.

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Well, to put it straight up, what do you think PKI would have to do in order to get on par with its sister parks?

My biggest peeve with PKI.....have you LOOKED at the midways this year? Even the areas NOT even close to Italian Job are cracked and just horrible looking. Honestly, it looks like a cheap carnival. What would be fantastic is to do what Carowinds has essentially done in their park.....remove the asphalt and replace with concrete. Thats a big one. If they aren't going to do that, at least take care of what they have. PKD's midways were darn near in perfect condition.

Secondly, how about some landscaping? Coney Mall used to be beautiful, especially with the fountains down the center of the midway. The Park just doesn't look like it used to. The other parks are absolutely BEAUTIFUL. However much fun it may be, I still think the location of Italian Job is absolutely obnoxious....especially after seeing how Canada was able to work their ride in. That was the one area left in PKI that had a "park" like feel to it. Screw the trees, bring in the parking garage and tacking show buildings. Sigh. Not saying I don't enjoy Italian Job, it just doesn't even come close to fitting in that area of the Park. Oh well, surprise surprise.

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Carowinds has a better sound system than PKI. I think all parks have a better one than PKI. There is nothing worse than the sounds of PKI over 30 year old horn speakers. I think they could have done better with the sound system at Happy Days dinner. The only places that are up to par in sound is TR, FOF and by Lt. Dan's.

Then the ride ops, if they can't get better ones they should have a older person there with them.

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Well, to put it straight up, what do you think PKI would have to do in order to get on par with its sister parks?

My biggest peeve with PKI.....have you LOOKED at the midways this year? Even the areas NOT even close to Italian Job are cracked and just horrible looking. Honestly, it looks like a cheap carnival. What would be fantastic is to do what Carowinds has essentially done in their park.....remove the asphalt and replace with concrete. Thats a big one. If they aren't going to do that, at least take care of what they have. PKD's midways were darn near in perfect condition.

Secondly, how about some landscaping? Coney Mall used to be beautiful, especially with the fountains down the center of the midway. The Park just doesn't look like it used to. The other parks are absolutely BEAUTIFUL. However much fun it may be, I still think the location of Italian Job is absolutely obnoxious....especially after seeing how Canada was able to work their ride in. That was the one area left in PKI that had a "park" like feel to it. Screw the trees, bring in the parking garage and tacking show buildings. Sigh. Not saying I don't enjoy Italian Job, it just doesn't even come close to fitting in that area of the Park. Oh well, surprise surprise.

Everyone who is saying no he doesnt know what he is talkin about well YOUR the onbe you dont know what your talking about! PKD and PC are truely AMAZING parks with beautiful landscaping! For example PKD's Antique cars have so many trees around them!! there is more tree's around the tiques then we have in our whole park!!! No Joke!

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Alright all of you have hit my last nerve.....

For a fact its not PKI that needs to catch up with its sister parks, its the sister parks that need to catch up with PKI. If we are so bad, then why are we the top Paramount Park. If we are so bad, why were we rated the number 1 seasonal theme park in the world.

Our supervisors do not incourage to work slow, its the opposite crews are motivated to work fast and be SAFE at the same time. Most other parks can only dream that they are as safe as we are.

The landscaping isn't done because we are waiting until the last frost to put out the flowers so that they dont die.

As for the ride associates, dont blame them for everything, if you know your kid is to short DONT WAIT IN A 3 HOUR LINE AND THEN TRY TO SNEAK THEM ON. And if you do and they catch it dont get mad at them.

Also if they give you an order like sit in this seat (IJST) they are only doing it so that we can keep the line moving, not because we are "power hungry"

We are obviously doing something right because we have the awards to prove it. Anyone can sit here and be a critic and criticise everything that we do, or every move that we make. But we are doing the best we can given the circumstances that we are given. Just remember that associates that work at the park are people too. They have good days and bad days, and there can be some bad apples in the bunch. But to call out "All Ride Associates" and the "Supervisors" is totally uncalled for and I take offense to that. I dare you to try to do our job for one week and see how it is having to answer the same question 5,000 times in a day and being nice about it to everyone you come acoss.

We want all of our guests to have a great time everytime they come, and they deserve it. But some of the stuff that associates put up with from guests is totally uncalled for (spitting, cussing, screaming, refusal to leave ride areas, etc.)

So I say kudos to ALL departments at the park. You are all doing a great job, Keep up the good work.

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^I'd have to agree with him here. I know whenever I visit another park besides my home parks of PKI or CP the workers for the most part always seem nice and quick. I think this perception comes about because your only visiting for one day so everyone just seems nice and the park seems beautiful becuase your not used to it. When you attend PKI over 10 times a year your bound to run into some bad employees for the simple reason that you've been so many times so you've had a ton of chances to run into a bad employee so you probably will. This then gives the bad perception. I believe if we attended PC as much as PKI we would run into bad employees at both places, but because your just visiting PC once its much more unlikely to run into one of the bad employees.

With the land scape its a very obvious reason and its ignorant to compare the two at this point. Both PC and PKD are in the south, therefore its much warmer, they have longer growing seasons and can plant flowers much earlier then PKI. Like Marketexpress said Ohio is still having frosts this time of year. Just last week with wind chill it was 30 degrees in Columbus, that dosen't happen in North Carolina or Virginia. I'd wait till at least mid june to compare the flowers and such.

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We went to two different Paramount Parks and all came back with the same thoughts. What has happened to PKI? Why does the Park look so ran down this year? Has anyone noticed the midways? The cracking asphalt? The park truly looks like a cheap carnival :-( I hope that the future is a bit brighter for PKI and they focus on maintaning what they've got before they add anymore to the Park. Both PKD and Carowinds looked fantastic. The differences are incredibly noticeable. Kinda sad, I used to think PKI was the tip of the top.......

- Todd

I have been asking that question for 10 years. Kings Island does look very run down with cracking asphalt and cheap carnival feel. I wish Paramount Parks would fix the park up. It would not hurt not getting a ride and fixing the cracking walk ways and fixing the cheap carnival fell.

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Obviously none of you visit Carowinds on a regular Basis. I live about 10 Minutes away and let me tell you it's not the Happy Land you think it is.

1st off the park has not that many rides and more than half are only ok. Second you come twice and think the employees our better than PKI's? Please, I've run into more bad employees than you ever will. And landscaping? We have the longr growing season ,as someone already said, on our side on that one. I visit PKI just as much as you visit Carowinds and I haven't ever had a bad day there. Plus I'd take your rides over ours any day (Except Top Gun, Ours kicks a$$).

Don't get me wrong I love to go to Carowinds and it is very clean and nicely landscaped, but I wouldn't go calling it the Gem of the Paramount Park chain until you visit reguarly.

But I hope you had a great time at Carowinds while you were here. wink.gif

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The other parks have working rides and nice concrete on the ground. I would think the #1 park could have it too.

I think anyone that works at the park that says Stay away from the park should be fired.

As said before PKI just can't find good help.

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Obviously none of you visit Carowinds on a regular Basis. I live about 10 Minutes away and let me tell you it's not the Happy Land you think it is.

1st off the park has not that many rides and more than half are only ok. Second you come twice and think the employees are better than PKI's? Please, I've run into more bad employees than you ever will. And landscaping? We have the longr growin season ,as someone already said, on our side on that one. I visit PKI just as much as you visit Carowinds andI haven't ever had a bad day there. Plus I'd take your rides over ours any day (Except Top Gun, Ours kicks a$$).

See like I said, this proves the point of what I said earlier. When you visit a park once or twice it just always seems nicer because your not used to it so for one you don't tend to nitpick like you do when you know the place like the back of your hand. Also with ride experiences you often find the ride at the park your visiting better because its a new experience so therefore it seems better then the coaster at your home park that you've ridden over 50 times, and the landscaping and employees I explained in a couple posts up.

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...*sigh*

I don't know where some of you are getting off that most of the staff at PKI are crude, ruthless people. The last thing that the park wants are a bunch of guests that are constantly going to Guest Relations and complaining about how abrasive or rude an associate has been. I'm pretty sure that when a bad GR is filed, that associate will get counseled by some area, supe, or whoever tells them. On top of that, HR has been filtering off people through their screening process. I'm pretty sure that it weeds out the "Bad employees" that people encounter.

But as a guest, you really should be following the rules that the park has enforced. There are reasons that they are there, and you should follow them. They are there for your safety, convienince, and help you to have fun. I'm sure you, your freinds or family don't want to see anybody hurt, so please follow rules.

As for park conditions, there have been some touching up going on. Jeff mentioned during the IJ tour that the parking lot was being touched up to give it a better look, and create more of a BG entrance atmosphere. Plus the Tower has a much-needed paint job, and Face/Off has as well. So if you think there is something that needs touching up, tell GR about it. They are open to suggestions at anytime. They aren't just there to complain to, they are there to help. So utilize them.

~S~

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Did you thinh any pkd staff or ride op were rude to you? I find them very nice and focusing on thier jobs... smile.gif

Like Snapper said, most of the employees were very friendly.....both at PKD and at Carowinds. There was one example at PKD that stood out to all of us. Rebel Yell. Two people working the ride. One driving.....the other checking bars and hitting the co-dispatch. Somehow, they managed to get the train out of the station within about 1-2 minutes. Thats with only two people working. Racer always seems to have 3 people per side, yet I somehow always end up sitting on that darn brake run for at least 5 minutes while they poke around a dispatching the train. Go figure.

- Todd

I'd normally let this slide but I don't think I can let my ride be bad mouthed like this. First, the name of the ride is RACER, meaning that we spend a good portion of the day racing the forwards and backwards trains. This means that we have to coordinate dispatching. We could run the ride a lot faster if we didn't do this but that isn't the point of the ride is it? The most enjoyable part is having both trains leave station at the same time and hoping that the side you're riding wins. If you add on top of that the fact that there is a new height requirement this year, we have to take the time to measure a kid almost every train on at least one of the sides and that is something that just takes a little time. As for having three associates on one side of the station, I don't know what ride you were at because I've been there almost every shift this year and there has never been three associates checking bars one one side of the train at a time. Even if there were three, it wouldn't speed up anything because only one person can check bars on the load side of the train and we don't crosscheck meaning that an associate can only check bars on his or her side of the train. Then there are the seatbelts that can also slow thing down. My whole point is that on some rides, things take time while others go much quicker and I don't think you were making a fair comparison.

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Then the ride ops, if they can't get better ones they should have a older person there with them.

You try to find mature adults who will work a seasonal job. Heck, some of the 16, 17, 18 year-olds I worked with at PKI were more mature and mannered than a lot of the adult guests.

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