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Countdown to Opening Day for the 2021 Season: May 15th 11:00 AM!

Kings Island is now open for 2021.

TR: 10 Parks, 40 Some Coasters and MORE! Pt.1

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Well, at the beginning of the summer, myself and my usual clan decided that we just HAD to do Disney. The past two times I"ve been there, I've only spent a day. Robb and James had not EVER spent more than a day, so they had so much that they had yet to experience. Labor Day weekend would set the trip off. Of course, no trip to Orlando would be complete without a stop by Universal, Sea World and Busch Tampa. We planned to stay with my best friend Michelle who lives in Kissimmee. Perfect. It was all set!

We had planned on leaving on Saturday September 2nd. In my typical fashion though, my gears were grinding with other plans. Seeing as how Atlanta was on the way and about our halfway point of the drive, this was the perfect opportunity to get back over to SFoG and get some more rides on that fabulous new Goliath! The alarm sounded at 4AM. Shockingly, we all got up and were out the door on schedule. The adrenaline was high, especially since James almost didn't make the trip due to some scheduling issues at PKI. So we were pumped! Our first stop for gas ended up being in Chattanooga. Ironically enough, it was 11AM. As I filled the car up with gas, I happened to look up. What was this? A billboard advertising Lake Winnie! Uh oh. A few minutes later, we were pulling in the parking lot at Lake Winnie!

Lake Winnie:

I had visited this park before, several years ago. Tremendously enjoyed it. Just a small traditional park with lots of old school rides including a Chutes ride that empties out into the Parks lake. I called before we headed over and found out a pay per ride was optional and gate admission was only $5! It was a no brainer. We parked, purchased our gate admission and about 30 tickets. Unforuntately, since SfoG was still on the schedule for the day, it was going to be a quick in and out trip. A quick ride on one evil Wild Lightnin (L&T Wild Mouse) left me dizzy as hell for some reason. Right next door is the Parks John Allen out-n-nack Cannonball! This ride was cold on me the first time I rode, I was hoping for more this time. While its a zippy little ride and smooth as glass, it is still a bit lackluster. No real airtime for us. I rode the back seat, while Robb and James took the front. Eh. Its still a beautiful looking ride though and still utilizes its manual skid brake system.

With the two coasters ridden, we had to split. The Park had a lot more rides than I remembered and I was sad that I didn't get a chance to ride the Chutes ride again. Back on to the interstate we were south bound for Atlanta. Just a little over an hour later we were pulling off at Six Flags over Georgia!

Six Flags over Georgia:

As some of you may remember, we hit SFoG back in the Spring. We hit up Goliath on opening weekend. It was a great trip and the experience at SFoG was TOP NOTCH! We left in amazement over the differences we had noticed in Six Flags. Was it a fluke? I'm very HAPPY to report that SFoG still has it going on! The Park was spotless, the employees were incredibly friendly and VERY efficient with the operations on the rides. ALL rides were up and running, including the elusive Deja Vu! Last time, Vu was closed as was Ninja which hadn't completed its new paint job yet. We had planned on just staying a few hours, since we still had another 6 hour stretch or so to get us to Michelle's apartment in Orlando.

First up, Goliath! Two trains, no wait. darn. B&M simply created a winner with this one. Its broken in quite nicely with even more pronounced air than our visit in April. The downward spiral in the middle of the ride was powerful, my vision was blurring as we exited it every time we rode! I would KILL to have this ride closer to me. Its placement in the Park is perfect, with the crest of the lift hill placed appropriately on top of the hill the park is situated on. Its a very striking ride, visible for miles around. Top notch crew, no stacking of trains and very speedy!

We wanted to hit up Mindbender but it was down at that moment. Batman was closed. Its open now, but it apparently had a pretty major issue which kept it closed for close to a month. Sad that we missed it this time around, but we got plenty of spins on it in April. On around the loop, we took our spin on Deja Vu. It was going down every 10 minutes or so, it kept stopping on the lift. Honestly, I think all three of these rides need to come out. They are fun, but nothing phenominal and I hardly see how they are worth the cost to maintain.

Ninja was next up. I had ridden this one several years back, but as I mentioned it was closed on our visit in April. I actually enjoyed it. Its not too rough and has some amazing head choppers. Nice ride. Again, two trains running and no stacking of trains.

We werent going to bother with Scream Machine or Superman. We all love Superman but we have the model at Six Flags Great Adventure to ride in a few weeks. So back around to Mindbender we went. As always a fun ride. Smooth, very powerful loops and some crazy ejector air on some of the drops. Gotta love that insane helix mid-ride also!

We took a final spin on Goliath then headed up towards the gate. On the way out though, couldn't help but swing by Georgia Cyclone. A tad rougher than April, but still an awesome ride. Two trains, great crew.

The Park was fantastic and it was a Saturday on top of that. It was pretty crowded, but the crews were working hard and the waits weren't more than about 10 minutes at most. Except for Deja Vu. Sadly, it was time to take off. Definitely gotta get back to SFoG for closing weekend, sorry PKI but you are losing out this year.

Back in the car, we were off for Florida. Made excellent time on the way down, with one scary stop at a gas station in Valdosta.....some shady characters hanging out made it interesting :-) We rolled into Orlando around 11PM, greeted by the spotlights from Universal Orlando off in the distance as well as the Sky Tower at Sea World. We ended up going out to the club once we got to Michelles, so we finally landed in bed around 3AM, almost 24 hours after we first woke up. Great first day! :-

Sea World Orlando

Sunday brought us to Sea World. Michelle, her girlfriend and daughter were in tow for us. Sea World is one of those parks that I actually like to take my time in and enjoy the entire park. Sadly, mother nature wasn't on our side! It started to storm about 30 minutes after we got there and shut down Kraken and Journey to Atlantis. Bummer. We stuck it out though, watched a few shows. While watching Believe, we noticed a train cycling on Kraken. We sprinted over just in time to see them open both Atlantis and Kraken. Whoo hoo!

Kraken is just as good as I remember. I'm still crazy over this ride. Smooth as glass, in typical B&M fashion, and surprising powerful! The Zero G roll surpasses Kumba's, IMHO. Not an easy task. Perhaps the best part of the ride comes after the block brake (which is always turns off, I may add). The train goes through a vertical loop and up a hill before diving underwater into Kraken's layer. A tight, heavily banked turn underneath leads back out into the sunlight with a corkscrew. Can't get enough! :-) Thanks to all of us having Busch Platinum passes, we were able to ride a second time without getting out of the train! This definitely would help us at Busch Tampa in a few days.

We finally took a spin on Atlantis. OK theming, though I think not as good as Busch usually does. The ride is hella fun though and I love that twisting drop in the dark near the end. Thanks to the weather, it was closing time now. We only got a few rides on Kraken, but it was worth the wait. Kinda nice to have an early night, as the next day would begin our Disney Adventure :-)

Thats it for now. Time for some sleep. Part 2 following shortly, thanks for reading!

- Todd

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