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Discussing Land and Space in and around Vortex


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11 hours ago, RollerColt said:

Wow… 5 years… Walking through the park it definitely is missed. It was almost like a landmark for my childhood… walking into the entrance and seeing it peering from the back… the sound of the train going through the batwing was mesmerizing, and I loved the sound of the chain lift. 
 

The wood fence just makes me sad at the moment. It’s like a huge incomplete is just sitting in that part of the park. 

All of this I concur with. Vortex was a household name/ride within the park. One of the staples. When talking about Kings Island, to this day, people still mention The Vortex. And there are still a ton of people I interact with that didn't realize its been gone for as long as it has been now. The reaction is always the same. Sad face. It was so many people's first BIG roller coaster and first coaster with inversions. 

It got pretty rough in the last leg of it's life. Good days and bad days. I definitely remember my last ride on it, the last day of operation to be exact, being one of the best I'd had in a long time. Almost like it knew it's time was up so might as well put on a good show. It was bittersweet and sad. I got lots of pictures and videos. I still need to take time to post them as there can never be enough photos or videos of this now defunct legend. 

Loved it or hated it, you remembered it. I just don't want to see some generic, thoughtless, coaster/ride go in its place. If KI continues with the trend of honoring the past, especially something as iconic and legendary as Vortex was, I remain optimistic that something amazing will occupy that special plot of land. And it would be really neat if the paint scheme could be similar. That dark blue and orange simultaneously popped yet blended in with the beautiful trees in the backdrop. I don't know how to describe it any other way than that, but I think most of you can understand what I mean. 

And ah yes. The chain lift. I think just about any coaster lover has an affinity for a good old Arrow chain lift. That sound in and of itself is so iconic and I miss hearing it along with all of the other well-known Arrow looper sounds. The old air-brakes. The specific sounds the trains made while traversing the course, the rattle of the structure. I miss sitting at LaRosa's having a bite to eat and being right next to it. 

I could go on. But I think I've made my point. Vortex was part of the fabric of the park for a good chunk of it's existence. The park was a mere 15 years old when Vortex debuted. Pretty crazy to think about it like that. It truly was one of the foundations of our beloved park. 

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Cannot agree more and to add, the sound of snapping the Eagles back on that path is missed by me just as much. Vortex was an icon at the park and fit that spot perfect after the original Bat. So, whatever goes there has to pay tribute to the legendary coasters before it. 

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Whenever I think of Vortex, let alone walk by the empty plot, I feel like I lost an old friend.  I've mourned the loss of that coaster way more than I thought I would.

Knowing what BGW did with Loch Ness for this season, it makes me especially sad to think of Vortex's demise.  KI has been on a major nostalgia/history kick for several years now... a re-launch of a refurb'd Vortex could have been a home run for them.

While I understand the reasons for its removal, to me the park still seems "off" without it.  It was a landmark ride - mostly because it was so many peoples first "big" coaster.  As others have said - not only is there a visual void, but also an audio void.  When I walk by that area, its weird to not hear the sound of the metal catwalks rattling coupled with the jingling of the lift and the bell as a train was dispatched.

I also still stand by my opinion that Vortex's first drop was the best tummy tickler at the park.

Whatever goes there MUST be a landmark and visual masterpiece worthy of the hallowed land it will reside on.

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It's been 5 years already? What the!?!? Is it just me or does time seem to go faster as you age? I miss Vortex more than any other coaster, probably partially due to the fact where it sat is still an empty field. Top Thrill Dragster transformed into Top Thrill 2, Wicked Twister was replaced by a huge restaurant, and Firehawk got replaced by Orion. All of those have something- not even new rides in all cases, but something- new already in their places. Vortex? An empty field sits there. It still feels awkward to ride The Beast, and pass that emptiness before heading for the first lift. Heck it also feels akward when you are near Backlot Stunt Coaster's entrance and turn that way, and see a huge field and can clearly spot The Beast's lift hill without Vortex blocking the view. The drone show is cool, but I feel like it could be moved elsewhere if a new attraction takes the spot. And that attraction- which probably will come, it's just taking forever it feels like- had better be something awesome, IMO.

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15 minutes ago, Tr0y said:

Survey Marker in Coney Mall near Jukebox Diner:

 

IMG_3501.jpeg

Where exactly near jukebox diner is this? How far from The Vortex area? If it's close to it, then that likely means early surveying has started or is about to start. I believe for big new coasters surveying happens about 2-3 years in advance so this basically lines up for a 2026 coaster project which would mean 2025 season would be another decoding thread year! 

Also I found out what this type of marker is used for. It is a MAG nail. It is used as a point where surveying equipment is placed on.

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32 minutes ago, Hawaiian Coasters 325 said:

Also I found out what this type of marker is used for. It is a MAG nail. It is used as a point where surveying equipment is placed on.

So a maker to know where to place the survey equipment to place other types of survey markers? 

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8 minutes ago, Imperial79 said:

Where is this at in Coney Mall? 
 

Edit, read the other few above posts, near Jukebox Diner, interesting! 

Next to the ring toss.

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18 hours ago, Hawaiian Coasters 325 said:

Where exactly near jukebox diner is this? How far from The Vortex area? If it's close to it, then that likely means early surveying has started or is about to start. I believe for big new coasters surveying happens about 2-3 years in advance so this basically lines up for a 2026 coaster project which would mean 2025 season would be another decoding thread year! 

Also I found out what this type of marker is used for. It is a MAG nail. It is used as a point where surveying equipment is placed on.

If the surveying near The Vortex plot of land is leading to where our next coaster will be going then I don’t see it being the Mack tower coaster or indoor/outdoor coaster as they wouldn’t fit easily. I believe that if it is The Vortex plot of land then it’s either the B&M giga dive or the family thrill coaster. Or it could be something entirely different as Canada’s Wonderland’s new coaster does not seem to be one of the coasters they listed on their survey.

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3 hours ago, Orion742 said:

If the surveying near The Vortex plot of land is leading to where our next coaster will be going then I don’t see it being the Mack tower coaster or indoor/outdoor coaster as they wouldn’t fit easily. I believe that if it is The Vortex plot of land then it’s either the B&M giga dive or the family thrill coaster. Or it could be something entirely different as Canada’s Wonderland’s new coaster does not seem to be one of the coasters they listed on their survey.

I really hope they don't go with the giga dive coaster. I just feel like any dive coaster going there would be a big disappointment as the park has had all this time to think up a suitable replacement for Vortex and I feel like a dive coaster would feel like a copy and paste addition similar to that wing coaster layout that KD was considering before Tumbili that thankfully got scrapped for what looks to be a more better thought out replacement for Volcano.

I personally hope the park still goes with the Xtreme spinner idea, but not the shuttle coaster idea. Instead go with a more thought out layout ie Ride to Happiness or Time Traveler. However, knowing the park I feel like an Xtreme spinner would be more like Time Traveler with the controlled spin magnet on as it would help appeal to a wider audience which isn't necessarily a bad thing as most people I know who have ridden Time Traveler say it's outstanding. 

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47 minutes ago, Hawaiian Coasters 325 said:

I really hope they don't go with the giga dive coaster. I just feel like any dive coaster going there would be a big disappointment as the park has had all this time to think up a suitable replacement for Vortex and I feel like a dive coaster would feel like a copy and paste addition similar to that wing coaster layout that KD was considering before Tumbili that thankfully got scrapped for what looks to be a more better thought out replacement for Volcano.

I personally hope the park still goes with the Xtreme spinner idea, but not the shuttle coaster idea. Instead go with a more thought out layout ie Ride to Happiness or Time Traveler. However, knowing the park I feel like an Xtreme spinner would be more like Time Traveler with the controlled spin magnet on as it would help appeal to a wider audience which isn't necessarily a bad thing as most people I know who have ridden Time Traveler say it's outstanding. 

I 100% agree. I’m not into spiny rides myself as I get very motion sick however  Time Traveler did not feel at all nauseating. Even after I rode it multiple times in a row. However I can’t speak for Ride to Happiness as I have not ridden it yet. I would be perfectly happy with a tamer Mack Xtreme spinner like Time Traveler. It’s in my top ten it’s that good.

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On 6/7/2024 at 5:26 PM, Hawaiian Coasters 325 said:

I really hope they don't go with the giga dive coaster. I just feel like any dive coaster going there would be a big disappointment

A disappointment to whom? Dive coasters seem to be popular, both in terms of parks installing them and, anecdotally, guests lining up to ride them. Also, it's well-suited to the area, in that it can take advantage of the terrain and the ability to excavate that terrain to create a "giga" by way of the CW strategy - build a ride that isn't too high off the terrain (saves money on VERY expensive steel), while setting "world's -est" records for drop, speed, etc..

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2 hours ago, DispatchMaster said:

A disappointment to whom? Dive coasters seem to be popular, both in terms of parks installing them and, anecdotally, guests lining up to ride them.

I would say almost anyone who has been visiting regularly with passes. Most might not know manufacturers, but after riding they'll think that the feeling is similar to Orion which itself is similar to Diamondback.

Orion is already near vertical, so the drop won't be that different. The 3 or 4 inversions would be the only major difference and they can get those over at Banshee if they want.

They seem to have worn into a groove of doing only the safest of the safe with their investment dollars. I have never seen a more conservative environment industry wide than the one over these last 3-4 years. We'll see if that's a good and sustainable strategy because historically, you're either innovating or you're declining.

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All ears could be pointed to IAAPA 2024 in November. Having been there (exhibiting and other) 2016-2019 & 2021-2023, I can say with about 90% accuracy, Cedar Fair has not been associated with any major coaster contract signings, or VERY few, since the pandemic (*edit: I don't count TT2, as it was not a "new" ground-up coaster). A contract signing in November 2023 would certainly line up with surveying/design work being performed now.  BUT, I don't recall CF being associated with any related Press announcements last November. I may have missed it but those things tend to generate a buzz on the floor even if you weren't at the announcement. I also doubt that an 8-digit project would be in queue while the merger is still on the table. 

Some day there will be something there. I believe that when it arrives it will have an iconic design of sorts as it will be featured in every press-oriented image generated by the park with it's visual location to be included in every picture of the Eiffel Tower. Prior to the run up to Hypers and Gigas- Vortex was a huge marketing piece of the park because the coaster was seen, literally, on every marketing piece (and photo taken from guests at the fountains) generated. Arguably, perhaps, the coaster to appear in more pictures that any ever.

I would prefer they choose a coaster concept that is not and cannot be replicated at a sister park- but an experience you can only find at Kings Island. You want taller/faster??? go to CP. Dive Coaster- go to CP or Dorney.  Dive coasters tend to all be short, mostly <2min.  BUT, if it must be that, do one with a layout similar to Griffon and themed like any of the European installations. Take an experience that you can get within a reasonable drive from KI and add a unique ride experience that drops you into a story that you cannot find elsewhere.

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2 hours ago, KI Guy said:

after riding they'll think that the feeling is similar to Orion which itself is similar to Diamondback.

Ignoring for a moment how drastically different a dive coaster is compared to a hyper- or giga-coaster, both in appearance and experience, how many people in a given season ride Diamondback, then approach Orion, only to turn around in utter disappointment at seeing that they are both steel roller coasters with hills? I'm willing to bet that very few, if any, have that reaction.

2 hours ago, KI Guy said:

Orion is already near vertical, so the drop won't be that different.

Does Orion spend several seconds travelling slowly at the apex, before holding riders in a face-down position before the drop?

2 hours ago, KI Guy said:

The 3 or 4 inversions would be the only major difference and they can get those over at Banshee if they want.

This logic also negates the need for any coaster with inversions from being a good choice for The Vortex plot. And it also negates the need for a spinning coaster, since there are already spinning rides elsewhere in the park.

2 hours ago, KI Guy said:

They seem to have worn into a groove of doing only the safest of the safe with their investment dollars.

Yes, what a terrible strategy for a company to invest in reliable, crowd-pleasing attractions! They should spend their money more recklessly!

In all seriousness, the industry is relatively mature, which is why you don't see a ton of innovation and tend to see the same types of rides installed in various parks. They know what works and what doesn't in terms of attraction lineup.

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1 hour ago, DispatchMaster said:

Yes, what a terrible strategy for a company to invest in reliable, crowd-pleasing attractions! They should spend their money more recklessly!

In all seriousness, the industry is relatively mature, which is why you don't see a ton of innovation and tend to see the same types of rides installed in various parks. They know what works and what doesn't in terms of attraction lineup.

Doing the tried and true and never innovating is how mature industries/major players in those industries go from a small growth or a plateau to a decline. If you are not innovating someone else will. That might not be a rival park, but someone will do something for the same pool of disposable income.

Thinking only in terms of stock price quarter to quarter is a recipe for disaster. Matt Ouimet understood that making memories is the key to the long-term health of the business. The strategy was "the best day ever" not "adequate given labor costs." If done correctly the kids of today are the parents of tomorrow who will bring their own kids. You can't cut corners and expect to maintain the same level of goodwill that's been built up over 50 years.

I am seeing a lot more innovation out of Herschend than Cedar Fair or Six Flags. Spending $30M on a dark ride in Fire in the Hole at Silver Dollar City is not doing the tried and true. That is cutting against the grain.

They don't need to re-invent the wheel every investment, but they need to use a little more imagination and have some variety. Right now, the strategy seems to be [insert next in line B&M coaster model every 5 years] with very little in-between.

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4 minutes ago, KI Guy said:

Matt Ouimet understood that making memories is the key to the long-term health of the business.

And that has absolutely nothing to do with the rides. If it did, you'd expect a different list of attractions installed under his watch than mostly B&Ms (GateKeeper, Valravn, Banshee, etc.), with a couple others thrown in (RMC, GCI, etc.). The most notable failure of his tenure was also the greatest departure from that formula - a dark ride at CW. Ouimet realized that the rides have far less to do with the "best day" experience than, well, pretty much everything else. Yes, you need to keep the ride lineup fresh, but most guests don't know nor care that, for example, Orion and Diamondback are similar. All that matters is that they're fun.

11 minutes ago, KI Guy said:

The kids of today are the parents brining their kids of tomorrow you can't cut corners and expect to maintain the goodwill that's been built up over 50 years.

I am one of those parents who used to bring my kids, as a result of my coming to the park when I was their age. And, anecdotally, the roller coasters are NOT the reason for that. If it were, I wouldn't have stopped being a season pass holder after all those years. I stopped going because the park stopped doing the little things right.

13 minutes ago, KI Guy said:

I am seeing a lot more innovation out of Herschend...

Yes, because that park is, compared to most CF parks, very immature in terms of ride lineup. Dollywood doesn't have an invert, a hyper, a giga. So obviously they'll install more things over the next ~decade than pretty much any CF park, and that is not due to mismanagement by CF. It's because the majority of CF parks are very mature in terms of ride offerings. At those CF parks, the goal is to keep their lineups fresh by replacing aging attractions with newer ones when the time comes. 

19 minutes ago, KI Guy said:

a dark ride in Fire in the Hole at Silver Dollar City is not doing the tried and true. That is cutting against the grain.

Uhhh... That ride is a direct replacement (combo dark ride & roller coaster) of the original Fire in the Hole, which debuted 52 years ago. What exactly is innovative about replacing a half-century old ride with the same thing? Nothing! It's a solid, well-done replacement, but it was nothing more than that park replacing an aging attraction with a newer one because the time had come to do so.

The real world is not RCT.

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1 hour ago, DispatchMaster said:
2 hours ago, KI Guy said:

Matt Ouimet understood that making memories is the key to the long-term health of the business.

And that has absolutely nothing to do with the rides. If it did, you'd expect a different list of attractions installed under his watch than mostly B&Ms (GateKeeper, Valravn, Banshee, etc.), with a couple others thrown in (RMC, GCI, etc.). The most notable failure of his tenure was also the greatest departure from that formula - a dark ride at CW. Ouimet realized that the rides have far less to do with the "best day" experience than, well, pretty much everything else. Yes, you need to keep the ride lineup fresh, but most guests don't know nor care that, for example, Orion and Diamondback are similar. All that matters is that they're fun.

It's a mindset. The mindset that says "Let's cut hours and open the new ride late (again) this year to save money" is the same mindset that says that this tried-and-true ride will be "good enough." Amusement parks that don't invest and innovate have to go down market. Also, GateKeeper was definitely innovative when it came out; the Wing Coaster model was fresh at the time. Although there were still a lot of B&M's there were RMC's, Copperhead Strike, Hangtime, higher quality flat ride packages, nostalgic elements added, gate revamps, etc.

1 hour ago, DispatchMaster said:
2 hours ago, KI Guy said:

I am seeing a lot more innovation out of Herschend...

Yes, because that park is, compared to most CF parks, very immature in terms of ride lineup. Dollywood doesn't have an invert, a hyper, a giga. So obviously they'll install more things over the next ~decade than pretty much any CF park, and that is not due to mismanagement by CF. It's because the majority of CF parks are very mature in terms of ride offerings.

I don't buy that argument because 52-year-old Kings Island is not that much more mature/developed than 40-year-old Kings Island. They used to add something nearly every year coasters, non-coasters, water rides, family rides and pretty much always on time for opening day. Cedar Point did the same and you'd be hard pressed to say they were not a mature park.

1 hour ago, DispatchMaster said:
2 hours ago, KI Guy said:

a dark ride in Fire in the Hole at Silver Dollar City is not doing the tried and true. That is cutting against the grain.

Uhhh... That ride is a direct replacement (combo dark ride & roller coaster) of the original Fire in the Hole, which debuted 52 years ago. What exactly is innovative about replacing a half-century old ride with the same thing?

When the original Fire in the Hole opened in I972 dark rides were still very in vogue at amusement parks. That's only 2 years removed from Disney World opening and nearly every park wanted something at least somewhat like what could be seen at Disney. For a seasonal, regional amusement park to double down on a dark ride in 2023 to the tune of 30 million dollars.... yes, that that is definitely against the grain.

Few seasonal parks would take that chance and Cedar Fair would almost certainly not given everything they do has to be safe/formulaic to get the approval of their shareholders. If a $30 million Phantom Theatre is built, I'll retract my statement.

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2 hours ago, DispatchMaster said:

In all seriousness, the industry is relatively mature, which is why you don't see a ton of innovation and tend to see the same types of rides installed in various parks. They know what works and what doesn't in terms of attraction lineup.

This argument is nonsensical, the industry is always innovating. Some parks choose to be more willing to adopt new innovations than others.

 

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6 hours ago, Tr0y said:

This argument is nonsensical, the industry is always innovating. Some parks choose to be more willing to adopt new innovations than others.

 

This goes for parks in the same chain as well. Just because Cedar Point was willing to bite the bullet on having Zamperla redo Top Thrill Dragster doesn't mean Kings Island would invest in something nearly that risky. Kings Island (under Cedar Fair) has mainly played it safe when it comes to new coaster additions with three B&Ms, a GCI, and a Vekoma Family Boomerang, all models that have been proven to be safe and reliable.

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16 hours ago, KI Guy said:

They used to add something nearly every year

Right, so did Cedar Point. In the 90's and early 00's, during the so-called Coaster Wars. It was a financially dubious move even then, as attendance never exceeded the record set for Raptor's debut. It's a more financially dubious move now given the knowledge they gained from that period, which is that installing new coasters, or major attractions of any sort, every year does not produce markedly different ROI compared to doing so every few years.

And KI is markedly more mature than Dollywood, if by no other measure because KI has the 3 marquee, "standard-issue" ride types that DW does not - an invert, hyper, and giga. The only major coaster type that DW has that KI does not is an RMC.

16 hours ago, KI Guy said:

yes, that that is definitely against the grain.

Cool, but copying a 50+ year old ride is not, by any stretch of the imagination, innovative. It's the exact opposite.

16 hours ago, Tr0y said:

This argument is nonsensical, the industry is always innovating.

That makes for a cool slogan, but it's not supported by evidence. Also, innovation is not linear. There was enormous innovation and development in the 90's as computer modeling changed how coasters were conceived and designed. And soon after as launched coasters came onto the scene. And there have been poorly-received innovations soon after that, such as flying coasters, but what has been truly innovative in the last few years has basically been limited to track fabrication techniques, such as RMC/GCI, but even that is basically a computerized version of a hybrid coaster design that has been around for ~60 years.

But to bring this out of the weeds and back to my original point - the only people that would be disappointed in a dive coaster would be jaded enthusiasts who do nothing but complain anyway. Building a ride to please them in particular is a fruitless endeavor. Dive coasters are widely popular, and B&M's in general are reliable products. A normal person would be over the moon to see one installed at KI or any park that lacks one.

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2 hours ago, DispatchMaster said:

Right, so did Cedar Point. In the 90's and early 00's, during the so-called Coaster Wars. It was a financially dubious move even then, as attendance never exceeded the record set for Raptor's debut. It's a more financially dubious move now given the knowledge they gained from that period, which is that installing new coasters, or major attractions of any sort, every year does not produce markedly different ROI compared to doing so every few years.

I don't mean spending $20-40M every year which would probably be what a modern-day Coaster War would cost per year. I mean adding something nice almost every year with marquee attractions every few years. For their premier parks specifically, by not adding every year and not continuously wowing guests with new attractions they are taking a calculated risk.

They are saying that their existing attractions can draw people in as they did the previous year. They might, but what about the long term? Steel coasters don't last forever and historically have not had the staying power of wood coasters. When you don't invest and replace your park ages and gets stale.

Kings Island is feeling that right now. Congo Falls, Invertigo, Boo Blasters, The Bat, Flight of Fear, most of the waterpark, (The Vortex and Firehawk already) all are quite advanced in age and will need to be replaced in the short to medium term. There is a level of investment they have to do just to maintain their quality level/image. My argument is that they are not doing that right now.

Cedar Point's supposedly frivolous time of the coaster wars is still paying off for them. It cemented a reputation on everyone who lived through that time. It made them who they are, and their marquee attractions are still mostly from that period. Cedar Point without Millenium Force, Magnum, Maverick, and yes Top Thrill (otherwise why revamp it) is not the same level of park.

Had The Beast been built to 5000 ft with no second lift hill and double helix finale no one would have batted an eye at the time, but would that coaster still be as beloved as it is today? If Banshee were 1000 ft shorter would people still like it the same? If The Racer were only one track (obviously with a different name) would people have complained at the time? I think you get my point.

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45 minutes ago, KI Guy said:

My argument is that they are not doing that right now.

Over the last 9 years, KI has installed 3 world class coasters, along with multiple flat rides, a new waterslide tower complex, various smaller additions around the park, and begun to vastly overhaul their dining options. And in that time they retired, what, 2 coasters? I think your argument is unfounded.

1 hour ago, KI Guy said:

If Banshee were 1000 ft shorter would people still like it the same?

That's a ridiculous straw man, as I'm not suggesting anything of the sort. But making a ride the "-est" in its category is not intrinsically innovative. It's great for short term marketing but otherwise useless. The number of annual guests who know or care that Banshee is ~140 feet longer than Montu or whatever rounds to zero. Your average guest often gets the name of the ride they're queued up for wrong, despite having just walked by a giant marquee moments earlier. They don't care about any of the details the way enthusiasts do. If a ride is fun, they'll enjoy it. It's not complicated.

Cedar Point's investment in their ride lineup is definitely paying off, and I did not suggest otherwise, so again, straw man. But given the opportunity to go back in time, they would have spaced out those installations over a longer period of time, per interviews and memoirs of past management. After Magnum and then Raptor, they continued to chase attendance gains that were not possible to achieve under any circumstances. It took them a decade to learn that it would have been better to stretch that investment out over several more years.

But again, what drew me into this thread was the claim that a dive coaster would be a "big disappointment". Yes, some enthusiasts who endlessly whine and complain about every last thing, even going so far as to complain about rides before they've ridden them (ahem), will be disappointed in whatever the park builds if it does not perfectly align with their RCT/NL-inspired fever dreams where budgets don't exist. The remaining 99.999999% of that rides' passengers will enjoy the hell out of it over and over again. I know which group I'll belong to.

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@DispatchMaster, I still contend- someone wants a Dive Coaster- go to Cedar Point, Dorney Park, or Busch Gardens. All within reasonable distance to KI and would pull Cincinnati-market guests to those parks for visits. Dive Coasters are a unique "thrill" but I they generally last <2 minutes (which includes the lift) and in the US, the most they are themed tends to be a steel structure installed over concrete or a plot of grass. Iron Menace costs CF in the $25 range if not mistaken. Take half of that and install a one-of-a-kind dark ride experience in the "vacant-11-months-a-year" building. 

Bigger, taller, faster coasters are better.  Better is better.  Good creativity and story telling sometimes draw better crowds than innovation. See: WDW "It's a Small World".  VERY old technology, not themed to a movie, and an iconic story telling ride. Currently a 45 minute wait.  Haunted Mansion: 75 minute wait.  I know, not exactly an apples to apples- innovation is good, but it can bankrupt a company trying to keep up with latest every year. 

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29 minutes ago, DispatchMaster said:

Over the last 9 years, KI has installed 3 world class coasters, along with multiple flat rides, a new waterslide tower complex, various smaller additions around the park, and begun to vastly overhaul their dining options. And in that time they retired, what, 2 coasters? I think your argument is unfounded.

.....The remaining 99.999999% of that rides' passengers will enjoy the hell out of it over and over again. I know which group I'll belong to.

So, basically, you have said the park is doing what they need to do to attract the 99.9999999% of the guests and yet you say you haven't been to the park in years....

So what group does that put you in.....:P

You sound like the person that is never satisfied...

Let's remember you are the one that said you quit purchasing a pass when they devalued ERT, which by your own admission is not a benefit of a pass.  As you have said a pass only gives you entry during publicly operating days and nothing else and to expect anything else beyond that is foolish.  Yet the pass offered today provides the same benefit as the pass you last bought year ago.... entry into the park any publicly operating day during operating hours.

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