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McSalsa's Coaster Adventures: A Sudden Giga Approaches (August 8th, 2021)


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It had been 693 days since I last rode a roller coaster (Millennium Force at Cedar Point on September 15th, 2019 around 8pm) and it had also been 757 days- over 2 years- since I had been to Kings Island. Things just kept getting in the way of trips to the park. Mainly COVID-19 (stupid virus ruining everything). However, yesterday morning I woke up, fed the dogs, and was ready for another regular coaster-less day.

Then my sister came in my room with a grin on her face, and said these words: "Get your stuff ready, we are going to Kings Island". My happiness level increased by at least 400% in 2 seconds.

We had to pick people up, and it is a long drive from Indianapolis so this was not a full day at Kings Island- we arrived around 1pm, though we did stay to close. This meant I didn't get to ride every single roller coaster and stuff, but I feel I got a lot in for only being at the park for 9 hours. I also got to try a lot of new things- mainly the new-for-2020 but I missed 2020 so it is still new-to-me GIGA COASTER, Orion.

Upon arriving at the park, I really wanted to ride Orion, so after getting my group's blessing I headed over and got in the que. While walking to Orion I saw The Racer had zero wait- this will come into play in a bit. I got in line for Orion, stood still for 5 minutes, and saw a bunch of people leave. Then I saw mechanics show up. DANG IT! So I exited the que, and looked at Racer again- my coaster less streak would end up being broken by a classic woodie.

For 2021, The Racer got a big retrack from The Gravity Group. I rode in 5-2, my favorite seat on the red side of the coaster. There was some decent airtime, but the main standout was how GLASS SMOOTH the retracked section of the coaster was! It was actually a little jarring after the turnaround, that section was not crazy rough but you could easily tell where the ride had NOT been re-tracked.  If you have been avoiding The Racer due to roughness the last few years, give it a try now. It is MUCH smoother than ever before (I told my group about the no lines, and they all also came to Racer and all of us agreed it was far smoother).

After The Racer I went and got a cup of water. On the way to get this, I saw Orion running again with guests, so I went over and got back in line for it. There were a good number of people in line, yet a mere 15 minutes later (epic capacity!), I was in the station and sitting down in Row #6.

SHORT ORION REVIEW AHEAD (not as long as the one I posted in the Orion thread)

Kings Island's controversial B&M Giga has been a hot topic the past 2 years, even before it was officially announced, since the blueprints were leaked around April 2019. People were expecting something huge even by giga standards- 330 feet tall, 350 foot drop, 7000 feet long, that kind of thing. A ride to squash Fury 325's pewny stats. Then we found out we were actually getting a 287-foot, 300-foot drop, 5300' foot long coaster which was far more in scale with Leviathan and Intimidator 305 instead of Fury. People began to say Orion was gonna suck.

Well, my only other Giga I have ridden to compare Orion to is Millennium Force but: If Orion sucks, so does the generally beloved Millennium Force, because I found these 2 rides to be equals in terms of ride experience. The 300-foot drop on Orion breaks zero records, but it is still a massive drop with great airtime. The ride is noticeably more intense than Diamondback, and even packs better airtime than both Diamondback and Millennium Force in terms of strength (Diamondback may still have more total airtime due to being nearly all big hills, Orion's airtime beats Millie's in both categories). The short length is a bit of a drawback, but I found it was not nearly as bad as I was initially fearing based on the POVs. Orion ended up- to me- defying the naysayers and being a great ride. I am very happy this coaster is at Kings Island, and now when I visit the park I can get my Giga coaster fix without needing to drive 5+ hours and deal with Cedar Point's super crowded nonsense.

After Orion I headed out and towards Diamondback, planning to hit The Beast on the way. Passing the wall to the field of sadness to the left (RIP Vortex), I got in line for Beast and waited about 20 minutes once again. I had been hearing that The Beast was running rough in 2021, and...yeah it kinda is. I was sitting on a rear wheel seat, so maximum roughness potential, but I also got jostled around a lot. Not day-ending (I'd say a ride I got in 2018 was worse when I hurt my shoulder), but really annoying and it did distract from the ride. I still had some fun on this Beast ride but I do feel a good re-track is in order. GRAVITY GROUP (or GCI)! I SUMMON YE!

After The Beast, I heard from my friends the wait for Mystic Timbers was not bad, so I headed there next to find another 20 minute wait. OK, not too bad, I got in and waited. Before I was dispatched (I was sitting down in the train) I heard a little girl screaming she was scared and wanted off. They got her off, but the driver running the coaster opened his door and took some time to show her the ride controls to show her how safe the ride is. While delays for ride dispatches can suck, I will tolerate this- that was nice of the driver. I then got a wild ride on Mystic Timbers: way smoother than The Beast, and with tons of crazy little dips that give small pops of airtime. We hit the shed, and I got the Snakes and Cars combo. As we departed the shed, I finally saw the old Son of Beast eyes I had heard were in there. 20 rides after my first and I finally noticed them! Always something in the shed you didn't notice before, it seems.

After that, I reunited with my group and we hit up Miami River Brewhouse (ironically they were in there right as I walked past it, good timing!) and got some food. I was feeling exhausted already and thus didn't feel super hungry so I split a BLT Sandwich and Tater Tots with my sister, but it was delicious. Crunchy bacon and tasty tots. I also got some water and then powerade to drink, and rested for a bit in brewhouse. Then we decided to hit the car, rested a bit more, and switched into our waterpark gear to go to Soak City.

After riding the KI & MV Railroad to get to Soak City, we headed for the Breakers Bay way pool. The cool water felt so refreshing and helped rejuvinate me. A bit later we did the lazy river, which was fun too. We attempted to ride Zoom Flume, but the line didn't move and we waited 10-15 minutes. And after that there was only 30 minutes until Soak City closed (we got there late) so we headed back to the dry park and rode Banshee, which had a very short wait. Banshee was hauling, so much that the final inversion which is usually slow was, well, not slow. After riding Banshee we got hungry again, so we hit up Hank's and me and my sister split a Chicken Burrito. It was DELICIOUS. The line was moving fast too.

After a tasty Burrito, we went to ride Orion again. It was night now, and Area 72 is simply spectacular at night. Kings Island did an amazing job on this section of the park. The line for Orion had grown a bit now but we were still on in just 20 minutes. Again, amazing capacity! By the time we got on, Orion had turned on its lighting package- this was a night ride. And we got assigned the front row! This night ride was even better than the daytime one I had earlier. The wind at the bottom of the first drop was so intense, I could not hear my own thoughts! All the airtime moments were even stronger than earlier. This was quite a epic ride.

After the Orion night ride, we headed over to The Beast hoping to beat the 9:35 fireworks closure. But we failed so we had to sit it out and didn't ride until 10:20. I got a rear wheel seat again, though thankfully it was about 10% smoother than the daytime ride and thus tolerable this time. I did still get tossed a bit, but not too much. The ride experience was crazy- the woods were pitch black on this night, the only thing I could see was Orion right before the dip after the first turn- and seeing Orion made that part feel like a drop ride. I am a teeny bit annoyed Orion had to go this close to Beast, but only a teeny bit. Night rides on Beast are very, very far from ruined IMO. The double helix was pure insanity per usual. As much as I love the new Orion, I still think The Beast at Night is the best ride experience you can get at Kings Island.

After riding The Beast, we headed out of the park and made our way home. It felt so good being back even if I didn't have time to ride all my old favorites (Diamondback, The Bat, Adventure Express, Backlot Stunt Coaster, etc. were all sadly forced to be skipped) BUT I WILL RETURN AND RIDE THEM AGAIN!

Now, my usual Pros/Cons:


+Amazing Ride Operations

+Park was very clean

+Most rides were running great

+Food was great

+Orion is an amazing new addition


-Waterpark was busy, and some slide lines didn't seem to move (Zoom Flume mainly)

-Beast could use a retrack soon: it is still a great coaster, but if unchecked it will become un-rideable in the near future

And that was my latest trip report. Sorry for no photos- I had my phone, but it's battery life has been really "ehh" recently and I forgot my charger at home. As usual questions and comments welcome. MCSALSA AWAY!!!
(Flies off but doesn't see Orion's lift hill and smashes into it)






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I feel you on the lack of KI trips.  For one, I'm only off on Sundays and Mondays, and Sundays are a coin flip.  With the lack of 10 pm closes until July, I was hard pressed to try and go.  Then life just got in the way in July (sans the NC/TN vacation I had) and I think I've only been twice this season.  I plan on going at least once for Haunt (probably armed with a Fast Lane + to make up my lack of riding this season).  

I hope to make it up next season though.  

Good report!  Glad you got to go. 

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Good stuff! Also it took me reading your Trip Report to realized that the old Reds Hall of Fame Grille was renamed the Miami River Brewhouse to match the Miami River Lumber Company theme of Mystic Timbers across the way (yeah, I'm slow like that sometimes... :P).

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