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McSalsa's Coaster Adventures- A Return to Adventure (KI July 5th, 2023)


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OMG MCSALSA LIVEZ!!! :P Hello everyone, yes I am not dead. I haven't posted anything here in a while but I have been lurking. I also finally managed to visit Kings Island for the first time since June 2021- yes I missed the entire 50th sadly- this past Wednesday. It was not a full day, so this trip report hopefully will not be too long.


We didn't get to the park until 2pm, and I was shocked to see parking is now $30. Eek. Luckily, the ticket I had purchased included it. Our group consisted of me, my sister, her boyfriend, and two children- a young boy who was boyfriend's son from his first girlfriend, and my baby nephew who is 1 year old. (The baby is the main reason we didn't visit KI in 2022- he was born that year) For the most part I was allowed to fly solo, though we did group up a few times. They headed for the waterpark as soon as they arrived, and since I forgot my waterpark gear in the car (I really wanted to spend more time on the KI side anyhow) I headed for Orion.

Orion had a 10 minute wait, in part thanks to its huge capacity, and the fact at this point the waterpark was slammed due to the 90+ degree temps. I got a great ride on Orion to start my day- there was some actual airtime on both the "wave turn" and turnaround, which kinda caught me off guard because I wasn't expecting much in those elements. I do wish the ride was a bit longer, but what it has is all great.


After Orion, I headed to Rivertown to ride Diamondback for a comparison while Orion was fresh in mind, but saw The Beast had a short line and could not deny the legendary woodie- especially since it just got major track work done last year via Gravity Group. Was it still crazy rough like in 2021, or did Gravity Group overdo it and make it TOO smooth? Would it still even feel like The Beast? Turns out...Gravity Group nailed it. The coaster still feels like the same good ol' Beast, but now instead of being painfully rough, it is just bumpy fun rough. The tiny GCI-style bump before the 2nd tunnel don't have any airtime but it is a nice little quirky moment, and the double helix still packs a wallop and is still insane. Gravity Group did an amazing job here, and with quality upkeep like this, The Beast should keep thrilling guests for years to come.

After The Beast, I made my way to Diamondback to find it apparently "broken down", so I got in line for Mystic Timbers. Right before I was about to get on Mystic, it too shut down as a huge thunderstorm was approaching. I guess Diamondback was not broken, and had just shut down sooner because it is so tall versus Mystic Timbers. I got this pic while waiting.


After waiting a while, I gave up on the storm passing soon and went to get some food at Brewhouse. Brewhouse was slammed, but the lady running the left side of the line was moving people quick, so I got in and ordered a burger and tater tots. Given how packed the place was, I was expecting a huge wait for my burger, but it came out right as I found a open table. The Burger looked a bit black, and the tater tots were not golden brown, but everything ended up tasting pretty solid- especially the veggies on the burger which seemed super fresh- so I guess you cannot always judge food by how it looks. I was pretty hungry and the burger actually kept me full the rest of the day. After my meal, I bought a drink wristband, and as I drank a Coke a familiar voice came over the intercoms. It was...MAESTRO!!! Phantom Theater encore was going to begin soon, and since no rides were open, I speed-walked from Rivertown to the Kings Island Theater just as the show began. I caught a quick glimpse at the props before going in, they seemed pretty cool, but I had a show to catch. As I entered I got a message from my sister that they were at the same show. It seemed like a packed show- with the rides down for the storm, I could see why.

Phantom Theater Encore was awesome. The songs were catchy as heck ("I would die for my life on the stage" is stuck in my head STILL!), and the jokes were funny. Sadly my sister had to drop out- my baby nephew decided to slam his head into her mouth for no reason, and broke one of her teeth (he was unharmed). It didn't hurt at all, and we stayed in the park, but she needs to see a dentist now. Ouch. After a quick bathroom break in Festhaus, we saw Viking Fury had re-opened, so me, boyfriend, and boyfriend's 1st kid went and rode it together. The kid went from bored to happy as heck as soon as the ship began to swing. That alone put a smile on my face. Afterwards, I saw Banshee and Drop Tower both re-open, so we split up again and I went to ride Banshee. It did have a decent looking line, but due to the ride's epic capacity, it only took about 15 minutes to get on.

Banshee was running ROUGH. Great speed, great forces, but felt like square wheels. Oof. The constant shaking of the train really took away from the ride. I got off Banshee, and decided to go see how The Bat's wait looked. It was a walk-on, so I went ahead and rode that too. Bat was running MUCH smoother than Banshee, which I found a bit funny given it is 20 years older basically. Looking at the terrain under The Bat while in the line, I imagined it being built over a pool of Lava. That would be a epic coaster but it would also probably melt. :P The Bat was fun as usual. I next headed to Adventure Express to check out all its new bells and whistles, and it was...BROKEN DOWN. NOOOOO!!! So I went to The Racer instead, siding with the red train. The new paint on this coaster looks glorious, and thanks to the Gravity Group, it feels like its riding like 1972 again! Super smooth, and the airtime was actually on par with the big steel B&Ms in spots. I saw someone on a app that measures ride forces say this, and I didn't believe it- looked like maybe it was a glitch. Nope, no glitch- Racer is actually pulling -0.8 G's in spots now! Oh, and Red won our race...by ONE INCH. Closest race I have ever had! As I exited The Racer, I saw Adventure Express doing test runs. I ran over to find it had just reopened!

I boarded the Adventure Express, enjoying all the signs and easter eggs I could find while heading towards the train. I smiled at the Son of Beast one, because in a way, that was a nod back to the fact Son of Beast's whole "Outpost 5" theme was a nod to Adventure Express, so this was AE nodding back. That is the only new theming I will spoil, but I will say, I loved all the new tidbits all over the ride. I likely missed a bunch too, so I'm sure I'll notice even more next time I ride the Adventure Express. Hopefully we go down Track 1 next time.

After Adventure Express, I had time for 1 more larger ride before I had to regroup with my party, and because I skipped it last time in favor of Mystic Timbers, I picked Diamondback. I still vividly remembered how Orion was earlier and wanted the head-to-head on the same day as well. The new paint job looks nice, though I almost forgot it got one until I was in line for Mystic Timbers earlier. I like the dark red track and brown supports, it's more subtle than the old red and yellow scheme. After a 25 minute wait, I got on Diamondback and rode it, and thus finally now have my direct comparison with it and the new blue B&M across the park. I think I like Orion a tiny bit more, but dang, is it close. Diamondback does have more total airtime and is longer, but it also has a worse turnaround (Orion's whoops the hammerhead IMO), the MCBR kills the pace a bit where Orion hauls from start to finish, and it is a bit more repetitive with almost nothing but camelback hills. Based on this, Orion has a slight edge, but on a tier chart they are still easily close enough I'd group them in the same group, and both are awesome, reliable, high capacity coasters that the GP love. Me too, GP, me too.


After riding Diamondback, we regrouped and went up the Eiffel Tower. It has been a while since I was up there, and it was nice to go up again. It is nice to see Orion from high up, even if you technically are not as high (we were on the 265 foot deck and Orion is 287 feet tall). Behold, the blurry version of a famous view!


Afterwards, I "babysat" the two kids while my group did some adult rides- The Racer, Adventure Express, and Banshee. When they did Banshee it was nearly the end of the night, so I asked if I could grab a quick night ride since it was right there and there was no wait. I was approved. I hoped it would be smoother than the day ride. It was, and it made a huge difference in the enjoyability of the ride. But that was not all. It was also a night ride...and we departed the station at 9:59pm. As we turned to begin the climb up the lift hill, the fireworks began to go off and the drone show began. I got a Banshee Fireworks/Drones Night Ride! And it was insane. Banshee was pulling some great forces, and with the roughness mostly gone from earlier, I could enjoy them this time! It was pretty crazy to watch fireworks from upside down, too. I love my Beast night rides, but because it shuts down for the fireworks, Banshee did something that was impossible for Beast. This particular ride would probably make my Top 10 best rides ever on any coaster list. It was a great way to end the night, and redemption for the crummy ride Banshee gave earlier. After this, we headed home. The kids had fun and got to ride lots of stuff, I had a blast, it was a good family trip.

I hope you all enjoyed this trip report. Sorry it was delayed a little versus when I went- I have been a bit busy recently. Anyhow, questions and comments welcome as always. MCSALSA AWAY!!! (Crashes into Drones) OUCH WHERE DID THOSE COME FROM!?!? :P

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As comfortable as the newer gen B&M seats/restraints are, I often feel like their lighter weight makes them more prone to a rattle. I love Banshee. She's incredible when running smooth, but when she's having a bad day...ugh. That description @McSalsa used about the wheels feeling rectangular is too accurate. This sensation is one that I have felt on Valravn and GateKeeper too on past rides as they also have good and bad days. 

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