King’s Island Trip Report – Day 2 (1/2)

29 08 2008

On the second day of the trip, I started out by going straight to the back of the park.  We really wanted to get on the Firehawk, but the line was 2 hours long, so we decided to ride the Flight of Fear.

3. Flight of Fear ***1/2

As soon as we got in line, it began to pour and the t.v.’s warned of thunderstorms in the area.  We were glad to be under a roof in line for an enclosed ride.  The air conditioned warehouse where most of the line is was quite a relief.  A well-concealed mirror makes the whole warehouse look twice as big.  The themeing on the line is very good including a U.F.O which houses the station.  Once you are in the station, it is no relief to watch the trains in front of you get blasted out of the station (and come back empty).  The ride itself was better than all the themeing and took a few members of our group by surprise.

The rain had stopped by the time we left Flight of Fear, and our group decided to head to The Crypt.  When we got to the ride, we learned two things; first, this is a ride where you have to put your stuff in a locker; and second, it was broken down.  We learned the second thing as soon as we stepped in line, so we were not that disappointed.  I suggested that we ride the Beast since it was close by, and everyone agreed.  This turned out to be a much longer wait than last time, but it was worth it.  I think that riding it after the rain made the coaster go faster, making for a wilder ride.

4. Flight Deck ***1/2

After a walk across the park and a long (but scenic) wait, we were on the Flight Deck.  My only other hanging coaster experience being Iron Dragon, I was surprised at the intensity of the ride.  The faster pacing and changes in terrain make this a better ride than the “Draggin’ Iron”.

5. Adventure Express ***

This mine-train style coaster is above average in both theming and layout.  We appreciated the Indiana Jones music that played in the station.  Above all, it was a fun ride that didn’t hurt like some other mine-rides.

After that, we had lunch at the nearby Subway.  Prices were inflated as usual and selection was limited, but we both got a 6″ sub for $6.  I got a free cup of ice water to drink.  This is one service that every amusement park should have and I compliment King’s Island for doing this.


Kings Island Trip Report – Day 1

17 08 2008

Here finally is my trip report for Kings Island.  I was there for one partial day and one full day.  Sorry, but none of the pictures are mine as I forgot a camera.  I will go into depth on individual coasters in a later post.

We got to the park around 2 p.m., impressed by the wide tableau of rides that can be viewed from the park.  Son of Beast makes a particularly remarkable showing in the skyline.

To start as a group we headed for the nearest coaster…

Invertigo at Kings Island

Invertigo at Kings Island

#1. Invertigo ***

I was not expecting much, but this Vekoma inverted boomerang model really delivered.  It is a quality ride, but as it is a shuttle, it has terrible capacity, so expect long waits.

Congo Falls at Kings Island

Congo Falls at Kings Island

Feeling the afternoon heat, the group rode the adjacent splash boat ride Congo Falls.  This ride is a pale shadow of much taller rides at Cedar Point and Hersheypark, but still manages to kick up a lot of water and give the riders a pleasant misting.  We dried off in line for our next ride, Delirium.  This ride, a twin of MaxAir at Cedar Point, is my favorite non-coaster amusement park ride of all time.  The spinning disc-on-pendulum ride very much makes the rider feel like Spiderman, swinging from building to building.

Delirium at Kings Island

Delirium at Kings Island

The group then decided to pack it over to the waterpark, Boomerang Bay, which is included in admission.  Walking from the far end of the park to the waterpark turned out to be much more of an ordeal than expected.  It should be said that the park map greatly underrepresents the distance required to walk between the two parks.  We came in our swimsuits so that we did not have to change at the park.  Two lockers were purchased at great expense, and we headed off into the Australian themed waterpark.  The first thing we did was to ride one of the three body slides in the ‘Down Under Thunder’ complex.  While waiting, I was impressed and shaded by the great number of trees in this area of the waterpark.  At the top, several members of our group were turned back for having metal rivets in their swim trunks.  This is something that I hope every waterpark visitor is aware of before they get in line so that they are not disappointed.  After a pleasant but not particularly special ride on the water slide we took a relaxing ride in

Awesome Aussie Twister at Kings Island

Awesome Aussie Twister at Kings Island

the Crocodile Run lazy river.  Finishing that, my friend dragged me on to the Awesome Aussie Twister, which involves two small tubes that continuously twist over one another.  This insanity of waterslide sent my speeding body every which way, kicking up water as I went.  This airborne water made it impossible breathe, so I held it in and hoped for the end to come soon, which it did.  Since I don’t enjoy not being able to breathe, this a nonreccomendation for me.  We couldn’t find the rest of the group after that so we headed to the Great Barrier Reef wave pool and swam for a while.  The group met back at the lockers, dried off, and took the train back to the main park.  We had to be back at the amphitheater at 8:00 for the last concert of the night and were leaving after that, so I knew that I didn’t have much time left for this day.  Seeing that the group was heading in the other group was heading in the other direction, I dragged my friend off with me.  After all, how could I resist being so close to and not riding…

The Beast at Kings Island

The Beast at Kings Island

#2 The Beast.****

Your first time on the Beast is historic for any coaster lover, and it was certainly memorable for me.  The golden evening light made the experience radiant.  I knew the basic idea of the coaster, but no picture could prepare me for the shocking second half.

Walking back towards the amphitheater, we stopped at several shops to examine food prices.  They were scary.  Being thrifty, we began to search for deals.  I spotted Skyline Chili, which being a local Cincinnati restaurant intrigued me.  The prices seemed to be more reasonable so we ordered there.  I got three coneys (hot dogs) with chili while my friend got a chili sandwich.  The reason for the low prices was very small portion sizes, but the food was very good and is therefore a recommendation.  After the concert, we left at a regrettably early 9:30 (the park closes at 10:00).  We were camped about 15 minutes away.  After a few games of Mafia we hit the hay in anticipation of the big day ahead.

Click here to read on.

The Coasters of Cedar Point, Part III

2 07 2008

Maverick10. Maverick.  This ride, while not as graceful as Millennium Force, is fun in its own right for being a wild ride.  It packs a punch for only being 105′ tall.  The unique feature of this ride is the 95 degree drop, the most intense for its height that I have been on.  After the drop, the ride moves through a series of tightly banked turns, camel backed hills, and crazy inversions.  Just when you think that it has run out of steam, the train is accelerated intensely to 70 m.p.h.  This ride doesn’t let up until it hits the break run.  When Maverick was announced, many enthusiasts expressed their disappointment with the ride.  They were expecting a 500′, 150+m.p.h. record breaking coaster.  Instead they got what they thought was a “family” coaster.  They were wrong.  This intense coaster plays for keeps from the magnetically launched lift hill to the break run.

Mean Streak

11. Mean Streak.  This monster of a roller coaster is impossible to miss once you are at the back of the park.  This 161′ tall coaster was the tallest wooden coaster standing at the time of its opening.  This coaster is notoriously hard on its riders and unfortunately has a trim break on the first drop, slowing down the ride considerably.  As a result, there are always short lines for this ride.  For those who want to brave the tracks of this woodie, the ride turns out to be rather long and satisfying considering the short wait time.  This ride will be fun for anyone who loves woodies, but even so, beware the back seat!

Millenium Force

12. Millennium Force.  This is easily the best coaster at CP.  It is utterly graceful and thrilling, the result of 100’s of years of coaster design evolution and progress.  This coaster, being the second highest at CP surprisingly spends most of its time close to the ground, relishing its speed, then soaring again over hills filled with glorious air time.  This coaster is the smoothest coaster I have ever been on.  There is not a false note over its 6595 foot course.  The front seat is worth the wait (but avoid it in the evening, when the coaster becomes a 90 m.p.h. flyswatter, trust me, I know this from experience).


13. Raptor.  This coaster is an intense and wonderful inverted coaster from Bolliger & Mabillard (B&M).  It is a lot of fun because the sensation of having no tracks or car below you is amazing while the coaster soars along its course.  As any B&M coaster, it is incredibly smooth with a creative and twisted layout.  The front seat is a must for the full experience.

The Coasters of Cedar Point Part II

26 06 2008

Iron Dragon

6. Iron DragonIron Dragon is alot of fun.  It is very unique for the park because it is an Arrow suspended coaster.  This differs from B&M and Vekoma suspended coasters because the cars are allowed to swing freely.  It is one of only a few remaining in the world.  Even though it is not as intense or thrilling (it has been nicknamed “Draggin’ Iron”) as its sister coasters (Ninja, Big Bad Wolf) it remains a fun ride.

Jr. Gemini

7. Jr. Gemini.  This is the smallest coaster at CP.  It actually has a maximum height of 54″, so if you are taller than that, you must be accompanying a child to ride.  This height restriction makes the coaster an elusive target for the coaster enthusiast.  I got to ride it last summer.  We were walking past Jr. Gemini when I decided to try to get a ride on it.  I knew that my brother was just a little taller than 54″.  We decided that we might as well try because there was no line and the worst they could do was to turn us away.  They let us on.  The ride itself was rather disappointing, but the setting was nice, among some trees.  I knew that I was the tallest person to ride it in a while, because I got a spiderweb on my hair!Magnum XL-200

8. Magnum XL-200.  Another historic coaster at CP.  This was the tallest and fastest coaster in the U.S. when it was built.  It was not, however, the record holder of the world.  Moonsault Scramble at Fuji-Q Highlands in Japan was 246′ tall and opened 6 years before Magnum.  It was a shuttle style coaster which subjected the riders to 6.2 G’s!  Click here for pictures.  Anyway, Magnum was the first complete circuit coaster to break the 200′ mark and was designated a ‘hypercoaster’.  The ride remains exciting to this day, but gets a bit rough in places.  The bunny hills provide plenty of air-time, but are rather sharp.  The second drop is one of my favorites on a coaster, with a thrilling, turning plunge by Lake Erie into a very small tunnel.  Oh, and by the way, the rumors that Magnum is sinking into the sandy soil are…false.Mantis

9. Mantis.  This coaster is unique to CP in the way it is ridden: standing up.  This way of riding proves to be fun…if you follow the endlessly repeated warnings from the operations crew.  While it doesn’t measure up to the parks other Bolliger & Mabillard (B&M) coaster, Raptor, it is smooth, powerful, and twisted, making for a good ride.

Here is the previous post in this series.

Keep tuned for more!

The Coasters of Cedar Point

18 06 2008

I am a big fan of Cedar Point (CP).  I have been there three times and have ridden all 17 coasters.  I will take you through all 17 and comment on them.

Cedar Point

1. Blue Streak.  This is a classic “out and back” wooden coaster.  The great coaster designers John Allen and Frank Hoover designed this coaster.  It has a real classic, rickety, seaside coaster feel, which is half of the reason I love this coaster so much.  The other half of the reason is that it, after over 40 years, still packs a punch.  With the debut of Maverick, I have been on a coaster that is over twice as steep (95 vs. 45 degrees), but this one always feels almost straight down.  It has an out of control feeling to the degree that cannot be felt on any steel coaster.  With every crest of the hill you are lifted out of your seat and you swear that the car lifts off the tracks.  This coaster was an American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) Classic Coaster, but they have taken away the designation after changes to the safety restraints.  The Blue Streak?  Still alive and kicking after 40 years.

Blue Streak

Cedar Creek Mine Ride.  This was one of the first mine train coasters ever, and the first tubular steel coaster at the park.  Even though it is a historic coaster with a great setting over a lagoon, ridden today, it shows its age.  This coaster fails to be thrilling and often, instead, hurts.  It is, however, a good ride for those not yet ready for the larger coasters and never has a long line.

Cedar Creek Mine Ride

Corkscrew.  Another historic coaster at CP, this was the first coaster to have three inversions.  Corkscrew is a suprisingly rough and unforgiving ride, especially right after lunch.  While the corkscrew elements over the midway create a unique CP landmark, it is not my favorite ride there.


Disaster Transport.  You may not even know that this coaster existed.  It lurks in the right corner of the park, by Wicked Twister, MaxAir, and the ferris wheel.  It started out as an outdoor Intamin bobsled style coaster, but was inclosed and given a futuristic, space theme.  The theming was certainly well done, but it went by too fast for me to notice or get it.  While the feeling of a free wheeling coaster riding down a trough style track is unique, most of the ride was too dark for me to appreciate this.  Over all, I was disapointed.  The ride felt thrilling because I had no idea what was ahead at any time, but there were no actually thrilling elements or large drops.  There is, however, one plus: the air conditioned line!

Disaster Transport

Gemini.  This is one unique coaster.  It uses the same basic system as CCMR, but it is blown up to supercoaster dimensions.  Oh. And its a racing coaster.  At the time of its opening, it was the tallest and fastest coaster out there.  Having this crown has become somewhat of a tradition for CP.  This is one of my favorite coasters in the park.  It has the feel of a traditional woodie layout, but is glass smooth.  Its drop is one of my favorites; long, smooth, and a nice headchopper effect at the bottom.


Stay tuned for more CP coasters!

CP vs. SFMM part II

4 06 2008

Today, I saw a coupon for a Cedar Point day ticket.  The price?  At a discount of  $8, $34.95.  It helps to get some relative prices to understand just how good a deal this is.  General admission at the park we often compare to CP, Six Flags Magic Mountain is $59.99 (that’s almost twice as much, by the way).  We have conceded scientifically (OK, it wasn’t actually very good) that CP=SFMM on the coaster quality front.  Therefore, whichever park is less expensive must be the better park.  Now it really isn’t fair to compare these parks like they are actually wholly competing with each other because there is a large geographical divide (they’re on opposite ends of the country), and therefore look for very different markets.  While I have not been to both parks, I can say that from trip reports and park reviews that Ive read, that CP offers a much more satisfactory experience than SFMM.  In the end though, it is really only your opinion for you to decide.

Cedar Point vs. Six Flags Magic Mountain

20 04 2008

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This post is a response to a recent story on the Kevin and Nate show which brought up the excellent question and age old rivalry of CP and SFMM. These parks have contended for the position of having the most roller coasters for many years. *A disclaimer: I have been to CP, but not to SFMM* First of all, CP has the edge in numbers of coasters with 17 compared to SFMM’s 15. SFMM has made a statement to their defense saying that they have coasters of greater quality than CP. This, of course can be disputed. Ride on ride comparisons, as tried in the Kevin and Nate show and RollerCoaster! magazine have yielded ties. I will not try one of these myself as I have never been to SFMM, and therefore my opinions cannot be valid. Even though there is much controversy surrounding coaster polls, I will take a look to see if we can see a definite winner in the results.

According to Mitch Hawker’s 2007 coaster poll:


4 Millennium Force

10 Maverick

23 Top Thrill Dragster

40 Raptor

46 Magnum XL-200

61 Blue Streak

103 Wicked Twister

156 Gemini

170 Mean Streak

245 Intamin Bobsled (Disaster Transport)

258 Wildcat

279 Iron Dragon

304 Cedar Creek Mine

334 Arrow Corkscrew (Corkscrew)

All others recieve 358s

Cedar Point gets at total of 3107 points for an average of 182.76 points/coaster


36 Tatsu

49 Batman The Ride

54 Goliath

57 X

71 Riddler’s Revenge

92 Scream!

140 Colossus

160 Ninja

190 Deja Vu

217 Viper

219 Superman The Escape

268 Revolution

284 Gold Rusher

All others get 358’s

Six Flags Magic Mountain gets a total of 2553 points for an average of 170.2 points/coaster

This shows that on average, SFMM coasters perform better (by about 10 points) than CP’s coasters in the polls. In the end, this is such a small difference that, for the accuracy of the poll, tells us nothing but that the coasters in the two parks are of about the same “thrill quality”. CP has more coasters in the top 50 with 5 compared with 2 on the SFMM side. This means that CP has more standout coasters, but SFMM has a stronger supporting cast of rides.

In the end, to determine the winner we have to look at non coaster elements of the experience. Examples of this would be customer service, non-coaster rides, and park layout. It really up to you to discern which park is better!

P.S.  Check this post for more on CP’s coasters.