USA 04/19 – Kings Dominion

It’s been far too long – two whole months without a trip report. Terrible performance.

Getting those season passes for the US park chains at the end of last year unleashed a frenzy of opportunity, so I couldn’t resist going back and going hard, America style.

Day 0


Flew into Philadelphia as it was cheap and relatively central to the crazy route we had going on. April is a bit too early in the year to find every park up and running stateside but with the huge amount of choice in the region and a bit of geographical flexibility, there was more than enough for any sane person.

Somewhat disappointed in the choice of cars again this time. It didn’t even include the dash outside to fight with others over what was left in the car park.
The choice was red or white. (“Ooh red… you like FIRE!”)
We’ll come back to what car it was later on in the trip, as it turned out to be an amazing omen.

Once in it, we trundled down to a place called Triangle and had a sleep.

Day 1 – Kings Dominion

Kings D eh? Let’s start with the big one.

#1 Intimidator 305

Feels like this ride has been on the horizon for me for such a long time, in a rather mock fashion. Famous for making riders black out or getting punched in the neck. It’s one of those world beaters you know.

It was fun, it wasn’t spectacular. It’s a silly thing.
I’m maintaining that these big drops don’t feel significant enough. 300ft feels like nothing with that track shaping.
The first corner was intense, but not to the point of unpleasantness.
There’s a distinct lack of airtime due to the sheer size of the thing and, you know, it has trims too.
I do respect it’s ridiculousness though.

Twisty.

(Un)fortunately they’ve changed the restraints from what I knew of them to softer straps in much closer proximity to your neck, so that bit of comedy was out the window. It did make the sharp directional changes a lot of fun without the need to brace too much against the vicious laterals which, as it was lacking in other sensations, was probably the best and most interesting part of the whole ride experience.

Volcano, The Spite Coaster. This ride closed forever before we made it here.

#2 Anaconda

The wrong Anaconda.
This thing was hilarious. It ran so slowly through the second half that the train could have stalled any moment, and then provided unnerving hangtime in a corkscrew.
Weird, man. It never got better than the 90s.

#3 Avalanche

The wrong Avalanche.
One of those layouts that keeps killing its momentum just before it gets interesting.
Set complete though.

#4 Flight of Fear

Flight of Fear was cool, other than the inconspicuous building.

Aliens and Premier Launch Coasters. Only knowing what the trains were like from RCT, I’m so glad they got lap bars now.
The first inversion sequence in the dark was wonderfully disorientating and then it shuffles its way downwards in an endearing fashion, like certain other indoor coasters.

#5 Apple Zapple

You know the name. Classic.

#6 Racer 75 (North)

Racer 75 was doing a China and only running one side.
It was alright, and a bit different with the exceedingly long straight section of hills to start.
The tunnels at the end are obnoxiously loud and seems hard to judge the winner of the race when you end up rather far from the other track for the second half, not that it mattered on this occasion.

#7 Grizzly

Grizzly was the moment when operations hit rock bottom and a good park turned into an alright park. They managed to break the ride as we arrived in the station, causing an old woman to kick off swearing and complaining about the length of a virtually walk on queue while ignoring her child companion who seemed to not be enjoying the day out either. The ride was back up and running quickly, but was operated about as slow as possible.

Most questionable part was the fact that they let children of any size go through the air gates, sit down in the train and pull the restraint down before any height check was performed. Upon making their way down the train, the station staff would then spot these children:
Stop.
Slowly walk back to the front of the station where a key was lying on the platform.
Pick up a height stick.
Pick up the key.
Use the key to unlock the restraint.
Get the child out.
Measure the child, with faff.
Slowly walk back to the front of the station where a stash of wristbands was kept.
Root around for the appropriately coloured wristband to indicate their verified height.
Put the wristband on the child.
Slowly walk back to the front of the station to put the key down again.
Continue checking the restraints.
Many times.

It wasn’t a problem, we had breezed the day and were taking it easy, but it sure was a sight to behold.

Oh, the ride. It was a thing. A wooden thing.
People in the row behind us were complaining it was like a car crash and the worst experience they’d ever had by the time it hit the brakes. People were wrong.

#8 Dominator

Talking of things. I’m officially bored of these B&M Floorless coasters.
But wait, it’s got a different layout. What have they done this time?
A couple of corners instead of a zero-G.
Loop – tick, Cobra Roll – tick, Interlocking Corkscrews – tick.
There’s no character any more.

#9 Woodstock Express

This iteration of Woodstock Express was good with some surprising airtime for its size. Are these restraints what they call buzz bars?

#10 Back Lot Stunt Coaster

This was also fun. More Premier launch, more lap bars. It has a few unbanked turns to start with that make it ride a little more car-like.
Another rider was shouting in aggressive confusion on the section where the car slows and some physical effects as part of a film scene are supposed to trigger, but nothing happened.
This was followed by an indoor bit of track and laughably awkward trims on a hill into a corner. That’ll do.

#11 Twisted Timbers

Enough mockery, on to the main event.
I wasn’t ready for how good this thing looks. Didn’t know it had a theme to be honest. All that I had in my head was ‘RMC conversion, another of those confusingly similar names that detracts from the identity of the ride + looks like wood mate.’

I thought the story it alludes to was different and interesting. There’s shirts in the shop that just say Hanover Hill Orchard which is a damn obscure coaster reference that I would love to wear one day. They also have plush apples. Good.

It kicked some serious ass. It’s like I’d forgotten how good these boys are at making rides (in the USA at least) after only a couple of months and then BAM. Three big back to back hills of insane standing airtime put me right back in it. And then it just keeps going and going.

This outwards banked hill through the structure is brutal when you don’t see it coming.

Minor nitpick: Those 2 mini ‘overbanks’ at the end don’t really do much and this bugs me ever so slightly more when the sign outside the ride specifically states 3 OVERBANKS as though that’s a big deal on a coaster.

Everything else is packed full of intensity and joy. They really got a lot out of the size. Absolutely loved it.

Let’s introduce my new feature for this report, cos Americans say the darndest things:
Quote of the day (picture Jamie Foxx shouting to the air gate queues after a front row ride): “Y’all ride this thing? Naw man… it ain’t worth it”.

One train operations limited re-rides somewhat, but Twisted Timbers was enjoyed well into the night. A great way to end the day and a great sign of things to come.

Day 2

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