In April 2019, Me and Heartline went on a tour of the East Coast of America. This was my first time visiting the States and I was extremely excited to finally see for myself if it’s the coaster Mecca I believed it to be.
We had been discussing a plan very similar to what we ended up doing for years, so to see it finally realised was quite special. I know I say it all the time but this is to date my favourite trip I’ve been on, 2 best friends road tripping across the US, riding many amazing roller coasters, for almost 2 weeks, perfection.
Our story begins with an American Airlines flight to Philadelphia. This was my first time using the airline and I was rather impressed. Large drinks flowing on the regular, lots of food offered and it was all edible, massive selection of entertainment and friendly staff.
My real first taste of American people was the slightly crazy and over the top women working at the car hire desk. They offered to upgrade us from awfulness to a Mustang but Heartline wasn’t sold, so awfulness it was, we did get the choice of it in red or white though…
After picking her up, we had the best Five Guys of my life and then drove to our hotel in Triangle, Virginia.
My first taste of the American park scene was to be Kings Dominion, a park I knew rather a lot about thanks to their unique coaster line up.
I had it in my head that most large American parks, mostly those operated by Cedar Fair and Six Flags were going to just be large concrete jungles dominated by steel monsters, but first impressions of King Dominion were rather positive. Areas of the park are nicely landscaped and far more trees than I was expecting were on show.
Intimidator 305 – We decided to start things off with what I’d consider to be the park’s icon coaster, Intimidator 305.
i305 is an Intamin Giga Coaster, one of only 6 Giga Coasters in the World and the best Giga Coaster I’ve ridden, but it’s nothing too special…
Things I like about i305
The first drop. It’s over too fast but it’s intense.
The corner after the first drop. It’s far too intense and caused me to grey out every time but because of that I liked it.
The violent changes in direction. There are few coasters out there that throw you about as viciously as i305, so once again, thumbs up.
The sensation of speed. No not the boring wind in your face making it hard to breath, it’s those brutal changes in direction that make you realise just how fast you are moving.
Things I don’t like about i305
Lack of airtime.
If they had found a way/the budget to have combined the i305 we have with an airtime machine, then it probably would be mentioned in the list of the World’s best coasters, but for now, I respect it, I enjoy it, but I don’t love it.
Flight of Fear – Next up was Flight of Fear, an enclosed Premier launch coaster, I found it to be rather enjoyable. The launch was much more powerful than I was expecting and thanks to the coaster taking place mostly in pitch black, the first half of the coaster felt out of control and really disorientating.
Anaconda – King Dominion’s Arrow looper, while obviously not worth our time, it did end up riding so poorly it was hilarious.
Twisted Timbers – My first RMC conversion, hell let’s just call it my first RMC full stop because Wildfire did little to nothing of what everyone promised me that RMC are famous for. Did Twisted Timbers though? It did… and then some.
Twisted Timbers is freaking fantastic, easily one of the best coasters on the planet and after only 1 lap turned me from an RMC doubter to a cult member.
Stupid amounts of ejector air delivered in insane fashion, perfectly executed but seriously messed up inversions, near perfect pacing and all while I’m laughing until it hurts at just how awesome this coaster is.
Straight into my top 10, where it’s still sitting strong over a year later.
Apple Zapple – Standard Mack Wild Mouse model but this one has a funny name and great views of Twisted Timbers.
For lunch we had some awful overpriced pizza.
Avalanche – Mack Bobsled, easily the worst of all Mack Bobsleds.
Dominator – I wrongly assumed Dominator, King Dominion’s massive B&M floorless coaster was going to be pretty good and slot in nicely as the park’s 3rd best coaster but no. It’s boring, it’s quite rough, nope nothing at all to excite me here.
Woodstock Express – Tiny PTC woodie that still managed to provide some unexpected airtime.
Grizzly – Slightly larger but much less exciting woodie now, Grizzly.
Heartline had told me that you can never have a perfect day at a Cedar Fair or Six Flags park and it was while waiting to board Grizzly that this curse struck Kings Dominion, when operations descended into a complete embarrassment.
Guests board the train, bars are locked, then ride team walk up and down the train making sure everyone looks tall enough to ride, if they spot a shorter looking child then they manually unlock them, measure them, argue with the parents, give the child a wristband and finally get them back in the train.
That would be dumb as hell if it happened just the once but it was happening with multiple children on every train and Christ was it frustrating to watch.
My feelings on Grizzly are best summed up by what occured on the brake run. Teens behind shouting that it was the most painful experience of their life and felt like a car wreck, while I’m thinking to myself, I just rode it, but I can’t remember it at all.
Throughout the day we were forced to keep walking past the recently closed forever Volcano The Blast Coaster. This really sucked, especially because it’s a coaster that I used to be obsessed with because I saw it on a TV show about the World’s best coasters when I was a kid.
Racer 75 – From the forgettable Grizzly to another forgettable woodie, this time one I photographed even less, worst of all though it wasn’t even racing…
Back Lot Stunt Coaster – Another Premier launch coaster, this time outside with an attempt at theming and it’s pretty good fun.
With everything knocked off in good time, we were able to spend the evening/night having multiple re-rides on Twisted Timbers. I really couldn’t have even imagined a better way to end the first day of our trip than riding this outstanding coaster as the sun went down around us.
I really enjoyed my day at Kings Dominion but I’m well aware that my opinion of the park is massively boosted by just how amazingly good Twisted Timbers is. If Timbers hadn’t been Twisted and i305 was the park’s best coaster than I know I would have walked away disappointed.
Thanks for reading, click here for day 3, where we visit Busch Gardens Williamsburg.