USA 06/22 – Kentucky Kingdom + Beech Bend
I’ve always known Kentucky Kingdom as the place next to a tyre fire, so was surprised and confused to be entering the car park via a big, posh exhibition centre entrance.
Day 3 – Kentucky Kingdom
Once again we arrived early and the first order of business was brandishing various emails and tickets dated from 2020 in the direction of a guest services window. We had originally been booked to come on their special event that coincided with the Holiwood nights weekend, which included free drinks, though this was sadly no longer a thing. This also meant we had paid for two days when we only needed one, but as we’ve learnt already you’ve gotta spend money to make money.
Our new tickets were located in a secret envelope in a secret box in a secret drawer in the back of an office somewhere and sure enough they got us straight in.
It was a quiet, murky day and some stuff wasn’t open yet so we ended up on #1 Thunder Run first. I had forgotten this ride exists to be honest, they still have an old woodie here? And two Runs?
Turns out the ride is largely forgettable anyway, though far more substantial in footprint than I had imagined from standing within the structure. Wood, corners, a couple of hills, it had it all.
#2 Storm Chaser was waiting for us at the back of the park, looking grungy as anything. This is what I had pictured for the park and it didn’t disappoint.
I think the aesthetic is rather admirable and special in it’s own way, a nice contrast next to poster boys like Wildfire and Hakugei.
God damn Iron Gwazi is it a good ride too. Flopping out of the seat from the very first moment in that inverted drop before being violently ejected many, many times. It sets out to be an airtime machine and delivers an incredible set of punches. Even the other elements like the overbank had a good sideways kick to them, meaning that they weren’t just filler.
This wonky sequence of multiple hills is a fantastically vicious pre-finale, though it does sort of run out of things to do through the last corner into the brakes. A little too short to compete with the best of the best, but it’s still an easy top 25 and can sure give the bigger beasts something to sweat about.
#3 Roller Skater was ready to accept customers and had a really funky beat playing in the station to set the mood.
Then we got lost trying to avoid the water park in our street shoes in an attempt to find #4 Kentucky Flyer. There it is.
It’s cute and fun, though not the most potent of these things. I always love a piece of Gravity Group, but this one feels like they tried to do White Lightning over half the track length and it just doesn’t quite carry that physics-defiance, relentlessness and longevity that most of the other baby ones manage so well.
Things that couldn’t be further from cute and fun – #5 T3. Fair play to the park, they’re on board with the joke as to how bad SLCs are and even hype up the fact in the station.
Far from the worst of these I’ve done so far, but good ride it is not.
We headed over to Lightning Run in anticipation of completing the park in record time, only to discover that the weather had turned against us and it had ceased operation.
Sure enough, it began to rain almost immediately and we attempted to take shelter in the 5D cinema. This plan failed as we were stranded in the outdoor section of the queue for what felt like an eternity, waiting for the next batch, which may or may not have included a technical breakdown.
Nothing exciting going on in here at all, just something dry to do. They were playing the laziest cut of Ice Age 4D imaginable. I don’t really remember the previous iterations I’ve seen in parks, but surely they weren’t this bad? The preshow is just clips from the film with the dinosaurs in it, with no set up. Then the actual film is just more clips from the same film with no pay off. Stuff happens that doesn’t get concluded, scenes chop and change randomly in an attempt to only have ‘things that work with moving seats’ and I’ve already used too many words on this attraction now.
The rain was only slight at this point, but all the coasters remained down. The Storm Chaser crew stated that their coaster rides just too damn fast in the wet and breaks itself, which I fully believe. Advice outside Lightning Run ranged from “I hear the weather is improving after 5pm” to “We’re not supposed to give any indication of time”.
It wasn’t ideal, but this felt like a good opportunity to continue the round robin of hotel phonecalls. We encountered a new low from one particular staff member who was beyond rude and obnoxious. From the moment she answered the phone there was a combination of an abject lack of care and a paranoid wariness that we were some form of pranksters. It basically boiled down to no, I can’t update your card details, nor can I guarantee your room, nor can I cancel it for you.
“But that’s your job right?”
“Yes, but you go online yourself.”
Needless to say we didn’t stay there.
Time passed quickly and #6 Lightning Run began cycling to our great relief.
We hopped aboard the weirdly elevated seats and experienced the world’s first Chance Hyper GT-X in all it’s glory.
It’s good. From an off-ride visual it appears to burn through those elements at a blistering speed, though on-board there’s a few less sensations going on than I had perhaps anticipated. The legit airtime hills are great and it’s wonderfully paced, but some of the other moments were a bit of a let down. Nice and unique in any case and I look forward to a resurgence of the model.
With many laps of that under our belt to be sure, it was now a question of how long can we stay with Storm Chaser before we have to tear ourselves away and get some more creds tonight? The answer – quite long, though it helped that it was a walk on.
Fortunately our next destination had a time zone change in the right direction to gain a cheeky extra hour of operating day. The park also run a deal where you can get in for extra cheap on a Friday night, which suited us perfectly.
The reason for the visit of course was the #7 Kentucky Rumbler. Such a good name. Is it king of the Kentuckys?
Yes it is. GCI man, they got me again, what’s going on?
A curved drop that turns into a violent plummet to start proceedings, backed up by an action packed, airtime filled, rumbling romp of a ride. I loved the perpendicular station flyovers and the fact that it isn’t just 72 corners and crossing points. It tries for other things and delivers them exceptionally well. A surprise hit for sure.
As importantly, there were +1s to be had in the form of #8 Spinning Out.
And I did their Haunted House ghost train for ‘research purposes’. Meh.
Then we got stuck on a block section of the spinning #9 Wild Mouse.
Two engineers appeared at speed in a golf buggy, almost tipping it down a steep grassy bank. The issue was resolved in no time and we were treated to a very slow rendition of the spinning second half, from a standing start. Fresh experience I guess.
A couple more rumbles on the Rumbler were sufficient to see the day out in style, and a successful one too! Kentucky treated us very well.