USA 06/22 – Kings Island
After getting a decent sleep for the first time in 3 days, I actually felt human as we hit the road again on route to Kings Island.
I was really excited to visit the park, and had been for quite a while, I couldn’t exactly pin down why though. Maybe it’s because it’s just one of those names, maybe it’s because I’ve heard it described as the best Cedar Fair park multiple times, the only thing I knew for sure was that it wasn’t for a certain coaster. I hope we can all agree that the park on paper is currently lacking a true stand out attraction and instead just has a solid line up of coasters that could fall anywhere from average to awesome, so let’s go find out.
We arrived at the park early, we wanted to maximum every minute in the park today to ensure we got everything done and plenty of re-rides.
We also needed to collect our purchased in 2020 season passes, which had every possibility of being a disaster.
They weren’t though, in fact it was all very easy, and better still the man who served us was friendly too, what a great start to the park.
As was walking around the entire park, which they allow you to, before the attractions were ready to open at 10.
The park looked great, and it was awesome to get close up views of the coasters we’d be riding in 20 minutes.
At about 15 minutes to 10 we made our way over to the entrance of Mystic Timbers and were able to learn exactly what people mean when they say the park has fantastic operations.
At 9:50 the ride’s soundtrack was turned on, building the suspense nicely. At 9:55 a ride host appeared, with a nod. At 9:59 he got a phone call. And at exactly 10am the chain dropped and us and a few others began powering through the queueline, realising when we reached the station that the coaster was already running 3 trains.
Enough with the park’s awesome operations, how was the coaster?
It was very good, but consider this part 1 of my review, because re-rides later in the day elevated Mystic Timbers to a Top 10 woodie, out of 106, and left me speechless with just how intense and relentless it was.
All I can say for now is, it’s fast, it’s twisty, it’s powerful and the airtime is amazing.
Also the shed, for what is it, is great fun, and added even more character to this fantastic coaster.
Another coaster that’s having a 2 part review is the legendary Beast, because this coaster, in the morning, with a slightly upset stomach, didn’t do all that much for me.
Our night ride later however, was one of the coolest experiences I’ve had in this hobby for a while, so we will pick Beast back up later.
For now it’s long, it’s legendary, it’s alright.
Diamondback, the park’s B&M Hyper was next, and was quite the disappointment.
I’d heard this coaster described as one of the best Hypers the company ever built, but in my opinion it’s mid to low tier, with not all that much of note happening other than countless hills that at best have weak floater airtime. A massive step down from Mako on the last trip.
Will Kings Island be like Carowinds though? Where the B&M Giga is significantly better than the B&M Hyper? Yes! Side note, Diamondback, for as average as it is, still smashes Intimidator…
Going into my first lap of Orion with tempered expectations was exactly the right thing to do, because I came off really enjoying it. Then every re-ride (which were easy to get thanks to great operations) it grew more and more on me.
Orion is never going to set your life on fire, but for what it is (awesome first drop, fantastic feeling of speed and good airtime moments) its great fun, I like it far more than I expected I would going into the trip.
Might as well knock off the final of the B&Ms while we are on a roll.
Banshee then, I wasn’t a fan, and that’s coming from someone who used to have 2 B&M Inverts proudly in his Top 25, Nemesis and Pyrenees for those wondering.
The trains are so wide and chunky that the whole thing felt far less aggressive and dynamic than Inverts are supposed to. Couple that with the layout which seeks to break the inverted inversion record much more than balancing forces like Inverts are supposed to.
I wasn’t a fan, but the coaster had some of the longest queues of the day, so it’s clearly doing something right.
With all the major stuff knocked off it was time to start ticking off the lesser coasters, starting with one of the better ones, Adventure Express.
This Arrow Mine Train was good fun. It was the perfect amount of old school Arrow violent, and the ending sequence still makes me laugh to this day.
Racer was next, and a nice surprise.
Kings Island’s racing woodie was actually pretty great, and rode far better than the one at Kings Dominion.
This one was more than just an oldish (50 years) woodie that raced, this one actually offered some fun forces including some decent pops of air, and much like Adventure Express the ending sequence still makes me laugh to this day.
You know the best part though? It didn’t take a revisit to get both sides, unlike Kings Dominion…
Flight of Fear
Keeping the Kings Dominion comparisons going a second, their Flight of Fear was a fun surprise, the one at Kings Island however is absolutely awful.
Rough to the point that it almost stalled several times just about covers it to be fair.
Backlot Stunt Coaster
The last time I’ll mention Kings Dominion I promise!
Backlot Stunt Coaster rode exactly how it did at the other Kings park, which is to say, it’s pretty good, but nothing special.
Woodstock Express was next, the park’s baby woodie, it was alright.
Followed by Invertigo, the park’s Invertigo…, which was also alright.
It was easily my least favourite of the 3 currently operating Invertigos though, and it doesn’t really fit in all that well at a park like Kings Island.
If you’re starting to question where my review of The Bat is, there isn’t one, it was closed all day. I’m not that concerned though, I feel like Kings Island could announce an insane new coaster any moment these days and that we will be re-visiting very soon.
Unlike a certain other Kings park (I’m sorry), Kings Island had their observation platform open, so with a little time to kill we went for a picture lap on the Eiffel Tower.
Flying Ace Aerial Chase
The final coaster to tick off, the only thing between us and more Mystic Timbers, Flying Ace Aerial Chase, wasn’t going to go down without a fight.
After queuing far too long we were presented with the worst layout of the Vekoma SFC, with the worst trains possible on a Vekoma SFC, riding the worst a Vekoma SFC has ever ridden.
We honest to God almost witnessed a child break their jaw on the stupid restraints as the coaster took a poorly transitioned corner at 10mph, Vekoma have come a long way.
Then it was time for Mystic Timbers lap 2, and God damn! The coaster was flying around the track now making every force we loved earlier more intense and the coaster as a whole absolutely relentless.
When me and Heartline get off a coaster in silence it either means 2 things, “that wasn’t very good but I don’t want to be the first to say it” or “that’s just blown my mind I need a second to get my thoughts”.
Mystic Timbers was firmly in the second category, it had just transformed from being a very good GCI to being up there with wooden coaster royalty. And it wasn’t finished with us yet…
Still awestruck we stumbled onto the park’s train to get some pictures of Mystic Timbers from other angles, I completely failed in this endeavour but was happy to rest my legs regardless.
Then after a lap of the park and some more Orion, we headed back to Mystic Timbers just as the sun was going down for lap 3 and things were about to get even more intense.
First off, the queue was now rowdy, in a funny way, with a group of teens repeatedly starting a game of “PASS IT BACK!, PASS IT BACK!, PASS IT BACK!”, with queue line rocks.
Then Mystic Timbers cemented itself as a Top 10 woodie by somehow being even more intense than lap 2. We were absolutely screaming through the trees, at dusk, being thrown all over the place, while the train and track beneath us both made sounds like they were able to tear apart.
Pure intensity, pure joy, I love Mystic Timbers.
Night time Beast eh? I’ve got to admit, I didn’t see the fuss, well I was about to eat my words big time, but not without a fight.
The park had a big 50th anniversary fireworks and drone show at 10pm, which meant they needed to stop running Beast during it, but don’t worry operations will restart as soon as the show ends.
We joined the queue at 9:45, got almost to the station, operations stopped just before 10pm and then they didn’t restart again until way after the show ended.
If this was because of a technical issue then thanks Kings Island for fixing Beast so it could educate me on Beast night rides. If it was normal procedure after the fireworks end, then maybe make it clearer that it won’t restart straight after the show ends.
Either way, as soon as the ride restarted we reached the station in no time and were presented with an amazing atmosphere of excited riders and awesome ride ops, who chanted “BEAST! BEAST! BEAST!” with every dispatch.
Then it was our time.
Words won’t do it justice.
Flying around in the pitch dark at what feels like a million miles an hour, seeing the other train launching towards you in the dark, the smell of the grease and wood in the tunnels, the creaking of the wood beneath you, the thought of is there really a beast in these woods, God damn it was special.
And with that Beast became the biggest change of heart I’ve had with a coaster in recent memory. Going from, it’s alright, I respect that, to something super special and memorable. The power of Beast night rides, I’m a believer now.
And just like yesterday at Kennywood, we ended yet another day on a massive high and a legendary coaster.
Kings Island then, very good. Fantastic operations, clean and well kept park, friendly staff, 3 awesome coasters.
All you need to do now to become a contender for best park in the US is to give us RMC Son of Beast or the World’s largest Mack Xtreme Spinner, I’m not asking too much am I?
Thank you for reading, click here for day 4 of my trip report where we ride another amazing GCI at Beech Bend and the amazing Storm Chaser at Kentucky Kingdom.