Kings Island 2017 Family Trip

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Ty-rant_13
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Kings Island 2017 Family Trip

Postby Ty-rant_13 » 13 Aug 2017, 15:52

Had a good trip down to Kings Island, though I got the flu on the Sunday morning, which spoiled a little of my enjoyment of the park.

First, a few quick thoughts: This park’s layout is ridiculously frustrating. You can’t seem to get anywhere without walking through incredibly dead sections of the park (meaning full of anything but rides). As I joked with my family about several times, it feels like Kings Island likes to put their rides (or at least their coasters) anywhere BUT in the park, with The Bat, The Beast, and Adventure Express being the most obvious culprits (though X-Base with Flight of Fear and Firehawk is also quite separate from the main pathways). The food locations are too spread out with very little variety. Finally, I was very upset that there were no park guides like at Wonderland and Cedar Point. Instead, they only had park maps (which you had to fold yourself in order to carry it in your pocket), show and event guides, and food/drink plan information sheets all individual.

Furthermore, the park map has the food locations listed on the back, meaning you have to turn over the map to find something you want to eat (which is mixed in with merchandise, game, and show locations, meaning it can be quite difficult to isolate food options when you’re hungry). Literally, they list Bier Garten, Airbrush, Hank’s Mexican Grill, and Rope Ladder Challenge all on a single line so you can know they are all in one area, but you have to turn the sheet over to cross-reference where that general location is, and you still don’t know what each of those things offers (does the Bier Garten only feature beer? Does the Mexican Grill have tacos, drink refill stations, nachos, fajitas, etc.? It may seem like a small complaint, but it caused a number of issues as well as lost time trying to figure out where the nearest food location was and whether or not we could find something good at that location.

Finally, the amount of blacktop as opposed to interlock was noticeable and a little sad to see. The park's beauty is nothing compared to Wonderland, though the floral clock and a small landscaping patch which has the current date written out were both quite nice. There were also a couple topiaries which were cool, including one of the Eiffel Tower.

We got to the park around 11:30-12:00 on Saturday, so the lines for Flight of Fear and Firehawk were both already insanely long. We still waited for Flight of Fear, which was absolutely fantastic! I really enjoyed it and would have liked to have gone on a second time (even, though the building is hideous from the outside, would want this in our backyard). The station is amazingly well designed and I love the fact the train leaves loaded and returns empty. (Something I didn’t even pick up on right away.)

We ate at one of the “LaRosa’s” pizza places, but none of us thought it was anywhere near the price-point requested. (It wasn’t remotely crispy, too gooey for me, and too saucy for my sister). After that, we went on the K.I. & Miami Valley Railroad, which was very nice, though I think I preferred the CP and Lake Erie Railway at Cedar Point. I’m still really wanting a train at Wonderland, though it seems highly unlikely to me at this point.

After that, we rode White Water Canyon since we were in the area. It was absolutely amazing, though I was legitimately worried our boat might sink because it was flooding so much (it’s just the way it’s designed, we weren’t actually in a faulty boat). Kings Island’s rapids are much more intense, with lots of water pouring in at every chance, and all of the geysers worked very well (to our displeasure). Although I thought I would miss having a waterfall like Wonderland’s or Cedar Point’s multiple, the intensity of the rapids definitely made this my favourite river rapids ride so far (although Wonderland still has the best station by a long shot :D ).

We went on The Beast during the day, and we all really enjoyed it. It was long, fun, and intense all the way through, though as I had expected, I couldn’t see why it’s called (one of) the best wooden coasters in the world.

My sister and I rode Shake, Rattle & Roll, and I still really hope Wonderland gets a troika soon as it’s a great fun little ride.

Vortex was awful. Every single transition was painful and jarring in the worst way possible. I really think the layout is perfectly fine, and if B&M had made it, it would probably be a great coaster. Unfortunately, the rough ride left us all deciding we would never go on it again, ever if we came back to the park again some other time. I still don’t know how the ride operator could say it was her favourite ride. :shrug:

The Racer was a lot of fun, and is still a great classic ride. They make sure you do actually race every time (they had to hold dispatch for a larger guest who was unable to ride, but still ended up sending both trains simultaneously), which was great to see! If we had time, we definitely would have done this one again! (My sister and brother-in-law took the other side and won, by the way).

Adventure Express was a surprisingly intense ride, with lots of fun elements. Overall, it’s a great ride, but it feels like the story is running in reverse. I don’t know how you could fix it, but we all left the ride puzzled by the ending and wanting more.

Banshee is incredible! I loved every second of it, and we ended up doing it again a second time with practically no wait as the last ride before heading back home. Even my Mom (who does not like going upside down and finds our Vortex too rough at times) enjoyed most of the ride and found it comfortable, as I told her it would be. (Some parts were still a little too jarring for her, such as the final inline twist, but she enjoyed it nonetheless). I want one at Wonderland, albeit a little shorter to make sure my Mom (and people like her) would find it as re-rideable as I did!

Drop Tower was fun, and definitely gave a different ride experience than Wonderland’s. I liked doing the single spin around the tower as it raised, and the added height made the drop that much better. The ride was made even more frightening for all of us by the fact that they did not spiel once we got to the top of the tower, so we truly had no idea when we were going to drop. We were all alone up there.

The Bat was okay. It doesn’t come anywhere close to the experience of Vortex, but it was still fun going through the trees instead of over a mountain and lake (not as much fun, of course, but fun nonetheless). The lift hill, however, was painfully slow compared to Vortex, which was a similar note on The Beast (though I actually enjoyed the slow climb up the wooden lifts in the backwoods).

Invertigo was great! My family enjoyed it much more than The Bat, aided by a quick lift hill, and even quicker second lift hill. Compared to The Bat at Canada’s Wonderland, Invertigo was just way more fun and smoother to boot! Being able to watch the expression on my sister’s face throughout the ride was fantastic!

Delirium was a ton of fun, and I still think I like the Huss frisbees better than the Mondial one we have, due to the added spinning sensation. We also tackled Monster since my Mom’s favourite ride at Wonderland was (Shiva’s/The) Fury before it was removed for Time Warp. Still a great family ride I miss, and more intense than you might expect at times.

On our second day at the park (yes, we returned on Sunday), we got there just after opening and went straight to Mystic Timbers. It had a posted wait time of 75 minutes throughout the Saturday, and that was confirmed by another guest who had to wait for her husband and daughter to go on earlier in the day, so we figured it would have a long line no matter what. We were right as we had to wait close to an hour, (though the wait times on the app all said 0 minutes throughout the morning, despite me refreshing it frequently). Mystic Timbers is very intense with all kinds of great twists, turns, and wicked airtime throughout! If my family had any doubts about what I said a modern wood coaster could deliver, they were smashed to bits by the end of the ride! Nonstop love for this ride, start-to-shed!

*Spoilers for the shed!*
Spoiler: Show
I loved waiting in the shed with the radio turning on, playing the absolute perfect old-school song! As we rolled forward, a screen on the one side showed bats flying and a screen ahead of us which showed shed doors had the bats fly out through the opening. We started turning back into the station a little too early, in my opinion, though, as a giant bat creature broke open the doors on the screen and screeched at us, but we had already passed the screen and my family didn’t know they should have kept looking at it, so they missed seeing the creepy creature. Overall, still a great way to keep guests entertained on the brake run, and I hope we see more of this type of filler in the future, albeit done with a little better timing. (We were sitting close to the front, though, so that may have had something to do with us missing the creature’s appearance.) Definitely wanting to ride again and see the other endings!

*Spoilers for the shed end here.*

Just after getting off Mystic Timbers, we got in line for Diamondback as it had a posted 120 minute wait the day before (only running two trains, for some reason), and now it had no wait at all! I noticed it was closed when we first arrived the park that morning, and when we were getting in line, I noticed an empty train coming back into the station, so we were clearly one of the first ten trains of the day (by the time we actually got on, which was only about 5 minutes, since they were thankfully running three trains by Sunday). Overall, great ride, though my headache (caused by the flu) may have negatively affected my enjoyment a little, as it seemed a tad rattly (we were close to the back, and I’ve had similar feelings on Behemoth from time to time). I love the splashdown, even though it doesn’t really affect the ride too much. Knowing it was happening was a pretty cool feeling! *Sidenote: I really like the box of lost articles they have in the queue. It was fun to laugh at the old flip phones that look just like my current flip phone.

Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown was a great log flume, and my family compared it to the one at Ontario Place. I really want one of these classic flumes with theming and/or a storyline to it. I also really appreciated that it had such a low height requirement as Wonderland doesn’t have any water rides for the smaller children outside of Splash Works, which I know it a sore spot for some parents. Here’s hoping we get one soon!

The last coaster we had to do (at least in my books) was Firehawk. I apologized to my family for having that as our last ride, because it was awful. By far, the worst coaster experience I’ve ever had, just below Time Warp and Millennium Force (that’s a story for another day). The flu was definitely getting to me by this point as the pressure in my head put on by the seats folding back was almost too much already. Going up the lift hill, even with my sunglasses on (don’t worry, I had a strap for them), was painful thanks to the hill facing directly into the sun. Once we flipped over, I had a ton of fun facing the ground! The twists and flips of a Vekoma were still too much for me thanks to those dreaded transitions and my increasing headache. My family did not enjoy the face-down sections, though, as they didn’t like how much they came out of their seats (my sister going so far as to say she was standing, not sitting, for the entire ride) and they felt like they were going to fall out. None of us wanted to ever get anywhere near the ride again, though my Mom (I don’t know how I convinced her to get on it) and I both were glad we at least tried it, even if it was a bad experience. As mentioned before, we ended up going on Banshee just before leaving to have a better final memory of the park (it had virtually no wait at that point).

Yes, we skipped Backlot Stunt Coaster (it never had less than a 45 minute wait posted, and was more often than not at an hour), and we skipped The Great Pumpkin Coaster, Flying Ace Aerial Chase, and Woodstock Express (I didn’t even ask my family if they wanted to get on them, as it seemed very awkward to have us four adults try to get on the kiddie coasters during such busy days). We only did the Eiffel Tower once, when we first arrived, but it was a nice experience! Their fireworks were too far away compared to what we’re used to at Wonderland, and so it was a rather disappointing show (especially since they can’t have low-to-the-ground fireworks since they set them off in the forest). Oddly enough, no one that we asked seemed to have any idea where we should go to watch the fireworks, either, despite it being something they have every night. Keep in mind, since this was a Saturday night in July, the fireworks were supposed to be three times as large as most nights, but we still weren’t impressed. None of the other shows they had interested us, though they were setting up an Ultimate Thrills Circus that would have started the day after we left, and all of us thought it looked pretty interesting (though all the set-up kind of got in the way of pictures at Front Gate).

We got a few ride photos (Banshee, The Beast, and Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown), and I was overall fairly impressed with their merchandise offerings. I bought myself a Banshee mug and my family got some shirts and magnets (there may have been other things, but I don’t remember it all). I liked that you could buy an eiffel tower statue.

We also bought some blue ice cream which I greatly enjoyed (and it helped my throat feel better, to boot!), though my sister didn’t think it was anything really special. Other than the pizza mentioned earlier, we got some spanish dishes (taco bowl and burrito, i think), as well as finding some Macaroni and Cheese in the Festhaus. The one that was sitting on the counter was kind of cold and not very full, so we asked for a new one and they gave us an overloaded bowl that was very fresh! A couple of us also got frozen bananas. I’m not sure why Wonderland doesn’t offer these as they were all pre-packaged (so easy to store and sell) and pretty enjoyable (not to mention relatively inexpensive).

Finally, the night ride on The Beast! My family didn’t understand why we were waiting for this ride a second time when we still hadn’t done everything we wanted to (especially as this was the Saturday night). I told them I didn’t know why either, just that I knew everyone said we should. It was worth it!

Going up the lift hill at a crawl in the dark, with the bright light shining back down in our faces (even though we were close to the middle of the train), set the mood perfectly. The entire ride through the dark, with nothing but the outline of trees on either side, is truly indescribable. All I can say is that there were certainly moments when I honestly would not have been surprised if some creature leapt out of the woods and attacked our train. I told my family as such, and my sister said she could she it, but was glad she hadn’t thought about it too much while riding or else she would have been terrified. The ride is intensely paced to bring ultimate fear to each and every guest, accented by the second lift hill, again marching up toward the bright light. At the crest of the hill, you see the bright lights of the park ahead of you, but you turn and descend away from it once again. Absolutely incredible! When we got off the ride, my family thanked me for forcing them to wait for it again, and we even decided (with no pressure from me) that we should go on it a third time.

On this last ride for our first day at the park, we sat toward the back (as recommended by an employee at the photo booth). I was sitting behind my sister and as we approached the second tunnel, I reached out and grabbed her shoulders for a fraction of a second. She screamed even louder and shouted her frustration at me. It was the perfect scare for her, but she said it may have been even better if I had done it in the tunnel. I was honestly worried I wouldn’t be able to find her shoulders and end up hitting her the face or something, since it’s pitch black in the tunnels.

Overall, I found the identity of the park to mainly be about very well themed coasters in not-very well themed areas. Many of their coasters also have odd finales, such as Adventure Express and Mystic Timbers which almost leave the riders puzzled and asking, “that was the end?”. Even Flight of Fear and Banshee both have that last inline twist which I’m not too keen on. I like the themed coasters, but I like Wonderland’s themed area(s) better, especially Medieval Faire and the sections around Wonder Mountain. (Even Wonderland’s Action Zone feels more cohesive than Kings Island’s).

Still, we had a great trip and are already hoping to plan another trip down there soon! Many of their coasters are absolutely fantastic with only a couple being near-unrideable. Unfortunately, that’s about all there is, with only five thrill rides listed on their website (compared to our twelve if you only count Guardian as a coaster), with two of them being up-charge attractions. There are a number of family rides that I wish we had more time for, though, and I’ve come to realize this is the one area I hope Wonderland really works on in the near-future. More family rides would be great, such as a troika, scrambler, log flume, or train, or the return of some old favourites like Shiva’s/The Fury, The Great Whale of China, and Bayern Curve.

Feel free to ask any questions you’d like my opinion on and I will answer them as best/soon as I can! Hope you enjoyed reading my trip report!
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Honorarius
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Re: Kings Island 2017 Family Trip

Postby Honorarius » 13 Aug 2017, 17:43

I too find the layout of KI a bit of a pain, and always found myself backtracking through/around a lot of dead space... But I do like that they've spread good stuff out so that the entire park isn't congregated in a section or two (like at CW and KD)... It's a hard balance to strike...

As for the park maps, I found the one at KI had some parts that could have been more clear... I knew where in the park BLSC was but not which side of it the entrance was on, so pretty much had to wander around the whole thing to get there... Also, getting to FoF and Firehawk could be more clearer... Unfortunately, they seem to be putting more and more into getting guests to use the app for getting around and where to eat, and I'm trying more and more to avoid taking my phone into the park... I don't think I'm going to win on this...

As for the prefolded vs broadsheet I'm split... I like to have mine mounted or turned into placemats, and the broadsheets are best for this... But for carrying around at the park, the prefolded CP/CW style are much preferred by me...

As for the rides themselves I've found Vortex to be very seat dependent... I've had some good rides, and then I've had some rides that felt as if the ride had a jackhammer on the bottom of every car and was simultaneously going through and earthquake... I do like the layout a lot compared to may of it's brethren though...

I too was mystified by the end of AE... It's the roller coaster equivalent of 2 + 2 = purple... Fun ride though...

Very glad you gave The Beast another chance at night... A great ride...

BLSC I'll give a ride for nostalgia's sake if they've got the effects running, but if they don't it's really not worth your time when you could be spending that time on Banshee...

I'm surprised you didn't like The Bat more...

And I'm not surprised you didn't enjoy Firehawk... If you're not one of those lucky people that the restraints fit perfectly you're going to have a bad time...

Glad you liked the merch!!! I've found that CW's merch game is sadly lacking compared to other parks... They track how much people spend in the park, then give them practically nothing to spend money on at CW...

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Ty-rant_13
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Re: Kings Island 2017 Family Trip

Postby Ty-rant_13 » 14 Aug 2017, 15:17

I do like that they've spread good stuff out so that the entire park isn't congregated in a section or two (like at CW and KD)... It's a hard balance to strike...

I'll admit to that point: I still think Orbiter isn't as popular as it should be since that area is dizzy-central and after going on Psyclone, Sledge Hammer and even Backlot Stunt Coaster, I certainly do not look forward to spinning around on Orbiter. :(
Unfortunately, they seem to be putting more and more into getting guests to use the app for getting around and where to eat, and I'm trying more and more to avoid taking my phone into the park...

I had even tried using the interactive map in the park to help find what food offerings were around us, but there was no "what's close to me" option. You had to select from the full list of dining options, then pick one that you might be interested in before being given a brief description of what food offerings that location had. If I just wanted chicken fingers and fries, I had to select Chicken Shack (as a guess) and then realize it's at the other end of the park, so it didn't matter whether they had chicken fingers or not...
As for the prefolded vs broadsheet I'm split... I like to have mine mounted or turned into placemats, and the broadsheets are best for this... But for carrying around at the park, the prefolded CP/CW style are much preferred by me...

I will agree that having an unfolded park map is nice for display purposes, but Cedar Point does a better job than either park by offering a large format map without the labels that you can purchase for a small fee. I bought one during my trip back in 2014, and I did grab a Kings Island park map on my way out to keep on display (unfolded). Cool idea with the placemats, though!
I've found Vortex to be very seat dependent...

Maybe I'll give Vortex another try next visit if I can get some tips from the ride attendants as to the best seat. Thanks!
It's the roller coaster equivalent of 2 + 2 = purple...

Haha, love that description of Adventure Express! :rofl:
I'm surprised you didn't like The Bat more...

The Bat wasn't bad, but it just had no character to it. The ride experience is the exact same as Vortex at Wonderland except you see a Great Wolf Lodge instead of the top of Wonder Mountain (and a great view of the park), and you go through trees, trees, and more trees instead of off the side of a Mountain, under another roller coaster, over a pathway, through trees, and over a lake with fountains. I think The Bat's first drop and turn close to the ground is pretty fantastic, though, as you really feel like you're deep in the woods at that point!
Glad you liked the merch!!! I've found that CW's merch game is sadly lacking compared to other parks... They track how much people spend in the park, then give them practically nothing to spend money on at CW...

Agreed that Wonderland's merch is lacking, but I just posted a potential improvement I'd like to see Wonderland implement in another thread. Overall, I'd rather have good food than good merch, though, and Wonderland certainly has figured that out over the past few years! Far better options overall than Kings Island (or Cedar Point, based on my trip in 2014).
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Honorarius
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Re: Kings Island 2017 Family Trip

Postby Honorarius » 14 Aug 2017, 16:11

Ya, for the placemats, just grab 4, have them laminated, bam!, placemats!!!

I too love the big CP maps... My better half spent $80 dollars having the $2 map professionally mounted... Looks great, and she was driven nuts by me just having the old one stuck to the wall with 2 sided tape...

It looks way nicer her way, just don't tell her I said so...

Really wish other parks would have this though...

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Re: Kings Island 2017 Family Trip

Postby loop-de-loop » 14 Aug 2017, 23:15

Great TR! Really enjoyed reading it.

I'm planning on visiting on September 29th at night and October 1st during the day. (Hoping to hit up Holiday World and Kentucky Kingdom on the Saturday). Since you were just there, any suggestions on what rides to hit first? I'm thinking Backlot, Firehawk, and FOF at opening the Friday night, and Invertigo first thing Sunday, but I'm wondering if there is a better order to hit up the low capacity rides. I'm hoping with that weekend being right in the middle between end of summer and the end of haunt, that I won't need fast lane. If anyone else has any tips too, I'd appreciate it!

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Re: Kings Island 2017 Family Trip

Postby Ty-rant_13 » 15 Aug 2017, 00:04

The Sunday was much less busy overall than the Saturday (we only waited about 10 minutes for Firehawk as opposed to the 60 minute posted wait the day before, and we didn't even get there at opening). Although I didn't try waiting for Backlot, I think you've got the right idea; Either that or X-Base first and then moving to the other immediately after is probably the best choice. Invertigo's line wasn't very long later in the day (we waited about 5-10 minutes around 8:00pm). Most people seem to swarm Action Zone in the morning and then never return, although the wait for Drop Tower was really long as they had a terrible Fast Lane:Standby ratio (Something like 16 Fast Lane to 24 Standby per cycle) and they had all three attendants check every single restraint each cycle. I think you should wait a little while after opening to get in line for Mystic Timbers as that's another ride people rush to first thing (the line was noticeably shorter by the time we got to Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown on Sunday morning). Hope that helps!
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