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  1. I visited on Thursday, here is my trip report: TR: Sumerfair at Cincinnati Mall - July 15, 2010 Trip Report: Summerfair at Cincinnati Mall Cincinnati, OH July 15, 2010 Midway Provided by: Amusements of America **************************** And now we take a detour from our usual amusement park visits to drop in on a traveling carnival. Thanks go out to Brian for setting up a group night for the Cincinnati Area Coaster Enthusiasts, better luck next time on getting interest. As it turns out the group wound up being Brian, Karen, and myself. Before we dove head first into the carnival, we received a tip from the person working the ticket box for the show to visit the mall food court for some discount coupons. So, that's what we did. I don't think we found one open store from the mall door nearest the carnival to the food court. When I say the mall is dead,I mean it's dead. The food court is down to three vendors, one of the two movie theaters is gone. What's sad is they aren't even bothering to remove the signs of the stores that have left. Anyway, we got our coupons, and needed one coupon per person, none of this "one coupon for up to 6 people". Coupons in hand, and we entered the carnival through a procedure that is just a little bit more complicated than clearing customs entering Europe. This year they erected a perimeter fence all the way around the carnival area, and were running a gated show. So at one end, they had two ticket boxes flanking the only opening in the fence. You went to one of those boxes, and handed over $3 for which you got a ticket. You took that ticket through the opening in the fence where they had a stick joint setup such that it restricted access in and out to two small lanes. At that point you handed in your admission ticket and received an orange starburst handstamp on your left hand. You were then free to go ahead and you still weren't in the carnival area, you then came up to two more ticket boxes, these sold either ride tickets for $1 each, or an unlimited ride pass for $20. Here is where the coupons came in handy, as they were good for $5 off the unlimited ride pass. So I hand over another $15, I get handed another ticket, and I head between the two ticket boxes to another stick joint set up in the middle of the pathway. Here you handed in you unlimited ride ticket,and they put a big obnoxious blue oval A-6 handstamp on your right hand, and then sprinkled a talcum powder like substance over that. With that you could enter the midway. Whew... We looked around, and the had the rides and stuff basically setup in a rectangle with a row of rides and games down the middle. The front end of the show was anchored by the giant wheel, carousel, and the sideshow acts. In an attempt to be like an amusement park, the sideshow acts were free, and ran on a show schedule instead of continuous performances. They had a small one ring circus, not even in a tent, as well as a thrill show with acrobats, clulminating in the motorcycle globe of death. The front half was mainly kiddie rides, which we could walk right past. Bumble Bees, Frog Hopper, Construction Zone, Speedway, Wacky Worm (already have the credit), a dragon coaster and more for the kids. We first noted both the Rocking Tug and the Gravitron were signed as "This ride will not operate today" In the case of the Rocking Tug, the ride vehicle was covered in a tarp. Gravitron was at least useful as a lightshow. So, its about time we put these ride passes to use. We head to the Ring of Fire, an old classic. Unfortunately they were running a no singles rule. Luckily for us, another group of 3 came up. Things worked out. The hardest part of riding the Ring of Fire is the contortion act required to get into the seats, I'm glad I slimmed down, as between me and my temporary for 2 minutes friend, we just fit into the seat, and after squeezing in for the lap bar to lower, we had about every square inch of the bench accounted for. I remarked , "Well, we're not going anyplace", to which the carnie remarked "Oh, sure you are" and pulled the ride start lever. As a way of differentiating themselves from the Bonzai, they focused more on rapid fire looping, yes in both directions, and minimal stop and hang at the top. It was more fun watching the boys in the seat in front of us who were scared and freaking out. Virtual Ride Ticket Count: 4, 14 more needed to break even. We next walked over to the Tilt-A-Whirl. Doing something unusual, we crammed all three of us into one car. At first it didn't appear to be working, and we were getting the Tilt but no Whirl ride. Luckily for us we had an operator who knew how to play with the Tilt, as Brian remarked the ride is slowing down, just enough for our tub to start spinning like a top and then sped back up. Virtual Ride Ticket Count: 8, 10 more needed to break even. Not having spun quite enough, we headed next to the Wisdom Tornado. Again, we all piled into one car, and Brian and I did our best to keep the ride spinning. It was clear the tubs did not have tub brakes as we had our tub spinning out of control before the ride even started. Virtual Ride Ticket Count: 12, 5 more needed to break even. We did walk down to the Wacky Worm, but did not see an operator, so we headed to the back of the lot. The carnival is a bit bigger than last years as it has expanded into the next section of the parking lot. They used the divider between the parking sections for the generators and the like. Heading to the back section, I was a bit surprised to find the Euro Bobbles present here, in an even smaller pool than Kings Island uses. They were dubbed the Hampster Dance here, and we didn't give them much thought. The centerpiece ride in the area was the Bonzai, and we headed for it. Okay, get seated, shoulder bars down, then watch fingers as he slams the lap bar down. Yes its very similar to the Ring of Fire, in that you are in a 'train' that is doing vertical loops, and you are upside down at the top. In Bonzai's case, it uses the open-air legs dangling type cars. Also unlike Ring of Fire, they seemed to like to emphasize the stop and hang at the top part of the ride. Virtual Ride Tickets used: 16, 2 more needed to break even. Next up was a ride I hadn't seen, it's called the Traffic Jam, and the nameplate seems to indicate it was made by SBI, but I can't seem to find a web presnece for them. Okay, the ride featured a center turret, on top of which is mounted a big arm, on each end of the arm is a ride car, and in the center is a big stairway for you to climb up onto the arm and walk over to one of the cars. The cars are huge, they are square shaped with each side of the square having a bench facing the center. There are either 3 or 5 seats on each bench. In the center there is a decoration of a signpost, to give the visual (better seen from off ride) of four cars in a traffic jam at the signpost. Restraint is by one long overhead lap bar per bench. When the ride starts the 2 cars start spinning, and then the long arm off the center turret starts spining. The ride is not unlike a kinder, gentler Tempest, or half of a Wisdom Storm, except that the main arm is flat, and not angled. Also, unlike the Storm the operator has the ability to vary the speed, and the direction of either the cars, or the main arm. After spinning one way for some tie, we slowed down, "Now, let's try it the other way!" Virtual Ride Tickets used: 20, 2 to the good, Next up was the KMG AFterburner/Fireball/Claw whatever you want to call it. The ride has an integrated queue area on the platform, but they weren't using it, instead holding people on the blacktop until the next load cycle. Brian was off taking pictures, so I took the first ride myself, and it actually wound up being a solo ride. Yeah, not many people at the big carnival tonight. My last ride on this very same Afterburner was very short as I did not fit the ride. Thanks to my weight loss program, not only did I fit the ride, the bar dropped and locked all on its own at the start of the ride. The ride program may not be the longest on the show, but it is a very intense program. Unlike the one at the Minnesota Fair that takes forever to get up to speed, this one starts out kicking butt and taking names, and doesn't let up. And hey, this is a FIVE tiket ride. Virtual Ride Tikets used: 25, 7 to the good. But wait, there's more! Her come Brian and Karen to the ride, oh well, it's a tough job but somebody's got to to it. Afterburner ride #2! Virtual Ride Tickets Used: 30, 12 to the good But wait, there's more! Karen wants a re-ride, Brian isn't so sure. I ride it again with Karen, pushing my stomach spin tolerance to the limit! Virtual Ride Tickets Used: 35, 17 to the good. We then slow things down, we skip the Skooter but tour the Mardi Gras Glass House. It's 3 tickets, and consists of a mirror maze on the lower level, some fun house mirrors and a spiral slide on the upper level, and that's it. I didn't make the most graceful slide down, but we aren't scoring style points, are we? Virtual Ride Tickets Used: 38, 20 to the good. We cross over the the MTV Video Funhouse. Okay this has the sliding steps, a maze, the roller walk, vibrating floor, spining discs, crazy mirrors and more. The spinning barrel at the end was shut off, as I think they always are in Ohio. I did almost Wipeout! on one obstacle. It looked like yet another roller walk at the end right before the barrel. What I didn't notice is that it isn't flat, it dips into the center, so as soon as I stepped onto it, I rolled at quick speed to the center, then started up the other side, but didn't have enough oomph, so started rolling backwards. All in good fun, right? Virtual Ride Tickets Used: 41, 23 to the good. By this time, we were getting ready to leave, but they couldn't resist the Spongebob Squarepants walk through in the kiddie area. "Good Times!" Its a single trailer single floor walk through, but it packs a lot of stunts inside. Air gun, shaking floor, poles to squeeze betwee, crazy mirrors, spinning discs, floor stunts, the back and forth sliding floor planks, and more, Virtual Ride Tickets used: 44, 26 to the good. We next headed to the carousel, but upon reading the 155lb. weight limit, moved on from that. We finished up with a ride on the Giant Wheel. Brian took some photos and we got to get a nice overhead view of the carnival. Virtual Ride Tickets used: 49. 31 to the good. And with that, it's time for dinner!
  2. I follow the International Theme Park Services twitter, and they are reporting Planet Snoopy is coming to Kings Island. No hard proof, but they found the following placeholder website. No content yet, but the header says it all: Link Posted in their Tweet
  3. Note: I just noticed on the official event page that registration closes on May 6. There is no mention of on-site registration, so if you are interested in the event and meet the eligibility requirements, I'd act sooner rather than later.
  4. Trip Report: Kings Island Mason, OH April 18, 2009 "A 7:45 arrival ought to do it" It's time to begin another coaster season, and this year my home park Kings Island, unveiled a brand new rollercoaster. It was with great excitement that I went to the park with Paul Miller. To give you an idea of how impressive the new coaster, Diamondback, is well Paul drove 14 hours each way from Minneapolis just to ride it. The park was expecting a crowd for the new coaster's opening day, and they took the unprecedented step of starting opening procedures with the parking lot at 6am and the park gates at 8am. The rides were to still open at 10AM unless you had a gold or platinum pass, in which case Diamondback would open at 9AM. We planned on getting the park early, and wound up waking up ahead of schedule, getting to breakfast ahead of schedule, and arriving at the park at 7:45. We ought to be here early enough. We pulled into the parking lot using my gold pass to dodge the $10 parking fee and filed into the rapidly filling gold pass lot. I was getting out of the car when April and Pete pulled up in the next parking space, we could not have timed that better had we tried. We all walked up to the entry plaza and we encountered lines for every security lane stretching all the way back to the main flagpole and growing fast. As the park advertised at 8AM the security checkpoints opened and by 8:10 we were entering the park. We made the mistake of stopping off at the restrooms, but at least we got to see the really cool new hand dryers, a model where you stick your hands into the machine and it dries your hands with air coming from all over. It's fast and cool, but I doubt they have enough of them. We continued our mission to ride Diamondback and found that only the Larosa's side of International Street was open, and the plan was if you had a gold pass you made the turn towards Scooby Doo, and if you didn't have a gold pass you waited up by Sttarbucks. By the time we joined the line, it was stretched back from the entrance of Scooby Doo back to the intersection on International Street. The park had some guys walking back the line trying to tell us something but their megaphones weren't nearly loud enough, particularly when they had to compete with the music over the house sound system. I also suspect the may have had the media taking pictures of the loud crowd assembled. Shortly after 9AM, they opened the next checkpoint, we stayed towards the middle of the crowd which was a good idea. It seems that when you got near Scooby Doo they had portable fencing setup that gradually narrowed down to force a single file line, shortly before that they had security holding back the crowd letting about 50-100 people through every few minutes. With all this, it took us till about 9:15 to clear this checkpoint, We followed the crowd between the cones and walked through Nick Universe. I was disheartened when the Diaomondback line was stretched across the blue ice cream stand and heading towards tower. I could not believe it when we proceeded to walk back along the line and by the time we got to the end of it we had walked past Chik-Fill-A, past the International Showplace, wrapped around to the back of tower and halfway down the hill towards the floral clock. Yet for all that the line from that point was about a 1 hour and 45 minute walk. I say walk as due to the high capacity of Diamondback you never seem to stop moving. You might pause every once in a while for about 20 seconds, but generally you keep moving the whole time. Some solace could be had when we made the turn by Starbucks and could see the looks on the non passholders faces when the line continued to grow and grow, So we took out walk around International Showplace, past Chick-Fill-A, past the blue ice cream stand,past the Central Grill, and then made the turn to Rivertown. When we entered Rivertown I was impressed with the new brick walkways around Diamondback and at first though that perhaps they had taken out the Rivertown blacktop but it seems only the areas they had to redo got the bricks. Lookiing into Rivetown the store that was an abandoned gift shop the last 5 seasons has reopened as the DB Trading Post with Diamondback goodies and the photo booth. The little food stand is still there, renamed the Snake Pit. The Backporch Stage and the old mining company have been torn down and replaced by the queue maze for Diamondback. The entrance will eventually be where the Back Porch Stage used to be but for now additional temporary line has been setup so the entance is right next to Rivertown Junction (what used to be Wings Diner, sporting a new blah tan paint scheme) We entered the temporary line area passing the first test seat, the temporary area is just one Z shaped waiting area that leads to the real entrance. At the real entranceyou have access to the main line or the single rider line. It was at this point I was encouraged to try the test seat. Diamondback has an electronic test seat with a real working lapbar. You pull the bar closed, it locks, but you still aren't good, you have to be able to pull the bar down until the green light mounted in front of you lights up. I passed this test so I was admitted to the main waiting area. First you go where mining company used to be, in this space you have a shaded queue area with several switchbacks and mist fans. It was at this point that we noted Rideman had arrived and was overseeing the proceedings getting video footage of the grand opening rather than riding. When you get to the part of the queue that walks alongside the restaurant you pass the soft drink and candy vending machines, you then go alongside the queue maze almost passing right by the ride entrance then you go around the corner to a second queue area that runs behind the Rivertown Junction building, effectively removing the picnic area that used to be there. This area has two long switchbacks and is unshaded. It does have misting fans, and you get to watch the splashdown effect. We also noted the line was now firlmy wrapped around back past Rivertown Pizza. Later reports would tell me it stretched back to at least Beast and maybe even Crypt. After the second queue maze you turn right, go down a few stairs, walk underneath the track, then turn left and up a long flight of stairs. At the top of the stairs a seat assigner will diret you to your seats. Now I see why the line is constant motion, as no sooner could the seat assigner fill all 16 rows, the next train has arrived, accepted the new riders, and then the seat assigner could admit the nxt 32 people. Diamondback is a B&M Hypercoaster, a typs of coaster that is at least 200' tall and featured no inversion elements, instead they feature high speed, and tall hills. Diamondback has the newest train style which has the staggered seating. The way it works is the odd numbered rows have 2 seats mounted in the center of the car, the back row of each car, or the even numbered rows have 2 single seats, one on each far end of the train, so when all is said and done the train is 4 seats wide, but the staggered arangement is meant to improve the view for those in the middle, as well as promoting the wide open feeling. Another reallly nice touch is that the trains are mainly red and orange, but each train is trimmed out in a different color: green, red, or orange. The track is gold and maroon for the lift hill and first drop, but turns to red and cream for the rest of the ride. For our first ride we were lucky enough to be sent to the back row of the train. We took our seats in our seperate single seats. There is a safety railing in the back of the car between the two seats and also in front of you to make sure you don't fall down between the cars. I hopped up into my seat, which is set high enough that my feet can't touch the floor of the car while seated, its not as extreme as say an Intamin inverted coaster where you practically need to pole vault into your seat. Now the big test, I pull bck on the safety bar. On the test seat I noted it took three clicks to get the green light to come on, but here on the train I could only get one noticeable click but the bar rested about where the bar on the test seat did. Luckily for me, this was deemed acceptable and we were soon on our way. The trip up the lift hill is quick and is steep enough that you won't be enjoying the view of Rivertown on the way up. At the top we take the steep 74 degree drop that zooms down and runs between Crypt and Potato Works. I note generous airtime on the first drop, which is a good sign. The ride continues and the things I noted the most were how quiet the ride is, how smooth the ride is, but most iportantly the strong airtime on every single drop, even the drops coming off the mid course brake run, and the drop that feels like it has trims on it. The turnaround back behind Crypt is interesting to say the least, but the signature moments are at the end of the ride, starting with a helix that spins you around right above the walkway back by Beast, when you come out of this helix, you head down into the much smaller swan lake for the big splashdown. Of course the splashdown is created by fins on the train which cause the splash, while the trains tays dry. IF you stick your hands out to the sides while in the back seat you may get a splash here. You then go up one more hill and into the final brakes a quick turnaround back into the station, Folks, we have a winner here, best ride the park has opened in years. We quickly exit the ride and head to the DB Trading Post where we collected our free Diamondback t-shirts for being amongst the first 10,000 riders. Wile we were in the DB Trading Post we also looked at and decided to buy the 2 photos and 2 keychains package of our on ride photo for $20. The line to pick up your photos was stretched outside the building and wrapped around the corner. We asked if we could bring out claim ticket back when the stand was less crowded and were told we could. On our way back into the station, we noted April and Pete heading down the exit ramp, wait they were supposed to be BEHIND us. Something is wrong here, and when we got to the wlakway we learned that even though the test seat cleared them to ride, they were rejected by the ride itself. Bummer. They retried the test seats and of course the test seats said they were fine. They got a manager involved who wanted to see what the deal was, well its official the real train seats are less accomodating than the test seats. April could ride, but needs a friend to push down hard on the lapbar for her. With that all sorted out, I emark on a mission to show Paul the park as this was his first trip to Kings Island. We started by running jackets and t-shirts out to the car. I see they got rid of the magic light handstamps again, and went to blue handstamps where they apply entirely too much ink, I saw more than a few guests with blue ink smeared on other parts of their body and on their white shirts. Beverage service wristbands were also purchased at this time ($10 for all the fountain soda you can drink, not bad when one drink is $3.59 now) the park advertises these wristbands as little as possible, and I note they don't seem to get that much utilization. I know they started as an extension of the free beverage service for group outings, but if they are going to be sold to season passholders, or even the public at large, they should do a better job promoting them. We head to action Zone after scoring two rounds of drinks. We start to head to Invertigo but the line was just way too long for a mere boomerang even if it is an inverted boomerang. Owing to Paul's height (almost 7') we skipped Drop Tower and Delirium and headed to Son of Beast. Son of Beast had abot a 45 minute wait and we decided to not wait through the extra front seat queue. Son of Beast starts off good, but I knew when the train started shuffling in the lift approach, that even though the first drop is incredible the Rose Bowl helix would be miserable, which it was, then the mid course brakes and the former loop drop were pleasant, then the second helix was rough and shaky again. In other words it hasn't gotten any better, Paul absolutely hated the ride. To be fair, it was one of those rides he went on to see if it really is as bad as its reputation suggests. We next headed to Flight Deck and the line was back to where the giant billboard used to be, which is a sign that the park truly is busy. About 20 or so munutes later we climb into seat 2 of Flight Deck and instantly realize that was a big mistake for somebody of Paul's size. Paul did find Flight Deck to be a enjoyable, made even more enjoyable as the girl sitting in the first row was taking her first ever ride on it and wa sgenuinely scared. We do agree that the ride is so short they should send you around twice. We next headed to Adventure Express, while noting Delirum had about an hour wait. We got to Adventure Express and the queue area maybe a quater full which means only about 10 minutes What was more disheartening was the family ahead of us. All five bought Dippin Dots, separate cups for each one of course, for $5 each at the stand across from the ride entrance, then walked slowly though the queue in front of us eating it, then when they realized the line was so short they pitched unfinished, as in at least half full cups of Dippin Dots. Yikes, but hey its not my money. Adventure Expresses theming is falling apart yet again, which means its good that the ride experience itself is pretty solid for a mine ride. While waiting to ride Cameron texted us to say its now 1:30 and hea had made it on all of two rides, we weren't doing much better, as we were just about to board our fourth. I noted Advneture Express was only running two of its three trains We exited the ride and I note the Cyber Sez reality game is finally gone, but its replacement isn't much better - a portable Jacob's Ladder game setup right in front of a much bigger permanent Jacob's Ladder game. I also noted that depsite claims to the contrary at SOAR that Outer Hanks was reverting back to being Bubba Gumps, that it is still Outer Hanks. We head into Coney Mall and we find Racer with a two train wait on each side. After waiting in lines, this is more like it. We took a ride on each side so Paul could get both experiences. The red side is significantly better running, bu the blue side seems to go faster. I also learned that the difference between snug fit and downright uncomfortable fit comes down to which pocket my wallet is in After Racer we backtracked to Festhaus for lunch. When we entered the Festhaus we caught the tail end of the county and western music show. Paul thought it was awful but I didn't think it was that bad. We headed into the food lines, and I have a distinct distate for using video panels as menu boards. Makes it way to easy to change prices. I get to the service counter and my eyes light up and I think I hit the jackpot as they had bowls of watermelon available. I grabbed a bowl without even asking how much it would be. We stepped down to the hot food counter where we each got two gigantic slabs of peperoni pizza. The sign of quality is when the pizza goes from pizza oven to your lunch tray in under 45 seconds. We grabbed drinks, and headed to a table. The first thing we noticed is the air conditioner didn't seem to be on today, the other thing is that if Paul thought the C&W show was bad, we soon were dismayed to learn that Mr. Cowpie took the stage to do some kid oriented show centered around really really awful jokes and humor. We grabbed another round of drinks and then headed out on the ride circuit. We wanted to pick up right where we left off, so we headed right to X-Base. Both Firehawk and Flight of Fear had lines stretching out onto the midway with all visible switchbacks full Recent intellignece gained by cell phone told us Firehawk was running 2 hours. We deicded to try to get in as many other rides as possible then bite the bullet here. We headed to Vortex, the line totally filled the permanemt queue area, but with three trains, it moves people really fast. A hint is if both rear switchbacks are full go towards the front as it only has one switchback due to the front seat line. Vortex recieved a new paint job and looks really nice, the ride runs about as it always does, another solid performer. Our next stop was Backlot Stunt Coaster, formerly Italian Job, It half of one switchback full, an owing to having a grouper and three trains running the line moved pretty fast. We noted the splashdown pool was bone dry and wondered how long it would be until Diamondback's pool will also be dry. We got into the train and noted that the on board sound still doesn't work, nor does the stairway drop effect. But the trains are getting worse, the instrument panels and front license tags are gone, and of course the headlights are out. Luckily the ride itself is a solid performer, the police cars still work with lights and sirens, and the show scene mostly works except for the helicopter not rising and falling. I did not one incident in line where a family of five was clearly togehter as a group - 4 children of varying ages and one adult. Whent he grouper was trying to find a single rider, the adult of the group volunteered. The grouper tried to say "Are you sure?" "You won't be able to ride with your family?" etc. She insisted and was sent to the empty seat. She even acted like she was goin to take the seat but backed out at the last second. By this time not only were the other 4 members of her party seated but so were 8 other riders. In other words she managed to totally fill the ride crews gear box up with sand. We had some inteligence that the Beast line was 1 hour, but since thats a park showpiece, we grab a round of drinks and head to Beast. The first thing that I noted was that the vacation timeshare scam booth is gone! Thanks goodness, I thought that was very tacky, it is much better served as a Diamondback gift stand. We rounded the corner to Beast, and besides Diamondbacks helix over the area, the whole Beast Plaza looks different It also got the brick paver walkways, but now all access is through what used to be the exit by the games area. Luckily the exeptionally steep hill has been replaced by a longer but much more gradual ramp that runs diagonally through the area The fence is also been moved in closer totally blocking off the former Beast concession stand. The rest of the Beast line remains the same excpet the line starts where the greeter station is. The line was spilled out onto the midway by about a dozen people. We join the line and note the lower queue house was shut off, but the middle and upper queue houses were in full use. As advertised about an hour later we were riding Beast. Beast got a lot of new wood yet again, and the helix is a lot better than it has been in years. Paul indicated that if this is much improved he would hve hated to have seen it before, He isn't a fan of Beast either. To quote a college sports fan "Over-Rated!" We get a text message that the Diamondback line is now under an hour. We dash through Rivertown. I could not tell if crypt was open or not, the Crypt equipment room was making noise, but I couldn't see much activity around the ride. The other big change is Wings (the old Columbia Palace) is now Rivertown Junction, with much the same buffet setup as Wings. And with it, another trace of Paramount theming is gone. We get to Diamondback and now the line is back to Central Grill in Nick which meant it was just about an hour. We learn that April, Pete, and Dave are within 20 minutes of us in line. We all get our rides, with us being sent to row 12. (Back row of 6th car of 8) I wasn't too excited about this seat assignment, until I took the ride and learned that Row 12 also has nice airtime on very drop. That is the sign on a great ride. After the ride we head to the photo booth, which now has no line. I present my claim check from earlier but alas they can't find the pictures. After stringing us for 15 minutes while the manager and 3 other associates are holed up in the office figuring ou what to do, they even do satisfy the situation in a very complimentary manner. I still don't understand how they were able to reprint the big photos but not the keychains. But then they gave me something with my pictures that will make me easily forgive them for not having keychains. We then proceeded to engage in Strange Coasternut Behavior, in its classic form this involved a bunch of coaster crazies standing in the middle of the walkway, in the hotest park of the park, with no shade, within steps of operating roller coasters instead of riding the coasters. We at least found a nice table in a shaded area of the park, and within easy access to the Snake Pit which facilitates enjoying several free drinks. Eventually we realize we have to finish Paul's tour of the park, so Rob and Dave join Paul and I for a walk through Nick where we find out Paul is too tall for Reptar so we head on to Avatar. he line for Avatar was just at the bottom of the ramp, and whats more they don't have enough seats for us when we get to the front of the line. We eagerly let two riders pass us so we can get seats in Row 1 instead of Row 4. Let me tell you the end rows make a HUGE difference on this ride. It's still not half the ride it was when they first installed it, but its not bad either. We then go for a quick spin on Fairly Odd Coaster, the line being about halfway over the stile over the track. We take rides to verify this ride is still running well, and at the end of it we meet up with Don. We note the line for Scooby Doo is posted as only 15 minutes, but by this time its 8:45 and we wanted to try to get Paul on both Firehawk and Flight of Fear. We race to Flight of Fear, enter the and find a full hangar, we quickly retreat. We head for Firehawk. The queue maze is just one half of switchback from being full, but its posted as only 45 minutes. It actually took about an hour, and Rideman and Rob decided to ride Diamondback instead. Don stayed with us and we soon had a back row ride on Firehawk. How nice it was that instead of the operator needing to shove further on my bar, they lowered it and then asked me if I wanted it tighter. Firehawk is now my second favorite coaster in the park behind Diamondback. Too bad the capacity on it is bad, and its making an awful squeal entering the station. Paul really loved this ride. It was about 9:45 on a 10:00 close, so we dashed to Flight of Fear and found the line to be all the way within the UFO. It still took about 20 minutes which mean we heard the fireworks go off while standing in the station. Flight of Fear was a tight fit as always, but I was able to ride, man this ride always reminds me how I am losing my flexibility, The ride itself was great exept the brake is still hitting hard. After Flight of Fear we headed to the front gate, but one last coment about Coney Mall. The panhanding in the park has got to stop, we were approached at least three times by panhandlers, and they each wanted at least a buck. We headed to the front gate, met up with the rest of the group, and then headd to IHOP for a group dinner. What a fine way to start the season!
  5. Did you say the test seat was removed when you went back later in the day? I know on opening day they were having issues with people getting the green light from the test seat, thinking they were good to go, then they got up to the ride and got the WoS. Maybe they are taking the test seat back to the shop to recalibrate the sensor that turns on the light so its closer to the real world experience. Also, recall they had two test seats on the 18th, there was the electronic one right by the big Diamonback sign, then there was the mechanical one where the operator had to count the clicks that was placed right before the temporary queue area. Oh, and I can relate: I've come real close to getting WoS'ed of Drop Zone (its a VERY tight fit). I have gotten WoS'ed on Flight of Fear but have since regained eligibility on that one. The coaster I am most nervous about at KI right now is Reptar, in terms of fit. Don't get me started on that park up in Sandusky. While I haven't been WoS'ed off a ride there yet, I failed to make it past the tester seats on MF (though I was able to ride it the first few years it was open!), TTD, and WT (which I was also able to ride when it first opend). The last Chaos I tried to ride (Adventuredome) was a WoS for me, and KMG rides at larger fairs tend to be a problem.
  6. That depends, the one on the 25th was part of the KIE/ACE Fall Freak Out, so you had to buy the $31 event ticket to take part in hthe tour. The park has a good history of offering such tours, some are part of large planned events, like the one in October, others are more informal. I recall a Son of Beast construction tour taking place during a normal park operating day with the only requirement being you be at a specified part of the park at a specified time. If we look at the building of Italian Job, the park hosted a couple off season tours. For those you just had to be at a designated spot, usually outside the employee entrance, at a deisgnated time to take the tour. Those were offered no charge. The downside is they are usually offered during business hours, as to fit around PR's schedule, they did offer an evening tour of Italian Job, but for that they ran into issues becuase the park will not turn on the midway lights so in order to see anything you have to be out by dusk. However we have had a change in PR leadership since Italian Job, so I don't think we have had a major ride installation under Don Helbig, so I have no clue how amiable he will be towards enthusiast tours. Best advice: stay tuned to your favorite KI fansites.
  7. I really liked how the attendants at Club Blood handled the VIP passes. As i waqs approaching Club Blood, a caracter notcing my lanyard, came up to me and said "Welcome to Club Blood! Vip Pass?" The caracter then made a big show of escorting me past the stand by line all the way up to the club door, cutting me in right in front of the group already formed. At Massacare Manor there was really no choice but walk up the wheelchair/staff lane between the queue and the buiding. There they had a manager who was taking care of the merging in, basically right after the group went into the mansion I was sent directly to the front porch and a groupf ormed behind me. CarnEvil, at least when I went was the most discrete, I walked back the exit pathway, and teh attendant there had me join a group as it entered the haunt. There was a chance the people in queue didn't even see it happen. But Thanks a LOT for tose VIP passes, they really made Haunt more pleasant. I wound up waiting 50 minutes to do Cemetary Drive, which is not one of the better efforts, I mean it had its moments but its not a top shelf haunt. Line was through the temorary queue around the carousel and still wrapped around Tower back to Showplace. When I left CarnEvil, without waiting of course, the line was alomst back to Eiffell Tower. Tombstone Terrortory was back to Wild Thornberries. I got in line for that one at 7:30, it opened at 8, and it still took me till about 8:40 before I got to the point where the train ..... I do fear someone is going to get hurt at that haunt as it has a problem right after the ride through portion ends that has gotten to the point where people were pushing, shoving, stepping on feet, to be first out the exit gate at the unload platform. Asfor the Haunt well tombstone was improved over last year in that we actually got to go through in small groups instead of being conga-lined through like I was last year. They removed the big bottleneck the haunt had last year. Still a lot of dead space on that haunt but it seems to be getting better. RedBeards seemed to have some minor changes since last year, still pretty solid. The wait was just through the rope maze when I got there, when I was leaving Rivertown it was back to Central Grill. I'd say I waited 15-20 for that one. Lights on FoF Rides were much appreciated, thanks, some unique Racer photos, and the chance to see the guts of a couple haunts to see the richly detailed theming that you don't really have time to appreicate when you are being rushed through during Haunt, plus seeing all the little hiding places and such. Diamondback tour was very impressive, I'm all to eager to try that ride. I second the don't be late for dinner advice, I decided to take 10 to get some photos from atop Tower and ddn't wind up getting oto the IR till 5:45. Buffet food was just about gone wen I got there, and was NOT restocked. Don't forget the special Diamondback model backstage photo tour from the stairs up to International Restaurant...
  8. TR: Halloween Haunt at Kings Island - 9/28/07 TR: Halloween Haunt at Kings Island September 28, 2007 Mason, OH T-Shirt of the day: Knoebel's Phoenix Phall Phunphest sweatshirt - the black one with the skeletons riding the Phoenix. Seemed appropriate for an amusement park Halloween event. ****************************************** This year, Cedar Fair announced that they were upgrading the already successful "Fear Fest" Halloween event at Kings Island to the bigger and better "Halloween Haunt" event. The event to include 13 horrifying attractions, including 7 haunted mazes, 3 Fear Zones (which may as well be haunted mazes due to how they are run), 2 special live shows, and 1 special ridefilm in the Action FX Theater. From the past, I know that opening day is really the best day to go, partially because it's in September and people really aren't in the mood yet, it's a Friday so they don't get the use of the parks rides all day before the event, and all that. With the circumstances of scary I-71 traffic on a Friday night, the desire to have dinner before arriving at the park, and other complications, I decided to leave for the event right after work. So I left work, threw the aforementioned sweatshirt on over my dress shirt and headed to the park with a meal stop along the way. Hmm, Skyline Chili! The event hours were 7pm-1am, so I thought I was doing great when I pulled into the parking lot around 6:45. I made my way to the front gate, passing a haunted parking tram with skeletons as crew and passengers, shortly beyond that I stopped. The line to get in was clear back to the parking lot. Looking things over it looked like they only had one, maybe two metal detectors in use. Then I realized that even the one line wasn't moving. Man, I'm glad I can use this season pass and don't need to waste more time getting a ticket. This is how the situation stayed until right around 7pm. Being back in the parking lot, I missed the much talked about "Wall of Monsters" opening show. On the other hand shortly after park opening security finally decided to come out and man the metal detectors, except I don't think all of them were security, some looked like managers who were more interested in getting people into the park than screening people. Thus, even though I was clearly far back in the original line, I was past security just a couple minutes past opening, and then I came to the front gate. The front gate had scareactors positioned next to the ticket takers so you had to come up close and personal with a scareactor to get into the park. As you might expect this slowed throughput down somewhat. I saw a clear path using the stroller gate in front of me, and scanned in that way. I had just noticed that some poor guy was getting the ultimate hot seat with an electric chair positioned where the map rack usually is when I started feeling vibrations in my own pocket. Uh oh, what can this be. I pulled the cell phone out of my pocket, and looked at the screen "Rideman", I'll take this call. Okay, seems Dave and April are also coming to the park tonight, but their arrival time is currently estimated at 9:00. We agreed to meet up somewhere then, and I proceeded to International Street. On International Street, this year instead of the tombstones memorializing attractions of the past, the flower beds instead tease the haunted attractions you will find in the park, with each section themed to and advertising a specific haunt. The bandstand has been themed to a haunted bar, the Tomb Raider statue has been decpaitated and the poor guy is being made to hold his own head. Welp, I guess since they won't be needing that statue next year if rumors are correct, so why not have a little fun with it before you send it back to Viacom, in pieces. I'm sure Viacom will love the alteration. Even the store windows have been redone. The coaster camp scene in front of the Emporium for instance has been changed to Death's office in a setting that stirred plenty of message board controversy with Death's hit list. With that, I decide to take the contrarian approach. I figure most people would be heading for the much talked about Club Blood, so I headed to Nick Universe. There was only one attraction open in Nick Universe, and that was CarnEVIL, which from reports is a slight retouch of the former Circus of Horrors. CarnEVIL was staged in a long disused space that used to be the Enchanted Theater, which was a live performance venue located next to the Phantom Theater dark ride. The queue was routed in through the Little Bill's Giggle Coaster queue, the went through some temporary switchbacks that were setup in front of the Giggle Coaster by its photo booth. I followed another party in to be the first group of the night. Except one person ahead of me decided to invoke the "I hate gratuitous walking" rule and jumped over the ropes, unfortunately the security guard who was there decided to be a stickler for the rules, and made the person go through the attraction exit, then back through the line again the correct way. Mind you the 6 of us were, in sum, everybody at the attraction. Then the grouper took us inside and passed out 3D glasses. We got the usual safety rules, then she hollered in a loud voice "The person wearing is being a troublemaker, make sure they get special attention". With that our esteemed troublemaker goes darting out the entrance as if the building was on fire. CarnEVIL is a good fit for Nick Universe. For one, it's the only haunt that has the lights on for most of the maze, all the better to see those special "3-D" patterns along the walls. I don't think this would scare anybody, unless you are of those people that has a distinct fear of clowns. The place is bright and cheery and themed to a fun house. You have the hall of doors, (plenty of good jump out opportunities there), a fortune teller, the light tunnel where you cross a bridge through a revolving drum and the light patterns along the wall make it feel like you are moving instead of the walls. My favorite scene in this one was the room that is all black with polka dots all over the walls, standing dead ahead of you is a scare actor dressed up in exactly the same pattern as the walls, add a strobe light to that and you have a great effect, such a good effect that it has been a staple in haunted houses in the area for quite some time. On the way out, you are allowed to keep your glasses, or toss them in a bin. I note nothing special or collectible about the glasses, so I toss them in the bin, and go up the exit ramp which comes out by the Scooby Doo Meet and Greet. With that, I have Nick Universe out of the way. I walk through what literally seems like an empty park until I come into Rivertown. The only other guest I see is someone who is just being admitted to Redbeard's Revenge, and then the door closes and I am literlly the only guest, I do a panoramic 360 look at the area. Strange. I head to Redbeard's Revenge, which is a make over and retheme of last year's Cowboy Carnage. I note the former General Store is NOT a part of the attraction, except its porch and the entire pathway between the general store and the little sign carver's booth (man, I remember when that was the Rib Pit!) was filled with a rope queue maze for RedBeard's. Duly noting what happens when you try to short circuit the unneeded portion of the queue maze, I dutifully grumbled as I walked through the entire thing, did I mention it was empty? When I got to the gate, I got some grief for being alone. "Ya should have brought a crew with Ye" Soon enough the gate was opened, and I made the lone journey into the unknown. The first part of the attraction is outdoors in the space formerly used as the Back Porch Stage. I admit this area didn't quite work well in bright sunlight. About 30 seconds into the haunt, one of the Scareactors calls out to me by name. Did I leave my ID Badge on? A quick check reveals I did not. Creepy. I make my way at a fast clip though the boat dock themed outside area, as there was really nothing to obscure the path. Then I headed into the former Mining Company building which is the inside of the haunted pirate ship. The transition from sunlight to a dark building was brutal on the eyes, and I needed a bit of guidance to find my way into the indoor maze. Ah yes, this is more of a haunt than the fun filled CarnEVIL. I think my favorite scene is when you see, I think its the captain's wife looking all pretty in bed and just as you are looking at her someone else pops there head in through a slot right above the bed telling you to get moving on. Distraction, its a wonderful device in haunting. So I made my way through the haunted pirate ship and soon find myself back out on the midway next to Wings. I headed through a sparsely populated Rivertown, noting that the log flume and white water canyon are closed as well as all the Nick rides. I cross the bridge and look at the train station. There is a haunt tied into the train ride that is infamous for being really bad at capacity. So bad, its been encouraged to try to ride it when it first opens. Well, it's not open yet, as its an outdoor haunt, so it doesn't open till 8pm, by which time it should be dark. I check my watch and it's like 7:20. I note nobody is in line yet, so I decide to chance it and go ride Beast. I note Tomb Raider is still closed, and head to Beast. I start wondering if Beast is open as I head up into the station. There might have been two people sitting in the Beast train, I jump into the second seat, and soon the three of us are off on a Beast ride. It wasn't a particularly noteworthy Beast ride, but it killed a few minutes. But tonight is more about the Haunts not the rides. After Beast, I remind myself how thankful I am that the fence between the Beast exit and Beast entrance has been removed. This meant I was able to get back to check on the train station without going up and down hills. Still no line for the train. I take another chance, and head to a walk on Italian Job. Okay, they had a few people but everybody fit inside the station, and with the small crowd, I got in the front seat line. Italian Job gives airtime in only one seat, the front seat. So I had a rare thing, an Italian Job ride with airtime. Still, as I said, this isn't really about the rides. I head back to the train station. This time there is one family in line, and a check of the watch reveals 7:50. I get in line for Tombstone TERRORtory. The usual train ride queue area has been augmented with a huge rope queue maze set out in front of the train station. At first we are held at the start of the queue maze until just before 8pm. At that time we are walked through the rope part of the queue maze but told to wait in front of the ice cream stand. 8:00 comes, 8:00 goes, and a train goes empty, after the train is out of view, we are invited into the train station. We go through the normal train queue area and a rope has been setup down the middle of the train station so in effect you go through the turnstiles, then have to walk all the way to the potato works end, then all the way back to the canyon end. In theory they will only open the loading gate at the far end. A train arrives, and the one gate is open, we board the train, just in time to see the impatient crowd open all the other station gates and start a mass crush towards the train. How did they NOT forsee that happening. Anyway the train was loaded, and they seemed to take their own sweet time about it too. I don't think we pulled out of the station till 8:15. During the train ride the narrator tells you a rather lame ghost story to kill time. At least they have dropped the charade of the train breaking down, now the story is you have arrived in some abandoned ghost town. Ah, that does work better considering the train does stop at a train platform. You know that train platform you see on the left just past white water canyon wihen you ride the train, thats where the train stops and they tell everybody to get off the train. You exit to the platform then the directions were to exit the train and go to the left through the gate, well there are gtes at both ends, and I followed a crowd that went through the gate to the right into the grass field where the pumpkin patch is during the day. I think the crew is learning they have to take more control of the crowd as they didn't sound that happy. So we walked through the grass field and rejoined those that took the proper gate. The train returns to Rivertown empty. You are then led down a paved road, and I know what is coming, so I am jockeying for position all the way down the road, but so are other people. At the end of the paved road, you cross over the railroad tracks, and go through a service gate that leads to the very back of the White Water Canyon observation area. The back part of the observation is a queue area where you again have to wait in line. Seems that now that they brought hundreds of people here at a time, they now want to group you into small groups. This works out about as well as you might expect, and soon you realize that its now 8:20, you were on the first train out, and you are now standing in a 10-15 minute line. In short this takes almost 45 minutes to get through, even with no line in front of you at the train station, I also suspect going back and getting back on the train is not an option. They dutifully group us into our group, and we enter the walking part of the haunt. Which has some old west themeing and winds through the canyon observation area. Then they have what could have been the feature of the haunt, its a simple device where they have a small one person wide tunnel built with several sheets of burlap about 2' apart, oh and they are constantly blowing artificial smoke into this contraption. So you can't see whats ahead, you are worried that just beyond that next burlap sheet is a scene worse than death, but all in all nothing jumps out at you in this device. What actually happens is that people take it so apprehensively that they are going through it one at a time, and a huge bottleneck forms trying to get through it. This means that by the time you get out of it at the other side, the rest of the haunt is a long 'conga line' of people. Which means for the majority of the haunt you just have one long solid parade of guests going down the White Water Canyon exit path. From here on out the scareactors are innefectual at best, because you can see ahead what is going to happen, you just don't know who its going to happen to. I think it richly deserves the rating of SUCKFEST it received in the message boards. Oh it had its moments like the hanging heads in the covered bridge, or jumping up at you on the rampway up, but all in all this one did not end with a "It's over already!", it ended with a "Thank goodness thats over with" Well Rivertown is out of the way. Anyway Rivertown is now the shrine to dead attractions tht was moved from International Street. It also has its moments like the BBQ across from the pizza parlor. Except its cannibals bbqing other humans. For a time, the Chick-Fill-A sign was moved to this area, and "Eat more Chicken" was changed to "Eat More Human" That disappeared, so I am supposing Chick-Fill-A told Cedar Fair that contrary to its "No limits" advertising,t here are some limits. I head up into Coney Mall (Coney Maul for the event), and brreze through so fact I fail to reaize the overriding theme of the area. I head to Death Row, and by now I have caught up to the crowd. The line for Death Row was wrapped back to just after the Racer underpass. For those that remember the former haunt in this area (the asylum), the entrance and exit have been reversed, so you now enter through the door next to Firehawk, and exit through the door next to Racer. Death Row was also when the effects of the VIP Media Night promotion started showing. You see, members of the press and other VIP guests were accorded front of the line privileges, instead of having a private media night as had been done in past years. So the line moved even slower than it would normally, as I seemed to hit this at about the same time as the media. But it wasn't a bad place to be stuck, they had setup a stage in front out Flight Of fear and had a DJ there, and the DJ was trying to get people to embarrass themselves by getting up on stage and dancing. That and the guest services people who were running the media event were working at getting regular guests grouped so everybody was ready to go by the time we got to the door. Here a convict gives the safety speech, and tells us that they have Paris Hilton and OJ Simpson inside, Welcome to Death Row, as you enter he screams "We have FRESH FISH!" Death Row, unlike the other haunts, is a true maze, complete with dead ends and everything. Its a maze made up of chain link fencing, mirrors, and black curtains, some of which you can go through, and some of which you can't. It's very diorienting and confusing, add to that a constant loud alarm siren, the fact that the only lighting in the maze is strobe lighting, and it can start to create a sense of panic almost immediately. I noticed that in this, as in other mazes, the mandated "Hands on the shoulder of the guest in front of you" lasts for maybe 15 seconds. In this maze, more than in other mazes, the group you enter with and the group you exit with may be two different things, as when people realize its a maze people seem to follow their own hunches. I think I score points for finding an off limits part of the maze, we pushed through a black curtain, and found an ordinary looking water cooler and some chairs, then we pushed through another black curtain and had started to continue our tour when the scareactors informed us we went the wrong way through a restricted area, and have to go back through and follow along the correct path. By the end of that experience, I most wanted to put that constant siren out of my misery. The scareactors here are mostly about keeping order in the maze, with the confusing panic enducing maze being the main attraction here. I exited out the door nearest Racer, and started to head towards Trail of Terror or whatever its called now, when I felt that familiar vibration in my pocket. Ah, Dave and April are inside the park, we agree to meet in the middle of Coney Maul by the path back to X-Base. They take a little longer to get to me as they could not resist a walk on Drop Zone ride on the way back. We all meet, and we all head to Flight of Fear as a group. The Flight of Fear line is back to the entrance door, but it is going the short way. While waiting for Flight of Fear, April tells me she is sad to hear I can't make it to Knoebles. Hey, I was waiting for a perfect lead in, and April just handed it to me, I make the announcement that contrary to what I told Dave Monday, I AM in for Phall Phunphest next weekend. There was much joy and celebration and a little planning going on, which means the 20 minute wait for Flight of Fear went by like it was a few seconds. First I take a solo ride in the front seat, then Dave and April take the next train. If it weren't for that full stop on the mid course brake this would be a great ride, but remember today isn't about the rides. After Flight of Fear, we head to Trail of Terror. To get to Trail of Terror you go through a service gate between Firehawk and Death Row, then down the long path to the Trail. Well first you have to pass the insulter in the little house that used to be Scrooge's house at Winterfest. I won't get onto the insulter except to say that element of Haunt has caused more controversy, flame wars, thread deletions, hurt feelings than anything else here. I'll just say that making fun of peoples handicaps should never be fair game, even if it is a "no limits" event. You know, usually when there is someone on a midway paid to insult you, the patron usually has a means of retalliation, there was no such outlet here. Yep, the insulter is usually sitting in a dunk tank, and they are paid to insult you to the point where you lay down good money to throw a baseball at a stiff target in the small chance of sending the insulter into a tank of what you hope is ice cold water. It took a good 20-30 minutes wait for Trail of Terror, and you wait in a single file line down a service road to the entrance of the trail. To add further uneasiness there was somemysterious object making noise behind the chain link fence along the road. Eventually we were admitted to the Trail of Terror, it has a bunch of redneck themed scenes involving outhouse humor and so forth. This is where Micheal Vick's doghouse was moved to (it was along the midway in Action Zone) I though the outhouse labeled "Marshall University" was a bit gratuitous, must have been a UC fan/student that added that touch after their team lost to Marshall a week before the event. They did the usual gross looking port a potties, where the door opens and you get wet. Part of it was a hillbilly wedding, and here two the walking through dangling skulls was an element. Anther noteworthy element was the crawl, here you were expected to crawl through a dank dark musty sewer pipe for a ways, there never was a payoff to this other than walking crawling through a sewer pipe and feeling vulnerable, unlike the crawl in the old Curse of the Crypt where you crawled over a glass floor which lit up to reveal live snakes. I can also report there was a bypass for those that couldn't take it. This haunt ended with our first encounter with the chainsaw weilding maniac of the night, which had you running out of the train, right into the loving caring home of the Insulter. After Trail of Terror, we stopped for some soft drinks and cheese coneys at Skyline, before continuing our little tour. Next up was Worksite, called a FearZone, it works like a maze. Instead of open access from either end as the fear zones used to be, they have been turned into one way paths, with a grouper at the start grouping people into small groups, which therefore means they have a queue area. There was a very short line by Antique Treats, and I love the fact they used an electronic road constnstruction sign as the marquee. This is the work zone from hell, with upended police cars, and construction equipment, and of course chainsaw guy was here as well. Orange barrels defined the pathway, and we found the whole thing so pointless we were breezing through it when a Scareactor said "Slow Down! You are proceeding too fast through this zone!" So we stopped to let the group ahead of us get some distance "I didn't say to STOP!!!" Well, make your mind up, either we follow right behind the group ahead of us or we don't. Worksite was pretty stupid. What was stupider is that the line for CornSTALKERS was backed up up the hill and back to the Tomb Raider statue. Sure, we wanted to get to Italian Job, but not have to wait in that line to to it. We headed around Eiffell Tower to get back to Coney Maul, when we realized Cemetary, another Fearzone, was a walk in. Cemetary was setup in the old Paramount Story, or Tower Gardens before that. As soon as we entered Cemetary, we noticed something. All the scareactos were huddled in one spot talking with each other since they were obviously very bored. No other guests were in the entire haunt. They all had to dash out to their places, and then since nobody came in after us, they proceeded to all follow us through the maze. We were laughing so hard at how lame this was, then we found the exit and came out next to the Attitudes shop, which again this year is offering the "Have your photo taken lying down in a coffin" photo op. From here we walked down Coney Maul noting the old Phantom Theater props as well as some pieces from other former Hana Barbera rides that did not make the transition to Nick Universe. The highlight of the area was the area in front of the Skeeball building, where the Carnival from Hell was setup. With a skeleton ticket seller, you entered an area where they had Whac-A-Skull instead of Whac-A-Mole, (no not to play, they were just props, other palces like Kennywood would have had an actual Whac-A-Skull game at their event if they wanted one), Scatterball had eyeballs in the game instead of the usual silver balls, peach basket had hollowed out stuffed animals as prizes. Posters advertised sideshow acts. Then there were the food concessions, the soft pretzel warmer had snakes in it, the shaves ice machine had something that was meant to be shaved flesh, the soft drink booth had a fountain head with such products as "Backwash", "Vomit", "Dr. Phleghm" "Snot Zero", "Blood" and "Diet Sewage" We proceed to take rides on Beast and Italian Job, before heading up Coney Mall towards Oktoberfest. Its 12:30 when we come across a closed Adventure Express, then we go take a ride on Delirium. Finally at 12:45 we head to a closed Top Gun. Here, "Rideman" decided to go ride Son of Beast, while April and I tour Club Blood. There was maybe a one group wait for Club Blood. It also explained why Top Gun was closed, becuase Club Blood took over Top Gun's queue line, so you went down to the Top Gun chicken chute, then walked back the Top Gun line in reverse. Tonight there were being merciful and had a gate open just past the underpass. Club Blood is the newest maze, in a brand new building loctated behind Extreme Ekyflyer. It is the much talked about R rated haunted maze. We enter and first you head down an ally towards Club Blood where the actors talk openly about drugs and the like, then you pass a bouncer to enter the club where scantily dressed women are doing exotic dancing and cages and poles are invovled but they do keep their clothes on. Hey, this is a family park after all. You then go though the very gross haunted clubs bathroom, where some ppor schmuck is worshiping a very nasty looking toilet. The second half of the attraction seems to be a haunted hospital, and the key scene is a nurse appearing to give head to a cadaver. Scary, no, risque yes, and potentially disturbing, yes. It winds up that we all met back up by the Extreme Skyflyer at about the same time. We noted that Skycoaster was priced at only $5, so we decided to ride Skyflyer, mind you it is like 12:55 on a 1AM close. We buy our tickets, and get in line behind maybe 3-4 groups in front of us in line plus the ones inside the attraction. They only had one side of Skyflyer open, and only a minimal crew. That means they same people that were walking groups out to a flight area (and they were using the FAR one by Drop Zone too), and guiding them through their flight, were also the ones running the harness shed. At first they were literally taking one group at a time all the way through the process before starting on the next group. We inquired about just calling the whole thing off and getting a refund, but they would not go for that. So finally, I guess when the waiting line to just us and the next group and us, they take both groups in and gets us harnessed up. Then they walk us out to to the flight area. By the time we are invited to walk out onto the lift, it is 1:45 by my watch, The park has been closed for 45 minutes, and security is standing at the Skycoaster booth eager to get the area clear. The Skycoaster crew is also none to pleased to be working 'overtime'. They had little patience for our silliness, but we eventually start our way up to the top of the launch tower. We get a countdown, do I pull on command, of course not. I like to catch my groups off guard. He He. So we fly, and after having only made 3 or 4 swings, they are already all "Grab this loop when you fly back over" What, already, we still have tons of speed and momentum behind us. Now, I KNOW they probably think we were being smart asses and not cathing the ring, but the honest truth was that we were honestly trying to catch the ring that they were holding just a little bit out of reach, and we were going too fast. Avert trying this like 4 times, they grab the manual pole. At least the guy with the manual pole seems to know the right hight to hold it, the bad news is he was trying to stop a LOT of pounds of coaster nuts swinging. That approach failed when he let go of the pole just before wiping out on the lift. Yep, the Skycoaster crew REALLY loves us now. But eventually we get stopped, and escorted out. We turn in the harnesses and they shoo us out right into the waiting arms of security who gives us a personal escort out to the parking lot, seeing as the park is already all closed and cleared except for us. Next up: Knoebels Phabulous Phoenix Phall Phun Phest.
  9. TR: Kings Island with Wierd Al - 8/18/07 Trip Report: Kings Island Mason, OH August 18, 2007 *********************** Greetings, and welcome to another trip report. Man, I have to get better with the timlieness of posting these. Anyway, as you might note, it is yet another summer August Saturday, and yet again I am headed to Kings Island. This time, I'm not the one that's nuts, its the performer I am going to see who is nuts. This particular trip was strange in its planning. First, I receive an email slugged "Geauga Lake" with a message asking if I wanted to go to Kings Island on Sunday. I replied that I would, while pointing out the discrepency between subject and message. I got a response back that, oops, they did mean Geauga Lake, but that they we going to see Weird Al at Kings Island on the Saturday and asked if I had interest in that. Now, I have heard a fair amount of Weird Al's stuff, mostly through watching Robb Alvey's coaster videos. (Admit it Robb, you use a fair amount of Wierd Al in your soundtracks) So, I decided, that I would like to go see Wierd Al. The next subject was tickets, and according to Kings Island's website, season pass holders were eligible to purchase tickets for just $9.95. Remember that price, it plays into our story a bit later. So, I dutifully went out to TicketMaster, found out that yes the season pass offer was offered online, that there were plenty of seats left, and that the TicketMaster fees on an order of three tickets would total about $18. TicketMaster: You can't live with it, you can't live without it, thier business practices still suck. So, I report back to the group, and we decide to just wait until the day of show, and purchase the tickets at Kings Island as walk up sales. I then offer to handle the ticket purchasing as I knew the rest of the group were coming in from Columbus, and would be arriving fairly late in the day. In this case the group would consist of Dave Althoff Jr., April and myself. That was either Thursday or Friday night. Saturday rolls around, and for going to an amusement park, I was decidedly sluggigh and bordering on disinterested. After all, its nearing the end of August, its Saturday, the weather outside is beautiful, its one of the very few days in only the low 80's after having a fortnight or more of above 90 days. In other words, I knew perfectly well the park was going to be jam packed, and since i have the luxury of going on very slow days, i'm a bit spoiled when it comes to ride lines. So, I don't leave the house till almost 2, then I decide I am not paying for a Cedar Fair meal, so I stop at Wendy's on the way to the park, and they had a sizeable line, but it seemed to move at a decent rate. So after a relaxing meal at Wendy's, I head to the park and arrive just before 3:30 pm. I walk up to the front gate, and I must point out it has been 15 years or so since I have been to a concert at Timberwolf. I head to where they used to sell Timberwolf tickets, key word there being "used to". I have no trouble getting through security as I spot an open lane that everybody else seems to not be able to see. I head to the park gate, and find an admission lane that had just opened. I note the admissions person was personable, commenting on my shirt, a Xavier Musketeer Alumni shirt, which has bearing on the story as I noted on the big electronic sign out front, that it is "University of Cincinnati" day at the park. She also noted the Bengals shirt in my season pass photo. As I said, a friendly personable admissions person, then I head into the park and head directly to the Return Visit Offer booth. I somehow manage to dodge the Keyhole Photo ambush and arrive at the booth unscathed. Now. on the sign above the booth it tells me I can buy (emphasis mine) : Return Visit Offer, ***Concert Tickets***, Season Pass Upgrades. So I walk up to the one open window, and ask for 3 tickets for Weird Al. "We don't sell concert tickets here", I glaringly look up at the sign. "Yeah, I know, the tickets are out in the Group Sales Building" The person makes it clear that they are just as annoyed about that sign directing people to her booth as I am. So, argh, this means I have to go back out of the "secure zone". So I head back to the main gate, remembering to get a hand stamp. I note the park is back to using the "magic light" UV stamps, only they are different than before. Cedar Fair must have set them on the right course. Before they used an ink pad which looked like it contained some toxic green slime, and twhen they stamped it on your hand, they used copious quantities to the point where you could clearly see the yellow mark on your hand without the light, for hours to come. Now they use a more normal stamp pad, and the magic light ink disappears from view within seconds of being applied. So I exit the security gate, and head to the Group Sales building. I spot two lanes, one for will call tickets, and one to purchase tickets. I head to the window to purchase tickets, and ask for three Wierd Al tickets. No problem, I see tickets come out of the ticket machine. That will be $44.85 please. Wait, it says season pass tickets are only $9.95. I find out they are $14.95 when purchased at the park. So much for dodging the TicketMaster fees. I'm still sore over the park tacking on a $3.95 service charge for tickets to their own event, now they are tacking on a $5 service charge for concert tickets purchased at the venue. No wonder Cedar Fair attendance is down, between the hidden service fees, and the hideously overpriced concessions, they are actively trying to tick off their guests where it matters the most, in their billfolds. But, what am I to do, but fork over $44.85 instead of the $29.85 we had planned on. Tickets in hand, its time to head into the park. So, its back through security, again a short line, then I learn you can reneter with a handstamp at any lane, and that the lanes have been equipped with the lights. So, I am back into the park, and its like a robot boots up program "Kings Island solo touring program" I mean, I think I do the same thing, or attempt to do the same thing most every visit. Yep, I head to Delirium. There I find a full queue spilled out on the midway. I'll pass. I head to Face/Off, "Sorry, this ride closed...", Drop Zone "Sorry, this ride closed...", Son of Beast "Sorry, this ride closed..." I skip on Top Gun as it is such a long walk. I headed into Oktoberfest, note a healthy line for the Slingshot, and go to Adventure Express "Sorry, this ride closed..." Yep, Kings Island is making this walk through the park memorable for all the wrong reasons. I get around to Racer, and hey its open! The line is backed out onto the midway, but none of the switchbacks are open. I opt for a ride on Racer Forwards. The line moves at a reasonable pace, and when I get into the station, I find the usual congestion towards the front of the sttion allows me to score a seat with ease at the back of the station. While waiting to board, I note I have not seen Firehawk run. After the ride starts, I pay special note to look at FireHawk while going up the lift. Okay, no one in station, both trains parked in station, and no queue hanging out onto the mdiway. I'm not sure its closed, but it sure is exhibiting all signs of being closed as well. At least they did race the trains on the Racer. I had another reasonably smooth rides that exhibits hints at floater air. I think the Racer is running better this year than it has in several years. We return to the station, and I note Adventure Express is cycling test trains. I exit Racer, and head back to Adventure Express, and by the time I get there, the queue has been opened. I enjoy a walk on ride in the back seat. It's all about timing. Adventure Express has improved this season now that the special effects in the third and fourth tunnels have been restored, now lets work on the spears in the second tunnel, and whatever is supposed to happen in the first tunnel. (It's been so long, I forget), oh and the train warning bell at the start of the ride. Adventure Express is still running well, and except for having the service door open on the second enclosed lift, drowning the scene in light, it was a great ride on Adventure Express. How they managed to stack all three trains at the end of the ride, with 6 crew member on platform is a puzzlement. However, while riding Adventure Express, I saw Son of Beast testing. Can I pull off the "test rides walk on" again? I dash over to Son of Beast. Nope, the queue stil isn't open, and the lineis back to the Skycoaster harness shelter. But since it is stopped at the top of the ramp down, I figure to give it 15 minutes. About 10 minutes later, Son of Beast opens, but not before I notice another Cedar Fair Unscrupulous Business Practice. All season long, the posted regular price for Skycoaster has been $15. Now, they rarely charge that, as they seem to be running a $10 special most of the time, and on rare occasions you can even see a $5 special. Today I look at the big bright yellow Today's Special" sign - Limited time offer: $15!!! Wait that is the regular price, or so I thought till I looked over at the ticket booth, where THAT sign has been changed to read $20. Artificially raising the price to create the illusion of a sale, I tell you. Yes, I realize retail pulls that BS all the time, and some have gotten busted for it. But, back to what I was doing. We were then walked into Son of Beast, and when the dust cleared I was right up by the seat queues. I decided to forgo a walk on Son of Beast ride, and instead opt for this rumored excellent front seat ride. It would take about 8 trains to get into that magical front seat. Seems, just about everybody headed to that front seat lane. Rumour has it, that is the only seat that doesn't rough you up real bad. So my time comes, I board the train, and a ride operator jumps in with me "I need to give it a test ride" smirking the whole time. No problem, we head out onto the course. The rumours are correct! Up in the front seat, Son of Beast is wonderfully smooth. I don't think I have felt this ride run so good since maybe it's opening day so many years ago. It's still not a great coaster, but at least its ridable now, and the Gerstlauer trains actually allow real size Americans to fit comfortably. I exit Son of Beast, and decide to follow the rule. I headed to Top Gun. The line was back past the chicken chute, but not quite back to the tunnel under the service road. At least the had two trains on, so after a lengthy wait that I clocked at 45 minutes I was heading to the front of the back car. Top Gun is still a great, intense, smooth and SHORT ride. The longer you wait for it only stresses how short the actual ride is. As I am exiting Top Gun, I receive a phone call that the rest of the group was in the area, that they saw the parking lot and concluded the park was jammed. They indicated they were going to grab dinner and then come to the park. I figure dinner at Skyline is worth about 30 minutes or so. I purchase a Strawbeery/Banana Chill. YA know, I have managed to avoid the Lemon Chill craze for numerous years, I had one in preseason this year, and now I am hooked. "Hi, my name is David Bowers, and I'm a Lemon Chill addict" I enjoy my Strawberry/Banana Chill while perusing the International Street gift shops. I look at stuff, particularly in the Emporium, Thrillriders, and the "Clearance Sale Room" where they have taken all the old Paramount stuff. I admit, I alsmost bought some instant lottery tickets, except I could not see the cashier on duty. At around 6pm, I head to the main gate to meet April and Dave. As it would turn out, they didn't arrive at the park till almost 7pm. Some of that, however was due to finding a parking space in BFE and walking from BFE to the main gate since Cedar Fair discontinued the tram service. Come on, at least Paramount ran the trams on busy days. I was getting a bit nervous for them when shortly after 6pm (which is when you can enter the park on a concert only ticket), the admission gate was overwhelmed as they only had two lanes open, and the line to get in was backed up clear to the metal detectors. By 6:30 they had the full gate with all lanes open, and by the time Dave and April arrived they just walked right in. We then exchange greetings, along with money and tickets, then head into the park. Our first stop is the front gate gift shop to get some candy for the show. We then decide that since we have reserved seats, we can casually arrive at the concert just before it starts. We head to Adventure Express, and see that the queue looks to extend all the way back to the midway, but hey its Adventure Express, veven that is only about 20-30 minutes. We then learn that it is because some people ahead of us had STOPEED in the queue for whatever reason. When they finally decided to get the heck out of the way and let those of us who really wanted to ride past, the actual line was only about halfway through the bridge over the track. Not that much longer, and we are boarding Adventure Express in the back car. It was, like the first ride, a good ride on Adventure Express. By the time the ride ends, it is 7:20. I note my concert ticket says 7:30 as the start time. I hardly if ever attend rock shows, being more of a Pops/Symphony man myself. In my culture, when a ticket says 7:30, that means you are in your seat by 7:20 at the very latest. Dave and April convince me we have time for Racer, and so we head to Racer and the line is just back to the queue house. We wind up getting a back car ride on Racer. When the Racer ride ends, its 7:35. We then decide to head to Timberwolf. As we walk through Oktoberfest, I note that I can't hear the concert. Having worked at the park a long long time ago, I know that with most acts you can hear the show in Action Zone and Oktoberfest. We walk through Action Zone, still not hearing anything. The entrance to Timberwolf is back near Face/Off's entrance. So we present our tickets at the checkpoint which is located direcrly underneath Congo Falls. Man, Congo Falls leaked 13 years ago when I used to work here, and it STILL leaks. Some genius stationed the checkpoint right under the leaky spot. Kings Island has not invested in TicketFast, so they are still tearing tickets, then you step forward and some guy, in a not too nice manner is all "Left arm, Palm up!" then he applies a handstamp in black ink to the lower part of your arm, right above the wrist. The Timberwolf staff could be classed as being openly hostile. I attend concerts at Riverbend at Coney Island with some regularity and that venue is staffed with friendly people, and especially outgoing ushers who are willing to do just about anything for you. Here, they treat you like you are a nuisance to them. We head up into the seating bowl, skipping the refreshment and souvenir booths, and find the show has not yet even started. Its now 7:45pm. We dutifully head to our assigned seats. We head to Section 4 row Y and find out seats at extreme left. This is bad for a variety of reasons. One is Weird Al, like most shows these days has installed a video wall behind the set, and a substantial part of the show required seeing the video wall. The other is the park seemed to put everybody in one area of the theatre. In other words they packed the front in solid, while leaving the back a ghost town. (Well the center was filled most of the way back). We last in our assigned seats for about 3 minutes. We then realize that if we move just 5 rows back. we can sit on an aisle between the side and center section, with a lot more elbow room. We make the seat upgrade, and as luck would have it, never got approached either by an usher, or the rightful owner of those seats. In fact, I think others followed our lead. Note: the show still has not begun. At around 8PM, the show finally begins! The tour was the Straight out of Lynwood Tour, and as you might guess, it contained a lot of the Straight out of Lynwood album. He started with Polkarama, which is especially fitting for play in Cincinnati, as it starts out with the Chicken Dance. You cannot have a wedding reception or other similar social event in Cincinnati without the Chicken Dance. Now I don't remember the set list, or the order of the set list. (Back in my culture, I am used to being handed a set list on the way in) I do rememmber the highlights though. One thing is the format of the show. Weird Al believes in costuming to fit each song, and to cover up these costume changes, they either play segments from Al TV (specifically the celebrity mock interviews) on the video wall, or play segments from TV shows and movies that reference Wierd Al. Don't get me wrong, some of the mock interviews are funny. Like the guy that just kept saying "You know what I mean", followed by Al saying "I know what you mean" repeat ad nauseum, the other artist who didn't want to talk about anything related to their career, the other guy that hit on Wierd Al during the interview. In other words none of them are serious, and are part of the comedy being presented. The one to pay note of is in the early stages of the show, Wierd Al works with his guest, explaining that he, Wierd Al, can make a song out of just about anything. The guest says "We all have cell phones, so let's get real" And Weird Al sets that line to music. He then lets it drop, but you shouldn't, it comes back later. Rideman and I agreed that there were far too many video presentations for our taste. Other notable songs includes "You're Pitiful", the song he can do in concert but not record. During the song, in which he makes fun of others loser lifestyle, he changes t-shirts sevral times, by continually pulling off layers. One shirt proclaims "Atlantic Records SUCKS", and generally the shirts fit the lyrics. I don't know if its a standard part of the act, but he ended up in a Spongebob Squarepants shirt at the end of the song. Fitting for the park with the world's best kid's area, "Nickelodeon Universe". He then proceeds to remove his belt, and then his pants to reveal a pink skirt/tutu thing underneath. He still has the Spongebob shirt on. The audience goes crazy. Speaking of kids area, I was shocked at the number of families who came to this show as a family. Call me conservative, but while I was loving this show, and laughing it up, I would not take children to see this show. He also did, "Bob" a song that is written in all palindromes, or phrases that are spelled the same forwards and backwards. Just in case you have your doubts, they put the lyrics up on the video wall so you can see for yourself. It's a very clever piece of novelty work. For the nerdy, there is "It's All About the Pentiums" which has the IT people in the audience, such as ourselves laughing. But all in all he did several of his hits, "eBay" about peoples addictions to eBay, a song about Spiderman sung to the tune of "Piano Man", noteworthy as Wierd Al doesn't have Billy Joels harmonica holder, instead someone else had to hold it for him. In one song Wierd Al came out dressed as Gilligan singing "I'm in love with the Skipper" while clips from Gilligan's Island played, and there was a song about the Flintstones, while Flintstones clips played. I think a most noteworthy part of the show came about halfway through. I noticed about a hlaf hour into the show, the night novelty people started working the aisles, except the only novelty they had were Star Wars style light saber light ups. Then I noticed, it wasn't the children buying these, it was full grown adults with no children with then buying them. About halfway through the show, after sundown, the stage was overtaken by Imperial Stormtroopers, then Wierd Al comes out dressed like a Star Wars character and does "The Saga Begins" to the tune of American Pie, eventually joined on stage by Darth Vader. Ah, now the light sabers make sense. As not only is the audience waving their light sabers around, but there are also light saber duels going on up on stage. Even with all that thetricality, I just about lost it when during the peppy part of the song, the Stromtroopers started getting down and dancing. Weird Al quickly followed this song up with "Yoda" , to the tune of "Lola" another Star Wars themed song about everybody's favorite little green runt. Admit it, I know when I was watching Attack of the Clones, the whole theatre went nuts when the seeming fragile Yoda busted out a light saber and started kicking ass. The way most of his songs go, he gives a hint, like playing the first 5 seconds of the video, or giving some other onstage clue, to which the true fans seemed to react with a knowing smile. Like when he comes out on stage riding a Segway, you know its time for his new hit "White and Nerdy", I guess I am geeky enough or nerdy enough that the lyrics hit home. They play the first 3 seconds of the video for "Amish Paradise" a song I will forever associate with Hersheypark and Dutch Wonderland, thanks to Robb Alvey. I swear I might have just thought this, but it seemed like all the stage lights went dark at the words "No lights, no phones, no motorcars" No one or thing is safe from Wierd Al, who also sang "Pretty Fly for a Rabbi", I mean Wierd Al cam even get a hit song singing about going through the fast food drive in, in "Trapped at the Drive Through"which is a singsong almost storytelling about all the bad experiences you have ever had at a fast food drive through, or dealing with your spouse when it comes to getting dinner, all rolled into one. He did so mang songs that I'm sure I forgot one or two along the way, all told the show ran 2 hours, without intermission. Towards the end of the show after what you think is the end of the show, he starts singing the words "We all have cell phones, so let's get real" then you realize it IS a real song, and he proceeds to sing it, while the audience holds their cell phones high in the air waving them. We walked out when he started singing "Albequrque" as we knew that was the last song in the set, you can hear it all over Action Zone, its not a good song, and we wanted to ride Son of Beast. You know what Wierd Al is missing? A big closer, the end of his concert just peters out, there is no song he sings that proclaims "This is the final showstopper!" I hear he used to use "Yoda" for that purpose. So did I love the show, HECK YEAH! That was about the fastest 2 hours, with plenty of laughs. So, we get to Son of Beast at around 9:55, we enter the queue and find it to be jest a station wait. April had heard that the back seat also produces a great ride. "I have a bad feeling about this" But, we head to the back seat queue anyway. While we are waiting the closing fireworks go off, and we are concerned we may not get to ride in the back seat, and may have to move to a middle seat, which we all know are rough. First Dave and April depart in the blue train. Then I am loaded into the red train, both of my rides today being in the red train. We depart the station, and head into the drop out of the station just as the blue train is returning to the final brakes. We make the curve to the lift approach, past the camera, and start up the lift. We barely start up the lift when the lift stops. I know the other train is well past the next block point, in fact I saw it hit the final brake. A couple minutes later, the lift restarts. We get near the top of the lift, the lift stops again. Moments later the lift restarts, and we crest the lift, and down the first drop. Up the second hill, down the second hill, and into the helix, and dang it, I KNEW this was a bad idea. I get roughed up pretty bad in the helix. We head into the mid course brake, and we stop. Total stop. A few moments later, we restart and roll a bit further down the mid course brake, and it stops again. Wait a bit, and we continue, luckily there are no more brakes until the end of the ride. At least coming off of a dead stop at the downtrack end of the mid course meant I could verify that the kicker tires that were there when it had the loop were removed. This may have helped as the the rest of the ride was just rough, and not brutal. Overall, I did not enjoy the ride in the back seat. We come up to the final brakes, and we of course stop again. Only this time I can see why, the blue train is being unloaded. Wait, you mean after all those stops, they are just now unloading the blue train? Something seems amiss. They then close the lapbars on the blue train, dispatch it empty, and bring us into the station. As I would find out, I was on the last train that night. Those who were waiting for the next train did not get to ride. Apparently the ride computer started acting up, and they had to bring the train I was on around manually in service mode, overiding what the computer thought were block violations at every block point. They then unloaded the blue train, without giving them a ride, closed the ride, and jogged the blue train out to the lift so they could jog the red train I was on back into the station. A crew member noted that they have been having lots of downtime lately. By this time, the park is closed, so we make our way up to International Street, out the front gate, and then make the long walk to BFE. Dave them gives me a photo CD from Coastermania, then proceeds to take almost an hour to get out of the parking lot. Did I mention the crowds were insane? And that ends, Kings Island with Wierd Al, which means I can start to to work on my next big novel, yep, I went to Minnesota and Wisconsin again, that can only mean one thing. Trip Reorts from the Minnesota State Fair, Valleyfair!, Mall of America, Mt. Olympus, Timber Falls, and SS Billiards are about to head your way, that is when I get around to them, Considering it took my almost a month to get this TR out.
  10. Trip Report: Kings Island Mason, OH August 4, 2007 Kings Island Central: The Event ******************************* Following the trend of different kinds of trips to Kings Island this summer, today I opted to go to Kings Island, on a Saturday, in the summer. I know what you are thinking, "Are you out of your mind?" Perhaps yes, but this was also the day when a website I occasionally post to "Kings Island Central" was hosting their first ever organized social event. The event was, creatively enough, titled "KIC: The Event" (Kings Island Central: The Event). However, before I could attend the event, I had to register for it. I'm glad to see enthusiasts clubs are starting to embrace online event registration, and for a website based "club" it's a natural. Event prices for the event were just around $42.95, but if you had a pass or furnished your own admission, the price was rolled back to only $16.95. It was obvious the park and KIC worked together well on this event from the moment I registered. Kings Island handled the entire registration process, from filling out the registration card (which gave Dane and Ryan the information they needed, and gave you the link you needed to go to the event ticket page). They used the standard Paramount Parks event ticketing page which works well for them, and is easy to use. It was particularly easy as I already have a profile on Paramount's event ticketing page so it filled in the vast majority of the information for me. It's a lot better than the event registration process I am used to. You may recall normally for an event, you read a paper flier, fill out a paper registration card, and send it with a paper check in a paper envelope. That's it, no confirmation, no nothing, just show up at the park gate the day of the event and hope your name is on the guest list. While I haven't had any problems, I am still one to take a copy of the canceled check with me just in case. The KIC: The Event tickting process was, not too surprisingly, similar to the Coastermania and CoasterEXT registration procedures, and soon I had confirmations galore. An e-mail confirming my RSVP, and an email confirming my ticket order. What's more, just two days later, I received the manila envelope containing my receipt and personalized event ticket. To sweeten the pot, the ticket stub has a $15 off one admission coupon. Just about the only thing I didn't like about the registration process was the $3.95 processing fee (postage on manilla envelope: 81 cents), but then that same business practice irks me to no end with TicketMaster as well. It does irk me a bit more as the Paramount Parks event ticket system has boasted NO processing fees IF you elect a print at home e-ticket. The park was cunning enough to NOT offer e-tickets to this event, so you had to pay the service fee. It's a minor blemish in the grand scheme of things, and the only ding in a very smooth electronic registration process. So on Saturday morning, I left home with camera, season pass, and the all important event ticket in tow and headed to the park. Following advice on the website, I did grab a breakfast at McDonald's before arriving at the park at around 8:48 am. I walked up to the entrance plaza to find a quite large crowd already assembled. I knew the event was limited to just around 100 people, but it sure looks like more than that here. Following directions, I headed to the former season pass entrance. Setup at this side gate was a registration table. Registration was speedy, you just told them the name used to charge your event tickets (tickets were only available presale and then only with credit card), and they crossed you off the list and handed you a FUNvelope along with a copy of the days event schedule and a empty lanyard. While I was checking in the group around me had their yellow tickets out where they could be seen by the registration crew, but I'm not sure if that was needed as you were being checked off against the ticket sales list, not the RSVP list. After having a very efficient registration, I opened my FUNvelope to obtain the insert for my lanyard. Then a few moments of arts and crafts time as I inserted the insert into the lanyard, connected the two ends of the safety break away joint together and I was ready for the event. I noticed the prime feature in the design of the credentials in the lanyard were the letters "VIP" in large friendly letters, flanked on top by the event logo, and on the bottom by the Kings Island logo. The top of the credentials read "080407" which was how the event was teased before we even knew it was an event, and the bottom had a sticker with your username on it. Now, living in Cincinnati, I have gone to some other events at the park and seen cases where various departments in the park did not seem to talk to each other about the event. I recall once where we were admitted to the park before security even arrived, and they demanded we exit the park and be screened, and another instance when the admission people were not informed that a season pass plus the event lanyard was as good as having the event ticket. I am pleased to say that was NOT the case with this event. In this case, after checking in, we milled around outside the park, as nothing was open including the metal detection point. Shortly before 9AM our event hosts walked us over to the three metal detectors on the far left (nearest the will call buidling) that had previously been roped off, and gave our group exclusive use of those three lanes so that we could gain entrance to the park at least 30 minutes before the regular visitors. Having no troubles with metal detection, we proceeded to the admission gate, where there was no problem getting in with a season pass and event lanyard. Following directions, I headed to the plaza in front of the Paramount Theater. We waited here for a bit, and made introductions and small talk, while the rest of the group got checked in, and cleared through metal detection and the admission gate. At around 9:10 it was time to begin. First up, our hosts introduced themselves. Ryan and Dane from the KI Central side, along with Josh and Don Helbig (Mr. 12,000 Racer Rides) from Kings Island's marketing department. Ryan and Dane are to be complimented for dressing professionally for the event in dress clothes and ties, despite the near 100 degree temperatures we would be facing. There were some general announcements and ground rules about how the event was going to go. Most noteworthy was that because Son of Beast was not behaving today, the Son of Beast Photo Tour would have to be canceled, but not to worry, a replacement activity has been scheduled to replace it. Almost as if on cue, security dropped the rope by Paramount Theater and we were escorted back to X-Base. Once we arrived at X-Base, we were greeted in the Flight of Fear plaza by two Flight of Fear team members who would be leading us on the Flight of Fear backstage tour. Simple ground rules, don't touch any track or parts, and stay behind the safety fences. We were led into the Flight of Fear building via the exit hallway and came into the unload station. Here there were views of the short tunnel that goes between unload and load with the lights on, but more interestingly, we got to see a train in unload complete with its brand new on board video system. We also got to see something the average guest won't get to see, a bunch of heavy duty cables running from the coaster cars to a power source, presumably to give the camera system its daily charge. From there we went through a wooden gate ad down a short flight of stairs so that we were level with the transfer track/brake run, then down a much longer stairway to the floor of the show building, we walked under and to the side of the brake run, being careful to watch out for tripping hazards and low beams. When we made our way into the main show building, thats where you hear the oohs and ahhs of those that have never had the experience before, and some who have. Flight of Fear's drum section is often dubbed a spaghetti bowl, and for good reason. There is a whole bunch of track in there packed in about as tightly as clearance guidelines will allow. It is very impressive, and for us they had both the work and show lights on for a unique look at it all. I also noted that since the ride spends much of its operational hours in the dark, there are parts of it that are quite a bit dusty. As I was walking around the perimeter safety fence I heard people wonder which went up first the building or the ride. Because I care about you so much, I went back and looked at my notes from a Flight of Fear tour I had taken on October 2, 2004. A reading from Dave's previous Flight Of Fear Tour Trip Report: That lecture included such fascinating tidbits as the fact the ride was first designed to launch via a flywheel cable system. That idea was short lived, however, when they could not find such as system that would meet their needs. They then saw one of those LIM powered people movers and thought "If we scale this up", and thus the idea of a LIM powered coaster was born. Other tidbits were that due to the construction timelines, the building was constructed first, then the ride was installed inside the building (usually its the other way around on indoor coasters), and that the building has serivce cranes built into it. However, he got the biggest round of applause when he talked about changing the shoulder bars to lap bars, and detailed the 6 month testing process where they mounted a car on a piece of track, put people in the car and turned it upside down to see how it worked. Here endeth the reading. I walked around the Flight of Fear show building, which besides the massive roller coaster taking up most of the building it also has lots of other interesting points of interest. Amongst them are the King Cobra trains, a Flight of Fear car that is still equipped with shoulder bars, the bare metal frame of a Flight of Fear car, boxes of giant springs, boxes of flat metal fins that were labeled "LIM Fins" which I presume could work on both Flight of Fear and Italian Job. There were also parts of coaster lift chains, old used ride control consoles, and many bins of various ride parts. Remember the service cranes I mentioned, well towards the back of the show building I saw a crane head that was labeled indicating it had a 3 ton capacity. Sitting next to it was what looked like a crane basket without minimal railings suitable for lifiting parts (and I presume properly harnessed passengers) In the big open area towards the front of the show building were both a small cylyndrical crane basket which I think is a single passenger manlift, as well as a larger rectangular basket complete with railings all around it and clearly visible Red Cross symbols. I will presume this is a bigger work lift that is rated for use as a ride evacuation lift. Towards the end of our photo safari time, we were given the rare opportunity to stand inside the fully lit show building and watch (and possibly photograph/video) a Flight of Fear train go through the circuit. After the test ride, the photo tour was over and we were escorted out the way we entered the Flight of Fear building. Okay, 1 event down on the event agenda, and it was a success. As we exited the Flight of Feat building we were encouraged to head directly to Firehawk, "Do not pass Go, Do not collect $200" as the general public was about to be admitted to the park. I had a fanny pack and all, but still opted to get the locker so that I would be more comfortable on the ride. We were all safely in line in time to be able to watch "The Running of the Bulls" and see the surprised looks on the faces of the front runners when they saw a queue had already formed. I did notice that Kings Island has joined the Cedar Fair tradition of starting the day with the national anthem, and nothing, I repeat nothing takes place in the park during the playing of the national anthem. As an aside, I have noticed this year, mostly because I have been arrived at the park after noon, that the giant flag in the front of the park is proudly flying during the day, and is absent at night (yes, it is equipped with the required lighting for night use) Today I noticed the flag was not flying when I arrived. Perhaps Cedar Fair is taking a page of out Walt Disney's book and is being patriotic with flag raising and retreats at the proper times. Where was I, yes waiting for Firehawk to open. The ride wound up opening at around 10:10, and after the queue was open and we were advanced in, I found myself in the last switchback lane before the greeter and queue split. Shortest wait i have had for this yet, and they had both stations/trains running. We were sent down the left lane (the one that ducks underneath the track and enters the right hand station), where a seat assigner was grouping people. I got sent to row 4 and was soon off on another great FireHawk ride. This ride is quickly becoming one of my favorites in the park. For the most comfortable ride, you have to ride arms outstretched like a superhero and embrace the flying concept. After First Ride on Firehawk (event #2: chalk up another success), I decided that now would be my best shot at getting a ride in on Flight of Fear. I left the stuff in the locker and headed into Hangar 18. The line was just back to the door between the hangar proper and the entrance hall, and they were going the short way, and the pre show video was running. Not too long after I was getting into seat 2.2, and had no trouble fitting the safety restraints. I can verify that if there is any lighting for the on ride video it is infared or other invisible lighting that will not distract the riders. Decals advertising the on ride videos have been added to the cars since my last visit and . WHAM here we go into the show building. Dark as ever, and the trims hit as hard as ever but it was still a great ride. One of the parks top rides. Its no wonder X-Base gets crowded, it has two great rides. Upon exiting Flight of Fear, I noted it was 10:50. I also noted the Sign Shop tour was at 11:00, and I was very interested in taking the Sign Shop Tour. Meeting spot: path to picnic grove. Move out, its going to be a sprint to make it there in time. First I had to get my stuff out of the locker, then I moved it at as fast a pace as I could muster given the out of control heat and the fact it was an uphill trek most of the way. The good news is I made it to the meeting spot on time, and with some flexibility in the schedule I would have had some time to spare. When it was presumed that most of the group had arrived, we were escorted back the Boomerang Bay/ Picnic Grove trail, and went backstage through the gate directly across from the picnic grove entrance. A quick lanyard check and soon we were standing on a service road. We started walking back the service road and saw a building labeled PKIU. The building itself wasn't that remarkable, but what was noteworthy were the multiple hearses parked out front. I suppose FearFest isn't that far away. We walked further down the service road we came to the Sign Shop building. Some time was given for the work crews to close off parts of the building that were not open for tours. I can somewhat feel for them, I mean to have a large group of strangers invade your work area, toting cameras is certainly an awkward situation. We were told to wait on the driveway outside the sign shop and due to the nature of the worksop environment we would be taken inside in small groups of 20. Later on, the waiting area was moved to just inside the building so as to let people get out of the direct sun. When my turn came around, we were let into a back room. The sign shop is also the parks Art and Design department, and clearly the current project is FearFest theming. It was hard to miss the massive crypt style tombstones bearing the names of Cedar Fair executives, and the smaller gargoyles and other things that were being put together. In a way I was both surprised and somewhat honored that they would allow us to see, and photograph, and post on the web for all to see, set pieces for an attraction that is still under development. But seeing what the project of the day isn't the main reason for the sign shop tour. You see, it seems like the park does not throw out many, if any of the parks former signs. I suspect this is for reuse, or so their designs can be reused. This gives the workshop a park history museum kind of feel to it. There were the big show pieces like the huge King Cobra and Winter Festhaus signs, down to obscure thngs like signs for booths and one time special events. Those would include two Survivor logos. Sitting in the back of the shop is a rack full off all the past skins for the portable A-frame signs they use for special events. It was one of those tours that went by so fast and there was way too much for one person to notice. Another task of this crew is restoring the carousel horses. The park has a few spare horses, and the horses are cycled out for rehab on a continual basis. On our way out of the sign shop, we were reminded that the 12:15 Son of Beast tour had been canceled, "While the ride is closed it is considered a hard hat area, and therefore for your safety we aren't allowed to take any tours back there" We were presented with our replacement activity. Pair up into teams of two, one person from each time come up to collect an ink pen and a packet. Yep, its another of the infamous Kings Island Evil and Demented Scavenger hunts. This one was a bit different than their past hunts. Instead of being given a clue of what to find in the form of a cryptic rhyme, each team was presneted a packet with tiny thumbnail size images, except they weren't full images, they were extreme close ups of a minute part of something. If you like the Eyebenders in Games magazine this is for you. All you have to do is look at the pictures and write down on the answer sheet where in the park it is, be as specifc as possible. Each picture correctly identified is woth 1 point except for the two bonus items worht 3 points. The instructions inform you that you will need to go to all sections of the park to complete the hunt, and that all the items can be found in areas of the park that are accessible to the general public. I noted that prizes would go to the top two scoring teams. The winning team would get a PKI-Opoly game and a Kings Island viewmaster for each person, the runner ups would only get the viewmasters. Oh and you have till dinner to complete and turn in your answers. I was planning on posting the scavenger hunt clues and answers here, but this post from Kings Island Central does the job quite nicely: http://www.kicentral.com/forums/index.php?...st&p=172592 After the Scavenger Hunt was introduced, we were asked to kindly stay on the driveway directly outside the sign shop, and we would be escorted back in to the park. Upon being escorted back into the park, I made my way to Avatar: The Last Airbender. I noted a mostly full queue, but it moves fast. I also noticed a large group of event participants fall into line around me. It didn't seem like long at all, thanks to conversation, that we were informing the grouper we had 7 people. It did not help us get preferred seats, even with the VIP tags. We wound up in middle row 3. Avatar is a fun ride, and was also quite refreshing with the natural air conditioning provided by the spinning. After Avatar, the group went to Chick-Fill-A for soft drinks, and then announced that they simply planned on chilling out in the Festhaus until the ice show. I had a naive moment, I was all gung-ho about ignoring the oppresively hot weather, I have rides to ride. In fact as I had already seen Endless Summer on Ice, I was planning on skipping the Ice Show, and since I had been on numerous Beast tours, I planned on having a nice ride session and rejoining the group for dinner. At least thats how I had it planned. I did grab a Strawberry/Banana Chill at a cart located near Eiffel Tower and headed to Action Zone. It did not take long for my enthusiasm to get squashed. I got to Delirium, and saw a totally full queue with the line overflowing out onto the midway. I verified Son of Beast was closed, and that Face/Off and Drop Zone had lengthy lines. I didn't feel up to the hike back to Top Gun, so soon made a hasty retreat out of Action Zone. I did briefly think of rejoining the others in the Festhaus, but pressed on into Oktoberfest. Once in Oktoberfest, I went on Adventure Express, and the queue was backed up about a third of the way over the bridge over the track. Interestingly, when I got to the queue split everybody was heading towards the front, so I dashed through the line for back. Soon I was in a seat near the back of the train. Adventure Express gave a noteworthy ride. Not only was the ride running great, it seems that attention has been afforded to the special effects, such as the errie green lights on the lift, but most noteably all the tribal drummers AND the big boss at the top of lift 2 were fully illuminated and working. Wow, I haven't seen this in awhile. Adventure Express is getting some love from the special effects maintainence team. After Adventure Express, I headed into Coney Mall, and proceeded to take a ride on Racer. The line was down the ramp, but quite back to the queue house. As always there was congestion in the station, and once I actually got up to the load station, there were plenty of seats available in the back of the train, so I chose seat 5.2. One click on the lapbar and away we go. I see the FireHawk line looks insane, I note we are actually racing, and I note the ride is running as good as it can be given the trim brakes. Racer was so good, I went and tried recaR. The line and congestion in the station were about the same, and I found myself in 5.1. Again one click, and again the trains were racing. Backwards was giving a great ride until the big dip right before the turnaround. That was when the safety bar decided it wanted to go CLICK-CLICK OUCH, I didn't know it could get down that far. Well there is still airtime on backwards side, as it was a bit unpleasant with the bar embedded into your gut. I was just happy there was enough room to push down, then pull up at the end of the ride. After recaR, I was headed towards Vortex, but spotted an interesting situation at Monster. Both lanes were open, there were several people in the right lane, and almost nobody in the left lane. Hey, maybe those Disney guidebooks about always taking the left lane were correct. The upshot is that by noticing the line disparity I was awarded with a near walk on ride on Monster. Woo-hoo. I can verify they are still using the click pins instead of Eyerly door keys. I had a well behaved tub. That meant that while it didn't spin at an incredible rate, it did keep pretty much in constant rotational motion, and as with most good Monsters, the up and down motion of the tub provided nice floater air especially as the effect seems to amplify and by the end of the ride you are getting bounced up and down in the seat. I knew there was a reason I liked these rides. I grabbed a courtesy ice water at Subway before heading to the Arcade. I call a cool break. I didn't play any of the games, but I did take another look at the Kiddie Casino. I don't get redemption games that last maybe 5 seconds per quarter, with incredibly awful payback percentages. (Then again, what do I know, I like playing slot machines that last about 3-5 seconds for often more than a quarter, and sometimes offer dubious payback percentages) After chilling in the Arcade, I headed to Vortex. The Vortex line was back to the Shake, Rattle and Roll exit, and the switchbacks in the station were in use. It still a pretty short wait all things considered. I soon found myself in the front of the back car. The car that gets what is possibly the best airtime moment in the whole park, shame it is ruined by shoulder bars. And I swear they have really tightened that mid course back up to the point where it hangs you through the corkscrews. After my Vortex ride, I checked the clock, it was 2:15. And this oppresive heat is not getting any better. At first I thought I would skip the Ice Show, but now, here it is 2:15 and NOTHING sounds better than parking my butt in an air conditioned theater for an hour. I did enjoy a nice cold adult beverage, okay a BEER!!!, while walking to the Paramount Theater. According to my instructions, I had interpreted it to mean we were to meet at the left side doors to the Paramount Theater. When I approached the theater there was no crowd gathered along the side but I found the group by the left front door. Shortly before 2:30 our hosts invited us to walk around to the side door,and after a quick lanyard check we were admitted to the Paramount Theater about 15 minutes before the general public. The majority of the group decided to take the suggestion that we fill up the first few rows. While we were waiting for the show, our hosts checked to make sure everybody was having fun, to remind us of what the future events are today, but the most important announcement before the ice show was that Maureen (the parks former PR person) was making a cameo appearance at this event. Also before the show, the spirit of cooperation was making itself known as I noted people were sharing scavenger hunt hints. Once the doors opened to the public, we got to watch the children of the audience (mainly) play a big game of Simon Says to kill time. Then of course there was the usual screaming competition to get the audience all warmed up for Endless Summer on Ice. So as I said, the show in the Paramount Theater is "Endless Summer on Ice", the headliner of the parks live entertainment program. It looks like they placed a synthetic surface on the stage, however after getting "iced" during one particular skating maneuver, I can verify that it is a real ice surface, albiet somewhat small. The show offers a series of scenes that depict the typical summer. Last day of school, camping trip to Jellystone complete with Yogi Bear, a day at the bech, a trip to a NASCAR race complete with Scooby Doo, 4th of July celebration, return to school, and the return to school dance. Lots of song and dance numbers complete with figure skating moves complete with some spins, flips and jumps, even some trick moves. All in all I thought it was a very good show, and I do think the parks live entertainment department is back in good hands, and unlike Paramount, Cedar Fair seems willing to fund it. I really enjoyed this show on July 1, and it seemed to be even more spectacular today. After the show, we remained seated while the general public left the theater. As part of the event package, we were treated to a meet and greet with the cast of Endless Summer on Ice. While we waited for the case to change into street clothes and get refreshed after the show, we started playing a Kings Island trivia game, then once it became apparent that the questions were way to simple for such a seasoned group of Kings Island enthusiasts such as us, it suddenly became Scott's Trivia Game. I mean there are people who know such minutia about Kings Island that they had no trouble answering the question "Who made the ticket printers Kings Island uses?" First we were introduced to the cast, then we had a Q&A session. There were questions of a wide variety asked. Questions from the basic "How long have you been skating?" (most since a very young age) "What got you into skating?" (More than one person noted they were introduced to skating by a friend, a friend that no longer skates), to the technical "How do you adjust for the small rink?" (Some noted that this is actually a bit bigger than the rinks used on cruise ships, but the general answer is by careful use of corners and geometry to make the most of the smaller floor), questions about shos business like "What did you do before this show" or "What do you have lined up after this show?" (most mentioned they have done other shows of various types, and most have something lined up), of course with a group of park enthusiasts, they were asked to name their favorite ride (Vortex and Firehawk got several mentiones, and a few people who stated they either don't like rides, or just haven't had time), even the morbid questions like "What is the worst accident you had?" (I think the winner went to the one that was doing a flip or jump, misjudged the edge of the stage and went flying into the audience (not at Endless Summer, sounded more like an arena show somewhere). A lot of them mentioned how different "Endless Summer" is to their regular routine. They indicated that they are used to giving one 2 hour show a night rather than 4 half hour shows, and yes the repetition does start to wear on them. They indicated that there have not been any changes mid year to the Ice Show, and I don't think we got a confirmation on if we would have an Ice Show next summer. After the very informative Q&A session, there was some time for a meet and greet before we were dismissed. Upon leaving the theatre, a quick time check revealed we would have to head directly to the Beast, for the Beast Photo Safari. I had not originally planned on the Beast Photo Safari, but I could meet up with Don Flint there, and I figured with the crowd size, I couldn't really do much else, so why not? I headed to Beast and had intended on getting a bottle of water to take with me. Hey it was near a hundred degrees, and we would be outdoors in the middle of nowhere for about an hour. Unfortunately the vending machine was out of water, so I settled for a citrus soda. A short time later, the service gate to the right of the ride entrance was opened, lanyards checked, and we walked back the service road. There was then an unannounced attraction, as some took photos of the Tomb Raider theme pieces sitting out behind the Tomb Raider building. The ground rules for the tour are the usual, stay on the paths, don't touch the structure, and take nothing but photos. The tour started next to the station area, and we walked down a roadway that goes alongside the final brake run, then ducks through an opening built into lift hill 1, we then made a quick right and walked through a 'tunnel' made up of the bracing for lift hill 1. The first photo attraction came when we got to the base of the first drop where the train enters tunnel 1. I noted the park has added some safety fencing in this area, probably especially for photo tours such as this. This particular area is pretty good for photos. You have drop 1, the entrance to tunnel 1, the exit from tunnel 1, and the big turn after the tunnel as well as the drop off lift 2, part of the helix and the final dip into the brakes all at your disposal for action shots. But proceed we must, but not before peering deep into the woods to get some shots at a distance from drops 2 and 3. We then talk under the second hill and alongside lift 2. Unlike on past tours, they were totally cool when we wanted to get close to the motorhouse for lift 2 and take photos of the motor and mechansisms (there is a locked safety gate). Next to the motorhouse is the bridge to lift 2. As usual we couldn't go there, but there was a place to get a shot of the approach to lift 2. Did I mention Beast is very photogenic? From this point the paved driveway ends, and we continue further back in the woods on a gravel trail. This isn't Holiday World, so I can't call it the Snowy White Gravel Road. The trail to see the rest of the ride goes deep into Beast Woods and parts of it have lots of foliage, and there are also parts where the ride can't be seen at all. Since it was also Boy Scout days in the park, and I just watched the Weird Al concert Saturday, I'll call this part of tour the "Nature Trail To H***". And look, while we are on our nature trail, the next point of interest is up on the left, here you can see the track enter tunnel 2, and if you look on the right, you can see the wooden horseshoe part of tunnel 2 heading back behind some trees. Let's grab a few photos, and head on our nature trail. By the way, how many people remember when the land where Beast now sits was a nature trail, for real, along with a canoe ride. Anyway there is another short section of nature trail, then look to you right to see the other end of the wooden horseshoe part of tunnel 2 diving back under the path you are walking on, and it you look to the left, you can see the train exit tunnel 2, and make the right curve towards that long ground hugging rambling section. Now we have a longer nature trail, then the trail goes down a steep hill. You can go on, I'm going to just wait up here on top of the hill. I've had problems in the past with the gravel on the steep hillside giving way under my feet causing a real dangerous trek. No one in our group hit the gravel, but there were a couple close calls. At the bottom of the hill, is what I can best describe as the Beast's turnaround point, its where you stop heading further back into the woods, and start on the way back home. The gravel path gets very near the track which allows for some great photos, and great photographer/rider interaction. Don't worry I was still able to get some good shots from up on top of the hill. At all the signifcant photo spots amble time was given to photograph several trains, and we stayed at the turnaround for a while before heading back in. We went back the same way we came, so we passed the same spots, and some folks got some more photos, but this was a faster paced walk. There was another point of interest when we got back to the front of the ride. Here we could venture into the space between the train storage area, and the motorhouse for lift 1, along with some supply sheds. These last photos taken it was back the path to the park. Another chance to get those Tomb Raider photos, or rare shots of Beasts queue maze, and station from otherwise inaccesible places. I even took some Vortex photos from the unusual vantage point. Well, look at that I am back in Rivertown, time to check my watch, and look at that, it's time for dinner. I decided to walk through Rivertown to get some shots of the closed Tomb Raider ride. Those ancient caves come complete with modern garage doors, didn't you know. By the time I got back to International Restaurant, dinner was in progress. I entered the restaurant, ticket out, but the host at the bottom of the stairs indicated that the lanyard was sufficient to enter. So I head upstairs, and the line for the buffet is back into the lobby. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as the lobby walls are covered with old newspaper clippings of new attraction announcements for Kings Island. I noted the Carousel Room and bar areas were off limits. Dinner was described as an elegant picnic. After waiting for some time in the buffet line, I reached the head of the line. Here I took a red cloth napkin which was rolled around real silverware, then took a real china plate. I started down the buffet table: dinner rolls, baked beans, potato salad, buns, hot dogs, hamburgers, a nicely stocked toppings area for the sandwhiches, and fried chicken. Over at the next table, I picked up a real glass, filled it with ice, and poured a soft drink. Sitting at the very end was a freezer with ice cream. In other words, it was the standard Cedar Fair picnic package served amidst the elegance of the former International Restaurant. You will, however, notice there was no gravy on that buffet. I first tried to join a couple groups, but wound up starting a new table. Not too long after we had a full table good ofgood food and good conversation. Oh the elegance continued to the dining tables where they had real tablecloths and Eiffel Tower centerpieces sitting on mirror bases. Overall there were very few announcements during dinner, but the scavenger hunt players did have to turn in their papers during dinner. So after enjoying my share of the hospitality, it looked to be around 6:30 and time to find a ride or two. I gathered with Don Flint and his group outside the International Restaurant, and as a group we decided to go ride Son of Beast. We headed over to Son of Beast, and as we were getting in line, one person of our group got a weather alert page. The page indicated that severe weather was due in our area in about an hour. That should be just about right, as should be heading to the Paramount Theatre for the "Night at the Paramount Theatre" but the rain may arrive first, so we could see it would be a race to get our ride and get back to the theatre. The line for Son of Beast was back to the tunnel under the service road. The group was guessing 20-30 minutes, but having just done this a week or so ago I know that 40-45 would be a closer guess. One of the benefits of being in a big group is the conversation makes the wait time just fly by. When we got to the top layer of the ramp queue, we could also kill some time by taking photos. We got a few drops of rain but nothing major. When we were almost up to the station, we got something else to watch and kill time. We saw a service truck pull up, a ride mechanic get out, take a wood ladder out of his truck and haul it up the long stiarcase up to the Son of Beast platform. He also pulled up some other stuff with a rope and pulley arrangement. We never did see what he was doing, and it didnt effect ride operation. We were glad to get under the station roof in case we did get a downpour. When it came time to choose seats our group filled rows 5.1, 5.2, and 6.1 of the blue train. More specifically I was in row 5.2. I was not exactly looking forward to it when the train left the station, we headed up the lift and after the ear splitting loud racket cresting the lift. I must admit that todays ride was better than my first ride, mainly due to the fact I followed the guideline "Don't let your back touch the seat back". As i said then the ride is great up the lift, down the first drop, up the second hill, its the Rose Bowl Helix where the ride turns into ShuffleMania. Yes, the train was still shuffling like mad, but keeping my back off the seat back and leaning forward while grabing tight to the grab bar seemed to help. When you get to the mid course brake, the brakes bring the train down to a crawl, which also seems to reset the train so the drop off the mid course, and the new track section are nice and smooth, but then the rest of the ride is all curves, so more shuffle action. We returned to the station and decided it wasn't that bad. After our Son of Beast ride, I would have liked to ride Top Gun, as the two rides seem meant to be ridden in a pair, and I had not yet ridden Top Gun today, but the majority voted for Adventure Express, so thats where we headed. I was glad to see I was not just imagining the improvements to Adventure Express. If we get the bell at the entrance to tunnell 1 ringing, and the spears popping out of tunnel 2 operating, I think we would almost have the entire package. After our Adventure Express ride it was almost 8, and even better it looks like that storm changed paths and will go north of the park. We headed to the Paramount Theater and joined the crowd waiting outside. After the audience had left after watching the 7:30 Endless Summer on Ice, we were admitted to the theatre. Almost everybody headed to the front of the theatre, which given the video nature of the presentation, may not have been the brightest move. First order of business were the general announcements, and the thanks to Josh,Don and Scott for having us. Scott was introduced as the manager of the Paramount Theatre, and has been very instrumental in getting KIC sneak peeks of upcoming shows, not only that he is letting us use his theatre tonight. Before we start the videos, it was time to talk about the scavenger hunt. We spent time discussing some items that generated interesting (but wrong) answers. It was also announced that the prizes were being slightly upgraded. First of all both the winner and the runner up would collect the same prize. That prize would be a PKI-Opoly and Viewmaster for each person, plus a collection of undisclosed promotional posters from the PR department. They talked about how they were worried they would end up with a five way tie or something like that, but were relieved when they had clear cut winners. Lets see it looks like a perfet score would be 51 points. It was revealed that the runner up scored 36 and the winner scored 38. Prizes were passed out, winners congratulated, and in a refreshing change in policy, they said the answers would be available as we left the theater. (In the past, the park did not reveal the answers in case they wanted to reuse the game) After the winners were announced it was time for the video presentations! "Roll that beautiful bean footage!" For the first video segment, they said that even though it is KI Central, they are working on some other related projects. One of those is LeSourdsville Lake, and that they were given special permission by Jerry Couch to walk through LeSourdsville Lake and take photos. So, they took the photos, and decided to share them with us. So after polishing it up into a video file, adding music and all that, it was time for the video. The introduction to the segment had me bracing for the worst. The slideshow started, and I realize I am no expert, but I didn't think the park looked near as bad as I feared. Sure there are some signs that look faded, are missing letters, or are broken. (Most tragically the Screechin' Eagle sign is broken in half. Some of the rides look like they were taken apart and stored, others look like they were left out to the elments. (Like the Pirat and the Carousel, but the Carousel is under a pavilion). The pool is drained as you might expect, and I can' tell if the lake was filled in, or just filled with the scum and alegy that collect when a body of water stands too long, particularly a man made body of water like that lake. The Belle of Lesourdsville has been taken out of the lake and is sitting up on its trailer. At the end of the show they showed the Screechin Eagle. It has been overtaken by brush, but it looks like it the brush was cleared the basic structure still stands. Of course I remember it cost a lot of money to get it running after sitting dormant for only 2 seasons, we are now up to 5 dark years. Again, it was depressing, but it didn't look near as bad as I had thought. I temper that comment with the fact that it was announced that video was only a teaser and that the photos shown were just the tip of the iceberg. We should keep our eyes peeled to see the rest of the photos. But hey, why should you be sitting there happy, let me bring you down too! KIC was nice enough to post this presentation on YouTube, and its link is: [/url] But we are at an amusement park, its time to get happy! Our next presentation comes to us from 2004. This video stars former PKI PR personalities Jeff and Maureen. Sadly, Maureen had other plans and was not present to witness this in perso. In 2004, working with the parks Viacom parents, they created a new attraction teaser video that was themed to imitate the famous Brady Bunch episode, "Cincinnati Kids". Maureen played Ma Brady and the three daughters, and Jeff played Mr. Brady, the three sons, and ALICE! Given their association with the time with Viacom, the opening and closing credits are spot on for Brady Bunch, except with Jeff and Maureen dressed up as all the characters for the opening credits, and of course their names in the closing credits. Okay, for the benefit of those who had not seen the original Brady Bunch episode, I am about to compare the two versions. I know the first time I saw the promo video at a different coaster event, I had not watched the original, or if I had, I did not remember it. So I failed to get the in jokes, but since then, thanks to cable and DVDs I have now seen the original Cincinnati Kids. Both versions start out with Mr. Brady announcing a surprise vacation to Cincinnati, in both cases the family is less than thrilled until they learn that his client is an amusement park. In the remake, to cover the fact that there are only two actors, the shot only shows the Brady parents, and not the children. Then the remake used vintage footage of the original for establishing shots of the park. This includes such things as the old front gate, a ride on the Bayern Curve, and of course the famous Racer ride. Gone from this segment are the subplots the original had. One subplot involved the children being admonished not to spoil their appetite on carnival junk food, as they had a big lunch planned, quickly followed by scenes of a pair of the children stopping at about every food stand they came across (and trying to justify each purchase), culminating meeting back up for lunch with a full belly. The other subplot was about the older Brady daughter flirting with the Football Toss operator, and subsequently following him even as he took a shift covering as a costume character, causing envy with one of the Brady sons, who bribes another costume character to borrow his costume. Someone did ask about this subplot after the video finished. What is important is the main plot, the family meets for lunch. During lunch one Brady daughter shows off a poster she had purchased at the park. Ma Brady looks concerned at this point, and well she should, I mean every seasoned park goer knows you wait till you are leaving the park to purchase souvenirs, particularly those which could be easily damaged. Actually, MA Brady does express concern about the poster getting damaged, and suggests that Mr. Brady loan the daughter one of his blueprint tubes. Not to over analyze this (Too Late!), but why is Mr. Brady carrying around a spare poster tube in the park, and if it wasn't a spare, if the blueprints, which mean big money, were valuable enough to put in two separate tubes, why merge them together just to protect a souvenir poster. Why, the plot of course, this allows the tubes to both be set under the table, and swapped, unbeknownst to their owners. Why Mr. Brady didn't check his tube before leaving the lunch table is beyond me, but I am paranoid that way. (Sorry, over analyzing again). Anyway, you know whats coming next, more footage of the family enjoying the park put up with footage of Mr. Brady in the boardroom delivering his introduction, opening the tube, and having to deal with the sickening realization that his plans are lost, vowing to get them back, and being giving a not too kind warning that the board has to leave in 2 hours. At this point, I like how the original has that shot of the girls commenting that they had lost the poster, but not to worry they can always buy another one. At this point Mr. Brady meets his wife at the front of the park, and may I point out the major continuity error. The whole premise of this recreation is that Mr. Brady delivers the plans for Italian Job, however before the board has seen the plans, there is an Italian Job preview center set up at the top of International Street. I know as a PR video they want to get the name of the new product out as much as possible, but its still a major continuity error. Anyway , just like in the original they split up to find the daughter, then when they find the daughter and learn the poster is lost, they split up to search the park for the poster tube, almost just like the original. The Football Toss game even gets a cameo appearance, as Mr. Brady finds one daughter at the Football Toss game, and when he alerts her to the problem, she says "I'll look, you play the game" And here, even with his job and career on the line, he takes valuable time to play the Football Toss game, badly. (Over Analyzing again, Sorry!) Since the Spinning Kegs ride is no longer there, they search the cars on the Monster, but we are all curious on the original the plans were found on the canoe ride, which has not been there in many years. Where will the plans be found? Well on Delirium, sitting between two seats. Alright, this is just laughable (as I go back into over analyzing mode), on the canoe ride there is no chance of the plans being flung from the ride (unless the canoe capsizes of course), and it is plausible that since the canoe was manned by a park furnished guide at all times, that guests might presume the tube was part of the ride, and belonged to the guide. Contrast to Delirum, that tube is gonna be flung from the ride on the first cycle. Thats if a rider or operator doesn't see it first since its glaring obvious and turn it into lost and found. Anyway, the tube is found, and we have the mad dash back to Mr. Brady, mimicking the nonsense route the original took. I mean the plans were found on Delirium, they are going to the administration building, and Alice is seen running out of Hana Barbera Land by Showplace? (And yes jumps two chain fences just like in the original) Anyway the plans are found, Mr. Brady is found, and the board is found on their way out of the park. In the original they take the plans with them and leave the park. We find out he was successful when Mr. Brady gets a phone call in the last scene. In this version, I suppose the board was lying about the two hours, as they all go back into the Administration Building and look at the plans. At this point the video changes to the Italian Job promotional video that was on the parks website, and released to the various media outlets. Its still fun to watch to see all the changes since the rides initial design. The most obvious is the bright yellow track was changed to gray to better simulate a roadway. Then it shows all the things that have gone wrong: the working headlights on the cars, the fogger in the long tunnel, a more impressive splashdown finale, the famous subway stair drop effect (bouncing the train) that never did come online, and the fishtailing that some deny works, and those that say it works says its so slight its barely noticeable. Speaking of changes, its too bad we could not have kept the Siebert shipping container in the show scene. So that video ends, and the crowd cheers, next its time for something much older. My friends, they presented what they think is the first ever POV footage of Beast. (Imagine assorted oohs and ahhs here). They could tell from the footage that it is no later than the 1979, and is beleived to have been shot during pre opening testing. The video will sort out the myths, once and for all as to what all has or hasn't changed with the ride. Let's take our video Beast ride, shall we? We are in the front seat and we start out heading out of the station and going over the former Beast lake under the queue area and lift approach. Note the absence of Vortex as you start up the lift. We can see that even back then the train was slowed down on the top of the first lift, and we can see that yes the brakes were there on the first drop. At the bottom of the first drop, we can see the mine tunnel theming was not in place at the tunnel entrance. We go through the first tunnel, round the first curve, and over hill 2, and is that a skid brake sitting there on hill 2? I could have sworn people keep saying these brakes were added much later. Over hill 3 and into the mid course brake run, not its just a covered section of flat track with a trim brake at the end, but it was intended as a block brake, and used to be lined the entire way with skid brakes, with kicker tires at the very end to get the train back up to speed after a dead stop. Like father, like son, I think Son lost its kicker tires on its mid course brake run this year. Coming out of the mid course, we round the corner and head towards the first real big change. In the video we go through a short concrete tunnel, the go around a horseshoe curve that is out in the open, then back through another short concrete tunnel. As most Beast riders now, those two short concrete tunnels have been made one long tunnel as the exposed section between them was tunneled with wood. We go through the meandering section as it hugs the ground in the speed run before coming up to lift 2. We noticed the service walkways to lift 2 were not yet installed, and it looks like there were no brakes on the big drop after lift 2. Of course, I may have been distracted from looking for those brakes by noticing the other major change. Originally the helix was NOT tunneled. (This itself, was as opposed to the artists rendering which showed a completely tunneled helix all the way around) Today, we have what must have been the compromise, which is the two short tunneled sections of the double deck tunnel on the helix. I also noted that despite rumours to the contraty the return to the station from the helix looks to be just as it is today, some claim there was another dip that was taken out. We come back into the station and instead of Tomb Raider, we see the Kenton's Cove Keelboat Canal. Following the on ride footage, there was lots of off ride footage of the train going around the course. This allowed for great views of the short lived 4-bench 4 car PTC train with each car a different color. Ironically the video looked steadier during the POV than the off ride footage. Next up was a promotional video for Tomb Raider the ride. This was done as a National Geographic special. We come across our exciteable explorer as he comes across the ride preview center at the park, and received the directions to see David Mandt. He goes to David Mand's office which is just filled with Tomb Raider posters, media kits, a coffee mug (which David drinks out of) and more, yet when our exciteable explorer asks about Tomb Raider, David acts like he had never heard of it. Looking about the office, our explorer is not buying it, but David sends him "on the other side of the park" Here he starts walking into the Tomb Raider cave where he finds a video. Remember the park was real hush hush about what Tomb Raider really was. They establish that its NOT a coaster, its NOT a simulator (but it shows footage of a Traver Rocket ride, not a simulator) it's a "Highly Themed, Fully Immersive Dark Ride Adventure" a catchphrase they repeat numerous times. When the video acts like its going to show the ride, the video experiences "technical difficulties" and abbruptly ends. Hmm, that fits the way the ride is currently running to a T. Next up was another promo video, this one for Son of Beast. It is done in Blair Witch Project style. Two ACE members went hunting for the Son of Beast, they were never seen again, a few days later this footage was found... They are looking for Son of Beast and come across a wood coaster, but sadly discover its only Beastie (Not the right Beast), they try again, and you guessed it they come across Beast (Not the right Beast), at the end they come across the construction site of a partially costructed Son of Beast, point out some key features, till they come across "Son of Beast" the creature lurking in the woods, which brings an abrupt end to this video. The final video, weighing in at 20-25 minutes long is our feature presentation. It is the video they showed in the Beast queue in 2004 (and possibly a year or two thereafter). Its the Beast 25th anniversary video. Tracking the Beast project clear back to the building of the Racer (and telling about Don Helbig's 12,000 rides, stand up and be acknowledged Don!), then to the planning, design and construction of the Beast, to Beast opening day. It tells the Beast story and hs interviews with the then president of ACE Carole Sanderson, then ACE PR person Sean Flaherty, Don Helbig, Carl Eichman (the Beast Tamer) and more. It's a great video for anyone curious about the Beast story. I noticed they trimmed off the ending where they used to say "In 2000, the Beast had a Son, and it shows a glimpse of Son of Beast "But, thats a different story!" But if a picture is worth 1,000 words, then a 20 minute video is worth about a zillion words. Here, on Google Video is the Beast 25th Anniversary video: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7289711399869627611 After the Beast video, "Night at the Paramount Theatre" was over, please exit quickly but carefully, being sure to grab your scavenger hunt answers on the way out. See everybody at the Beast at park close. This event was great, very well done guys. This left about 40 minutes to explore the park. Earlier this week, Don promised that if Extreme Skyflyer was $10 or less, he would try it. It was, so thats where we headed. Don and I arrived back at Extreme Skyflyer, and noted the $10 special was still in effect. We walk over to the ticket booth, and the ticket booth is empty. Geez, I hope Skyflyer isn't all sold out for the night. A few minutes later the person selling the videos comes to the ticket window, and $20 later we have a double flyer ticket. Oh, we also learn that tickets are sold clear up to park close, and at park close they will stay open until all ticketed riders have flown. Don and I get in line, and find only 1 group ahead of us at the gate. We are soon invited into the harness shelter. We are first offered the chance to stow loose articles in the cubbyholes in the harness shelter. I don't usually leave loose items behind, but in this case, only crew and flyers can get near the cubbyholes, there aren't many people allowed in the area, and there are at least three crew mambers manning the harness shelter at all times. I'll risk it. So while we are stowing our loose articles, the crew is setting out two red flight suits for our use, So, I figure this is at least my 13th or so Skycoaster flight, so by now, it the usual drill. Legs in leg loops, pull up like a pair of pants, clap hands together, dive through mess of straps, tick arms out through shoulder holes. Now stand at attention, and hold harness tight to chest while the crew goes behind you and adjusts and tightens things up. Okay grab hold of your foot bar, and proceed to the line next to the boarding gate. We get in line at the boarding gate, and we must have arrived at the tail end of a crowd, as they lookedto have just reopened Flight Area 2. A crew member comes out and splits up the line, sending every other group over to Area 2. We are amongst the groups heading to area 2. It winds up we are group 3 so there is one being hooked up to the cables, one on deck, and then us. Now, I know we all have occasionally had morbid senses of humour, but once the group on deck is invited in, Don and I discuss the fatal accident on Air Glory, a bad Skycoaster knock off ride. Oh well, it kills the time. Beofre we get invited in, a check of the harness and its adjustents is made while still outside the flight area, then we are invited into the flight area. We wait next to the lift under instructed to board. We board the lift go up, watch the group in front of us recover from their flight. Flyers change places, put feet on the foot bars, and then we are attached to the flight cables. The next part is what I call the "Connection Integrity Test", thats where they drop the lift down about halfway, and since you can no longer touch the floor it has a gallows like effect, and you are hung, literally. Well not by the next, but by the harness, so you fall forwards and feel a slight jerk as you are caught by the cable and harness. Some say thats even worse than the real fall. Now the winch cable is attached, and everything is double checked. Then the lift goes down all the way, the previous group exits, the crew gets out of the way and the winch starts winching. I must say it was a bit unsettling when I thought I heard the harness straps on my harness groan as we were winched up to the top. We could also see the construction site for the mystery building in Action Zone, but the lighting on it wasn't too good tonight. And my this whole experience just seems to go by faster and faster each time, I remember my first flight everything seemed to take an eternity, Soon we are at the top and the countdown is given. A few seconds later, I gently tug the ripcord, which sets this whole exercise in potential and kinetic energy into motion. First the big breathtaking drop, then its a swing ride. We seemed to be in spin ride mode, as we seemed to spin around on the cables the whole time we were swinging. Coolness, I love the added bonus. I knew we must have been off kilter as we kept wanting to rotate around while they were getting us ready down on the lift. All in all, it was a fu ride, and Don proclaimed it better than his first ever Skycoaster ride (this was #2). He was a bit nervous on the way up. So grab hold of the lander, and grab hold with all your strenght and then some. We stop, kick off the foot bars, the lift is brought up and we try to stand ourselves up. Interestingly, the way we are standing, I could watch the main cables being disconnected. Two locking caribeaners (Air Glory only used one). The important part was they were locked. So we get disconnected, change places. When the lift lowers we are free to exit out of the flight area to the access path back to the harness shleter. We return to the harness shack, the straps are loosened and we are helped out of the harnesses. Harnesses returned, we reclaimed our loose articles from the cubyhole, exit the ride area and forget to check our video. We have less than 10minutes till park close. We first head for Delirium, even enter its queue, and I find its queue maze half full. Thats at least 30 minutes, which is too long. We bail out of Delirium, and wind up heading to Vortex. The Vortex line wasn't long at all not even filling up its permanent queue area, but the station switchbacks were still in use We wound up scoring a back seat ride, with the fireworks starting one train before ours. Where Firehawk is good for watching fireworks while riding, Vortex is bad as you always seem to be pointed the wrong way, Anyway, it was another good ride. We head to Beast and join the crew waiting outside Beast entrance for the Beast queue to clear out. The lanyard said 10-10:15ish, and it wound up being more like 10:30 until the Beast queue was clea. We did have to deal with one obnoxious group of guests that razzed us for waiting for a closed ride. "You guys aren't going to get to ride tonight, Y'all are stupid" Unfortunately the ride entrance reopened for us just about 2 minutes after that incident, that would have been icing on the cake had we been let in right as they were razzing us. "Well, actually, we are!" I heard there was an upset guest who saw some people jump into the queue at unauthroized places after it had reopened for us, mainly becuase their family was not admitted due to not haing the lanyard. That situation was handled easily, one cell phone call uptot he station meant that lanyards would be checked again as you boarded the train, There will be no free rides here. We entered the queue area, and I get the feeling we were moved into the queue area in case the razzing and so forth from the regular park guests got worse. That was because, as we were being let into the queue area, Beast was still cycling regular guests, and we were held at the bottom of the ramp between queue areas 2 and 3. There was some intersting R-rated conversation going on, "They stuck a string of christmas lights WHERE, and then they PLUGGED THEM IN!!!???!!" When it was time, we were admitted through the "Front of Train" side of the rampup to the station, and lanyards were rechecked before getting into the seat lanes. We wound up in seat 1.2 of the middle train. There happened to be few enough people that everybody could be accomodated in three trains. Therefore it was announced that everybody would be sent around TWICE. I like them rerides without even getting out of the seat. Now, why is that one click on the lapbar has been fine all season, and it would be fine on the night of August 18, but tonight during the event ERT, its a two click minimum. Beast was showing its good side tonight, as it was running partcualrly well. Not too rough, good speed, and the first half of the ride up until the second lift had very few lights, and before tunnel 2 had no lights. Don't worry, they made up for it, they have added two very high beam spotlights on the second lift hill. I mean divert your eyes or they may blind you spotlights. Man, those suck, I closed my eyes until we were halfway up the lift. Through that wonderfully intense helix, into the final brakes and into the station, We stop in the station in case anybody wants to change seats. Chivlary is still alive, as those in the front seat were willing to trade seats with someone else. Wow, here we go on our reride, even better than the first ride, and I close my eyes as we start to approach lift 2. That light has got to GO! We return to the station, and exit the ride. The Beast crew thanks us, and we head to the Beast exit ramp. Park security is holding everybody on the Beast exit ramp, and will then escort us to the front gate after everybody has finished riding. I took the time then to thank Don, Josh, Dane, and Ryan for the wonderful event, and I will do so again here. Thanks guys for the fantastic day. KIC's first event was a lot of fun and a great time. After everybody;'s Beast rides were over we were escorted to the front gate, We did pause at Eiffel Tower, and at that time there was another chance to get scavenger hunt answer keys. We were then walked to the front gate area just in time to fall in behind the last of the regular park guests. I did duck into the restroom where at least 4 or 5 guys from restroom crew had that look of "I though the park was closed, we just finished cleaning this restroom for the night, and here comes another group of guests" Sorry, guys! From there it was the walk out to the car, saying goodbye to coaster friends and heading home. Next Up: "Kings Island with Wierd Al - Watch for it!
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