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Opening Day! 4-28-2012

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As soon as I climbed into my van, the rain started coming down hard. My friend had “forgot” about this being Kings Island opening day and made other plans, so I wasn’t sure if I was going to go ahead by myself or not. I had been waiting for a dark rainy day to go to a grave yard in the East Fork Lake area to shoot some photos. That sounded like a better option for spending the afternoon alone than standing in line by myself, but as lighting flashed all around me and the thunder cracked right over my head, I decided to go on to Kings Island. I would save the grave yard for a warmer day and when standing out in the rain would be less uncomfortable, not to mention that Kings Island has various shelters to help keep dry.

 

As I pulled into the parking lot of the park the rain had subsided considerably. By the time I parked and got out of the van it had stopped raining altogether. The Honey Suckle bushed that I passed, by the bus parking, smelled very good, although quite strong.

 

First thing I noticed while approaching the front entrance was that the Dinosaurs Alive sign over the gate seemed to be the same from last year and was looking quite faded. Perhaps it was the grey sky that was making it lack any luster but it sure did look weather beat today. The next thing I noticed was that the metal detectors were gone. This really opens the area up and takes away the eye sore, but I wondered to my self if they were gone for good or if the new ones just hadn’t arrived yet.

 

I grabbed a new park flyer/ map and stopped to admire the fountain. I did not see the dinosaur in front of the fountain move during this visit but the fountain was looking nice as always.

 

As I walked up the left side of Main Street, I spied a stuffed Jawa and a Darth Vader action figure carrying case in a store window. It was a new 80’s store and they had lots of cool retro shirts inside, although I think $22.00 for a printed t-shirt is quite expensive. They also had stuffed Fraggles! I still have my original stuffed Fraggles from the 80’s and they look more authentic than these newly manufactured ones, but the 80’s store also had a stuffed Doozer, Sprocket the dog and Junior Org, none of which I had ever seen made into stuffed animals before. Actually, I think I may have seen a stuffed Doozer once, but I don’t own one.

 

Once finished with checking out the store, I started making my way towards the Eiffel Tower but got side tracked when I notice the 2:00 Peanuts Party On the Plaza was about to start. It was a very simple yet fun show, although I felt bad for the none costumed dancers who were probably freezing in their thin summer costumes. Come July, when its 90 degrees out and humid as hell, I’ll feel sorry for the dancing costumed actors instead.

 

The elevator let me out on the lower level of the observation deck. I’m guessing they were using the lower level rather than the upper one because of the rain earlier. I didn’t think the weather was too bad up here at first but after approximately 8 minutes I had to pull my hoodie up. At first I didn’t know if the temperature was dropping or if it was just me being exposed to the wind for too long, but I eventually realized, as the day went on, that it really was getting colder.

 

I had planed on taking a ride on Diamondback next but I could see from the tower that the queue was about half full. Although I’ve learned that the Diamondback line moves pretty quickly, it still looked too long to be standing in line all by myself. If my friend had come with me today I wouldn’t have thought twice about getting in line.

 

Once down from the tower I started to make my way into planet Snoopy. From the tower I had seen Surf Dog running with no people on it and I considered walking over to ride that, but then I thought about how big of a loser I might look being the only person on the entire ride. So I pretty much talked myself out of riding that.

 

As I was passing the Great Pumpkin Coaster, I looked up and noticed that the flags with the Peanut characters on them were also very faded and at least one of them even had a small hole worn into it. I wondered if they had been left up the entire winter.

 

By the time I had gotten to Diamondback the queue was about a third full. It was a weird day because the park was not at all crowded but the rides had very long lines. Seems just about everyone who braved this wet and chilly day were ride warriors and not all that many sightseers.

 

Moving on past Diamondback, I decided to give the train a go since my Dollywood Express experience was still fresh in my mind. There wasn’t much of a line either, which was a big plus. Although I really enjoy riding the Kings Island train, Cinderella at Dollywood is so much faster and powerful that I think it has the advantage.

 

As we passed Boomerang Bay I was disappointed to see it still pretty much looked like Boomerang Bay. They have a lot of painting to do before it opens in May.

 

Once I unboarded the train I tried to get a picture of the Blue engine but it had pulled up to far behind the Potato Works, so there was no way to get in front of it. The Crypt was closed off and blocked with a photo booth, so there wouldn’t be getting any pictures from its exit queue. I decided to wait for the next train but it once again pulled up behind the Rivertown Potato Works. Figuring this was not an accident and the train would continue to pull up behind the restaurant, I instead back tracked to the White Water Canyon entrance and waited for the train on the bridge. Not as close as I would have liked but the photo came out pretty good, regardless.

 

I was amazed at how many groups of kids passed me on their way to ride the White Water Canyon on such a cold day, especially since it was obvious at this point that it was only getting colder.

 

Seeing that the bottom queue was full at The Beast and the line was spilling out of the entrance and into the open area, I once again decided that this line was too long to stand in by myself. Actually, this line might have been too long to stand in regardless, so I headed up past Back Lot Stunt Coaster, which also had too long of a line to stand in by myself. The heat from that fire explosion sure would have felt good on a day like this, though.

 

I stopped and watched the trains go by on Vortex for a while. Mostly I was thinking about where to get a buddy to stand one day to get a good picture of me on the ride. I also noticed that one of the supports in the corkscrew really shakes when a train goes through it. No doubt it’s designed to do that so it doesn’t break but I had never noticed it before today. I would have still rode it but the line was almost out to the end of the wall and that was way too much of a wait, being by myself. Its not like I’m missing out because I can come back with my season pass anytime.

 

I made my way up Coney Mall, not even detouring to check out Firehawk or Flight Of Fear, only to find that the Racer line was pretty long as well. Of course I did not know that the station is opened up now (no separating fence) and the one line now serves both Red and Blue racer, thus cutting the wait in half, or I might have went for it.

 

Seeing that Delirium had a pretty long wait I decided to give up on rides for awhile and get warm in the Festhaus instead. As luck would have it, I was just in time for the 3:30 show of British Invasion.

 

I really enjoyed seeing the dancers strut around in their Union Jack tops and white Go-Go Boots. The songs were fun and the cast did a good job, although about a third of the show is dedicated to The Beetles and another third to Elton John, leaving just a third for everyone else. I’m not complaining though, because all the songs were good and these were some well done covers.

 

I recognized one of the performers as the lead vampire in the last Haunt’s production of Hot Blooded. I think I might have seen in the front row, the guy who runs the website Fans Of Kings Island Entertainment. I thought about going up and introducing myself but decided not to once the show ended and the cast came down for the meet and greet. I just figured there was too much going on already and will perhaps approach him some other time.

 

When I came out of the Festhaus, I saw that the Delirium line had since doubled. As I entered Action Zone, I once again noticed that all the signs were faded and dull. I made my way back to Invertigo and checked out the new paint job. It’s looking like a brand new coaster. I took a few photos and started heading towards the front gate. I noticed that Stunt Crew Grill was open for business and I couldn’t remember ever seeing it open before. I’m sure I have been there when it was open but I only remember it being closed.

 

As I passed the Kings Island Theater I was contemplating what to do next. I was thinking of going ahead and jumping in line for Diamondback even if the line were to still be long. I ended the 2011 season with my last ride on Diamondback so why not start 2012 with it being my first coaster? Just then one of my friends called my cell. I ducked back into the locker area by the front gate so that I could hear him over the music. He wanted to treat me to a showing of Cabin In The Woods at Rave theater in Milford. How can I say no to a free horror movie? So about 4:45 I left the park.

 

I only had $4.00 to my name and I had been checking out food prices, off and on, throughout the day, but the only thing I could find to eat for under four bucks was a small Dip-N-Dots ($3.99) which I didn’t think was going to fill me up, so I stopped at McDonalds on my way to Milford. Long live the dollar menu!

 

The new shows were fun and I like the 80’s store, but for being the 40th Anniversary, there really wasn’t anything of any major significant that was different. Besides painting Invertago blue, it looks like the park just flipped off the switch when they closed last October and flipped it back on this morning. I enjoyed myself, but it was more like just another day at the park rather than a 40th Anniversary day at the park. We still have a whole summer ahead so hopefully as the weather gets warmer things will pick up and feel more Anniversary-ish.

 

Scott

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Excellent report, Mr. Roberts. Enjoyed it all. I have only seen Stunt Crew Grill open one time in all the years it's been called that. Got overpriced and not very good food, but then all food at amusement parks is overpriced. That's why so many of us eat away from the park or "tailgate" picnic in the lot. Lots of cheap fast food nearby. Tee shirts, etc. are way more expensive than at a regular store but of course can't get park gear anywhere else if you want it - I don't bother anymore. Too much already. Sorry to hear the signs are faded; maybe they'll replace or repair as time goes by. Have seen pictures of Invertigo and it looks good. Looking forward to seeing the British Invasion show; some of my favorite music. I feel sorry for the performers too - seems to be either too cold or too hot; they have to be miserable most of the time, but it's a job and good experience if they're going into the entertainment field. Not surprised about kids on White Water Canyon - don't know how they can stand it - seems there's a lot of kids there on cold days who are so cold they're practically purple - where are their parents letting them come so unprepared for the weather? And I think it's a huge mistake removing the metal detectors - it's a dangerous world out there. Hope they replace them. And hope you enjoyed the movie - saw the trailer - looks interesting. Thanks for all the great info. Awaiting rainy day pics - some of my favorites.

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Thanks for the feedback. Unfortunately it didn't rain while I was there. Just before I got there and after I left.

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