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5-27-2012: My second visit

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Kings Island trip report 5-27-2012


Everywhere I go I tend to take lots and lots of photos, especially Kings Island. My friends see these pictures and always talk about getting a season pass so that they can experience the fun that I seem to be having. One friend, who I call Banks, decided to take the plunge this year and get himself a Gold Pass. On one hand I was very excited by the idea of having someone new to hang with at the park, but on the other hand, I worried that the amount of fun to be had might not live up to the expectations my photos may have painted. After all, people usually pose and smile for photos, so they don’t capture the waiting in line, burning up in the heat, running out of things to talk about while your standing in line, or occasionally getting nauseas from riding too much. The park is fun, no doubt, or I wouldn’t keep going back, but just like a good movie, sometimes it can get over hyped to where it can’t live up to the expectations created.


We got to the park about 5:30 P.M. on this Sunday afternoon. The first order of business was for Banks to buy his Gold Pass and get it processed. I walked over to the fence and took pictures of the newly painted Invertigo while he waited in line. I think it took about twenty minutes from purchase to card in hand. Banks was really impressed with the speed in which this was accomplished. He said it took about two hours to get his Coney Island season pass bought and processed.


We entered the gate and took a picture of ourselves in front of the fountain with the tower in the background. I do love how you enter under the old International Restaurant and make your way out into the sunshine with the fountains spraying, the music blaring and the Eiffel Tower reaching up into the sky. It’s like stepping out of the shadows into another world. Although I like when they have the classic rock playing, I do miss the more area specific music. The more brass band type stuff they used to play on International Street made it feel even more like you were stepping into another world, or at least an exotic city in another country.


Since Banks had not been to the park in almost a decade, it was decided that Diamondback should be the first ride of the day. Because the wait in line was so long this evening we did not try to get the very front or back, we just took whichever seat had the least amount of people waiting for it, which I think was third from the back. It was a great ride and I think it might be Banks’ new favorite roller coaster, dethroning Vortex from that position. Although Diamondback lived up to the hype for Banks, I did feel a bit embarrassed when he saw how gross the headrests were on the trains. Is there some kind of rule that prevents employees from carrying a bucket full of soap detergent and a scrub brush up to the train after it powers down for the night? Just once every week or two would make a big improvement.


Banks wanted to take a ride on Vortex next, to see if it still holds up to what he remembers, but we took a detour to The Beast since we were passing by that area. I keep hearing people rave about how much smoother The Beast has become since they did some re-tracking this past winter, but honestly, I could not tell a difference. I personally do not mind the roughness. Banks, however, said that he wouldn’t be riding it again. He contributes this decision to being older and his body not being able to handle it any more. Although I agree that it’s pretty rough, I don’t think it is that bad. I will be riding it again.


We passed by Back Lot Stunt Coaster but the line for that one was crazy long, so we kept on trucking until we came to Vortex, which surprisingly, also had a line that was much longer than what I have come to expect. Normally, with a line this long, I would skip Vortex and hit it up on another day, but Banks really wanted to ride it so we went for it.


Vortex used to be one of my favorites as well, but in the last few years it has started making me nauseous. I cannot ride it and Flight Of Fear back to back, or with Firehawk back to back. If I do, I will need to sit down for about an hour. If I ride these three coasters spaced apart over the course of the day then my nauseous feeling isn’t as bad and I’m usually ready to keep riding by the time I get through whatever line we wind up standing in next. It was just four seasons ago I could marathon Vortex and ride it four or five times in a row, but now days, once a visit is enough.


Although Vortex is a bit more rough than he remembered, Banks still enjoyed it. Not as much as Diamondback, though.


Since we were there, we went ahead and took a spin on Windseeker. Banks did not like this at all. It spun just fast enough to make him feel seasick. To be honest, I was feeling a bit ill too. Our wait for windseeker was not very long so some of the motion sickness I was currently feeling could have still been lingering from Vortex.


Banks had never ridden Firehawk and really wanted to try that one next. Now me personally, I have always hated Firehawk. It makes me feel sick more than any other ride in the park. However, I still end up riding it four or five times a year and today was going to be the first time this year.


While standing in line, I instructed Banks how he can put his cell phone in his back pocket and not lose it. I’ve done this every time I’ve ridden Firehawk and have not lost a phone yet. Banks followed my instructions and it worked like a charm… for him. As I headed down the steps, after getting off the ride, I reached around to my back pocket only to find that my phone was gone. I quickly turned around and ran back up the steps, hoping I might find it lying in the seat, but it was not there.


One of the female ride operators gave me a sympathetic ear and had a ‘lost item’ form for me to fill out. She told me that they search the yard every night after the ride powers down and that I should visit the Lost and Found booth around 10:30 p.m. to see if it was recovered. It didn’t bother me so much that I lost the phone, but having to go to my friend who gave me the phone and tell him that I lost it was the part that I was dreading.


Banks got out his cell phone and called mine, but instead of ringing it just went strait to voice mail. That means the phone was probably smashed and not even worth recovering, but if I could at least salvage the chip and battery out of it then I could use them both in my back up phone. I wouldn’t have to go back and re-enter all of those numbers that are saved on my phone chip.


Feeling a bit defeated, we continued on our way up Coney Mall looking for the next ride. It sucked that I lost my phone but that was no reason to stop having fun. We soon found ourselves boarding The Racer.


Thinking back, I cannot remember which train we rode, but I’m thinking it was the Red one. I wish I could remember for sure so I could warn you of how that train will beat you worse than The Beast. I’m pretty sure I lost about 2 inches of height due to my spine getting compressed on this coaster. Once again, Banks vowed to never ride a coaster again, adding the Racer to his list with The Beast. I, however, will ride it again someday so that I can make a note of which train is the rough train, or to see if it was just some kind of fluke and not nearly as bad as I’m remembering.


Banks told me that he had never ridden Flight Deck before, which surprised me, so we started our hike to Kings Island’s back 40. My shoes were starting to hurt my feet by this point and I was not enjoying the 100 mile walk to the Flight Deck station, but I suffered in silence because Banks was looking forward to his first ride.


As we exited Flight Deck I was thinking that I was done with rides for the day. Between not having eaten and the heat, not to mention haven ridden Firehawk too soon after Vortex, I was not feeling so good. I was expecting Banks to suggest Invertigo since we were on this side of the park and it was one of the only two big coasters we had not ridden today (The other being Flight Of Fear). Surprisingly, Banks instead suggested that we just go sit down for a while and relax until 10:30 rolls around, and then we could hit up Lost And Found.


As we passed Delirium Banks told me that there is no way I will ever get him on that. I told him that I wasn’t up for a ride on it today, but he really ought to ride it at least once. It’s not like it’s going to hurt him and it’s a totally different experience from other rides that spin. After considering it for a moment, he said next time he will give it a chance and ride it at least once.


We took seats at a table right outside the Skyline Chili on International Street. I’ve always enjoyed sitting around the Royal Fountain. With the music, fountains and the colorful lights at night, it has the most festive feeling of all the areas in the park.


After some reminiscing of the good old days, we decided to take a walk back to the Snoopy Starlight Spectacular and maybe get our pictures taken with a Peanut character. Unfortunately, if there were any characters out tonight they were already gone. We did, however, stick around and watch the fireworks from here. The fireworks seem more spectacular somehow when watching them from amidst trees filled with the blue glow of Christmas Lights.


With approximately 30 minutes left to kill, before we were to check in with Lost And Found, we wandered back down International Street towards the front gate, exploring the gift shops along the way.


Rather than work our way up through the shops on the other side of International Street, we decided instead to have a seat on the wall in front of the fountain. Banks and I are both getting old and we need to sit down a lot these days. As we approached the wall I noticed a little kid, about 7 years old, standing next to the a sunglasses kiosk holding a pair of sunglasses. The kid looked from left to right and then took off running with the sunglasses in hand. He ran to his Mother and older brother, who were sitting more towards the center of the wall, and handed his mother the glasses. I looked at Banks and asked, did that kid just steal those glasses? As we sat down, the mother and brother were both starring towards the kiosk with their mouth agape, like they were shocked. Banks then replied, “From the looks on their faces, I would say that they are wondering the same thing.” I flagged over the guy working the kiosk and told him what we saw, but stressed that I did not actually see the kid take the glasses from the display, only run with a pair. There is a chance he might have already been holding his own pair, despite the fact that there is one empty slot on the kiosk were a pair of sunglasses should be. When the mother saw us talking to the employee and pointing in her direction, she sent the young boy off into the crowds were he quickly disappeared. The employee thanked us for telling him what we saw, shook my hand and said he was going to call security and let them know what happened. We sat there for about 15 more minutes and I never did see security or any other employee approach the mother and brother. They were still sitting there when we walked away, minus the 7 year old. It’s so sad that this mother basically chose to cover up the theft rather than return the glasses and teach her son that taking things that don’t belong to him is wrong. 15 years from now he’ll be on his way to jail and she will be blaming his downfall on everyone but her own self.


I was really surprised by the long line at the Lost And Found window. I guess I’m not the only “looser” in the park today. I watched as some people recovered their lost items and others left disappointed. The Firehawk people showed up and I was feeling optimistic that my cell phone would be inside the bag of found goods, but my optimism proved to be a bit immature. They did have a Samsung the same color as mine, but it was not my phone.


I tried calling the park a few days later but gave up after the automated answering system kept me on hold forever. Then I swung by one evening only to discover that the park was still closing at 8 P.M. on weeknights, so I was about 90 minutes too late. To this day the phone still has not been recovered. Although I suspected it to have been smashed when it hit the ground, I’m sure it has been rained on and chopped up by a lawnmower since. I guess one lost cell phone out of the last 5 years I’ve been carrying one to the park isn’t too bad, especially considering how often I go to the park. At least that is what I was thinking at the time. This summer would actually prove to be a bad year for me an electronic devices.

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Enjoyed this very much, Mr. Roberts. I didn't at first look at the date at the top and when I saw the mention of heat I freaked, then looked at the date. As we get older, ha ha, we do tend to start becoming nauseated - many of us - on some rides. I gave up the ones that went around long ago. It does seem like a hundred mile walk to Flight Deck, doesn't it? At least it's nicely landscaped along the way. I think most people lose something at the park sooner or later if you go much at all. And as for that woman letting her kid get away with stealing - you're absolutely right. That's how they learn the wrong ways and end up behind bars......sad but it happens all the time. Sitting by the fountain on International Street has for decades been my favorite place to relax, and I agree about the music as well. It also seems to have gotten much louder in the past few years - not like there's not enough noise from all the people - they could stand to turn it down a bit. Anywhere near the speakers one could go deaf quickly.


Wonder how many cell phones, etc. are squashed into the dirt and leaves in the woods around the coasters? Eons from now some human - if we still exist - may dig them up and wonder what they are.

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I was originally planing on writing a trip report for each visit, but it takes me such a long time to finish them. This one only took me nearly five months.

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