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Kings Island; 4-16-2016

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I really didn't think I was going to get a season pass this year. I am so deep in medical debt that I didn't have the money to buy one and with my medical issues I didn't know if I would be able to use it much even if I did get one. Having the great friends that I do, they came through for my Birthday with the money to renew for the 2016 season. My friends are the best!


They actually gave me enough money that I could even upgrade to a Platinum pass or get the food pass add on. I wasn't all that crazy about the park food when I had the food add on in 2014, but then I remembered someone telling me that the park had added on some more restaurant choices since I last had it, including Coney Fries. Last haunt, one of my friends got a bacon cheese fry that she shared with me that was so good that I went for the food pass just so that I could eat my fill of this Coney fries delicacy... In retrospect, should have gotten the Platinum pass instead.


It's now opening day of the park and I quickly renew my pass before running out the door. I pull into the fancy new parking lot entrance only to discover that in my rush to leave, I accidentally left my Gold pass on my computer desk. I only live about 25 minutes away, so I thought I would just turn around and go home to retrieve it. The only problem is that there is no way to turn around once you get into the entrance lane. I had to use my debt card to pay parking which I could then go up to the ticket sales booth to get my money back. I could have just as easily forgotten my debit card also, since that is what I used to renew my pass on line. What would have happened then? Would I just have to abandon my car at the gate?


The good news is that I could use my gold Pass information to get a day ticket, so I would not need to drive all the way home and back, but the line to get that day ticket and to get my parking money refunded was well over an hour.


Once inside the park I started making my way back to Diamondback to meet my friend, who has been waiting patiently for me this whole time. The first thing I notice is that both LaRosa's and skyline on International Street have lines out the doors. Everyone seemed to be taking advantage of their food pass on this opening day. I made my way around the corner and Chick-Fil-A also had huge lines in front of it. It looked like at least an hour wait for all three of these eateries. It's not often you see lines at the restaurants that are as long as the lines for the roller coasters.


I meet up with my friend and we get in line for Diamondback. It's over a two hour wait. Despite having just stood in line for over an hour at the ticket sales booth, the first hour of waiting for diamondback is not too bad. The next half hour I become really uncomfortable from standing for that long, but the last half hour is pure agony. Standing on concrete for that long is Hell on the old hernia and back. (Side note: it is a water hernia brought on by Ascites, no intestine poking through, so my doctor said it was okay to ride everything except for the water slides where you lay down as opposed to riding a raft).


When I finally got to the coaster train I was so looking forward to finally sitting down, but then I was totally grossed out by how filthy the seats were. Black grime from people's hair and hands... it is pretty disgusting. It seemed like the park was trying to keep up with the seat grime in the last few seasons but this year (and I guess the end of last year) they just stopped worrying about it again. It's a shame considering how clean the rest of the park is, that they let this one black eye go untreated.


Once off the ride, we decide to go eat. Being so close to the bacon cheese fries, it's the obvious choice for me. So, I limp to the Coney Cut fries in Rivertown, anticipating the treat I have been waiting all winter to try again... only to discover that the bacon cheese fries is not on the food pass menu... just chicken tenders and corn dog bites. It's my own fault for just assuming and not researching what is available with the food pass, but I am so crushed and disappointed that I cannot even begin to tell you. So far, this day has just sucked... first world problems, I know.


So we make our way up past Back Lot Stunt Coaster and I limp the length of Coney Mall until we come to Hank's Burritos, where we meet up with a third friend. Hank's, being the first restaurant to close in the park every day, has already shut their doors, but they probably have a good twenty minutes worth of customers inside still waiting to be served. I'm just glad to be able to sit down at a table for a few minutes while my two friends talk.


Soon, my third friend's husband returns from Festhaus with two of their four kids. Apparently, the line was so long at the Festhaus that he gave up and abandoned his place in line. He's hoping that he will get to stop at Larosa's or skyline on the way out, but those two locations can get quite crowded at closing. They are always the last two restaurants to close in the evening and everyone wants to use their food pass that one last time before heading home for the evening.


Parting ways with our mutual friend and her husband, we head to the Chicken shack in Action Zone. This is my friend’s favorite restaurant and it used to be mine as well, but with the Ascites, I'm not supposed to be eating a whole lot of salt, and Chicken shack is about as salty as you can get.


The line isn't as bad as it has been at the other eateries that we have passed, so I throw caution to the wind and commit to the Chicken Tenders, garlic bread and seasoned French fries. Before I even get close enough to the counter to order, the Chicken shack runs out of chicken, but quickly brings in a new batch. I see the cook pick up a good sized seasoning salt shaker and shakes a nice thick coat over the freshly cooked tenders. As soon as I see this, I know I'm going to regret eating this... and I was correct.


The food does taste good, although not as good as I remember it tasting in 2014. The meat was very dry and over cooked. Normally one would expect the food to be great because it is opening day and everyone is excited for their new job, but this was more like "end of the season" chicken after all the employees are burned out and ready for the job to end already.


After I leave the park I stop at the Meijer store on Fields-Ertel on the way home. It is the last night of their "Buy 10, get an 11th one free" sale. Before I even get out of the store all my muscles in my hands, arms and legs start cramping and locking up. It's like having Charlie Horses in all of your limbs at the same time and there is nothing you can do except ride it out for the 45 minutes or more until it passes. In the past, I only get these cramps when I lie down or relax. This is the first time that I have ever experienced this while walking. I was starting to worry that I might need to be carried out of the store. I had never had it this severe before. This is my life now if I eat too much salt. Needless to say, I haven't had The Chicken Shack again. Just for the record, just because I can no longer eat it doesn't necessarily mean that you shouldn't. It still is the best value in the park for what you pay.


So over all, my first day at Kings Island was pretty awful, to no fault of the park. I really should have checked what the food options were before buying that food pass and it is just my own misfortune that I forgot my season pass and I spent most of my visit in just two different lines. If given the opportunity down the road, however, I think I will go with a Platinum Pass rather then get the food pass add on. I have never been to Cedar Point but would like to while I'm still healthy enough to ride coasters.

They really need to get back to cleaning the seats on the rides though. Gross.

Edited by SSR1966
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Enjoyed all this information, Mr. Roberts. Sorry about the food issues; I don't think there is any park food anywhere that is actually healthy. Maybe a salad with no dressing if you can eat that; I can't. There is now not a single item there that I can eat......limited to about six items at home, nothing at all from out, water and skim milk. No fat, no sugar, no salt, no fiber. Tain't' fun, I can tell you. Better than waking up dead, though. Boring as it gets. Salt is very dangerous for many reasons and I know everything there is salty or sweet or fat. You might try telling them you have special dietary needs and ask if they can prepare something without seasoning. Never hurts to ask and they should be able to accommodate that. Or take something from home that is safe. I know how difficult it is.


So glad you have such good friends; it makes a difference in quality of life. Maybe if you go when lines are long you should consider using a scooter to protect your health. And I'm quite sure your doctors will quality you for a wheelchair parking placard. Get one and USE it. You need to. Please don't push yourself too far. it just makes things much more dangerous considering.


Sorry you got stuck in the parking situation right off the bat. They can surely come up with a solution for that.


I've overheard several people complaining about rides not being very clean. Don't know what is going on there. I do not ride anymore, except the train; just people watch. But haven't been able to get away much; not worth a pass this year. But a lot of illness can spread from people's dirty hands, etc. so it is very important. Maybe you could fill out one of the comment cards about the situation. I have done that in the past over several issues.


Hope you are doing a little better now. Chronic health issues suck big time; one breath at a time.

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