Monday, May 25, 2015

Kings Island Memorial Day Weekend 2015

On the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend 2015 we decided to make the drive to Cincinnati and visit the giant Kings Island Amusement Park. As always, the first view as you walk in to the park is stunning. The 315 foot replica of the Eiffel Tower makes for a grand entrance into the park, along with the fountains. The photos are a mix of mine and Brit's.
Our first stop was at Kings Island's most recent coaster, the 2014 Banshee B&M Inverted Coaster. At 4,124 feet it is the longest Bolliger and Mabillard invert ever made. At 167 feet tall with an 150 foot drop, it is one of the tallest coasters of its type. Unlike most B&M inverted coasters, the train goes right into the drop as opposed to turning then dropping, a disorienting effect that increases the thrill in this ride. This coaster replaced the short-lived Son of Beast coaster.

Banshee also has a custom layout that traverses a hillside, similar to its legendary coaster sibling across the park, the Beast. This is in no doubt a fun ride that has one of the most different layouts of any coaster out there. Unlike most coasters, it does not reach top speed until midway through the ride. There is an elevation change exceeding 200 feet on this coaster, thanks to the terrain it was built upon. Because of this, the train reaches speeds of 68 miles per hour, providing for a really zippy ride and the fastest of any B&M Inverted coaster.

Brit caught the Banshee lady shoeing away the train.
Because of this speed, Banshee flies through seven giant inversions. While the coaster does not offer the more extreme positive g-forces of the previous B&M inverts with much tighter inversions, few other inverts offer the amount of sustained high elevation of this coaster. Does it unseat my favorite coaster of this genre, Cedar Point's Raptor? Nope, but it is a fun ride
Now on to Top Gun/Flight Deck/the Bat. The Bat is one forceful coaster, perhaps second most forceful steel coaster in the park to Vortex. The layout on this is so forceful and imaginative. The second drop catches me by surprise every time, heading down a cliff. This coaster is the last built Arrow suspended coaster and arguably the best. This is a very fun ride.
 Some of the best views of Banshee come from this ride's queue. It occurred to me that this looks like a giant B&M Invert version of the coaster in the building on the right, Premier's Flight of Fear coaster. All of the tangled up track looks awfully similar to that. 
Next we thought we would go get a meal. Accidentally twenty dollars later we ended up with these Chicken Nugget style Chicken Fingers, fries, and a small sugar cone of the park's blueberry ice cream...
Next we headed to the Racer, the John Allen classic that is running in the best shape I have ever ridden it in. There was decent airtime on every hill. It really hauled through the course. Most of Kings Island's coasters do not feature airtime as a primary feature of the ride. The Racer is all airtime and it really delivered this past visit. It is an excellent ride.
 Diamondback is beckoning us, but we will ride it soon enough.
 Vortex is beckoning as well. We will get there in due time.
 Next up is Windseeker. The placement of this tower is great, with it being surrounded with coasters. The views it gives of the secluded Beast are unmatched, along with the park's other rides.
 Vortex time! This is one forceful ride, and one of the best of the Arrow Megaloopers. 
 More Racer..
 The queue of Windseeker gives you ample time to watch Racer in action
Heading over to Beast, you cannot help but stop and take some pictures.
Brit figured she would take a picture of me in action..
 We will get to Diamondback in due time as well..
 Lots of cool views of the coasters throughout the park.
Beast time! For a coaster to garner a full queue speaks a lot about the ride. While the trim brakes may have been on heavier than they were in the cold autumn air last fall, this is still a fun ride. The wooden coaster bracing system that Cedar Fair utilizes really helps to keep the track true and the rides smooth. The Beast is greatly improved from where it was a few years ago, with it running in top form back in the fall. Racer was running the best I have ever experienced it on this visit. Blue Streak and Mean Streak up at Cedar Point were running the best they ever have in my experiences on them last season as well. 

There were no riders on this train because they had just added another train onto the track.
 Now with personification, she's back!
 And there she goes! 
 My favorite ride in the park after Racer and Banshee is Diamondback. It is also my favorite B&M Hyper coaster.
The ride offers some serious floater airtime, with the very comfortable and non-restrictive B&M clamshell lapbars. I like to extend my legs on every ride. With how high up the chairs are off of the floor, for all intents and purposes this coaster feels like it is floorless. When riding this coaster you feel like you are gliding through the air. 
The water splashdown effect is always a crowd favorite and a cool sight to see from the midway.
 Entering the splashdown...
 Leaving the splashdown..
 Mesmerizing view
 One more view of that giant drop.
 And a little more of the park's Blueberry Ice Cream. We had a nice morning and afternoon at the park. 
 One more lap on Banshee!
The park had some military vehicles displayed to commemorate Memorial Day. The front gate photographers were doing their best impressions of the folks from the MASH 4077 running towards the truck. There must have been twenty of them trying to take everyone's pictures as people entered the park. 

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