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Monday, April 7, 2014

Dave's Kings Dominion Opening Day Report April 5th, 2014

 I love a good road trip and free tickets make for spontaneous trips! We decided to stop in D.C. the night before. The city was pretty empty and the trees were all flowering for the Cherry Blossom Festival.
Now to a place with quite a bit less rhetorical fighting! 

I will start off by saying that the Kings Dominion staff was probably the nicest set of folks I have ever seen. Everyone was so kind and welcoming. Additionally, the Kings Dominion entrance looks as awesome as ever. It was strange seeing the trees without leaves yet though. Here you can see some of the wonderful landscaping they did for the 40th anniversary season this year. The park was spruced up in just about every possible way. It looked fantastic. They truly paid attention to every little detail and the park is night and day different from when it was acquired by Cedar Fair in 2007.

 The first ride open, even before the 10:30 opening time, was Dominator. Here is our first view of riders for the season! There is nothing like the excitement of seeing excited riders for the first time in months. 
 The highlighting of the loop in yellow really makes the ride pop. They really did a wonderful job repainting the ride when it was moved. I still miss the swamp land and lakeside location from when it was at Geauga Lake. I feel the setting really added quite a bit to this ride. It is still an awesome ride though. I would like to see some conversions into the new B&M shoulder restraints as seen on Banshee and the wing riders like Gatekeeper. I feel those would make every B&M even better. I feel that over the shoulder restraints are inhibiting after having my home park be Kennywood for a while now.
 I love Dominator's Cobra. The awkward shaping and the way they jammed these giant inversions and huge layout into this small footprint at Geauga was truly an engineering marvel.

 I could stare at the Cobra Roll all day. The high speed turn that you can see at the bottom of the picture is probably my favorite element on the coaster. I find the flawless transition of this element preferable to the slamming turn elements on the recent coasters Intimidator 305 and Skyrush.

 I love the Eiffel Tower in the park. I really feel that it adds quite a bit of character and beauty to the park. I like the original intent to add themed areas that lightly introduce you to different cultures. The Eiffel Tower is beautiful along with the Safari area. In the earlier days they really took great care to add some light theming into the areas. 
 Yeah we will move on from Dominator. I can tell I was pretty enamored with the ride for it was our first of the season.
 VOLCANO!!!!! Still my favorite ride in the park. I love all of the views afforded by the trees still being leafless. 
 We had to get Intimidator first though. It was a walk on! In the morning the ride had no line and even ran mostly empty. As I write that I chuckle a little bit. It is the one time that "glass is half empty" is a positive, for the guests that is, not so much for the park. It would pick up later on though. The park was crowded but really not too bad. 
 I really love the view of Volcano afforded from Mr. 305's station
 This was our first time on I-305. I have not been to KD since 07 or 08 and this was Brit's first time.

 I am a front seat rider. Naturally we had to first ride it in the front. 
 This ride is pure power. At some points the power is overwhelming.
 Super banked S-Curve. I like the heavily banked turns and the transitions are extended enough to be bearable as opposed to Skyrush. The soft harness restraints help this ride to be way more comfortable than Maverick, Storm Runner, and Skyrush. I really wish that Maverick and Storm Runner would have a conversion into this style restraints. I think both rides, while awesome, would be infinitely better with these restraints. 
 Mr. 305 is visually stunning. I enjoyed the ride for sure. I know this coaster is tops for many folks, I think it is middle of the pack though. I actually prefer Superman at SFA to this.

 I was stunned by everything about Anaconda on this visit. Everything about it was infinitely better. The three things that stood out the most for me were the spectacular new paint job, the return of the water geysers in the tunnel, and the fact that the ride was smooth and bearable! The Butterfly Element, where the train in the picture below is going through, was actually smooth! The rumors were true thankfully. The ride was an absolute blast, I was shocked. Now it feels part looper and part mine train. The night and day difference in this ride was mind boggling. It almost felt as if it were a new and completely different ride from before. The coaster was a huge addition, taking two years to complete. Now the ride runs as it was intended and that is reflected by the excitement of the folks getting off of the ride. 
 Now this ride is the tamer sibling to the wild and intense Kings Island Vortex.
 Hands up!
 Back to Anaconda again. Did I mention that it is now a water ride? The geysers were working perfectly and gave you a nice spray. I was not expecting to get wet but it was a welcome experience. It was almost like going down an old Arrow Hydroflume. Even on this mild to almost chilly day it was perfect.
 It looks like the geysers threw the riders for a loop :-)
 Such a picturesque coaster
 Does anyone know what these footers were for/are about? 
 We found some remains when we got to Volcano. I am surprised the did not get melted by the Lava. I guess the Volcano is almost dormant except for the flames that go out of the top sometimes.
 I always like seeing remnants of things and I am glad that they kept the old flume trough and turned it into some theming. Does anyone have a POV video or lots of pictures from this flume? I am curious as to how it went through the mountain.
 I love this ride!
 Such a beautiful day
 Spring Shot! The flower trees were all in bloom. We still have a few weeks until the trees bloom and the parks open up here in Pennsylvania.
 Here is Brit playing Plinko. She won a skip the line pass!
 I really enjoy the Bobsleds
 I also love the angle you can see of Volcano from the exit queue
 What is wrong with this picture? What is missing besides Lara Croft?
 Woodstock's Express was fantastic! Lots of new wood on it and the pop of ejector airtime on it is probably the best in the park.
 Look at all of that new wood!
 Obligatory interlocking corkscrews shot
 The return of the singing mushrooms was a hit! Folks were crowded around it all day and the kids looked pretty amused.
 The candy apple statues in the newly returned "Candy Apple Grove," looked awesome! They really looked like candy apples! My only complaint is the relative lack of availability of these wonderful treats.
 PTC #44 Carousel is a spectacular machine. They have really improved this section of the park. This carousel was once at Riverside Park in Massachusetts (SFNE) and at the former Roger Williams Park in Rhode Island. This masterpiece dates all the way back to 1917.
 Anaconda was a shock in how smoothly it rode, Shockwave shocked me as well. The last time I rode the coaster I felt it was the worst I had ever rode. Now it actually rides pretty well and is fun. It rode better than Apocalypse at SFA even though the layout is not as good. I enjoyed the ride though.
 Another look at the Candy Apple Grove. The Huss Troika was renamed "Bad Apple" and it was a hit throughout the day. The park seemed to receive paint and beautification all over.
 Oh look it is Brit!

 Back to Rebel Yell! It rode well as did all of the coasters of the day.
 Sadly Hurler did not open for the day. We have word that it will not open until mid-May. Retracking work is continuing on the ride. We could see cut out sections of track next to the coaster when we were headed up the lift of Grizzly. The track sections were placed right near the boneyard where the old Intimidator track is located. 
 We ate dinner at the Jukebox Cafe. The burgers were good but 30 bucks for two of them with fries and drinks was absolutely ridiculous! By far the worst value I have seen for food in a park.
 We went to ride Windseeker and it broke down while we were waiting. Intimidator also stopped on the lift hill several times throughout the day. Opening day hiccups are to be expected though. It was an all around great day.
 A shot into the sun! Oh well. Grizzly was fantastic as usual. We rode several times and heard guests in the station go "yeah this ride is crazy! We almost tipped out several times!" We also ran into our friends Dion and Angela.
 Did I say they paid great attention to every small detail? The landscaping was stunning. It will really be something to see once it grows in mid-summer.
 Lotsa red!
 Fresh paint everywhere!
 As perfect timing as you can get
 Back to Volcano!
 ZZZZHHHHHHHOOOOOOMMMMM! I love the sound it makes when it erupts 
 One more ride on Mr. 305

 Backlot is a fun ride and a great ride for the family.
 We headed up the Eiffel Tower when the sun started to set. We saw our friend Supko up there. He had the same idea.
 What a cute little ride! The kids seemed to love it. They really did a fantastic job expanding the kids area last year. 
 Those folks are about to get Dominated
 I love the skyline
 There is Grizzly out there in the forest
 Not too crowded and the fountains looked spectacular as always
 When did they repaint Scooby Woodstock? It looks fantastic.
 As the sun further descends
 First and last ride of the day: Dominator

 I love the look the flash on the on-ride photo gave to the riders. This shot cam out really cool
 The fountains looked superb
 Along with the beautiful landscaping and sculptures scattered about the park

 Happy 40th Kings Dominion! You really outdid yourselves this year. 
Brit's trip report and our trip report for Six Flags America are coming up next. Also, do not forget to vote for your favorite 1941 or earlier roller coaster at the top of the page!

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