Arrived at Kings Island on its first opening Monday at about 12:30-1 PM. The GF and I made our way to Season Pass processing, received our gold passes and then we were quickly on our way into the park. Didn’t appear to be too many people making their way in, which was good news for me.
Quickly made our way over to Banshee thinking “I’d better wait in line and get it out of the way.” To my surprise, there was no line. EVERY RIDE ALL DAY including Banshee except Firehawk was walk-up. I quickly made my way through the queue of Banshee, which was themed very nicely. The tombstones were a nice effect, and the large memorial for Son of Beast was a nice touch.
The ride itself is disorienting as hell but a ton of fun. As soon as you go down that first drop, you never know what’s coming next. 4,000 feet has never felt so short because the ride just goes so fast. Before you know it, you’ve hit every inversion and are back in the station. Exhilarating, disorienting, and an instant classic. They were running 3 trains, and only about half of them were full most of the time on this day. Talk about keeping the people happy.
If you’ve read my previous report, you’ll notice I mentioned that I did not ride Vortex. The one ride I wanted to but had eluded me in both of my prior trips. This being my third, I was determined to knock out the “unridden” list. Vortex was next.
Vortex gets a mixed reaction from me. While I enjoyed how elaborate it was and the many inversions, this ride has clearly been outdone and outclassed. Banshee is so smooth, going straight from it to Vortex is almost like going from fighting a punching bag to Mike Tyson. Also, I’m 6’4″. Vortex’s over the shoulder restraints were clearly not meant for people like me, so I almost had to duck to get the restraints in, and when they were closed it wasn’t all that comfortable. The ride had a crazy amount of head-thrashing, but just as many thrills. Take that for what you will. Glad to have knocked it off the list, but I do not know if I’ll be clamoring to come back.
Next, we headed to Dinosaurs Alive, the animatronic dinosaur park. This was free with our Gold Pass, so we figured it might be a nice diversion to reorient myself after the mind-bending thrills of Banshee and Vortex. Unfortunately, the dinosaurs are all hidden in a forest which does not lend itself well to 90% humidity on a 86 degree day. A breeze was nowhere to be found. By the end, we were so ready to get out that we were almost jogging. Not to mention the experience was nothing special, and half the dinosaurs no longer work. Won’t be back for that. The space could be better used for a newer, better attraction.
By this point we decided it was time to eat. Went to LaRosa’s pizza and redeemed our Souvenir cup voucher (allows for unlimited soda refills on that day, and 99 cent refills every other day of the season). Pizza was fine, but a necessity for the Beast about to come.
Headed next to the Beast, my favorite wooden roller coaster. There was NO LINE, which was amazing. I made it to the station and literally hopped right on. I swear this ride gets better every time I ride it. That final double helix is unmatched in my experience. I cannot praise it enough.
Diamondback is not too far off from the Beast, so it was the only logical next step. This was also the only time I waited in line all day, a good 5 minute wait or so. Whoopie. Once again, I’ve come to realize why this is my favorite steel coaster. So much airtime you’re thankful there’s restraints, but so much speed and wild turns you fear those restraints may not be enough. This year had the addition of seat belts! And I can tell you from experience they vary based on the train. One of them I rode on had very loose seat belts, while another had quite tight ones (and I’m not a hefty guy).
At this point I came to realize that I had not ridden the Backlot Stunt Coaster, which is closer to the Beast. However, we made a quick pitstop to ride the K.I. & Miami Valley Railroad. Nothing to write home about, but a fun little detour to take between the big rides.
Backlot Stunt Coaster was next, and it’s a fun little ride that was quite surprising in how fast it is for being as compact as it is. If JetStar 2 at Lagoon is ever to be replaced, something like this would be a fine replacement if you ask me. The dark tunnel right before the end is something else. You literally cannot see a single thing in front of you, sending you just about anywhere. The effects were a little corny, and the stop at the helicopter scene was not welcome in the hot weather, but on a cooler day I could see this not being a problem.
No day at Kings Island is complete without a ride on the Racer. Got front row, a total blast as usual. A different experience than the Beast, but enjoyable all the same. Plenty of air-time, a few twists and turns. Only the red racer was running, which I’m sure was due to low ridership more than anything else.
At this point in the day, I could tell I was tiring out. However, I decided to try my hand on Banshee again. I did, and it was fun, but the disorientation turned into nausea and that did me in. We found a nearby hotel and stayed the night, ready to hit the park again Tuesday. The only rides I could tell were not operational were Drop Tower and Delirium. I’ll be back soon with my Day 2 report.