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featured Reviews Ride Reviews

Steel Vengeance Review

Last Thursday, I finally got to ride Cedar Point’s new hyper hybrid from Rocky Mountain Construction, and I’m still in shock from the sheer power I experienced on the coaster.

As I approached the park, I was struck by how much more prominent the ride was on the skyline. From the start, it was obvious that this ride wasn’t Mean Streak anymore.

As soon as the park opened, I walked to the back of the park as fast as I could. There stood Steel Vengeance, towering over Frontiertown’s buildings and punctuating the air with the screams of terrified riders. The train thundered through inversions and wound through the wooden remains of Mean Streak.

I had heard that Steel Vengeance had just begun a no-phone policy after a rider’s device contributed to an injury on Twisted Timbers, but I wasn’t sure how strict the rule would be or how they planned on enforcing it. Two ride ops sat at the entrance to the ride and asked each rider if they were carrying a phone, instructing them to rent a locker or leave it with a non-rider. I was happy to oblige, but found it difficult to keep track of the time remaining on my locker without my phone, since I didn’t wear a watch. Also, I had hoped to take some good photos from the queue, but I had to resort to snapping a few shots from the entrance and the other side of Frontiertown.

While waiting in line, I saw quite a few security guards patrolling the line and trekking up to the platform every once and a while. A ride op explained that if you were caught with a phone in the station they’d kick you out of the line, and after three strikes they’d call security. In the end, being without my phone was a small price to pay to ride Steel Vengeance, and after tracking Mean Streak’s transformation over the course of two years, I was more than ready to finally catch a ride on the coaster.

After about half an hour, I reached the platform. A ride op was assigning seats but she was happy to acquiesce when I asked to ride in the front. I found this to be the case the whole day, which was great because it kept the line moving while respecting anyone who had a seat preference.

The train took off, rolling over two bunny hills before hitting the unusually loud chain lift. On the way up, I took in the view of Cedar Point’s impressive coaster lineup. Near the top, the entire ride layout came into view, giving us riders a quick glimpse into our imminent joy or terror. Before I knew it, the train reached the apex and slowly crept over the top before dashing to the ground at 90 degrees. In the front car, the drop was exhilarating but not quite ejecting.

The following hill offered a sustained surge of floater airtime at an off-axis angle and sent the train rocketing back toward the first drop. After two more airhills, the real fun began. I was wooshed through first zero-g-roll while climbing, then took a flying turn into the second zero-g-roll while dropping. That drop in particular was extremely disorienting and made for an extreme stomach drop.

After rolling through the mid-course brake run, the ride continued with a sudden plunge back into the course that made me catch my breath. The train dove into the ride’s wooden support structure, tempting me to yank my hands down in apprehension as I was sucked through a third roll. A few hills later, the train took a second pass through the structure, completing a similar roll and maneuvering a set of overbanks. One over-banked turn in particular really stood out, giving me a little pop of airtime while on my side. To finish off the ride, the train flew through a series of five airtime hills in a row, each taken at a different angle.

Sitting in the brake run, I realized that I couldn’t compare the ride experience to any other coaster I had ridden. I decided that it combined some of the best elements of Millennium Force and Maverick while adding in some wacky turns that only Rocky Mountain Construction could conjure up.

After getting off, I got right back in line to try the back row. In the back seat, the first drop was insane! The rest of the train began dropping while the back wasn’t quite to the top, meaning I was pulled aggressively over the top into a 200-foot drop. The ejector airtime I experienced on that drop was by far the best I’ve ever experienced and I would compare it to the negative g-forces on a drop tower.

The ride continued its course, taking each hill and inversion with more intensity than ever. According to the park, Steel Vengeance has the most airtime of any roller coaster, with a total of 27.2 seconds, and I felt like my body was out of the seat more than in it. I was in hysterics for the entire last lap around the ride’s structure, and I got off the coaster with an adrenaline high.

Later in the day, I rented a locker for two more hours and was able to get in three more rides on the coaster (once in the middle and twice in the back). Riding solo, I was able to meet some pretty cool people, some of whom had ridden the coaster dozens of times and others who were about to experience Steel Vengeance for the first time. Everyone I rode with got off with a big smile on their face and a new favorite ride at Cedar Point.

At one point I got to chat with an off-duty ride op for Magnum who was getting in his Steel Vengeance rides for the day. We got to chatting about industry news and other parks across the US, and then he pointed out a few things about the coaster I hadn’t noticed before. For one, the wooden supports sway quite a bit just after the train rolls by, which is normal and serves to relieve the stress from the passing trains. The op said that the park had recently added a reinforcement beam and that it was now swaying much less than before.

He was also able to give me an update on Steel Vengeance’s third train, Chess. On opening day, two trains had a minor collision in the station at a minimal speed, and though no one was injured, Cedar Point was forced to shut the ride down nonetheless. The park switched to two trains while they worked on a fix. According to the ride op, the third train is now ready to run and they have the go-ahead but they’re having trouble getting the mid-course brake run to work, so with three trains they’d have to start one long after the previous like on Millennium Force. So it’s unlikely that we’ll see three-train operation again until next season.

While in line, I also enjoyed checking out the storyline segments that the park added to the queue to explain the ride’s theme. I wasn’t able to get a picture of the signs since I didn’t have my phone with me, but there was a themed poster for each of the three characters (Blackjack, Chess, and Digger) explaining their tie into Frontiertown and their need for vengeance from Blackjack’s ruthless brother Maverick.

There weren’t many themed elements in the ride’s station, but the trains had a great steam engine front car and one of the characters’ names was scrawled on the side of each train. A western voiceover played when each train departed the station, and the loading screen touted fun catchphrases like “A Mean Streak lies beneath.”

In the end, I found a new favorite coaster in Steel Vengeance. The ride had all the elements I crave in a coaster, from the ejector drop to the disorienting inversions and endless airtime hills. In typical Rocky Mountain Construction fashion, the ride managed to combine all these elements with flawless transitions. However, some of the turns on the ride came up so suddenly that I barely had time to prepare myself for their sheer intensity. Steel Vengeance is by no means a rerideable coaster like a B&M Hyper, but I was still feeling great after three rides in a row.

Overall, I couldn’t ask for more from Steel Vengeance, and I thought that the ride experience was absolutely flawless. If I was able to change any part of the ride, I wouldn’t tweak a thing. The length, speed, and intensity were about as good as it gets. I rated Steel Vengeance a first-ever 10 out of 10. I could wax on forever about this ride, but the short of it is that you simply need to experience it for yourself. Steel Vengeance just might be the new best roller coaster on the planet.

Rider tips

  • This tip is pretty obvious, but try to hit the ride as soon as you can after the park opens. Most of the crowd follows the midway past Millennium Force and through Frontiertown, so heading by Top Thrill Dragster and cutting down the Gemini Midway might be your quickest route. Some people even park in the Cedar Point Shores lot for even faster walk to the coaster.
  • Be prepared to part with your phone. The ride ops aren’t going to let you into the queue with a handheld device of any kind, so unless you have a hidden pocket that’s securely fastened, you’re best off renting a locker. Don’t make the mistake I did, but rent a locker for the full day so that you’ll be free to come back to the ride at any point.
  • Try riding in the back row. While I was there, a ride op was assigning seats, but they usually let you sit wherever you want if you ask. In the back of the train, the first drop and airtime hills are absolutely insane. On the way up, a left seat will give a better view of the lake and the right will offer a glimpse at the ride layout and the park beyond.

Have you ridden Steel Vengeance? Feel free to post your review in the comments section below.

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Construction featured News Rumors

Five 2019 Developments to Watch

With June just around the corner (where did time go?), several amusement parks are already preparing to make way for new rides and attractions. Here are five developments to keep an eye on over the summer.

Dollywood Park Expansion

Image © Coaster101

Earlier this year, Dollywood began clearing a five-acre plot of land behind Thunderhead, opening up the woods at the back of the park. According to Dollywood spokesman David Taylor, the park plans on adding about eight new attractions in the area.

Blueprints discovered by a local news station reveal that the entrance to the new park section will be just in front of Mystery Mine and the new rides seem to be aimed at families, with something of a river theme. Considering the lack of family-friendly attractions on Wilderness Pass, this is a great move by Dollywood.

One of the new rides in the area has been discovered to be an exact clone of Orkanen—a new Vekoma Suspended Family coaster.

As for Dollywood’s next big coaster, I would expect an opening date of 2020 or 2021. A B&M Hyper or even a Chance rides Hyper GT-X would make a great new addition for the park’s thrill seekers, but we’ll just have to wait and see what Dolly has up her sleeves.

Project Alpha-Digital at Carowinds

According to Lance Hart and the coaster sleuths at Screamscape, Carowinds is planning a dual-launch steel coaster from Mack Rides, codenamed Project Alpha-Digital. Judging by the layout Screamscape dug up, the ride will have four or more inversions, two launch sections, and possibly a top hat element.

Image © Europa Park

If this rumored coaster turns out to be a reality, and it looks like it will based on the Mack Rides parts that have been arriving, this coaster would really take the park’s coaster lineup to the next level. After visiting Carowinds in 2015, I wrote that one of the things that most stood out to me about the park was the absence of a launch coaster. Now, it looks like the missing ride has finally turned up, taking the place of the park’s long-gone White Lightnin’ coaster.

Project Madrid at BGW

Image © Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Last year, Busch Gardens Williamsburg requested approval for a 315-foot structure in an expansion area codenamed “Project Madrid”. While we don’t know any details about what new rides or attractions will be included in this expansion, it seems likely that Project Madrid refers to a new park section themed to Spain.

What about the height request? If the 315-foot height refers to a new ride, it could point to Busch Gardens getting a B&M Giga coaster like Fury 325 or a drop tower similar to Falcon’s Fury at sister park Busch Gardens Tampa. Conflicting filing found by BGWFans suggests that the park might be planning an amphitheater on the cleared land instead.

Kings Island’s Giga Rumors are Back

Remember all those rumors from 2016 pointing towards Kings Island getting a B&M Giga? They turned out to be a little premature, as the park ended up adding a GCI wooden coaster instead. But now the rumors are back, fueled by the park’s removal of their Dinosaurs Alive attraction and a telling clue left by management during the off-season.

With the space at the back of the park opened up by the removal of Dinosaurs Alive, there’s plenty of room for an out-and-back layout behind the X-Base area. The ride’s station would likely be near the old Dinosaurs entrance, with the lift-hill heading East towards the outside of the park.

Then there’s the message Kings Island wrote in the snow during their off-season. In full view of one of the park’s live webcams, someone shoveled the word “GiGA.” Whether this is a red herring or a genuine hint remains to be seen, but it certainly points to activity in the near future.

It’s too early to jump to conclusions, but I, for one, would have mixed feelings if Kings Island announced a Giga for 2019 or 2020. They already have Diamondback, which is a solid B&M Hyper and very similar in concept to a Giga. I would be more excited to see them invest in a launch coaster of some sort or maybe an RMC. I’m still disappointed that they added Mystic Timbers instead of an RMC Topper Track coaster, and now they’re unlikely to add another wooden coaster any time soon.

On the other hand, B&M coasters are extremely reliable, and Cedar Fair has become wary of the issues that plague innovative coasters. After seeing the success of Leviathan and Fury 325, Kings Island really couldn’t go wrong to add a Giga themselves.

Dive Coaster at Canada’s Wonderland

Image © Busch Gardens Tampa

It’s been years since Canada’s Wonderland added a major roller coaster, but the all signs are pointing towards a B&M Dive Coaster for 2019. In January, they filed a permit for a new attraction and began clearing land.

To start off construction, the park installed track in a new underwater tunnel in the lake occupied by Vortex. Judging by the width of the track, it has become clear that the ride will indeed be a Dive Coaster similar to Valravn at Cedar Point. Whether the tunnel will be part of the first drop or incorporated with a later part of the layout, it is certain to make for an exciting element.

As for the theme, fans hoping for Ziz may be disappointed. The park already has Behemoth, the Biblical beast of the land, and Leviathan, the beast of the sea, so Ziz, or the beast of the air, would complete the trio. However, Canada’s Wonderland has begun to tease the coaster with signs inside the park promoting the “Historic Chilkoot Trail”. Unless the park is planning to tie that in with the legend of Ziz, it looks like we’ll be getting another RailBlazer nature-themed ride.

Regardless of the name, the new dive coaster is sure to be a great addition for Canada’s Wonderland. Since it’ll be their first big coaster with inversions, I would imagine that they’ve got plans for some great elements. [td_smart_list_end]


What new-for-2019 addition are you most excited about? Share your thoughts in a comment below.

Read next: Top 15 New Coasters for 2018

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Announcements featured News

Everything Cedar Fair Announced for 2018

Last week, Cedar Fair’s parks made their announcements for next year’s new attractions. With Cedar Point, Kings Dominion, Knott’s, and California’s Great America each getting a major new roller coaster, 2018 is sure to be a big year for the chain. Let’s take a look at what each Cedar Fair park will be adding next year.

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featured Reviews Trip Reports

Kings Island Trip Report

Kings Island has always been on my list of parks to visit, and when they revealed Mystic Timbers for 2017, I decided it was time to make the trek to Cincinnati to check it out. While at the park on Tuesday, I tackled Kings Island’s world-class collection of thrill rides and found new favorites in Diamondback, Banshee, and The Beast. I thought Mystic Timbers was a solid ride, but “the shed” seemed more like an afterthought than a climax.

Diamondback

I’ve always admired Kings Island’s 230-foot hypercoaster, and upon entering the park I was drawn to the ride like a magnet. The line was a mere walk-on, and within minutes I was sitting in a comfy B&M Hyper seat near the back of the train. As the train ascended the hill, I took in the view. Kings Island is a beautiful park, and I could see miles in every direction from Diamondback’s lift. Cresting the hill, the train plummeted, dashing me to the ground in a euphoric plunge of weightlessness.

Each hill in the coaster’s layout had me floating in my seat, and every movement of the train was perfectly fluid. Heading into the woods at the back of the park, the train snaked its way over several humpbacks and raced through a turnaround. The splashdown at the end of the ride made for a perfect ending, cooling lucky riders with a fine spray and serving to slow the train’s speed.

When the train entered the brake run, two ride-ops headed over to the train to inform me and the other riders that they had encountered a technical difficulty, and we would remain on the brake run until the maintenance crew had fixed the issue. It ended up being a 20-minute wait, but I enjoyed getting to hang out on Diamondback’s train. I ended up striking a conversation with a few other riders who, like me, were looking forward to seeing Cedar Point’s 2018 announcement the next day.

After a bit, the ride-ops sent the waiting trains into the station to unload, then ran several test cycles with the empty trains. As soon as the ride reopened, I was first in line for a second ride. And it was every bit as thrilling as the first.

How did Diamondback compare to my other favorite steel coasters? While no first drop can truly compare to the ones found on Fury 325 and Millennium Force, I thought that Diamondback’s layout was nearly flawless in all other respects. I gave the ride 9 out of 10 stars.

Mystic Timbers

Earlier this year, I named Mystic Timbers the Best New Ride for 2017, and I was eager to find out whether or not the ride had truly earned the title. Standing 109 feet tall, the park’s new GCI wooden coaster wound its way through the woods by Diamondback in a series of quick bunny hills. I passed the ride’s entrance sign and listened with amusement to an audio recording warning me to turn back, as the area was on lockdown. Since it’s fairly unusual for a Cedar Fair park to add theming to their rides, I took extra notice of the warning signs, surveillance screens, and lumber mill references throughout the coaster’s queue. Mystic Timbers is themed to an abandoned lumber mill, and everything surrounding the ride cautions riders against entering “the shed.” After ignoring the messages’ urgent plea to turn back, I climbed aboard the ride’s train, themed to an old pickup truck, and started up the lift hill.

On the way up, a recording played and someone sharply ordered the riders to leave the restricted area. Picking up speed, the train recklessly rolled over the first hill and banked hard to the left. The ride’s spiraling drop offered a pop of airtime and from then on I was out of my seat more than in it. I was taken aback by the coaster’s relentless energy, and the rapid-fire bunny hills flung me in every direction possible. GCI packed a ton of thrill into such a small ride, and the layout didn’t feel half as short as I had expected.

When Kings Island announced the ride last year, they teased fans by keeping the coaster’s ending a secret. #WhatsInTheShed became a hot topic among enthusiasts during Mystic Timber’s construction, but early riders expressed severe disappointment at what they found in the mysterious building at the end of the ride. Naturally, I had low expectations for the ride’s ending, but I couldn’t help but shake my head as the train rolled into the shed, revealing a mere radio and a few animated windows. After waiting on the elaborate brake run for a few seconds, I watched as the windows began to sway and a flock of bats started entering the window on the side of the shed. With a lurch, the train returned to the station just as an enormous bat burst through the front window and roared. The ending made no sense, and I found it extremely anticlimactic. I would have enjoyed it much more had the ride launched out of the shed into a final element to escape the dangers of the shed rather than simply returning to the station.

How would I rate Mystic Timbers? I would give it a 7 out of 10. The ride itself was pretty fun, though not particularly outstanding, and the finale was lackluster at best. Kings Island would have been better off leaving the shed out of their announcement.

The Beast

No coaster enthusiast can visit Kings Island without paying their respects to The Beast, perhaps the most legendary wooden coaster on the planet. The Beast makes its home in the forest behind the park, with only its lift hill visible from the queue. After the train makes it over the first hill, riders are entirely at The Beast’s mercy as they traverse nearly a mile of wooden track at an utterly reckless speed. When watching a point-of-view video of The Beast, it’s easy to write it off as a tame wooden coaster with a boring layout, but when I rode the coaster for myself, I realized that this assumption is anything but correct.

I waited in anticipation as the train took its time climbing the first hill. Once at the top, the train dove into a tunnel and made a sharp turn to the left. The ride gained so much speed on the following straightaways that each twist of the track was taken at a breakneck pace. I was thrown from side to side as The Beast played with me like a cat with a mouse. But it wasn’t done with me yet. Just when I thought that the ride was coming to a close, the train began up a second lift hill, this time climbing in the direction of the station. After being treated to a brief view of the park, I held my breath as the ride built up speed on a long, sweeping drop towards a curved tunnel. The track banked as the train went along, but I was sure my hands would hit the top of the tunnel as I reached it at top speed. Just inside of the tunnel, I was flung to the right as the lateral forces caught up with me. Spiraling into a double helix, the train dove into a second tunnel, this one just as forceful as the first. After straightening out again, the train slowly made its way back to the station. The four minute ride was worth every bit of the wait.

Is The Beast overrated? While it’s true that hundreds of fans consider The Beast their favorite wooden coaster, The Beast truly deserves its fame. It’s a bit on the rough side, but The Beast simply offers an out-of-control experience like no other ride. I gave the coaster an 8 out of 10.

Rider tip: It’s worth mentioning that the front row offers the best experience, as in the back, the cars jostle quite a bit and it can be hard to anticipate the turns.

Banshee

After taking a quick lunch break and viewing Kings Island from the Eiffel Tower, I headed back to the front of the park to Action Zone. Banshee, the park’s 2014 B&M Invert, stood proud and tall, a mass of twisted purple steel. The coaster features a second-generation train design, sporting a rubber vest instead of a typical over the shoulder harness. I had heard mixed reviews about this new harness—some riders praised the lack of headbanging, while others claimed it grew too tight during the ride, causing discomfort. I for one, thought that this new harness was a significant improvement, and I loved being able to experience the ride without getting a headache.

After boarding the train in the very back row, I swung my legs excitedly as the train ascended the lift hill. The chain lift was much faster than the older inverts that I’ve ridden, and the train made it to the top in no time. With the roar of the banshee ringing in my ears, I added my voice to the screams as the train plunged to the right, leaving me weightless the whole way down. Next came a sweeping Immelmann loop and a vertical loop that circled the lift hill. After pulling some serious g-forces at the bottom of the hill, Banshee swung me up into the air and back down in a zero-g-roll, producing a wild sensation of upside-down airtime.

Every inversion on Banshee was just as intense as the one before it, and the ride’s pacing was absolutely perfect. Each element led right to the next one, without any unnatural movements. My favorite part of the ride was the final inline twist, taken at a slow enough speed that the blood ran into my head. Overall, there was nothing I would change about the ride. Banshee is easily the best inverted coaster I’ve ever ridden, and I’d give it an 8 out of 10. I highly recommend riding it.

Drop Tower

As a huge fan of drop towers, I simply had to try out Kings Island’s 315-foot model. Drop Tower towers above the park as the tallest Gyro drop in the world, and it slowly rotates as it climbs to treat riders to an unparalleled view of the park. I took in the view as long as I could, then held my breath when the ride reached its maximum height. After a grueling 25-second pause at the top, the ride released the breaks. I screamed in ecstasy as my stomach dropped out from under me and I plunged 26 stories to the ground. The ejector airtime on Drop Tower lasted for almost five seconds, and it was by far the most intense weightlessness I experienced all day.

Adventure Express

After finding out that The Bat would be closed for the day, I made my way on to Adventure Express, Kings Island’s mine train. While Adventure Express had a lot more theming (including animatronic figures at the end) than a typical mine train, it was painfully abrupt and I got off feeling beat up. I’d rate Adventure Express 4 out of 10 stars, and I wouldn’t recommend riding the coaster unless you just want the credit.

The Racer

Next on my list of rides to conquer was The Racer, the ride that sparked a resurgence in the public’s interest in roller coasters after the devastating Great Depression. This year, the ride celebrates its 45th year of operation. I did a post a couple months ago about The Racer’s history, so I was excited to get to ride this legendary coaster for myself.

On my visit, Kings Island only had the red trains running, but the ride was fun even without the racing experience. Climbing to the top of the hill, the train dropped, picking up speed as it tackled a series of bunny hops. From there, the twin tracks split up, and my train headed to the right. Just when it reached the turnaround, The Racer seemed to remember how old it was getting, and it bounced and jounced the whole way back to the station.

Overall, the ride was fun, but more in a nostalgic sense than a thrilling one. In terms of layout and track condition, I thought that The Racer was much better than its now defunct sister coaster Thunder Road at Carowinds. I’d give The Racer a 6 out of 10.

Flight of Fear

After getting off of The Racer, I headed under the coaster’s lift hill to the X-Base section of the park, home to Flight of Fear and Firehawk. The area had an aviation theme, with Flight of Fear being a space program dedicated to investigating paranormal activity. The ride’s air-conditioned queue was littered with old computers, screens displaying the program’s current work, and a giant flying saucer.

Once inside the station, I was ready for flight. The ride-ops gave the thumbs up and the train launched at 54 miles per hour into complete darkness. A second later, the train shot into a dimly lit building and began maneuvering through a spaghetti bowl layout with four inversions. I could see just enough to anticipate each turn of the track, and I thought that going upside-down in the dark was a unique experience. Since the building looked the same on all sides, I soon lost track of which way was up, making me feel as if I really was in space.

I had low expectations for Flight of Fear, but I ended up really enjoying it. I gave the ride a 7 out of 10.

Firehawk

Next up was Flight of Fear’s neighbor, Firehawk. Firehawk is a Vekoma Flying Dutchman model, with five inversions and a height of 115 feet. The ride originally opened at Geauga Lake in 2001 but was relocated to Kings Island in 2007.

In terms of its layout, Firehawk was much better than Nighthawk at Carowinds, but the ride’s vest restraint made me more than a little nervous. After a long and sunny climb up the lift hill, the train rolled over and plunged down the drop. At this point on the ride, I realized that there was about an inch of space between my lower back and the seat behind me. My legs had lots of extra room underneath the shin bar, and I began to panic that my lower body would come loose from the restraint. For the remainder of the ride (and boy, did it feel long), I had to press my legs against the shin bar to keep my back against the seat. So while the layout itself was fun, I didn’t feel very secure and found myself praying for the ride to end instead of trying to enjoy it.

I would recommend riding Firehawk, but make sure that your vest restraint is properly tightened when boarding. I’d give Firehawk a 6 out of 10.

Backlot Stunt Coaster

Reaching the back of the park, I headed over to Backlot Stunt Coaster, the park’s family launch coaster from Premier Rides. The coaster began with a 40 mile per hour launch into an upward helix. The g-forces were so intense that I nearly grayed out. Exiting the helix, the train wove its way around police cars, road signs, and other theming until it came to a stop outside of a tunnel surrounded by oil tanks. Dramatic music played as an animatronic helicopter cornered the runaway stunt car and began “firing” at it. With a bang, one of the oil tanks exploded into flames as the train accelerated and shot into the tunnel. I felt the train dive and twist, filling the dark tunnel with its riders’ screams. Finally, the train flew back into the light, penetrating the ride’s entrance sign and diving under the queue into the brake run.

I enjoyed Backlot Stunt Coaster so much that I had to get back in line for a re-ride. Smooth enough for young riders, yet intense enough for hardcore thrill seekers, the layout was absolutely perfect for families. The special effects added to the experience, and the ride reminded me a lot of FireChaser Express at Dollywood. I gave Backlot a 7 out of 10. The ride is easily the most underrated coaster in the park, and it’s certainly worth checking out.

Having made a complete lap around the park, I headed back to Rivertown to get some more rides on Diamondback. I experimented with different rows on the coaster and came to the conclusion that the ride is best towards the back, where the train gets pulled over each hill and backseat riders get a little wet on the splashdown.

I finished off the night with a final ride on Banshee, The Beast, and Diamondback, my favorite rides at the park.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I really enjoyed my first visit to Kings Island. The park’s layout made sense and was easy to navigate, with the towering Eiffel Tower indicating the direction of the park’s center. The ride lines were exceptionally short, and I never had to wait over half an hour for a coaster. I was able to get in 20 rides, seven of which were on Diamondback, and I rode all of the park’s major coasters by 4 pm.

Food prices were brazenly high, so I stuck entirely to the food I brought with me in my car. However, I couldn’t help trying Kings Island’s famous blue ice cream, which made for a great way to cool off after standing in the hot sun. The ice cream had a vanilla flavor with a hint of blueberry, and it sure hit the spot.

I thoroughly enjoyed the park’s roller coaster lineup, and Diamondback and Banshee made a great one-two punch. I was also impressed by King’s Island’s wooden coaster collection, and I thought that The Racer, Mystic Timbers, and The Beast complimented each other well without feeling too similar. Despite that, I couldn’t help but wish Kings Island had gotten an RMC topper track coaster instead of a GCI.

Regardless, I had a great day at Kings Island, and I hope to make it back to the park soon.

Have you been to Kings Island? What are your thoughts about the park?

Categories
featured Opinion

What’s Next for the Amusement Industry?

In our recent series about the history of roller coasters, we looked at six key rides that launched the amusement industry into a new era. From the Matterhorn Bobsleds revolutionizing the steel coaster to Magnum XL-200 starting the “Roller Coaster Wars,” the industry has been constantly changing as new and better roller coasters are introduced. Over the past decade, it’s become clear that we’ve reached the end of the Roller Coaster Wars. Kingda Ka has stood as the world’s tallest roller coaster since 2006, and with forces as high as they are on Formula Rossa, it seems unlikely that any ride will break 150 miles per hour. With the race of the record-breaking steel coaster drawing to a close, what trends can we expect from the amusement industry going forward?

Categories
Construction featured News Rumors

Is Knott’s Planning Something Big for 2018?

Knott’s Berry Farm sits just miles away from Disneyland, attracting park-goers who want a more thrilling experience than classic Disney rides. The park is famous for their wild rides, family fun, and delicious berry festivals. But a new major roller coaster has been due at Knott’s for quite some time. Thankfully, that’s all about to change.