Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's World Adventures

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Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2018 US Adventures

Postby Canobie Coaster » Tue Apr 24, 2018 2:33 pm

coasterbill wrote:Terrible doesn't even begin to describe it. :lol:


Sounds like it's a good thing I waited to visit Morey's until last year. :lol:
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Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2018 US Adventures

Postby Canobie Coaster » Tue Apr 24, 2018 10:32 pm

Kings Dominion

It had been far too long since I had visited Virginia’s parks. Busch Gardens is easily one of the best parks in the world and Kings Dominion isn’t too shabby either. I was *this* close to scheduling this trip last year to check out InvadR, but Hurler’s early closure and the promise of “Really More Coming” had me (as well as other enthusiasts) salivating. With all signs pointing to a RMC, I knew it’d be worth waiting for 2018. And then on National Roller Coaster Day, Twisted Timbers was announced.

Originally I had planned to hit Busch Gardens on Friday and Kings Dominion on Saturday. Busch Gardens had longer hours on Friday and it made sense to hit Kings Dominion on the busier day since my ticket included FastLane Plus thanks to the President’s Day weekend sale. However, anyone following the Kings Dominion thread knows that Twisted Timbers has had some hiccups since opening.

As I drove down I-95 on Friday morning, it kept running through my head, “What if Twisted Timbers was closed all-day on Saturday?” I knew it was unlikely, but that thought couldn’t escape my head. Then I had an epiphany. I could hit Kings Dominion on Friday and if Twisted Timbers was closed all day, I could try a second time on Saturday night. Yes I’d blow my FastLane on a less crowded day, but it’d give me two tries to ride my most anticipated coaster of the trip.

It was a tough call, but then there was a sign from the heavens. I kid you not, a R.M.C. truck pulled in front of me on the highway. No not Rocky Mountain Construction, but a (later) Google search revealed it was none other than Bealton, Virginia’s Rmc Trucking LLC. It was too much of a coincidence to avoid. My decision was made. I was going to Kings Dominion.

Park Entrance.jpg
Today probably wasn't a bad day to be in the Snoopy costume.


As I approached the gate, I saw a long list of closed rides. My heart started to sink. With 5 rides closed, I had a bad feeling Twisted Timbers would be one of them. Snoopy’s Rocket Express. Not wasting my time. Snoopy’s Space Buggies and Joe Cool’s Driving School. Pretty sure I couldn’t ride those even if I wanted to. White Water Canyon. 65 degrees isn’t that cold for me, but I can understand it. But then number 5 was a major coaster with a twisted layout…but thank god it was Flight of Fear.

Plaza.jpg
I guess someone has had enough of Kings Dominion.


So once the park opened, I immediately made my way over to Candy Apple Grove. With each step, a booming, ratcheting sound became more and more audible. And that sound was emanating from none other than Twisted Timbers. And then I saw a train gracefully traverse that sick barrel roll drop. Yes it was open! Or so I thought.

We were informed cold weather would delay the ride’s opening, but the constant cycling of trains placated any concerns the ride would pull a Lightning Rod and be closed all day. I secretly chuckled on the inside that 50 degrees was considered cold down here. I mean even SFNE’s Goliath can run in temperatures that cold and that thing is the king of valleying.

Twisted Timbers Exploding Dummy.jpg
A barrel roll so intense that it causes water dummies to burst.


I debated camping by the entrance, but decided to be productive. I had FastLane Plus after-all, so it wasn’t like lines would be an issue. Still I wasn’t going to let Twisted Timbers out of my sight. Fortunately there were a few other coasters nearby.

I began with the recently renamed Racer 75. Maybe if I had a greater attachment to Kings Dominion, I’d shed a tear over the ride no longer being called Rebel Yell. But to be perfectly honest, I could care less. A ride could be called something as dumb as (oh I don’t know, just picking a random name from my brain) Apple Zapple, but if it’s a good ride, who cares.

Only the blue side was running, but on a slower day that wasn’t too much of a surprise. Racer 75 appears to have been recently retracked since it was running extremely well. It’s never been a rough coaster, but it’s always been on the bumpier side. Not today. The train glided over each hill with barely any rattle whatsoever.

I started in the front and was treated to 3-4 nice pops of air on the outward leg. The return leg had far less air than you’d expect from a traditional out-and-back layout though. When we returned to the mostly empty station, I asked if I could change to an empty row and the operators were happy to oblige. This is always a treat for me since SFNE will always deny this request without fail. The second to back had less air than the front, but was still perfectly smooth. 6 out of 10

Racer 75 Sign.jpg
The artist formerly known as Rebel Yell.

Racer 75.jpg
All that fresh wood really paid off. Racer 75 was running quite smoothly.


Twisted Timbers had progressed from water dummy testing to empty trains, but it still wasn’t accepting guests. So I decided to kill time on Apple Zapple. In the past, I’ve been disappointed by these large Mack wild mice. Yes the larger drop is fantastic, but the car really seems to crawl through the rest of the layout.

Maybe it was the sheer lunacy of a ride called Apple Zapple, but I thought it was running extremely well. The first drop was as good as expected, but the rest of the coaster held its speed quite well. I didn’t notice any of the brakes being used, which was a major plus. The hairpin turns actually delivered the side-splitting laterals I expect from wild mice. Then the extra speed also granted some weak airtime on the final bunny hills. 6 out of 10

Apple Zapple.jpg
Imagine being a logo designer and being told to create a ride logo for an attraction called Apple Zapple. I'd think my boss was punking me.


I spotted an employee testing Twisted Timbers, so I joined the rapidly multiplying crowd by the entrance. A few minutes later, it was open. Since I was one of three people with FastLane Plus, we were able to bypass the lengthy queue and immediately proceed to the station, granting us the first public ride of the day. I snagged the back rows and the employees quickly checked our restraints and sent us on our way. I was stunned the park didn’t wait for the rest of the queue to reach the station, but wasn’t going to complain!

Anticipation built as the train slowed to a crawl over the lift, but once released, we sped into that barrel roll drop. I had previously experienced a barrel roll drop on Storm Chaser, but this one was quite a bit different. Storm Chaser’s felt drawn out and graceful. The one on Twisted Timbers feels steeper and as a result, the plentiful hang-time was accompanied by a ferocious whip.

After a two tiny airtime bumps and a speedy overbank came the highlight of the ride- the three camelback hills. Immediately after the ride’s animation was released, everyone fixated on those three hills. It looked more reminiscent of an Intamin hyper than a RMC. And let me say that these hills didn’t disappoint. While they weren’t quite at the El Toro or Skyrush levels of airtime, they were dang close. They were pure, sustained ejector air.

The rest of the ride is like a bucking bull. Then there’s another mini bump providing a small pop of air and that’s followed by the cutback. The cutback was much different than expected. I wasn’t expecting it to have any hangtime, but RMC again proved that they’re the masters of inducing airtime at angles that seemingly shouldn’t be able to. It was a really funky experience.

The rest of the ride felt a bit sluggish, but it still delivered spectacular airtime. From the trick track hills to the outward banked hill to the zero-G roll, each element launched me into the restraint. The final few hills lost quite a bit of steam like Wicked Cyclone. It felt like they wanted to eject me, but they weren’t quite able to…on my first ride at least.

After experiencing the airtime buffet known as Twisted Timbers, I had to experience it again. This time I rode in the front and even though it was just 15 minutes later, the ride was already traveling noticeably faster. Maybe it was the 3 person train on my first ride, but this time the second half maintained its speed much better. Instead of having a brief moment to catch my breath in between airtime hills, Twisted Timbers simply didn’t let up until the final few bumps.

So how’s it compare to other RMCs? Favorably. I can’t quite put it ahead of Lightning Rod, Iron Rattler, or Wildfire, but I’d say it slots in just behind Twisted Colossus. With each additional ride, I couldn’t help but think of Twisted Timbers as Wicked Cyclone with a barrel roll plunge instead of the standard first drop. While it’s probably the fifth best RMC I’ve been on, that’s still a borderline top 5 steel coaster and says a lot about the company’s pedigree. 10 out of 10

Twisted Timbers Barrel Roll 2.jpg
I don't miss Hurler one bit.

Twisted Timbers Camelback.jpg
These airtime hills are every bit as amazing as they appear.

Twisted Timbers Finale.jpg
Who thought a mystical apple grove could be so entertaining?

Twisted Timbers Overbank.jpg
By the end of the day, Twisted Timbers was absolutely hauling.


I could have very well ridden Twisted Timbers all day, but there’s a certain Intamin giga on the other side of the park. I have to be honest; until my most recent visit, I thought Intimidator 305 was overrated. Before raising your pitch forks, hear me out. I could never deny the ride’s intensity. However, I tend to prefer rides focusing on airtime, which is why I preferred something like a B&M hyper. However, that changed on Friday.

FastLane was laughably unnecessary for I305. Despite running just one train, the coaster was a walk-on in every row but the front. In fact, the park didn’t even have the FastLane queue open for this reason. Since the front was just a 3 cycle wait, I decided to wait the extra 10 minutes for what I thought would be the best row.

After hearing the familiar “Gentleman, start your engines,” it’s an absolute adrenaline rush. The first drop is one of the best in the world; it’s over 300 feet after all. Then the blackout turn certainly lives up to its name. You can try every Internet remedy out there, clenching your muscles or staying hydrated, but you will start to grey out.

Once you come to your senses, you are treated to some powerful, sustained ejector air. Then comes the insane twister section. I still can’t believe a coaster this tall and this fast spends a majority of the ride hugging the ground. It seems so wrong, but that’s what makes I305 so right. Each transition feels like it’s trying to kill you. I don’t understand how a flat transition like this induces airtime, but somehow I305 is able to.

The finale does have a noticeable trim brake, but the following two hills still give powerful ejector air. I’m pretty sure the absence of a brake would result in some Skyrush level air there. Then the last two snaps leading into the brake run are just as violent in a totally comfortable ride. Once I hit the brake run, I realized I was wrong about I305. It really is one of the best coasters in the world.

I immediately switched to the back row and was even more impressed. Yes I did miss the rush of wind battering against my face, but it was worth it to experience the first drop in full. I love the drops on the B&M gigas; you float for what feels like forever the whole way down. I305 yanks you down. And the benefits extended beyond just the first drop. The transitions felt even wilder in the back as well.

Dumbfounded there was no one waiting for the back, so I remained in my seat. When I returned to the station, the back was again open so I tried to do the same, but was told you could only reride I305 two times in a row. No bother, it allowed me to add steps to my Fitbit…except I305 killed it. The ride’s brute intensity somehow reset my fitbit. I think that says it all about how wild I305 is. 10 out of 10

I305 Entrance.jpg
Gentlemen, start your engines!

I305 Overview.jpg
I still can't believe a coaster over 300 feet tall spends this much time hugging the ground. I305 must really love the Earth.

I305 Turn.jpg
I305 is all about speed. Much like the Flash or Dee Gordon.

I305 Airtime.jpg
And it also sprinkles in some airtime for good measure.

I305 Brake Entry.jpg
Even the entry into the brake run is wildly intense.


FastLane was useful for Twisted Timbers, but not totally necessary. However, it was absolutely necessary for Volcano. Nothing else in the park had more than a 15 minute wait. Yet Volcano’s switchbacks were completely full and I’ve been led to believe it’s a common occurrence. I remember the first time I rode Volcano in 2006, I waited almost 2.5 hours.

Needless to say, I was ecstatic to skip the wait and in just 10-15 minutes, I was seated in the front row. This truly is the money seat on Volcano. I know it’s not a hydraulic launch, but the rolling launch is about as forceful a launch out there barring the accelerator coasters. The front row also allows you to fully appreciate the near misses with the volcano.

I know some may have an issue how repetitive Volcano’s layout is. I too find it repetitive, but I have zero issues with three consecutive barrel rolls. No one objects to three straight airtime hills on Twisted Timbers, so what’s wrong with three of the same inversions back-to-back-to-back? Nothing if you ask me.

Volcano is such a unique coaster and there really isn’t anything out there quite like it. I know there are the impulse coasters, but it’s still impressive to experience a launch on an inverted coater. Then unlike many of the accelerator coasters, Volcano packs more elements into its layout. 9 out of 10

Also why was there a shirt available that said "I'll be your volcano." I don't even know what that's supposed to mean... :lol:

Volcano Aerial.jpg
This is one heck of a super volcano. And fortunately one that won't endanger millions of lives.

Volcano Entrance.jpg
Does anyone else think Volcano has an ridiculously high amount of supports?


Since I was nearby, I decided to give Avalanche a whirl. To be honest, I’ve never found it to be one of the better bobsleds out there. The only real speed is built up during the final helix and then you immediately charge into the brake run.

After riding several of the Mack bobsleds in Europe, I’ve realized they tend to noticeably vibrate as they picked up speed. Unfortunately Avalanche was no different. It never became painful, but I definitely wouldn’t call it a good thing. Still it’s a unique enough to warrant a ride if the queue is empty. 4 out of 10

Avalanche.jpg
Every time I see a bobsled coaster, I really want to watch Cool Runnings again.


Top spins seem to be a dying breed, so I definitely made sure to ride the Crypt. I recalled it being one of the better top spins out there and my memory didn’t deceive me. While the water and fire effects have lessened over time, the ride cycle is just as awesome. There are two separate instances of 3-4 consecutive flips. Anyone who has ridden a top spin knows just how many Gs are pulled during these flips. 8 out of 10

Crypt.jpg
And this was about the full extent of the water effect. Guess they're trying to conserve?


Since Boo Blasters was closed and I have enough dignity not to borrow a kid to ride the Great Pumpkin Coaster, I made my way over to Dominator. Not unexpectedly, it was a complete walk-on, so I started in the front row.

The massive vertical loop has some unexpected hangtime for a B&M, but the rest of the coaster absolutely hauls. The overbanks and cobra roll are taken faster than you’d expect and on this cooler day, the MCBR barely grabbed the train. This resulted in some great floater air to kick off the second half. Then the final two corkscrews aren’t quite as snappy as Kumba, but they’re pretty darn snappy. Really the only thing missing from Dominator is a zero-G roll. I’m still stunned the coaster doesn’t have one.

I immediately followed it up with a ride in the back row and enjoyed Dominator even more. The hangtime was even more pronounced in the vertical loop and I was fully able to appreciate the airtime diving off of the MCBR. With the park’s big three, I’m pretty sure Dominator will be overshadowed, but it shouldn’t. Despite being the only floorless coaster out there without my favorite inversion, Dominator still manages to stand out. 8.5 out of 10

Unlike the confusing volcano shirt, the park had a pseudo BDSM shirt available for purchase, "I'll be your dominator."

Dominator Cobra Roll.jpg
Are you ready to be dominated?

Dominator Corkscrew.jpg
Loch Ness Monster gets all the attention for interlocking loops, but don't forget B&M does the same with their corkscrews.

Dominator Drop.jpg
The airtime on this drop was more reminiscent of a hyper than a B&M looper.

Dominator Aerial.jpg
The layout is definitely unique. Yes it's missing a zero-G roll, but Dominator more than makes up for it.


After non-stop coaster riding, I decided to take a break and ascend the picturesque Eiffel Tower. As a fan of theme park photography, I absolutely love when parks have observation towers. I especially love when they have the observation decks since that gives me the flexibility to grab photos at my leisure instead of just missing the perfect shot as the car rotates away. 10 out of 10

Eiffel Tower.jpg
Not sure if I'm at Kings Island or Kings Dominion.

West Overview.jpg
Every single one of this report's aerial shots are thanks to the Eiffel Tower.

Candy Apple Grove.jpg
I still can't believe the park has an entire area themed to apples.


I wasn’t sure if the log flume would be operational in the cooler temperatures and I was worried when I saw no one in the queue line. Turns out, there was just no one willing to brave 60 degree temperatures in a flexiglass log. I eagerly plopped myself down in the back row, which was the correct decision.

After the first drop, a wall of water landed on the front bench. Had I been sitting up front, that would have been a drencher. In back, I barely got more than a few splashes. The second drop is considerably taller than the first and pretty average for a flume. But that’s not where the Shenandoah Lumber Company shines. This flume shines in its location.

It’s impressive how one half of Kings Dominion is an asphalt jungle while the other side is completely shaded. That yields one of the better log flume layouts out there. You truly feel as if you’ve traveled deep in the woods of Virginia. 8 out of 10

Log Flume Drop.jpg
Few were riding the flume in 60 degree temps.

Log Flume Transfer.jpg
And yet the park was adding even more logs. I love how much Cedar Fair prioritizes capacity.


FastLane allowed me to skip a sizable wait on Flying Eagles. It appeared as if the queue had been swarmed by a school trip, so I was ecstatic to walk right onto the flying scooters. I had only ridden them once, but I remembered them being very snappable. I had no such luck today.

When I boarded, I noticed the sails were heavier than most and there was a considerable amount of friction with the tub. The latter is something I’ve never noticed on other flying scooters. I was still able to get a considerable amount of movement, but at no point did I feel like I was defying death itself. I guess I’ll save that for my inevitable Knoebels trip this year. 7 out of 10

Flying Eagles.jpg
The only snapping that occurred was with my fingers.


Like the flume, Grizzly is another ride that uses its wooded setting extremely well. Even on busier days, this coaster doesn’t have a line. I’d say it shocks me, but I do wonder how many guests can find the attraction. Not only is it shrouded deep inside the woods, but you have to pass through a gift shop to enter the queue line. It’d one thing if the gift shop was a short cut, but no, it’s literally the only way to access Grizzly.

I began in the front row and immediately remembered why I’m a big Grizzly fan. The first drop is steeper than you’d expect and gives some solid air in the back row. Then the ridiculously slow, flat turn is one of the few spots to catch your breath on the ride. I know it’s technically not a double down, but the third hill after the turnaround gives some incredibly strong air.

Next is the signature tunnel with a surprise pop of air. The next turnaround is another dull spot on the ride, but the rest of the ride is anything but. A majority of the remaining hills give some good air and because several of them are angled, they also provide some strong laterals as well.

Like Dominator, Grizzly doesn’t get the love it deserves. The coaster really is the complete package. It has a wonderful setting, great airtime, and strong laterals all while providing a reasonably smooth ride. At a smaller regional park, I could see Grizzly being a star attraction. 8 out of 10

Grizzly.jpg
Not to be confused with the much maligned west Grizzly.

Gift Shop Grizzly.jpg
You literally have to go through this gift shop to get to Grizzly's entrance. I thought gift shops were supposed to be at the exit.


I then grabbed a few more rides on Twisted Timbers and it was now up to full speed. Any notion that the coaster was sluggish was eradicated. It was particularly noticeable on that trick track hill. While my first ride slowly undulated through this section, Twisted Timbers tore through it this time bouncing me out of my seat like a Mexican jumping bean.

Twisted Timbers Speed Hill.jpg
Six Flags excels at the rundown/apocalypse theming. Cedar Fair seems pretty good at it too.


Outside of the Crypt, I had been neglecting Kings Dominion’s solid flat ride collection. I was eager to reride Windseeker and their colossal Drop Tower, but unfortunately both were closed for the day. As a consolation prize, I had the park’s new for 2017 attraction to hit, Delirium.

I know many didn’t shed a tear at Shockwave’s removal, but I actually enjoyed it. In all honestly, I prefer the Togo stand-ups to the B&M ones since the restraints didn’t induce any headbanging for me. Unlike my last visit where the plot of land was vacant, the spot is now filled with a giant frisbee.

While I’m not as big a fan of the Mondial versions, but they’re still solid rides and give decent air on the max swings. They just are noticeably tamer than the giant Inamin, Huss, or Zamperla versions. I’m glad more parks seem to be adding these giant frisbees since few flats are better. 7 out of 10

Delirium.jpg
Honestly I'm in the minority that misses Shockwave, but this isn't a bad replacement.


I had two remaining coasters before moving onto rerides on I305 and Twisted Timbers. I planned to hit Backlot Stunt Coaster first. I entered into the queue and quickly noticed something was wrong. The coaster was only running one train. I have never seen any of the Backlot clones down to one train operations before and because of how far back the FastLane merge point was, I estimated the queue could take almost a half hour. Backlot is fun and all, but I couldn’t justify it over multiple I305 rides.

The other coaster was Anaconda, which was of course a walk-on. Not wanting to waste any precious time waiting for the front, I grabbed a ride in the very back. Anaconda really is a mixed bag. The first half is quite good with the underwater tunnel and forceful two inversions. But the second half is the definition of coat-hanger transitions.

Because the MCBR brings the train to a halt, you creep through the demented pretzel knot which truly lets you appreciate Arrow’s handiwork. Fortunately my head is above the OSTR because otherwise, this would be brutal. Then the two corkscrews feel very wrong. On every other coaster, corkscrews are snappy. On Anaconda, they’re taken so slowly that they actually induce hang-time.

I could see smaller riders despising Anaconda, but for me it’s no problem at all. I can’t justify riding it more than once since the park has a superior looper just a 5 minute walk away in Dominator, but it does have a nice setting over the water. 6 out of 10

Anaconda Loop.jpg
So much better than the Nicky Minaj song.

Anaconda Second Half.jpg
Just look how screwed up this second half looks. This is coathanger engineering at its finest.


I know there’ll be a debate on the better ride- I305 or Twisted Timbers. It’s close. It’s very close. But when closing neared, I found myself wanting to get my last rides on Twisted Timbers rather than I305. Still that’s like saying I prefer a prime rib to fillet mignon.

In the last hour, I was able to get 4 rides on I305 and 5 on Twisted Timbers. The latter had a reride policy that would make SFNE proud. Even when there was no one waiting for your row, they wouldn’t allow any rerides. The inconsistent reride policy was my one critique for the park, but in order for it to become an issue, that means you visited on a relatively empty day, so it’s hard to complain too much.

Twisted Timbers Airtime.jpg
Six Flags refuses entire names. Cedar Fair just reuses Timbers, but adds uniqueness by putting a different adjective in front. Shivering, Soaring, Twisted, etc.


With the addition of Twisted Timbers, Kings Dominion quietly now boasts one of the best coaster lineups out there. Any park with a giga already qualifies, but once you add in an airtime monster like Twisted Timbers along with a unique Intamin launched invert, a solid B&M floorless, and good wooden coaster, you have a well-rounded collection.

I was really tempted to return to the park on Saturday night to experience some night rides on Grizzly, I305, and Twisted Timbers, but I couldn’t pry myself away from Busch Gardens. The latter is simply too amazing. That being said, I think it’s relatively safe to say I’ll be returning to the park sometime in the next few years and when I do, I’m going to try and visit on a day with extended hours.
Last edited by Canobie Coaster on Thu Apr 26, 2018 4:17 am.
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Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2018 US Adventures

Postby Canobie Coaster » Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:52 pm

Go-Karts Plus

On a Friday in April, which of Virginia’s amusement parks do you think would have the latest hours- Kings Dominion or Busch Gardens. Trick question, the correct answer was Go-Karts Plus. Despite having an overall footprint less than one land at either Busch Gardens or Kings Dominion, this solid family center bested both parks in terms of operating hours. And honestly, that’s the only reason I visited.

Go Karts Plus Sign.jpg
You know, I probably should have taken a picture of the coaster. But I promise you, it exists!


Credit whores probably know of Go-Karts Plus for one reason and one reason alone, Python Pit. The most noteworthy thing about this Miler is the fact that it has been relocated twice. some, being the only adult on a kiddie coaster is embarrassing. But for me, I’d consider that ideal conditions. For one, I don’t take a seat away from a kid. Two, it never ceases to elicit a smile from the stunned operators.

Prior to riding, the operator carefully explained the coaster had four laps and if at any point the 12 foot drop became too intense, I could signal him to stop. It’s like a safe word. But I was going hard core. I was taking all four laps I was entitled to receive. As far as kiddie coasters go, the Miler ones are fairly smooth, which is a fact all the more impressive after seeing how rough their adult coasters become. 2 out of 10

I debated trying one of the park’s go kart tracks, but after driving 9 hours the day before, the last thing I wanted to do was get behind the wheel. So instead I got behind the saddle and rode the park’s tallest attraction, their Zamperla Disk’O. Usually these flats aren’t particularly imposing, but at a FEC when it’s 3-4 times taller than the next closest ride, which is probably the Python Pit, it looks pretty impressive.

I ride the version at Lake Compounce quite a bit, but this one seemed to have a longer cycle. There was plenty of spinning with the slightest hints of air. Yes the restraints are a bit awkward and potential nutcrackers if you aren’t careful, but I really do enjoy these flats. 8 out of 10

Disk'o.jpg
The Disk'o is to Go-Karts Plus as the Eiffel Tower is to Kings Dominion.


So in just 15 minutes I had spent :

Python Pit- $6
Disk’o- $6
The satisfaction of riding another kiddie coaster- Priceless

There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard*.

* Unless it’s a kiddie coaster with a maximum height restriction. At that point, you’re out of luck unless you pay for an experimental procedure to shrink. But if you shrink you can’t ride the awesome B&Ms and Intamins of the world, so your loss. :lol:
Top 5 Wood- Lightning Rod, Phoenix, Wildfire, Outlaw Run, Boulder Dash
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Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2018 US Adventures

Postby TBpony414 » Thu Apr 26, 2018 12:12 pm

Thanks be to the RMC Gods who sent you a sign to go KD on Friday!! How cool. Some comments, since you took the time to write all this out and post great pics:

The Rebel Yell retrack completely transformed the ride experience. They did a really, really nice job with it and we took several laps on it a few weeks ago. I wish there were more of these truly basic out and back woodies. I love Comet at HersheyPark for its simplicity as well.

Volcano’s line if it was through all those switchbacks was a good 2-2.5 hours. You’re lucky you skipped all that! The front row, right side is my favorite seat. I only had one ride on Twisted Timbers and while I thought it was excellent, I’m a sucker for launches so Volcano remains my fav ride at the park - with TT a close second. I much prefer coasters that I can marathon which is why I-305, while a great ride, has never been a big draw for me. Good grief, I must sound really old and boring! I promise I'm not :lmao:

I’m not a professional flyer snapper and despite having heard good things I have never had any luck on KD’s flyers. Skipping that line which if takes up even half the queue is a good 20-30 minute wait was a smart move. Their dispatching on it is historically horrible.

Looking forward to hearing about your day at BGW!

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Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2018 US Adventures

Postby coasterbill » Thu Apr 26, 2018 12:24 pm

Great report! Glad to hear you got on Twisted Timbers, it's really an excellent ride.

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Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2018 US Adventures

Postby Canobie Coaster » Thu Apr 26, 2018 7:50 pm

TBpony414 wrote:Volcano’s line if it was through all those switchbacks was a good 2-2.5 hours. You’re lucky you skipped all that! The front row, right side is my favorite seat. I only had one ride on Twisted Timbers and while I thought it was excellent, I’m a sucker for launches so Volcano remains my fav ride at the park - with TT a close second. I much prefer coasters that I can marathon which is why I-305, while a great ride, has never been a big draw for me. Good grief, I must sound really old and boring! I promise I'm not :lmao:

I’m not a professional flyer snapper and despite having heard good things I have never had any luck on KD’s flyers. Skipping that line which if takes up even half the queue is a good 20-30 minute wait was a smart move. Their dispatching on it is historically horrible.

Looking forward to hearing about your day at BGW!


Thanks! If I had any doubts about wasting my FastLane, Volcano alleviated it. That queue is absolutely brutal.

My less than snappy ride on Flying Eagles was definitely disappointing since I remember being able to snap them over 10 years ago on my lone ride. Maybe I didn't really know what snapping was at that point? Either way, they were still fun but just not what I remembered.

coasterbill wrote:Great report! Glad to hear you got on Twisted Timbers, it's really an excellent ride.


Thanks! I'm interested to hear if it speeds up even further with the warmer weather since it's already running wild.
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Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2018 US Adventures

Postby Canobie Coaster » Sun May 06, 2018 8:59 am

Busch Gardens Williamsburg

After visiting several European parks last year, it was interesting returning to Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Stateside, it’s the park that most reminds me of the parks I visited in Europe. I’m not just saying that because of how it’s themed to Europe (thought that does help), but more so because of how well the park integrates top notch coasters with great theming and beautiful landscaping.

Kings Dominion closed at 6 on Friday and Busch Gardens was open until 8. So immediately after my last Twisted Timbers ride, the race against the clock began. I was worried Busch would close the gate early, but then I remembered SeaWorld Orlando let me re-enter the park 15 minutes prior to closing. This time I left myself about 35 minutes.

Park Sign.jpg
Busch "Please Forget We're Part of SeaWorld" Gardens


My last visit to Busch Gardens was in 2014 and all the major attractions had unbelievably high capacities. Their three additions since then aren’t quite as excellent in that department. Originally I was going to be able to rope drop one the following day, but now I was optimistic I could hit both Tempesto and InvadR in my limited time.

I moved through England and crossed into Italy. If only customs was this fast! And let me just say that Tempesto dominates the skyline of Fest Italia, an impressive feat when a hyper coaster stands mere feet behind it. Originally I was skeptical the theming of Tempesto would be uncharacteristically cheap for Busch Gardens, but after seeing it in person, I get it. It has the appearance of a fair without crossing into the cringe-worthy category like Chester and Hester’s Dinorama (Why Disney? Why?!).

I was optimistic I wouldn’t see any lines on a Friday nearing closing and I was right. I immediately walked onto the back row. From a ride standpoint, I’m a fan of these Sky Rocket II’s. However, I despise the vehicles. I’m currently typing this as I’m on a plane and I have to say, it’s far easier to get into my cramped airline seat than boarding these trains. That’s saying something. I also don’t like how the shin restraints have an interference fit instead of contouring around them like other manufacturers.

The comfort collars did add another layer of difficulty loading, but once the ride began I didn’t notice them. With the longer train, I expected the launch to have more kick to it, but that wasn’t the case. The longer train did have an impact on the rest of the ride though. After the terrifying hangtime on that barrel roll, I was treated to an extremely violent, twisted drop loaded with more ejector air than usual.

I know enthusiasts tend to be anti-clone. I’m anti sucky clone. SLCs (without the new restraints) and boomerangs will be greeted with contempt, but I’ll welcome a Sky Rocket II with open arms. Outside of the free flies and ZacSpins, you’d be hard pressed to fit a coaster with more thrills in such a small footprint. 8 out of 10

IMG_1971.jpg
Tempesto towers over Festa Italia. Even over Apollo.

Tempesto Drop.jpg
Those riders better be ready for extreme airtime.

Tempesto Non-Inverting Loop.jpg
Tempesto filled the park's void of an intense launched coaster.


I debated immediately running to InvadR, but how could I turn down a ride on Apollo’s Chariot? It was right there after-all. Without any hesitation, I grabbed the back row. The back left is the absolute money seat on this hyper.

Last year, Robb and Elissa mentioned something called the Expedition GeForce effect. On past trips, they always went to Holiday Park before Europa Park, meaning everyone would ride GeForce before Silver Star. For last year’s trip, they did this trip in reverse and this may have contributed to several attendees finding Silver Star better than they remembered. Would riding I305 and Twisted Timbers not even two hours ago hamper my enjoyment of Apollo? Not in the least bit. I love Apollo’s Chariot.

The setting through the woods and over the Rhine River is one of the best of any coaster. It’s particularly impressive how immersed you feel considering the parking lot is in reality just a hop, skip, and a jump away. Every single drop provided copious amounts of sustained airtime. The return leg in particular is where Apollo shines. While other coasters have drops decreasing in height on the return leg, Apollo uses the terrain masterfully to randomly vary the drop heights and mess with the minds of riders.

Did I prefer Twisted Timbers? Of course. But in all honesty I may take Apollo over I305. Apollo’s Chariot is undeniably fun from start to finish and one of the most reridable coasters out there. Those B&M clamshells are ridiculously comfortable and there isn’t any hint of a rattle. It was really hard not to marathon Apollo until close, but I knew I could do that the following day. 10 out of 10

Apollo Parking Lot.jpg
For a coaster so close to the parking lot, Apollo really immerses you in the woods.


I knew it would take all my will power to ignore Verbolten and Alpengeist on the way to InvadR. But as I walked through Oktoberfest, I caught a whiff of the intoxicating aroma of buttery, doughy pretzels. Ok those I couldn’t turn down. I grabbed a pretzel to go and wolfed it down on my way to InvadR. Finally I reached the ride’s impressive entrance with 10 minutes to spare.

Because of the coaster’s location, you can barely see any of it from the park walkways. Really you have to ride the flume or train to get a good look at one of GCI’s newest creations. The narrow station was cramped towards the front, but I knew I wanted ride number one to be in the front row. 5 minutes later I was crawling up the lift.

For a family coaster, that first drop is surprisingly steep. The rest of the ride is trademark GCI- a series of small hills and rapid directional changes. I think I counted 4-5 hills with really good air and another 3-4 with smaller pops. Like White Lightning, this is another shorter coaster that maintains its speed far better than you’d expect.

After my first ride, I was just barely able to get back in the queue and grab a seat towards the back on the final train of the night. While that first drop did have some nice air in the back, this is definitely a front seat ride. There was probably only half as much air towards the back. While it can’t compete with the park’s exemplary B&M collection, it’s probably the park’s next best attraction. 8 out of 10

InvadR Entrance.jpg
Did they hit "Shift" instead of "E"? Maybe, but I'll just blame autocorrect instead.


Flash forward 13.5 hours and I was back at the park. I like to arrive at park’s a half hour early. It’s not because I expect the park to open early, but rather I’d like to beat the rush at the turnstile and metal detector. Well on this day, Busch Gardens opened a half hour early. I was skeptical anything would be operational yet, but sure enough the new for 2018 Battle for Eire was accepting riders.

England.jpg
The only way this could get more British is if there was a royal guard with fish and chips.

Clydesdales.jpg
Getting some beauty rest in preparation for next year's Super Bowl shoot.


I was leery how good Battle for Eire would be. On one hand, Thorpe’s Derren Brown showed me just how effective VR could be on a dark ride. On the other hand, Battle for Eire was clearly targeting the family demographic instead of trying to give you the Hershey squirts down your leg. Unfortunately my trepidation was warranted.

I can tell the park put a lot of effort into the pre-show, but it couldn’t save the ride. I believe the platform moved, but I honestly couldn’t feel it since it was so slight. Then the visuals were intentionally cartoony and never became convincing, particularly when the ride performed a pseudo Care Bear Stare. Hopefully others are higher on the attraction than me, but I honestly preferred Europe in the Sky. 4 out of 10

Battle for Eire.jpg
The revolving door of simulators is Battle for Eire...for now.


Griffon was still testing, but I entered the queue and 5 minutes later I was seated in row 1. After cresting the lift, the view of the Chesapeake Bay and Virginia woodlands is truly spectacular. And then like when your movie transitions to a commercial, we turned 180 degrees face to face with the Anheuser Busch brewery. Well played Busch, well played.

I think this goes without saying, but I love the drops on dive machines. They’re long and floaty with a hint of that stomach drop sensation only a drop tower, Shambhala, and other dive machines can provide. The following Immelmann isn’t anything special, but the drop off the MCBR sure is. Like the first drop, this one again provides some truly wonderful airtime.

The rest of the second half is why I consider Griffon the best dive machine. You have another graceful Immelmann and then the final bit has 2-3 tiny hills with some surprising airtime. And this isn’t the B&M floater variety either, it’s a quick pop more akin to what you’d experience on a GCI. I know dive machines are often considered one trick ponies, but Griffon is definitely more than that. 9 out of 10

Griffon Immelmann.jpg
I present the mythical Griffon.

Griffon First Drop (Front).jpg
Dive coasters have the reputations as one trick ponies, but Griffon is more than just that.

Griffon Holding Brake.jpg
Though the initial trick is still the highlight.

Griffon MCBR.jpg
I wonder how strong the air would be if the MCBR were off?

Griffon Evening.jpg
Griffon stands taller than Napoleon in France.


The crowds still hadn’t reached InvadR, so I snagged two additional rides. For my first, I waited 10 minutes for the back and then I waited 15-20 minutes for the very front. I was tempted to grab a third ride, but by now the queue was starting to populate the winding pathway. No thank you, I had a date with a B&M invert.

InvadR Airtime.jpg
Short of a perfectly timed train ride, you're hard pressed to get photos of InvadR.


But first I decided to give Le Scoot a ride. I didn’t think 60 degrees was that cold, especially for an attraction that doesn’t soak you. But the flume was deserted, so I gave it a spin. Actually two spins to be precise.

I remember the flume being heavily wooded alongside the aerial layout. It still is, but the trees have since been replaced by InvadR. Honestly, Le Scoot is the best ride to get views of the park’s GCI. It also has a solid drop at the end that feels even taller than it really is thanks to that shed. 8 out of 10

Le Scoot Drop.jpg
Looks like the Le Scoot logging company converted that lumber into a shiny new wooden coaster.


In all my past visits Alpengeist has been a total walk-on, but on this day, the line was consistently near the half hour mark. Like its brother in Tampa, this is one of the few inverts where I prefer the back. Part of it is the added force on the inversions, but the real reason is that drop. It's unbelievably long and has tremendous whip in the very back. It sets the tone for the flurry of inversions that's to follow.

The Immelmann is simply massive and the lone element that's more graceful rather than forceful. The following inversion and cobra roll have some really strong snap to them. Then I can dream how forceful the finale would be without the MCBR, but as it stands, both the zero-G roll and corkscrew manage to be quite snappy even as the coaster quickly hemorrhages speed.

Alpengeist is arguably the most imposing invert out there with its massive lift and colossal inversions. It's also one of the more forceful ones. For that reason, it's in the upper tier of inverts with only Nemesis, Montu, and Banshee surpassing it. 9 out of 10

Alpengeist Drop 1.jpg
Bigger isn't always better, but it certainly helps.

Alpengeist Drop 2.jpg
Alpengeist's drop is a work of art. Look at that 270 degree twist.

Alpengeist Cobra Roll.jpg
The first half is a black diamond.

Alpengeist Zero_G.jpg
The second half is more like a blue square.


Since Alpengeist had a line, I knew full and well Verbolten would have a line too. I saw the line extending into the first queue house, so like any pretzel aficionado, I purchased a delicious turkey pretzel sandwich to eat in line. The wait was posted at 60 minutes, but in just a half hour I was seated in the very back row about to enjoy one of the best and most varied family coasters out there.

Turkey Sandwich.jpg
Many parks sell timesaver passes. I call this the timepasser pass.


The initial launch has a surprisingly strong kick to it. Honestly I think it may even have more punch than the Flight of Fear clones. Then the Dark Forest delivers a very strong moment of air with a Skull Mountain esque drop following that initial launch. But unlike that death metal blasting mountain, Verbolten has more tricks up its sleeve including a grey-out inducing turn. This is particularly disorienting in the almost total darkness the coaster takes place.

The transition to the second half is the best part of the ride (trying not to spoil it but I think most are aware what Verbolten does). The second half feels very short, but it includes another solid launch and a picturesqe drop over the Rhine. Verbolten stands out for its uniqueness, but it also is a much better coaster than you'd expect. 8 out of 10

Verbolten Drop.jpg
I'm sure you've never seen this picture before.

Verbolten Shed.jpg
What's in the shed?

Verbolten Turn.jpg
Yes the Big Bad Wolf was a solid attraction, but in all honesty, this is a superior ride in my opinion.


Mach Tower was running so of course I gave it a ride. I still can't believe how many issues this drop tower had when it opened, but I’ve been able to ride it my past few visits. And it never has a line to boot.

The real highlight of the attraction is the 360 degree views of one of the world's most beautiful parks. Unlike Drop Line, Mach Tower provides multiple rotations for a full view of the park at peak altitude. Then the drop isn't too shabby either. There's a bit of a warning, but it's long and just a notch below the Intamins in terms of intensity. But few of the Intamin ones are in as gorgeous of a location. 9 out of 10

Mach Tower.jpg
It's no Falcon's Fury in the thrills department, but it isn't too shabby there and has superior views.

Curse of NoKastle.jpg
A moment of silence for the now Curse of NoKastle.


I was in the mood for more Apollo's Chariot, so I started the trek towards Fest Italia. On the way I saw the Flying Machine was loading so I gave it a whirl. I remembered it being a very fast ride and incredibly short. Unfortunately just the latter was true this time. Not sure if it slowed or I misremembered, but this barely built up any speed. 4 out of 10

Flying Machine.jpg
I'm sure DaVinci's long lost notebook had secret plans for an amusement ride.


Then I had the dumb idea to make one more stop before Apollo. And this ride had the potential to be a real soaker, Escape From Pompeii. I thought about skipping it, but the allure of fire was simply too much to pass up.

I'm glad the SeaWorld parks haven't leeched Pompeii’s fire effects away since they make an otherwise pedestrian shoot the chutes ride memorable. The plunge itself has a small pop of air and isn't too soaking. What is soaking are the water cannons from bystanders who happily trade 25 cents to try and induce hypothermia on riders. And of course we were hit with more than a few. Still it comes with the territory for this type of ride and the price I pay for pyrotechnics. 10 out of 10

Escape from Pompeii.jpg
It seemed like a good idea until those doors opened.


I thought about hitting Tempesto, but it had a half hour wait. Meanwhile, Apollo had just a 15 minute wait. The Sky Rocket II’s are really fun coasters, but I can't justify riding it over a fantastic B&M hyper with a shorter wait, especially since one of my home parks also has a Sky Rocket II. Since I already had the credit, I tried to think if I'd ride Tempesto again. It's pretty much a guarantee Apollo's line would be shorter. And when there are no lines at closing, I'd want to marathon Apollo. Really the only way I'd ride Tempesto would be if Apollo's Chariot closed 5 minutes before closing. Any more time and I'd take a chance I could make it back to Alpengeist. But as a highly reliable B&M, what were the odds this would ever happen…

But for now, I got two more rides on Apollo. One up front and one in the very back. It's still a fun coaster in row 1, but without a question this is a back seat coaster because of all those drops.

Apollo First Drop.jpg
It seems like all the best photos of Apollo can be had from the parking lot.

Apollo Photo Drop.jpg
Though it is possible to get a clear shot of the final drop.


I had one major coaster left to ride and fortunately, it could easily be accessed by the park’s train. Busch Gardens is one of those parks where the transportation rides aren't just for fun; they are major timesavers. I was hoping to get an action shot or two of InvadR along the journey, but we just missed it.

After two stops, I was in Scotland to ride the Loch Ness Monster. Nessie was celebrating her 40th birthday in style with refurbished trains and a 30 minute wait. To be perfectly honest, I didn't notice any differences with the trains. But if this keeps the historical coaster running, I can't complain. Like a majority of Arrow loopers, I didn't hesitate one bit to grab the back row.

All three drops provide some very strong and abrupt airtime. Then the signature interlocking loops are quite forceful. And the coaster has an incredible setting in the woods and over the water. But unfortunately beyond these awesome parts, the coaster jostles as you'd expect for an Arrow nearly as old as Tom Brady.

The Loch Ness Monster is definitely a coaster with some obvious pros and cons. But this nostalgic coaster has more good than bad. 7 out of 10

Loch Ness Monster Drop.jpg
Straight Arrow drops never fail to provide solid air.

Loch Ness Monster Interlock 1.jpg
Inter-loch-ing loops.

Loch Ness Monster Interlock 3.jpg
I don't know why people have problems photographing Nessie. All enthusiasts have this shot.

Loch Ness Monster Reflection.jpg
I see Nessie in the water.


As awesome as the pretzels are, I decided I should finally try the recommended Trapper's Smokehouse. Every time I passed the restaurant, the aroma of smoked meats flooded my nostrils and made a very convincing case for dinner. I ordered the brisket and it was fantastic. It was pricey, but the portion was huge and the meat had the perfect amount of juiciness to it.

Trappers.jpg
For meat at theme parks, I'm used to burgers and chicken tenders. This was exceptional.


I spent the rest of the day reriding my favorites- Alpengeist, Griffon, Verbolten, InvadR and of course Apollo's Chariot. Apollo's Chariot is one of the best night rides out there thanks to its dark and heavily wooded setting. I love this coaster so much. After my fourth ride, it was 9:50. When we hit the brake run, I noticed all the employees hovering around one row. Uh oh. Sure enough it was announced that Apollo's Chariot was having technical difficulties. Well I guess I was going to have to eat my words on Tempesto.

Soon enough they advanced us to the station. I figured the line would be closed, but they were still allowing people to get back in line. They said anyone in line would get one last ride once the technical issue was fixed. 20 minutes passed and maintenance just shook their heads. I was bummed out, but it was worth the chance for one final night ride on the park's best attraction. I'm pretty sure 99% of parks would just apologize and send us on our way home.

Apollo Breakdown.jpg
I wanted one last voyage to the moon, but Apollo prefers voyages to the sun.


But Busch Gardens is in the 1%. They were nice enough to open Tempesto to give us one last ride before leaving. I don't know many parks that would do that. I grabbed a front row ride and was treated to another intense ride. I don't know if I'll ever finish with Tempesto again, but on this night it demonstrated the dedication of Busch Gardens to their customers.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg really is one of the world's best parks. It has everything I look for in a park- fantastic theming and elite, reridable coasters. Not that I really need another reason to return, but that mystery permit for the 315 foot attraction certainly doesn't hurt.

Spain.jpg
I've seen some speculation the ride could be part of a new Spanish area. Because today, this is all they have.
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Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2018 US Adventures

Postby JordyC » Mon May 07, 2018 8:20 am

Very good report! I have ridden Heidi The Ride at Plopsaland, which is essentially a clone of White Lightning, and I was really surprised with how awesome that little GCI is. So it is great to hear that InvadR has a fairly similar ride experience -- short but sweet!
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Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2018 US Adventures

Postby bert425 » Mon May 07, 2018 8:48 am

Just now seeing your KD report (will have to come back for BGW when not so slammed at work!).

beautiful pics, and love your commentary.

thanks for sharing. . I"m back at KD later this summer, and haven't been since 2015.. so I'm looking forwards to it, and your report got me giddy!
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Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2018 US Adventures

Postby Canobie Coaster » Mon May 07, 2018 9:05 am

JordyC wrote:Very good report! I have ridden Heidi The Ride at Plopsaland, which is essentially a clone of White Lightning, and I was really surprised with how awesome that little GCI is. So it is great to hear that InvadR has a fairly similar ride experience -- short but sweet!


Thanks! GCIs really seem to maintain their speed even with modest maximum heights.

bert425 wrote:Just now seeing your KD report (will have to come back for BGW when not so slammed at work!).

beautiful pics, and love your commentary.

thanks for sharing. . I"m back at KD later this summer, and haven't been since 2015.. so I'm looking forwards to it, and your report got me giddy!


Thank you! Yeah I know I can write quite a bit (nothing better to do on an airplane) so they can take a bit to run through, but I'd rather have enough information to rejog my memory on my experience if I look back.
Top 5 Wood- Lightning Rod, Phoenix, Wildfire, Outlaw Run, Boulder Dash
Top 5 Steel- Expedition GeForce, Iron Rattler, Fury 325, Twisted Colossus, Helix
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