Just got back from day 1. A few thoughts:
Richmond/DC locals, you have a nice park. Be proud. So many trees! The whole layout is remarkably similar to Kings Island, and just as clean. We can't wait to do the whole thing again tomorrow but we did nail almost every single ride today, save i305 and a couple flats.
We did Volcano first as prescribed. What a blast (haha see what I did there). As much as I already knew about this coaster coming in, the launch still kicked my a$$! We got on what I think was the second train of the day. So much fun.
Then we couldn't resist the draw of a two-sided Topspin in the way of Crypt, with the water and fire effects fully working! We were only exposed to KI Crypt while it was still around, you guys are spoiled! It was a blast and we swore this would be one of our night rides but alas, within a half hour of our ride it went down. It came back up a couple times throughout the day we are told, but any time we came back around that way it was still down. So, no night ride.
Next was Avalanche, very cool that this is still here to experience. My home park Cedar Point as you all know neutered Avalanche Run by enclosing it and including some terrible effects and now removed it so this was a nostalgia trip for me. Thanks for this, KD.
Up to FoF. I have a hard time discerning the nuances between this and KI's version. I want to believe that they are identical but somehow I feel slight differences. The first half seems more intense, like maybe the launch is slightly faster? You know how perception is day to day, I'm probably wrong. No photo on the launch, likely there used to be when it was profitable. KI still has ride photos. The second half, after the mid brake, seemed sluggish in comparison. But the corkscrew finish was strong.
Checked Anaconda. 20 more minutes until it will be available. We shall return.
Backlot... I love this thing, this I know. Fun little Premier launcher. Short line, we got right on. Fun as expected, but the water, fire and copter effects were all not working. This was unexpected after our positive experiences with Crypt, Volcano and FoF (theming and effects). Bummer since our last visit to KI had at least the copter and fire. Water has been gone for years (I'm speaking of the "gas leak" effect, not water in the trough at the end. KD still has it, KI does not).
We then grabbed some really fresh fries from Chicken Shack, they were brilliant. Normally I would call them average park fries, but they just opened the stand and they so perfectly hit the spot, and a future comparison made them really shine. More on that later.
Anaconda is ready. A very satisfying ride! I expected a routine Arrow headache but we were rewarded with a fun ride. I'll hit this again tomorrow. The mid course brake (almost to a dead stop) was disappointing but the arrow jerk-and-curves right after probably justified it. Good finish to a fun jaunt.
We pass the Scrambler. The wife and I love these to death, casting back to childhood carnival days, so we ride them at every park that has one. Not yet, we vow for later.
Boo Blasters: Charming and cool queue area! KI's has very little outside line then a cool holding room with spooky effects. Not sure which one wins here. But the ride itself, 4 man vehicles and all guns (and interactive scenery) working perfectly, KD edges here. What a fun dark ride. I do wish it was still Scooby-Do themed, but oh well... I pulled a sweet 1620. Lead my car.
Over to Dominator: again, thank you wise forum gurus and KD pros, our wait at this time was a mere 20 minutes (compared to a 1 hour initial wait as reported by other guests). What a hoot! I love this thing. For a first timer, this completely saved the day for i305 being down. Well the combo of this and Volcano and great weather and good company. The speed. The sheer unexpected speed. I pray that this never gets overtrimmed like so many other good coasters do. This made history for us, our first floorless. Tomorrow we crash the gate and try to get an early 1st row ride!
Lunchtime: Bubba Gump's - Er, Outer Hanks. Ok shrimp, Ok fish, terrible slaw and fries. This is where we deemed our earlier Chicken Shack fries AMAZING. these were that bad. Old, overfried. I doused mine with malt vinegar and still didn't eat half of them. I never do that, I'm a naked-and-salt guy. I couldn't even mask it, they were that bad.
Starbucks is Starbucks. We got coffee. Much needed, soul-satisfying caffeine. Re-invigorated.
Flying Eagles: Never did this before. Kind of neat in principle. We liked it.
Hurler... ouch! Nobody warned me about this kidney killer. At least we scratched it off our dance card but wow... will not repeat.
I think it's natural at this point to ride Ricochet. It's right here, and there is no way Hurler is going to draw me back to this corner again. Great mouse! What a cool layout, I have to wonder if the wedge of cheese shape was designed for the space given or the ride was designed first. Totally neat.
Grizzly: Now this is how a medium-small woodie should ride. Fun ride, couple good airtimes, didn't murder my spine. I'd repeat this.
Tried to board Rebel Yell, folks coming out the in door saying it was down. went up anyway, we were told "soon".
Shock Wave: I (we) hate stand-ups. Not the comedians, the coasters. But despite the awkward "cars" and restraints, this was a gigglefest. I'm not in a hurry to repeat, but I didn't hate it the way I used to hate Iron Wolf and still to this day Mantis (Mantis has a great layout, please Cedar Fair put someregular trains on it).
Triple play. Drop Tower (not me but half of my party, I have problem with these things).
Rebel Yell! Standard wooden racer, but not too rough and really fun. slightly forceless though, I guess that's the price you pay for not having an impacted disk.
Berserker: What the ever loving fukk just happened to me
Dominator again: OMG what a good coaster. At the exit we happened upon a fallen sign: "WARNING: During the fall season, this attraction contains bees and wasps at elevated areas. Those allergic to these insects should not ride." What the hell?!? Yikes. This ride has a mile drop, this ride has seventeen inversions, this one has keyholes over water, but this coaster features BEES
Return to Volcano: We got to actually witness line jumpers being punished! How cool. Not ejected-from-the-park punished as always promised, but at least ejected from the ride AT THE BOARDING STATION! Nice. They were allowed to wait the whole (reduced by cheating) time, then NOPE. Sweet justice. B-but our friends are up there... even with protests they made it really far ahead. See ya.
Dusky time, we got wet. We hit White Water Canyon, the log flume (forget the name) then WWC again. Soaked. Who cares though, it's almost closing time and we don't have to walk around all wet the rest of the day. WWC is a really good rafter. The flume is average but fun.
Shopping, fireworks, hotel. So here I sit, showered, exhausted and satisfied. We do it all again tomorrow.