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Photo TR: Kings Dominion


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The Jaycees and I made the four-hour drive to Kings Dominion on Saturday (including an hour-long backup on the Capital Beltway), and I must say... I was less than impressed. Rides broke down all day long. We got to witness an evac on the Shockwave and a kid get evicted from a restaurant (if not the park) after trying to pocket some $3.59 bottled sodas (I opted to save nine cents and buy my bottled water from a vending machine--the first I've ever seen that accepted credit cards).

 

The park was clearly short-staffed, and to say the food service operations were poor is a vast understatement. At two restaurants I attempted to get food from, the SOP seemed to be for the lone person on duty to take the order, go back in the kitchen and cook the order, return to the cash register and serve the order, then take the customer's money and attempt to give correct change (this last step is apparently is a LOT harder than one would think). Twice I walked away when my wait time, with only two people in line in front of me, topped 25 minutes. When I did finally get food in under a half hour at the third counter-service restaurant I tried, it took the girl working the cash register three tries before being able to correctly ring up my chicken sandwich, fries, water and cake (for a grand total of $17--and I thought Disney was overpriced).

 

Beyond this, when the coasters weren't broken down, many only had one train running. The crowds were moderate and lines (except for Dominator) were minimal, but the shortest wait time I experienced was 45 minutes, and that was for Scooby Doo and the Haunted Mansion.

 

And then the hailstorm came. The entire area was under a tornado watch and thunderstorm warning all day, and by mid-afternoon, they made a park-wide announcement that all the rides would be closing due to a National Weather Service advisory. The storm was still a good 45 minutes away, but they took full advantage of the opportunity to encourage the thousands of admission-paying patrons with nothing to do until the first raindrop fell to patronize the gift shops.

 

Once the 20-minute storm passed, it took a full hour and 15 minutes for the rides to reopen (and Scooby Doo--one of the only indoor rides in the park--never reopened for some strange reason). We were third in line for Dominator during that 75-minute wait. In all, between the 20-minute hailstorm that closed down the entire park (except the gift shops!) for two hours and the below-standard operations that caused lines to back up exponentially, we got to ride five rides the entire day.

 

The one good thing was, thanks to a Google discount code search and the good people at the Virginia Commonwealth Tourism Office (use VAFUN in the "Corporate Code" box on the KD website), we had to pay only $35 for tickets in advance instead of $52 at the gate. As one of my fellow travelers put it, "As it was, not counting gas, food and parking, we paid $7 per ride today. If we'd had to pay full price, it would have been more than $10 per ride. Next time, I think I'll just stay home and pretend I rode five rides."

 

I concur.

 

Fortunately, all the down time did give me a chance to take lots of photos--including some scavenger hunt pictures! I've posted them toward the end of this photo TR. I'll post the locations in a few days, if anyone is interested. If my experience on Saturday is any indication of the way Cedar Fair plans to run this park, you'll have plenty of time to scout out the answers for yourself on your next visit.

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And now for the scavenger hunt! Where in Kings Dominion can you find the following scenes? Answer to follow in a few days.

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Travis stuck to more traditional fare. Being the cheapskate that he is, however, he mixed ketchup and picante sauce to create his own hash brown "chunking" instead of shelling out the extra 40 cents for real diced tomatoes.

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Joanne made history, becoming the first person in the history of Waffle House to order a salad. Which, coincidentally, consisted of a shredded head of lettuce and several Kraft Singles split in half and thrown on top (really). You should have seen the waitress' face when Joanne asked, in all seriousness, if they had oil and vinaigrette!

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...we have one last stop to make!

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Thanks, Kings Dominion! We will! But first...

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You know, maybe they should have put some of those trash cans in the parking lot instead....

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The second oldest ride at the park.

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Travis, Joanne, Angela and a member of the Cedar Fair Trash Can Army. We tried to kill it, but two more took its place.

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My 45-minute wait for the one-train Avalanche pays off.

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Travis! Do not eat Joanne!

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Sadly, I'm old enough to remember when these games cost only $1 to play (and my dad always said they were a rip-off then). Now it costs almost as much as a 20-ounce bottle of water. Almost.

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They didn't reopen Scooby Doo and the Haunted Mansion after the storm, so this was as close as Joanne and Travis could get.

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Joanne and Travis waited patiently for an hour and 15 minutes for Dominator to reopen.

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And then the hail came. I holed up here in the Emporium with about 500 of my closest friends. Everyone else in my group made it to the photo shack outside Dominator, where the kid behind the register threatened to call security and throw everyone out of the park who was sitting on the floor or leaning against the counter. You know, maybe they should have taken some of that trash can money and diverted it to customer service training. Just a thought.

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...and especially this.

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...and this...

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Like this...

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I was fortunate enough to get to ride Scooby Doo and the Haunted Mansion before it went down for the day (I was the only person in my group to have this foresight--everyone else went on White Water Canyon instead). The theming at this ride was about all that really impressed me about Kings Dominion.

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Now this would make a cool TPR slogan.

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I'm ready for some shrimp. Let's go to Bubba--er, the Outer HANKS Shrimp Shack! Get it? HA HA! Ha. Um, ha.

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Hey ladies! Lindsey and Bethany are ready for some White Water Canyon.

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Oh yeah, like you thought you were going to read a KD TR without seeing this!

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Slither, my pretty!

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The Anaconda in all its snakey goodness.

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A gratuitous shot of Scooby Doo since it's right next to Dominator.

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Dominator by the numbers... for those who are interested (you know who you are).

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View from the rear.

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But this is what you all came here to see anyway. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you... Dominator!

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Plastic signs on a construction fence count as "theming" in Cedar Fair Land!

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The only attractions in the park that didn't have ridiculous wait times were SpongeBob SquarePants 4-D and this sign in front of the fountains.

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We want Paramount back!

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I'm sorry your experience at KD was less than optimal. We didn't get to see an evac, but we too saw some kids get ejected (cutting in line at Volcano) Yet, I'm so jealous because you got to ride two rides I didn't, Dominator (which wasn't open yet,) and Avalanche (which was broken)! The 45 minute wait looked worth it! The weather is a bummer though, but when it comes to tornado watches, it's better safe than sorry! Here's hoping it was just a bad day and not signs of Cedar-Fair procedures to come.

 

And the big stone monkey statues guard the entrances to the Trail's End Restaurant.

 

P.S. The oldest ride at the park is the Scooby-Doo's Ghoster Coaster. Opened a year before the park itself.

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Sounds like things haven't changed at the park. I was there in 2003 and in 1997 and both trips were horrible. 1 train ops on almost everything, high prices and bad operations. As much as I want to ride Dominator and Avalanche, I don't think I'll be going back anytime soon.

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^^Fixed!

 

By the way, one rant I forgot: Do parents know their teenage daughters are running around Kings Dominion with little to no clothes on? I saw enough 14- to 16-year-old boobs at this park to last a lifetime.

 

Where were these girls when I was in high school?

 

Seriously, 80 percent of all teenage girls at the park walked around in shorts and bikini tops. The other 20 percent didn't even bother with the shorts. I can't even imagine how it would be comfortable to ride a roller coaster in nothing but a bikini. It sounds more like a Playboy Junior photo shoot... but honest, I saw it with my own eyes! And I saw it more than once.

 

The best part was when I was taking cover from the storm in the Emporium and there was a man inside without a shirt on. A security guard came up and asked why he wasn't wearing a shirt. The man and (presumably) his wife said they had just come from the water park when the storm hit. The security guard asked him to put his shirt on, which he did, but asked the guard, jokingly, why there was a double standard that men had to wear shirts when the teenage girls could walk around the park in nothing but skimpy bathing suits.

 

The security guard assured him that the only place swimsuits of any kind were allowed was the water park, and any females in the theme park wearing only swimsuits or bikini tops were asked to cover up as well--the rules were strictly enforced. All of us within earshot, including the man who had just put his shirt on, started laughing because we honestly thought the officer was joking back. The security officer assured us he was NOT trying to be funny.

 

At which time the guy who had just put his shirt on looked him straight in the eye and said, "Well then someone is seriously asleep at that wheel!"

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man thats a depressing report dude I'm hitting up KD in early August and absolutely LOVED my trip there in 2003 so we'll see what happens, hopefully Dominator still rocks cause I loved it at Geauga (plus the location in Ohio was much much cooler so boo you parking lot).

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Sorry your day sucked. Sadly with CF comes a more crappy rain policy.

 

But that was a serious storm that came through, Grizzly has been shut down since due to Fallen trees same goes for White water Canyon. They should open up soon though.

 

This has been a horrible year for severe weather in central VA.

 

JEFF

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^^Fixed!

 

By the way, one rant I forgot: Do parents know their teenage daughters are running around Kings Dominion with little to no clothes on? I saw enough 14- to 16-year-old boobs at this park to last a lifetime.

 

Where were these girls when I was in high school?

 

Seriously, 80 percent of all teenage girls at the park walked around in shorts and bikini tops. The other 20 percent didn't even bother with the shorts. I can't even imagine how it would be comfortable to ride a roller coaster in nothing but a bikini. It sounds more like a Playboy Junior photo shoot... but honest, I saw it with my own eyes! And I saw it more than once.

 

The best part was when I was taking cover from the storm in the Emporium and there was a man inside without a shirt on. A security guard came up and asked why he wasn't wearing a shirt. The man and (presumably) his wife said they had just come from the water park when the storm hit. The security guard asked him to put his shirt on, which he did, but asked the guard, jokingly, why there was a double standard that men had to wear shirts when the teenage girls could walk around the park in nothing but skimpy bathing suits.

 

The security guard assured him that the only place swimsuits of any kind were allowed was the water park, and any females in the theme park wearing only swimsuits or bikini tops were asked to cover up as well--the rules were strictly enforced. All of us within earshot, including the man who had just put his shirt on, started laughing because we honestly thought the officer was joking back. The security officer assured us he was NOT trying to be funny.

 

At which time the guy who had just put his shirt on looked him straight in the eye and said, "Well then someone is seriously asleep at that wheel!"

 

yeah there is a double standard.

 

Last year my husband and I were at Denver's Elitch Gardens. Some young girl ( maybe about 15 or so ) was walking around the area of Twister Too wearing a very short bikini ( so short, might as well be nude !! ). A male security guard told her to put on her pants since she was nowhere near the waterpark. She went off..screaming "...what the hell is wrong with you? !!...You don't like girls ?? Are you gay ?? "

She flat out refused to put anything on. Then some female security guard walked up to her and told her ( like the male security guard ) to put something on. And she did without saying a word.

 

I guess its easier for a guy to tell another guy to put his shirt on than for him to do the same towards a female. Still though it doesn't make sense to me.

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Thanks for the report.

We visited KD exactly 1 week ago.

Avalanche was also running only 1 train that day and in fact only opened at approx 2 pm. Further, at the trim section mid course, the trained was trimmed to a complete stop

When returning into the station I looked around to see how many additional trains they have but I didn't see any additional trains. Do they indeed only have 1 train for Avalanche ?

 

Also strange was that they were closing the waterpark at 3 pm already. Just when the weather was getting nice.

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Sorry your day sucked. Sadly with CF comes a more crappy rain policy. But that was a serious storm that came through, Grizzly has been shut down since due to Fallen trees same goes for White water Canyon. They should open up soon though.

 

Is Grizzly okay? Was there any damage to track or superstructure or just branches in the way? Grizzly was a pretty good ride, I really enjoyed it, and definitely didn't find it as rough as Hurler.

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KD has it's good days and its crappy days. I tend to visit the park in the spring and avoid it after Memorial Day (except for Haunt). They have run two trains on Avalanche in the past--maybe one is down for repairs?

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Last year my husband and I were at Denver's Elitch Gardens. Some young girl ( maybe about 15 or so ) was walking around the area of Twister Too wearing a very short bikini ( so short, might as well be nude !! ). A male security guard told her to put on her pants since she was nowhere near the waterpark. She went off..screaming "...what the hell is wrong with you? !!...You don't like girls ?? Are you gay ?? "

She flat out refused to put anything on. Then some female security guard walked up to her and told her ( like the male security guard ) to put something on. And she did without saying a word.

 

I guess its easier for a guy to tell another guy to put his shirt on than for him to do the same towards a female. Still though it doesn't make sense to me.

 

Stupid girls. Obviously a grown man telling a 15 year old girl to put clothes on makes him gay. (sarcasm)

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KD has it's good days and its crappy days. I tend to visit the park in the spring and avoid it after Memorial Day (except for Haunt). They have run two trains on Avalanche in the past--maybe one is down for repairs?

 

I went down there a few weeks ago on a Saturday and it only had one train on then too... hopefully it's just a repair issue. Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't it have 3 trains?

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Grizzly was open on Sunday and as far as I saw no damage was done. White Water Canyon on the other hand was still closed all day. This was my first trip to Busch Gardens (sat) and Kings Dominion (sun). After my trip to kings my coaster count since May 1st is now 47 coasters! But anyway, I don't have much good to say about Kings.. Dominator was excellent and Volcano wasn't that bad. Grizzly, Shockwave, Andaconda, Hurler, Rebel Yell, and Stunt Coaster were all ROUGH and in one way or another beat the crap out of me.

 

I can't imagine making a trip there before Dominator. That coaster is the best damn thing there

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Great TR! Sorry for the crappy weather, though. We got hit with lots of rain and storms while we were there, too. At least you got avalanche, though! It was closed this past trip, and it's one of my favorite rides. Who doesn't love a good bobsled, eh?

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Avalanche originally had 4 trains But the 4th was a parts donor for a while now it seems the 3rd is gone now too. (for parts)

Basically the trains are falling apart and they just lost the 2nd one earlier in the year to a mishap. it might be a while till it comes back.

 

Good to hear Grizzly was back up on Sunday. They had projected a few days to repair it but I guess the damage was not that bad.

 

JEFF

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