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Kentucky Kingdom (SFKK, KK) Discussion Thread

P. 401: Herschend Enterprises named majority partner and park operator

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It's neither cheap, easy, or practical to dig a 100 foot deep tunnel. Apparently Roller Coaster Tycoon is catching on again.

Herschend was and is a different brand than Six Flags.   There is one certainty. Kentucky Kingdom will not be receiving a launched wooden roller coaster any time soon.

Yeah, I think the only 'concern' is because people see this park going more the way of Celebration City or Wild Adventures than becoming the next SDC or Dollywood.  I think it will stay pretty much th

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Does anyone else think this has a very wooden-coaster sort of layout? The layout kind of reminds me of some of the GCI and Gravity Group twisty woodies...

 

I think it was designed by Alan Shilke (?) of RMC (look at the similarities)... can anyone confirm that?

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I got to ride this today. One ride only, unfortunately. The line for the "coaster clubs" was over an hour due to one train operation and six to eight minute dispatch intervals. I assume the line for the Amazon employees (whose bosses had rented the park for the day) would be far longer, there were thousands and thousands of them. It was so busy I was not able to ride the newly repaired wooden coaster but it was reportedly running very well.

 

Lightning Run is spectacular.

 

If you like ejector air time, you will love this ride. There wasn't any "floater" air.

 

The transitions were very smooth. Not a bump anywhere. Very re-rideable.

 

I had a middle of the train seat and it was ejector. Front and back must be even better.

 

I've never been on a "mega light" but this must be the USA equivalent.

 

I can see a lot of parks buying this who don't have $20 or $30 million for a big B&M or Intamin, and it's as good as any of them. It's not as fast as i305 but it has more airtime.

 

You do get "stapled" on the ride and it has seatbelts, too.

 

If anyone makes a trip to ride this, I recommend a detour to visit Mammoth Cave, about 100 miles / 160 km. south, one of the wonders of the world. A "culture and nature credit." And Kentucky Rumbler isn't far from the cave.

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I got to ride this today. One ride only, unfortunately. The line for the "coaster clubs" was over an hour due to one train operation and six to eight minute dispatch intervals.

And this is EXACTLY why TPR limits the amount of people we allow on our events and trips based on the operations of a ride. It's not "ERT" when you wait an hour plus and only get one ride on a coaster.

 

Glad to hear the ride is a WIN, though! I'm really looking forward to riding it after the Scandi trip.

 

--Robb

Edited by robbalvey
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I got to ride this today. One ride only, unfortunately. The line for the "coaster clubs" was over an hour due to one train operation and six to eight minute dispatch intervals.

And this is EXACTLY why TPR limits the amount of people we allow on our events and trips based on the operations of a ride. It's not "ERT" when you wait an hour plus and only get one ride on a coaster.

 

Glad to hear the ride is a WIN, though! I'm really looking forward to riding it after the Scandi trip.

 

--Robb

 

 

 

Half of the problem was volume of people and the other half was very slow, one train operations. Supposedly the second train hadn't been certified yet for operation, but even if they had both trains today it wouldn't have sped things up at all. But it was the very first day, hopefully it will be better once they get some practice.

 

The park looks like it will be a success and will be flooded with customers all summer.

 

There were a bunch of people in the station wearing "Chance" branded jackets who looked very pleased. My guess is they will sell several of them soon (say that three times fast).

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Lightning Run is spectacular.

 

If you like ejector air time, you will love this ride. There wasn't any "floater" air.

 

The transitions were very smooth. Not a bump anywhere. Very re-rideable.

 

Now we can pretty much say it is Alan Schilke's design.

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According to Irvine Ondrey Engineering, the designer of the ride is Joe Draves, from Ride Centerline (same company as Schilke).

 

10256511_774970485860309_7784327318030064324_n.jpg

 

Meet Joe Draves, the hottest up-and-coming Ride Centerline coaster designer you NEED to know! You can thank him for the awesomeness of Lightning Run

 

Irvine's Facebook page

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^ Joe is insane. (In the good way.) I expect very good things out of him. And a teaming of him and Alan could create some of the worlds best coasters!

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Lighting run is pure amazing. Airtime all over the course, or should I say hairtime. It's very intense and does not let up from the start until,the end

^ Joe is insane. (In the good way.) I expect very good things out of him. And a teaming of him and Alan could create some of the worlds best coasters!

I was thinking that too. In my opinion lightning run kind of feels a bit like outlaw run. Except the fact this is smaller and steel

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Really like the look of this ride.

I hated the look of it when it was released, but now that it's finished it looks so much better.

 

It's the only Chance coaster i actually feel a desire to try, and quite a big one to.

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Glad to see KK up and running again! Lightning Run looks fantastic, and I can't wait to get down to the park and check it out.

 

Other than that, it's been announced that T2 will open next year, and Twisted Twins will be opened the following year. Out of curiosity, did T2 ever provide an enjoyable ride experience? I assume that the ride will just be getting the new trains from Vekoma with the vest restraints, but do you guys think that could actually save an SLC?

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I was fortuned with a visit to preview day this past Saturday. With my limited time I was able to get 2 rides on Lightning Run. If I had three hands I would give this ride 3 thumbs up. Ejector airtime on every hill except for the first two bunny hills. Enjoy the pictures.

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The third bunny hill

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The third bunny hill

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A little less than a year after taking control of a "run down and dirty" Kentucky Kingdom, the amusement park's new ownership group says the facility, with a $44.3 million restoration, is set for its much-anticipated reopening Saturday.

 

"We're giving the community a new place to play," said park spokesman John Mulcahy. "We are giving them a hometown theme park, so they won't have to spend $25 on gas" to drive to Kings Island north of Cincinnati or to Holiday World in Santa Claus, Ind.

 

Kentucky Kingdom CEO Ed Hart, who has owned the park previously, said his ownership group has trained about 800 youths for jobs at the park, sold more than 80,000 season tickets, implemented a solid security plan and renovated 50-plus acres of space at the Kentucky Exposition Center.

 

He and others agree: There is a lot riding on its success.

 

"Kentucky Kingdom will have a big impact on our city, from both a tourism and jobs perspective," said Mayor Greg Fischer. "The park was one of our top tourist attractions in the past, and we know it will be again. ... Its re-opening adds to our significant momentum and will be a strong new draw for regional visitors."

 

MORE |Kentucky Kingdom has more attractions for kids

 

VIDEO |Lightning Run gets raves from coaster enthusiasts

 

A consultant hired by the Kentucky Tourism Cabinet estimated the park will provide a $3 billion local economic boost over 20 years and generate nearly $225 million in new tax dollars for state and local governments in that time. It also will generate $500,000 a year in new hotel room-tax revenue for the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau, according to the study.

 

The park — scene of a 2007 accident in which a girl's feet were severed while riding the now-gone Superman Tower of Power — was last open in 2009. The park was abandoned in February 2010 after bankrupt Six Flags' request to pay for use of the park grounds only if it turned a profit was rejected by the Kentucky State Fair Baord.

 

Several plans to reopen the park then fell through, before the fair board and Hart struck a deal on a new lease last year.

 

Hart, who has developed a reputation for revitalizing troubled theme parks, said the premises "were run down and dirty" and it cost $6 million just to clean up the place.

 

 

Kentucky Kingdom's new roller coaster gets rave reviews from American Coaster Enthuisiasts Saturday. Matt Stone, The Courier-Journal

 

"You would not want to work in those conditions," he said. "We had to make sure everything at the back of the house was completely renovated" — infrastructure, buildings, equipment and other facilities.

 

Next came refurbishing many of the old rides and putting in a raft of new ones. It cost $1 million alone to renovate Thunder Run, a wooden coaster. A major new ride, the Lightning Run coaster with 2,500 feet of track and an 80 degree ascent, cost $7 million.

 

Other major attractions include the new Fear Fall, a 13-story drop ride, and a renovated Mile High Falls, a huge splash ride shut down since 2007.

 

Economic boost

 

Jacob Zimmer, who worked at Kentucky Kingdom for four summers in the 1990s and was a leader of a group called Save My Park that rallied for its reopening, is excited about its promise. "Outside of the zoo, there aren't a lot of attractions to which parents can take children for a day."

 

Kentucky Kingdom, he said, "is a safe, community environment, a family atmosphere. They've got things for all ages, not just for kids."

 

 

Kirby Adams takes us on a tour of Kentucky Kingdom's family attractions.

 

Kentucky Kingdom drew its most visitors, more than 1.3 million in 1998, under Hart's operation. Hart said he expects Kentucky Kingdom to draw between 600,000 and 800,000 visitors this year and to reach 1 million in 2016. The park attendance was around 550,000 in 2009 under Six Flags.

 

The park is using as a promotional catch line: "It's all the park your fun can handle."

 

In all, the new Kentucky Kingdom and its Hurricane Bay will have 48 rides, including 19 in the water park, which is being doubled in size. Twenty-five of the 48 rides were not in the old park.

 

Hurricane Bay has added 10 attractions, including a family lagoon wave pool, a triple slide tower complex, a family raft ride, an interactive play area for toddlers, and the region's first adventure river and a triple-bump slide. The Hurricane Bay Deep Water Dive is North America's tallest body slide, at more than 12 stories tall.

 

And King Louie's Playground will have 11 rides for youngsters, including the Roller Skater coaster.

 

The park also will have 19 places to eat, including three major sit-down restaurants, seven gift and souvenir shops and nine game stands.

 

Other additions include a thrice daily show in the Aqua Theater featuring five rescued sea lions, starting in early June. The Youth Performing Arts School students will put on two shows every day.

 

There also is a new, 60-seat large screen "5-D Theatre" that will have seats that shimmy and shake and give viewers a sense of motion and smell. It will show short, 3-D films.

 

Hart said the park has developed a quick-entry system that should mitigate long lines at the entrance, especially for season-pass holders, and no ride should have longer waits than 40 minutes.

 

The park will have its own catering area, complete with chef, staff and commissary, that can handle 2,500 patrons an hour. It has six pavilions capable of hosting six different functions at the same time.

 

Hart, who did not own the park at the time of the Tower of Power accident, said he believes maintenance may have been an issue at the time.

 

Mulcahy said that maintenance of the park rides and safety is of paramount importance and will be a constant priority.

 

Plans for 'next level'

 

Hart said that to take Kentucky Kingdom "to the next level," his team will focus on roller coasters, the primary pull of any ride park. The short-term plan is to add a coaster — dubbed "Terror to the 3rd Powers," or T-3 — next year and then in 2016 to revive a matching set of two long-dormant park coasters, the Twisted Twins.

 

Also planned in 2015 is the reopening of a renovated 5,000-seat amphitheater for special events and concerts.

 

The lease with the fair board — which is to be in force for 50 years with four, five-year extensions possible — requires the operators to spend $45 million on improvements in the first three years, with all of the improvements to become property of the fair board. The operators are then required to spend at least $1 million a year on improvements. They have received some financial incentives from the state, city and local convention agency.

 

Hart said the investment will probably far exceed that and that most of the profits for the near future will be poured back into the park. "We have ample cash. We have an adequate capital plan," he said.

 

Clifford "Rip" Rippetoe, Fair Board president and CEO, said the reopening of the theme park "is important to tourism development for this community and certainly for the entire state.

 

"A first-rate amusement and water park ... provides a unique experience for our guests and clients, and is yet another tool to use as we go after new convention and tradeshow business."

 

Zimmer, of the Save My Park group, said, "We're thrilled that it's back; it is fantastic for the community."

 

Reporter Sheldon S. Shafer can be reached at (502) 582-7089. Follow him on Twitter at @sheldonshafer.

 

A PARK IS REBORN

 

1987 — Park opened by Leisure and Recreational Concepts of Dallas, closes after one season amid bankruptcy filing.

 

1989 — Ed Hart reopens park.

 

1990 — Thunder Run coaster opens.

 

1992 — Hurricane Bay water park opens.

 

1995 — T-2 coaster opens.

 

1997 — Hart sells park to Premier Parks for $76 million.

 

1998 — Premier acquires Six Flags, puts brand on Kentucky Kingdom.

 

1999 — The Vampire roller-coaster twice gets stuck, stranding dozens of riders high above the ground.

 

2005 — Hart wins $7 million court judgment against WHAS-TV in defamation suit.

 

2007 — Girl loses feet in Superman Tower of Power ride accident.

 

2009 — Last year park operates.

 

2010 — Six Flags files bankruptcy, abandons lease for park land.

 

2012 — Holiday World owners make brief attempt to reopen park as Bluegrass Boardwalk.

 

2013 — Hart partnership assumes lease for park. Partners are Ed Glasscock, Bruce Lunsford and Al J. Schneider Co.

 

Saturday — Kentucky Kingdom, Hurricane Bay reopening.

 

Kentucky Kingdom

 

Park hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Hurricane Bay will be open 11 a.m. daily, closing at 6 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

 

Tickets: At the gate, $44.95, $34.95 for children, seniors and military. Season passes are available online for $99.95 or at Kroger stores for $69.95.

 

Website: kentuckykingdom.com

 

Phone: (502) 813-8200

 

Sorry for the double post. I thought it was an interesting article.

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