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Kentucky Kingdom (SFKK, KK) Discussion Thread

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

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On 3/3/2021 at 12:29 PM, prozach626 said:

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

 

On 2/28/2021 at 10:55 AM, mikeykaise said:

What would be awesome is a 100 ft tall lift hill to make the FAA happy and then a 200 ft drop with a 100ft of it below ground, might need a chain or launch lift coming back up  but that would be awesome, not many coasters if any go 100 ft underground.

I'm sorry, I need to resurrect this convo.  Oblivion totally goes that deep, if not moreso.  It's a 180-foot drop but because Alton Towers can't breach the treeline it's only 65 feet tall.

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There's very weirdly specific spots in the park where they can build up to 200-ish feet high. Most of the other spots, up to roughly 100 feet, especially spots that line up with the adjacent Louisville Airport's runways (like where Storm Chaser sits). It's why they can have the Giant Wheel (150ft), Fear Fall (129ft) and Deep Water Dive (121ft) where they are.

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  • 3 weeks later...

1904220429_JuneJuly20051137.thumb.jpg.94e6c4c118a2ec46ff8796f68ef28f90.jpgHeading to the park next Thursday for my first visit since 2005!  Hitting the park for a few hours before heading north to KI and CoasterStock!

Any advice on crowds on a weekday? I arrive about 11am and will head straight to the park. 

I am only looking to ride Lightning Run, Storm Chaser, and Kentucky Flyer (all new credits) and get some cinnamon bread. Do any of these lines move particularly slow?  Hoping it's nice weather so most folks will head to the water park.

Thanks!  And I posted some pics from my last trip there! Most of these rides have been moved and/or retired!

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Wow those pictures really take me back, lots of memories at that place during that era. I always kind of wondered what would have happened to Kentucky Kingdom is they'd of made slightly different choices with their new additions back in those days. Chang was cool at the time since it was a new concept with the standup and all, but then and now it's a style that isn't anyone's favorite.  The coaster lineup there back in the Six Flags days was always kind mediocre, but I wonder if things might have turned out differently if they had built say a B&M invert instead of a standup, and a solid GCI coaster instead of Twisted Twins (which was really never any good).

Obviously there's a lot of other factors involved but I just wonder if you switch two mediocre coasters out for two world class fan favorites if that place might have been more successful to the point that it wouldn't have sat dormant for as many years as it did. 

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Great photos! Takes me back to those days as well. I almost kind of miss the facade they did for Road Runner Express, being that it might've been the most themed coaster queue that's ever been at the park.

Lightning Run's line is typically the slowest, and I usually recommend getting it out of the way first. Otherwise, KY Flyer and Storm Chaser have some really easy waits early in the day. If you're there only to get the credits and bounce, you're gonna be there a lot shorter than you think. Don't forget to consider some re-rides if the wait seems short!

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Hello!

We’re planning to visit on Saturday August 7th. Two of us are from PA, but my friends are from Cincinnati. I know there had been a time where certain folks just across the Ohio border didn’t qualify for the out of state passes. Is that true or would they be eligible?

Also, how have the crowds been on Saturdays? We really won’t have the luxury to go another day. We can obviously rope drop the park and head to Lightning Run. But will coaster lines generally be 0-30, 30-60 or 60+ minutes as the day goes on? Water park lines on nice Saturday?

Any other tips appreciated!

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13 hours ago, Taylor Finn said:

Hello!

We’re planning to visit on Saturday August 7th. Two of us are from PA, but my friends are from Cincinnati. I know there had been a time where certain folks just across the Ohio border didn’t qualify for the out of state passes. Is that true or would they be eligible?

Also, how have the crowds been on Saturdays? We really won’t have the luxury to go another day. We can obviously rope drop the park and head to Lightning Run. But will coaster lines generally be 0-30, 30-60 or 60+ minutes as the day goes on? Water park lines on nice Saturday?

Any other tips appreciated!

Looks like we're going to be making our first visit here tomorrow (have a few hours to burn in Louisville so we figured why not) for a quick stop and I was also curious on weekend crowds. I don't think I've been to a park on a Saturday... ever? I intentionally will always avoid it, but I just figured the crowds would be manageable (and maybe that's a bad assumption). The weather looks super nice for tomorrow. 

I'm sure someone will answer you prior but I'll try and respond back later tomorrow night to let you know how the crowds were. 

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It's a water park mainly. 

Coasters will have relatively short lines that move at a snails pace because they aren't exactly quick at ops there.

Have fun.  Great way to spend a few hours.  Get there at opening and you'll have no problems.

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Yuuup. I'd bet the park is likely to be pretty packed, especially Saturday.

I might drop by for a bit since I'll be in town too, maybe get a lap on something, and hopefully leave with a heap of that anticipated cinnamon bread to enjoy over the holiday weekend!

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To no one's surprise, yes, it was slammed. A gorgeous sunny day outside, so of course the park is heavily attended today! I dropped by for an hour just to get two quick laps on Storm Chaser, and get a certain loaf to take home to family!

Entered at noon. It felt like the majority of guests hit up the water park since it's pretty hot outside.

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I got my two laps on Storm Chaser with very short waits!

Since I had just come in from out of town and had junk in my car's trunk, I couldn't stay long. So on my way out, I made a mandatory pit-stop to a newly opened building!

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A sample of sweet offerings from the new Bluegrass Bakery.

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And the moment we've all been waiting for. The coveted Herschend-style CINNAMON BREAD! It comes with either classic icing, apple glaze, or a bourbon glaze.

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I took my lidded loaf home, warmed it back up in the oven for a few minutes and enjoyed that suuuper sweet and soft bread! VERY worth getting! The portion is big enough to share or take home to save.

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(OK, these pictures are no good but I had zero plans of writing a trip report or anything... but here we are)

So we ended up going Monday instead of Saturday. Every Louisville native we met throughout the weekend gave us a puzzled look at best and a flat out stank eye at worst when they found out we were stopping there, but eh... we had fun. I knew the line-up was stacked with airtime, which is all I really enjoy honestly. I'll try and keep this brief but I tend to ramble on these things.

FearFALL (X1) - I'd heard Larson drop towers were pretty good and this thing definitely delivered. I'm pretty much desensitized when it comes to 99.9% of rides at this point but this one had me a little on edge with the fairground aesthetic and feel haha. The tower felt taller than it should have and the drop was stomach-wrenching. I'd put this up there with Falcon's Fury and KI's drop tower as one of my favorites honestly.

Lightning Run (X3) - Our first ride was in the front seat and my final 2 rides were in the very back (which I preferred overall). This thing was great... and it's hard to believe more of these were not built. Butter smooth but still wild as hell... it felt like a shrunken down Phantom's Revenge / RMC hybrid with legit ejector airtime. The home park is Carowinds and I'd take this coaster over anything there aside from Fury 325. The first drop in the back seat might be my favorite drop anywhere. Super fun ride. Unfortunately the wait took about an hour the first time because they were only running one train. They tried to add the 2nd, and after about 20 minutes of downtime they finally got the transfer track to move 4 inches to the left before they said "nah, it ain't happenin'" and the maintenance guys just gave up and walked off.

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Kentucky Flyer (X2) - Nice little family coaster with some legit airtime pops. I've had two somewhat recent hip surgeries this year and one of the hops had me in some pain because I flat out wasn't ready for it and my restraint was laughably loose, but we enjoyed it overall for what it was.

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T3 (X1) - LOL. I mean, I knew what I was getting into... but even then I feel like I wasn't truly prepared. My morbid curiosity got the best of me. Holy shit this thing is terrible. We waited for the front and the pre-recorded operator spiel said something like "the front row is the most extreme seat on this ride. Please make sure to ride with your back against the seat..." along with other defensive-riding instructions. I told the GF just to skip it when we were about to board because I didn't want to ruin her day. The ride op told me they'd been getting broken / bloody noses from people headbutting the metal handlebars on the restraint... and afterwards I was like "well that makes sense". Absurdly intense, and it felt like the wheels suddenly became square about halfway down the drop. My restraint also tightened so badly my legs were starting to go numb on the break run. Just a laughably terrible coaster all-around as expected, but hey... I did it!

Thunder Run (X2) - Sleeper hit of the day by far. I'd heard it was underrated and we ended up loving it. Those PTC restraints were about 2-3 inches off my body and holy crap I was EJECTED every time on those first couple of hills. The track was smooth overall with just the right amount of ruggedness. They clearly take care of it. I guess this is sort of what Hurler was supposed to be. A legitimately good coaster I could ride all day.

Storm Chaser (X4) - We got 3 rides in the very front and one in the back; I'm definitely more of a back seat guy but the front was better overall IMO. This was only my 2nd RMC and I knew it would be fairly wild but I was still surprised by just how powerful and violent it felt for it's size. I've had an 11 PM, trim-less, lubed-up ride on Steel Vengeance on a warm summer night and the ejector airtime on this was just as good if not better than that insane SV ride. The first half is freaking awesome in every way; unfortunately everything after the double up over the entrance is almost TOO wild and borderline painful with the absurd airtime, but I loved this coaster overall. And because it's in such a weird spot it was a walk-on all day (I'm sure this is usually the case). I know opinions vary all over on this but I could have (and probably should have) rode it all day. Someone on Reddit mentioned it as feeling "crazy broken intense" and that pretty much sums it up. It was absolutely hauling. 

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Overall impressions - We had fun. The park was absolutely slammed and the layout is odd for sure. It truly does feel like a water park with some rides randomly sprinkled about... the general layout and ride placements felt like a poorly planned out Planet Coaster creation haha. The operations weren't great but I've seen worse. I do love how every single major coaster here has the same standard operating procedure... first drop followed by a stupidly powerful airtime hill that tries it's best to yeet you off of the ride. I'm here for it. I'd be shocked if we ever went again, but it's hard to beat that out-of-state 2-day deal for $40 and I'm intrigued to see what Herschend does with the park. We were glad we stopped by. 

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12 hours ago, Alex26841 said:

Overall impressions - We had fun. The park was absolutely slammed and the layout is odd for sure. It truly does feel like a water park with some rides randomly sprinkled about... the general layout and ride placements felt like a poorly planned out Planet Coaster creation haha. The operations weren't great but I've seen worse. I do love how every single major coaster here has the same standard operating procedure... first drop followed by a stupidly powerful airtime hill that tries it's best to yeet you off of the ride. I'm here for it. I'd be shocked if we ever went again, but it's hard to beat that out-of-state 2-day deal for $40 and I'm intrigued to see what Herschend does with the park. We were glad we stopped by. 

You're definitely right about the weird layout. I'd like to see them add another crossing at the other end down by Lightning Run instead of just having the bridge and road cross walk up by the Enterprise ride area. My biggest thing with the park is the ops are always moving slowly no matter when you go. I agree about the area of Storm Chaser, it needs more developed b/c to me it's kind of a dead area considering it has one of the best coasters at the park. I'm really excited to see what Herschend will do. I think they will greatly improve everything as long as they can get along with the Fairboard. 

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9 hours ago, prozach626 said:

Any thoughts on how crowds will be on Saturday? What's the best way to go about securing a chair in the water park?

A chain and a combination lock should work well if you can get it through security, but if not a nice wide base and sound defensive technique should be sufficient..... 

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My wife and I went to KK yesterday (Saturday). If you don't care about the storyline, skip to the asterisks, where I wrote more about general observations.

It was our first visit since Storm Chaser opened, and our second visit total. We intentionally made a relaxing day out of it, with no intent to marathon... which we haven't really done for years. Louisville is a short 4 hour job from our STL area home. We got there Friday night, and left Sunday morning, giving ourselves a full day at the park and time to enjoy a couple nights out.

We hit rope drop and immediately went on Lightning Run (front), Thunder Run (mid/non-wheel), and Storm Chaser (walk-on mid, intentional due to intensity), which we rode once each. We also hit up Kentucky Flyer, and got a walk-on double front row ride without getting off. What a blast of a little coaster. It was also my first time on Timber Liners, and I really appreciate their comfort.

We hit the water park around 1130, which we rarely do, but we thought it looked pretty cool on our first visit. I recommend getting chairs near the far side lazy river and Kentucky Flyer area. It's much more quiet. We rode three slides, hit the lazy rivers up several times, and I got a lot of sun/passed out in my chair quite a bit, which is exactly what I wanted to do. (burned AF, though)

After scouting out food locations for a while, the only place we could find somewhat healthy, outside of generic salads, was the taco place. The make-your-own rice bowl was decently healthy. It wasn't as good as Qdoba or Chipotle, but it was good enough.

Around 5:00 we changed back to our dry clothes. We grabbed a couple Yuenglings at the open-air water park bar, which I really like. The beer was fresh and cold. We relaxed with our beers until the water park and bar closed. I wanted to ride Kentucky Flyer again, but it wasn't worth the 30+ minute one train operation wait, probably due to the water park clearing out.

We hit Wind Chaser, which is very fast. The cycle length was perfect, since we can't tolerate too much spinning. This was our first ARM type of swing ride, and we really liked it.

We waited about 30 minutes for Lightning Run, our longest wait of the day by about 15 minutes (low waits due to timing/planning). It could have been a ten minute wait, but the operations sucked. We'd ridden in the front our first ride, but the back was the way to go, with two beers in us. 

We closed out the trip with Storm Chaser. Still barely feeling our beers, we chose the back, which I didn't think I would ever do again after our first trip. It was violent AF, but it was the best ride I'd had on it, out of our 5 total (ever). We had dubbed it as 'a little too much' on our last trip, liking LR much better, but this trip I was really digging it.

We could have ridden more, but we got the exact kind of stress-free experience from the park we wanted. We left at 6, to give us time to get cleaned up and get dinner somewhere nice.

******************** HERE ARE THE THINGS WE NOTED ABOUT KK and LV***************

*The park was incredibly clean, outside of the water park changing rooms, and nothing looked like it needed immediate attention.

*Food options were limited and very generic. Although, we didn't get the pretzels, which looked of higher quality, or the cinnamon bread. We're hitting the beach next week and we didn't want to let ourselves go.

*Several restaurants and stalls, including the bourbon whatever bar in the water park, were closed.

***OUR ONLY REAL CRITICISM***The staff SUUUUUUUUUCKED, and I mean almost all of them. The majority were not friendly. One Kentucky Flyer control panel operator was laying his head down and closing his eyes after dispatching. The Sky Catcher operator didn't even say the safety spiel. Many of the service staff and ride operators would say absolutely nothing to you, when attending to you, taking your order, or giving you your purchased merchandise. There were only a couple times where we heard something similar to either, "Enjoy your ride," or "How was your ride?"

                 -One the soda stations had three kids working in the area handing out cups, and I still had to reach around and grab my own cup. Later, we saw 5 gathered at the same station. They were blocking the line, referring to each other in racial slurs, and using the worst kinds of profanity. WTF Not exaggerating. We saw this multiple times per day. "Short staffed...?" The kids at the taco place looked irritated we were interrupting them to order food.

                  -I can honestly say they were the worst staff we've ever encountered and I hope it was an off-day. I always felt like an inconvenience. I always felt like I worked harder to be polite (please/thank you) to the staff than they did not. Despite no reciprocation, I still maintained my usual politeness.

                   -Midway through, we just accepted the staff for what it was, and lowered our expectations. I only saw one manager. I thought about pulling a Karen on the kids being completely inappropriate and obnoxious by the drink stand, but I'm sure she's heard enough of it. She's having to deal with the sort of work force climate where anyone with a pulse will have to do.

*The offering for families and kids was the most appealing, personally,  I've ever seen. It matters way more for us to pay attention to that now, than it did in the past, so that may factor into it. It wasn't just the selection of rides that made it really appealing, but it was the way they were distributed throughout the park. Because of this and the short drive, Kentucky Kingdom will probably be our first family trip when our daughter is old enough, and that will include driving past the Holiday World exit. (sorry HW fanboys)

*Patrons weren't smart enough to listen, or use the logic of "seatbelts first; lapbars second." This was crazy on LR, leading to 5 minute dispatches.

*There are interesting types at this park. I don't mean to offend anyone, but on both this trip and the last, we've found people from Louisville to be generally rude and less socially inclined. The rudeness is typically not what we've experienced from a lot of traveling in the south. We're usually really friendly and social during our trips, but we stopped making attempts to do so. 

*2 out of the 3 beer locations open didn't have anyone old enough to serve. Put a cup over the tapper or something to let people know they aren't serving. Common sense.

*Did I mention the staff sucked?

*There are a ton of trees and foliage.

*A lot of the pathways and cut-thru's are really narrow, making you think they're not paths but queues. However, this is because the park seems very immersive and the paths seem to really wrap around all of the attractions nicely, putting all of the rides on display. Everything seemed to be placed very naturally, and until we figured this out, the layout seemed kind of weird. What I mean is don't expect that you have to stay on the main loop or pathways. You can generally just kind of point yourself in the direction you want to go and easily wind yourself around the pathways when you get the formula down.

*Herschend seems to have made no distinct impression on the theming, and I don't think they should.

*Nothing seemed run down. All of the colors were bright, but they might need to be thinking about refreshing the paint on the ferris wheel in a year or two. It's still on the acceptable side, but it's a prominent visual centerpiece I hope they don't neglect.

*Most food options are generic

*The out-of-state ticket option is a phenomenal deal.

*About half of the rides opened after 12. (staffing, due to 3-5 people on one drink station not doing anything but being obnoxious.)

*The lazy river near Kentucky Flyer had no rafts, despite it being awesome. Why?

*The area near Storm Chaser still feels incomplete, and the combination of gravel and weeds in plain view under the layout is straight out of the Six Flags playbook.

*The parking can be confusing AF during an event, or at least it was with the massive classic car event.

*The quirkiness of the crosswalk and pedestrian bridge add to the personality.

*The placement of the waterpark in the middle of the park also seems unique, and it blends in so well. It's so enticing in this way we vowed during our first abbreviated trip to hit the water park next time (this time) we visited. 

*Massive jets landing and taking off, feeling almost close enough to touch, adds even more to the memorable uniqueness, in addition to the already mentioned.

 

Overall, Kentucky Kingdom is somewhere in between a small - midsize park and it does it soooo well. It's clean, quaint, and aside from the Storm Chaser area, extremely cohesive. The small scale flats will always keep me from feeling like I'm in a larger park, but they're blended so well into the environment and there are so many of them.

Kentucky Kingdom feels like what a corporate park would feel like, if it were trying not to feel corporate. I'm torn between thinking the park needs one large standout coaster or another family coaster. I think the former would really balance out the park, but the latter would even strengthen the family market, which Kentucky Kingdom's offerings already hit right on the head. 

Regardless, I can't wait until our daughter is old enough to participate in a couple years. We'll be back.

 

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It's sad to hear the caliber of employees has deteriorated so much. On my visits in previous years, Lightning Run was the only ride with poor operations. Everything else was reasonably efficient. While the employees were not always the most professional, they were usually quite friendly.

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Sadly I have to agree on the staff.  I was there on Thursday and it was just...not good in that regard.  For the most park the staff really did not seem like they wanted to be there at all.  I know it's a rough year for everyone, but out of all the parks I did, KK's staffing was...well, maybe not quite as bad as Six Flags St Louis, but close.

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Hearing about the staff kind of scares me from going, Just not wanting to deal with people. I am still going to go and enjoy myself

What I understand is hit the big coaster first then go to water park if you plan to.?

How does the line for deep water dive get? 

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We were actually at the park on Saturday as well. Only stayed from 10-12:30 to get on the coasters (two rides on Storm Runner). It was starting to get much hotter and more crowded and there really wasn't a ton else we wanted to do (water park was going to be too busy).

Staff was certainly a low spot. I'm not expecting a ton of enthusiasm but we went to Kennywood yesterday and felt a little bit more life due to the staff. Otherwise, had a decent day, though I doubt I'll have much reason to return in the near future.

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