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Kings Dominion (KD) Discussion Thread

P. 766: Haunt Has Risen from the Grave

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The untold story of Diamond Falls: (snip)

 

this is amazing, thanks for posting!

 

I remember when Diamond Falls was built. Since day one, I always thought the cave at the end was weirdly pointless. And I remember the three huge concrete silos underwater, you walked right by them in line, which must have been part of that reverse-vacuum pump system.

 

Amazing what a piece of crap the whole thing was from an engineering standpoint. Did Intamin even test the design? it sounds like there's no way any of the wheels and other components on those boats could have stood up to normal usage. And it sounds like the design of the trough and lift both had huge and obvious problems -- boats sliding down the lift, and the trough not being anywhere near water tight, to the point that it was draining the lake? crazy!

 

i didn't ride it very often (it was a pretty lackluster ride) but i probably wouldnt have ever ridden it if i knew how much jerry-rigging and re-engineering KD had done just to get boats to go around the dang thing without destroying themselves and the ride.

 

It is also pretty funny guests were volunteering to be completely drenched by stagnant lake slime, hahaha.

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Hmm--yeah, not a very cool move, KD Golden Years. Be sure to give credit where credit is due. (Or are you, in fact, Dale Brumfield?)

 

As for Hurler, it was a good, airtime-filled (believe it or not) ride. But it did not age well.

Edited by cfc
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Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Kings Dominion have sent us a joint press advisory regarding their upcoming announcement of a strategic marketing partnership between the two parks with details to be officially released on May 5th, 2015!

 

Busch Gardens and Kings Dominion are joining forces for the first time in 15 years to increase Virginia’s voice in the crowded Northeast tourism market. In partnership with the Virginia Tourism Corporation, Richmond Region Tourism and the Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance, the parks will outline the plan for marketing the 75-mile corridor from Richmond to Greater Williamsburg as Virginia’s Gateway to Family Thrills.
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of course, we've already bought our "bounce" pass that gets us into BGW/WC/and Colonial Williamsburg for 7 days in a row. . .

 

but we haven't bought KD tixs yet.. maybe there will be an option to add in KD when we pick up our bounce pass.

 

guess we'll see!

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I am going to the park for the first time ever on July 25 which is a Saturday and I only got one day there because the next day I go to BGW, are the lines very crowded like I think they'll be and should I choose to go the Fast Lane route. I won't be going to the water park or any children rides, just the family and thrilling roller coasters, other types of thrill rides, and a few of the family rides.

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I am going to the park for the first time ever on July 25 which is a Saturday and I only got one day there because the next day I go to BGW, are the lines very crowded like I think they'll be and should I choose to go the Fast Lane route. I won't be going to the water park or any children rides, just the family and thrilling roller coasters, other types of thrill rides, and a few of the family rides.

It should be moderately crowded (typical for a summer weekend). Could you specify what "should I choose to go the Fast Lane route" means?

I don't think you'll need Fast Lane. Based on the fact that you seem to be out of town and have to be at BGW on Sunday, I'm assuming you have around eight to ten hours at the park. In that case, get there ~30 min early, even though you won't get Early Entry, and wait near the early entry gate to the right of the Dominator pavilion (Don't ride the Dominator first thing, as lines will accumulate quickly). Once normal ride operations begin at 10:30, go straight through Planet Snoopy (past Boo Blasters) to the Volcano, and ride that. Next, go ride I305 and hit Flight of Fear after that, to avoid lines. Ride the Backlot Stunt Coaster next - for some reason, this coaster has a considerable wait time on weekends, even though it has moderate capacity. The other stuff in the Congo (Anaconda, Avalanche, etc.) never draws more than a 15 min wait time, so go to the Grove and ride Drop Tower and Rebel Yell. Windseeker's worth the ride if you haven't been to a CF park before, Hurler's OK if you don't mind a pretty rough ride, and Grizzly is a little better than Hurler. (Note: to find Grizzly, you have to walk through the dinosaur gift shop - don't ask me, there's been some confusion recently). Later on, ride Shockwave and Boo Blasters or another smooth flat ride because Shockwave is a head-rattler, despite its fairly impressive airtime. When you have around an hour to an hour and a half left, queue up for Dominator, and call it a day.

Pro Tips:

1. Avoid Fast Lane, unless you want multiple re-rides. Fast Lane is usually not necessary unless you're planning to visit on the Fourth.

2. Don't buy Preferred Parking; KD's lot is well-designed and a short walk anyway. Buy parking online and save $5.

3. Avoid the "All Day Dining Plan", and KD combo meals in general (unless you're cool with paying $15 per meal). KD allows hand stamps and parking lot re-entry and provides pavilions outside the gates for outside food, so hit Martin's grocery store in nearby Ashland in the early AM and bring a cooler to pack lunch and dinner, or eat at one of the various fast food places nearby.

4. If you're going to buy ride photos, get the "All Day Photo Email Package" for $30 and get unlimited ride photos sent to your email from (I think this is the complete list: I305, Volcano, Dominator, Boo Blasters, and the Woodstock Expresss).

5. Don't bother packing $$$ for ride l ockers (for some reason, it changes the word without spaces to "fluffy, fluffy bunnies filled with medicine and goo") - save it for BGW's mandatory l ockers and/or souvenirs. KD provides FREE article bins on every ride platform, a rare sight to behold.

 

All in all, enjoy your day at KD and your weekend of fun in the heart of Virginia! (Hope this miniguide helps).

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Don't bother packing $$$ for ride l ockers (for some reason, it changes the word without spaces to "fluffy, fluffy bunnies filled with medicine and goo")

 

You got something against sweet, fluffy little bunnies?

 

 

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It would be cool to see something like the "Orlando Flex Ticket" for Virginia to offer unlimited admission, maybe over the course of a 7 or 10 days, to Kings Dominion, Busch Gardens, Water Country USA, and maybe 1 or 2 other local attractions.

 

awesome idea.

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It would be cool to see something like the "Orlando Flex Ticket" for Virginia to offer unlimited admission, maybe over the course of a 7 or 10 days, to Kings Dominion, Busch Gardens, Water Country USA, and maybe 1 or 2 other local attractions.

 

awesome idea.

 

it DOES already exist for BGW, WC, free parking at both, and Colonial Williamsburg, for 7 days from 1st use.

 

I know, because we bought these. . they call them "bounce" tickets.

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It would be cool to see something like the "Orlando Flex Ticket" for Virginia to offer unlimited admission, maybe over the course of a 7 or 10 days, to Kings Dominion, Busch Gardens, Water Country USA, and maybe 1 or 2 other local attractions.

 

awesome idea.

 

it DOES already exist for BGW, WC, free parking at both, and Colonial Williamsburg, for 7 days from 1st use.

 

I know, because we bought these. . they call them "bounce" tickets.

 

Yea, but that's still missing KD. I think the main point here is for a ticket that includes both KD and BGW, with a couple other attractions/waterparks as a bonus.

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It would be cool to see something like the "Orlando Flex Ticket" for Virginia to offer unlimited admission, maybe over the course of a 7 or 10 days, to Kings Dominion, Busch Gardens, Water Country USA, and maybe 1 or 2 other local attractions.

 

awesome idea.

 

it DOES already exist for BGW, WC, free parking at both, and Colonial Williamsburg, for 7 days from 1st use.

 

I know, because we bought these. . they call them "bounce" tickets.

 

Yea, but that's still missing KD. I think the main point here is for a ticket that includes both KD and BGW, with a couple other attractions/waterparks as a bonus.

 

hopefully, I can 'add in" KD once they announce.

 

tho it's nice the current bounce tix include parking

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^ My bad - I failed to realize BGW & KD had something in the works already (should've read a bit further back). Now that I see they're officially announcing something tomorrow, I hope they do retroactively add KD to your combo pass.

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It should be moderately crowded (typical for a summer weekend). Could you specify what "should I choose to go the Fast Lane route" means?

I don't think you'll need Fast Lane. Based on the fact that you seem to be out of town and have to be at BGW on Sunday, I'm assuming you have around eight to ten hours at the park. In that case, get there ~30 min early, even though you won't get Early Entry, and wait near the early entry gate to the right of the Dominator pavilion (Don't ride the Dominator first thing, as lines will accumulate quickly). Once normal ride operations begin at 10:30, go straight through Planet Snoopy (past Boo Blasters) to the Volcano, and ride that. Next, go ride I305 and hit Flight of Fear after that, to avoid lines. Ride the Backlot Stunt Coaster next - for some reason, this coaster has a considerable wait time on weekends, even though it has moderate capacity. The other stuff in the Congo (Anaconda, Avalanche, etc.) never draws more than a 15 min wait time, so go to the Grove and ride Drop Tower and Rebel Yell. Windseeker's worth the ride if you haven't been to a CF park before, Hurler's OK if you don't mind a pretty rough ride, and Grizzly is a little better than Hurler. (Note: to find Grizzly, you have to walk through the dinosaur gift shop - don't ask me, there's been some confusion recently). Later on, ride Shockwave and Boo Blasters or another smooth flat ride because Shockwave is a head-rattler, despite its fairly impressive airtime. When you have around an hour to an hour and a half left, queue up for Dominator, and call it a day.

Pro Tips:

1. Avoid Fast Lane, unless you want multiple re-rides. Fast Lane is usually not necessary unless you're planning to visit on the Fourth.

2. Don't buy Preferred Parking; KD's lot is well-designed and a short walk anyway. Buy parking online and save $5.

3. Avoid the "All Day Dining Plan", and KD combo meals in general (unless you're cool with paying $15 per meal). KD allows hand stamps and parking lot re-entry and provides pavilions outside the gates for outside food, so hit Martin's grocery store in nearby Ashland in the early AM and bring a cooler to pack lunch and dinner, or eat at one of the various fast food places nearby.

4. If you're going to buy ride photos, get the "All Day Photo Email Package" for $30 and get unlimited ride photos sent to your email from (I think this is the complete list: I305, Volcano, Dominator, Boo Blasters, and the Woodstock Expresss).

5. Don't bother packing $$$ for ride l ockers (for some reason, it changes the word without spaces to "fluffy, fluffy bunnies filled with medicine and goo") - save it for BGW's mandatory l ockers and/or souvenirs. KD provides FREE article bins on every ride platform, a rare sight to behold.

 

All in all, enjoy your day at KD and your weekend of fun in the heart of Virginia! (Hope this miniguide helps).

 

Thank you for all of this information and tips, this is sure to help me when I go there and I am happy that I most likely won't have to buy a Fast Lane because when I went to SFGA I had to get it and it was an outrageous price.

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They've announced it...But didn't give a date on when it's supposed to happen. They say it will be available for their 40th anniversary...So I'm assuming this year sometime. This is a very good idea. I like that they are giving a two day option and a four day option. I want the four day option because I've never visited the water parks before. I hope they keep this going cause I want to do this next year.

 

http://www.visitrichmondva.com/things-to-do/vathrills/

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Here's the official press release from today's Busch Gardens/Kings Dominion press conference.

 

Busch Gardens and Kings Dominion Proclaim Region

Virginia’s Gateway to Family Thrills

Partnership is the first in 15 years between the two theme parks

 

RICHMOND, VA (May 5, 2015) – Virginia’s two largest theme parks are celebrating 40 years as the commonwealth’s premier family entertainment venues. To mark the occasion, the parks are joining forces this summer to raise awareness of Virginia’s Gateway to Family Thrills, the 75-mile corridor connecting Kings Dominion and Busch Gardens®.

 

Busch Gardens’ Marketing Vice President Dan Dipiazzo and Scott Clemons, director of marketing for Kings Dominion, announced the partnership today during a joint news conference held on the State Capitol grounds. The partnership is the first between the two theme parks in nearly 15 years. It was made possible in part because of a $25,000 matching grant from the Virginia Tourism Corporation, and includes a digital advertising component as well as a combined ticket offer so guests can experience both theme parks at a reduced price.

 

The parks developed two ticket deals to support the Gateway to Family Thrills promotion.

 

The Virginia Thrills Ticket costs $106 and is valid for one single-day admission each to Busch Gardens and Kings Dominion within seven consecutive days. The promotion represents a $34 savings off the combined retail ticket prices to the parks.

 

The Virginia Thrills Ticket Plus costs $135 and adds each venue’s water parks to the package. The Virginia Thrills Ticket Plus is valid for two single-day admission tickets to Busch Gardens and/or Water Country USA® and two single-day admission tickets to Kings Dominion and/or Soak City within seven consecutive days. The promotional price represents a $121 savings off the parks’ combined retail single-day admission prices.

 

“This partnership highlights the friendly competition between Busch Gardens and Kings Dominion, and brings our resources together to create a much larger voice in a crowded market,” Dipiazzo said. “Why drive a thousand or more miles for a vacation when we have Orlando-quality attractions right here in Virginia.”

The two parks individually offer an assortment of rides, shows and family-friendly entertainment. Combining their resources lets the parks, the state and local tourism boards representing Richmond and Williamsburg to reach out to families living in the Northeast who may be unaware of what is available to them just a few hours down the road.

 

“We are both going after similar guests,” Clemons said. “Joining together, Virginia’s premier theme parks offer an attractive option for families who want a thrilling vacation closer to home.”

 

The Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance and Richmond Region Tourism are also participating in the partnership, which further extends the advertising resources available in the affluent Northeast markets of Philadelphia and New York.

 

“This is an unprecedented partnership between two of Virginia’s best entertainment options,” said Rita McClenny, president and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corporation. “The friendly competition between Busch Gardens and Kings Dominion has created two world-class theme parks. Combining their resources with the state’s grant program, creates a unique opportunity to market the corridor from Richmond to Williamsburg to families who may not otherwise consider Virginia as a thrill vacation destination.”

 

Visit www.virginiathrills.com for information on purchasing tickets or to learn more about the Virginia Gateway to Family Thrills.

 

Combined Park Thrills

Nearly 600 acres of rides, shows and attractions

 

21 rollercoasters, featuring Intimidator-305, one of the world’s tallest and fastest giga-coasters, and Tempesto™, Busch Gardens thrilling new launch coaster with three launch experiences and slow-roll inversion.

 

3 kid areas featuring more than 20 rides designed for families to enjoy together.

 

63 acres of water parks, including Soak City at King’s Dominion and Water Country USA® in Williamsburg, Virginia.

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I think it's a win-win for both parks and Virginia tourism in general.

The nerd in me has to point out--that bit about I305 is a stretch, as it's actually the shortest and slowest Giga coaster

Still pretty darn fast and tall compared to 99+% of all other coasters worldwide, and arguably second-best giga behind MF (source: I've been on I305 and Fury in EVERY ROW). Plus, take this with a grain of salt, as the promoters of this ticket seem to think that Soak City is separate admission.

I agree though, this is great news for both parks. I wonder how the split of the $100ish ticket price goes, since KD's day tix cost less than BGW.

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The average speed of I305 is clearly above MF or probably any other non-launched coaster on the planet. Of course we don't really go by that. I would be curious to see the average speed of other coasters. I wouldn't be surprised if previous to I305 the highest average speed in the park was Hurler (airtime was fine thru 2009, you just had to pass through some rough spots to get there!). Probably not but a lot closer than you'd expect.

 

As to this announcement, good move, 2 parks at this level 75 miles apart is hard to beat (although is that as the crow flies?).

 

As to Saturday 7/25, that's basically 2 weeks past peak. I recommend never ever going on a Saturday. It could be done OK without flash pass if you're not greedy and are willing to be there before opening and past close etc., but would avoid a lot of annoyance probably.

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King Kobra's Untold Story: "Sometimes I have this terrifying nightmare where I am hanging upside down on a stuck train inside a loop on a roller coaster, with nothing holding me in my seat but a single lap bar.

 

Then I wake up and remember this was not a dream for 24 or so people on Kings Dominion’s King Kobra in 1983, but 10 minutes of terrifying, trouser-soiling reality.

 

The King Kobra (also known by its generic manufacturer’s name “Shuttle Loop” or just “Looper”) was a Schwarzkopf-designed, first-generation steel launch coaster. It was installed in 1977 where the Anaconda lift hill today sits on the banks of Lake Charles. I do not know the politics or finances behind the design or purchase of the ride – only that by the early 80’s park officials may have been having second thoughts about the whole thing.

 

While modern launch coasters utilize “maglev” style linear induction motors to safely and reliably launch coaster trains (such as Volcano, Flight of Fear and that Italian Job coaster where Diamond falls used to sit,) the King Kobra (a “man’s ride” according to many maintenance employees) used instead a reported 90,000 pound weight inside the silo that supported the highest incline at the south end of the ride.

 

That massive steel-reinforced concrete weight was attached to a huge, 50mm steel cable that wrapped around a “bull wheel” (Also called a flywheel, really a giant winch) under the station, concluding at the other end attached to a solid steel “push cart” that closely resembles the Martian rover.

 

The launch was fairly straightforward: When the operator pushed the start button, the brake released on the bull wheel, and the weight dropped to the bottom of the silo. This action in turn caused the push cart at the opposite end of the cable to “push” the train out of the station from zero to about 50 mph. If the electronic photo sensors at the end of the launch zone sensed the train was at proper speed, then the train roared through the almost 50-ft diameter loop and up the 138-ft incline, where it rolled to a stop (giving riders a precious 2 or 3 seconds of weightlessness), before roaring backwards back down the hill, reverse through the loop. The train raced backwards through the station, where it was slowed by a short drift up the opposite incline before it settled back in the station and jogged by the operator into loading position.

 

While the train was in operation, the 45-ton weight was winched by the bull wheel back to the top of the silo, and the push cart made a loop on a steel track under the station, where it emerged at the rear of the train after it parked and unloaded. Its sharp hardened-steel nose parked comfortably inside a notch in the rear car, ready for the next launch.

 

Purists and physics majors may recall the King Kobra loop was not a pure clothoid loop like those seen on modern steel coasters, such as Shockwave or Anaconda. It was presumed this was intentional – the more “round” (or less egg-shape) the loop, the higher the G-forces. This was a strong yet undetected selling point, leaving riders more shell-shocked then normal without them realizing exactly why as they stumbled off the ride. It was a shrewd design move, not I assume an engineering blunder.

 

Sometimes the train failed to make full speed – this was called a false start, and usually the brakes caught the train before it got to the loop. In this case that extremely heavy train had to be pushed back to the starting position and another launch attempted. Rain, ultra-high Virginia humidity, an unusually heavy train or unusually cold temperatures contributed to false starts. If the brakes slowed the train but failed to completely catch the false start, the train would merely drift halfway up the loop, then impotently drift backwards back down to the station, where the operator would park it and start over. Still, a false start had to be called in to maintenance #257: “Be advised there was a false start on the King Kobra.”

 

On the other side of that coin, many riders speculated if the train ever “rang the bell” by bumping the rubber stop at the very top of the high incline. Only a couple times, when the ride was built and when the counterweight and speed were being adjusted did the train go to the very top of the hill. No, it did not break through the stop and dangle the lead car off the end, so put that ancient rumor to rest.

 

The ride was a mechanically complex monster, especially the electric-over-pneumatic-over-hydraulic brakes, which were notoriously fickle and needed constant adjustment. Many operators recall maintenance guys showing up and holding up a launch while they could loosen jam nuts, adjust the brake down a half-turn, bleed air off the brake, then tighten the jam. It was laborious and frankly a pain to go down there two or three times a shift to bleed and adjust those bloody brakes – and it seemed like there was a hundred of them to adjust.

 

This ride was explosively and painfully loud. At the launch ear plugs were required under the station, as the sudden scream of that massive cable unspooling against the equally massive bull wheel was like standing beside a space shuttle launch. In fact, when the ride left KD and went to Ocean City Maryland the launch violated a noise ordinance, and had to be shut down.

 

When the ride was purchased by KD, Schwarzkopf officials reportedly swore the train could never, never, never stick upside down. They claimed the design of the braking system and the shape of the loop could never tolerate a stuck train. But, according to the opening paragraph of this article, you know that was bullshit. Around 1982-83 (I can’t remember the exact date) the train experienced a false start, went up into the loop … and stuck there, perfectly and delicately balanced, upside down.

In those days of pre-standardized shoulder restraints, keep in mind those riders were suspended upside down by only a single padded bar against their laps.

 

It had to be terrifying. A “code-one” (life or death situation) was called in – one of only 5 code-ones calls I recall in my 20 years at the park (the others occurred at the Galaxie coaster, the Eiffel Tower, the Schockwave, and White Water Canyon). Two maintenance guys who happened to be in the vicinity raced to the loop, grabbed a 6-foot pinch bar that just happened to be in their truck, and scrambled up the enclosed ladder that circled the outside of the loop. One of them, a guy named David, reached the upside down train, inserted the pinch bar behind the lead car, and with surprisingly little effort pushed the train out of the loop, where it backed out and down to the station like nothing ever happened.

 

Arriving about 15 minutes later, I recall many riders sitting in a daze on the loading platform, waiting for an ambulance and to give their statements to Loss Prevention. It was like the Atlanta train station scene in “Gone with the Wind.” It was a terrible moment, but a fluke; a one-in-a-million freak occurrence that no one could ever have anticipated. Thankfully no one was injured, the park handled the situation with their typical exceptionalism, and after being shut down for a few days the ride was back up and running, with no decrease in capacity.

 

Even though the stuck train was a fluke, by 1986 KD decided to let the ride go. It was dismantled and assembled at Jolly Roger Park in Ocean City, Maryland, but since it violated the noise ordinance it went to Alton Towers in England, where I heard it violated a height ordinance. It currently sits practically unused as “Katapul” at Hopi Park in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where spare parts are almost impossible to locate anymore.

 

King Kobra – the ride gave little respect and got none back."

 

Story By: Dale Brumfield

 

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