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Kings Dominion (KD) Discussion Thread


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I finally made the 3.5 hour adventure out to the park for the first time this season yesterday for the Bring-A-Friend discount days and took several of my friends. The park, as they have the past 5 seasons, is really focusing on the details which has created an incredible atmosphere that the park simply didn't have pre-Intimidator 305. Yesterday was the final day of the Spring Bloom festival, and it didn't disappoint for the first attempt at it, I expect this to expand throughout the park similar to the Halloween Haunt food booths are. The parks flowers were absolutely beautiful too.

 

Being with 4 first-timers to the park, I had to ride everything (which was done in 6 hours with several re-rides on Intimidator, Drop Tower, and Volcano). I must say, the coaster in the worst condition at the park, even though its paint looks good, is without a doubt Anaconda. I usually ride it once or twice a season and it absolutely killed me yesterday. However, I wouldn't be sad to see Anaconda, Shockwave, or Hurler go. If a coaster gets replaced in the Candy Apple Grove, I could see it being a B&M invert like Talon at Dorney. If a coaster gets put in the front of the park or in Old Virginia, I'd expect it to be more of a headliner or record-breaker.

 

To be honest though, nothing the park builds next will beat Intimidator 305 and leave many enthusiasts disappointed I'm sure. The ride is simply a one-of-a-kind and beats the hell out of Fury 325 and Leviathan still. Even though it goes so fast and is so intense, the ride has managed to stay smooth as glass and absolutely gorgeous in 5+ seasons. I expect Kings Dominion's next coaster to be back on the mediocre intensity similar to what GateKeeper is - and it should be so their coaster lineup is more well-rounded.

 

Other notes:

- The special touches for the 40th Celebration are even better this season

- Improved and better music throughout the park fitting with the areas more

- ALL ride attendants were very friendly, fast, and efficient even in the heat

- ALL rides were working

- Drop Tower needs painted next season

- The new Soak City, Hurricane Heights, and Splash Island look absolutely fantastic (from the views I got riding DT 5 times in a row)

- Dominator's B&M rattle seemed not to be there, even in the back with a half-empty train

- KD's future is bright in terms of food with new Chef Paul

 

Favorite shot of the day:

Dominator.jpg.b01db33adb4e99ea8f48c850c20350d4.jpg

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Wait, there is actually going to be a safari-themed ride in Safari Village? Is that allowed? 🤣

My money, in all seriousness, is on Tiki Twirl.  CF already has a logo drawn up and everything.

He has a lot more history with Kings Dominion than just 2 years. You also forgot that Carnival and Winterfest also came in under him (I know they aren't rides, but I feel they are big improvements for

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It might just be me, but does anyone else agree that a Triotech isn't ideal for KD, since they already have a decent shooting ride in Boo Blasters? Some might say that KD needs a family coaster, but they have Ricochet. The only types of coasters that KD could be lacking are an airtime machine (think Chariot) or a bona fide chain-lift invert. I say if not 2016, it's happening in 2017 for sure.

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Let's look at KD since the CF takeover.

2007: Water slides

2008: Dominator (RIP Hypersonic )

2009: Flat rides

2010: Intimidator 305

2011: Minor improvements

2012: Windseeker

2013: Kiddie flat rides

2014: Minor improvements

2015: Water slides

2016: ???

If you tell me that they aren't due for a coaster, you've lost your mind.

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Let's look at KD since the CF takeover.

2007: Water slides

2008: Dominator (RIP Hypersonic )

2009: Flat rides

2010: Intimidator 305

2011: Minor improvements

2012: Windseeker

2013: Kiddie flat rides

2014: Minor improvements

2015: Water slides

2016: ???

If you tell me that they aren't due for a coaster, you've lost your mind.

 

What has VF, Dorney, WOF, MIA, and CGA received in that same time

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Let's look at KD since the CF takeover.

2007: Water slides

2008: Dominator (RIP Hypersonic )

2009: Flat rides

2010: Intimidator 305

2011: Minor improvements

2012: Windseeker

2013: Kiddie flat rides

2014: Minor improvements

2015: Water slides

2016: ???

If you tell me that they aren't due for a coaster, you've lost your mind.

 

What has VF, Dorney, WOF, MIA, and CGA received in that same time

KD receives much more foot traffic than its little siblings. Not saying that they aren't due as well, but it makes sense financially to invest where the highest potential for a large return is.

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Dominator and I305 are 2 of the better recent additions in the chain. I understand that batm.. I mean Dominator is a relocate but its still a awesome ride, and I305 is flat out amazing!!!! I always thought that Dorney pulled in more quest then KD?

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To be fair, KD has the most competition too with BGW and SFA. With Busch Gardens adding Verbolten and Tempesto since 305 and Six Flags adding Apocalypse, Rajin' Cajun, and LarsonLooper83933.5 since 305 it puts KD in the hotspot with locals wanting that newest coaster even if Intimidator 305 is superior to all five of those additions combined.

 

On the opposite side of the spectrum though, KD definitely has needed everything that has been done since Intimidator 305. I wish the park was in such great shape when the world came to see 305 back in 2010.

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Dominator and I305 are 2 of the better recent additions in the chain. I understand that batm.. I mean Dominator is a relocate but its still a awesome ride, and I305 is flat out amazing!!!! I always thought that Dorney pulled in more quest then KD?

Nah, I read somewhere that KD is #4 behind KBF, CP, and Canada's Wonderland, in that order in terms of annual visitors.

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^ Kings Island is a significant amount above Kings Dominion too.

 

They consider these their top-performing parks, with KD and Carowinds being about equal with attendance below them.

 

Canada's Wonderland

Knott's Berry Farm

Cedar Point

Kings Island

 

Kings Dominion

Carowinds

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Let's look at KD since the CF takeover.

2007: Water slides

2008: Dominator (RIP Hypersonic )

2009: Flat rides

2010: Intimidator 305

2011: Minor improvements

2012: Windseeker

2013: Kiddie flat rides

2014: Minor improvements

2015: Water slides

2016: ???

If you tell me that they aren't due for a coaster, you've lost your mind.

 

I feel that is post undermines the work the park has done the last 10 years since Cedar Fair bought the park. The last 5 years under the Paramount leadership, the park had been rapidly declining in the maintenance and aesthetical appearance. Cedar Fair has restored much of the former charm of the park that Paramount had stripped from it. Last year, as a former employee, it was refreshing to see what the park had become and I was excited to see the future improvements coming.

 

Everything the park did the last 10 years has been a deliberate and meaningful process. Cedar Fair has added four quality water attraction to the newly revised Soak City, transformed neutered former Hanna-Barbarra Land into a likable Planet Snoopy, Brought back many of the parks unique charms including the floral clock, signing mushrooms, and refreshed International Street, and also made the park safer through several ride renovations that brought the park up to OSHA standards.

 

I am very satisfied with the improvements the park has made in the last 5 years. The park has brought back the charm from the late seventies and late nineties into a contemporary era. I am glad what they have done and hope they continue to focus on quality over quantity.

 

As for the 'possible' coaster, I'm not holding my breath. If any recall the timeline for Intimidator 305, they started land clearing June 1st. They had pink survey markers on site in late April. I don't think anyone has seen any of those lately...

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But also, when comparing to just Carowinds...

 

2010:

Intimidator 305 (25 million) // Intimidator (22 million)

 

2011:

Snoopy's Starlight Spectacular (1 million) // Snoopy's Starlight Spectacular (1 million)

 

2012:

Windseeker, Dinosaurs Alive (7 million) // Windseeker (6 million)

 

2013:

New Planet Snoopy (8 million) // Dinosaurs Alive and Picnic Pavilions (2 million)

 

2014:

40th Celebration improvements (1 million) // Dorsal Fin Drop, Surfer's Swell, Harmony Hall (5 million)

 

Total: 42 million // 36 million

 

2015:

Complete waterpark transformation (5 million) // Fury 325, Slingshot, parking upgrade (35 million)

 

Remember, Carowinds is going through a 3-year 50 million dollar renovation (they have about 10 million left for next season) because Cedar Fair sees the most potential for their attendance numbers to grow as their competition isn't as heavy and Charlotte is a great partner. Kings Dominion's time will come, but as you can see, Kings Dominion was getting the better end of the bargain until 2015.

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The recent changes after I305 were necessary. But I do think KD will get something this year, there's just no proof yet. As someone said earlier, nothing KD could build in the future will ever surpass I305; That's a world class ride among world class rides.

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While KD hasn't gotten a new coaster since I305, it is one of the best coasters in the entire world. To me KD's coaster lineup is not at fault, they have three really good roller coasters with I305, Volcano, and Dominator. Then to back that up they have some decent woodies with Grizzly and RY. While it sucks they haven't gotten anything new, we must keep in mind that they have a decent line-up. It just seems right for them to make it even better with something new, only time will truly tell but it isnt really needed to say. All the internal improvements and such have really set the park up to be even greater, but as mentioned before, attendance wise it isnt one of the top contenders.

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Just went to Kings Dominion the past weekend. I actually asked one of the workers about their supposed new coaster next year. He actually said that they are planning to build a B&M hyper.

 

Now this obviously isn't the most reliable source, but it's something to keep in mind.

 

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^It's really nothing to keep in mind.

 

I feel that is post undermines the work the park has done the last 10 years since Cedar Fair bought the park. The last 5 years under the Paramount leadership, the park had been rapidly declining in the maintenance and aesthetical appearance. Cedar Fair has restored much of the former charm of the park that Paramount had stripped from it. Last year, as a former employee, it was refreshing to see what the park had become and I was excited to see the future improvements coming.

 

Everything the park did the last 10 years has been a deliberate and meaningful process. Cedar Fair has added four quality water attraction to the newly revised Soak City, transformed neutered former Hanna-Barbarra Land into a likable Planet Snoopy, Brought back many of the parks unique charms including the floral clock, signing mushrooms, and refreshed International Street, and also made the park safer through several ride renovations that brought the park up to OSHA standards.

 

I am very satisfied with the improvements the park has made in the last 5 years. The park has brought back the charm from the late seventies and late nineties into a contemporary era. I am glad what they have done and hope they continue to focus on quality over quantity.

 

110% agreed. Even in the late Paramount days this park was one of my favorite places to be, and it's only gotten better and better. As far as I'm concerned, Intimidator kickstarted six years of solid revenue, which is exactly what they needed to afford all these infrastructure and aesthetic improvements. Once they're happy with where the place sits, you'll probably see larger capital investments. Until then, go ride good ol' Timmy a dozen times every visit and be happy that the guest experience is leaps and bounds above where it was a decade ago.

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Just went to Kings Dominion the past weekend. I actually asked one of the workers about their supposed new coaster next year. He actually said that they are planning to build a B&M hyper.

 

Now this obviously isn't the most reliable source, but it's something to keep in mind.

 

Was it the Dippin' Dots guy?

Yes, KD has a strong coaster lineup, and yes, Cedar Fair has brought the park's atmosphere up to rival or surpass Busch Gardens (ugh - SeaWorld), and yes, other parks may be due for a roller coaster as well, but Kings Dominion has one of the strongest local bases around. I myself live in Hanover County, just due south of KD, and I'd bet that anywhere from one-half to two-thirds of the households in the county are passholders, many for multiple years running. Keeping this in mind, there's a definite demand for a new coaster in the DC corridor. Since 2010, Busch Gardens Williamsburg has put in both Verbolten and Tempesto, and Six Flags America has added Apocalypse and Bourbon Street Fireball. While all of these coasters combined still pale in comparison to Intimidator 305, which most seasoned enthusiasts will tell you easily makes their top five or ten, they are newer, making it sort of a "No coaster? Again? Let's go to BGW and ride the Tempesto" situation for many locals and Richmond/DC-area travelers. Valleyfair, Worlds of Fun, California's Great Adventure - these parks are small and have untapped markets, but their competition is very limited, if there is any in the area at all. Because KD needs to stay competitive, it needs a new coaster and soon. I've been saying all along - if not 2016, 2017 is the year.

As for the 'possible' coaster, I'm not holding my breath. If any recall the timeline for Intimidator 305, they started land clearing June 1st. They had pink survey markers on site in late April. I don't think anyone has seen any of those lately...

I would be holding my breath for a number of reasons:

1. The only land available to clear is unable to be viewed clearly from the air, so if there are markers behind the Hurler or elsewhere, you can't see it. Don't strain your eyeballs trying.

2. Since the Shockwave is probably the only candidate for removal, you can't exactly put survey markers on a ride. Does that ride really need another accident?

3. KD has historically been late in the game to announce coasters (remember Volcano?)

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As a KD local and longtime park visitor, I find it completely relevant to provide my ratings for the park (on a scale of 0.0-10.0, 10.0 being the best), in a variety of categories:

1. Rides. Kings Dominion is home to two of the world's best roller coasters in the forms of Volcano: The Blast Coaster and Intimidator 305. These coasters are completely unmatched in smoothness, with the exception of a handful of other Intamin coasters, and Intimidator is easily in the top ten, most likely in the top five, and maybe even in the top three in most seasoned enthusiasts' intensity lists. The park also includes a number of classics, such as the ACE landmark Rebel Yell and park icon Woodstock Express (formerly Ghoster Coaster and Scooby-Doo). Adding to this lineup is one of the world's tallest and fastest drop towers. However, the park is home to some mediocre rides such as Dominator (a standard used B&M floorless), Grizzly (one-time park classic, now a literal and metaphorical headache), and Avalanche (unique, but not worth the wait time or mini-concussion), and some flat-out terrible ones (Shockwave, Hurler, Anaconda - TOGO, CCI, Arrow, respectively - you get the idea). On the other hand, the park features a TON of satisfactory family and/or thrilling flat rides in the (Candy Apple) Grove midway section and in the large, almost overdone Planet Snoopy kids area. For these reasons, I'll give Kings Dominion a 9/10 - significantly better than an average park but not anywhere near Six Flags Magic Mountain, Cedar Point, or Canada's Wonderland.

2. Appearance. Kings Dominion was known in the 1970s and 1980s to be a beautiful park, with flowers and greenery abundant throughout the relatively undeveloped, rural park. However, after the Paramount Parks acquisition in the 1990s, the park became a distant second to in-state rival Busch Gardens Williamsburg (Europe), with the focus applied to rides, and a total disregard for the park's appearance reigned. In 2007, the park's fortune changed once again for the better when Cedar Fair took the reins. Although the first few years of Cedar Fair ownership were focused on continuing to develop Kings Dominion's rides as part of a large, multimillion dollar expansion which included the relocated Dominator and Intimidator 305, in recent years the park has worked tirelessly on landscaping. While there is still much work to be done to catch up to Busch Gardens once again (which may admittedly be a near-impossible task), the investments have PAID OFF. This season, Kings Dominion looks absolutely beautiful for the first time in a long time. For the park's 40th anniversary, Cedar Fair has added high-quality restaurants themed to different countries, serving fine locally and internationally based cuisine. The park's entrance, while often criticized for its age, looks fantastic with flowers, bona fide flowers, lining the iconic fountains and Eiffel Tower plaza, and extending throughout the revamped Candy Apple Grove section (have you seen the floral clock?) However, the Safari Village/Congo area still needs some work, so I give Kings Dominion a 7/10 - looking good but still a work in progress.

3. Price - Each individual one-day ticket to Kings Dominion costs $55. Two-day tickets are available for $65 each. If you visit from 4 PM - 10 PM, tickets cost $40. Silver season passes, which are good for unlimited visits from Opening Day until Labor Day (you still pay for parking) cost $75. Gold season passes, which are good for unlimited visits from Opening Day until Closing Day in November (unlimited parking included) cost $115.

Platinum season passes, which are good for unlimited visits at every Cedar Fair park (Kings Island, Kings Dominion, Cedar Point, Canada's Wonderland, Carowinds, Knott's Berry Farm, California's Great Adventure, Valleyfair, Worlds of Fun, Dorney Park, etc.) any day that the park you want to visit is open (unlimited parking included) cost $200. To score this, let's compare it with equivalent tickets from rival Busch Gardens Williamsburg. For a one-day ticket, Kings Dominion is $20 cheaper (Busch Gardens doesn't offer a two-day ticket). For a Silver pass (BGW's equivalent is called the Fun Card), both parks are equal at $75 each. For a Gold Pass (BGW Season Pass), Kings Dominion is once again $20 cheaper. For a Platinum Pass (for BGW, this includes all SeaWorld parks), Kings Dominion is $15 cheaper. Therefore, Kings Dominion is cheaper in nearly every category, so I will give Kings Dominion a 7.5/10 in this category.

4. Food - Kings Dominion isn't really known for its food. However, the Jukebox Diner makes a pretty good burger, and the new higher-end restaurants really boost the park in this category. Unfortunately, you can expect to pay around $15 a meal, although one-day and season pass add-on meal deals are available, as are refillable drink bottles which are $10 online (free refills day of purchase/pickup, $1 refills rest of year). My advice: Avoid the meal deal and bottle, since it doesn't include the better restaurants near the entrance, so pack lunch (pavilions are provided outside the gate) and eat dinner by the Eiffel Tower. Other than that, expect standard amusement park fare - overpriced burgers, fries, pizza, fried chicken, and Coca-Cola products. Score? 6/10.

5. Atmosphere. Kings Dominion is definitely a family-friendly venue, IMO. Security is very tight at the park, and the metal detectors, a rare sight these days at an amusement park, slow down entrances lines a tad bit but make you feel safer. Of course, like all other public places, you'll need to keep a close eye on your little ones, but Planet Snoopy is the perfect place for parents to sit on a bench while watching the young'uns riding the various Peanuts-themed rides. The park isn't themed as well as BGW (and a far cry from Disney or Universal), but the park stays true to its rural roots with the Old Virginia section, a must-see during the busier hours of operation. Score? 8/10.

Final thoughts - Kings Dominion is a fantastic park. If you ever venture to the DC corridor, I would highly recommend taking a day to visit. Even if you'll be visiting BGW during a Jamestown, Williamsburg, or Virginia Beach visit, still consider the drive to KD - you won't regret it. No, this isn't Cedar Point, SeaWorld Orlando, Disney World, or Six Flags Great Adventure, but this is still pretty close to the gold standard for mid-sized amusement parks.

FINAL SCORE: 7.5/10

Rating: Should be on every enthusiast's, tourist's, and local's bucket list of destinations

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^Great review, but I think you're vastly underrating Dominator. It's definitely an above average floorless; It has some intense positive g's for a floorless, so much that I greyed out on the first drop the second time I rode it (In my defense, I hadn't had anything to drink all day, so dehydration probably played a role. I also was tired, and I had already ridden I305).

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^Great review, but I think you're vastly underrating Dominator. It's definitely an above average floorless; It has some intense positive g's for a floorless, so much that I greyed out on the first drop the second time I rode it (In my defense, I hadn't had anything to drink all day, so dehydration probably played a role. I also was tired, and I had already ridden I305).

Thanks!

I've never completely grayed out on any coaster (on I305 I get pretty close to it) but once I nearly grayed out during the helix on the Stunt Coaster. Strangely enough, that was the day that I forgot to pack water (for those who don't know, it's an unwritten rule that outside water and sports drinks are allowed in Cedar Fair parks).

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^^-- yeah, only 3 rides a visit now

 

Dominator (a standard used B&M floorless)

 

An interesting line. It probably is about average for a B&M but what's not to like about that? I find the strong finish with the high-G final curve kind of bumps it above most. And floorless is way more than a gimmick. I also really enjoy Grizzly (some precautions required) and about the only thing I don't like about Shockwave is waiting to be let off. You didn't mention Flight of Fear....

 

I think as a local park, if you have a choice of where to live or how much you prize your local park, it also goes up a notch. In that case, a larger number of average quality rides helps sustain variety. You're not comparing rides to the rest of the world at that point, only against others in the park and vs. just not riding them, and can learn the tricks. Meanwhile BGW goes downa notch as a local park because of their quality vs. quantity approach. KD also tends to be considerably less crowded than the few parks with better coaster line ups, from what I know about them.

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I would never call Dominator "mediocre" or "standard." That coaster has always been one of the best floorless coasters out there. Yeah, it's used, but KD got THE best coaster from GL.

 

 

No matter how many times I've ridden Dominator, it's still a kickass ride. It's my second favorite in the park after I305 and I always get a ride on it on my way out.

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