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Kings Dominion (KD) Discussion Thread

P. 767: WinterFest Media Night Report

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As far as King's Dominion getting big new coasters, I-305 failed to pack them in and usually has a minimal wait.

 

I've disagreed that the coaster is not successful before. After 6 years, the park still has noticably better attendance than it did in 2009, to my eyes. Unless you think that's due to something else they added, heh. It's a people eater and people spend more time at the park because of it than they spend actually riding it (the first year, I think more came to look at it than ride it). There's actually times the line is much longer than FoF or Volcano, rides with famously low capacity, and a really long line last few nights of the year, even with temps going below 40 degrees. And it will continue to draw people to the park for a long time to come. There's coasters they could have put in instead that would have had a better immediate reaction, but I can't think of any that would have given the park more respect.

 

Plus, how long a line do you want? Sure the parks would love for people to spend their hard earned money to stand in line 95% of the time, but I won't, and rides like Dominator and Intimidator are evidence CF/KD have realized that capacity appropriate to the park is a good thing (vs. Hypersonic).

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I've disagreed that the coaster is not successful before. After 6 years, the park still has noticably better attendance than it did in 2009, to my eyes. Unless you think that's due to something else they added, heh.

 

It could also be due to an outside factor such as economic recovery.

 

It's a people eater

 

While in a sense this is true, it frequently runs one train. I've only been there twice when it was running 2 trains and every time it is a station wait while running one train. That makes Volcano have essentially the same capacity/hr.

 

There's actually times the line is much longer than FoF or Volcano, rides with famously low capacity, and a really long line last few nights of the year

 

Never seen it, personally. I've seen all three have short lines but never has I305 had the longest.

 

There's coasters they could have put in instead that would have had a better immediate reaction, but I can't think of any that would have given the park more respect.

 

Shaky argument, but possibly true. However, respect doesn't pay the bills.

 

Look, I don't want to come across like I dislike the ride. I think it's great and it falls just outside my top 10. The sad reality is this was a flop. We have not, and likely will not see other rides like this in the US, at least not in the near future. Millennium Force hit the mark, Maverick hit the mark, but unfortunately, a love child of the two was a swing and a miss.

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I still say an overbank instead of the first turn would help the ride alot in the GP eyes

 

Absolutely. That's where all the grey-outs occur and once someone has that happen at the beginning of the ride, the rest is not as enjoyable to them.

 

It also would have helped to not tear itself apart. lol

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Any sign of life over at Volcano?

 

Signs said closed Saturday, but I didn't verify. Running today, all rows open, although my fully loaded ride was the slowest ever, hangtime coming out the volcano in the 3rd row.

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I've disagreed that the coaster is not successful before. After 6 years, the park still has noticably better attendance than it did in 2009, to my eyes. Unless you think that's due to something else they added, heh.

 

It could also be due to an outside factor such as economic recovery.

 

It's a people eater

 

While in a sense this is true, it frequently runs one train. I've only been there twice when it was running 2 trains and every time it is a station wait while running one train. That makes Volcano have essentially the same capacity/hr.

 

There's actually times the line is much longer than FoF or Volcano, rides with famously low capacity, and a really long line last few nights of the year

 

Never seen it, personally. I've seen all three have short lines but never has I305 had the longest.

 

There's coasters they could have put in instead that would have had a better immediate reaction, but I can't think of any that would have given the park more respect.

 

Shaky argument, but possibly true. However, respect doesn't pay the bills.

 

Look, I don't want to come across like I dislike the ride. I think it's great and it falls just outside my top 10. The sad reality is this was a flop. We have not, and likely will not see other rides like this in the US, at least not in the near future. Millennium Force hit the mark, Maverick hit the mark, but unfortunately, a love child of the two was a swing and a miss.

 

Fyi.. Not a swing and a miss. I305 is back and forth with Dominator as 2nd and 3rd most ridden attractions in the park (Volcano is indeed #1). Thats not too shabby if you consider the much better location in the park of Dominator.A bit intense? Absolutely. But I think it was meant to be more intense than 99% of coasters, and it achieved (although obviously underestimated intensity in version 1). It is a ride that gets people talking and brings them in from miles around to visit.

 

The economy was really poor until '13, so their great years of '10-'13 were likely thanks to i305.

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Are those official ridership numbers? I would honestly think Dominator would be #1 in the park due to it's capacity since Volcano struggles in that department and I305 runs 1 train on slow days.

 

Same here. Also doesn't KD have a train? That would probably be in the top 5-6 there.

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Fyi.. Not a swing and a miss.

 

I'm talking about in the eyes of the GP. It could be debated that Millennium Force is the most popular rollercoaster on the planet and Maverick is universally loved by GP and enthusiasts. When they married the two, they only achieved mass amounts of love from the enthusiasts whereas the GP didn't respond quite like they had hoped.

 

I305 may have brought in more attendance. I'm not going to argue that. What it does not have though is the ridership. What we have seen is CF no longer doing business with Intamin after I305. What we haven't seen is anything like this being built in the years since. And these reasons are why I'm saying it was a miss. Because of these reasons are why I'm almost certain we will not see a ride like this in the US in the foreseeable future. I'd love to be wrong, but currently the signs don't point to that being the case.

 

Like I said, I like the ride. You can love the ride, many of us do. But that doesn't mean it hit the mark like they hoped.

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Are those official ridership numbers? I would honestly think Dominator would be #1 in the park due to it's capacity since Volcano struggles in that department and I305 runs 1 train on slow days.

 

Same here. Also doesn't KD have a train? That would probably be in the top 5-6 there.

 

No train... Sadly.

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Are those official ridership numbers? I would honestly think Dominator would be #1 in the park due to it's capacity since Volcano struggles in that department and I305 runs 1 train on slow days.

 

Same here. Also doesn't KD have a train? That would probably be in the top 5-6 there.

 

I believe they got rid of it, but yeah those numbers don't add up. When I think of High Capacity rides at KD I think of things like Drop Tower, Dominator and Rebel Yell if they actually ran both sides on a frequent basis. Hell I wouldn't even be shocked if Eiffel Tower is ahead of Volcano (though again they usually only run one elevator so maybe not).

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Are those official ridership numbers? I would honestly think Dominator would be #1 in the park due to it's capacity since Volcano struggles in that department and I305 runs 1 train on slow days.

 

Same here. Also doesn't KD have a train? That would probably be in the top 5-6 there.

 

 

No train, no cable skyway, no monorail. All removed by Paramount. I believe the lack of rides like this at KD plus the light schedule of live shows is why they struggle with attendance. The parking lot has been about 1/4 full in my visits there, including peak season. The park has a good number of (mediocre) coasters, a small collection of flat rides and a lot of kiddie rides, plus the waterpark that is included in admission. It has gorgeous parts, especially the entrance, but other parts of the park are not that nice where they have removed trees (the former Wayne's World area) and where they have removed water (the water park used to be a stunning giant lake).

 

IMO the different groups of management went the wrong direction with mostly coaster additions to the park, while removing true family rides. Busch Gardens seems to do much better on attendance, with less coasters and more of the other stuff.

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Is there any evidence at all to support the idea that Kings Dominion struggles with attendance? I understand that enthusiasts have all been saying this long enough that they now consider it to be 100% factual but is there any real reason to believe this is the case?

 

I mean, unless it's a Saturday Carowinds is pretty much walk-on city except for the water park, the mouse and Nighthawk but all you hear about is how thrilled they are with Carowinds and they keep pumping money into it. I feel like enthusiasts go to parks, look at the lengths of ride lines and decide that that means the park is struggling for attendance but that's really not a fair way to assess anything. Hell Dorney never has lines for anything in the dry park and never has but clearly they're doing just fine or they would have been out of business decades ago.

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I don't know that there is any hard evidence. I think it's mainly looking at the patterns. As one of my home parks I have been almost every year since probably 1998 or so. I feel like I haven't seen the days of waiting in long lines for the bigger attractions recently, however, I have tried to time my visits to where I wouldn't be facing the crowds. All of this is just my unofficial observations though. I feel most people just see the recent lack of Corporate Spending at KD as a sign of stagnated or drooping attendance. However, it could be, simply that CF has seen that with or without investment the annual attendance stays consistent, or at other parks new attractions are boosting attendance more and giving greater ROI.

 

TL:DR All "evidence" is Empirical and we don't have hard numbers.

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I feel like enthusiasts go to parks, look at the lengths of ride lines and decide that that means the park is struggling for attendance but that's really not a fair way to assess anything.

 

True, I mean, for years my family took trips to BGW and we always went on a Wednesday. I, personally, have never seen that park crowded. Walk-ons to 5 minutes for everything almost every time I have ever been. By my observation, the park shouldn't be in business anymore. But my observation is skewed to one visit in the middle of the week about every other year...

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^^That's kind of what I figured. If you think about it though, 15 years ago what rides had long lines? There was no Dominator, Windseeker, Delirium, Drop Tower or I305 (capacity monsters), the park was littered with amazingly low capacity rides that were always going to have a line (and there was less to choose from). Volcano was always a low capacity ride and it opened at half capacity, Hypersonic always had a line but it also only held 8 people per car and Flight of Fear always had a line (and still does) but it's another low capacity ride. Shockwave took forever to load and had low capacity, that had a line and rides like Hurler, Rebel Yell, Grizzly, Avalanche and Anaconda never had lines to begin with.

 

I think it's entirely plausible that the reason wait times have gone down is because they have higher capacity rides now and they have more rides to help spread people out. Every ride that people remember as "Having a long line" also had / has miserable capacity that would create long lines even on slow days.

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The amount of rides that have actually been added to the park in the past 10-15 years is pretty impressive. Drop Tower, Crypt, Hypersonic, Ferris wheel, Windseeker, Ricochet, Dominator, Intimidator, Delirium. You certainly see reason for the crowd to spread out among the rides. Also, the waterpark has been added in this time frame which sucks in people. I've only been to it once and it was a mosh pit, just like Dorney and Carowinds.

 

I swear parks investing in waterparks over the past decade like we've seen is the best decision they can make, even if I don't really care for them.

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Fyi.. Not a swing and a miss.

 

I'm talking about in the eyes of the GP. It could be debated that Millennium Force is the most popular rollercoaster on the planet and Maverick is universally loved by GP and enthusiasts. When they married the two, they only achieved mass amounts of love from the enthusiasts whereas the GP didn't respond quite like they had hoped.

 

I305 may have brought in more attendance. I'm not going to argue that. What it does not have though is the ridership. What we have seen is CF no longer doing business with Intamin after I305. What we haven't seen is anything like this being built in the years since. And these reasons are why I'm saying it was a miss. Because of these reasons are why I'm almost certain we will not see a ride like this in the US in the foreseeable future. I'd love to be wrong, but currently the signs don't point to that being the case.

 

Like I said, I like the ride. You can love the ride, many of us do. But that doesn't mean it hit the mark like they hoped.

Intamin isn't used as much as it was before because of reliability, maintenance and design flaws. KD knew what they were getting into when they saw the design and then approved said design. Intamin was likely chosen because they would go where other designers would not in terms of intensity. And don't forget in the late 2000s, KD was being marketed as "coaster capital of the Mid Atlantic." They were going for the extreme. They got it.

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I definitely agree about the water parks, they really boost business. I have a client who is a vendor at KD and has been for some 15-16 years now. Just about a year ago he was finally allowed to expand into the water park side of KD for his business and all I can tell you is that his business tripled by adding a location in the water park.

 

Over the summer that's where the people are, outside of the summer they come back into the ride side of the park.

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Intamin isn't used as much as it was before because of reliability, maintenance and design flaws

OMG, I can't stand these ignorant stupid comments by coaster nerds that know absolutely nothing about what they are talking about. Spare us your idiotic "expert" knowledge and write about something you know about because it clearly isn't about roller coasters or theme park operations.

Edited by robbalvey
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Intamin isn't used as much as it was before because of reliability, maintenance and design flaws

OMG, I can't stand these ignorant stupid comments by coaster nerds that know absolutely nothing about what they are talking about. Spare us your idiotic "expert" knowledge and write about something you know about because it clearly isn't about roller coasters or theme park operations.

Ok?? Robb im sure you know a lot, but so do I. I just dont run a site. I have connections in parks. So do you. Shouldnt you pick on a person that says i305 was a failure, KD is going out of business etc?

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Intamin isn't used as much as it was before because of reliability, maintenance and design flaws

OMG, I can't stand these ignorant stupid comments by coaster nerds that know absolutely nothing about what they are talking about. Spare us your idiotic "expert" knowledge and write about something you know about because it clearly isn't about roller coasters or theme park operations.

 

Out of curiosity, why haven't we really seen Intamin installations stateside in the past 5 years or so?

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Intamin isn't used as much as it was before because of reliability, maintenance and design flaws

OMG, I can't stand these ignorant stupid comments by coaster nerds that know absolutely nothing about what they are talking about. Spare us your idiotic "expert" knowledge and write about something you know about because it clearly isn't about roller coasters or theme park operations.

 

Out of curiosity, why haven't we really seen Intamin installations stateside in the past 5 years or so?

So giant record breaking rides like The Orlando Eye, Falcon's Fury or Zumanjaro don't count for some reason???

 

Sorry, I just have no time for stupid people anymore.

Edited by robbalvey
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