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Kings Dominion (KD) Discussion Thread

P. 767: WinterFest Media Night Report

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It was in fact open during last year's Winterfest, but not the year before that.

Either way, glad the park is able to open at all in 2020.  I'll be trying to make a trip down on the 12th.

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CoasterNerd87, I updated your post with some more information.

I don't understand this company and I never will but hey... whatever. Why would you do this at the last minute when you saw that you no longer had capacity restriction issues but not do it at Kings Island which was already open and didn't have them all summer? You wouldn't have to hire people, you wouldn't need to get rides that haven't moved in a year ready to run for like a month. If they had a pricing structure like Six Flags where they were trying to un-freeze memberships I would get it but they don't and I just don't understand anything they do. This is nice for people that live right near the park though. Oh, and the event only runs through the 27th and not the entire holiday week after that where everyone is off from school. Six Flags is running circles around Cedar Fair this year and I don't know how to feel about it.

PS: This woman is every shareholder right now...



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Um...you know KD already has a giga, right?

And yeah, I'd trade operating seasons this year between KD and KI in a heartbeat.  KI got four months; KD got 3 weekends.

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7 minutes ago, KIEnthusiast said:

HORRIBLE decision, Cedar Fair needs to do it at King’s Island!!!! Instead they’re reopening a park that got a Free Spin instead of a Giga! 😡

I should clarify that I don't think opening this park is a dumb decision, I just think opening this and not Kings Island is a dumb decision. I also think that the operating calendar is a dumb, but I guess it's less dumb than Carowinds where the event ends 5 days before Christmas.

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53 minutes ago, coasterbill said:

I should clarify that I don't think opening this park is a dumb decision, I just think opening this and not Kings Island is a dumb decision. I also think that the operating calendar is a dumb, but I guess it's less dumb than Carowinds where the event ends 5 days before Christmas.

Sorry, I meant that King's Island deserves to open more than King's Dominion.

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I believe it’s about getting current on passes isn’t it?  They already charged KI passholders. Now they will collect revenue for Carowinds and KD.  

It was mentioned on the conference call about expecting $10 million in passholder revenue in Q4. 

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The reservation system for pass holders for KD's winter event is live, but it's not linked anywhere on the main page.  If you go into the ticket-buying part of the site, it will appear at the top left.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/16/2020 at 8:51 AM, Mike240SX said:

The reservation system for pass holders for KD's winter event is live, but it's not linked anywhere on the main page.  If you go into the ticket-buying part of the site, it will appear at the top left.

The park has moved the season pass reservation link to the Home Page of KD's web site. They are using the same system that you use to purchase daily tickets. Just no charge.

All Season Pass holders (Silver, Gold, Platinum) can go to this event with a reservation made. Yes, 2020 Silver passholders can go to this year's "Taste of the Season" event. Normally their passes expire Labor Day. I believe you can link up to 12-14 other season passes to one reservation. Only one reservation at a time. Once the initial reservation is used, you make another reservation for a future operating date.


Even the operational days vary greatly between parks. Carowinds started this past weekend and it is currently scheduled to end the Sunday before Christmas. KD's will start the Saturday after Thanksgiving weekend,12/05. Theirs will run two weekends and then go daily from Friday, 12/18 through Wednesday, 12/23. Closed Christmas Eve & Day. The final day of operations will be Saturday & Sunday, 12/26 - 12/27. 


At this point, neither Kings Dominion nor Carowinds have any days scheduled for the week leading to New Years Day. I guess there could be a possibility that the event schedule might be extended if the parks come close to meeting their attendance numbers for the first couple of Weekends.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So, I am currently at KD for the Winterfest-lite event, and boy let me tell you that it is "lite" indeed. We all knew how few of the rides were going to operate, but wow did they reduce the amount of Christmas lights. Photos and a full review coming later.

I will say that I probably picked the best worst day to come: Temps in the mid 60s during the day, now high 50s at night. The place is comparatively packed; I have no doubt that they are full to whatever reduced capacity limit is set. Racer's queue was spilling onto the midway. 

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Yesterday, after my brief stop at SFA, I fought through the perpetual Northern Virginia I-95 traffic to check out Kings Dominion's Taste of the Season event - a COVID-blamed Winterfest-lite.  And believe me, it was "light" indeed in every way, from rides, to food stands, even holiday decorations.  The only thing not light about the day was the crowd; I blame going on the best weather day the region has seen in months:  High 60s when I arrived at around 4:30, high 50s when I left around 7:00.  The place seemed more packed than when I went for Winterfest-regular last year.  Anyway, on with the TR.

After arrival, I kinda just did a lap to confirm what was open and how things were laid out.  In the area that used to be a smoking zone (KD, like all other CF parks, has removed all smoking zones from inside the park and replaced it with one just outside the main gate), they had some local craft booths set up:


And around the Eiffel tower, were some makeshift games booths:


As for the Tower itself, it was unfortunately closed, despite appearing on the app as being operational.

I continued my trek towards the back of the park, and thought I might grab a tasty adult beverage, but here was the line:


So yeah, that didn't happen. Glanced over to Twisted Timbers, and lamented what could have been.  This was actually open for last year's Winterfest and was awesome in the brisk December air.


Continuing my lap around the park, and saw that they had just parked a food truck in front of the entrance to Safari Village.  Sorry, no shots of the Tiki Twirl construction site (no, they haven't announced the name of the 4D but that's what I'm sticking with!).


A note about the holiday decorations:  They were severely cut back from what they had last year during Winterfest.  For example, last year they had thousands of jumbo-style lights hanging from all of the trees in Planet Snoopy, covering over walkways, and making it it an awesome experience.  This year?  Just some regular lights strung up in the ground-level bushes.  At least they lit up Snoopy.


And the stage was active with a variety of music-and-dancing shows, running basically continually throughout the night.


There was also another small stage with singing acts, again seemingly continual, near Racer's entrance.

Speaking of which, this was the queue at 5:20.  Yes, that is backed all the way out onto the midway.  Why was this?  Much like Dorney Park, the park's COVID-protocols were to blame - only seating every 3rd row, which results in a maximum of 10 riders per train.  At least they were running both.  A nearby employee estimated the wait at an hour and a half. 


Wave Swinger was also similarly capacity-limited.  Maybe hard to see in the photo, but that is about 25% of the seats actually installed.


A note about food service:  Most stands had been converted into Tasting Stations for the main theme of the event, food tasting.  As I have the food preferences of a 5 year old, I passed on all of these (the only one I wanted to try was the minty ice cream sandwich, but the line was 15 people deep when passed by).  I was slightly disappointed to not be able to get any MacBowl glory, as it was serving only the holiday menu.

I did like how they lined the Candy Apple Grove midway with the decorations from the "12 Days of Christmas" that was done last year on Blue Ridge Tollway (it was closed this year, along with the rest of Old Virginia), complete with synchronized lighting to the lyrics of the song, which would play about every 3 songs in the area.  You can also see in this picture that none of the trees were lit up; last year they were all extremely well lit with pixel-mapped mutli-colored lights that were synchronized to the ambient music.


Outside Buccaneer, there was a cool "mystery jelly bean" tasting game that reminded me of the "guess what's in it" shot game from Haunt a few years back when they did the Skeleton Key rooms.  Right before snapping this picture, I took my only ride of the night on Dominator (36 minutes on-and-off).  They were skipping every other row, one group per row but allowing a full row of 4 if your group had it, and were loading the station from the back of the train first.  I managed to luck out with my line positioning and got the front row.  It was good to ride perhaps the best floorless after riding what is easily the worst at SFA early in the day.


They were also doing a kid-friendly scavenger hunt cell phone game based around finding a Santa's stolen sleigh.


All in all, it wasn't a terrible event.  I'm glad they were able to open at all this year, and being included in my Platinum Pass, it was a good time and definitely worth the three hour drive from Delaware.  Yeah, I wish more rides were running, but its better than nothing for locals who had no other amusement park options without wanting to take a four-hours-or-longer drive to a park that had been operating fully over the summer.  I may make another trip back later in the month, hopefully for some lower crowds.

I leave you with plenty of photos of the decorations.


No singing mushrooms, sorry.


They didn't need these fire pits tonight, but it was nice that they were lit anyway.


And to close things out, a video of the pixel-mapped "tree" that they make of the Eiffel Tower.  No matter how may times I see this I think it's awesome.

I hope you all enjoy my report.  Sorry for the blurriness on some of the photos, my phone is nearly 5 years old and doesn't work as well as it once did.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Didn't you know, the replacement for Volcano is Tiki Twirl, the S&S 4D? 😉

In all seriousness, I'm sure they've got something substantial in the pipeline for '22 or '23.  I'm also pretty sure that, while they have input, individual park GM's don't have the final say on what rides come to their parks in the CF chain.

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