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Photo TR: The Kiwis Take On North East/Road to Cedar Point


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With TPR, you can have a great day at almost any park. I will say though, they guy who took my order at the hamburger stand didn't impress me.

 

Let's not sugar-coat it: Dorney's food service sucks, or at least it always has when I've been there. More than a few of the staff are incompetent, and the ones who are competent are slow (though in light of what they have to work with, it may not be all their fault.) The scary part comes when you consider that with Pennsylvania's high unemployment rate, that's still the best they could get to work there!

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I have to admit - your TR makes Dorney look like a pleasant, enjoyable park.

 

Don't get me wrong - it was clean, had some great rides, but was just a concrete jungle that had no soul.

 

The meal/snack vouchers were a nice touch, and the ERT was great (fast ops/nice employees).

 

Beautiful pictures!

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After our somewhat short visit to Dorney Park (which was still more time than we needed) it was time to head west to Pittsburgh for our surprise early visit to Kennywood, including nighttime ERT on Phantom's Revenge! This was a really cool idea as we got in a lot of rides before ERT began, including some of the quirky ones, like Noah's Ark - which I loved! How awesome that the park has kept this open. The myriad of tricks inside surprised me.

 

Phantom's Revenge certainly didn't disappoint. I loved the unique layout including the awesome second drop into the ravine. There was airtime all over the second half of the ride right up to the final brake run and it was just a really fun experience from start to finish - made all the more fun at night with TPR!

 

Day 2 rained on and off - and began with some rather wet ERT on Racer. Racer doesn't do a whole lot but is still great fun due to the racing aspect. We got in at least one rather wet ride just as it started raining quite hard, which taught me that riding in the rain can be a little painful. After that it was time to head over to the park's newest coaster, Sky Rocket, and that's when the heavens really opened and it BUCKETED down! So much so we had to wait in the station for a while until it at least stopped pouring. As you'll see from the photos the park had a great attitude to ride operations and as soon as it eased just a little we were off. Those without the trusty TPR ponchos got soaked!

 

Sky Rocket was a fun ride that fits perfectly into the kooky ride line-up at Kennywood. I especially loved the trains which comfortably manoeuvred all the twisted elements. Kudos to Premier Rides (I hope to see more rides like these) and kudos to the park for operating the ride in the rain - even though it employs an LSM launch! (Hey Six Flags/Cedar Point - what's your excuse?!)

 

Andrew and I did quite a bit of re-riding during the second day and experienced one ride on Phantom's Revenge as it started to pour again just as we were going up the lift hill...resulting in the most painful ride we have ever experienced on a roller coaster! 85 mph through pouring rain is an interesting experience, I can tell you!

 

There was so much else to see and do at Kennywood it's hard to know where to begin, so I've chosen loads of photos to do the talking for me. Suffice to say I thought the park has done a great job over an obviously very long time keeping their traditional flavour alive while adding new rides (Sky Rocket being a prime example) that fit the quirky/kooky bill nicely. The setting of the park too is impressive - looking over the river to Pittsburgh's billowing industry and sometimes employing the terrain to sandwich in their unique coasters in a way that adds to the ride experience.

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Driving into Pittsburgh I was reminded of Wellington, with the little houses perched on hills everywhere.

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But everywhere you also see reminders of Pittsburgh's industrial heart.

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Kennywood was yet another 'must visit' park I was really looking forward to.

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It didn't take long before it started to get dim and Kennywood lit up. (Apologies if some of our photos are a bit blurry - didn't have the good camera out...)

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We queued for Jack Rabbit - here's a random building nearby.

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Jack Rabbit was quite fun - it only has one really good moment (the double down) but it's worth the ride. Bums way, way out of seats in the back!

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Looks like Kennywood has one of those inverting rides we went on at Dorney Park.

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Some kind of boat ride in a scenic setting.

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Hello Racer, we'll get to you tomorrow...

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We had an agenda!

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That's right - get the kiddie credit! (Not a lot of head room for Hans...)

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Yay they let us on Lil' Phantom! Ka-ching!

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We also tried out the Auto Race, the last remaining ride of its type, designed by the indomitable Harry Traver

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It was very curious! You kind of just race along and the steering wheel is completely pointless. But it's fun!

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This is Laffin' Sal. She's been laughing here for God-knows-how-long. Apparently she's made over as a witch for Halloween. But she is so damn creepy I hardly think that's necessary!

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Kennywood has afro fountains!

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We gave Thunderbolt a nighttime ride.

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It had really old school trains. The 'larger' person had to sit on the left hand side due to...

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This helix! (With good reason!)

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Another quirky ride we got on was the Turtle.

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This was yet another randomly fun ride you won't see anywhere else.

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I think this was a food stand. I liked the old school look with the lights and coaster-referencing name.

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Nearby was Noah's Ark which I'd been looking forward to.

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It's the very last 'ark' still operating in the entire world.

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Creepy Noah welcomes us aboard!

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Some of the animals inside. I loved how the whole structure swayed like a ship.

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There were lots of other cool effects as you wandered through the narrow passageways...

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Including this crazy rocking room! Thank you Kennywood for preserving this old school fun house.

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We rode a newer attraction at Kennywood - Ghostwood Estate.

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This is the pre-show room where Lord Kenneth explains how to rid his estate of ghosts... It's a fun shooting dark ride, but has so much themeing that's it's very easy to miss all the details. It's kind of a shame in a way.

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Oh, pretty!

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At park closing we all gathered for ERT...

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There is nothing like having a GREAT ride all to yourselves! Thank you Robb and Elissa for bonus nighttime ERT!!

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What a great way to end an awesome night at Kennywood.

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Day 2 at Kennywood and we still had so much to do! There really is a lot of cool stuff at this park...

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We began our day with ERT on the park's historic Racer.

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Best part: They let us round twice each time! Racer, you see, is a Mobius Loop coaster, which means it actually has only one track...you start on one side of the station, and return on the other. So we got to ride the whole 'loop'! Awesome!

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It's a little hard to get photos so here's one from across the park later in the day. We did not ride in these dry conditions...

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But a wet hand-slapping good time was had by all!

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Next up we had early morning ERT on Sky Rocket.

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By now it had started to POUR!

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Um...are you sure it's OK to ride in these conditions?

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After it started to ease a little - they let us on!

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Here's the first train returning - with no shelter on the brake run! Quick, load the ride!!

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The rain eased a little for our turn - whew!

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We loved it! What a unique and fun ride. A nice little launch, fun holding brake at the top of the drop, and lots of cool twisted elements.

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After all our time in the park we still had a credit to get... (I see you Pitt Fall!)

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Exterminator!

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This was actually a really fun spinning wild mouse in the dark. Amazing what a bit of themeing can do to a pretty standard ride.

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The area near Exterminator is known as 'Lost Kennywood' and is a throw-back to the park's long history.

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It's also really beautiful.

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The centrepiece is a shoot-the-chutes ride.

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RUN!

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Since Pitt Fall wasn't open (boo!) we went over to the Screamin' Swing.

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Gotta love these. Always a short but fun ride.

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Random Enterprise themed to a volcano!

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I was intrigued to ride the Schwarzkopf Bayern Kurve, which was another 'rare flat ride credit'. Enjoyable, and really fast, with a random and very loud horn blasted at you for no particular reason.

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Near the centre of the park was this nice tree-filled area.

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Here we found the Kangaroo, another 'last of its kind' in the world.

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It bounces off the hill, accompanied by a bouncing sound. Very funny!

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It was time for another spin on Sky Rocket. Here you can see Kennywood's 'fast pass' system which gave us specific times to get on specific rides. Bit of an odd system, but it did help us get on more attractions than we would've been able to otherwise.

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You just go up through the exit, and they only made us wait out one train.

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Sky Rocket is very re-rideable. Here's the awesome little launch.

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The holding brake slows the train down just for a moment to catch your breath...

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Then you rocket through the rest of the course.

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Glass smooth and very comfortable, with lap bars only.

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It was time for lunch and Kenny Kangaroo came out to say hi!

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After lunch we used our 'fast pass' to get another ride on Jack Rabbit.

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Nice use of the ravine.

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Old school fun!

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We wandered by the log flume, but kind of felt like we'd had enough water for one day.

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Had to get another ride on Thunderbolt too.

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Off they go into the ravine! I love how this park has built their coasters into the natural terrain.

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Speaking of rides that use the terrain well...

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It was time for a few more rides on Phantom's Revenge - which had by now become my favourite ride at the park!

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The first drop is great but it's hard to top that second 200 foot plus drop through the Thunderbolt...

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The ride also interacts with the Turtle!

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We raced back into Lost Kennywood because I saw something exciting...

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Pitt Fall was open!

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I LOVE Intamin drop towers and this was apparently the ride's last season at Kennywood. It was certainly an impressive drop tower, standing at 250 or so feet.

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There was at least one other thing I wanted to try at Kennywood...

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The Old Mill now known as Garfield's Nightmare, but also known as the Tunnel of Love. Ooo...

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Fun facts in the queue.

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It certainly looks like some opportunities for 'love' may await you inside...

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But when you're out, you're just glad it's over. I loathed the ugly fluorescent colours. And I thought Garfield was supposed to be funny? What a turn off!

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We checked out the candy store to cheer ourselves back up!

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I was sad to leave Kennywood, but new adventures awaited us on the Road to Cedar Point. Here's our fantastic bus driver Brian getting us through some Pittsburgh traffic.

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Pittsburgh had a lot of character.

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Not the most well-to-do city, but those are usually the most interesting to me.

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Some interesting buildings too. Kings Island up next - thanks for reading!

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There's actually one other Noah's Ark left at Blackpool. So there's two left as far as I know. Still a really rare gem. Phantom's Revenge kicks all sorts of ass and the Potato Patch fries are fantastic. Definitely a unique place. I definitely plan on going back.

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Kennywood has such a great atmosphere at night. It's not my favorite park, but I'd love to revisit its collection of rare and one-of-a-kind rides.

 

By the way, I agree with your Hersheypark ride reviews. While I think the park has a strong and well-rounded coaster collection in some ways, the only ride I might consider top-tier is Storm Runner.

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There's actually one other Noah's Ark left at Blackpool. So there's two left as far as I know. Still a really rare gem. Phantom's Revenge kicks all sorts of A$$ and the Potato Patch fries are fantastic. Definitely a unique place. I definitely plan on going back.

 

But remember, Blackpool doesn't allow people into their Noah's Ark anymore. It's just 'theming' now rather than an attraction. Sad.

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There's actually one other Noah's Ark left at Blackpool. So there's two left as far as I know. Still a really rare gem. Phantom's Revenge kicks all sorts of A$$ and the Potato Patch fries are fantastic. Definitely a unique place. I definitely plan on going back.

 

But remember, Blackpool doesn't allow people into their Noah's Ark anymore. It's just 'theming' now rather than an attraction. Sad.

 

Wow, I never knew that. Definitely too bad.

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Great pics of Kennywood. It's definitely a park I want to visit one day. I've always been curious about that Garfield's Nightmare ride. Its too bad I hear its so bad, because Garfield has been my favorite cartoon character since I was a kid. If someone could do a Garfield ride right, it could be an awesome ride.

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Cool, I've been waiting for Kennywood TRs since I didn't take any pictures there.

 

Definitely a great place, that was kind of similar to Knoebels in terms of charm and the old-school rides.

 

And, as you mentioned, the Garfield ride was a letdown - about the only thing I would fault Kennywood on.

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^ The main reason I wanted to ride Garfield's Nightmare was because it was an original 'Old Mill'. I love to go on rides for their historic value, even if they don't have much else to offer!

 

Getting closer every day to Cedar Point, TPR next hit up Kings Island in beautiful Ohio. This was an interesting stop for us as Andrew and I visited Kings Island just last year after the Mid-America trip. (Last year's trip report here). We braved the highways of America and visited on a very quiet day. This year Kings Island introduced their new fast passes, and though the park was certainly busier than on our last visit, we had very little waits thanks to the efficient system. You basically just go up through the exit, which is much better than being queued into the station. Thank you Cedar Fair! (Now bring it to Cedar Point please!)

 

Robb and Elissa had another surprise for us at Kings Island - which was a night time visit including ERT on Beast. A thunder storm came through that evening but fortunately cleared in time for ERT (the Intamin gods really do love TPR). Night rides on Beast was absolutely a coaster nerd dream come true for me and though the ride 'ain't all that' nowadays it was fun to race through the dark on this old classic. I honestly don't find the ride too rough, which is probably down to the massive use of trim brakes!

 

We had a great time at Kings Island last year and this time round could just take it easy, having previously conquered the park. I think they have a very strong ride line-up, with Diamondback a stand-out B&M (especially in the front or back - the middle isn't up to much...). Firehawk and Flight of Fear are both excellent rides, Racer is a fun woodie and Flight Deck is a solid Arrow suspended coaster. I also quite like Invertigo and wish the U.S. had more of these over the standard Vekoma boomerangs. They really are a lot of fun. Vortex was a surprise as we thoroughly enjoyed it last year, found it unique, intense and not too rough. This year it was a real head-banger. I didn't know Arrow coasters could be temperamental? Odd...

 

We also took a spin on the park's massive new Windseeker ride and it was a pleasant, scenic journey up to 301 feet. It's not a thrill ride to speak of, but still fun. For thrills I enjoyed getting on the park's amazing Intamin gyro drop tower again this year. Now that is an incredible way to conquer your fear of heights and one of the best rides in the park.

 

On day 2 we also got to do a Beast walk-back tour. That was incredibly cool and as the photos will show we even got to venture into the ride's massive helix. Awesome!

 

Being somewhat a 'trip of surprises' we journeyed to Columbus after Kings Island for a visit to Jungle Jack's Landing at Columbus Zoo to ride one of the oldest coasters in Ohio - Sea Dragon! It was a fun little junior woodie. TPR trips are just fantastic to get on these out of the way credits and I had never even heard of this one...

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Our surprise early visit to Kings Island was accompanied by some ominous clouds...

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Foolishly, we went to Invertigo first. The thunder came in and the ride shut down.

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Oh noes, hopefully this weather will pass and at least Beast will open for us!

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The park had their 'hot summer lights' on. Very pretty.

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I also liked the 'hot pink' Eiffel Tower.

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The thunder didn't stop the park putting on a fireworks show.

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The weather cleared up and became just about perfect for night rides on Beast!

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They were awesome! If you're going to experience Beast at its best, night is the time to ride. And it was a coaster nerd dream come true for me. :-)

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Day 2 and we're back for more. The weather was great today (and the rest of the trip for that matter).

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In addition to the new park fast passes we also had early morning ERT on Diamondback!

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Choose your row carefully guys! This is definitely a 'front or back' coaster.

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I'd give Nitro the edge over Diamondback this year because every row on Nitro is pretty damn good!

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After a quick daytime spin on Beast, TPR did a kiddie coaster takeover. This was the one credit we couldn't get last year due to the maximum height restriction - so thank you Kings Island!

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Kidtums and Robb do not need to feel ashamed!

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Every year it seems Planet Snoopy wins awards for 'best kids area' and there sure is a lot to do here...

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This is a good idea for the little ones.

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This I'm glad we don't have to bother queueing for again!

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Surf Dog is much less thrilling than your standard Disko. Actually, while the selection of rides in Planet Snoopy is good, I don't know if it's much 'nicer' than some other kiddie lands I've seen...

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I also wanted to give Woodstock Express a spin this year. This is a really decent junior woodie.

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Piers can't wait to ride!

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Moving through the park, it doesn't seem like it's going to be too busy today...

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But we went over to Invertigo early due to its slow loading times. And we were determined to ride today!

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So Roxanne is a bit of a U2 fan...

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They played the U2 song 'Vertigo' pretty much on a loop, making her a very happy customer!

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The station is a little...ugly. Twisted Impulse coasters don't seem to need these cow gates...

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Anyway, I actually really like Invertigo!

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It's tall, intense and and has a cool back-to-back seating alignment. I wish there were more of these around (and reliable ones wouldn't hurt, either).

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Next door to Invertigo is Congo Falls. I always like to photograph these.

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I had to run from this one to dodge the spray.

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Due to the HUGE loads, Drop Tower never has a queue, but we didn't have to wait even one cycle due to the fast pass entrance right up the exit!

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This could well be my favourite ride at the park.

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It is just all kinds of awesome! And still one of the few rides that really intimidates me.

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Actually, I will say I was a bit intimidated by Windseeker too. You go so high up in those little seats attached to those flimsy-looking arms...

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Are you guys ready to ride?!

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It was none too thrilling, as you felt very secure in the restraints.

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It was a very good ride though - 'pleasant' is the word I would use - and seems to be a big hit with the general public. I also enjoyed the musical accompaniment from Jerry Goldsmith's Star Trek theme!

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You get an interesting view of the backside of Vortex from the Windseeker queue.

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I was looking forward to re-riding Vortex, as Andrew and I loved it last year.

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I also loved the 'child pen'!

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Look at that twisted lay-out - it's insane... And the first drop is GREAT. RIP Mr. Ron Toomer, who died today. :-( Hats off to you and your innovations.

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Unfortunately, Vortex was quite the head-banger this year.

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The mid-course brakes come on very strong.

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Subsequently, you get a bit of 'hang time' in the corkscrews. Still a fun ride, maybe we got it on an 'off' day.

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Kings Island has lots of old flat rides, like this Scrambler.

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Old school Monster rides also seem to be prevalent at corporate U.S. parks. I was yet to ride one of these at this point but got on the one at Cedar Point.

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'Fort Kinzel' still hasn't been re-named I see...

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This area is home to the oft-forgotten Flight of Fear and one of Vekoma's best rides - Firehawk! I love how you flip face forward just as you drop...

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This is an awesomely intense ride. Much, MUCH better than B&M's Superman clones (if you ask me).

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We had to get on Racer again, an oldie but a goodie. Despite the looks of this queue it took all of 5 minutes to get on.

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The people of the Mid-West sure do like to crowd their stations!

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No exception on the red side either...

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Gotta love racing woodies.

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This is the ride that started the 'second golden age' of roller coaster building in the 1970s.

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Like a lot of these 70s racing woodies, it doesn't have all that much airtime nowadays.

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Still a classic ride!

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On the way to lunch we passed by the log flume, which got Andrew a little wet last year (and not in a good way!).

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This was another lunch with free beer and an awesome sign out front to welcome us! Cool!

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It was almost time for the photo walk-back tour, so we grabbed a few snaps of Diamondback.

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The splashdown is cool, especially if you ride in the very back.

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The first drop is also not to be sneezed at!

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Here they go...

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Time to move round for a better angle...and 'boob time'!

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There you go!

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We got to use the super secret entrance for our exclusive backstage tour of Beast.

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Clasp the pearls, we're behind the scenes!

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Looking back at the impressive station.

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I had been looking forward to this backstage tour more than any other!

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First drop into the tunnel.

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Here comes a train...looks like we're been spotted!

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On come the trim brakes.

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These guys don't look too sure...

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I see happy riders!

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Here's another train... You know what? The more I look at these photos, the more I think Beast ain't all that bad. Let's give it some love!

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We got a great run-down on the ride from one of Beast's original creators.

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Here's the train coming into the second lift hill. It really is a MASSIVE ride.

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OK so next we did something that made me totally queen out...

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We got to go inside the heart of Beast's awesome helix!

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I think this is the best part of the ride.

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There they go...

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It really is quite intimidating as you race into this tunnel, especially in pitch darkness.

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Doesn't look like we need to worry about Beast burning down anytime soon!

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Wandering up the hill the trains just kept on coming. I could've stayed here all day watching - it was so much fun.

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Enjoy your ride.

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After the Beast walk-back we also got up quite close to Diamondback.

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This was a good opportunity to get some unusual angles.

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The GP kindly continued posing for us.

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After the walk-back tour it was time to take it a bit easy.

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The Eiffel Tower is the perfect place to take photos.

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And we also met Jeff from the North East trip! Hey Jeff - nice to see you again, working the Eiffel Tower!

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All our high, far-off photos from this TR...

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...are courtesy of Andrew's long lens! Thanks Andrew!

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See what I mean?

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I don't think we even bothered riding this today...

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Um, yeah, nothing to see here, move along...

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The park's iconic entrance.

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We haven't forgotten about you Flight Deck!

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This is a really decent Arrow suspended coaster that seems to pick up a lot of speed all the way to the final brake-run.

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I love how the whole ride sways back and forth as it hits the brakes.

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Station shot. A couple more photos to follow!

Edited by mattnz
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One or two more photos below...

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Adventure Express was the other coaster I really wanted to ride today as I didn't remember too much about it. As you can see, it's very hard to photograph from anywhere in the park!

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Here's the station. I'm afraid I still don't remember too much about this ride, apart from the final lift hill back into the station...

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Oh yeah, it broke Andrew's glasses! Boo! (He found this out in the queue for Racer.)

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Thank you Kings Island - this was a great visit! And thanks Rob and Elissa for the fast passes today, they worked a treat!

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On the drive through Ohio we again got to experience a TPR bus tradition - snack time!

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Andrew chose the M&Ms!

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Our bus journey went slightly off route for a little surprise...Columbus Zoo!

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The zoo still has a little rides section...

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...featuring Sea Dragon, a 1950s junior woodie.

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TPR LOVES bonus credits!

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And this was a really good one! Thanks for reading. Next up is Cedar Point - looks like we've finally made it!

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And the first person to post the KI leg of the trip....Couple things to say:

 

First of all, love that you got pictures of my rides (monster/scrambler/dodgems) I was in the park all day, but unfortunately was never Driving while TPR members walked by, so I couldn't microphone anyone over... Secondly, I actually remember seeing that picnic sign. I remembered it was also the day of the employee picnic, but by the time I went on break, you guys had already finished Finally, I agree with you on alot of points about Vortex/Flght Deck/Beast etc. Good job on that or something.

 

Still can't believe you guys got Diamondback ERT at 8am! I remember walking into work just before 9 and seing full trains running cycles. You guys looked like you had an awesome day, and I'm just sad that I was an all day so I didn't have any time to meet members and hang out....

 

-Jared

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^ Hey Jared! Wow, another TPR member working at Kings Island? I always like to take pics of flat rides though we didn't ride too many at KI. Sorry we didn't get to say hello! This trip had so many awesome perks - I mean, we even had ERT on Maverick and Millennium Force at Cedar Point. It really was amazing.

 

Actually, I would recommend going on TPR trips to ANYONE, even if you live close by the parks TPR plans to visit. You really get the 'ideal' visit with TPR, and might end up seeing your local parks in a whole new light. (The Australia trip this year is a good example.)

 

Keep up the good work Jared - the operations at Kings Island this year were really good!

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^Defiantetly. My Ride Op experience has let me intereact with 2 trips so far, but I only met with people when they came through Coney Island a few years back (yay for small laid pack park where I can guest relate to the extreme for no reason!). Also I was part of BIg Mike's Ohio/Indiana leg, but that doesnt really count... I REALLY want to do LeviaTHON/New Hotness next year, since it basically bundles up all my reasonable plans for next year, adds in some revisits to my favorite parks, and more...all with the epic TPR trip experience.

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Kings Island is definitely a nice looking park. The new fast lane system worked very well. Firehawk was a huge surprise and it was definitely way better than Ultimate Flight. I was glad to finally be able to get a chance to ride The Beast. It's definitely high on every coaster geeks list of must ride coasters. I have to say I was disappointed with Diamondback though. I didn't get much air at all, even in the back seat. It was definitely trimmed really hard, at least on the rides I had. The splashdown at the end is really cool, but overall Nitro and Behemoth beat it easily.

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