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Photo TR: Kings Dominion's Opening Sunday!


cfc
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Last weekend (April 5-6) marked the first time in it seems since forever that Virginia managed to put together two good consecutive weekend days. Earlier, we'd have a Saturday in which you could walk around in shorts followed by a Sunday that required a parka and possibly snowshoes. Yes, spring has sprung here at last!

 

So, there was perfect Kings Dominion weather, with sunshine and a high temperature somewhere in the 60s with no humidity last Sunday when I made the short drive to Doswell from Williamsburg. I wanted to check out all the 40th-anniversary stuff the park had been hyping all winter, but mostly I wanted to ride Intimidator 305, one of the BEST DAMN COASTERS IN THE WORLD. (I rank it 4th overall, myself.) It is nice to have a world-class ride within easy driving distance, and it helped that crowds were quite light that day.

 

But KD also offers Volcano, which is nothing to sneeze at--especially with its reconfigured station. Previously, you entered the station from the upper queue via a long ramp, which dumped you into a very cramped loading area. Now you head down some steps behind the gift shop (the former Fast Lane entrance), and the loading area is on the other side of the station (this was where they used to unload the ride). I'm not sure how this will shorten the wait on really busy days, but when I rode, the line was past the entrance cave; however, they weren't using any of the switchbacks, and the wait was a bit less than 15 minutes for a middle-of-the-train seat (longer if you wanted the front). You now use part of the old entrance ramp as the exit, and, yes, you still end up in the gift shop.

 

And let's not forget the much hyped Singing Mushrooms in the re-christened Candy Apple Grove (as opposed to just "The Grove"). It's good to see them back, and they do brighten up that corner of the park very nicely (much more than the rather nondescript building that used to be there).

 

Overall, the park looked "fresher" than it had in a few years; even Anaconda was considerably brighter, as was Rebel Yell, thanks to fresh paint. The park's entrance fountains look better too, as does the rest of International Street.

 

Let's have a look around.

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Do not try to eat this cake! It is not real! Do not be deceived! (Besides, you can't have it and eat it, too.)

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The 40th-anniversary sign is nicer that the old one, which dated back to the Paramount Kings Dominion days (only without "Paramount").

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The fountains look better than they have in a long time.

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"Everybody get up and dance! Cmon! Please! Ah, gee, we're just trying to do our jobs here . . ."

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Let's have a look from on high.

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Behold the vista of awesomeness (it's just behind Anaconda).

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I fell like Timothy Bottoms in the movie Rollercoaster. Time to start running George Segal ragged around the park.

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Gaze upon I305 again! You know you want to!

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I'm sorry Carowinds . . .

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. . . your Intimidator is nice and all, but it can't hold a candle to I305.

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Volcano says, "Yoo hoo! I'm here too!"

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Hi, Windseeker. I'm not going to ride you today, but it's always nice to see you.

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You now know the exact time in which I took this picture.

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Grizzly, I still like you, but you did give me quite a nice spine adjustment that day.

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The good news: Anaconda hasn't looked this good in years.

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Yes, some paint does wonders.

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The bad news: Well, it's still Anaconda. (To be fair, I didn't ride it. I think I'll save myself for Coasting for Kids.

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Hey, it's the Clown Band!

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"Look! I can blow this thing with just one hand!"

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Me and the Shrooms. I had a knack for catching the end of their show that day. I think they should do barbershop-quartet versions of Alice Cooper songs for Haunt. All that harmony applied to "Cold Ethyl" or "I Love the Dead" would be truly terrifying.

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Oh, how droll!

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Everyone talks about the Mushrooms, but they'd be nothing without the Frog. Nobody can play a stump like this amphibian.

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I didn't ride Shockwave, but I did take this purty picture.

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Remember--it's now, once again, Candy Apple Grove. More to come.

Edited by cfc
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KD really did a nice job refreshing the park this season. When I went there the for the first time a number of years ago, I was very pleasantly surprised at how nice it was. Operations weren't the best but the park and it's thick tree canopy were just wonderful. These little refresher projects have done a great job at breathing a little bit of life and quirky charm back into the place. Thanks!

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More KD 40th-anniversary-year fun!

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Uh oh! It's looking bad for the left side of Rebel Yell! At least it got the snazzy new running lights.

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Ah, doesn't Rebel Yell's old-school look nice. Well done, KD--much better than the previous sign.

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But will it spoil the whole wide world?

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"Hola! Win us, take us home, then grind us into cornmeal to make tortillas!"

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OK, I imagine some of you might like to see some more I305.

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So be it.

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You know what I liked best that day about I305?

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Two-train operations . . .

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. . . and no lines! (Yes, unless you wanted the front seat, it was pretty much a walk on, and they were still filling up the trains.)

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It was a tough fight building Volcano, because the Smurfs refused to be moved to a reservation. (Well, it was their mountain once.)

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Much Smurf blood was spilled to give us this ride.

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Ride it--or else the Smurfs will have died in vain! (Actually, they didn't die in vain. They died in Doswell, Va.)

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And here's Backlot Stunt Coaster, which I did bother to ride. The helicopter wasn't working, but there was plenty of fire.

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It's good to see the waterwheel and sluice working on the log ride station again.

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It's good to see these working, too. ;)

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Well, nearly time to go, but first . . .

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. . . I think I'll let Dominator whack me upside the head.

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Yes, this B&M was a bit rougher than I'd remembered from last year.

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It was sort of "Scream-like" in that regard.

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I think the guy in front is the king of the world, as far as I know.

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You're welcome, Kings Dominion--and thank you!

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^Backlot's line was pretty long on Sunday, too. There was a bit of a delay when they had to rope off one seat in the back of one train, as well (I guess the restraint wasn't working properly).

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Usually always get to the park for opening day/weekend but this year I'm holding off until Easter weekend for a 2 day trip. I'm anxious to see all the 40th improvements in person. Thanks for the update!

 

Also, what's your opinion on the Volcano queue line reconfiguration? Any better aka not dusty?

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I think the station looks a little nicer. They put up some fake rock work to hide the old ramp. There's still plenty of dust bunnies and cobwebs on the duct work, though.

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Why can't Kings Dominion be closer to me?

 

I love that KD decided to focus 2014 on bringing some charm to the park instead of just adding an attraction. I'm not saying a new ride wouldn't have been awesome, but it is always cool to see a park working on improving the overall guest experience.

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Ahh anaconda looks SO GOOD! I have a huge thing for arrow customs and have been dying to get over there and ride it. Anyone thats been to KD and KI, how would you compare it to vortex in terms of roughness? I don't think Vortex is that bad, but lots of people I know can't seem to stand it.

Great report, Thanks!

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After riding Anna 2 weeks ago, I didn't notice any roughness really. Mostly I found it kinda boring. Mainly due to the near complete MCBR stop. It did however give some very odd, sloooow ,hang time in the corkscrew because of that. Anna is a much shorter and less exciting ride compared to Vortex imo.

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