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Photo TR: Springtime at Kings Dominion

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Spring is in the air again, as you tell by the pretty flowers, chirping birds, and people sneezing, rubbing their eyes, and grousing about how much they hate Nature. Yes, it is a truly magical season in Virginia.


Kings Dominion started ringing in the season with the Spring Bloom Festival last year. While I wouldn't call this an "epic can't-miss event," the park does, indeed, look its prettiest in the springtime, and they give a guests a chance to sample some international cuisine under the Eiffel Tower (but, oddly, nothing French). Four European countries are represented: Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, and Germany. Think if it as a "micro mini" version of Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival. And how is the food? Pretty good, overall, although they have a ways to go before reaching the quality of Epcot's (or Busch Gardens') Food and Wine Festival. They also feature some local microbrews, too.


I purchased a sheet of tickets for $25 that entitled me to four food samples and four drink samples. Here's what I tried.


Ireland: Irish Banger with a Legend Porter. This was the best single dish I tried--a nice take on this Irish pub staple, with mashed potatoes, crispy onions, and onion gravy. It was very tasty indeed, and the porter was excellent. (Legend is a Richmond brewery that also makes a nice brown ale.)


You'll feel magically transported to the Emerald Isle.


This is worth of banger and worth of a very tasty porter. Gotta love theme-park prices.


Italy: Tiramisu Parfait. Now, in the words of Shrek's Donkey, "Parfaits are delicious." This was a nice one, too--definitely a cut above the standard pudding cups you see in the park's cafeteria restaurants. It would've been nicer, though, if there had been a trace of liquor in that cup.


It now seems appropriate that the "Theme from the Godfather" was playing as I entered the park.


The presentation is very nice, and the pudding is very tasty. But how about a splash of rum to go with it?


Switzerland: Swiss Mac and Cheese with a Slingshot Kolsch. They used smoked Gouda and diced bacon to jazz up this standard food offering, and I think it's a bit better than the mac and cheese offered at BGW's Canada booth during their Food and Wine Festival. The Kolsch was from Center of the Universe Brewing in Ashland, just one exit south of the park on I-95. It was a decent, light brew--better than your typical Pilsner.



Can you not hear the alpenhorns blowing?


Pretty good for mac and cheese, and it went well with the beer.


Germany: Black Forest Ham with Havarti Cheese with a Hardywood Pils. OK, this looks like something you'd find in a particularly disappointing box lunch when you're with a tour group. But I like Havarti, and it was a pretty decent sandwich. Oddly enough, the crisp, fresh slice of cucumber was quite good, and made the sandwich. I'm not a fan of pilsner, and Hardywood's version didn't change my opinion. I'll stick to this Richmond brewer's Bitter Valentine IPA and stouts, which are very good indeed.



Hang on to your liederhosen!


The sandwich and coleslaw were OK. But the pilsner was like making love in a canoe. I'd tell you why, but it would violate the PG-13 standard of TPR. ;)


All in all, a nice break from the usual park fare. I hope that KD expands the offerings a bit in future seasons.


I did a wee bit more than eat food and drink beer while I was there. Let's have a look, shall we?


Giant mutant butterflies invade Kings Dominion!


That is no way for a Viking to die! You shall not have a seat in the Great Hall of Asgaard!


This is where you'll find the food booths, and you can buy your meal tickets here, but . . .


. . . first things first.


This is why you get to the park at opening and head straight to Volcano--a three-train wait for the front row.


Now, this would be a good way for a Viking to die!


Based on his expression, I think that guy in the front row just saw Odin.


Yep, this sometimes grouchy old Intamin ride is still great.


But I do find this plush ape rather disturbing.


I305, Anaconda, a bird, and the Chicken Shack in one shot! I rule!


Hello, Rebel Yell--I see you.


But we have more important matters to which we must attend.


This is where you emerge from your gray out feeling either refreshed or extra woozy.


Can one ever have too many pictures of Intimidator 305?


I'm not sure that's possible.


I think the people in this train would agree.


Yes, Rebel Yell. I see you. I'll get to you eventually.


Sigh! At least Backlot Stunt Coaster sill has fire . . .


. . . and flashing police lights.


Oh, good lord, Rebel Yell. You're just embarrassing yourself with these obvious pleas for attention. Cut it out! More photos to come.

Edited by cfc
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I checked out the park's 3D movie du jour while I was there: Robinson Crusoe. It wasn't very good, and having a bunch of fold-up risers stacked in front of the screen didn't help it much (the bottom of the projected image was lost).


Other than that, here's one last set of photos from a beautiful spring day at Kings Dominion.


"Psst! Hey! Be a pal and bring me some of the Legend Porter, OK? Like maybe a whole keg! Thanks!"


Like winged Icarus, they dared fly too close to the sun . . .


. . . only to plummet to their doom!


Well, I think I'll take a spin on Shockwave . . . what the hell?


What happened to the greatest stand-up coaster in all of Virginia? Not even the Dippin' Dots guy could tell me. Where is guest relations? I wish to register a complaint!


What? Anaconda and Hurler are both closed? Where is guest relations? I wish to write them a nice thank-you note!


Grizzly, you were very rough and mean to me today.


But I think I could find it in my heart to forgive you. Someday.


Nice t shirt, though.


What's better than a one-headed dinosaur? How about a two-headed dinosaur?


The Clown Band consoled me after Grizzly roughed me up and left me for dead, like Leonardo DiCaprio.


I understand that we have a few fans of KD's log ride on the site. Well, here you go.


This band was part of the entertainment at the Spring Bloom Festival. They were a pretty good rock-and-blues outfit.


The festival also features flags of many nations, . . .


. . . which hide deadly lizards!


Didn't hear the mushrooms singing that day . . .


. . . but I did report the piano player for lighting up a cigar outside of a designated smoking area.


I think we have some carousel fans, too.


And this is just for you. The park does have a nice one.


Well, just about time to head home.


Here is proof that Dominator was, in fact, running that weekend.


I didn't ride it myself because the line was a bit long by the time I got there.


You're welcome, Kings Dominion! And thank you for reading.

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Nice report, Chuck. And the food does look a teeny bit....um..."less than"...compared to Disney, etc.

But, as long as it tastes (reasonably) good, right?


At least they nearly filled the little beer cup at the Ireland booth; the others only gave about half a cup.

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Nice trip report! I like these little festivals that more parks seems to be adding. While it's a far cry from Flower & Garden or Food & Wine, it does look pretty good for what it is.


Now, this would be a good way for a Viking to die!


While I do agree with this statement, it would be a bit sad to do it on the first ride of the day...

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Nice trip report! I like these little festivals that more parks seems to be adding. While it's a far cry from Flower & Garden or Food & Wine, it does look pretty good for what it is.


Now, this would be a good way for a Viking to die!


While I do agree with this statement, it would be a bit sad to do it on the first ride of the day...


Yes, perhaps that would not be a perfect way for a Viking to die. He should do battle with this great beast instead!


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Nice report, Chuck. And the food does look a teeny bit....um..."less than"...compared to Disney, etc.

But, as long as it tastes (reasonably) good, right?


At least they nearly filled the little beer cup at the Ireland booth; the others only gave about half a cup.


We noticed the same thing when we went - the Ireland booth was definitely the best of them all!


And I completely agree about the Black Forest Ham & the Germany booth in general...what a shamed attempt at German food & beer. Did you try the German potato salad that was cold and ummmm....tasted like American potato salad straight from Kroger's deli?


We bought some of the other selections, but I need to download the photos and resize them. Would it be okay if I posted them here?

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^You can post them here is you like (or in the KD Discussion Thread).


Here are the food offerings by booth:



Black Forest Ham and Havarti Cheese

German Potato Salad

Apple Sticky Bun Bread Pudding with Pilsner Caramel Sauce



Irish Banger

Loaded "Irish Nachos" (fresh fried potato chips in cheddar sauce with green onions and sour cream)

Irish Coffee and Chocolate Trifle



Spring Pesto Orzo Salad

Prosciutto Melon Wedge

Tiramisu Parfait



Charcuterie and Cheese

Swiss Mac and Cheese

Swiss Waffle (with whipped cream, strawberries, and chocolate sauce)

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^^ Thanks for allowing me to tag along, Chuck!


Here a few more photos of the food & beverage offerings...


This is the Black Forest Ham & Havarti Cheese (aka: Kroger's deli ham sub) with the American coleslaw, potato salad and stale, unsalted chips. The best part of Germany (unfortunately) was the Riesling (not pictured).


This booth should have been called 'American Picnic' versus Germany.


The Swiss mac and cheese with diced bacon and smoked gouda was our personal favorite.


The Charcuterie & Cheese plate was good although I kind of expected some type of Swiss cheese versus a hunk of white cheddar. The beer in the background is the Slingshot Kolsch that Chuck mentioned earlier.


Here is the Spring Pesto Orzo Salad with a Honeydew Hard Cider from the Italy booth.


The Orzo was okay, but the hard cider was much tastier - even though the sample was a bit meager.


The Prosciutto & Melon Wedge was more flavorful than the Orzo.


Anything salty and sweet together is a win in my book!


We ended with the Irish Banger, Loaded Irish Nachos (basically, Germany's stale chips topped with nacho sauce, sour cream and scallions) coupled with a Legend Porter (full cup!) . Overall, this was probably the best of the four countries offerings, although Switzerland came in a close 2nd with their smoked gouda mac and cheese.


And this was the best treat of all...a walk-on for I-305 to the back seat!


I was ready for multiple re-rides on it until a girl on crutches tried to board the ride and we were stacked behind that train in the blazing sun for a good 15-20 minutes while they verified if she could ride or not.


By that time, the line had grown to the point where we didn't feel like waiting again. We headed out mid-afternoon (we also went in the park the evening before) to head west for a vacation week in the Western VA mountains.


Overall, I agree with Chuck's assessment about the country food offerings - okay, but could still use a little work. I did ask the attendant selling the food/drink tickets if they planned on expanding the countries and offerings and she told me that last year was actually a bit larger and that she didn't know if they would expand.


Personally, I would like to see them expand ala Epcot & Busch Gardens with countries like Japan, Korea, Mexico, India, etc.

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^^As I recall, there was a Vietnamese food booth in front of Berserker last year. Yep, nothing goes better with a spicy Asian BBQ pork concoction than an inverting ship ride.


I agree with your assessment--Ireland 1st and Switzerland 2nd. The Legend Porter was the best beer there, too.

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^ Yes, that would be an interesting mix of food, booze and multiple forward and backward inversions!


It's too bad that they reduced the number of food kiosks from last year down to only four (and yes...what's up with no France booth under the Eiffel Tower???!!). It would be interesting to ask a park representative why less countries this year and what the future plans of the festival will be moving forward.


The employee that we spoke with that was selling tickets was very pleasant and talkative, although she was unsure as to why they downgraded it from last year or if they would ever expand it in the coming years. She said that I might want to touch base with the Dippin' Dots guy to see if he knew.


Also would like to give a shout out to the gal working the Ireland booth on Sunday, April 16th around noon....she was so friendly & courteous that I thought we were at another Cedar Fair park in Northern Ohio!

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Awesome Report! I've only been to Kings Dominion once, but I absolutely loved the park! We were planning on going back in May, but since Dollywood is opening Lightning Rod in May, we decided to push Kings Dominion trip back until September. I honestly can't wait to go back. I swear, I still have the hardest time trying figure out which is better, I305 or Fury 325. I305 is freaking amazing! Can't wait to ride it again.

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