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Gillian's Wonderland Pier- The calm before the Gale Force

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Steel Pier I had tried going to Steel Pier once before in 2017, but the park closed shortly before I arrived.  This is one of those parks that has a rolling closure depending on attendance.  So t

While I'm not the biggest fan of the ride, I can't deny it was a great add for a lot of smaller parks once it was introduced so it's neat to say I rode the first.

Twisted Timbers is my new number one roller coaster     at the Land of Make Believe. Land of Make Believe The Land of Make Believe in Hope, New Jersey is a small park pr

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Six Flags New England

 

There’s nothing like your first roller coaster ride of the year. I may have been going 60-70 mph all winter, but it was in my POS Volkswagen (when your car’s hub caps shoot off when you hit a pot hole and doesn’t have a working defogger, I count that as a POS). The rush of wind from the first coaster ride of the year is a special rush.

 

Usually that first coaster ride is at Six Flags New England, but this year I cheated and had two trips to Florida. Having said that, opening weekend at Six Flags New England wasn’t any less exciting. How could I not be excited to ride two of the world’s best coasters in my backyard? Mako and Montu are great coasters, but I’ll still take Wicked Cyclone or Superman over them any day of the week.

 

I wasn’t able to make opening day, so I attended on the second operating day, a Sunday. In some ways, I think that was to my benefit. The weather was sunny, but a frigid 35 degrees. As a result, the park was dead. Even though all major coasters minus Batman were running one train, it was never more than 2-3 train wait.

 

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Poor Taz is probably experiencing shrinkage.

 

Wicked Cyclone or Superman? That’s always a tough debate. I prefer Wicked Cyclone overall, but Superman front row is the superior experience. Usually I end up starting and finishing at Superman since my friends and family definitely prefer that ride and the difference is slight enough I don’t mind. But on this day, we didn’t start at Superman. No, we started with…

 

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Surprise!

 

The Carousel. Yes the Carousel. It was loading and my girlfriend is a big fan of them so we figured why not. I honestly don’t remember the last time I rode SFNE’s Carousel. The horses looked a bit beat up, but they are wood-crafted and over 100 years old. And unlike Coney Island’s Carousell (on the day I rode at least), SFNE’s had the all-important music playing. I also noticed a disco ball fixed atop the carousel, but didn’t want to ask any questions. 7 out of 10

 

Since we had the dining plan and noticed the Riverboat Cafe was deserted (a rarity), we stopped in to use our swipe. We decided to be healthy (well as healthy as you can be at Six Flags) and order a grilled chicken wrap. Let’s just say I won’t be doing that again. From the 15 minute wait with just 4 people ahead of me to the absolutely tasteless chicken, I’ll stick with the fried chicken next time.

 

Now it was time for Superman. Despite one train operations, the line for the front didn’t take more than an additional 15-20 minutes. That’s well worth it for arguably the park’s best coaster experience. Wicked Cyclone is superior to Superman in almost every seat. But Superman front row beats Wicked Cyclone in my opinion.

 

I saw some posting online that Superman felt sluggish. In sub-40 degree temperatures opening weekend, that’d almost be expected. But honestly, I thought the ride was running as well as it was last year, which is better than it has since it transformed into Bizarro. The coaster was absolutely hauling, recklessly cutting through the wind.

 

Yes the restraints are bulky, but the layout is a work of art. The setting next to the river is picturesque. The first drop into the tunnel is solid. The three camelback hills on the outward leg provide three of the best moments of sustained ejector air on a coaster out there. And then the spaghetti bowl finale combines aggressive pops of ejector air with powerful Gs on the helixes. 10 out of 10

 

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After riding so many similar B&M hypers, I've really learned to appreciate Superman even more.

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Few coasters offer the sustained ejector air of the Man of Steel.

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And Superman has ejector air in droves.

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Imagine living across the river and having this beauty in your backyard.

 

We decided to head towards Gotham City (the new South End), but not before riding the most asininely long ride name out there, Gotham City Gauntlet: Escape from Arkham Asylum. Seriously try to say that 10 times fast. Your words will turn to mush.

 

The coaster was running less trains than usual, which wasn’t a problem on such a sparsely attended day. But it also seemed to have an auxiliary benefit. The ride didn’t seem to be braked as hard as it has on past visits. That resulted in a few pops of air on the ride’s final hills that’s usually absent. It’s never a priority in a visit, but I’ll hit this coaster if it doesn’t have a wait. 5 out of 10

 

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I guess Arkham Asylum isn't located in Gotham City anymore?

 

For years, Mind Eraser abused the skulls of New Englanders. Heads were violently bashed against the oversized OSTRs to fit in with the ride’s old theme. If you got a concussion, your mind would be erased. Last year, the park made two changes to the coaster. One was to add VR, which was a colossal failure. The headsets barely worked and who wants to be riding a SLC blind?

 

The second completely changed my thoughts towards the ride- new trains with vest restraints. Before the new trains, I despised Mind Eraser. I probably rode it once total between 2012-2016. But if you remove the headbanging, I can suddenly appreciate how chaotic and intense SLCs are.

 

In an effort to spice up the South End (and possibly ditch the ride’s old reputation as a painful torture device), the coaster was rethemed as the Riddler Revenge. The green paint looks fantastic. It’s a minor thing, but I really like how the coaster no longer shares the same paint scheme as the adjacent Superman. It helps the park’s star attraction standout more.

 

This almost sounds blasphemous in the coaster community, but I really like this SLC. The ride isn’t glass smooth by any means, but the restraints deliver a perfectly comfortable coaster experience. Almost as blasphemous as the first statement, I’ll even take this ride over some B&Ms now. 7 out of 10

 

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And the award for the coaster whose name is most likely to be screwed up is, Riddler's Revenge. Oops I meant Riddler Revenge. See what I mean?

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Slingshot is definitely invading Riddler's personal space.

 

Speaking of a B&M I’d take Riddler over, Batman: the Dark Knight is located next door. My girlfriend and I were stunned that Batman was the lone major coaster running two trains, but we weren’t going to object since the completely empty queue guaranteed us the elusive front row on a ride with assigned seating.

 

Batman is so much better up front. The view of the river cresting the lift is beautiful and it quickly dissolves into a rapid-fire array of inversions. Most of the inversions aren’t particularly forceful, but the one that stands out is the zero-G roll. Aided by the trim brake before it, time seems to stand still during Batman’s zero-G roll. 7 out of 10

 

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I still can't believe I prefer a SLC to a B&M.

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And it isn't even a bad ride either.

 

After our lone ride on Batman, we decided to ride the Caped Crusader’s archnemesis, the Joker. For Holiday in the Park, Joker is the park’s star attraction in my opinion. But on this day, we only rode the Joker once. While walking through the empty queue, it was hard not to notice just how close Harley Quinn was to the Joker. The full swings on Harley Quinn will certainly have some epic foot-choppers.

 

After 12 rides at Holiday in the Park, I knew full well the green side is a significantly wilder ride so I was sure to select it. On this side, you’re guaranteed at least 3-4 flips with potential for 6-8 if you throw your weight into the flips on the top section. And of course that’s what we did. Sure it was a bit of a workout, but it yielded a wild ride. I don’t get the hate for these free flies. It’s not like we’re talking about Magic Mountain’s Green Lantern here. 8 out of 10

 

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Looks like Harley Quinn isn't the only one who gets to ride the Joker.

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Also Harley Quinn looks absolutely massive I might add.

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And here's the temporarily closed Tea Cups in Buzzsaw's old spot. RIP Buzzsaw.

 

The temperature was plunging. That meant a Wicked Cyclone was coming. The coaster wasn’t more than a 1-2 train wait for any row, so we grabbed multiple rides in both the front and back. Compared to the other RMCs I’ve ridden, this one is a middle-of-the-pack ride. But that still equates to a world-class coaster and something firmly in my top 10.

 

This coaster is just bonkers. The ride may only be 50-55 mph, but it feels a whole lot faster with how well it sustains its speed. The first drop sends riders skyward and basically every single hill afterwards does the same. Arguably the coaster’s most intense moment is the hidden outward banked hill that delivers one of the most violent moments of ejector air out there.

 

Then you have the hangtime filled stalls and zero-G rolls, all of which provide some beautiful hang-time augmented by the lap-bar only trains. Now the coaster does lose some steam after that last zero-G roll, but it doesn’t lose any intensity. There’s another outward banked hill that’s taken slow as molasses, but it still somehow manages to completely eject riders. And then that’s followed by two tiny hills that again provide more air than they have any right to.

 

I don’t know what it is about Wicked Cyclone, but this thing seems to run faster in the cold days at the start and end of SFNE’s season. I can dream they open this for Holiday in the Park someday. But until then I’ll enjoy this 10 out of 10 ride from April through October.

 

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Wicked Cyclone is absolutely wicked.

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It's got airtime where you'd expect airtime.

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And even more airtime where you don't expect airtime.

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A train full of happy riders.

 

I hadn’t seen the New England SkyScreamer run for quite some time, so I was worried the ride had shut down. It’d be a shame to deprive myself of an opportunity to get frostbite 400 feet in the air. Turns out it was open, but the ride needed at least 14 brave (or stupid if you ask my girlfriend) souls. Usually this is a painfully slow queue to wait through in summer, so I’ll happily wait 5-10 minutes in this case for enough riders.

 

The park wisely published all their park maps prior to the opening of Orlando’s new tallest skyscreamer, so for the rest of 2018 at least, this will be known as the world’s tallest skyscreamer to most guests. Even if it will be surpassed, 400 feet is still plenty tall. Especially on a cold and windy day in April.

 

I’ve seen others note their swings being switched around on windy days, but I had never seen it firsthand. Well I not only saw it, but I experienced it. I can’t tell you how uneasy of a feeling it is to have your chain-link swing spinning like a top that high off the ground, yet at the same time I absolutely loved it. I’m in the minority that prefers the Windseekers over SkyScreamers, but this ride may have converted me. 10 out of 10

 

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I'll still pick the Windseekers overall, but a windy SkyScreamer ride probably bests them.

 

Pandemonium’s queue was the perfect way to illustrate just how dead the park was. It doesn’t matter how busy the park is, but it’s almost a guarantee that little spinner will have at least an hour wait (and probably more). Usually that’s not an issue for me since the unmarked single rider line gets me on in less than 5 minutes, but today the queue was non-existent so my girlfriend and I could ride together.

 

We were alone on one side of the car, so we got a ride heavy on the spinning, much to my delight and my girlfriend’s dismay. The Gs in that downward helix are stronger than you’d expect from a family coaster and the finale even gives a pop of air. I know the park has several bigger coasters, but outside of Wicked Cyclone, Superman, and Joker, there probably isn’t one I prefer. 7 out of 10

 

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Even Pandemonium didn't have a line.

 

As the sun was beginning to set, I knew it was snack-time. After discovering the fried dough pizza late last year, that has become my go to snack at Six Flags. It’s extremely filling and a unique taste swapping the traditional pizza dough for artery clogging fried dough.

 

Though I did consider this 6000 calorie salad…

 

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Seriously check out that Garden Salad. Either it's a typo or they fry that thing in pure lard.

 

We had time for one last ride (or so we thought), so we decided to finish the night with a front row ride on Superman. We had to wait 3-4 trains, but it was well worth it. You know a coaster is exhilarating from start to finish when you can still feel your adrenalin pumping when you speed into the brake run. And that for sure is Superman.

 

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This station is doing its best Clementon Park impersonation.

 

So Superman was the last ride we rode at Six Flags New England, but as we were driving home, I spotted a carnival immediately off the highway. We both had to work tomorrow, but of course we stopped. Now I have to admit, it was a pretty bad carnival. Outside of a Ferris Wheel, I think the tallest ride was the fun house or the Round-Up.

 

But it did have a credit. And after stopping, I decided why not. I happily paid 3 dollars and soon found myself in the back row of a Dragon Wagon. This one was larger (and unpowered) than the other Dragon Wagons I’ve ridden, but it was equally as slow. The experience was even more laughable considering I was riding Wicked Cyclone and Superman a mere 2-3 hours before. 2 out of 10

 

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Bet this isn't what you expected you'd see at the end of this report.

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Great report on SFNE! I've never been there before and having thorough reports on parks I have not yet visited is fantastic. One of these days I'll get up there to try Superman out for myself.

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Great update. I really like that park, and Wicked Cyclone and Superman are amazing. Really hope to get back up there this year, also to check out that frisbee.

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Great report on SFNE! I've never been there before and having thorough reports on parks I have not yet visited is fantastic. One of these days I'll get up there to try Superman out for myself.

 

Thanks! The park really does have one of the best one-two punches anywhere with Superman and Wicked Cyclone.

 

Great update. I really like that park, and Wicked Cyclone and Superman are amazing. Really hope to get back up there this year, also to check out that frisbee.

 

Thanks! Yeah I'm really looking forward to Harley Quinn. Have you been on one of the jumbo Zamperla ones? The only ones I prefer is the jumbo Intamin one I rode at Liseberg (Loke).

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Yeah I'm really looking forward to Harley Quinn. Have you been on one of the jumbo Zamperla ones? The only ones I prefer is the jumbo Intamin one I rode at Liseberg (Loke).

 

Just the installations @ CP (awesome) and Kings Dom (good but too short, sucky restraints), as well as the smaller ones at Hershey (good cycle, spins too much for me tho), Dorney (weakest - short, tight OTSRs, snoozefest) and Moreys (amazeballs).

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^ Haha next time I'll be sure to give a better play by play when I ride a random carnival coaster. I describe every bump I feel where the track pieces join together and all 0 seconds of airtime that I experience.

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The Gotham area seems so cool with Harley Quinn, Joker, and Riddler Revenge! I rode the Riddler Revenge at Six Flags Over Texas and I prefer the Zamperla versions to Huss or Mondial versions. I really wish Six Flags St. Louis would get one since it is my closest Six Flags park. Zamperla giant discoveries are probably my favorite flat ride.

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Kings Dominion

 

It had been far too long since I had visited Virginia’s parks. Busch Gardens is easily one of the best parks in the world and Kings Dominion isn’t too shabby either. I was *this* close to scheduling this trip last year to check out InvadR, but Hurler’s early closure and the promise of “Really More Coming” had me (as well as other enthusiasts) salivating. With all signs pointing to a RMC, I knew it’d be worth waiting for 2018. And then on National Roller Coaster Day, Twisted Timbers was announced.

 

Originally I had planned to hit Busch Gardens on Friday and Kings Dominion on Saturday. Busch Gardens had longer hours on Friday and it made sense to hit Kings Dominion on the busier day since my ticket included FastLane Plus thanks to the President’s Day weekend sale. However, anyone following the Kings Dominion thread knows that Twisted Timbers has had some hiccups since opening.

 

As I drove down I-95 on Friday morning, it kept running through my head, “What if Twisted Timbers was closed all-day on Saturday?” I knew it was unlikely, but that thought couldn’t escape my head. Then I had an epiphany. I could hit Kings Dominion on Friday and if Twisted Timbers was closed all day, I could try a second time on Saturday night. Yes I’d blow my FastLane on a less crowded day, but it’d give me two tries to ride my most anticipated coaster of the trip.

 

It was a tough call, but then there was a sign from the heavens. I kid you not, a R.M.C. truck pulled in front of me on the highway. No not Rocky Mountain Construction, but a (later) Google search revealed it was none other than Bealton, Virginia’s Rmc Trucking LLC. It was too much of a coincidence to avoid. My decision was made. I was going to Kings Dominion.

 

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Today probably wasn't a bad day to be in the Snoopy costume.

 

As I approached the gate, I saw a long list of closed rides. My heart started to sink. With 5 rides closed, I had a bad feeling Twisted Timbers would be one of them. Snoopy’s Rocket Express. Not wasting my time. Snoopy’s Space Buggies and Joe Cool’s Driving School. Pretty sure I couldn’t ride those even if I wanted to. White Water Canyon. 65 degrees isn’t that cold for me, but I can understand it. But then number 5 was a major coaster with a twisted layout…but thank god it was Flight of Fear.

 

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I guess someone has had enough of Kings Dominion.

 

So once the park opened, I immediately made my way over to Candy Apple Grove. With each step, a booming, ratcheting sound became more and more audible. And that sound was emanating from none other than Twisted Timbers. And then I saw a train gracefully traverse that sick barrel roll drop. Yes it was open! Or so I thought.

 

We were informed cold weather would delay the ride’s opening, but the constant cycling of trains placated any concerns the ride would pull a Lightning Rod and be closed all day. I secretly chuckled on the inside that 50 degrees was considered cold down here. I mean even SFNE’s Goliath can run in temperatures that cold and that thing is the king of valleying.

 

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A barrel roll so intense that it causes water dummies to burst.

 

I debated camping by the entrance, but decided to be productive. I had FastLane Plus after-all, so it wasn’t like lines would be an issue. Still I wasn’t going to let Twisted Timbers out of my sight. Fortunately there were a few other coasters nearby.

 

I began with the recently renamed Racer 75. Maybe if I had a greater attachment to Kings Dominion, I’d shed a tear over the ride no longer being called Rebel Yell. But to be perfectly honest, I could care less. A ride could be called something as dumb as (oh I don’t know, just picking a random name from my brain) Apple Zapple, but if it’s a good ride, who cares.

 

Only the blue side was running, but on a slower day that wasn’t too much of a surprise. Racer 75 appears to have been recently retracked since it was running extremely well. It’s never been a rough coaster, but it’s always been on the bumpier side. Not today. The train glided over each hill with barely any rattle whatsoever.

 

I started in the front and was treated to 3-4 nice pops of air on the outward leg. The return leg had far less air than you’d expect from a traditional out-and-back layout though. When we returned to the mostly empty station, I asked if I could change to an empty row and the operators were happy to oblige. This is always a treat for me since SFNE will always deny this request without fail. The second to back had less air than the front, but was still perfectly smooth. 6 out of 10

 

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The artist formerly known as Rebel Yell.

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All that fresh wood really paid off. Racer 75 was running quite smoothly.

 

Twisted Timbers had progressed from water dummy testing to empty trains, but it still wasn’t accepting guests. So I decided to kill time on Apple Zapple. In the past, I’ve been disappointed by these large Mack wild mice. Yes the larger drop is fantastic, but the car really seems to crawl through the rest of the layout.

 

Maybe it was the sheer lunacy of a ride called Apple Zapple, but I thought it was running extremely well. The first drop was as good as expected, but the rest of the coaster held its speed quite well. I didn’t notice any of the brakes being used, which was a major plus. The hairpin turns actually delivered the side-splitting laterals I expect from wild mice. Then the extra speed also granted some weak airtime on the final bunny hills. 6 out of 10

 

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Imagine being a logo designer and being told to create a ride logo for an attraction called Apple Zapple. I'd think my boss was punking me.

 

I spotted an employee testing Twisted Timbers, so I joined the rapidly multiplying crowd by the entrance. A few minutes later, it was open. Since I was one of three people with FastLane Plus, we were able to bypass the lengthy queue and immediately proceed to the station, granting us the first public ride of the day. I snagged the back rows and the employees quickly checked our restraints and sent us on our way. I was stunned the park didn’t wait for the rest of the queue to reach the station, but wasn’t going to complain!

 

Anticipation built as the train slowed to a crawl over the lift, but once released, we sped into that barrel roll drop. I had previously experienced a barrel roll drop on Storm Chaser, but this one was quite a bit different. Storm Chaser’s felt drawn out and graceful. The one on Twisted Timbers feels steeper and as a result, the plentiful hang-time was accompanied by a ferocious whip.

 

After a two tiny airtime bumps and a speedy overbank came the highlight of the ride- the three camelback hills. Immediately after the ride’s animation was released, everyone fixated on those three hills. It looked more reminiscent of an Intamin hyper than a RMC. And let me say that these hills didn’t disappoint. While they weren’t quite at the El Toro or Skyrush levels of airtime, they were dang close. They were pure, sustained ejector air.

 

The rest of the ride is like a bucking bull. Then there’s another mini bump providing a small pop of air and that’s followed by the cutback. The cutback was much different than expected. I wasn’t expecting it to have any hangtime, but RMC again proved that they’re the masters of inducing airtime at angles that seemingly shouldn’t be able to. It was a really funky experience.

 

The rest of the ride felt a bit sluggish, but it still delivered spectacular airtime. From the trick track hills to the outward banked hill to the zero-G roll, each element launched me into the restraint. The final few hills lost quite a bit of steam like Wicked Cyclone. It felt like they wanted to eject me, but they weren’t quite able to…on my first ride at least.

 

After experiencing the airtime buffet known as Twisted Timbers, I had to experience it again. This time I rode in the front and even though it was just 15 minutes later, the ride was already traveling noticeably faster. Maybe it was the 3 person train on my first ride, but this time the second half maintained its speed much better. Instead of having a brief moment to catch my breath in between airtime hills, Twisted Timbers simply didn’t let up until the final few bumps.

 

So how’s it compare to other RMCs? Favorably. I can’t quite put it ahead of Lightning Rod, Iron Rattler, or Wildfire, but I’d say it slots in just behind Twisted Colossus. With each additional ride, I couldn’t help but think of Twisted Timbers as Wicked Cyclone with a barrel roll plunge instead of the standard first drop. While it’s probably the fifth best RMC I’ve been on, that’s still a borderline top 5 steel coaster and says a lot about the company’s pedigree. 10 out of 10

 

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I don't miss Hurler one bit.

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These airtime hills are every bit as amazing as they appear.

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Who thought a mystical apple grove could be so entertaining?

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By the end of the day, Twisted Timbers was absolutely hauling.

 

I could have very well ridden Twisted Timbers all day, but there’s a certain Intamin giga on the other side of the park. I have to be honest; until my most recent visit, I thought Intimidator 305 was overrated. Before raising your pitch forks, hear me out. I could never deny the ride’s intensity. However, I tend to prefer rides focusing on airtime, which is why I preferred something like a B&M hyper. However, that changed on Friday.

 

FastLane was laughably unnecessary for I305. Despite running just one train, the coaster was a walk-on in every row but the front. In fact, the park didn’t even have the FastLane queue open for this reason. Since the front was just a 3 cycle wait, I decided to wait the extra 10 minutes for what I thought would be the best row.

 

After hearing the familiar “Gentleman, start your engines,” it’s an absolute adrenaline rush. The first drop is one of the best in the world; it’s over 300 feet after all. Then the blackout turn certainly lives up to its name. You can try every Internet remedy out there, clenching your muscles or staying hydrated, but you will start to grey out.

 

Once you come to your senses, you are treated to some powerful, sustained ejector air. Then comes the insane twister section. I still can’t believe a coaster this tall and this fast spends a majority of the ride hugging the ground. It seems so wrong, but that’s what makes I305 so right. Each transition feels like it’s trying to kill you. I don’t understand how a flat transition like this induces airtime, but somehow I305 is able to.

 

The finale does have a noticeable trim brake, but the following two hills still give powerful ejector air. I’m pretty sure the absence of a brake would result in some Skyrush level air there. Then the last two snaps leading into the brake run are just as violent in a totally comfortable ride. Once I hit the brake run, I realized I was wrong about I305. It really is one of the best coasters in the world.

 

I immediately switched to the back row and was even more impressed. Yes I did miss the rush of wind battering against my face, but it was worth it to experience the first drop in full. I love the drops on the B&M gigas; you float for what feels like forever the whole way down. I305 yanks you down. And the benefits extended beyond just the first drop. The transitions felt even wilder in the back as well.

 

Dumbfounded there was no one waiting for the back, so I remained in my seat. When I returned to the station, the back was again open so I tried to do the same, but was told you could only reride I305 two times in a row. No bother, it allowed me to add steps to my Fitbit…except I305 killed it. The ride’s brute intensity somehow reset my fitbit. I think that says it all about how wild I305 is. 10 out of 10

 

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Gentlemen, start your engines!

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I still can't believe a coaster over 300 feet tall spends this much time hugging the ground. I305 must really love the Earth.

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I305 is all about speed. Much like the Flash or Dee Gordon.

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And it also sprinkles in some airtime for good measure.

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Even the entry into the brake run is wildly intense.

 

FastLane was useful for Twisted Timbers, but not totally necessary. However, it was absolutely necessary for Volcano. Nothing else in the park had more than a 15 minute wait. Yet Volcano’s switchbacks were completely full and I’ve been led to believe it’s a common occurrence. I remember the first time I rode Volcano in 2006, I waited almost 2.5 hours.

 

Needless to say, I was ecstatic to skip the wait and in just 10-15 minutes, I was seated in the front row. This truly is the money seat on Volcano. I know it’s not a hydraulic launch, but the rolling launch is about as forceful a launch out there barring the accelerator coasters. The front row also allows you to fully appreciate the near misses with the volcano.

 

I know some may have an issue how repetitive Volcano’s layout is. I too find it repetitive, but I have zero issues with three consecutive barrel rolls. No one objects to three straight airtime hills on Twisted Timbers, so what’s wrong with three of the same inversions back-to-back-to-back? Nothing if you ask me.

 

Volcano is such a unique coaster and there really isn’t anything out there quite like it. I know there are the impulse coasters, but it’s still impressive to experience a launch on an inverted coater. Then unlike many of the accelerator coasters, Volcano packs more elements into its layout. 9 out of 10

 

Also why was there a shirt available that said "I'll be your volcano." I don't even know what that's supposed to mean...

 

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This is one heck of a super volcano. And fortunately one that won't endanger millions of lives.

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Does anyone else think Volcano has an ridiculously high amount of supports?

 

Since I was nearby, I decided to give Avalanche a whirl. To be honest, I’ve never found it to be one of the better bobsleds out there. The only real speed is built up during the final helix and then you immediately charge into the brake run.

 

After riding several of the Mack bobsleds in Europe, I’ve realized they tend to noticeably vibrate as they picked up speed. Unfortunately Avalanche was no different. It never became painful, but I definitely wouldn’t call it a good thing. Still it’s a unique enough to warrant a ride if the queue is empty. 4 out of 10

 

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Every time I see a bobsled coaster, I really want to watch Cool Runnings again.

 

Top spins seem to be a dying breed, so I definitely made sure to ride the Crypt. I recalled it being one of the better top spins out there and my memory didn’t deceive me. While the water and fire effects have lessened over time, the ride cycle is just as awesome. There are two separate instances of 3-4 consecutive flips. Anyone who has ridden a top spin knows just how many Gs are pulled during these flips. 8 out of 10

 

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And this was about the full extent of the water effect. Guess they're trying to conserve?

 

Since Boo Blasters was closed and I have enough dignity not to borrow a kid to ride the Great Pumpkin Coaster, I made my way over to Dominator. Not unexpectedly, it was a complete walk-on, so I started in the front row.

 

The massive vertical loop has some unexpected hangtime for a B&M, but the rest of the coaster absolutely hauls. The overbanks and cobra roll are taken faster than you’d expect and on this cooler day, the MCBR barely grabbed the train. This resulted in some great floater air to kick off the second half. Then the final two corkscrews aren’t quite as snappy as Kumba, but they’re pretty darn snappy. Really the only thing missing from Dominator is a zero-G roll. I’m still stunned the coaster doesn’t have one.

 

I immediately followed it up with a ride in the back row and enjoyed Dominator even more. The hangtime was even more pronounced in the vertical loop and I was fully able to appreciate the airtime diving off of the MCBR. With the park’s big three, I’m pretty sure Dominator will be overshadowed, but it shouldn’t. Despite being the only floorless coaster out there without my favorite inversion, Dominator still manages to stand out. 8.5 out of 10

 

Unlike the confusing volcano shirt, the park had a pseudo BDSM shirt available for purchase, "I'll be your dominator."

 

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Are you ready to be dominated?

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Loch Ness Monster gets all the attention for interlocking loops, but don't forget B&M does the same with their corkscrews.

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The airtime on this drop was more reminiscent of a hyper than a B&M looper.

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The layout is definitely unique. Yes it's missing a zero-G roll, but Dominator more than makes up for it.

 

After non-stop coaster riding, I decided to take a break and ascend the picturesque Eiffel Tower. As a fan of theme park photography, I absolutely love when parks have observation towers. I especially love when they have the observation decks since that gives me the flexibility to grab photos at my leisure instead of just missing the perfect shot as the car rotates away. 10 out of 10

 

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Not sure if I'm at Kings Island or Kings Dominion.

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Every single one of this report's aerial shots are thanks to the Eiffel Tower.

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I still can't believe the park has an entire area themed to apples.

 

I wasn’t sure if the log flume would be operational in the cooler temperatures and I was worried when I saw no one in the queue line. Turns out, there was just no one willing to brave 60 degree temperatures in a flexiglass log. I eagerly plopped myself down in the back row, which was the correct decision.

 

After the first drop, a wall of water landed on the front bench. Had I been sitting up front, that would have been a drencher. In back, I barely got more than a few splashes. The second drop is considerably taller than the first and pretty average for a flume. But that’s not where the Shenandoah Lumber Company shines. This flume shines in its location.

 

It’s impressive how one half of Kings Dominion is an asphalt jungle while the other side is completely shaded. That yields one of the better log flume layouts out there. You truly feel as if you’ve traveled deep in the woods of Virginia. 8 out of 10

 

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Few were riding the flume in 60 degree temps.

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And yet the park was adding even more logs. I love how much Cedar Fair prioritizes capacity.

 

FastLane allowed me to skip a sizable wait on Flying Eagles. It appeared as if the queue had been swarmed by a school trip, so I was ecstatic to walk right onto the flying scooters. I had only ridden them once, but I remembered them being very snappable. I had no such luck today.

 

When I boarded, I noticed the sails were heavier than most and there was a considerable amount of friction with the tub. The latter is something I’ve never noticed on other flying scooters. I was still able to get a considerable amount of movement, but at no point did I feel like I was defying death itself. I guess I’ll save that for my inevitable Knoebels trip this year. 7 out of 10

 

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The only snapping that occurred was with my fingers.

 

Like the flume, Grizzly is another ride that uses its wooded setting extremely well. Even on busier days, this coaster doesn’t have a line. I’d say it shocks me, but I do wonder how many guests can find the attraction. Not only is it shrouded deep inside the woods, but you have to pass through a gift shop to enter the queue line. It’d one thing if the gift shop was a short cut, but no, it’s literally the only way to access Grizzly.

 

I began in the front row and immediately remembered why I’m a big Grizzly fan. The first drop is steeper than you’d expect and gives some solid air in the back row. Then the ridiculously slow, flat turn is one of the few spots to catch your breath on the ride. I know it’s technically not a double down, but the third hill after the turnaround gives some incredibly strong air.

 

Next is the signature tunnel with a surprise pop of air. The next turnaround is another dull spot on the ride, but the rest of the ride is anything but. A majority of the remaining hills give some good air and because several of them are angled, they also provide some strong laterals as well.

 

Like Dominator, Grizzly doesn’t get the love it deserves. The coaster really is the complete package. It has a wonderful setting, great airtime, and strong laterals all while providing a reasonably smooth ride. At a smaller regional park, I could see Grizzly being a star attraction. 8 out of 10

 

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Not to be confused with the much maligned west Grizzly.

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You literally have to go through this gift shop to get to Grizzly's entrance. I thought gift shops were supposed to be at the exit.

 

I then grabbed a few more rides on Twisted Timbers and it was now up to full speed. Any notion that the coaster was sluggish was eradicated. It was particularly noticeable on that trick track hill. While my first ride slowly undulated through this section, Twisted Timbers tore through it this time bouncing me out of my seat like a Mexican jumping bean.

 

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Six Flags excels at the rundown/apocalypse theming. Cedar Fair seems pretty good at it too.

 

Outside of the Crypt, I had been neglecting Kings Dominion’s solid flat ride collection. I was eager to reride Windseeker and their colossal Drop Tower, but unfortunately both were closed for the day. As a consolation prize, I had the park’s new for 2017 attraction to hit, Delirium.

 

I know many didn’t shed a tear at Shockwave’s removal, but I actually enjoyed it. In all honestly, I prefer the Togo stand-ups to the B&M ones since the restraints didn’t induce any headbanging for me. Unlike my last visit where the plot of land was vacant, the spot is now filled with a giant frisbee.

 

While I’m not as big a fan of the Mondial versions, but they’re still solid rides and give decent air on the max swings. They just are noticeably tamer than the giant Inamin, Huss, or Zamperla versions. I’m glad more parks seem to be adding these giant frisbees since few flats are better. 7 out of 10

 

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Honestly I'm in the minority that misses Shockwave, but this isn't a bad replacement.

 

I had two remaining coasters before moving onto rerides on I305 and Twisted Timbers. I planned to hit Backlot Stunt Coaster first. I entered into the queue and quickly noticed something was wrong. The coaster was only running one train. I have never seen any of the Backlot clones down to one train operations before and because of how far back the FastLane merge point was, I estimated the queue could take almost a half hour. Backlot is fun and all, but I couldn’t justify it over multiple I305 rides.

 

The other coaster was Anaconda, which was of course a walk-on. Not wanting to waste any precious time waiting for the front, I grabbed a ride in the very back. Anaconda really is a mixed bag. The first half is quite good with the underwater tunnel and forceful two inversions. But the second half is the definition of coat-hanger transitions.

 

Because the MCBR brings the train to a halt, you creep through the demented pretzel knot which truly lets you appreciate Arrow’s handiwork. Fortunately my head is above the OSTR because otherwise, this would be brutal. Then the two corkscrews feel very wrong. On every other coaster, corkscrews are snappy. On Anaconda, they’re taken so slowly that they actually induce hang-time.

 

I could see smaller riders despising Anaconda, but for me it’s no problem at all. I can’t justify riding it more than once since the park has a superior looper just a 5 minute walk away in Dominator, but it does have a nice setting over the water. 6 out of 10

 

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So much better than the Nicky Minaj song.

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Just look how screwed up this second half looks. This is coathanger engineering at its finest.

 

I know there’ll be a debate on the better ride- I305 or Twisted Timbers. It’s close. It’s very close. But when closing neared, I found myself wanting to get my last rides on Twisted Timbers rather than I305. Still that’s like saying I prefer a prime rib to fillet mignon.

 

In the last hour, I was able to get 4 rides on I305 and 5 on Twisted Timbers. The latter had a reride policy that would make SFNE proud. Even when there was no one waiting for your row, they wouldn’t allow any rerides. The inconsistent reride policy was my one critique for the park, but in order for it to become an issue, that means you visited on a relatively empty day, so it’s hard to complain too much.

 

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Six Flags refuses entire names. Cedar Fair just reuses Timbers, but adds uniqueness by putting a different adjective in front. Shivering, Soaring, Twisted, etc.

 

With the addition of Twisted Timbers, Kings Dominion quietly now boasts one of the best coaster lineups out there. Any park with a giga already qualifies, but once you add in an airtime monster like Twisted Timbers along with a unique Intamin launched invert, a solid B&M floorless, and good wooden coaster, you have a well-rounded collection.

 

I was really tempted to return to the park on Saturday night to experience some night rides on Grizzly, I305, and Twisted Timbers, but I couldn’t pry myself away from Busch Gardens. The latter is simply too amazing. That being said, I think it’s relatively safe to say I’ll be returning to the park sometime in the next few years and when I do, I’m going to try and visit on a day with extended hours.

Edited by Canobie Coaster
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Go-Karts Plus

 

On a Friday in April, which of Virginia’s amusement parks do you think would have the latest hours- Kings Dominion or Busch Gardens. Trick question, the correct answer was Go-Karts Plus. Despite having an overall footprint less than one land at either Busch Gardens or Kings Dominion, this solid family center bested both parks in terms of operating hours. And honestly, that’s the only reason I visited.

 

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You know, I probably should have taken a picture of the coaster. But I promise you, it exists!

 

Credit whores probably know of Go-Karts Plus for one reason and one reason alone, Python Pit. The most noteworthy thing about this Miler is the fact that it has been relocated twice. some, being the only adult on a kiddie coaster is embarrassing. But for me, I’d consider that ideal conditions. For one, I don’t take a seat away from a kid. Two, it never ceases to elicit a smile from the stunned operators.

 

Prior to riding, the operator carefully explained the coaster had four laps and if at any point the 12 foot drop became too intense, I could signal him to stop. It’s like a safe word. But I was going hard core. I was taking all four laps I was entitled to receive. As far as kiddie coasters go, the Miler ones are fairly smooth, which is a fact all the more impressive after seeing how rough their adult coasters become. 2 out of 10

 

I debated trying one of the park’s go kart tracks, but after driving 9 hours the day before, the last thing I wanted to do was get behind the wheel. So instead I got behind the saddle and rode the park’s tallest attraction, their Zamperla Disk’O. Usually these flats aren’t particularly imposing, but at a FEC when it’s 3-4 times taller than the next closest ride, which is probably the Python Pit, it looks pretty impressive.

 

I ride the version at Lake Compounce quite a bit, but this one seemed to have a longer cycle. There was plenty of spinning with the slightest hints of air. Yes the restraints are a bit awkward and potential nutcrackers if you aren’t careful, but I really do enjoy these flats. 8 out of 10

 

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The Disk'o is to Go-Karts Plus as the Eiffel Tower is to Kings Dominion.

 

So in just 15 minutes I had spent :

 

Python Pit- $6

Disk’o- $6

The satisfaction of riding another kiddie coaster- Priceless

 

There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard*.

 

* Unless it’s a kiddie coaster with a maximum height restriction. At that point, you’re out of luck unless you pay for an experimental procedure to shrink. But if you shrink you can’t ride the awesome B&Ms and Intamins of the world, so your loss.

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Thanks be to the RMC Gods who sent you a sign to go KD on Friday!! How cool. Some comments, since you took the time to write all this out and post great pics:

 

The Rebel Yell retrack completely transformed the ride experience. They did a really, really nice job with it and we took several laps on it a few weeks ago. I wish there were more of these truly basic out and back woodies. I love Comet at HersheyPark for its simplicity as well.

 

Volcano’s line if it was through all those switchbacks was a good 2-2.5 hours. You’re lucky you skipped all that! The front row, right side is my favorite seat. I only had one ride on Twisted Timbers and while I thought it was excellent, I’m a sucker for launches so Volcano remains my fav ride at the park - with TT a close second. I much prefer coasters that I can marathon which is why I-305, while a great ride, has never been a big draw for me. Good grief, I must sound really old and boring! I promise I'm not

 

I’m not a professional flyer snapper and despite having heard good things I have never had any luck on KD’s flyers. Skipping that line which if takes up even half the queue is a good 20-30 minute wait was a smart move. Their dispatching on it is historically horrible.

 

Looking forward to hearing about your day at BGW!

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