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Thanks everyone!

 

Day 3: We Built This City on Soak ‘n’ Roll

 

Having done pretty much everything I came to Kings Island to do on Friday, I decided to make Saturday a waterpark day. I started off with Early Entry on Diamondback and Mystic Timbers again, then rope dropped Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown before taking the train to the waterpark. There won’t be very many photos this time, because I was in a waterpark and I don’t want to be that creepy guy taking photos in a waterpark.

 

I started off with Tropical Plunge, which is a very fun complex and similar to the one at Oceans of Fun, before checking out the critically acclaimed Island Barbecue. It was very sweet, but otherwise pretty good, especially paired with a Kona.

 

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Don't adjust your screen. The blue light is not a filter. The air in Soak City is just that tropically fresh.

 

After lunch, it was time to check out the park’s lazy river—and it is the absolute best one I have ever experienced. I loved all the things that spray, and there are quite a few, but plenty of space in between for just relaxing too. I literally spent about half my waterpark time going around and around the lazy river. Come to think of it, this is actually the ride at Kings Island that I rode the most, including the dry side.

 

Thunder Falls is fantastic! It’s an older slide, just exciting enough but not too intense either. It’s old school and very well done.

 

But the crown jewel of Soak City is Tropical Twister. Ho. Ly. Sh*t. It’s so unassuming, but the airtime just gets bigger and bigger. This is one of the best waterslides I have been on anywhere, and I’ve never seen anything else quite like it. So much fun.

 

The forecast was for rain, but it never actually materialized and most of the day lines were very short because of it. For the most part, I got on everything right away, but late in the afternoon, attendance did pick up and I headed back to the dry side. Since it had worked so well the previous night, I just repeated my course of Bat at sunset, Diamondback at twilight, and Beast after dark, front row.

 

A guy I work with who is from Cincinnati had told me about Gold Star Chili. The last time I was in town, I had Skyline, but I didn’t know about Gold Star. There was one of each chain within walking distance of my hotel, so I headed out to Gold Star that night. Very good stuff; a little sweeter than Skyline, so I think I prefer Skyline myself, but still very good.

 

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Gold Star is a very unassuming diner. It's very comfortable with who it is.

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Cincinnati chili credit!

 

That was the end of my time at Kings Island, but I wasn’t done with Cincinnati quite yet. Stay tuned for the first cultural day of the trip!

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^Gawd that plate looks so good! Do I not see a layer of onions under the cheese? I'll have to check out Gold Star when I'm there next, I was always nuts about Skyline.

 

Which reminds me of when people think of Chicago (my home): "Oh, you have to go to Lou Malnati's." It's so tired to people who live here; there are a thousand local, mom & pop places that are better than Lou's... closer and cheaper too. It's just such a touristy/yuppie thing to do for many of us Chicagoans. You wouldn't catch us at a Lou Malnati's when we have better across the street. So that's always my stance... meanwhile, when I think of KI and Cinci, I'm all "oh yeah! Skyline Chili!" Doing the same thing I complain about, but the tables are turned. haha.

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But the crown jewel of Soak City is Tropical Twister. Ho. Ly. Sh*t. It’s so unassuming, but the airtime just gets bigger and bigger. This is one of the best waterslides I have been on anywhere, and I’ve never seen anything else quite like it. So much fun.

 

Ahhh...if I would have known that you did that slide, I would have had you ask my Dad about that one when we were at CP. I would have been curious as to what his response would have been when you mentioned that particular slide.

 

We all did that one a few years ago and he somehow managed to cut his arm while going down and was bleeding to the point where we had to go First Aid for a Band Aid. Not crazy and needing stitches or anything, but we could tell that he was visibly shaken up from the whole experience.

 

I don't think that he's been on another water slide since....he said "Fuck that noise - I'm too old for this shit. I'm sticking to the wave pools and lazy rivers from now on!" Which are the only two things that he and Lani did when we were at Cedar Shores a few weeks ago.

 

Michael did it too and wasn't impressed either. Just a tad too aggressive when you're over 65, I suppose. I recall it being a very intense slide where you better close your eyes, plug your nose & hope for the best!

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^^ Yep, it's 4 way with onions. 4 way has a choice of onions or beans, and 5 way includes both.

 

^ I can definitely understand that opinion. I rode it several times that day but generally went straight to the lazy river afterward.

 

Oddly enough, I also had an extremely minor injury at CP Shores...but let's save that story for its place in the narrative.

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Great trip report. I really love K.I. so much more than it's neighbor to the north. All their rides run, and the ride-ops are great! They actually make eye contact and speak to you! What a novel idea... On Diamondback they actually take your loose articles from you before you sit down, and put them in the bin. No drama on this ride like Sven.

 

Also they not only have 1 Skyline Chili but 2! I always enjoy it when I'm at the park. Just too bad they close so early in August from daily operations. I guess all the kids are back in school.

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Well, to be fair, Kings Island does require lockers on a couple of rides, but at least they allow you to take a phone with you if you have the foresight to dress properly so it's secured. But yeah, at this point having been to all the CF parks except KD and Carowinds, I'd place Knott's first, then Kings Island, and then Cedar Point. All three are fun places though, I enjoy a day at any of them.

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Great report! Kings Island really does have a strong water park. My surprise hit there was the Pineapple Plunge. That thing had some scary airtime.

 

I regret missing the flume on my most recent visit since the heat index was 100 and I remember that being one of the most drenching ones out there.

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Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown is one of the best log flumes anywhere, and it has the absolute best name.

 

Except when you meet the finish line with an acceptable amount of wetness and Snoopy fux everything up by douching you with ice cold water.

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^ Totally. I did experience that.

 

Day 4: It's Familiar, But Not Too Familiar, But Not Too Not Familiar

 

I took a break that Sunday for some sightseeing around Cincinnati. The last time I was here, I just had enough time for Kings Island, so I wanted to explore a bit of the city itself. I had timed the trip so that the Reds were playing in town, and that was the main event, but I went downtown a bit early to take in some of the sights and have a good lunch before the game.

 

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Some city goodness!

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Fountains FTW!

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I loved this fish, probably way more than I should.

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Such a cool sculpture.

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Cincinnati courthouse. Hell yes.

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This is the first church established in Cincinnati by German Catholic immigrants.

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Washington Park

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Just chillin' in the park with a good Cincinnati craft beer

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TPR!

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I looked up some good eats on Trip Advisor, and this place had the reputation for best wings in the city. It instantly became my destination.

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They had this really cool old map of Kings Island at the bar.

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Streetcar credit!!!

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Here I am at the Great American Ballpark!

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Hot mett credit!

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Ooh yeah I want that sexy bathroom. I want to walk in and turn on the light and see that toilet looking real nice. I'll be like "Oh baby toilet. You look damn fine today."

 

Of course, going through West Virginia for the first time, I had to stop off at the Wheeling Suspension Bridge. I snapped a photo, then got back in the car, only to find that the next town over is called Triadelphia, which is Greek for... get ready... THREE BROTHERS!!!

 

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Historic bridge credit!

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Now it's time for "Things I Bought At Sheetz."

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Gas!

 

I checked into the hotel that would be my home in Pittsburgh for the next few days. The next day would be the main event, my day at KENNYWOOD!!!!

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Day 5: Kennywood’s Open!

 

Pittsburghers are really friendly. Ever since I arrived, people have been telling me “Kennywood’s open,” even though they didn’t know that’s why I’m here. And they were right, Kennywood was open all day long!

 

I arrived at opening and made my way over to rope drop Phantom’s Revenge. Now, for those of you who don’t know, this park has what they call a “soft open” and “soft close.” The rides don’t necessarily open when the park opens, and closing time is announced on the PA in the afternoon. This “play it by ear” style can catch some off guard, so go prepared! On this occasion, it meant that my rope dropping Phantom was actually a 45 minute wait for it.

 

This is a fantastic coaster. I’ve been on the three CF Morgans, and while except for Steel Force they’re fun, decently forceful in places, but nothing to get worked up about, Phantom is on a whole other level. The turning first drop is fun, but then as you go up the second hill, it laughs evilly and says, “Nah man, just kidding. THIS is what I can do” and you plunge into the abyss, narrowly miss Thunderbolt, and laugh your ass off the entire rest of the ride. So good, so worth the trip out here just for that.

 

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See/ Kennywood's open!

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It's historical.

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No Skyride today.

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No log flume today.

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No Sky Rocket today.

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They have one of these 4D theatres

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And an Enterprise.

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If only all revenge were this great.

 

I next went to the Screamin’ Swing, the Whip, and Black Widow…and I then noticed just how slowly the dispatches on Phantom were. Hmm, I’m not going to get very many rides with operations like that. No worries, I had set aside money for VIP Unlimited, so I just made my way back to the front of the park.

 

It was then that I realized the worst. I hadn’t seen this back in Lost Kennywood, but every single person in Pittsburgh was at Kennywood today. Apparently word got out about Kennywood being open. Again, no big deal, I’m getting a VIP pass.

 

I went up to the desk by Garfield’s Nightmare, asked for my wristband, and was told due to staffing they couldn’t sell it. Oh sh*t. They were willing to sell me up to two of the single use wristbands, and discounted them due to Exterminator and Sky Rocket not operating that day, so on the plus side it was half what I would have paid for Unlimited. On the minus side, I’d rather have paid twice as much for unlimited.

 

The strategy for the day changed. Now I was going to spend all day in hot sweaty lines, but there was enough time to ride everything once, and of course I was going to get on the four coasters that were open twice.

 

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What's that big hairy spider hiding behind a fountain?

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When you're at Kennywood, you must whip it.

 

Well, let’s start with Garfield, I guess. Now when I was a kid Garfield was everywhere, and for some reason we loved it. My brother and I watched the Saturday morning show in between Shari Lewis’ “Lamb Chop’s Play Along” and “Looney Tunes.” Yes, kids, I’m old. Deal with it.

 

Let’s face it, I’m not really riding Garfield. I’m riding the Old Mill and Garfield just happens to be in it. It’s a cool old ride, the 3D stuff was wonky, the jokes weren’t funny, but that’s Garfield for you. Like most things, it’d be far better if he were removed.

 

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This is pretty much what the rest of my day looked like.

 

Next up some coasters! Jack Rabbit is fantastic. It actually gets more intense as the ride goes on, building up to the finish. And the double down in the back row.

 

Racer is also great, longer but a bit less intense than Jack Rabbit. And you end up on the opposite side of the station from where you began, it’s kinda weird. Loved it.

 

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Construction time again! I think they're doing more than just laying a pipeline though.

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I love how this park's mascot is an arrow. I thought that was weird until I drove there and made a million turns on city streets. I now appreciate the arrow.

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They had sausages and fries at this pagoda, but I'll pass. There's better awaiting me.

 

Okay, time for lunch. There is only one place I want to eat lunch here, and that’s at Potato Patch. I seriously stood in line for about 40 minutes to get the best fries ever. Fortunately the sausage cart right next to it had a very short line for me to complete my lunch.

 

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Yes!

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Absolutely fantastic.

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Lost Kennywood is so cool. Love the architecture here.

 

While I’m right here, I went over to Noah’s Ark. This is so cool! I love old walkthroughs like this. The scale is much bigger than I expected. It must have been built by Timelords.

 

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Hahahaha

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A lift hill used for two coasters? That sounds like it qualifies to go in the Ark.

 

Let’s get started on flats. The one I most wanted to ride here was Turtle, so I got in line for that, and about an hour later, got to ride the best Turtle ever. It was really fun, but holy crap that line.

 

Thunderbolt is also great. 3 for 3! But you didn’t expect otherwise, right? People don’t keep old coasters around if they suck. Another ride on Phantom’s Revenge and first wristband complete.

 

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Turtle power!

 

Now for some more flats, preferably ones with shorter lines. Bayurn Kurve was really great, also a must do for me here. And now that I was sufficiently dizzy, gift shopping time! Seriously had to walk off that ride. It was fun though.

 

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Bayern has some sweet, sweet kurves.

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Up around the bend!

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Phantom has some sweet, sweet curves too.

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Here comes the General! Rise up!

 

 

One more must do flat, the Kangaroo. This is incredible! Probably my favourite flat there. It’s basically the same as a frog hopper, but there’s a seven foot high ramp that you drop off to start bouncing. Not an exaggeration, that’s its actual height. Again I waited about half an hour, because there’s no way to skip it, but it was still great to go on once.

 

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Look at that ramp, it's over that guy's head!

 

They announced a closing time of 9:00, so let’s kick this into gear. Another round on Jack Rabbit and Racer, again fantastic, then over to Thunderbolt…only wait, what’s this? Ghostwood Estate had been closed all day, but it was open now! Loved this, it’s a cool trackless dark ride with some great hidden targets and a fun, slightly creepy but not too creepy but not too not creepy, story.

 

Thunderbolt and Phantom’s Revenge finished off my day. It was fun, but I was tired and hungry, so I headed over to the local mall for a much more pleasant kind of hell than standing in lines of 30-60 minutes for every single ride.

 

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Goodnight, Kennywood. Not as good as I had hoped, not as bad as I had feared.

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Time for some good eats.

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You can never go wrong with a Troeg's.

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They're big on safety here. They stab the demon burger before they serve it to you.

 

Overall, I enjoyed the day. I want to love this place so much, and there are aspects to it that are awesome, but the huge crowds and understaffing really put a damper on it. I will be back to give it another chance; there will be 3 new coasters if nothing else. I didn’t dislike any rides there--Garfield’s Nightmare was the one I liked least, but it was still cool—but with shorter lines and better operations, it would really be fantastic. I’m not at a place of “I drove all this way for this?” and my experience with the park was certainly far, far better than Prozach’s, but even with expectations that I think were well informed and reasonable, it didn’t quite live up. I think it’s fair to say that had they allowed me to throw money at the problem like I had prepared to do, I would have a different opinion.

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great pics, and love seeing Kennywood again. . but holy crap those lines!

 

I likely would have just wandered around people watching and taking pictures rather than standing in them. I imagine the Exterminator line was approaching 4 hours had it been open!

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Dang. Kennywood is kind of striking out this summer as far as the TR reviews go. I'm sure next season will be a lot different.

 

I'm glad you managed to have a better time than we did. I'm not sure if we would have rather had less lines and a shorter day, like we did, or way more people and a longer lines, such as yourself. I guess at least you got to experience everything. I was really looking forward to the Kangaroo while waiting in line, when our day took a disastrous turn.

 

Pittsburghers are really friendly. Ever since I arrived, people have been telling me “Kennywood’s open,” even though they didn’t know that’s why I’m here. And they were right, Kennywood was open all day long!

I had to do a double take. I almost missed what you did there.

 

I noticed you used trip adviser for finding food options. Do you find it more useful than yelp? We've never been steared wrong with yelp, but it seems like our home runs aren't stacking up quite like they used to.

 

Great TR!

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For me, as long as I get to do everything on my must do list, it's a win. I got to all those things at Kennywood, so it was worth it to go, but yeah, looking at the timestamp on those pictures and realizing it was 30 minutes here, 40 there, my entire day was standing and shuffling forward. Fortunately that was the only day of the whole trip that was like that.

 

I've found that Trip Advisor often has more reviews than Yelp, and while the percentage of crap opinions is equal, that gives me more total reviews to go on.

 

And Zach, I'm glad you picked up on the joke.

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That was a weekday, a Monday to be specific. It was also the last non rainy day of daily operations.

 

They did get 2 trains on Phantom, not that it helped with 5 minute dispatches. We were on the brake run before they even started checking restraints on the train in the station.

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^ Wow that's crazy for a weekday. I've always found the park to be well attended for a weekday, but never 30-60 minute queues for flat rides.

 

At least they tried putting the second train on Phantom. I've seen the line go almost back to the entrance sign and one still on there.

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Great report. I read this on the plane the other day and forgot to comment so... sorry about that.

 

I've still never been to Kennywood (which is insanely ridiculous and stupid) but I think next year will probably be the year that changes.

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