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bert goes to Kings Island for the first time ever, and gets CoasterStock'd - a photo TR

Wrap up and swag purchased from Kings Island

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so. . earlier this year, TeacherKim (whom I had met and hung out/spent day with at Six Flags St Louis) eventually made it to Texas for an event at Six Flags Fiesta Texas.
the Universe was against her - I think it took 3 tries, with crazy flooding, and a freak ice storm that shut down San Antonio the 1st two tries, but she eventually was able to re-plan: coming to a group event at SFFT on April 10 that was being run by Thrill Seekers United (a Texas based park group), but they had invited ACE members to attend. .hence Kim and her son, Joel, coming.

We had kept in contact - even thru the prior cancellations - and as the event was coming up we were chatting in Early April and she mentioned CoasterStock.

I had no idea what that was, but she filled me in that it's a 2 day event at Kings Island in Mason, Ohio (outside of Cincinnati).  

ok, KI is a bucketlist park for me (on an ever shrinking list) - has been for decades, ever since I saw the Partridges go there (and then the Bradys - stupid Jan with her yogi bear poster almost messing up Mike's deal!).    The Beast has been a coaster I've wanted to ride for over 30 years!

So told her I'll think about it, and she goes. . .well, think fast, since tickets go on sale Monday.     

I mentioned it to my Spouse (who wasn't thrilled, but eventually was okay with it, since we're fully vaxxed so it seemed safe enough) and on 4/5 at 10 on the dot, I attempted to get a CoasterStock ticket.

the thing sold out in less than 15 minutes!   but yes, I got a ticket!

thus kicked off a whirlwind day - since I had a ticket to the event now, I had to figure out plane flight, hotel, rental car, etc. . . .    but it all got booked (including FastLane Plus for Saturday the 10th), and by the time I logged off work that day, I was all set for my first ever trip to Kings Island on July 9th & 10th.

here's my TR for this experience. . I took over 600 pics, and tho won't share all, I DO tend to share a lot - so I'll do this in sections.

hope you enjoy following along!

 

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Thurs, 7/8

after going back and forth about if I had to get up super early and park at the airport or not, my Spouse (who tho said it was OK to go, had gotten a little passive/aggressive about it) had decided the day before that he would drive me to the airport and drop me off - so I got to sleep in until 7:15am.   the trip to the airport takes about 40 minutes and was uneventful, so after dropping me at the terminal, I fairly quickly made my way thru security (no checked bags, since this Southwest flight had a connection in Denver - yes, I went a timezone in the wrong direction before going two time zones in the other direction to get to Cincinnati.   But at least it was only a ~2 hour layover in Denver instead of a ~5 hour layover at the Orlando airport.

99.9% complied with the masks must be worn in airport mandate, tho i did see TSA have to tell one family to put the masks on or they would be asked to leave the terminal and would not be allowed thru security.       It's a rule people.  you may not agree with it, or like it, but it's a rule. . you wanna fly somewhere?  you gotta wear a mask.

not too crowded this early on a Thurs (it was ~8:20am) but still not everything open yet.
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so I sat down to read until the coffee place opened (no Starbucks here, because. . . Austin. . gotta be local coffeeshops only)
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but eventually the local brew place opened and got me some coffee.

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some very interesting art in the Austin airport. . such as the Space BattleShip Yamamoto giant metal sculpture on the wall:
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there was a woman on our flight (just 1) who was sitting at the gate area, fanning herself furiously, and keeping her mask in her lap.     The Gate agent asked her to put her mask on, and she kept telling her she was getting overheated.

I thought to myself, "great. .this woman is going to cause problems on my flight. . we BETTER not get delayed"

but she did give in and eventually put on her mask, and was allowed to board towards the end of the boarding process after most of us were already seated on the plane.
she immediately asked the Stewardess for a glass of ice (who told her she'll get her one once they do the safety spiel), and then she loudly started to explain how she can't wear her mask because she's overheating.   

Many of us on the flight started nervously eyeing each other, but the Stewardess said "oh, I have some very light paper masks, I'll get you, you can wear one of those" and she went and brought her a light mask, along with a cup of ice.    

then we sat for about 20 minutes waiting for . . something. . who knows.     

But the moment we started to back away from the gate, this woman got up and headed for the bathroom - the Stewardess got on the speaker and said that everyone MUST be in their seats, and she went back to her seat.     she made it thru the safety presentation, and then the Captain told the Stewards to buckle in , and we'd been cleared for takeoff - and this woman BOLTED up the aisle, both hands clasped over her mask and into the bathroom (thank goodness no smell of vomit tho). . and she was in there for the entire take off.

about 15 minutes into the flight, she did eventually go back to her seat, and the Stewardess gave her another mask.. . which lasted about 30 minutes then another "clasped over mouth" bolt to the bathroom.. . happened a couple of more times during the flight. . . AND during the landing.    

I'm still kind of shocked that we weren't diverted to land elsewhere, if she was that ill. . . but I kinda think that she was faking so she could hang out in the bathroom with her mask off.

regardless, even with our late start, we did make it to the Denver airport and landed on time (they made up time in the air), and the I got to hang out at the gate there for a bit (no, I wasn't hungry after watching this woman purge for a 2 hour + flight). . . .

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flight from Denver to Cincinnati wasn't eventful, tho we did leave about 40 minutes late, and that annoyed me a little bit because it meant that we landed later and I was hoping to drive in the daylight (not realizing that it was gonna stay light until 9pm in the Timezone that Kings Island is in).

no luggage, so off the plane pretty quick, and made the walk to the Ground Transportation and got there just as a shuttle was loading up for Hertz - but I noticed it had a "Thrifty" and a "Dollar" logo taped up on the windows too, so I asked the driver and he said he goes to all. . so was the last one on the full shuttle, and off to the Car Rental place.

prices are NOT cheap for car rentals nowadays, but I lucked out in that 1) my trip was a few days *after* the Fourth of July holiday weekend, and 2) I booked via Priceline, so got a decent deal.

it turned out tho?  the reason the shuttle serviced Hertz, Thrifty, and Dollar, is because the Thrifty and Dollar locations had been shut down, and all were being handled from the Hertz location.
which had three desk clerks (since it was the Hertz location), and all Thrifty or Dollar customers had to get in a line at the far end to deal with the one counterclerk - who I guess drew that short straw.

so yeah. .that took about 25 minutes (with only a few folks in front of me, but way more behind me). . tho I did get the amusement of watching a young guy insist on getting a mustang convertible (he "had PAID for that and he wanted that!") and then he promptly drove forward over the high curve, ripping off the front bumper completely (instead of backing up to exit as EVERY SINGLE SIGN POSTED said)

so that was amusing.

eventually I got up to the counter for my turn, she upgraded me to a nice SUV with no extra cost as an apology for the wait (and we had been chatting about the Mustang-idiot so we bonded while I was waiting in line) - I carefully backed out of my spot, and was on my way to Mason - home of Kings Island.

oh, I could tell I was in Kentucky. . . lots of bumperstickers referencing an ex President, lot of Rebel Flag bumperstickers, and very few drivers going the speed limit!   Not even close, either. . the speed limit was 65 in most places on the way to Mason (about 40 minutes from Airport), and people were going 40.      really.

the SUV was a new one that kept making noises and dings every time I passed a bad driver who moved over close into my lane (or could have been me drifting, I suppose, since i was looking at directions while I was driving - - yes, i printed them out. . I'm an teh old).   

but soon enough I pulled into the Hampton Inn (*by Hilton) across the freeway from Kings Island.   

I can't really describe how I felt when I saw Banshee, Diamondback, and Orion from the freeway as I exited for the Hotel - no picture from that, as was driving - but it really was a kind of Euphoria.

check in was easy/peasy - I did it thru the app, so had my room and key on my phone already.   The lobby is lovely, and the food options were nice, tho the room was a bit older and certainly could use a refresh:
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for a place to sleep tho?  was reasonable, and really close to the park.

Kim and her son were staying there too - she's who had recommended this hotel, and I grabbed it so we could be together and go to the park together - I knew we were hanging out all weekend.
was a really good call, and the hotel was sold out for the weekend, so if you do go, pre book!    

she was driving from St Louis (think it was 6 1/2 hours she said) and they weren't there yet. . so i made a quick trip to grab some snacks from the CVS just up the street and realized I hadn't eaten all day, really. . so since they weren't in yet, I went to a Wendy's - they were advertising all over the sides of the restaurant to try the new Bourbon sauced options.

which, of course, they were out of that sauce when I tried to order something from those options  (go figure, right?).. . . so I ended up with a Jalepeno Popper Chicken Sandwhich (something we don't have in Texas Wendy's, but was pretty good).

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I wolfed it down, and got a text from Kim they had arrived.   Her son was watching some video game competition (I think that's what it was about?  maybe it was a coding competition?) so she came up to my room on the 3rd floor to visit - and I could send proof of life to my spouse. . . LOL
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we visited for about 45 minutes, and then made plans for the morning - Kings Island opens gates for parking at 8:30 for our event, so we planned to meet at 7:45 to eat down in the lobby, and then I would finally be able to check another park off my bucket list.

until then tho?  took a shower, relaxed in the room for a bit, and then tried to turn in for the night. . wasn't very successful.   I was too excited for the next day!

more to come. . . .

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Friday, 7/9 -

So I didn't sleep all that great, despite how tired I was, due to a mix of excitement & being in a room directly across from a stairwell.  That typically wouldn't be much of an issue, but remember the hotel was sold out *and* one of the two elevators was not working.   So that resulted in folks going in and out of that stairwell - and the resulting door slam behind them - up to ~3am.     
(I didn't complain, but I did, on the next night, put a towel down at the bottom of the door, so it won't slam shut, and that helped a lot.

I believe we had planned to meet down in the lobby/breakfast area at 7:45, but I was up and ready by 7:15 anyways, so got ready (got peer pressured into wearing my Coasterstock shirt, even tho I felt like the kid that wears the concert shirt to school the day after the show!), and headed down to the lobby to partake in breakfast offerings.

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honestly, not bad at all.   The Coffee left a LOT to be desired, but the omelettes (pre made, I'm sure) were decent and the hash brown patties and sausages were quite good.
Lots of fresh fruit, oatmeal, dry cereal & waffles offered as well, but I didn't want to over-do it, since I tend not to be a breakfast person anyways.

And we knew that there would be donuts offered at the ERT this morning by Diamondback anyways in a couple of hours.

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eventually Kim made her way down, then Joel, and by 8;20 we were in the car for the short trip across the freeway to Kings Island.

I was so excited, I missed having my camera out to get the main entrance sign - even tho I was sitting in the back seat (thanks again for driving to the park each day, Kim!).   But here's the view from the toll entrances at ~8:35 am.     Coasterstock gets you free parking both days, and the parking opens ~2 1/2 hours before the park officially does.
 

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we parked pretty far up in the lot, and here's my first view of this wonderful place from the parking lot:

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yes, I'm a nerd. . even the Kings Island logo on the trash can excited me. . LOL
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we made our way up to the front gates, stopping for pics along the way (well. . I was stopping, and they kept waiting for me - hey, they'd been there before. . 1st time for me!)

 

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and we got thru the security gates eventually, and lined up for the main gates to open up for us right at 9am
(during that short wait in line, Don & Chad - who organized the whole shebang went up and down the line saying good morning to everyone, and double-checking that everyone had their coaster club membership card (for whichever club/clubs they are a member of)  . .  Don and I briefly chatted about Carousels (we had discussed via email how excited I was about the Carousel ERT/anniversary) and then the gates were officially open, and I stepped foot into Kings Island.

 

and who do we meet literally seconds after going thru the turnstiles into the park?    Why we bump into Stacy Gretchen - who I last saw at Cedar Point on the TPR 2018 USA tour :)
I introduced her to Kim & Joel, and we ended up seeing her (and her friends Adam & John many times during the event - including sitting with Stacy and John at dinner both nights.   TPR representing!


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the morning's first ERT was at Mystic Timbers and Great Pumpkin Coaster (and then overlapping with Diamondback & Flying Ace Arial Chase), so I / we followed the crowd thru Camp Snoopy, and headed over to Diamondback.

Yes, I rode Wilderness Run at Coastermania! at Cedar Point back in 2017, but that was historical as the 1st Intamin.  I really had no interest, whatsoever, in riding a roller-skater loop kiddie coaster (tho it did get a bit of a line, as those with no shame lined up to get on it).   I didn't *need* the credit tho, so we kept walking towards Diamondback.

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I'm not familiar with this charity "A Kid Again" but it seems to be a similar organization to "Coasting for Kids" - and I loved that they have a dedicated statue just outside the Camp Snoopy area. .so of course I snapped a pic of it.

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the design work on this (Boo Blasters, I think it's called) was so great.    it wasn't open yet, but we would ride it the next day, and it surprisingly is an Omnimover type ride, that's also a shooting ride)

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as many of my friends know. . I'm a photo-op whore  - it's very difficult to get me to walk past a character photo opportunity (especially at a park i've never been to before).

and remember, we were getting to Diamondback THRU Camp Snoopy. . . soooooooo

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edit:  just noticed you can see the line for Great Pumpkin Coaster behind me in this pic :)

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LOL

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but we did eventually make it to Diamondback, and got in line for my first ever ride in Kings Island.

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and what a great ride to start with.

Diamondback is an airtime machine!  especially in the front car.. wow, your butt doesn't even touch the seat for the majority of the ride after the 1st drop.

for 1st ride, I waited for front row, but it was so good, that we immediately got off and got back in line (something that's rather odd for me. . I usually ride once, move on to next thing, and then go back for rerides on things I liked later. . but this one was so good?  twice in a row!)
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Front Row:

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and Row 2 (which was a little more rattly, due to wheel I think, but still amazing):
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after two rides (and a quick hop into the Donut line - which had gotten way shorter by now. . they had lots of varieties too - I had an eclair - and I remembered to pop some Tylenol to prepare myself for the day using the frozen orange juice they were handing out as well), we headed over to Mystic Timbers.

it was time to find out what was in the shed!

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a peek at Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown's flume. . still empty this early in the morning. .but looked like a fun flume ride (and wet, as we would find out the next day)

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Ok, so "what's in the shed?" is way, way overhyped - even if Kim was disappointed that I didnt' get the full "experience" - although the tape deck lit up, there was no 80's music playing, and it didn't play for the whole time we were there, even tho I got multiple rides (I think 16 total) on MT.   But I did get to see all 3 ending options for the Shed multiple times.

but yes, even overhyped, and kind of silly - tho I liked the use of the screens - the ride is absolutely incredible.   Sustained speed, tons of airtime, and I adore how it hops over the rapids ride, interacting with it.   To say nothing of that incredible banked 1st drop.   

Easily jumped to the top of my Wooden Coasters list. . . and I think it will be my #1 for a long, long time (probably forever).   

we laughed at our FunPix and I asked the guy whom I had shared front row with how it works, and he directed us to go back to the Diamondback funpix (which we had missed, since it was in the giftshop and we bypassed it to get back in line) where they had staffed the counter to set up CoasterStock attendees with the included FunPix accounts.

so a quick trip back to Diamondback, and we had Funpix set up - as well as stopping to get our all day drink bands (also included). .then right back in line for Mystic Timbers:
 

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there's not a bad seat anywhere on this coaster - and I rode it in many of the rows - but I think I preferred it most in Row 2.   But really, any row was great!

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it was getting towards the end of ERT, and the only other coaster open in the morning ERT was Flying Ace Arial Chase - a Vekoma Junior flyer. . . I knew it would suck.   (and I had ridden the same ride at Carowinds). . but using the logic of "it's my first time here, i wanna ride everything" we headed over that way to find:  

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no line.

literally. . . Joel and I rode it in the front row with a train all to ourselves.   ~600 people at Coasterstock, and no one in line to ride the Vekoma.   LOL

the operators were joking with us about how I kept saying I knew it was gonna be really shaky and rattly, and they were laughing and agreeing, and even took a pic of us for me, since no photo op on this ride.

Glad I rode it this one time tho, during ERT, as it was down the entire next day.   So if hadn't done it, would have missed my chance.

but yes, it stunk.

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and oh yes. . it stunk to high heaven.  Even in the front car, it was so headbang/shaky that I was glad I had popped those Tylenol!

man, did this suck. .and what's funny, is that the two worst coasters at Kings Island are both Vekoma Suspendeds (this, and Invertigo).

Coincidence?  I think not!


ERT was coming to an end, and the park was about to open to the public.   One of the promoted options this morning for CoasterStock was to spend an hour in Q&A with the Train engineers (with a photo op at the engine) and then to take the 1st ride on the train for the day.

since Kim had never been on the KI train, and I like trains well enough (tho not enough to want to do the hour Q&A . . I wanted to ride things) we headed over to the train station to get on the 1st train ride of the day.

heading that way, one gets this fantastic view:

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but what's that I see coming up on the right?

yup. . LOL:

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. . to be continued. . . .

 

 

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22 hours ago, bert425 said:

I carefully backed out of my spot, and was on my way to Mason - home of Kings Dominion.

Two gigas in one city?!?! ;)

But all kidding aside, this has been a highly entertaining read thus far.  It's always great to see Diamondback getting the heaps of praise it deserves, and having Mystic Timbers right next door just adds to the experience.  

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Ha, I didn't notice that kid behind us on MT grabbing his Dad's arm all terrified before! And I am still totally butt hurt that the radio in the shed wasn't working.🙄

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Also that guy with the beard in the DB photo that is trying to hold onto his Coasterstock lanyard lost that battle, the thing ripped off halfway round and flapped right past me, first ride on day 1. What kind of enthusiast doesn't know how to tuck it in his shirt? Amateur. 

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That plane ride you had was WILD LOL. Great trip report! I have come to the conclusion is so relentless, it doesn't matter if you're front middle or back it's so much fun. Looking forward to more!

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^ did I not mention the vomit-mask woman to you?  LOL.  



just to note for maybe the one of you wondering about why no arms raised in the on-ride pics.

I actually *did* occasionally do arms up, but I have pretty bad arthritis in my right shoulder so it kinda *hurts* to have that arm up.

and I've discovered that pictures look weird if I only have one arm up.

So the first few rides I keep arms down until I know where the camera is, and then I just make sure my arms are both down at that camera spot so the pic isn't funky looking.     :)



 

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Day 1 continued. . .

so it hit ~11am and we had joined what seemed like almost everyone at Coasterstock on the train - I mean, pretty much every seat was full

Kim had never been on the Train at KI, and I was up for it, so while we waited to leave the station - which was about 10-15 minutes late moving out - we got to see that clearly the front gates had opened and we watched the "running of the bulls" for those coming to this side of the park for Mystic Timbers, as we could see the queue entrance to that from the train station.  
(as I witnessed from the front of the park the next day - where I was wanting my Starbucks at rope drop - just as many, if not more, headed to the left side of the park for Orion as headed to Mystic Timbers).


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see how packed this train is?

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it was so heavy, that the train barely - and I mean barely - could move.   
It was as if the train had never had so many people on it. . . as it slowly inched along, and I started muttering "i think I can, I think I can". . . .it was so hysterical when a slow moving van from Planet Snoopy was inching along next to us, seemingly trying it's best NOT to pass us, so we would seem like we were moving faster.

anyways. . . as we slowly inched our way along the short, relatively unexciting track, I gave Kim a ton of crap (good naturedly) about what a waste of time this ride was. . LOL.   

being honest here. . it's a terrible ride, and not worth your time, tho it does have some saving grace in that you get some lovely shots of Diamondback,  Mystic Timbers, and some of the woods that Beast Runs thru as you make the short circuit between the station near MT, and the Water Park.    

oh the engine is lovely, and the people operating it were great (tho it was very odd to me that the full train - full of Coasterstock folks, because remember, we were 1st ride of the day), still made a stop at the Waterpark - where no one exited, and a few folks did their best to squeeze on from that stop to join us on the train.

I'd say the train really just functions as a mode of transportation to get to the park from the waterpark, if you don't want to walk it.

so. . yeah.   not worth your time, unless you really have some little ones who enjoy trains.  
But you can get some nice pics on the short length track - that takes a good 20 minutes due to the waterpark stop, and how slow the train was moving.

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you also cross over the rapids ride, which is nice, I suppose, tho this early in the day no one was riding it yet.
got a pic of an empty raft tho.

I had seen Chad about an hour earlier as we were exiting Mystic Timbers (and he made a valiant attempt to answer my question and explain to me why Kings Island doesn't have an apostrophe in it -  the grammar nerd in me STILL disagrees, and thinks it should be "King's Dominion", LOL, but at least he tried to explain it to me in a way that made sense. .I just don't agree still), and I had asked him if the park would be opening their rapids ride, since the accident at AdventureLand was still fresh in the news.   

and he told me they would be operating it, so big Kudos to the park for this  - they inspected their own ride, found no issues, and opened it up.

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what's this?  OH MY GAWD. . . what's in the shed ??????

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after the too short/way too long train ride, it was time to head to "the Beast"

we had ERT on it later tonight, but I had held off long enough, so it was time to go over that way for a ride, and to finally - after wanting to ride it for decades - get a ride on this bucket list coaster.

 

but first?  had to stop and get some pics of Diamondback's splashdown feature as we headed towards Beast's queue.

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are we going the right way?    these wonderful pawprints on the pavement indicate YES!

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still not quite to the ride yet, but the infamous sign was there, so of course I had to stop and get a pic.

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I noticed the lady behind me and tried to figure out what she was doing, and it turned out this was a "funpix spot" where you scan you card, and pose for the camera on your own.

so I eagerly scanned the card, stood on the beast footprints like it tells you to, posed . . . . . and:

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um. . yeah.    The camera doesn't capture the ride sign?   whut?

I laughed my ass off when I saw this come thru on my Funpix account about 20 minutes later. . . I mean. . what is the point if you get a shot of . . . grass ???
I guess the camera had moved and no one has ever reported it, and so you don't get the Beast sign in your picture?     (it made me really glad I had taken the prior picture to get the sign).

by the way, the only other self fun pix location I noticed in the park was over in Planet Snoopy, where you are supposed to pose in front of a green screen with arms up - and we did it. . but that picture never came thru.   So maybe this is a thing that KI used to offer, and what's left are just the remnants of that, and the two spots are simply not maintained anymore?    it was a little weird.

but anyways. . . we were on our way just a little further up the hill to get in the queue for Beast!
 

 

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Orion across the park, certainly stands out.. whee!

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really love all the signage all over the station and queue for the Beast.     This area of the ride/queue was really well themed and maintained.

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off my ride - row two - and I LOVED it
(you can see Kim (in her pink hat) standing in line for Row one, as she and Joel waited for that row, while I walked onto row 2 :)
the line was a good 20 minutes - so longer than it looks here, as the grouper was holding the line at the center of the station and only filling up each row as the prior train was getting ready to pull out.  the only exception being row 1, that they were allowing folks to wait for.

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the girl in front of me put up her hands and that kinda blocks me. . but a big ol smile on my first ever ride on the Beast
(and I kinda love how the girl sitting next to her in the front row appears to be ducking to avoid the piece of wood in the photo frame).

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after Kim and Joel got off their ride, I was really starting to get ready for some Starbucks - it was just late enough that I thought the line would be diminished - but rather than cut thru the park, we decided to go around the outside to get it - hitting a few things with really short lines as we passed them.

the Troika (Shake, Rattle, and Roll here) was running a super intense cycle, and finished just before I started to get nauseous from it.

the Windseeker had a 1 cycle wait, so Joel and I took a ride on that and I think it's the most intense Windseeker cycle I've ever been on. . oh, you can't beat the location of the one at Cedar Point, but man, this one really rotates fast, and I'd recommend a ride on it for anyone visiting KI.

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we bypassed Zephyr, the antique cars (we had ERT on them anyways the next day), and I was excited to see a Monster, as those are few and far between these days - tho never did get back to that or the Sizzler, as every time the opportunity arose, my stomach said "no.. no more spinning right now".. . all the more reason to go back next year again for CoasterStock 😛

Racer had a bit of a line (and again, knew we could ride it later) so just stopped for a pic or two as we passed it:
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the Starbucks menu was fairly short with mostly iced drinks, but they had a note at the bottom saying that if you don't see something ask.   So I did ask for my Hot White Mocha Latte, which they made for me.   And although my thought of "it's already past Noon, the Starbucks shouldnt' have much of a line" was accurate?  I unfortunately got stuck in line behind a group of 8 or so young teen girls, who all ordered super-complicated drinks - and apparently one girl was paying for all of them with a handful of $50 bills (I said nothing, tho personally, her parents should have told her not to be flashing around handfuls of $50s -   the park goes cashless this week, so figured it was a short term issue and stayed out of it and minded my own business).

but yes. . after about 15 minutes.. finally:

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we discussed what to do next - there were still a couple of areas we hadn't been to (area 72 where Orion/Flight of Fear are was an area we bypassed, but we decided to head over to the front left of the park to check out Banshee - tho not ride it as we had ERT the next morning -and the Bat, to maybe ride it if the line wasn't bad.  Joel was convinced the Bat would have no line, because it's kind of hidden, and he was mostly correct.


what a beautiful ride, tho the line was pretty long at this point.. so as noted we walked by it.
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Joel wasn't kidding about the Bat entrance being rather "hidden". . I mean, it has a big sign, but wow, that queue goes on forever. . . lots and lots of walking before the station even comes into view.
so we weren't sure how long the line actually was. . but we made it all the way to the 'final' downwards staircase before we hit any kind of line, and at that point we'd walked pretty far, so just decided to wait in line.

love the logo design on this:

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I thought this was one of the most bizarre stations I'd ever been in for a ride.  
Looking it up online I see that it was themed to an Aircraft carrier from when the ride was originally introduced at "Top Gun"

Having learned that, now, I can kind of see it.. . tho it was freaky and weird and made no sense to me what any of this had to do with a Bat. . LOL

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we went for Back row for this, and man, does this sucker haul - after one of the slowest lift hills I've ever been on!
But in the back, we felt like we were getting almost 90 degree vertical swings, and the speed just never lets up once you leave the lift hill.

I really loved this and ended up getting a front row ride the next day during morning ERT.

and hey, look who it is in the front row!  our friend (minus an itinerary badge) from Diamondback :)

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Tho the ride is hidden really well from the rest of the park?  
some fantastic views of it from the exit queue line:

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it wasn't quite yet time for the Group pic meet up in front of the Eiffel Tower at 2:30, so we cut across the front of the park, back thru Planet Snoopy to get a ride on Woodstock Express.

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These things reminded me very much of a Japanese Park - as rides like these seemed to be in every Japan park (other than Disney) that I went to back in 2019 with TPR.

Adorable, tho they seemed powered, rather than pedaled (as most of the Japanese versions are). . so no, I didn't try to squeeze my fat ass into this to ride it.  :p

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it was interesting to learn that Woodstock Express - the junior woodie - was the first of these that had been built, and this one opened with the park.   More interesting to learn that it was once called "Beastie" and had a tunnel at the bottom of the 1st drop, to tie it into the Beast elsewhere in the park  (the operator dispatched us calling the ride Beastie).

it was rough. . the roughest version of this Junior Woodie I've been on. . . tho we still did get some pops of air in the back, so it was fun (and we got a great picture out of it).

but wow. . it smelled over there in the queue.

like. . bad.

like animals poop.

someone said - "oh, that's just the petting zoo right over there" . .  but the Petting Zoo was closed, and no animals there at all.
So I believe Kim when she said:  "that's kids. . . kids smell". . . .bwaaa-haaaa-haaaaa. . .I'm sure there are more than  a few full diapers that make it on to Woodstock Express, so I believe her.  

but I've now ridden Woodstock Express at KD, Carowinds, and  KI (listed in the order I preferred them):

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by the time we got off the coaster, it was getting close to 2:10 pm, so we decided to head toward the tower for the group pic. . .

to be continued. .  .

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Your memory and ability to recall as much detail as you do always amazes me. I can barely remember what I did yesterday!

Can't wait to see the rest!! Eager to see your opinion of nighttime Beast rides. 😈

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I laughed out loud at the Beast Funpix portrait.

I like seeing everyone enjoying the park we've loved for years. Our first trip was during SOB's final year of SBNO, and we still loved it back then. We had our first park beers there.

I remember Elissa being puzzled by our enjoyment of KI when I wrote our initial TR. 😆 It was all about Diamondback and Beast for us, back then. (and beer) It's changed so much, and all of it for the better (IMO). I can't wait to see what they do next.

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^I maintain that Kings Island is one of the parks in the country that has improved the most in 20 years. Like seriously, rides, operations, food, merchandise, EVERYTHING has improved so much. 

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30 minutes ago, Chiselphane said:

I always appreciate how much of the full experience you capture in your reports, rather than just a laundry list of rides. 

thank you!

I do love writing up the reports. . i get to re-live the experience while putting together the TRs.

tho I do wish I could be "briefer" sometimes. . . would not take me so long (LOL).  It's just not in my nature!    
(but I did take way less pics on day 2, so that should move quicker once I get to that)

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day 1 continued. . .

So we headed over to the front of the Eiffel Tower for the group picture at 2:30.

to get there from Woodstock Express, we headed back thru Planet Snoopy, and past this bizarre ass game called "Stinky Feet"

-- where you sit on a toilet and shoot water at the feet of a guy taking a bath (and there's also a bar of soap in his hand that has a target on it).
I have SO Many questions, but really, at the top of that list is:   What kind of bathroom is it, where if you're sitting on the toilet, you're facing directly at the bathtub looking at whomever might be in the tub?    Seemed a bit kinky for a family park.

so of COURSE I had to get a picture (tho hadn't noticed the lady looking at me from her perch on her toilet until just now. . . LOL)

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we got to the base of the tower tho:

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and tho there were a lot of us there, still immediately bumped into Stacy and John and chatted with them about the day thus far (and my opinion of what things we'd ridden thus far).

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here are the group shots they sent out to us - 1st the shot with everyone hands up
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which I think they quickly realized blocked out most everyone other than the front row, LOL. . so a "hands down" pic then went out to everyone as well:

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and tho the "vertically challenged"  (or "fun sized" as they would say) Stacy & Kim aren't really visible.. you can actually see Joel, John, and myself in the pic:

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I hadn't officially met him yet - tho would within the next hour - PianoJohn from right here at the TPR forums is very visible in this pic too, far left front row, in the black shirt with white hat :)

Pic taken, everyone split off to fill the ~1 hour until the next Coasterstock official activity - a behind the scenes walking tour/photo op for The Beast.

I hadn't even seen the Carousel yet, and since it was right behind the tower, we headed that way to get a look at it and enjoy some other scenery - and I *think* we made a walk over to Diamondback, and rode it as the line wasn't too bad (tho the Mystic Timbers line had gotten long, so wouldn't get another ride on that until tomorrow when we rode the heck out of it with Fast Lane Plus)

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eventually, it was close to time for the tour, and we all met up by the gates next to Beast - ending up next to Stacy & John again (LOL), but she was able to point out PianoJohn to me and I went and said hello (he's a really nice guy and we chatted quite a bit thruout the tour, and even rode a few rides together thru the remaining of Coasterstock.

and then the gates opened, and we got to walk way back into the woods where Beast course runs.  It really felt like I was back at camp in my teens. . but so much fun, and thank goodness, no bugs!

here are lots of pics of the backstage walking tour, that was ~50 minutes long:

 

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and yes, I'm sure all these riders were wondering who the hell all these folks are taking pictures of them!

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you can get some great shots of one of Orion's turn arounds from back here too. . . .and you can see how some of the light bleed from Orion at night results in a Beast night ride not being COMPLETELY black these days. . but still. . .beautiful coaster (and we hadn't even been near it yet at this point. . it had all been foreplay thus far today).

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and here he is (I hadn't taken a pic of us together, but John did), PianoJohn and bert, backstage at the Beast!

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I wasn't interested in heading further down into the woods - tho some did, to get some shots of the final helix, so we headed back towards the Station

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and remembered that this tour also included a chance to go over by Diamondback's turnaround - which was over here in the Backstage area - just behind the old "the Crypt" ride building, which is still standing, and they told us they use for Haunts these days.

so we hung a left at the Beast Station instead of heading back out into the park.

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and discovered what the Water Dummies do on their downtime

if you've ever wondered? Water Dummy Orgy, of course 

. . .LOL.. KI is way kinkier than I could have imagined 😛 

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I had actually forgotten that I had taken these pics, and was annoyed at myself that I didn't take any pictures of Mystic Timbers incredible 1st diving drop  . . . so was so thrilled to see I have these in my photos from the Beast walkback tour:

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one last pic of Diamondback, before we headed out back into the park.

I think we had about 1 1/2 hours until dinner time at this point, and I honestly can't remember what we went to next - but I seem to recall that the lines were pretty long on everything at this point in the day and we were worried that if we tried to get in line for something, we'd miss dinner.    I wanted to do some shopping for Tshirts/magnets as well, so I'm pretty sure we decided that we'd head back over to the Eiffel Tower  to go to the top if the line was short, and then run to the car to drop off hats, Kim could change shoes, and could drop off anything purchased.

walking back thru Planet Snoopy, I stopped to snap a pic of this Carousel.

I had to because:
1) it's a carousel
2) it annoyed the hell out of me that it's called "Character Carousel" - but with NO characters on it!  I mean, c'mon. . I rode the craptastic carousel at USJ because it was themed to Sesame Street characters, and I rode the even worse one at YomiUriLand because I got to ride on LandDog.   

But only having the Peanuts characters on the Sign ?  LOL.. that annoyed me, even tho I was tempted to ride it anyways, since I liked the Zebras.

1st world Carousel Fan problems. . . .

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but wait. . now there was an actual walk around Snoopy out?

of COURSE I waited for a picture (thanks for taking Kim).

tho I left snoopy high and dry, when I started to walk away without realizing he was trying to give me a high-five - I went back and did it once it was pointed out (by many!) that I had left Snoopy hanging.

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Speaking of High-5 (which makes me think of touching). . I do want to mention how the park is handling Covid these days.

well, "handling" might not be the right word, since it's basicially not even being actively addressed.     In several places around the park, I did note signs referencing social distancing, and a few of the stores did have signs up on the doors referring to Masks recommended, but none of it was being enforced or even mentioned.

in fact, I think out of all the "Sanitation Stations" - and there are *many* of them thruout the park, and ride queues - I think I only found one of them in the entire two day visit that had any sanitizer in it.   The rest were all dry.     I carried a small bottle of sanitizer in my zip pockets, so just used that (and refilled it this evening for the next day), and I even supplied it once or twice to other folks who tried to use a sanitize station but found it out of fluid.      I also had a mask with me both days (you can see it in my hand in some pictures from earlier in the day), tho I didn't really put it on when we were outside, but I did for ordering in Starbucks, when we cut thru the festhaus, and for the Elevator ride down from the Eiffel Tower - once realized on the way up that it was going to be a crammed full elevator of people.  (i held my breath the whole time going up, and then kicked myself for not pulling out my mask. . so made sure to wear it for the ride down)

I don't mean that in a negative way, or really to criticize the park. . .  just giving heads up for those who are still a bit concerned about going out where there are groups as to how KI is handling it.

other than myself? I saw, *maybe* , 5 other masks being worn in the park - either indoors or outdoors.  

not judging, just noting.

anyways. . . we got up to the top of the Eiffel Tower, with only a one (packed) elevator wait, and spent a good 30 minutes up there enjoying the breeze and the view:

Orion on the lift hill
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Clockwise from bottom LtR:  Backlot Stunt, Beast, Diamondback, showbuilding for the Crypt, Mystic Timbers, Race For Your Life Charlie Brown

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Clockwise from bottom LtR: Dogem, Zephyr (swings), Racer, Orion, Antique Taxis, Windseeker, Beast, Backlot Stunt Coaster.

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~40 minutes till dinner. . got it :)

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Pretty full parking lot, with Invertigo on the right

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Invertigo, Chute the Shoots boat, drop Tower, Delirium, the Bat, Banshee, and at the bottom the top of the Swinging Ship ride.

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In this pic, you can actually see our hotel - just to the left of the drop tower, about level with the red portion (across the freeway).  
So good location, and POSSIBLE to walk to if you must in an emergency.

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Banshee really does have a fantastic layout, with the elements spaced out just enough that it doesn't seem so intense.  
I played it safe and only rode it once (I know how I do with suspendeds), but it was very good

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Closeup on Diamondback's splashdown finale, from the top of the tower:
(again, that big "box" is the showbuilding for the closed Crypt ride - an indoor giant Top Spin )

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LOL. . Flight of Fear really isn't all that Photogenic, is it.

LOOK!  a big silo building. . .LOL

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But Orion sure is pretty tho!  It absolutely just dwarfs Racer.

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I had such intentions to ride this. . but again. . every opportunity, the thought of spinning just said. . nope.
I love these rides tho.

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the intention was to do a quick stop in some stores to pick up some t-shirts and then run them to the car before dinner (we had even taken a quick peek earlier while waiting for the group picture so I'd know exactly which shirts I wanted). . but finding the sizes I needed took longer than anticipated - the staff was able to find the sizes I needed in the shirts I wanted in the back, so big thanks to them. . and it got too late to run to the car without missing the first 30 minutes of dinner.   So we grabbed our (my) bags, and we headed over to the Picnic area behind Planet Snoopy for the first of two catered Dinners at Coasterstock.

. . to be concluded. . . .

 

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Wow, you have done a good job remembering the day. The only thing I can think of (and this only partially affected you) was that after you got the Starbucks you caught up with us at Tom & Chee to have a bite of the greatest grilled cheese that ever was or ever will be.😜

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^ right, I got in the Starbucks line, and y'all went to go grab a light snack since Joel hadn't eaten all day other than a donut in the morning.

I did forget about that (since I didn't have a picture :P)

but you're right, the grilled cheese with the Balsamic was very, very good.

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Agreed on the Tom & Chee with balsamic. KI's food has been going up in quality mainly because they're letting other people make it now. 😆

 

The walkbacks look so fun! I always like those, but at KI where they've got a whole park's worth of land in their backstage, so much to see there.

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2 hours ago, ytterbiumanalyst said:

Agreed on the Tom & Chee with balsamic. KI's food has been going up in quality mainly because they're letting other people make it now. 😆

 

The walkbacks look so fun! I always like those, but at KI where they've got a whole park's worth of land in their backstage, so much to see there.

^ hahaha. . perfect timing on the mention of food. . . since the next post will include the "yummy" dinner.
(it had it's highlights both nights. . . but with the highs, come the lows, right?).

I LOVED the walkback on Beast/Dimondback, and the one the next morning under Banshee was great as well.   the only one I bypassed was Orion/Racer the next day, since Zach and I rode things during that instead, so I don't have any pics from that (hopefully at the end of my report, Kim has some pics, or perhaps PianoJohn if he did that walkback, have some pics from that they can add).

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1 hour ago, bert425 said:

^ hahaha. . perfect timing on the mention of food. . . since the next post will include the "yummy" dinner.
(it had it's highlights both nights. . . but with the highs, come the lows, right?).

I LOVED the walkback on Beast/Dimondback, and the one the next morning under Banshee was great as well.   the only one I bypassed was Orion/Racer the next day, since Zach and I rode things during that instead, so I don't have any pics from that (hopefully at the end of my report, Kim has some pics, or perhaps PianoJohn if he did that walkback, have some pics from that they can add).

Joel did take some pics. Will look through them soon as  I can!

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