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bert goes back to KI for the 2nd year in a row for Coasterstock! (with stops along the way at Holiday World and Kentucky Kingdom) - a Photo Trip report

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so.. although I had LOVED Kings Island in my one prior visit last year for Coasterstock! I really thought that visit would be my only ever trip there.

(similar to how I went to Coastermania at Cedar Point in 2017, thinking it was my only ever visit there, and then ended up going back in 2018 as well).

but back in Jan/Feb, when TeacherKim reached out and encouraged me to try and get a ticket for this year's Coastermania. . . I poo-poohed it.   Yes, I had absolutely loved the park, but there was nothing really new since last year (when Orion had opened). . although I was intrigued by the retracking/reprofiling for parts of the Beast.

but I just couldn't do it.     I don't have much "free" vacation, and I told her I just didn't want to deal with the hassle of renting a car, figuring out hotel, etc. . .

her response - like the true bad influence she is . . and I say that with love. . was,

"oh. . don't fly to Cincinnati!   fly here to St. Louis, I'll pick you up at the airport, crash with us, and then drive with her and Joel (Kim's son) to Coasterstock!    That way I wouldn't have to mess with car rental, and she would just book two rooms, so I wouldn't have to mess with figuring out hotel accommodations. . oh, and along the way?  we'll stop at Holiday World and on the way back at Kentucky Kingdom - both new parks to me, and both parks I'd always wanted to visit, but figured would never get to, unless part of a coaster trip i go along with others on.

so I was sold enough, I told her I'd try to get a Coasterstock! ticket when they went on sale.

I guess the universe wanted me to go, as tho the event sold out in 12 minutes?  I, as well as Kim and Joel, were all able to get tickets.    And by the end of that Feb day, I had flight booked to St. Louis,  hotel for last night prior to flight back at St. Louis airport, and 3 days approved to take off work (Thurs/Fri/Mon).  

when the Coasterstock! package arrived in the mail, the complaining about the *white* shirt on the Coasterstock! FB page,  immediately had me thinking I should tie-dye it, even tho I'd never done it before.

So I did, and I think it came out great.

who knew what I'd started tho, as after I posted this on the page, many, many folks started tie-dying. . . and vast majority of them looked really good :)     but yeah, I think I started a trend (shiver). . LOL




the months flew, and I found myself on the afternoon of May 18 at the Austin airport waiting for my flight.  

Having just found out from a friend that they had gotten Covid from their seatmate on a flight last week (and yes, EVERY flight is completely full now - who knew SO many people wanted to go to St. Louis on a Wed afternoon from Austin??), so I wore my mask from the moment I entered the airport, until the moment Kim picked me up a few hours later.  

I wasn't the only one with a mask. . but maybe less than 2% bothered with it. 

Glad I did.. been back a week after being around a LOT of people. . and I did NOT get sick.   So I'll stick with being cautious and as safe as possible, even tho I don't love wearing it.



and at least the Austin Airport now has a Starbucks!  (they resisted for YEARS. . wanting to keep only local coffee places in the airport).



Since I packed lightly (carryon only), was off the plane and picked up by Kim very quickly once landed in St. Louis.

we went by her home to pick up her Husband and we went out for dinner (not posting that pic, as not sure if Steve would want to be in a trip report. .LOL). . dinner was great, even with our waiter who seemed to be struggling a little, admitted he was brand new - just stared this week, and hadnt' actually eaten ANYTHING on the menu so could give no recommendation.  oy.   but he tried.  

the longish/lateish meal was punctuated as we were leaving by a couple of "Bros" coming into the restaurant who hooted at my t-shirt and loudly exclaimed "WWE !!!"   (think they were trying to do Ric Flair ?). . but I calmly pointed out it's the Wonder Woman logo (much to the delight of their friends that the loudest "Whoo" guy was wrong).

after that we went back to the house, I played a really cool VR simulation with Joel for a bit, and we crashed hard.

had to, as we got up and left the next morning, I think, by 5am to head out to Holiday World.

pretty good pic (managed to get one with no cars) as we passed by the Arch on the way out of the city



tho we stopped at "Bread Co" for a quick morning bite  - which Kim had to explain is Panera everywhere else in the States. . but where it started, they just refer to it as Bread Co.

I look pretty happy/excited that we're headed to a park that I've never been to.

tho Kim looks like she had to get up at 5:30 am. . LOL


and then we were off to Holiday World.

it looked like it was gonna be a *beautiful* day. . and it was, up until about 1:30 pm, so it's a good thing we got up and headed out early.

next up:   Holiday World!

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  • bert425 changed the title to bert goes back to KI for the 2nd year in a row for Coasterstock! (with stops along the way at Holiday World and Kentucky Kingdom) - a Photo Trip report

Soon enough, we were going thru the cornfields, and pulling into the parking lot for Holiday World.

we knew we had purchased for a School Days day. . but wow, there were a LOT of busses in the parking lot.   And with HW not having any kind of skip the line pass, we worried it might be a challenging day.

Still, I was thrilled to be there - even with my ankle still messed up from a bad twist 10 days earlier, so more "hobbling" than "walking". . but still..I was determined to have a great visit regardless (and I really did, even tho the day got cut short).


slowly making our way from our parking spot - we got to park fairly close, as all the busse were too the left.


I've seen this in other's reports. . but so excited to see it in person.
(tho I was surprised not to find ONE T-shirt for sale with the traditional logo on it.      Found some that were close, but not this logo)


I'm here!  
(and I can *totally* read Joel's mind in this pic.. ..  you already move slow. .and you're stopping for pictures???).




absolutely purchase your tickets online. . we bypassed some pretty lengthy lines to enter the park, since we already had our tickets form online.


we followed standard HW procedure (from what I'd been told) and headed all the way to the back of the park for Thunderbird/Voyage. . . as Legend was already filling up most of the queue as we passed by (it was running only 1 train, as Raven was as well).

Didn't stop me from getting a pic with Santa as we passed by - tho I didn't wait in the long line for the "professional" pics. . . it's just timing between people from off to the side :)


I was actually VERY impressed with how lovely the park is.   

and surprised. . I was really expecting more Wal*Mart / Carnival Cruise type atmosphere, and yes, the clientele certainly gave off those vibes (lots of "let's go Brandon" t-shirts - on KIDS yet! - and unironically worn shirts with certain president's heads on bodybuilder bodies). . but the park itself was beautifully landscaped in places (other than the neglected dirt-pit with flume remnants from where Pilgrim's Plunge used to be), and the grounds were - for the most part - beautiful.

and the free drink stations set up everywhere were very nice!   other parks should start offering this perk (think of the staffing they could save from not having to have registers at every location!)

Park Map.


oooo. . spooky. . heading into Halloween section



but first, a photo op?  why of course!


see?  it really is a lovely park. .   there were several flats, that had pretty decent lines already, as we passed.

the park was only open until 4, so we had planned to focus on the Coasters and the Water Coasters as much as possible. . but some of the flats certainly had my interest.


such as this wave swinger, that looked incredible.



crossing into Thanksgiving, we came upon the Voyage - tho we were headed to Thunderbird first.
(and yes, that IS the line for Voyage, already coming out of the queue line. . wowza)





LOL. .I adored this Turkey Themed Tilt A Whirl.. but it had a line. . and we were headed to Thunderbird, so passed it by.



I hadn't realized this park was "hilly".. so it was giving my ankle a real workout.  . but we finally made it to the final hill at the back of the park, and into view came this beautiful sight.

no, not the worlds smallest skyflyer - tho that made me giggle.. . .and people were lining up for it!!!

but Thunderbird, a launched wing coaster.



were they only running 1 train here too?   No, they actually were running 2, but they were having some issues with fast loading on this day.

no worries..we were here to ride coasters, and any ride was worth the wait for me. . . so we headed in and joined the line


um. . yeah.

and with so many schools on site, there were rampant cases of "I need to cut thru to meet up with my friends"

now, to be fair, we FULLY expected this.   We knew we were going on a school days day. . . but that didn't stop TeacherKim from stopping several of these line jumpers and telling them "I'll let you thru once, but everyone here is waiting and you are cutting in line!"

LOL. . several groups of kids kept staring back at us (afraid of Kim) the whole time we were in the line.  

(not that she was wrong at all. .and they knew it. . . because if you DON'T say something?  soon, two kids cutting becomes 5 more meeting their friends, then 3 more that came later, etc)


we ended up waiting about an hour and ten minutes for Thunderbird, and since we had waited?  just went ahead and waited a few more cycles for the front row.

(yeah, even with the "boarding instructions" listed there, quite a few folks seemed confused as to if they should take off shoes, or how to click the restraints. . . . )





a look at the train. .


Joel and I on our ride. . it was really fun, and quite intense.   A bit more intense than I had expected really.. . was glad I hadn't eaten anything before standing in the heat for over an hour and then riding this.

but I liked it a lot.. particularly the launch, and the "near misses" thru the barn.


Kim being silly. . but I had to include this pic for that epic side-eye her seat mate is shooting her on the brake run.




we headed to Voyage, but first had to stop and get some drinks, and as we passed by the turkey shooting dark ride, we noticed it was open!   

it had been listed as closed at the front gate, but maybe since it had gotten so warm they decided to open it?  I dunno. . but I LOVE stupid rides, and this turkey shooter ride sure was stupid. . a fun stupid.    and it was air conditioned.     So you betcha we hopped in the fairly short line to take a spin.

not before I was a turkey tho:


the queue line.. . my. . how TERRIFYING you are, Gramma!





I was SO tempted to hop in line for this as we exited the turkey shoot dark ride, but the truth is it was too hot for anything "spinning". . so I settled for a picture of it, and moved on to Voyage queue.



so the Voyage queue was so long, they were using the basement area - routed down there after going up the initial steps.

there really wasn't any airflow down there, and so I put on my mask - and i was literally the only one in the line that bothered (tho I did see a few others put on masks to go inside stores that were busy).

at least what is very cool is that down in the basement, there is a flyby of the train, past a big window towards the end of the ride.   and it did get everyone excited every time a train zoomed by that giant window.

there were some line jumpers here too. .and again, Kim put them in their place, explaining why they shouldn't cut.

I think in total we waited ~ 1:30 for it?


lookie. . finally up at the station!


and we ended up in Row 2.     where we got a really, really rough ride.

but took the pic first, so we're so happy to be riding. . LOL

the tunnels were the best part of the coaster, I think.   nice and cool.   and I was thrilled there was so much air-time, as it got my butt out of the seat so I didn't' get jackhammered to death.

Glad I finally rode it, but yeah...  (tho if ever make it back, will try it again in a different (ie: front) row)


we headed over to Legend, and the line hadn't died down that much.  (one train ops).

but the sky had started to get dark.   we didnt' notice any lightning or thunder, but about 15 minutes into the wait?  an announcement was made about Inclement weather.



they made EVERYONE leave the line. . no one allowed to wait it out - although they oddly, didn't send anyone out to the front to chain off the queue, nor tell anyone status (something they didnt' do on other rides either. . very strange)..they just started shutting everything down.

it was only ~1:20, and the park was only open until 4.  so we had a chance things might open again, but not looking good, or that we'd manage to get on any water coasters - as Splashin Safari had just down either.

I'd never been, so I was happy just to walk the park and take a look at things.

the only thing we came across that had NOT shut down was the "Holidog Express". . which looked to be themed to Nursery Rhymes, and traveled around the Kids area.


it was open, so did we ride it?

you bet your ass!  (remember what I said about loving stupid rides)



this sign in the train!   OMG. . . . "contact with Moving OR Stationary object can cause injury?"  



not everyone was THRILLED to be riding, as the woman behind me facial expression shows. . but it was the only thing operating, so it was a full train.
(the last full train as it turned out as once we got back, the engineer got a call to shut it down too, just before the sky opened)


highly recommended if you enjoy stupid things. . . the Engineer, in a dead monotone voice, just says the nursery rhymes as you pass by each set piece.


this is Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater.


the kiddie coaster in the park.


can't remember who this is who is stealing a pig. . .but I mean, I think we all know WHY he was stealing a pig.

which i found VERY confusing, as right  across the train tracks from him was Mary and her little lambs. . so one would think he'd rather have a soft lamb for his bestiality.

but oh well. . I try not to judge Indiana.  😛


the Giant looks like Jack pissed in his cornflakes, doesn't he?  


is this the back entrance?   it's an entrance to something. . but we didn't come in this way.   weird.


as noted, moments after we got off the train, the sky just OPENED up. .. .quarter size rain drops, and it poured for a good 20 minutes.   Once it slowed down to a drizzle, we continued our walk around the park, checking out the closed rides.    Some of which I really wish had opened up - and I'd like to check out if I ever get back.

I dont' do bumper cars. . ever.  

But man, I'd sure be tempted to ride bumper cars themed to Horses!     I adored this!



and the most boring mini flume / canoe ride, I've ever seen. 

this was in a theme park?



as we made it back towards the front section, since nothing was open, I suggested we hit the main store (as I still wanted to buy a tshirt for Nick).
well.. ALL those bus loads full of kids?   yup, they were ALL packed into the the big store by the front section.

sitting in aisles - so you couldn't move - and the checkout lines were all lengthy, stretching as far as the eye could see and wrapping up and down the open aisles, making it even more impossible to move.     Most of the lines were the kids all holding a pack of candy, or a magnet, or some rocks/jewelry.   Have to wonder just how much product walked out in pockets during the 55 minutes I was in that store standing in line to get that shirt.   

I wasn't comfortable at all, but it's not like could go outside, since this happened while in the store (or, and a tornado warning too).



eventually, everything passed, and we decided to check out some sections of the park we hadn't' gotten to yet.  

it was just after 3, and as noted, the park closed at 4 today.     People/kids were streaming out of the park, now that the rain had calmed down. . . so we figured we'd wander and see if any movement.

and hey, it allowed me to get some pics I hadn't gotten yet.






but by 3:20, there was NO movement at all on any of the rides, and we just decided to call it.   We still had a pretty good drive to Kings Island (Coasterstock! started the next morning early), and we still had plans to stop for dinner.

so with certainty that they probably were not going to get open either Legend or Raven (we seriously couldn't get anyone in the Guest Services booth to come to the front - I could see them hiding out in the back room chatting away - to advise what their policies were, and if they would attempt to get things open for the last 1/2 hour of the day). . we called it and headed out.

but not before I got another picture :



so the day got rained out, but you know what?  I STILL had a great time, even with only 4 rides on a very crowded and rainy day.

I liked the park enough that I'll absolutely go back if I get the chance. . and perhaps get to try out those water coasters.

but with that, we headed out and made our way towards Cincinnati.. with the POURING rain following us off and on the whole way.

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Thanks for writing this up! It sounds like you went on the 19th? I know it doesn't do you any good but if you save your ticket it's good for any operating day the rest of the season.


Yes, they actually give "rain checks".

Sorry you didn't get to ride everything though. Those lines seem abnormally long, probably because the school groups didn't go to the water park at all to thin out the crowds is my only thought.

Better luck next time I guess, thanks for the pics and review!

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10 minutes ago, anonymouscactus said:

Thanks for writing this up! It sounds like you went on the 19th? I know it doesn't do you any good but if you save your ticket it's good for any operating day the rest of the season.


Yes, they actually give "rain checks".

Sorry you didn't get to ride everything though. Those lines seem abnormally long, probably because the school groups didn't go to the water park at all to thin out the crowds is my only thought.

Better luck next time I guess, thanks for the pics and review!

yup. .it was the 19th.

some of the folks huddling around Guest Services (when I couldnt' get anyone to come to the front counters) mentioned about the ticket being good for another day.

but really, it was ok, I had a great time looking around the park, even if I wasn't able to ride everything I'd have liked to.

hopefully will get back at some point in the future :)

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You can post the picture with Steve in it if you want, he never reads this, won't even know, lol.

I was up at 4:50 actually, watered all my flowers outside before we left and packed the final things in the car. Anyone that takes a picture of me after getting up that early and having already driven an hour and a half will get a tongue sticking out at them. Boo.

Lol, I explained to the girl on TB that I was being goofy for a pic, it was all good. All I could think was how short and fat I look next to a young teen. Probably serves me right since technically I was mocking some FB posters that were at another theme park. 🙄

Always fun to give a good healthy scare to some annoying teens.

I realized that even though I have ridden Voyage many times, it was always a front seat ride. Never tried the back since I figured it would beat the shit out of me. Joel said his ride was fine and surmises we should not have ridden in the second seat of the car, odd seats only. Ironically we got the smoothest ride ever just last October on a cool (literally and figuratively) night ride.

It really is too bad we got rained out of Legend, Raven and the water coasters. Stupid tornado warning.

I was really hoping since it was a Thursday and the first of several "school days" it wouldn't be too bad. I was very wrong. Avoid school days.


And to anyone that has ridden the janky shooting ride at HW, you will understand why Joel and I laughed out loud at Bert when he asked us if it was like Toy Story Mania 🤣🤣🤣

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Oh and that entrance that you were wondering about was the entrance to the parking lot but on the other side of the park we drove in from. So if you were wb on 64 you would have come in that way. We actually drove out of the parking lot through that when we left since we were continuing on toward Louisville instead of going back to STL, you just didn't realize.

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That's disappointing that they started closing rides even before the rain hit, one of my best rides was on Voyage and halfway up it started pouring, Voyage in the rain with slippery track is so much goodness but man rain drops sure do hurt going that fast... lol I agree the grandma in Turkey Round-up has always been creepy. The other big thing I miss seeing is Ms. Pat Koch being out in the park with a broom and dustpan helping to clean the park up. I was always super impressed by that! The other back entrance you mentioned is to the overflow parking lot, you can park there and go through an underground walkway and meet up with the main parking lot and main gates.

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29 minutes ago, teacherkim said:

You can post the picture with Steve in it if you want, he never reads this, won't even know, lol.


well.. since I have permission :)

and apparently my phone didn't download a handful of other pics I have from the 1st day. . I'll have to make sure and double check going forward!

-- so these pics should have been in the 1st post, before we left on Thurs morning for Holiday World.

here's the "disco plane" we had from Southwest. . . tho oddly, they didn't turn on on the LEDs until we were taxiing to the terminal at St. Louis. . so not DURING the flight.  I wonder if they just forgot to turn them on?



here I am moments after meeting Kim at the airport (sending proof of life home, that I had made it to St. Louis, and had met up with Kim and Joel):



the restaurant we ate at was "Big Chief". . . and the food was mostly all fried, but very good.

Here's the whole gang, tho Steve did not go with us to Coasterstock! or the trip:



and some Toasted Ravioli (better than what I had at the Airport on my last visit to St. Louis, but absolutely blown away by the "more traditional" once we had on Sunday night at an old skool Italian place on "the Hill"). . and fried Calimari.     



I didnt' get a pic of my "rolled lasagna". . which was so rich and quite good (and came standing up in odd triangle shape. . which I was confused by, until it was pointed out that the place is called "Big Chief" so I guess it was supposed to be a teepee ? ) . . or the decadent skillet cookie with ice cream we shared for desert.


once I waddled my way back to the house, I went downstairs with Joel where we played that Virtual Reality stuff, with this amazing set up he has (that I'm sure Steve enjoyed while we were gone)







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5 hours ago, mikeykaise said:

That's disappointing that they started closing rides even before the rain hit, one of my best rides was on Voyage and halfway up it started pouring, Voyage in the rain with slippery track is so much goodness but man rain drops sure do hurt going that fast... lol I agree the grandma in Turkey Round-up has always been creepy. The other big thing I miss seeing is Ms. Pat Koch being out in the park with a broom and dustpan helping to clean the park up. I was always super impressed by that! The other back entrance you mentioned is to the overflow parking lot, you can park there and go through an underground walkway and meet up with the main parking lot and main gates.

To be fair, there were tornado warnings/watches in the area and it started lightening before the rain.


As far as our TV/speaker/computer set up I'm sure Steve was this guy listening to music in the man cave while we were gone. Joel built that computer and uses his Dad's 77 inch TV as the monitor which sometimes leads to arguments over possession of said man cave.


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so once we left Holiday World
(and got this great pic of Thunderbird, Voyage, and the giant empty space where Pilgrim's Plunge was):



we continued on to Leavenworth, IN - for a dinner stop at a restaurant that Kim had "discovered" off the main highway several years ago, called "the Overlook"

this place has THE most incredible views:





and was very much a place that I could see "tour buses full of older folks" frequenting.  

the inside just screamed - "we've been here forever, and anyone over the age of 60 is gonna love it!" - TONS of wood paneling, classic comfort food on the menu (much of it fried, all of it very good, tho my tummy later that night wasn't too much of a fan, as I way overate), and deserts that really were pretty amazing. . . .think old skool diner deserts, but served as if in an old Lodge.

and again, the view inside from pretty much any seat was great - tho they sat us in a beautiful corner table:


it was so cool (and spooky) watching the fog roll in and blanket the river , as waves of rain and storms came and went thruout our meal here.


fi you're curious about the place / menu. . it's very much recommended if you're passing thru the area!



stuffed and feeling like I was leaking grease from my pores (but oh goodness was that Fried Chicken so damn good, I totally get why the waitress said they are known for it), we wobbled back to the car, and continued on to Kings Island - Fighting the rain the whole way. . . sometimes dry, sometimes drizzle, sometimes POURING.

about 2 hours in, after stopping for gas, Joel wanted to drive - and he did a damn good job and got us there safe, despite the bad weather.

eventually we were passing by Kings Island, moments from the hotel:




the rain/lightning would continue off and on thruout the evening - with quite a bit of loud thunder. 

but by the time we woke up for the 1st day of Coasterstock! the sky was overcast, but no rain, and we were ready to have a fantastic day.




Swag from Holiday World - since had a lot of time in the afternoon to shop (ie: hide from the downpours)

not the magnet I would have preferred to get - especially since really only saw one of these mascots in the park.   but honestly, the only one I COULD buy, as the other magnets (tho I liked the designs) were all about as big as License Plates!    No really, they were all HUGE, and I just don't have the fridge space for that kind of thing.



as noted, oddly not ONE shirt with the Holiday World "Rainbow" logo was available. . . but I did manage to get Nick something close:

I bought these two for me:

I really liked this one, and it just so happened to show the only two coasters we got on. . LOL

I also picked up this one because I liked the color and the somewhat simple design. .


I should have put it back tho. . because upon checking out, I saw they had a special that if you spent a certain amount of $$, you could get a more colorful shirt that kinda has the rainbow logo on it for only $9.

so I ended up getting one for me, and one for Nick:




so I ended up buying more shirts (5) than rides we got on (4)  . but I still had a great time at Holiday World, and will go back again if I get the opportunity!

up next:  Day 1 of Coasterstock!

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You wouldn't have gotten a tummy ache later if you hadn't added the fried mushrooms on top of the fried chicken, (same with the fried jalapenos on top of fried lasagna at Big Chief). Just saying. #noonelistenstomom 🤨

I'm actually grateful at this point to have his 19 year old eyes when it's dark and raining out. I'm sure he has better vision than I do at this point in that situation. Getting old sucks.

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^ they weren't Jalapenos. . they were bannana peppers and were SO good.

and I got the Fried Mushrooms for the table, not knowing that when Joel said he'd eat them that he'd try one, and decide he didnt' like the mushroom "earthy" taste  😛  

so it was mainly me eating them - they were so good as well. . . and recall, I DID take that last piece of chicken with us and had it one night later in the hotel . but yeah, was not used to eating so much fried stuff in a 48 hour period.  :)

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Ok. .day 1 of Coasterstock!  lots and lots of pics, so will post in two parts.

part 1:

we were up and out of the hotel by 8am, as gates open early for this incredible event.

ERT this morning went from 8:30am-10am with available options staggered for:  Great Pumpkin Coaster (kiddie, so I didnt' bother), Woodstock Express (which was supposed to be one of the 1st open, but was delayed and did open closer to 10), Diamondback, Mystic Timbers, and Flying Ace Ariel Chase (which I rode last year, and had zero interest in repeating the headbang this Jr. suspended Vekoma offers).

someone was taking pics of the Tie Dyed shirts, so here I am in the line waiting to get into the park, with a Joel photobomb :)

we were deep in conversation with the wonderful lady on the right, wearing a dress that she handmade featuring the classic Flyers on the skirt.

so I'm a huge Carousel nerd (for those that don't know me from here), and so is Don Helbig from KI. . and we had been excitedly chatting on the KI Coasterstock page about the Anniversary of the Carousel and the refurb work they had been doing on it for said Anniversary.    Also in this conversation online, was Danielle.    So we had interacted online, but I had not met her or knew what she looked like. . . and the universe stepped in and we ended up walking next to each other from the parking lot to the front gate.

and within moments, realized that we were the two who had been chatting about Carousels online.    so yes, we ended up hanging out most of the two days, also meeting another wonderful attendee named Jan (appropriate, since Jan lost Mike's plans on the KI Canoes way back in the 70's. . . .oh, Jan!!!).

anyways, so we ended up with a core group of 5-6 of us each day that hung out thruout the day, occasionally meeting up with PianoJohn and Shawn, and Stacy Gretchen, and a few other folks from here at TPR Forums.


Once we got in the gates, we made our way over towards Diamondback since that's where they gave us juice, donuts, and we could pick up our FunPix cards, and drink bands.   Oh, and ride Diamondback a few times, before going next door to ride Mystic Timbers a few times as well, before heading over towards Woodstock Express.

but first?  gotta stop for a pic. The fountains weren't on yet, but the front was quiet enough to get one without tons of people around.



as noted, multiple rides on Diamondback, Mystic Timbers (Kim kept getting Bats in the shed, LOL) and then we discussed what to do next.

At 10am was a photo and video Q&A with the Train Engineers, and the 1st ride of the day on the train.  But we had done that last year, so we skipped it and instead we headed over to Woodstock Express, where we got a private ride  (seriously, the park had just opened but no one was over here yet).  

it's riding much smoother than it was last year, so I'm wondering if perhaps they did some off year trackwork on it?


no idea what's up with the date on this. . 4/12/22 ?   LOL. . was 5/20/22


and then the crowds started to show. . but we were right next to Woodstock's Whirlybirds.   which really didn't have any line at all yet (tho it would later, as they only run a few at a time)

I hadn't even noticed them last year, and have NO idea how I missed them.. but once I saw them online, I was determined to squeeze my butt into them for a ride.

It turns out, the insides are VERY roomy, no issue there, and they encourage adults to ride.

it's a slow moving powered (and breezy, since the sides are open) loop around the Peanuts area.    *but* it's powered and has a slight lift-hill and drop, so does it count as a coaster?   :)


such a pretty area.



we got Joel to ride!  so that implies it must count as a coaster, as he was willing to get on :)



see how roomy?  

Danielle and I easily fit, and tho there were pedals you could work, and a joystick that moved?  really it was a sit back and enjoy the ride type of thing.


see behind that orange one?  a lift hill!   oh, and Orion.


Red Racer was starting to test.  Blue wouldn't open until later in the day, and then broke down while we were waiting for it.  so never actually got to ride Blue, but got 3 rides on Red.


as much as I love Carousels?  yeah, this one didn't look like it could support me, so I didn't even try.  Besides, I knew the Bigger Carousel was in my near future, as we had to head over the Eiffel Tower for the group photo at 11.


here's the Group Photo  taken by Kyle. . . they never reveal numbers, but assuming most everyone showed up?  I'd guess it's capped at somewhere around 1200 ?

and since the ERT always has multiple "big" things open at the same time, it splits the crowd really well, and the ERT really is not much of a wait ever.

SUCH a good event.


Lunch wasn't for an hour yet, and we were sorta closeby, so we swung over to the Beast for a ride (waiting only about 20 minutes).

the retracking is amazing, and it's running SO smooth.   I was iffy about it, but I went ahead and rode Row 17 on this 1st ride, and it was AMAZING.    
yes the brakes are still hitting hard - mainly at the end of the "bridge" before the turn into the woods, and slightly on the drop into the Helix.. but wow, it picks up speed so quickly again, and this sucker is just flying.  and as noted. . smoooooooth.    

LOVED it and rode it several times during the two days at the park.  It doesn't unseat my #1 - Mystic Timbers - but Beast is easily my #3 now (just behind Phoenix) in terms of my favorite wooden coasters.



sadly tho, the Beast onride camera was down, so no onride pic today, so settled for the "photo spot" which I remembered from last year is off by about 3 feet.  So giggling, i posed for it anyways


we still had time, and Danielle and I were antsy about it. . so on the way to go get lunch, it was Carousel time.

sorry in advance, but lots of Carousel pics upcoming:



the special Anniversary Horse it *stunning*



Joel and Kim behind me


Danielle in front of me


the colors are so bright and vibrant. .they put so much love into this!


and then we noticed Jan (tho we hadn't actually MET her yet) waiting for the next cycle - she waved, so we waved back. . and we got a great onride pic that she took.


Lunch was chilidogs, burgers, chicken fingers, Potato Salad, and a few other things that I didn't try.

KI has really stepped up their food game, as even this (what appears to be "basic" food) was so damn good.   tho the chili had beans in it. .what's up with that???
it was still really good tho.    Everything I tried was good!


after lunch, Kyle took a pic of the "tie Dye" people... love this too, tho it was post lunch, so feeling rather "large". . LOL


on the way back into the park, we noticed some "theming" peeking over the fence from the Waterpark area (wasn't open yet for the season)


it was a little confusing, but highly amusing


even tho we had ERT on it later that night?  we hadn't been over to the left side of the park at all today yet.. so we headed over to Orion, and waited ~25 minutes for it.  Not bad at all, considering we did NOT have FastLane + until the next day, so this was general queue.



Orion is all about the speed.   And for me, that first wave turn after the drop.

I like it a lot, but I think my favorite (non wood) coaster in the park is still Diamondback.

we still rode the crap out of Orion on these two days tho.





after meeting up with another of Kim's friends Tom and getting a ride on Adventure Express and Racer, Kim wanted a sit/chat break so they hung out while Joel and I headed to the flats on the midway that I had missed last year, and was determined to ride this year.

1st up?   Monster!



which I learned from this ride op: "Monster goes "Rrawrrrrr"   

something I'm still doing, much to my spouse's annoyance every few hours - complete with Lady Gaga "raise your paws" gesture, and lisp while saying it.     😛


by it's nature, it takes a while to load, so Joel and I were facing Orion & Racer for a good bit while they loaded the other arms. 

So with permission of the ride op, I pulled out my camera (I had promised to put it back in my zippered pocket when the cycle was to start), and snapped some pics of Orion:





and Racer




after Monster, next up was Scrambler - which also was running a great program.


I think we took another lap on Adventure Express here - but first stopping for one of the photo ops spread all over the park.

this one is out near Racer, and was my favorite.


tho even the basic ones were nice backdrops for selfies.


and then we all decided that it had been long enough after lunch, that we really needed some Blue in our lives:

it didn't' taste as "blue" as it was last year, so not quite as sweet, but man, was it good.


Drop Tower was down due to wind, so we just enjoyed the shade spot, and watched Delirium and Banshee cycle.

that's Tom on his phone there in the center







Kim doesn't do well with "swinging" or "spinning" rides, but we convinced her to make the long trek back to "the Bat" (me hobbling, as sitting was helping me rest my bad ankle, but man, the Bat queue has a LOT of steps, an walking).




but she rode it. . even in front row with Joel.


we had skipped the behind the scenes tour of Beast (it had POURED the day before all day, and the idea of it being muddy back there. . along with my worry about not walking on flat ground cinched that I was gonna skip it, tho Danielle had gone and said it was great), as well as the Diamondback behind the scenes, since had done it last year.   So really we had nothing on the schedule until 10:30 pm Nighttime ERT.

and I think it was around 6pm now? 

so we just wandered around, taking pics, riding things as we got to them, and enjoying the park.




Ok, I lied. .this backdrop MIGHT be my favorite :)

but the Racer one is close!



we took a spin on Phantom Manor (I think that's what it's called). . the targets/shooting could use an update, but the Omnimover ride vehicles are great, and it's a nice, long, airconditioned, dark ride.

to bad we were a few weeks too early for shows tho, as would have loved to see the show they put together based on this attraction.


another photo spot, near the French Bakery on main street.


we decided to take another ride on Diamondback or Mystic Timbers, but the lines had actually gotten a bit long, so we instead headed to the train to take a ride.

you can get some great views from the train, and if your timing is good?  some decent pictures too:

Mystic Timbers








this ride is just so damn lovely. . and very little light makes it back here, making it a fantastic night ride (the back half of the coaster is so dark). . not sure why more don't rave about night rides on Diamondback!



theming from the train!




to be continued with evening/night pictures in Part II


and more onride pics, which I just decided to put in part II, as we rode Diamondback and Mystic Timbers SO much, I have no idea which pics are from which ride. . LOL.. but you can tell they are different since moving form seat to seat between photos :)




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OMG! An actual smile from a moody teenager when he was in the station on the whirlygig thing, I had no idea this existed, I was down on the ground getting pics from there. I'm sure it was because I wasn't there to witness it 🙄 It's a Coasterstock miracle.

The dark ride is actually Boo Blasters on Boo Hill. I know. Rolls right off your tongue.

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Continuing on Day one, as dusk started to fall.

We made a stop back towards the front gate (to window shop for some T-shirts to buy the next day) and to grab some sweets from the Bakery (omg, the Peanut Butter bon bons were so rich!) as well as for Danielle, Joel and Kim to get Skyline Chili - of which I tried a bit, but focused more on the desert stuff.

I think the Tower always does do the color changing in the evening, but it sure was lovely with the 50th decorations on it.



we were right there, so I think we rode "something" 



and then I think it might have been close to 9pm or so.  And the park closed at 10 pm.

we had evening ERT this first night on;  Beast, Racer, Orion, Flight of Fear (lights on), Backlot Stunt Coaster, the Autos and Zephyr.

So we decided - having learned from last year's rainout of the 2nd night of ERT (and this year's 2nd night including Mystic Timbers & Diamondback) not to wait. . . so for the last hour, we headed over to DiamondBack and Mystic Timbers to get in some night rides, before the park closed, even tho we knew there would be lines.

tho to be honest?  they weren't too bad, although Mystic Timbers did take about 25 minutes I think, and we went there 1st.



here's myself, Joel, Kim, and Danielle sending hello to my Austin friend Sean - whom Kim and Joel had met a couple of weeks prior at an event at BGT.

yes, without Fastlane+, we got to "experience" the back part of the queue. . an area that was new to me.


where one gets a view of the shed!

speaking of the shed, Kim *again* got Bats. . LOL. she got Bats on every single ride, until the last ride she took on it the next night (with myself and Danielle) where she got TREES!!!

So it took riding in a train with myself and Danielle to break the "curse of Kim and the Bats"



we then headed over to Diamondback, figuring, if we got in line before closing at 10, we'd get to ride, and by the time we got off, it would be almost time for 10:30 ERT to start, and we'd be right near the Beast.

which ended up working out perfectly.


it wasn't QUITE dark yet when we got in line, but it got dark really quickly by the time we got to the station, where I waited for front row.




this ride really is amazing at night, as noted in part 1.   The only lights are on the front end for the most part, so once you drop?  it is zooming thru the dark.. so, so good!


by the time we exited, and made it over to Beast, ERT was just starting.   But I stopped for a 2nd try at the picture (remember, onride camera for Beast was down, and I wanted a pic). .this time moving ~3 feet to the right of the pawprints telling one where to stand.



we got two fantastic night rides on Beast (or maybe it was 3, can't recall), and when we exited our last ride, Joel was antsy to hit Orion.

I had found out from Danielle while riding, that she'd never been on Backlot Stunt Coaster, so Joel and Kim headed to Orion and we detoured to take a ride on Backlot.  .. were there were literally more staff hanging around than folks waiting to ride.   They were excited to see us come up, and we got stellar service - 4 ride ops made sure we were secure in the front row of the red cars.

almost all the effects were working (do the helicopter blades spin?  if they are supposed to, then that's the one effect that wasn't working).   And it's super intense at night with that completely dark underground portion, and that great fire effect.    I mean, it's a dumb family, coaster, but it's a fun, dumb coaster.

She liked it, I think, and then we headed towards Orion. . where we made the *huge* mistake of stopping to ride Flight of Fear.

now, this was horrifically awful last year - but we had been directed to back seat.     So I figured:  1) it's Lights on, we can brace for transitions, 2) it's ERT and there's no line, we can likely sit wherever we want, and 3) I LOVE Poltergeist at SFFT, and this is the same model, albeit indoors and with mid course brakes.

so we hopped in line.

Front Row. 

OMG. . .SO. AWFUL.    the transitions were terrible, snapping our backs from side to side, and it had jackhammering. . . yes!  in the front row!  on a steel coaster!    OMG.. terrible.

at least it gave Kim, Joel, Tom, and Jan something to make fun of us over - why did you ride that.

never again, even if I go back next year.. . it's nuts, since Poltergiest runs so smooth. . what the heck happened to this ride here???  they take such loving care of all the other coasters, but something has gone horribly wrong on Flight of Fear (needless to say, we did NOT ride it the next night when it was standard "lights off" ops).

tho I will find a positive here - the queue is really great, and it's a lot of fun to go inside the spaceship to get to the coaster.

at least right next door (tho we were both walking crooked from the thrashing we had just gotten) was this lovely palate cleanser.   

we closed out the night with multiple rides on this
(I think I was 3 and done, but the others rode it a few more times than that).. .very fun and so fast, but it's pretty brightly lit up, so no "dark" rides, unfortunately.   
Still good tho.




and with that, it was Midnight, and time to make our way out to the parking and back to the hotel.. we had another full day of Coasterstock to get to in the morning.

and Kudos to the park, that they keep the fountains and all the lights on until everyone is out of the park, as it was well over 2 hours after official park close, so I appreciated how lovely the area still looked for us while exiting:



exhausted, and my ankle was throbbing pretty good, but you can tell I had a great day.



exiting the gates, I remembered to turn around to snap a pic of the huge mural they have over the entrance.

I hope they sell this as a poster, or as a series of posters, as this is lovely.



and here's a bunch of the onride photos from the 1st day. . no idea what order they are in. . . and sometimes didnt' get the pics, but mostly did :)



and if you're wondering:  "Why do they look happy if it sucked that bad??"

well, it's because the photo snaps in the launch tunnel.  ie: the smooth part of the ride.
(the only part slightly smoother is the mid course brake.. which we were thankful for the moments of no pain there).







closing out day one with a picture featuring myself & Danielle in row 2, and TPR forum member Piano John, and his hubby Sean in the front row.  :)


day 2 coming up in the next few days.  

think I have less pics on day 2, as there was some heavy rain that impacted the day, and the evening ERT. . but still, had a great time!


hope y'all enjoy the pics.

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Nice report! Shame FoF is so rough, I really enjoyed Poltergeist and imagined if it was done in the complete darkness it could be a lot of fun. Does anyone know if the one at KD has the same issue?

Orion's lift looks so pretty at night. Do they have lights on in the back wooded section of Orion or is there just enough ambient lighting for it to not have "dark" night rides?

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10 minutes ago, CP_RULES said:

Nice report! Shame FoF is so rough, I really enjoyed Poltergeist and imagined if it was done in the complete darkness it could be a lot of fun. Does anyone know if the one at KD has the same issue?

Orion's lift looks so pretty at night. Do they have lights on in the back wooded section of Orion or is there just enough ambient lighting for it to not have "dark" night rides?

Orion has color changing ground spotlights, that light up the track for the rest of the course

here's a good shot of them: 




yeah, Poltergeist is SO smooth. . . FoF is so awful. .it's crazy how different the rides are!

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I thought Poltergeist was kinda of rough up until they cleaned it up last year, but nothing like FoF. I rode FoF a few years back, and it was pretty gnarly. But I found the issue to be more the snappy transitions — which Premier was kind of known for back then. If you can't see what's coming up, you can't brace yourself at all. And that layout has a few swift transitions and turns that whip you around. I love enclosed coasters, but you can't just stick any old design in a box and assume it'll work.

I haven't been to Kings Island since 2016, before Mystic Timbers existed. I got a night ride in on The Beast in absolutely torrential rain, which was super painful but an amazing experience. And I'm no ranker of coasters, but Diamondback is probably still my #1.

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^ that's why we rode it with the LIGHTS ON ert !

LOL. .it did NOT help.   We were the only ones on the train too, and when we got back and they asked "how was that ride???"  we both just stared at them dazed.


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Yeah, I will never understand why the Flight of Fears are so much worse than Poltergeist and Joker's Jinx. The Six Flags ones are so smooth and awesome (and they don't have the MCBR), but the FoFs are not only incredibly rough and janky but also come to a dead stop at the MCBR. The FoFs are a few years older but like you said Bert, it's amazing how different they are from the Six Flags ones.

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will try to get day 2 of Coasterstock!  (and perhaps Kentucky Kingdom) up in the next couple of days.

but if you're curious about "Tru by Hilton". . which is the hotel we stayed at really close to the park, here's some pics of the room.

although it is very "minimal" (no drawers, no closet. . tho open pipe with hangers in the room to act as a 'closet' and plenty of storage under the raised bed). . it was very comfortable, with a great shower.
The lobby is much more "modern" and had a pool table (and amenities included pool with hot tub, and small exercise room, as well as a very decent breakfast in the mornings, and pretty decent coffee all day/night).    For the cost, and location?  I was very pleased, and think it's a "book again" for next year if we go again.

after all. . how much is one really in the hotel if you're coming for the park.





view from my room



and there's the park, behind the hotel across the freeway.



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