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Photo TR: Final Fling at Kings Dominion


Jonathan
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All of the photos from this day are now up in the photo gallery at http://www.jonathan-hawkins.net

 

After finding out about Kings Dominion's "Final Fling" event, Alan, John, and myself threw together quick plans to make a day trip to the park, as the event sounded just too good to pass up. I left my place at 6 AM Saturday morning, and by 7:30 we were on our way to the park from John's house. We stopped once along the way at a Waffle House, and made good time to the park, getting there close to opening.

 

 

The parking lot at Kings Dominion was not too full when we arrived, and it turned out to be a moderately crowded day at the park.

 

 

There was a fairly sizeable line to get in the park, and we had to wait in it twice, as we discovered once we got inside the gates that the registration point for the event was outside of the park!

 

 

Back inside the park again, we had little time to gaze at the park's beautiful entrance area, as we were hurrying on our way to the first ride of the day...

 

 

The restrooms!

 

 

The restrooms set the bar high for the day, but the next stop was up for the challenge. Grizzly was down for extensive maintanence in the Spring, so we were very excited to get our first rides of the year.

 

 

Grizzly was running awesome! We ended up spending a huge chunk of the day riding Grizzly, but if we thought it was running well at that point, we just had to wait until nightfall to find out how insane it can really be.

 

 

Hurler was next, and it was running awesome as well. The Kings Dominion Hurler has been very poor in comparison to the Carowinds version in the past, but this year Kings Dominion really has theirs running well.

 

 

John wanted to ride Ricochet all day long, but the line stayed very long all day. Sorry John, maybe next time...

 

 

With a few rides out of the way, we headed for lunch at the picnic pavilion.

 

 

Lunch consisted of baked beans, slaw, chicken, and a lot of very good desserts.

 

 

John even won a door prize. The biggest prize was an Italian Job press pack and media day invitation, but who needs that...

 

 

When you can have a SpongeBob Squarepants gift bag.

 

 

Aside from the door prizes, everyone in attendance received a Kings Dominion mouse pad with Scooby Doo on it, a 30th anniversary commemorative coin with Tomb Raider Firefall on it, and a 30th anniversary lapel pin.

 

 

For some reason John did not want to carry his SpongeBob bag around the park, so we had to rent a locker.

 

 

I wonder what is going here?

 

 

We headed over to Volcano, where there was a pretty large line.

 

 

Who needs lines? We had our Final Fling exit pass, good for one ride on Volcano. We were able to get on the train at the exit platform and ride the train forward to the loading platform, so I guess that means I finally got the complete credit.

 

 

Tomb Raider was up and running, but my one ride in the Spring was enough to deter us from doing it again. Great ride program, but it was quite uncomfortable in a certain area.

 

 

Next it was time to use one of our 'enthusiast's pick' exit passes...

 

 

On Flight of Fear! Flight of Fear was a lot of fun as always, although the mid-course is still bringing the train to a complete stop.

 

 

And now, here's a picture of Alan with a big fish.

 

 

Anaconda's lake was looking very pretty, as it was drained for Italian Job construction.

 

 

For some reason, we all look very happy getting our brains bashed to pieces.

 

 

It was time to once again piss off a bunch of people in line, as we pulled out another exit pass.

 

 

They even allowed us to ride in the front seat. Hypersonic is a pretty intense ride, but I definitely would not want to wait in much of a line for it.

 

 

I guess the park was fairly crowded, because we actually had to wait in a fairly large line for Rebel Yell! It was running pretty well, but still not a very exciting ride.

 

 

While we were over in the Grizzly area (riding Grizzly more of course), we hit the Flying Eagles. The line for the flyers was huge all day, so we used one of our exit passes on it. The reaction of the operator was hilarious, as he could not understand why we wanted to use a pass on that ride. The Kings Dominion flyers are pretty fun, and it is possible to get some moderate snapping action on them.

 

 

Back where it all started.

 

 

The sun was beginning to set, and you know what that means...

 

 

Grizzly at night!

 

 

I was completely unprepared for how amazing Grizzly was running that night. I was almost getting flashbacks to Legend at Stark Raven Mad! There were rib-crushing laterals galore, and the train seemed to lose very little speed throughout the ride. The slamming pop of airtime inside the tunnel is still one of my favorite moments on any coaster.

 

 

Volcano at night; how pretty.

 

 

But whatever. Back to Grizzly!

 

 

It was a great day at the park, but it was time for it to come to an end.

 

 

John was reluctant to pose with his bag for some reason.

 

 

We stopped at Applebees on the way home, and I was back in Raleigh shortly after midnight. It was an awesome day at the park, and big thanks to the park for throwing together the event. The exit passes were a really neat idea, and were a huge help in beating the unexpected crowds. It's hard to beat getting pitch black rides on Grizzly in November, with temperatures in the 70's!

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We hope to make it there in the Spring. Would you recommend hitting Volcano as the first ride of the day?

 

What I have done in the past (when there are no exit passes, of course 8) ) is this, and it works really well:

 

-As soon as the ropes drop, hurry to Hypersonic, as the line is usually insane later in the day

-(optional) Hit Drop Zone and Ricochet, which will be walk-ons

-Get over to Volcano, which will still have a fairly small line

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Great pictures!

 

If you're going to PKD, definitely do Hypersonic first. I was right at the front of the rope drop and headed straight for Hypersonic. I was on the first train out. The line for the rest of the day was an hour long!

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It was a great event and perfect weather. Grizzly was truly giving out incredable rides after dark. The food was excellent and the goodies were really great. The ride ops even knew what the passes were! We didn't get the "deer in the headlights" you sometimes do from other parks.

 

I hope they make this an annual event. I spoke with their PR rep and she indicated that they wanted to really step up the parks promotions with the enthusiast community. Paramount has really got their act together when it comes to hosting events. Both PKD and Carowinds have been outstanding over the recent years in that department.

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Hurler was next, and it was running awesome as well. The Kings Dominion Hurler has been very poor in comparison to the Carowinds version in the past, but this year Kings Dominion really has theirs running well.

 

Really? Ive always thought the Kings Dominion version was better. The Carowinds one is borderline sucktacular, while at least the PKD Hurler is decent IMO.

 

- Joe, who hates PKD

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