Sun Jun 16, 2019 9:48 pm
2019 was finally the year I made the pilgrimage to Holiday World for the legendary Holiwood Nights. Since Santa Claus, Indiana inexplicably doesn’t have an airport (seriously, where is Santa supposed to land his sleigh?), I found myself flying through Cincinnati. So it was a no brainer to stop by Kings Island.
All my prior visits had been on Saturdays when the park was slammed, so it was a breath of fresh air to visit the park on a quiet weekday. Not only that, but I was shocked they stayed open as late as 10 pm and ran three trains on all major coasters.
Now I only had 3 hours after my flight landed, but their top notch operations made it possible to hit all major coasters a few times each.
I started with Diamondback, which ended up being my longest wait of the day at 15 minutes. Without any hesitation, I plopped myself down in the back row and was treated to some of the best floater airtime anywhere on the first three drops. Diamondback would be an easy 10 out of 10 if it kept this up.
Unfortunately the trim and MCBR kill the pacing of the second half. The floater airtime is still plentiful, but the intensity simply is not there. Ultimately, I’d say Diamondback is a middle-of-the-road B&M hyper, which is still a great and inherently rideable attraction. 8.5 out of 10
I then made my way over to the Miami Lumber Company to see what was in the shed. Video games? 2020 giga plans? A laser horse snake on fire?
Without question, Mystic Timbers is the (current) highlight of the park’s coaster collection. The coaster is GCI’s finest work. It’s a lightning fast barrage of airtime hills and laterals. It’s truly impressive how much maneuvering Mystic Timbers does for what essentially is an out-and-back coaster. Plus the finale is a glorious WTF. I never thought the ending of Adventure Express could be topped, but Kings Island did it.
I just pray the park takes great care of Mystic Timbers. It’s sister coaster at Worlds of Fun has a nearly identical layout, except Prowler feels like you’re riding on a jackhammer. 9 out of 10
I had planned to grab a ride on Beast, but riders were being evacuated from the lift. So instead I grabbed a ride on Vortex. I know this coaster is much maligned and many wish it was the coaster to meet its demise at the end of the 2018 season over Firehawk, but I enjoy it.
Like most Arrows, the first drop offers some good air and the vertical loops are very forceful. But the hangtime is a nice surprise. Due to the mid-course bringing you to a complete halt, you literally crawl through the corkscrews and batwing. There are some jerky transitions, but I’m tall enough to avoid the headbanging. 7 out of 10
Racer wasn’t living up to this name, as only the red side was open. Still it was an enjoyable coaster. The (not) Racer is mostly smooth with some decent airtime, particularly on the return leg. 6 out of 10
If you asked me what I thought about Banshee after my first two rides, I would have told you it was the worst invert. It felt like we were riding on square wheels. It felt uncharacteristically unlike a B&M.
I decided to throw a Hail Mary and see if the rattling was due to a specific train, as both my rides were in the blue train. And guess what, the teal train was perfectly smooth! I have no clue what is going on with that blue train, but dang was it bad.
When you aren’t being shaken like a Magic 8 Ball, Banshee is a solid invert. The speed is incredible and while the first half isn’t particularly forceful, I love the second half with the bonus vertical loop, super slow inline twist, and powerful helix. 7.5 out of 10
I then took a short hike back to the Bat and unsurprisingly, it was a walk-on. The Vortex/Bat layout is my favorite of the suspended coasters I’ve ridden. Both have a large first drop and manage to hold their speed the entire way through. 7 out of 10
I figured I should take a peek at the 2020 construction site, so I did it from atop the Drop Tower. Kings Island’s Drop Tower is undoubtedly huge, but it feels even more gargantuan when you climb above the sky coaster next door, which is super tall on its own right.
I had plenty of time to appreciate the sizable clearing behind Racer since the ascent and hold takes forever, but then the drop happened. It may not have the punch of a Larson tower, it lasts forever and you get some nice float the whole way down. 8 out of 10
I have a feeling Vekoma inverted boomerangs will be extinct someday. For that reason, I took a token ride on Invertigo. It still baffles me how Vekoma took their two worst coaster models and yielded something rideable. It’d be like mixing Chef Boyardee and Lunchables together and getting something equivalent to Subway.
I’m not a fan of the oversized OSTRs, but the ride has minimal headbanging. Instead, it’s just a ridiculously intense coaster. The standard boomerangs are already some of the most intense coasters out there, so the Gs feel even more ridiculous with the blood rushing to your legs. 6 out of 10
When I think of the best areas in amusement parks, I usually think of the highly themed lands of Disney or Universal. But in the evening, you could make a compelling argument for Rivertown. What the area lacks in theming is compensated with three of the best night rides out there.
However, there was a problem. My handy dandy weather app warned me of approaching storms. I probably should have gone straight to Mystic Timbers, but Diamondback was a walk-on. As we dispatched, I saw a flash of light in the sky. Uh oh.
But it was a relief to find out they were the fireworks! There was something magical plunging into a black hole with explosions overhead. I hit the brake run with a big smile on my face until I saw a different flash in the distance. This one was unmistakable. Lightning.
I figured I compromised my night rides on Mystic Timbers, but it was still open and dispatching trains like a champ. I anxiously buckled myself into the back row praying for a quick dispatch. Then I heard the phone ring.
I was pretty sure what the call would be, but moments later we dispatched! I know the Beast is famous for its night rides, but Mystic Timbers is even better in my opinion. It’s almost as dark, but here you have a far more aggressive, ambitious, and enjoyable layout.
Anything from this point was just gravy. After another quick reride on Mystic Timbers, I decided to really push my luck. Maybe I could get a ride on the Beast as well. I had been keeping an eye on the app all day, but I hadn’t seen it reopen.
[BEEP] [BEEP] Attention park guests. The National Weather Service has advised us that the current weather conditions are favorable for rapidly developing thunderstorms. [BEEP] [BEEP]
I figured that alert meant all outdoor rides would cease operations immediately. On the bright side, I noticed Flight of Fear had reopened. I figured that’s where I’d end my night, but I noticed others entering the Beast’s queue. Curious, I walked over and was told the ride was just down for fireworks.
You had a coaster that was evacuated and idle for three hours. You had a coaster that can’t run during fireworks that go off right before closing. And you had approaching thunderstorms. It made almost no sense to reopen Beast, but guess what Kings Island did? They reopened Beast.
Since it seemed like I had a golden horseshoe wedged up my keister, I went for broke and queued up for the front row. I was able to pair up with another fellow enthusiast and miraculously was in the front row for the last ride of the night.
Yes the Beast is trimmed. Yes it lacks airtime. As a coaster, it’s inherently flawed. But as an adventure, it’s top notch. It was pitch black. There was more frequent lightning flashes in the distance. It felt like we were fighting for our lives in the jungle.
Even the most ardent critics of the Beast have to admit the finale is special. There’s something genuinely terrifying going 60 mph into a helix on a 40 year old coaster. Hats off to the Kings Island maintenance team. What could easily be the most painful coaster moment in the world is simply one of the most intense. It’s loaded with laterals and a real treat. 8 out of 10
As I made my way towards the car, the heavens finally decided to open up. I was thankful Mother Nature waited until after 10 pm to piss on Cincinnati. And this was no ordinary rainstorm. It was a deluge. I actually had to pull over for 5-10 minutes since my windshield wipers couldn’t keep up with the rain.
It was certainly an abridged visit, but I am 99% certain I’ll be back next year if the rumored 2020 giga comes to fruition. I still find it astounding that the park’s fan base has been begging for this giga for years and when their wish finally comes true, they complain.
Yes the rumored coaster is shorter than Fury in height and length. Some are even calling it Leviathan 2.0. But you know what? That’s fine by me! Leviathan is a fantastic and better than anything currently at Kings Island.
Mon Jun 17, 2019 6:00 am
Great report! I totally agree that The Beast is flawed. But, I LOVED going for the first time with my girlfriend last summer because she didn't know much of anything about the ride. She thought Mystic Timbers was The Beast when we were looking around the park from the Eiffel Tower. Didn't really tell her anything and waited until late night to get a night ride for her first experience. We loved it, obviously.
Mon Jun 17, 2019 6:34 am
Thanks! If I had no clue what the Beast was going into it, I definitely would have been blown away by the sheer size of the ride. But it's hard not to hype it up when you hear so much about it as an enthusiast.
Mon Jun 17, 2019 6:50 am
I absolutely LOVE your explanation of night rides on the Beast!
Thanks, as always, for posting. I really enjoy your reports.
Mon Jun 17, 2019 8:50 am
Thanks! The Beast at night really is a unique experience so I'm glad the storm held off just long enough.
Thu Jun 20, 2019 6:24 am
The Indianapolis Zoo marks the seventh different zoo I’ve visited in the past 2.5 years. I don’t know if I should be proud or embarrassed, but it is also the seventh straight zoo I’ve visited that had a roller coaster.
Some of these zoos had world-class coasters like Wildfire and a mega lite. Others had a classic wooden coaster, a bizarre soap box derby/wild mouse hybrid, or a custom Chance coaster. But there was no sugar-coating this one; the Indianapolis Zoo only had an off-the-shelf Zierer junior coaster.
Since I know you’re on the edge of your seat to know all about Kombo, I won’t keep you in suspense. Kombo stands a whopping 20 feet tall. That’s over twice as tall as Yao Ming! It also reaches speeds of 19.9 mph. That’s just 0.1 mph below the speed limit in a school zone!
As far as junior coasters go, I do enjoy these Zierer coasters with the comically long trains. The ride is perfectly comfortable for an adult and the back row actually generates some good whip on the first drop. And the zoo doubles your pleasure by giving you two laps. 3 out of 10
But the star attraction at the zoo is the Skyline. All I knew going in was that this “unsafe” ride had been in the news for getting stuck multiple times. What I quickly discovered is that this is unlike any other sky ride I’ve ever encountered.
Just look at the engineering on this thing. Gone are the cables. In are beefy supports and tubular track more fit for a coaster. Even the track profile resembles a coaster as there are turns and dips.
The over-engineered ride system brought me great joy, but the real stars were the orangutans. The ride circles a monkey exhibit, so you get some incredible views of apes climbing and swinging right beside you. And if animals aren’t your thing (although this is at a zoo so I’d assume you do), you get some solid views of downtown Indianapolis as well. 8 out of 10
The zoo also had two other rides, but I skipped both- a carousel with some different animals and a train that circled the plains exhibit. It’s also worth noting all rides at the zoo are an additional upcharge at $2-3 per ride.
While the coaster may have been the reason I stopped by the Indianapolis Zoo, I stayed for the animals. Unlike my recent trip to Wildlife World in Arizona, this zoo had the amount of guards I’d expect from a US zoo. I’d say they should assume people aren’t dumb enough to climb into an enclosure with a wild animal, but there are always budding Darwin award candidates out there.
My personal favorite exhibit was that of the tigers. The giant cats were resting per usual, but they were mere inches from the glass so I got some awesome shots.
As far as zoos go, the Indianapolis Zoo is pretty average. But when you add in a credit and arguably the most bizarre looking sky ride out there, it’s worth a quick stop if you’re in the area.
Thu Jun 20, 2019 8:34 am
You are so efficient at posting these reports, seriously great job!
Up next was Tantrum, or the EuroFighter themed to the Darien Lake Discussion Thread.
I haven't been to the Indy Zoo since a kid so that monorail/skyride hybrid is news to me. Soooo interesting! I'll have to stop on my way from Chicago to Cincy sometime.
It's so odd how un-B&M Banshee can feel. It must go through wheels so quickly or something because it hasn't changed since it opened.
Speaking of consistency, Diamondback's trims and MCBR have been the same since opening as well. It doesn't happen often but an early morning ride with a half empty train can result in the trim not activating but yeah if the MCBR didn't squeeze it would be a more memorable B&M hyper.
Thu Jun 20, 2019 8:52 am
Thanks! That sky ride is so screwed up it's worth the price of admission. Plus the views of the apes are great.
I remember Banshee having a slight rattle in past years, but nothing compared to what that blue train was producing. Some locals at Holiday World weren't surprised and told me blue was awful, purple was ok, and teal was good.
Thu Jun 20, 2019 9:53 am
Canobie Coaster wrote: Some locals at Holiday World weren't surprised and told me blue was awful, purple was ok, and teal was good.
Que following jokes about Banshee's wheels being the sign that budgets were being cut leading to the giga that won't live up to anyone's expectations
Thu Jun 20, 2019 9:56 am
I thought it was due to all the theming in the shed?