Part 2: Opening Day and the Quest for Beast T-Shirts
I have a lot less pictures to show for this day, but the story is insane.
After I left the park on Friday, I drove to Liberty to meet my significant other who was marathonning movies at the Cinébistro (nice movie theater that sells food and drinks). He had already watched the one movie that I really cared to watch, Pet Sematary, but I made it in time to catch about half of Hellboy and all of Shazam with him while I waited for my friend to get off work (circa 12:00pm or later) so I could go to her house and spend the night before going back to KI the next morning. She lives closer to the park than me and she was committed to get to the park early with me.
You see, for Beast's 40th anniversary, the park announced on social media that riders on the first 40 trains of Beast would get a free T-shirt. We did the math and decided we needed to arrive at the park... early as f**k.
We arrived at the park a bit before 9:30 after a night of me not sleeping hardly at all. 9:30 was when the park opened to Gold Passholders and we were in a long line at the entrance to get in but still felt pretty confident we were going to get to Beast in time to get a shirt.
When we finally got in the gates we followed everyone over to Beast and immediately noticed a HUGE line starting from the entrance of Diamondback and heading toward Beast. I had my friend hold our spot while I went to ask someone what the line was for. Basically, I was told you could wait in this line until 10:00 to get your chance for a shirt, or you could go ride Beast until 10:00 at which time you would have to join the back of the line to get a chance for a shirt. The decision was simple. We would wait.
When the park opened, we were here. The line for Beast T-shirts went on as far as I could see both
After waiting God knows how long we were almost to the entrance and I snapped some cool photos of the new footprints.
Now, as we passed the photo booth we noticed the image number ended in 23, so we figured 23 trains had already gone, and we still had to wait through the entire queue of Beast and hope we somehow
made it onto the first 40 trains. Being math majors, we tried to count people ahead of us and figure out which train we would make it on. By now, it was after 11 and quickly nearing 11:30. Having little to no sleep we were doing a terrible
job at doing the math and I'm sure the people around us must have thought we were crazy or maybe that April 20th was affecting us a lot, but my friend estimated we would be on train 47 and I said I still thought we would make it on the first 40 trains.
By now we're really starting to sweat as we see more and more trains go by and people getting their t-shirts. We really didn't want it all to be for nothing but we held onto the hope that maybe, just maybe, we would still make the first 40 trains. We were still trying to do math and it was after 11:30 and everyone around us were all trying to figure out if they were going to make it, but the general consensus was that we weren't.
By the time we made it to the station and opted for the left queue (front half of the train), there were miraculously still T-shirts being passed out but every train that went by meant we were getting closer to train #40.
By now we had figured out what you all probably figured out a few minutes ago about the train 23 picture we had seen—that number likely included trains tested in the morning as well as the people who had decided to f***it and just ride during early entry and forget the T-shirts. That meant It was nearly impossible to know how close to 40 we were but we hoped the number of pre-10:00am trains was working in our favor. Every time I saw the employees pass out all the t-shirts in their hands I would think, "that's it," but then they would mysteriously procure more from some hidden box somewhere and my hopes would rise again.
Finally, finally we made it to the greeter.
"Row 1 please."
I couldn't believe my ears for a minute. Did we just get randomly placed in the best row of Beast? And the T-shirts still haven't run out yet so we're somehow
still within the first 40 trains (or they lied and actually had more T-shirts than that)?
We counted it down. "Three more trains ahead of us. Do they look like they have enough shirts for 3 more trains?"
Finally, we got on the coaster and so far so good, they hadn't run out yet, and we're in the front row, which makes it even better. It's not a night ride but hey, it was not raining. Blissful not-so-early-anymore first-coaster-of-the-day-and-probably-the-last possibly-within-the-first-40-trains-in-Beast's-40th-year front row ride.
We got off the coaster and snatched our orange T-shirts like we've never snatched an orange T-shirt in Beast's 40th year before (well really, we hadn't). I was gloating to my friend that I was right, I was the real math wizard because we did make it within the first 40 trains of operating season
and managed to get a shirt. She reminded me that our initial guesses hadn't included the early trains and she still thought we were going to be train #47 and maybe there were 10 trains before 10:00 that morning. At that point my brain was fried and I was done trying to figure it out. We got the shirts and that was the only reason we had come so early and went through all of that.
Went to look at our photos and guess what? We were #47. So I congratulated my friend on being the math wizard even though we were both right in our own way.
How long did we wait? 2 hours.
We waited 2 hours. More if you count the time before 10:00am. We had been in line since before 10:00 and it was now after 12:00.
Around 12:30 we were chillin and wearing our new shirts and some people were telling us they had just gotten out and hadn't made it in time. They were almost there but the last shirts were passed out 1-2 trains ahead of them. One guy said he had gotten one of the last ones because when the air gates opened, he realized there wouldn't be enough and skipped over the coaster to get the shirt. So he got a shirt but didn't actually ride the thing.
So basically only Gold Passholders managed to get the shirts and many of the people behind us in line in the picture I shared didn't make it. I got to ride Beast in the front row and get on the first 40 trains (in theory?) of opening day of Beast's 40th anniversary and get the free shirt. My friend lost her vape pen sometime between riding Beast and going to the smoking area, so really for her the situation was a total loss. She had a good attitude though and was mainly happy to see me happy.
We got some food and wandered around a little before leaving the park around 1:30. I had to work at 4:00 and wanted a shower and a nap and home is about an hour from KI.
Here is a picture of Diamondback which we did not ride.
Moral of the story? Kings Island Gold Passholders do not mess around when it comes to free t-shirts.