After two amazing days at Holiwood Nights, Kentucky Kingdom had a tough act to follow. But two top-notch coasters plus a brand spanking new wooden coaster made for a great day.
Once the park opened, I made a beeline for Kentucky Flyer. In retrospect, I probably should have started with Lightning Run since it was only running one train and had a consistent half hour wait later in the day, but hindsight is 20-20.
It felt like a scavenger hunt to find Kentucky Flyer's entrance. For those unaware, Kentucky Kingdom has one of the oddest layouts out there. You literally have to cross a road and pass through the water park to reach this coaster.
I was the first public rider of the day on Kentucky Flyer. I was joined by a few stragglers from an early morning ERT session on Kentucky Flyer. I think I got 6 straight rides without leaving the station, split between the front and back.
Kentucky Flyer didn't quite have the frenetic pacing of Roar-O-Saurus or Oscar's Wacky Taxi. And it didn't have the stronger airtime of a Wooden Warrior or Twister. But that's not needed at this park considering Lightning Run and Storm Chaser exist.
The outward leg consisted of some floater air and weaker airtime pops. The second half is quite a bit wilder. The front has 6-7 consecutive pops of floater air, but the back has some borderline pops of ejector. There's also a pinch of banking to mix in some sneaky laterals too. And it's perfectly smooth too.
These junior Gravity Group coasters are perfect fits for any park. Their low overall height and low height requirement make them appealing for younger riders, but they pack in enough airtime to satisfy even the most well-traveled of coaster enthusiasts. 8 out of 10
On a whim I decided to ride the park's star flyer, Skycatcher. This is one of those rides I really wish allowed on-ride photography because the views of Kentucky Flyer were outstanding. Granted it would be hard to focus considering this ride is moderately forceful. 7 out of 10
So I got my photography fix on the Giant Wheel. This is no ordinary ferris wheel. This is a 150 foot behemoth. It only went around 3 times, but with a wheel this big, that was enough for a satisfying ride. 8 out of 10
I have a confession to make. I actually enjoyed T3 in my 2016. Yes it was rough, but the restraints prevented all headbanging.
But I had an intervention. This ride sucks. It still has no headbanging. Instead it offers back banging. I felt like I had gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson by the time I hit the brake run. 2 out of 10
I deserved better. So I treated myself to a Storm Chaser marathon. I absolutely love the coaster's placement in the back of the park. It's secluded location means it's always a walk-on.
You start with some nice hangtime on the barrel roll, but then you go right into an ejector airtime buffet. That first camelback offers some El Toro-esque airtime.
The overbank is over in a breeze and that's followed by a fantastic turnaround with two crazy pops of air entering and exiting. After another quick overbank, comes another powerful airtime hill. It's not quite as good as the first camelback, but it's undoubtedly one of RMC's best airtime moments.
The finale is lunacy. You blow through a zero-G roll and then go through this double-up, double-down, trick track thingy. Whatever it is, it delivers some crazy airtime. Your thighs will be feeling it the next day. After one final turn, there's a violent pop of air into the brake run.
I heard some say that Storm Chaser was running a bit poorly in 2019. I'd like to know what those people are smoking. Storm Chaser was hauling just as much as it was in 2016 and 2018. There are bigger, faster, and longer RMCs, but this one may have the strongest airtime from start to finish. 10 out of 10
Since it was a rather hot day, I was excited to finally ride the park's infamous river rapids. The park claims the rapids are raging, but I think something else is if you ask me.
Raging Rapids was a deceptively long ride. None of the rapids are absolute soakers, but there are a ton of them. Plus you also have a waterfall, some sprayers, some misters, and two tunnels. It was pretty clear this used to be a Blizzard River back in the day. 7 out of 10
I then went from one woody to another. Thunder Run looks like Hurler. And in 2016, it rode like Hurler too. But with each visit, the park has retracked more and more of the ride. Now Thunder Run is quite smooth outside of the first turn.
Admittedly I only rode towards the front, but the outward leg had some great airtime. The straight track on the return run feels like filler, but when the ride is giving airtime, it does it well. 7 out of 10
Lightning Run was running one train, so it held a consistent half hour wait all day. But it was well worth it. After all, the op reminded us that we were riding the "world's tallest Chance Hyper GT-X Coaster". I'm going out on a limb here and guessing the ride op was a coaster enthusiast.
The first drop had some serious yank and ejector air much like your traditional RMC drop. That's followed by an outstanding camelback loaded with ejector airtime.
The middle section of Lightning Run is a blitzkrieg of twists, turns, and little airtime hills. This section's airtime is actually reminiscent of Kentucky Flyer; it's of the quick pop variety.
But Lightning Run has a wild finish. After plunging back to the ground, there are four straight airtime hills with some powerful ejector pops. This reminded me of Steel Vengeance's finale. I always hit the brake run speechless.
I spent about half my visit queuing for Lightning Run. It was the only ride in the park with any appreciable wait, but I kept coming back for more. It's the definition of an airtime machine and it's insanely smooth too. 9.5 out of 10
I didn't have time to hit many flats, but there was no way I'd skip Fearfall. I've ridden drop towers three times taller, but these Larson towers are still some of the most terrifying contraptions out there. Calling the drop intense is an understatement. 9 out of 10
I've ridden a litany of Huss Enterprises, but I had only ridden one Zamperla Endeavor. And I have to be honest, I found the one at Six Flags Over Texas to be an uncomfortable experience. I remember the ride pinching my legs between the seat.
So with some trepidation, I decided to try Scream Extreme. And I'm glad I did. The ride was fast and forceful. But most importantly, there was no pinching this time. 7 out of 10
And on that note, I have to say that the gift shop next to the 4D theater is incredible. You have a large selection of merchandise for the park's current lineup. More impressively, you can also find relics from the past such as t-shirts for Chang and even some old flats. Very cool!
Unless you're gluten intolerant, you also need to get a pretzel at Twisted. I don't care if you're on a diet. Break it. You'll be glad you did. These pretzels are crack. Unlike most parks that just reheat some frozen Super Pretzels, Kentucky Kingdom bakes these beauties from scratch.
I spent the last hour getting rerides on Kentucky Flyer and Storm Chaser. I could have easily spent a whole day at Kentucky Kingdom, but I needed to make it back to Cincinnati for my return flight home.
Since Holiwood Nights may now be an annual trip, Kentucky Kingdom may also be an annual thing as well. And that's fine by me. They really are an airtime haven for coaster enthusiasts. And the park just keeps growing with each visit.