Cedar Fair Parks Tour: King’s Dominion

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After our sojourn to LibertyCon 2017, the family started our second sojourn of the summer: a tour of Cedar Fair amusement parks.

We began the tour in Virginia with King’s Dominion amusement park, Doswell, VA.

We traveled to King’s Dominion on Monday, July 3, getting to the park for the first time during the early evening.

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King’s Dominion has a reserved parking area for gold and platinum passholders.  It seemed like a good idea, so we parked there.  The section was pretty full, but it was closer both to the park entrance and to the exit of the parking lot, which we assumed would make it easier both to enter and to leave the park.

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King’s Dominion is a sister park in design to both King’s Island and Canada’s Wonderland. When you enter the gate at both King’s Island and King’s Dominion you look down an international street with a fountain in the center that leads you to a view of a replica of the Eiffel tower.

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The Eiffel Tower is a great way to get a view of the park.  We rode that up and walked around the observation deck, taking aerial photos of the park.

After the Eiffel Tower we took a look at the map to decide where we wanted to eat. The map listed food locations and which ones were on the dining plan, but we didn’t find a sheet that said what foods were on the dining plan at each location, though it did mention the types of foods served. We found a Country Kitchen that served chicken on the plan that sounded different than the foods we could get at Worlds of Fun, so decided to try it (it had a Country Kitchen Grill next door, not on the plan, that served turkey legs – turkey legs do not appear to be on the plan anywhere we noticed them).

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The line wasn’t bad when we got there – about a 10-15 minute length – and so we waited in line 30 minutes. Some of it was a delay for food to be cooked; the demand wasn’t extreme enough for them to run out, except they hadn’t cooked enough ahead to stay up with it. The rest of the delay was the service staff. A new, full pan of chicken would be brought out, and instead of pulling the old, almost empty tray out, putting the new one in, and transferring the few remaining pieces, the person transferred the pieces from the new pan one or two at a time to the old pan. This took forever.

They had pictures on the menus of fried chicken and roasted chicken. I was going to order roasted, until I saw it.  The fried chicken looked as good as its picture; the roasted chicken did not look as good as its picture.

But once they had chicken, and we were able to place our orders, get our sides, and go on up to the second floor balcony seating to eat, it was a meal worth eating.

After our meal we did a little more strolling, then took in a couple of rides.

There is a style of roller coaster that we call the “mouse trap” – the pattern looks a little like the game Mouse Trap. We found it at several parks, and the one at King’s Dominion was called the Ricochet. It isn’t an intense roller coaster, but it is a perfect one. It does with subtle sudden turns and moderate forces what other roller coasters attempt to achieve with extreme turns and speeds and forces – and does it better than the extreme ones – at least in our opinion.

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We were thinking what we could do before heading over to the recommended location for watching the fireworks. We were near the “Blue Ridge Tollway” taxi ride, and figured we would have enough time to ride it before the fireworks.

When we were ready to get on, we were delayed a couple of minutes while they got a car started that was having troubles, but soon were on our way.

The Blue Ridge Tollway goes through a wooded area, and we were halfway through the course when the can with problems had problems again, and got stopped on the trail.  We were out of sight of the park employees, but were able to wave down a passing patron that we asked to let know they were stuck. We assume the person told them, because soon they were over trying to get it started. Eventually they used the car behind it to push it along to the end.

With all the delay, we ended up being a lot closer to the fireworks time than we planned, but we made it to the suggested observation site.

It was a good evening for fireworks, and it was an enjoyable fireworks show. It would have been better with some sort of music in the park coordinated with the fireworks, or with a more orchestrated sense to the fireworks themselves. The fireworks seemed somewhat random, instead of orchestrated in any pattern towards a climax, but enjoyable nonetheless.

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After the fireworks we went to our car in the parking lot – the reserved parking for gold and platinum passholders. And there we sat for 50 minutes.  Everyone else in the parking lot got out, and we weren’t able to move. And when we finally were able to get out, instead of going to the near exit gate, where we had seen all the other traffic leave, they sent us out the long back way exit of the parking lot.

I am not sure whether it was Virginia drivers not giving other people a chance to get in and move, or whether it was park personnel directing traffic, but that was the worst time I have ever had leaving an event with parking back-up.

We were back on the fourth around opening, and spent the early morning hitting the roller coasters early, along with a few other rides for variety.  We did Dodgem, Intimidator 305, Flight of Fear, Avalanche, BackLot Stunt Coaster, then walked Candy Apple Grove to the Drop Tower.

We were going to ride the Americana, but were told it was closed/delayed for a moment of silence coming up at noon. This was 10 minutes prior to noon. So we waited and observed the moment of silence, which ended with a singing of the national anthem over the park speakers.  We stood up, hands over heart, as the national anthem came on, and watched as people realized and started to stand, or show other forms of respect for the anthem.

After that we did the Americana, Flying Eagles, Ssenandoah Lumber Co. and Rebel Yell, before having lunch at Outer Hanks Wayside Grill.

Then the afternoon was spent at the Soak city water park. There were nice slides, an enjoyable lazy river, and wave pools. I spent 30-45 minutes in line at Baja Bends listening to four military studs rib and jibe each other – especially the newlywed of them who had his wife, and eventually was pulled into their somewhat ribald conversation. Before the end – when we reached the top of the line and finally got to go down the slides – I made sure to thank them all for their service, and the most vocal of the group expressed his appreciation for my comments and conversation with them.

The Baja Bends slides are akin to the Diamond Head slides at Oceans of Fun for style and intensity of sliding, but the materials of the slides are much better – unlike Diamond Head you don’t get your back abraded by the slide when going down the Baja Bends.

The wave pools at King’s Island didn’t compare to the Surf City Wave Pool at Oceans of Fun – we didn’t find any other wave pool to compare on our trip.

After that we went back to the Pizza Parlor on the international street for supper, and then called it a day.

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We enjoyed our day at King’s Dominion, but they still have a lot to learn about audio control and sound zones.  There were too many places in the park where the sound from one ride or event overlapped another event or ride’s sound, and usually the volumes were too loud. Worlds of Fun had this issue in years past, but is getting smarter about it.  King’s Dominion still has some catching up to do.

On the food selections, King’s Dominion had a greater selection of food items.  What we didn’t find – though we may have missed it – was any selection that was a local/regional specialty for us to try.

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