Cedar Fair Parks Tour: King’s Island

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DSC08542Of the three parks designed on the same model — King’s Dominion, Canada’s Wonderland, King’s Island – King’s Island probably has the best balance from entry to roaming.

We arrived at King’s Island on Thursday evening, and got modestly lost on the way to the park before getting ourselves turned the right way.

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As per our usual plan, we were arriving in town and heading to the park for supper.  Entry was easy – for 3 of us. The fourth had a modest delay.  We had checked in to four parks with no problems, but at King’s Island the person said Betsy needed to get a new picture – her current one had her wearing sunglasses (which was curious, because she doesn’t have a pair of sunglasses). So she got sent over to the season pass processing to have a new picture put on her account.

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The rest of us went reconnoitering inside while waiting. Nathan roved wide looking for soda options for our season bottle, while I located a food plan flyer and we assembled in the SkyLine Chili restaurant on the international street near the front gate. Once the picture was taken and Betsy was through the gate, we gathered there, with the full bottle, to decide what to have for dinner.  Three of us decided to eat there, while Nathan went for La Rosa’s Pizza at the Festhaus.

The three-way chili of SkyLine Chili, a Cincinnati tradition, was enjoyed by both myself and Carly. Betsy chose the two Coney Chili dogs. Her comment: I don’t usually like chili dogs, but I liked these. Nathan brought his pizza back to eat with us at SkyLine. He commented on the perfection of its crust – which is thinner than what we get back home at the pizza places at Worlds of Fun.

That first meal was an example of a feature of the park that worked well. Both SkyLine Chili and LaRosas are local food icons and specialties, and the park has an excellent relationship with them to serve their food inside the park.  It is great to tour the area, go to the park, and get a regional specialty.

The pizza place, as I mentioned was located in the Festhaus.  Used for the Octoberfest theme, it had both Panda Express and La Rosas inside, along with a bar.  There were a lot of good, solid, picnic-style tables inside to eat and, with a stage for live (or broadcast performances). I don’t know for sure, but it looked like the tables could be cleared out for other events, such as dancing and other types of concerts. Overall, another wonderful space – available for special events, but also used on a regular basis.

Supper was the main feature of Thursday night. We got there near opening on Friday, and started our usual round of rollercoasters and other rides.

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One of the special rides for me was the Invertigo. There is a similar ride at Worlds of Fun – it goes one way on its track, and then does the course in reverse.  At WOF they call it the Boomerang.  The Boomerang is a standard coaster, where the track is below the car.  Invertigo is an inverted coaster, where the track is above where you sit and the cars hang from the track. On the Boomerang everyone faces forward; on the Invertigo the first two face forward, the next to face back, sitting back to back to the first two, and they alternate front and back. So half the people go backwards on the way out, and half the people go backwards on the way back.  Unlike other coasters, you face other people and get to see their expressions (if you are able to watch) during the ride.  It adds to the fun.

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One of the things we had been looking at in each park was their version of the Rip Cord. I have started a habit of doing it once a year with Nathan, and since I hadn’t managed to get it done at WOF, we thought maybe one of the parks might have the right timing and price set up.  Well, King’s Island, our last chance, was the score. Came off a coaster and saw it ahead of us, and saw the markdown price to $5 apiece.  Which with the passholder discount became $4.50.

We talked to the guys suiting us up about our tradition, exchanged information about WOF Rip Cord – only one launch site to the two available at King’s Island, etc.  I believe one of them said the King’s Island one was a bit smaller.  It might have been, but it always seems far enough to me when you are secured in and going backwards were you can’t see how much farther you have to go.

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And then we flew, and had a great time, and got on with the rest of our day.

Some of the coasters had you take your glasses off. The Banshee was one of them.  It was a very well themed and intense ride, but when I got off, it took me a few minutes to figure out what was wrong with my glasses: One of the lenses had popped out.  Fortunately, it was still in my pocket.  This had happened before the Rip Cord, and we kept trying to pop it in while we waited for it, and afterwards, but just couldn’t get it to work.  So we released the kids to wander the coasters they wanted, while I went to Guest Services at the gate to see what they could advise.

Once again, guest services rose to the challenge.  They didn’t have any way to pop it in, but they looked up some eye glass shops locally we could call, and then got the bright idea to send us over to first aid to see if they might have an idea.  And someone there was a pro at popping the lenses back in.  I still need to get to my own eye doctor to have it seater professionally (the end of the securing thread stick out in front a bit), but it rescued our day and prevented us wasting more of our fun time.

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The new rollercoaster for the year was the wooden Mystic Timbers.  It had a sort of haunted theme to the entry way, and as a rollercoaster was thrilling with all the traditional moves.  But the thematic haunted strike at the end didn’t really do anything for me, it was sort of anti-climatic.

Wrapped around underneath the Mystic Timbers was the White Water Canyon, the park’s raft rapids ride.  Now, the Grand Rapids in Michigan was my fondest and most favorite, but White Water Canyon was very good, and had better geysers than any of the other raft rides we tried. First, I think they were controlled by one of the ride ambassadors, and second, we think they were actually a bit less powerful, but had a greater quantity of water. In any case, it was great!

Two of the coasters only tried by the youth were the Diamond Back and the Beast.  The Diamond Back, a snake theme, had a neat long course that ends with the car creating a spray through a small pond/lake before coming into the station.  No one on the ride gets wet, but watching it is impressive.

The Beast is another Wooden Coaster, the longest one, the youth said. Its special feature was tunnels, and turns in the tunnels, and two lift hills, the second one to add more oomph halfway through the ride.

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We also enjoyed the water park, which you can get to via a train that travels between amusement and water parks, or by walking a moderately long trail past the group picnic pavilions to the water park and back.

They had a very good lazy river with moderate “obstacles”.  Like the other lazy rivers on our trip, you have to be on/holding a floatation tube. The one weakness of the river is that people entered and exited at the same spot, and there was always a line, but some of the people coming around didn’t always get out to let other people in, but just kept going around.  Being able to institute something fair where people had to get out and back in would be better. It didn’t inconvenience any of us too much.

They had two wave pools, which were shut for testing when we arrived, had to wait 15-20 minutes to get in, which was a downer. And neither of them had any real depth or serious waves.  (overall, WOF wins the wave pool contest, hands down, in my estimation).

Off to the side of one of the wave pools was Pipeline Paradise.  It is a pool with circulating water where you get a board and try to surf on it (always have be kneeling, at least on one knee), for up to 40 seconds.  If you make 40 seconds, you have to leave and let the next person try.  I tried it – 6 seconds (being generous to myself).

They also had a lot of different slides.  I kept looking for the short lines and tried a few of them.  But it wasn’t until just before leaving the water park that I found the Rendezvous Run and gave it a try.  You have this foam sort of mat/carpet/sled that you hold by two front handles and go down.  Of all the things at the water park, I am glad I got to try that one.

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We had lunch before going to the water park, and supper afterwards.  For lunch The adults chose Reds Hall of Fame Grille, and the youth got other things and ate with us there.  I had a buffalo Chicken Salad. It was a lot of salad, the right amount of chicken, and a lot of green.  We found a lot more green and vegetables in other park’s food plans than at WOF.

For supper the adults did Panda, after one of the youth had it earlier, and we realized you got two entrees and a side with the dining plan. It was fresher and more generous than our home park plan.

So we had a great time, and enjoyed the rides, and the memories of what was different from our previous visit.

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