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Theme parks are cool
Jul 5, 2017
Richmond, VA
Good afternoon,

This will be the first in a series of TRs from the Midwest trip I just completed featuring Kentucky Kingdom, Holiday World, Kings Island, Cedar Point, and Kennywood. I do not have any sort of timeline so they will come in as I get to them. For years I've always wanted to do a trip like this where I hit KK, HW, KI, and CP and to reward myself for all the weight loss I worked for I decided to move forward this year. Basically the trip proceeded like I drove the 8 hour drive from Richmond, VA Saturday morning, would do a few hours at KK sunday morning after a few at KK Saturday evening, then I would go to Holiday World at lunch time from KK that Sunday round trip from Louisville since my hotel was next to the expo center. Then drive to Kings Island that Monday, spend two days there, then drive to Cedar Point spend 3 days here (this is in the interest of saving money with my meal plan and to really enjoy those two parks), then ultimately I decided to wrap up with Kennywood with a 1 night stay in Pittsburgh since I had never been. I will circle back and add a few pictures to the post after the write up when I find the time. In the meantime, if you use Instagram I encourage following @CoasterAuditor as that is where a lot of my footage and photos get posted but I will share the TR write ups here.

Anyway we begin with the coaster audit of Kentucky Kingdom. This is an interesting little park I had always been interested in it with its tumultuous history and being part of the expo center complex. I remember first learning of it as Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom, and largely deciding the park wasn't that interesting for the first few years of being a coaster enthusiast. Ultimately I actually ended up riding Chang in 2011 as Green Lantern. Since the multi-year closure Kentucky Kingdom has been fascinating to follow once Ed Hart came back into the picture and saved it along with the subsequent purchasing of the park by Herschend the Dollywood owners (side note, this parks threads are still in "other.").

I arrived on Saturday afternoon. I really like the entrance plaza for the park with the large sign at the entrance with the small fountain in front of it. I got into the park and made my way to Lightning Run.

Wow this ride was seriously awesome. I was concerned it would have a long wait on a Saturday with KKs notorious one train ops (and one train ops they did) but arrived to just a short wait on the steps. I was slightly nervous about how accommodating the trains would be based on what I've heard, it doesn't really help the park doesn't incorporate the restraint check screens so many others do. But thankfully I had no issues there. The ride has the appearance of like a small mini morgan hyper almost it's kind of interesting to think that track profiling could be re-worked in this fashion. It is smooth as glass, the drop contained quite a bit of ejector airtime, the turn into the camelback was fun as you get a load of ejector on that first hill as well. The ride mostly zips around through a series of a few off-axis airtime pops and turns before wrapping up with the crazy zig zag into the ejector pops finale. It's an absolutely delightful blue blur. I noticed it was significantly slower on the first ride of the day so note that going in it may not be quite as crazy if you ride earlier in the day. I really loved this attraction it really is fun and I love that KK has this unique little coaster. 10 out of 10 for sure from me I have it ranked at #11 right behind Maverick in my steel coaster rankings and #13 overall. Lightning Run is delightful.

After Lightning Run I knew exactly what I wanted to ride next and proceeded across the.......road through the park to the very back into the backstage area.......erm I mean Storm Chasers entrance plaza to find again one train ops but largely not much of a line for what was going to be my 4th RMC. I had heard a lot of comparisons to Twisted Timbers for this ride over the years which I love me some Timbers so I was thrilled. This is my 1st experience with the 1st-gen RMC trains, I have to admit I was kinda freaked out on my first ride because the restraint appeared to wobble quite a bit after locking to the point where I questioned how much it could go up during the ride. Are all 1st gen RMC restraints like this? Thankfully I wasn't ejected from my seat at any point literally but the airtime whoa that was some strong ejector with a semi sketchy restraint. The ride begins with the awkwardly super fast lift hill that just dumps you into the turnaround for the barrel roll drop. It felt a bit less graceful than Timbers here for sure but the drop itself largely felt the same I didn't think there was a significant difference between the two. The subsequent camelback is absolutely fantastic and sustains ejector air the entire way. The large overbank is just a fun transition much like the overbank on Iron Gwazi. The turnaround with the off axis airtime hills was wild, I remember just feeling like I was barely in the car over the first one of those two hills as it would adjust positioning. After that is another smaller overbank like the other one into a fantastic ejector airtime hill, followed by a fun Zero-G roll that is taken a bit quicker than Twisted Timbers Zero-G. The ride then hits the trick track and holy sh*t the airtime pop over the first half of it is absolutely nuts. You are just blasted into the restraint as the on-ride photo is taken I don't recall many rides throwing me up that violently as that first hill on the trick track. The subsequent hills are less powerful but still contain very powerful ejector airtime. Then the ride turns around does a small wave turn and the coaster wraps up. Yeah I loved Storm Chaser I probably rode it 15 times over the two days I was at Kentucky Kingdom. I slightly prefer Twisted Timbers due to the quantity of ejector airtime hills on that ride but Storm Chaser is just delightful and the wobbly restraint kind of makes it terrifying. 10 out of 10 for sure #7 steel coaster and #9 overall both categories 1 spot below Twisted Timbers but don't let that make you think Storm Chaser isn't worth a trip it absolutely you would get to ride Lightning Run!

Next I did a single lap on Thunder Run I would say yeah this was the best ride on Hurler I ever had, it was tough to rationalize riding again over more laps on Storm Chaser or Lightning Run. It tracked quite smooth I will say that. 7 out of 10, outside of my Top 25 overall.

Kentucky Flyer was next and this was my first experience with a gravity group junior coaster. It was delightful I had a very aggressive airtime pop in the front row rising up into the first hill that completely caught me off guard. This ride is just a sea of bunny hills and it's a lot of fun. Great family coaster and the only coaster in the park with 2 train ops thankfully. I highly recommend Kentucky Flyer it's a solid #3 coaster in this park for sure. I definitely think more parks could use these junior GG wooden coasters. 8 out of 10, outside of my Top 25 overall, if I really thought about it it might be a top 15 wooden coaster of the ones I've ridden.

T3 was abysmal. It shook me so violently in the front row I couldn't wait for it to end. One and done. 2 out of 10 probably in the bottom 10 coasters I've ridden if we are being honest. I hope KK removes this and throws it in the dump where it belongs as soon as possible but considering Wild Adventures SLC is still standing I don't have high hopes.

Other attractions I experienced in KK included: Cyclos, Scream Extreme, and Raging River Rapids. Cyclos is an awesome flat I loved it I try to ride flats that look interesting that the Virginia parks don't have and this was absolutely worth it. It's disorienting and just a ton of fun. Scream Extreme is also a great flat and I really enjoyed this modern take on the enterprise. I seriously want Apple Turnover 2.0 at KD now after riding one of these. The Rapids ride was very fascinating I have to admit since it was obvious it used to be Penguins Blizzard River with the black and white umbrellas and various theming that clearly indicate it used to be themed to that concept. I enjoyed my ride on it though. I always love a good rapids ride.

The only food I ate in the park was of course the Herschend Cinnamon Bread for reference this is located RIGHT NEXT to Lightning Run. It's absolutely amazing if you like cinnamon like me I had it with apple butter just melted in my mouth like at Dollywood before.

Overall I enjoyed my 2 half days at Kentucky Kingdom, it's a bizarre little park with the road going through it and dry rides being among the water park rides, with the most bizarre placements being Kentucky Flyer and Skycatcher. I felt like the park was pleasant, the front half especially was rather charming. The area around Storm Chaser and Eye of the.........Storm (Ed must love theming rides to storms or something, I assume the RMC Raptor was going to be "Hurricane Force" at this rate) looks pretty bad honestly and could do with a lot of refreshing but it didn't detract from my day or anything. Another comment is the lack of coaster merch, I could not find a single Storm Chaser shirt in the park. I got a keychain and a magnet with the logo...........that also had T3 on them so I possess items with references do that horrible machine. The only coaster shirt I saw was for Kentucky Flyer which I mean, it's a cool ride but you'd think they would want to push merch for Lightning Run and Storm Chaser? Regardless those two attractions alone make KK absolutely worth the stop because if you love ejector airtime they got it. A lot of it. One other quick comment, it seemed like the Lightning Run operator was trying to kick people out of line at the end of the day making an announcement they "only had time for 2 more cycles" which they sent out 3 because it cleared the station but I noticed a lot of people got out of line for this reason and tried to convince me to get out of line which felt kinda deceptive and more self serving to get out of 2-3 more cycles so you can leave an extra 5 minutes early or something which I didn't care much for but it is what it is. I will note if you go here you're less than 90 minutes from Holiday World! Which these two are great to combine into one trip as I found out as I took a voyage to Holiday World after lunchtime on the 2nd day....
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