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Getting aHEAD of myself
Advisory Panel
Feb 12, 2011
With all of the improvements Cedar Fair has been giving Kings Dominion to make it a prettier, more inviting experience, it hit me: Kings Dominion really is a beautiful park. Sure, it was basically a parking lot a bit ago, but they really have done an amazing job of making the park beautiful!

That's when I decided to get a bit creative. We all praise Busch Gardens for being beautiful, so I decided to do the impossible: I took to the streets and with a combination of good lighting, interesting angles, and select beautiful shots, I was able to get over 100 photos showing the beauty of Kings Dominion, and put it into a video. They said it couldn't be done, but it shows how Kings Dominion really is an amazing place. I think, with its improvements, we take it for granted with the World's Most Beautiful Theme Park so close by, but I wanted to show just how truly wonderful Kings Dominion is. Here is the video I put together from the photos I took. Feel free to critique as you like (I know there are a few similar shots in there)! Enjoy! Kings Dominion really is an amazing place.
It used to be gorgeous in the Congo & International Street areas (along with the nice Ivy walkway that you can get sprayed w/water mist), but I hope to visit there sometime this season & give it an honest looksee.
Great job (to both you and Kings Dominion)! There was a time when Kings Dominion deserved its reputation as a concrete jungle but things are quickly changing. The entire front half of the park is radically better than it was just 3 or 4 years ago. If these changes continue to spread towards the back half, pretty soon Kings Dominion could probably be considered one of the most beautiful amusement parks in the country.
Agreed. There is some things that still need a ton of work (Grove) but there is a lot of nice areas. International Street is the best looking area in the park and Old Virginia following that (even though it's a bit run down these days).

During each of my visits, I try to get a picture of the fountains, trees, and Eiffel Tower from a different angle than before. The image below is from my last visit.


Kings Dominion really is great at making the front of the park the striving part. Now if they could focus on the back (and the front at the same time to keep it from getting run down).
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I love how the trees have grown. I've been going here forever and the biggest complaint for most of the time it's been opened was the lack of shade in the park. There are still a lot of bare areas that can use more shade but it's come a long way since it first opened.

Now the park needs to get rid of all the black top pavement.
Unagi said:
I love how the trees have grown. I've been going here forever and the biggest complaint for most of the time it's been opened was the lack of shade in the park. There are still a lot of bare areas that can use more shade but it's come a long way since it first opened.

Now the park needs to get rid of all the black top pavement.
I agree, the trees really help the park feel lush and nice. Cedar Fair has really taken KD a long way to making it a great place. Also, those pavers they're putting in are much nicer than the blacktop. I'd say nearly 2/3 of the park has been redone for those pretty pavers, and Gene said they'd continue to put them in and add more gardens to make it a more beautiful, inviting place.

I guess Cedar Fair realized something that Paramount didn't: they're so close to the World's Most Beautiful Theme Park, so they shouldn't just throw rides in to take the cheesy, opposite approach. Cedar Fair has realized that if they want to compete, they're going to have to step up their game and make it a beautiful park to invite people like Busch Gardens. They've certainly gained my business much more by making it a true nice experience.

It's sort of like McDonald's. Years ago, it was a cheap, plasticy mess that was uncomfortable and tacky to eat at. Nowadays, if I want fast food, I keep in mind how they've changed to looking like casual-yet-fancy cafe-style buildings inside that are really nice, while I remember how say, Burger King is a trashy mess. Kings Dominion is McDonald's in this scenario, who's really made the park more inviting and seems to have really helped their business to getting more families into a nicer place.

Thanks for your input on my video! Kings Dominion really has come a long way--it really is an amazing place!
This is for Evan. ;) But I do really like this shot.


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Most folks probably did not realize that there have been subtle changes to the "Grove" over the last 3 seasons (2011-2013).

Over those 3 years, KD has replaced all the existing grass areas with new sod; around the Carousel and the main midway center landscape islands.

The park added 4-5 new landscape islands in the "Grove" within that time period as well.

1) Two circular landscape islands; one in front of the Dodgem building and the other just to the north of that one. Sort of in front of the basketball throw games.

2) A serpentine landscape island, in the plaza, in front of the Drop Tower sign (as you head toward the Water-Works entrance).

3) Another couple small landscape islands in front of "Johnny's" restaurant (next to Triple Spin).

I'm hoping the park might add 4-5 more landscape islands as part of the Grove renovation back to Candy Apple Grove. These are some good possibilities below:

1) I think another circular landscape island could go at the intersection of the short pathway to Triple Spin's entrance and the main north Grove pathway.

2) 2 more circular landscape islands in the pathways opposite from the two existing ones listed in 1) above. (one between the pizza place and the swings and the other just to the north of that one - north Grove path | next to the small corner arcade building).

3) One or two more landscape islands to frame the Ferris Wheel [one around the Arcade area/Rebel Yell exit and the other at the intersection of the main north Grove path and the short path to the Carousel].

The park did have trees added, in the early 1980's, to the middle of the north and south Grove pathways. The trees were spaced out far enough so maintenance, supply, and emergency vehicles could pass through. Most of them just had metal grates around the tree trunks to let the rain water them and the trees to have room to grow (think trees planted along city sidewalks). But, most were removed in the late 1990's.

Even if none of what I suggested above comes to fruition, I hope the Grove renovation will at least include replacing the asphalt with brick pavers.

I am not sure what to suggest for the far Western Grove area. I had a dream that the Grove stage would be replaced with a small 250 seat amphitheater for 2014. But, if that does not pan out, maybe some more landscape islands and brick pavers around the existing stage. I would hope the park would at least add 6-8 benches to sit on and watch the show being performed at the Grove stage if that stays as is.
Opening day is just two weeks away! I for one cannot wait to see what Kings Dominion has in store for us. As excited as I am to see the new restaurants, the candy apples, the flower clock, the Singing Mushrooms, and such- I am most excited to see all of these things working together to create that wonderful park experience (charm) that they are striving for. We've already seen the pictures of new pavers, new landscape islands (as mwhinva brought up above), and rows upon rows of flowers

With the Spring Bloom Festival, the flower clock, brick pavers galore, and an overall increase in work of the Landscaping Department, it looks like Kings Dominion will be showing off some radical beauty this coming season.

I don't know what to expect, but I am certain that Kings Dominion will be prettier, lusher, and more welcoming than ever before!

Without further ado, here is a shortened video highlighting 2013's shrubbery. I forgot to post it when I made it a few months ago, so I'll let it serve as a teaser for the upcoming season! :D
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I'm going to ride some cold coasters and check out the parks beauty one last time in the AM...anybody interested?
I'll be there to say goodbye for the season! Don't forget, the park doesn't open till noon.
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This past year I have noticed that there is a lot less asphalt and more stone paths around the park. Mainly near the front part of the park and the safari village. I've heard that cedar fair is piece by piece getting rid of all the asphalt and putting in that stone. Is this true or am I just going crazy and imagining new stone walkways and areas
The park has made a steady effort in replacing the asphalt pathways with brick pavers. Over the past few years, Center Street, parts of Candy Apple Grove, and areas around the Eiffel Tower (as well as almost all of International Street) have been replaced with pavers. Last year, all of Planet Snoopy and the former Kidzville area were repaved. This year, only the swath of land connecting Planet Snoopy to the path around the Singing Mushrooms was paved. Old Virginia has seen the least paver work, with virtually no pavers added since the original ownership. I was a bit disappointed with the amount of space paved this year, especially considering how much of Candy Apple Grove and Safari Village still needs to be paved. Hopefully those areas will see some improvements with the continued #KD40 trends next year.
If thee were me, I would pave Old Virginia with patterned concrete or at least aggregate topped.
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