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Good morning,

This is part 3 of the series about my recent Midwest coaster audit. After chasing storms, running with lightning, getting absolutely wrecked by T3, flying with the raven, hearing the legend, encountering a Thunderbird, and most critically going on a voyage around 8 times. The portion of the trip arrived where I intended to use my Kings Dominion platinum pass and meal plan to it's full advantage. 5 straight days at a cedar fair park. One of them I visited before in 2005 but that was not my destination this morning so once again visiting a brand new park.

After a 2 hour drive that morning from Louisville to Cincinnati, I just roundtripped Holiday World from my Louisville hotel next to the Kentucky Expo Center to make this drive minimal. After an exciting arrival to the Cincinnati skyline downtown I proceeded directly through it to the suburbs of Ohio for a park I had heard stories about from my family since I was young. Apparently my Dad tried to get my sister on the Beast but she was just a hair too short so the ops stopped them before getting on. Kings Island is a park that like Busch Gardens Tampa Bay feels somewhat personal to me. I have been going to Kings Dominion since I was 3 years old so this was just as exciting as rolling up to BGT for the first time last September. I planned to spend 2 full days in the park since it has 14 roller coasters and I had 0 of the credits and needed to sweep the park but also wanted to enjoy the park and have ample re-rides.

It was exciting rolling up to the park seeing the Eiffel Tower much like I often see on an average weekend (and will likely be seeing in a few hours). Walking up I noticed the sound of a jazzy soundtrack which was the main soundtrack for the entire entrance area of the park. I found it to be pretty awesome and it told me walking up "this is a park with a lot of personality." So buckle up because there will be a lot of comparisons to KD because how can you not? The parks are so closely tied it's difficult not to. That said Kings Islands coaster lineup feels pretty different from KDs. Yes there is a Backlot and FOF installment but all of the other coasters with the exception of Woodstock Express are very different. Racer and Racer 75 are different enough to feel like different rides. I have to note I really liked Kings Island it was remarkable how much I really enjoyed my two days here. The whole atmosphere of the park was just pleasant the soundtracks just seem to hit especially in Rivertown and International Street. Coney Mall largely felt larger and more grandiose than Candy Apple Grove. International Street also felt that way but I like KDs more for the fact it's so wooded however what I realize is that the wooded aspect actually limits what KD can do with the entrance area after seeing the night show at Kings Island this season. Regardless I appreciate the tree coverage being at KDs I-Street but I strongly prefer the soundtrack at Kings Island. I'm not quite sure if the jazzy themes are just part of the 50th celebration but I hope not because that was awesome and a great vibe in the entrance area. Action Zone was.........there, didn't have a ton of thoughts on that section. It was a bunch of random attractions in a largely very generic area of concrete very dominated by Banshee. I did not bother with Soak City because I just wanted to enjoy the dry park itself, I did ride all three water rides though. Kings Island certainly seems like it has a bigger budget than KD all around, the 50th celebration theme was HEAVY in the park this year and it makes me wonder what KD will do for theirs. I also noticed the employees seemed to be VERY passionate about their jobs all around overall it seemed like the tone at the top at Kings Island is very strong throughout the park. In addition it seems like Holiday Worlds reputation rubs off on Kings Island as I had a few ops offer to take my loose articles from me like Holiday World. That has never ever happened at a Virginia park to me but happened several times at Holiday World and Kings Island. Did not happen at Cedar Point though. But that's enough atmosphere and KD comparisons. I have audit reports to issue about the coasters and attractions!

The first day it turned out despite being a Monday was absolutely packed and I needed to procure Fast Lane on a MONDAY. But apparently it was a federal holiday. I got there and went to Orion and encountered a 35 minute wait which seemed fine it's a newer Giga coaster and I remember how strong of a draw Fury 325 was for crowds at Carowinds. But then once I left Orion and went to Banshee and saw a crowd at the bottom of the steps I knew it was busier than expected because the queue times rarely reports a significant queue for Banshee so I decided Fast Lane was necessary at that point. Tuesday was considerably less packed so Fast Lane was not needed that day as basically everything was a walk on. I successfully rode 11 of the 14 coasters on Monday with re-rides on the top 4 and then obtained my abstract bragging rights from Woodstock and Flying Ace. I do not bother or care with coasters the size or scale of Great Pumpkin Coaster. Those credits will only be obtained with my nieces or my kids in the future or something. I won't bother providing much of a write up on those two. Woodstock was kinda fun, Flying Ace was trash. In addition I will go ahead and note, Flight of Fears queue theming appears to be more maintained than hour Flight of Fear, but holy sh*t those transitions suck on that ride. I got yanked hard through the cobra roll after the launch much harder than I've ever been pulled on KDs FOF and it soured my mood a bit. Not to mention the ride is a time sink to ride even with Fast Lane which is kind of annoying when you're significantly more interested in the rest of the park than the FOF clone. I will also note I found this interesting, the automated spiel that plays when the train pulls into the station? I feel like it's word for word the same as the spiel Volcano used to have as it came in with "Please secure all loose articles, loose articles are not permitted" the same opening piece of that spiel and it seemed to match up in my head as I listened to the rest of it. Thought that was neat to remember in the moment. I will note if you visit KI and need this credit to get on it as soon as humanly possible after the park opens even when Kings Island was dead the ride had a 45-60 minute wait and you really ask yourself as somebody who goes to KD frequently do you REALLY want to lose an hour to a worse version of our FOF when you can go ride Orion 4 times instead? Also Backlot Stunt Coaster is the same, just better maintained effects and the track is black it's also not in a jungle section. There's your review of those. Now let's begin with the big draw of the park.

There was a special project to save the world behind Racer and it takes the form of a blue B&M Giga with the honestly awesome name of Orion. Approaching this ride it really is awesome to see it right next to Flight of Fear to where the hill just looks absolutely massive behind the Flight of Fear entrance from a visual perspective. It really does loom over it where I305 is more "down the hill away" from FOF at KD. The theming in the queue section was comically short to the point that from how it's designed people were just going straight to the steps which makes me feel like a lot of people end up not seeing that section of the queue. My first ride on Orion I ended up in row 5 in a middle seat. Pretty weak spot for the first ride but it is what it is with the Cedar Fair row assignments at the bigger budget parks I guess. Orions first hill and drop were largely identical to Fury 325, I mean maybe I slightly noticed the extra 20 feet on the drop on Fury but it's largely immaterial. But yeah much like Fury 325 it was excellent one of the best drops on roller coasters for sure. The wave turn definitely doesn't have the most/basically no airtime but it is fun to zip through and the turnaround doesn't have a ton of airtime itself but I enjoy going down another large drop and picking up speed for the absolutely nuts speed hill. I've ridden Candymonium and Mako so I've experienced those speed hills and I got a lot of airtime on them. Orions feels much longer so it seems like a solid 3-4 seconds of sustained floajector air at least on my rides. It was awesome and I yelled with joy each time as we shot through that element. The subsequent airtime hill also has a significant amount of airtime. I didn't really notice the trim itself in my rides. The helix following the two hills kinda felt like a faster version of Apollo's Chariots helix and it had some strong positives. The off axis hill at the end before the brakes is absolutely wild and also has some very strong enjoyable airtime and then it charges up into the brakes where I again got strong airtime. Orion is a ton of fun I really like this ride, personally I love the B&M Mega Coaster model and will usually enjoy them to death whenever I come across a new one. Orion certainly isn't on Furys level for layout but it's still a very fun and cool coaster and my 2nd favorite of the B&M Megas (this includes Fury 325). It's very photogenic, and I agree the wave turn and turnaround aren't the greatest elements on a B&M Mega Coaster but the back half of the ride is a blast with the airtime hills and I find that to be one of the most fun sequences in this genre of coaster. Orion alone is a reason to visit Kings Island and personally I prefer it to Millennium Force but we can discuss that client another day. I give Orion a 9 out of 10 especially in the front row. I rode it at least 7-8 times I rode so many roller coasters this week I started losing track of the ones I rode more than 4-5 times because I was just going with the flow. It's very re-ridable and honestly I could ride Orion 25 times in a row and keep going it's just a blast.

After that I decided to proceed to Action Zone to visit a graveyard the resting site of the offspring of the legendary wooden coaster in the back of the park. I paid my respects to the eternal flame of that giant monstrosity of a ride and I'm kinda glad I never experienced it. The eternal flame is a really cool touch. As I was admiring the flame I had a SCREECH and looked up to a large purple B&M invert looming above. It was time for Banshee. Ah it was delightful absolutely DELIGHTFUL to ride a B&M invert in the front and the back again. I think my first ride I got one of the trains that doesn't run that well so it was a bit shaky but it didn't bother me too much. Nothing much crazier than Alpengeist honestly in its valleys some days. Banshees color scheme absolutely POPS I love the purple/magenta track and the presence it has in the action zone. The screech at the top of the lift hill is awesome and can be heard all over the park. Another note on operations, this ride the B&M invert was running three trains on both Monday and Tuesday. It seemed to be consistently stacking but they seemed to get dispatches done quickly. I rode Banshee in several different rows including a great front row night ride. I actually greatly enjoyed this ride. The drop can catch you off guard towards the back of the train which is really fun and not something I'm used to on an invert. I appreciate that the ride begins with an awesome dive loop. I really want an epic dive loop like this somewhere in Virginia on something. The inversions are pretty forceful but also graceful in a way to where the ride doesn't give you a headache as much if you're a 30 something like me with broad shoulders. I loved the Pretzel Knot it seemed like a "batwing-lite but huge" very swoopy. The ride even has a second vertical loop which I appreciate with a few good helices. There is also the slow zero G roll at the end that's just a delight. Banshee soared to around my 3rd favorite of the 11 inverts I've ridden and I have minimal complaints about the vests but keep in mind I am 6'2 and have been stuck in rows 4 and 5 on the hard OTSR inverts which has been not that great and they seem to be more likely to give me headaches nowadays. But I love Banshee it's another ride I hit 7+ times. I give Banshee an 8.5 out of 10. The only inverts I prefer are Montu and Afterburn and I could even argue that I prefer Banshee to Afterburn just because of length and Afterburns first half is basically just Montu but slightly more forceful. But as of now I still prefer Afterburn for it's intensity and also yes this means I prefer Banshee to Raptor and Alpengeist.

After my encounter with the evil spirit of the Beasts offspring, I decided to head to Rivertown, I don't quite remember if I hit Diamondback or Mystic Timbers first. So since we're on a B&M kick we will go to Diamondback next. I already mentioned I LOVE the B&M Mega Coaster model. The only other one I've ridden with staggered seating is Intimidator at Carowinds so I was eager to see how Diamondback stacked up to the other megas I've ridden (AC, Nitro, Mako, Candy, I232, Fury 325, and of course Orion). First off I LOVE Diamondbacks presentation. It looms over rivertown and is sending trains up that lift all day long. The trains look SICK with the snake theme and the crew works hard to pump trains out, this is the ride where there was a ride operator that offered to help with loose articles and they were determined to get those trains out which I certainly appreciate. Diamondback definitely can get a little shaky towards the back of the train but that only detracts from my experience so much. I will say I did not expect Diamondback to become my favorite B&M Hyper coaster and 3rd favorite of the B&M Mega models. This ride has very powerful airtime over it's camelbacks much more so than Apollo's Chariot for comparison and a lot more of these hills. The return run doesn't have quite as much airtime but the hills do their job and the splashdown at the end just makes Diamondback a spectacle. It's definitely the most impressive B&M hyper for how it's presented in a park that I've personally encountered. It's rare a parks main pathways traverse underneath a lift hill and drop that large. I got a night ride on Diamondback and rode it 7-8 times. It was a blast and made me appreciate how re-ridable Kings Islands 3 B&Ms are. The camelback before the hammerhead especially gives some exceptionally strong floater air. I could honestly ride this ride all day it's just fantastic. I also want to note like at Carowinds it's really cool looking at a B&M Hyper and Giga operating at the same time just watching one huge train ascend the hyper right in front of you and then see the Giga ascend off in the distance and hearing the louder lifts is just a vibe I appreciate as a coaster and theme park enthusiast. I give Diamondback a 9 out of 10 I don't consider Orion significantly better than Diamondback but it wins just off the speed and pacing plus that speed hill is just epic on Orion.

Next I proceeded across the Rivertown midway to the Miami River Lumber Company (what a good name for the log flume that could have been.....). There was a mysterious aura and soundtrack in the air as I proceeded into the queue for Mystic Timbers. It was interesting to finally encounter Twisted Timbers "sister coaster" apparently these timbers are of the mystical variety........yeah if I'm being honest I am glad we got "Twisted" in terms of the names of the rides because Mystic Timbers is a weird name for a roller coaster but I digress. I LOVE GCI wooden coasters. A GCI awoke my coaster enthusiasm back in 2001 Lightning Racer was my first marathon and I thought it was just the coolest damn ride ever. Since then I have ridden Thunderhead, Roar, Wildcat, Texas Stingray, and InvadR. Mystic Timbers is another one of those Cedar Fair themed rides with a story as they have been trending. The queue was very nice and wooded with signs and theming referencing past attractions and other cedar fair rides. The station has a great soundtrack and much like the B&Ms Kings Island appears to aggressively run 3 trains on this thing. The trains are similar in appearance to Twisted Timbers which really makes you feel like Mystic Timbers, Twisted Timbers, and Copperhead Strike are "sister coasters" for a theming aspect with them all being truck designed trains. I rode Mystic Timbers 7+ times over the two days at the park. The ride begins like any other GCI with that classic lift hill and the sound GCI lifts make. First off I will note I REALLY appreciated the millennium flyers after the last few days of PTCs giving me headaches. I didn't feel any sort of headache on Mystic Timbers which was very very nice after the PTCs were causing me issues............if only I could say the same about what I rode after this. Anyway the lifthill has random parts where it slows down to make the lift quiet so the speakers can warn you about the infamous shed. The ride charges down the classic GCI banked drop up over a hill into what honestly just feels like a barrage of rapid transitions and airtime moments. It just zips through this onslaught of rapid transitions that it's almost difficult to process what is even happening besides the fact you're just zipping through the woods. Every time we hit the brake run I would comment "man that was a rush" and that alone made it my favorite GCI. It really is the best GCI layout I've personally experienced right above Texas Stingray. Then there's the part all enthusiasts roast and complain about. The shed. I think enthusiasts didn't quite realize it was just going to be theming in here and yeah it's somewhat underwhelming for the level of hype Kings Island put into it. Honestly from my perspective I think it's quirky and I strongly prefer sitting there listening to music instead of sitting in the sun on other coasters on the brake run. I like how they change the monster each cycle. I don't have much negative to say about the shed it's nice to just sit in a cool building with music instead of sitting on a brake run in the sun. It makes sense for what the ride is trying to do theming wise which is fine at the end of the day it's another thing that makes me appreciate how much effort Kings Island puts into things. I give Mystic Timbers a 9 out of 10 it's my 2nd favorite ride in the park after Orion. It's no Voyage but it's so much fun I don't care. I love how it and Diamondback are across from each other and you can run back and forth to them like a child for how re-ridable they both are.

It was time for my encounter with a ride I had known about since I began following roller coasters, The Beast. I only rode the Beast twice because as I just noted PTC trains were not my friend this trip and my first ride gave me a brutal headache during the day. I thought the layout was really cool and interesting. Very drawn out and unique ride. Made me almost see it like it was the voyage before the voyage. Now where stuff got VERY interesting for the Beast was when I got my night ride to close out my 2 days at Kings Island. People kept telling me for weeks I had to ride at night so I ensured that happened. I got stuck in the queue during the fire works and drone show and we waited a while for them to clear safety checks to run the ride. Worth every bit of it. I didn't get headaches on my night ride which was much better but also............holy sh*t it's dark back there. You guys like Grizzly night rides? Well this is exactly what you need. We dove into tunnels and it was pitch black I couldn't see my hand in front of my face I just felt the train taking us somewhere it was unreal. The sense of speed was much higher at night and the finale was just epic. I like how the lift hill loomed at night with two bright lights in the distance. I have to admit the night ride was probably the greatest night ride I've had on basically anything and I rode Steel Vengeance and the Voyage in the dark on this trip as well as Iron Gwazi in May. It was that level of epic honestly for a coaster enthusiast. I give The Beast an 8.5 out of 10 as a coaster. The night ride however is truly legendary and a must experience item for any thoosie.

Alright we have the supporting line up left and this is already super long so here's some brief comments on them. The Bat awesome to ride an arrow suspended coaster again, rode it at night in the pitch black to close out day 1 at KI and the fireworks show went on during the ride. It did partially derail the day after I rode it so that made me ultimately skip Iron Dragon since I have the credit. It's super far from the main park pathways which is weird. 7.5 out of 10 Invertigo was intense and very fun. I wasn't crazy about the shoulder restraints but they didn't bother me. Definitely the best boomerang I've ridden no question. 8 out of 10. Adventure Express yeah the ending WTF that was weird. Fun mine train though much better than Cedar Creek Mine Ride. 7 out of 10 Racer seems to be better taken care of than our Racer and the station setup makes it easier to race friends. I liked the paint scheme and light package. One comment WHY is the lift hill so loud and constant?? 7 out of 10. Delirum oddly weak and the cycle is too short. Congo Falls the double down drop is fun, White Water Canyon, the MOST SAVAGE geysers on any rapids ride I've ever seen, Race for your life Charlie Brown pretty weak log flume, wish it wasn't named for planet snoopy honestly just feels weird.

I also ate at Miami River Brewhouse twice, Coney BBQ, and LaRosa's Pizza. The brewhouse was excellent I liked the beer selection and the food was quality, like Harmony Hall I wish KD had one of these. Coney BBQ also excellent the pulled pork and mac and cheese I had here was delicious. LaRosa's Pizza the one by Diamondback reminded me of Pizza Parlor at KD......that's all to say there.

Overall I LOVED Kings Island all around, it was like visiting Kings Dominion for the first time again! I ended up buying my first parkscape for the 50th anniversary and an Orion shirt. I could not find a Mystic Timbers shirt anywhere in my size so I bought one of those classic "these are the signature coasters" shirts with the top 5. I cannot recommend Kings Island enough one of the best parks I've ever been to. I would say of the 5 Cedar Fair parks I've visited it's my 2nd favorite by far and arguably has a case for #1 over Cedar Point for just the fact it's such a pleasant park to visit. The guests seemed to be very knowledgeable of the rides as well which I thought was interesting. Honestly cannot wait to go back. Thanks for reading! That Wednesday morning after two glorious days at Kings Island I ate a Waffle House breakfast prior to my 3 hour drive through Ohio to a park I haven't visited since 2005. I hear there appears to be some disagreements with some outlaws in Frontiertown and that a certain wooden coaster I rode with a mean streak was out for Vengeance.
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