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Olde Dominion Coasting://Day 3~ Black Forest, Booze, and Too Much Food!

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Jarrett, Aug 25, 2018.

  1. Jarrett

    Jarrett Most Obnoxious Member 2016 CF Award Winner 2016

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    So with me getting my new tech job, that also meant saying hasta la vista to Walmart. And with that, despite all my traveling, I still had PTO leftover to burn, which had another trip written all over it. Virginia was the obvious choice, given it's home to a shiny new RMC and a wonderful park I hadn't been to since my early teens. At the same time, Connor was actually able to go with me due to Kings Island stopping daily operation but both KD and BGW continuing it. So we made arrangements and went about our daily business until the time came to go!

    Day 1

    Since I was burning PTO, I was able to get the night before off, sort of an oddity for a Jarrett trip. However, I was still coming off of shift work that night so I woke up at 5 am, and the melatonin gummy I took failed to knock me back out. Regardless, Connor still managed to pop up and pick me up early in the morning and we headed out, with him taking the wheel first while I waited for the sleep medication to work its way out of my system. So Connor drove out first, following the unusual route Waze had plotted us out through Point Pleasant (famous for West Virginia's Mothman lore) and into my least favorite state, West Virginia!

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    We made our first driver swap in this gas station, following a sign not knowing it was the most run down Exxon ever. Couldn't even get gas as in this day and age of 2018 and Apple Pay and carrying your stuff out of an Amazon brick and mortar store, they only accept cash. Took a picture as it's obviously a primitive relic of the past.

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    However, as much as I HATE driving through West Virginia, this was good! Stopped at Tamarack, a really nice travel stop that sells creations from local artists and has an awesome food court! These are smoked trout tacos with Caribbean salsa and it was amazing!

    After this we headed back out, and per tradition, I had picked a new album to listen to on the drive. This trip's was Owl City's new "Cinematic," which I ended up really liking! It's the best feeling ever ripping through the mountains on the highway listening to something that positive!

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    Eventually we flattened out and crossed into Virginia before switching back to him. However, that's when we were getting word from a few local contacts at Kings Dominion that they were getting absolutely nailed by a storm. We switched back once but the early morning and awful night's sleep was catching up to me, so Connor volunteered to handle the last hour of drive. Well when we drove into Richmond, I saw exactly what everyone was talking about! Everyone was driving on eggshells, there was a really nasty rear ending halting traffic as people tried to handle it standing in a literal monsoon on the highway with cars barely navigating around them. But after that, it started to let up just enough for us to have an easy drive into the park. And just out of nowhere, we were at Kings Dominion!

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    First order of business was to find one of my park contacts, an employee who worked a few rides who I believed was on Dominator at the moment. Well walking through the gift shop to climb the exit stairs...my wet sneakers, tread completely worn off from all that time I spend on my feet at work, slipped on the smooth gift shop floor and I fell! Connor pointed and laughed as I landed on my face...prompting the poor merch attendant standing there bored to put out a wet floor sign. But Nick wasn't there so we continued back around the park for something else...

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    Sadly, due to lightning in the area, Hanover Hill was sadly shuttered at the moment. I stood there in the pouring rain looking at the closed RMC, absolutely drenched from head to toe from the rain at that point. However, we then found out another friend of mine was there!

    Connor and I turned around and met my friend Crystal from my Coaster Crew days, who worked two jobs that were both connected to the jobs both Connor and I worked! So I used a charge of my meal plan to get the driest chicken I've had in my life (good ol' Kings Dominion food right there) and sat and chatted for a bit.

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    While we were sitting and chatting about the park, our jobs, stupid people, typical catching up talk...I checked the app and everything was back up and running despite the rain! Needless to say, we hightailed it right back to the back corner of Candy Apple Grove for this RMC beauty!

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    Well that was a good ride for sure! Had to lock my phone and camera up so no pictures past the queue entrance this time around, but there's some great atmosphere walking up to this coaster, especially in such yucky weather. There's happy, wholesome fifties music playing as you head into this foggy weathered structure surrounded by decrepit equipment, adding sort of a "Fallout/Atom Bomb Baby" feel to the whole thing mixing dreary visuals with happy tunes. After the main infield, however, the theming is just a single random floating tractor (Verbolten has a random floating queue prop as well which we'll get to). But the station is really well themed, they did a great job ripping some of the corrugated metal from the corner and filling the disused space with props, it really looked like an industrialized farming operation had just suddenly stopped, though not sure how the apples stayed fresh all those years. :p

    Ride itself! Starts out exactly like Storm Chaser, thought he view of the forest as far as the eye can see added greatly to the theme, especially with creepy wisps of fog coming off of it. The first little lateral hop was a bit of a letdown, lacking the Wicked Cyclone-style ejector pop I was expecting. Overbank is exactly like Wicked Cyclone's, followed by another lateral hop. The first three camelbacks are great, gave me about air as Iron Rattler. Cutbacks aren't my thing but it snapped into and out of it really nicely, which went into a trick track double up a bit tamer than Storm Chaser's (I might guess this was neutered a bit, as it's one of RMC's most complained about elements on Chaser), capped off by two great air hills. The outward banked turn next is incredibly snappy and leads into a fun little hop and a great roll. The final turnaround was turned into two tiny little fan turns laid end to end and that's really violent, which leads into the two strongest pops of ejector on the ride into the brakes. Add in the drizzle we rode it in and you have a very memorable first ride!

    Definitely as good as the other ten RMCs I'd ridden, plenty of airtime and great pacing. It has very little for dead spots (a theme for making and breaking coasters on this trip), lots of airtime, but it seemed to lack originality. It's an innovative ride, they did some brilliant things with it, but it seemed to lack anything to set it apart from the others. Got right in the very front for our first ride, which should have been out best experience in that low momentum situation, but I couldn't see myself ranking it anywhere above the mid/low tier RMCs I've done.

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    Rode it again after and got pretty much the same result. Decided to put off ranking it for the day and get a few more rides tomorrow...

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    Next up we did Racer 75, from which I got this awesome shot walking up. It gave a much better ride than I was used to, still pretty #RMCitorWreckit but not as rough and got one pop of floater into the turnaround. We only did one side, though, saving the next for tomorrow.

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    Good night, Twisted Timbers! See you tomorrow! After that we talked to a games employee for a bit before heading out and saying goodbye to Crystal.

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    "Go try a local chain," Connor said. "It'll be fun," he said.

    Our next stop was Cookout, a local BBQ chain known for its massive menu. And boy does it earn that reputation! I felt like a deer in the headlights just staring at this thing as my brain fried itself deciding where to start.

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    Decided on a pulled pork sandwich, corn dog, quesadilla, and peanut butter fudge shake. The food was amazing but boy did I hate life after eating it!

    After that I needed something to drink in the hotel room and new shoes that weren't worn down to flat soles, so where to go? Walmart! Found a Walmart with a similar layout to mine and grabbed some Angry Orchard (for obvious reasons) and new shoes. Employee discount travels with me in my wallet so I got it slightly cheaper too! From there we headed back to the hotel, changed out of our soaked clothes, and hit the hay.

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    Good night, Kings Dominion! See you tomorrow!
     
    EpochEmu, Matt N and FarleyFlavors like this.
  2. Zek_Teh_Kek

    Zek_Teh_Kek Well-Known Member

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    Seems like you've had a great time so far!

    (BTW your signature kinda spoils the Twisted Timbers being in the mid/low tier :p)
     
  3. Matt N

    Matt N Well-Known Member

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    Nice report, Jarrett! Hope you get some more rides on Twisted Timbers in the next report!

    Also, to make an observation, I just noticed that your whole top 10 bar Skyrush is now made up of RMCs! They must be pretty good, although I suppose it's no different to my top 10 bar Icon, Smiler and Wicker Man being predominantly made up of B&Ms!

    Speaking of RMCs, you seem to have ridden most of the USA ones. Which RMCs have you got left to ride now, out of interest?
     
  4. EpochEmu

    EpochEmu Well-Known Member

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    I was at KD the day before you (if you actually wrote that report right after your first day), and Racer was definitely the biggest surprise of the trip. It gave a great ride and had some really nice, tame floater. It did make this horrendous squeaking noise on the turn though, I guess they should oil their side/guide wheels:).
    My first Timbers ride was in the rain as well, really fun ride with the rain blasting my face. Rode Anaconda in the rain too, waiting for i305 to open (was it closed all day for you because of the rain?)- painful fun. Parks in the rain are always great, memorable experiences.
    Two things you have to try-
    The drop tower and the Minute Maid Smoothies. The tower's great as always, but those smoothies. They're just indescribable. Nothing like them! :D
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    https://www.cokesolutions.com/products/brands/minute-maid/minute-maid--smoothies
     
  5. Zek_Teh_Kek

    Zek_Teh_Kek Well-Known Member

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    I actually didn't like Racer 75 that much. It was very smooth, but it felt like I was in my seat the entire time. That and it wasn't racing. :(
     
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  6. EpochEmu

    EpochEmu Well-Known Member

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    It didn’t race for me either but it had surprising airtime on the double up, etc. Not too strong but more than I expected.
    When will your TR be posted?
     
  7. Jarrett

    Jarrett Most Obnoxious Member 2016 CF Award Winner 2016

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    Crap! I didn't think anyone would actually look at it! I'll explain more right now...

    I really like RMCs as I feel they focus 100% on the things I look for in a coaster. Little to no regard for positives and just a fast, out of control airtime machine that throws you every which way. Not to mention they're engineered in such a way that they can optimize ride experience over anything else. Both their rides and the manufacturer themselves have their flaws but I think their product enables them to get closer to perfect than any other manufacturer right now bar a few exceptions. Expecting Macks to start working their way in there soon though.

    I've ridden every RMC in the US outside of California, so everything in my signature alongside Goliath and NTG.

    Haha sadly I'm already back in Ohio but thanks! I actually tried to get a Minute Maid smoothie from a McDonald's on this trip though but they were out of them. Not a drop tower guy either (though I rode a different one which you'll see up next). It was great in the rain though! Getting blasted in face with rain at ridiculous speeds is always an oddly fun experience, as painful as it can be.

    Yeah you're right about this completely. No airtime at all, though we did race. Not offensive just boring, but a lot better than the other garbage of its era.

    Yeah I got no airtime on it. The racing is just a mild thing for me, my main issue with it is the lack of airtime. Not offensive, just a boring old coaster that falls into the #RMCitorWreckit range of my rankings.

    -x-

    Day 2

    Connor and I got a late start to the day, as the park opened at 10:30. So we woke up, grabbed some cereal for breakfast, checked out, and headed to Kings Dominion!

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    Good morning, Kings Dominion!

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    Since the place was dead as a doornail we could just GP it and went right for Dominator! It currently sits at my third favorite floorless behind Krypton and Hydra but it's still a ride I love!

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    Batman Knight Flight (as Connor kept calling it) was just as great as it was last year! Holds its speed well, some nice hangtime in this loop, minimal headbanging, and overall a very solid package. After we got off we met up with Nick (the ride op we were looking for yesterday when I took that graceful little tumble in the photo kiosk) and headed back into Congo.

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    We didn't even play around and went back to infamous and divisive Intimidator 305. Since last night was Connor's first time at KD, he hadn't ridden it but was looking forward to such a stigmatized coaster. However, I've ridden it both in 2010 and 2017 and I maintained the position that it's overrated. It's a great machine for what it does, it's an icon of its late 2000's/early 2010's era and Intamin's style around then, but I find positive force with nothing added to it to just be monotonous and boring. Most of the time I spend on this coaster I'm waiting for it to do something else interesting, which to me is the mark of a boring ride. Well Nick got us in the back...

    This easily rose a good 30-40 spots in my rankings, possibly more! Now granted, it's still far, far from the best in the world, or even one of the best in the US, but it's not exactly boring! The drop is amazing, I got way more air in the back over that first hill than I did, there's that lovely "unbank, float, snap back" that I already loved, but that rapid S-bend I actually really liked as well! Sadly there were still several hills where I felt it was just holding us there to exert force and nothing else, and of course those two airtime hills at the end that do absolutely nothing, and the ride flat out dying at the end except for a few transitions weaker than the ones at the start of the ride. All in all, it's a much more respectable machine than I gave it credit for, Big Timmy's certainly better than Baby Timmy, not to mention it's one of the coasters that kickstarted my coaster enthusiasm in high school, so maybe I could bash it a little less than I do at the moment. Didn't complain about the rerides we got on it either!

    No pics next, but we did Flight of Fear. Well, Nick and Connor did Flight of Fear. As I pulled the bar down, my phone got in the way so I stopped to adjust it. Nope! The ride op had controls unlock my bar and just rudely pointed at the door and demanded I "exit." Exit. Just one word and a finger point? Unacceptable, and Nick told me he would never handle something like that and that she was certainly in the wrong. I got to ride it later that day but sadly didn't get her name to turn her in to guest services. If I had handled customers like that at my job I'd be in deep dootie, she should be as well. It's not even the walk of shame over a phone in my pocket I was upset about, it was the way she treated a customer.

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    #Whatsintheshed?

    Next up we decided to chill out on Avalanche, the only Mack bobsled in the States. I'd ridden with my family in 2010 but it was down when I went in 2017. And boy did I like it more than I remembered! This is a fun little family coaster, takes the trough much more smoothly than nasty La Vibora, and Volcano's mountain next door really helps enhance the experience with visuals. Some of the MCBRs but unnecessarily hard but I'm not complaining, it's still a great coaster!

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    Second year in a row I've gone and it's been down, which is unfortunate because it was one of my favorites in 2010. Honestly, maybe a full ride refurbishment and teaser campaign about how this dormant volcano is unexpectedly still active might be the best choice for this ride? Told they're waiting on a part and looking to fix some structural aging on the mountain. Anybody know of a ride manufacturer that might have experience with fake rockwork? ;)

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    Did the Crypt that was still standing next, the smaller outdoor version of the now defunct indoor flat ride at Kings Island. And I really enjoyed it! It flips like crazy, nice and intense, certainly up there with my favorite flats!

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    You know that moment when the out of towner looks at a new-to-them cred all excited and everyone who's ridden it groans? That was this. Connor was so excited to get on this Arrow classic and Nick and I knew better!

    It was better than Vortex. And that's all I'll say.

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    The man and legend himself! This is the zebra that's borderline become a meme!

    Next up was Backlot, just like ours at KI except none of the effects are left. At all. It's a bit more throwy on the drop into the aqueduct but that's it. The LA theming on it is also completely irrelevant also, like I've been saying KI's street signs should be changed to Cincinnati and CW's to Toronto, they should change these to DC at least.

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    Went back for some more Dominator action as we crossed the park. After that we went to Beserker, Nick's other ride, which turned out to be a bad and painful decision. Shame the rain hadn't started yet, according to Nick when it rains it hydroplanes over the drive wheels and makes a noise the ride crew has dubbed "Birth of the Dinosaur."

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    After that we hit Flying Ace in Planet Snoopy and then grabbed lunch. Nick and Connor went to the employee cafeteria for cheap food (Connor can use KD's since he works at KI) and I did Borders. Sadly, just like last year, I was served tasty food cold. My common complaint with KD is that it's the Steak 'n' Shake of amusement parks. Nice atmosphere, nice ride lineup, and overall a good product that's served to you really badly. Their food has the taste but it's not served properly, ops are a joke, any and all complaints I have about KD are strictly service-related.

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    Speaking of dinosaurs, we headed over through the Dinosaurs Alive gift shop to the random coaster out the back of it, Grizzly! I really liked this in 2017 despite the awful trains with those vile seat dividers (I think they were Thunder Run trains, I have the same problem with it) but this year it fell short. Not nearly as much airtime and it just beat the snot out of us aside from that lovely run out of the turnaround. Connor likes pretty much every coaster he gets on except for a select few and he hated this. I'd say #RMCitorWreckit but if they just did that to the coaster next door, maybe #DontdenyitGCIit? Assuming that Dinosaurs Alive becomes a Forbidden Frontier, maybe give it the Ghostrider treatment and rebrand it with an adventure theme to match?

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    Speaking of RMC next door, Twisted Timbers had its second train put on for like one cycle and then it was promptly taken off.

    So we went to the best fruit themed ride in the park, Apple Zapple! I hated the name for it at first but upon looking at it and Nick explaining the premise to us, I actually think it's fun and cute. The brown supports are the trunk, the green track is the foliage, and the red cars are the apples of an apple tree. Ride-wise it's a fun little wild mouse, not exactly an extreme RMC but still a great ride.

    After Apple Zapple I went to meet up with Krystal, a member of my RMC group on Facebook who had agreed to meet up with us. I couldn't find her and couldn't contact her, and the big awesome RMC was standing there staring us in the face...

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    A storm was rolling in...

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    Or this one...

    Regardless, we locked our crap up unable to contact Krystal, and Nick went off to do something else. So we get in line for Twisted as it starts pouring down rain, and lo and behold the line's a lot worse than it was when we were on Apple Zapple. And one one train. Took us about 45 minutes to get through the small cattlepen in the station and ride but needless to say, it was amazing! Getting blasted in the face with rain like that was amazing in the front! I could barely see and I got off soaked!

    Afterwards we headed to Twist & Shop to meet Krystal...turns out we couldn't contact her because she'd locked her phone up like a good noodle. So the three of us introduced ourselves and went to Eiffel Tower to find Nick, who had taken it upon himself to wait out the rain. So with that...the three of us ran on over to Intimidator 305!

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    I305 in the back after it rained was amazing! But with a twist...Connor and I found duct tape holding part of the train together! Didn't know we were at Mt. Olympus...

    Next we did Flight of Fear. I put my phone away and tucked it into the restraint first and guess what? I fit like a glove, no issues or anything. No need to be rude earlier at all.

    After this we headed back across the park for some Racer 75 action, as Connor still needed the other side. It was easily the lesser of the two sides (dry park side if I remember right), I was in my seat the whole time. It was smoother than last, but it still did nothing. #RMCitorWreckit

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    Nick sadly left after so Connor, Krystal and I elected to do Twisted Timbers next. We locked our stuff up and got into a line that was even longer than earlier, spilling down the stairs and past the random floating tractor. We get in line and the girls behind us ask if they can cut us to be with their friends, to which we gave them a big fat no. So what do they do? Past the first switchback they hop under to wait with their friends. Well I politely informed the station grouper, she asked a few guests, and when they sat down? Unlocked their bar and kicked them down the stairs! Wait your turn kids, shame they didn't eject them for it but the message was sent: don't even think about jumping line! The crew here is awesome, if this park is a Steak 'n' Shake this crew is that one server that busts her but to make sure everyone has what they need even though her coworkers are screwing around on their phones.

    After we patiently waited it out, we followed Krystal's advice for it: back row or no go! We got in the very back and HOLY CRAP it was awesome! The air over the first three and last two rivaled Steel Vengeance's first two elements for ejector magnitude, I thought it was going to snap my legs off! Getting dragged through those elements mercilessly by a full train slipping down a wet track was incredible! After getting jerked through the last two killer hops (which aren't any less violent in the back) I was sitting there completely shook and surprised. I might have actually found a coaster better than Steel Vengeance in a smaller version of itself! I was absolutely floored that the same coaster we rode yesterday could have been that good!

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    I told Krystal about my little issue with the food at this park. From the nasty chicken tenders dipped in tomato paste in 2010 to the cold Mexican both this year and last to last year's Panda Express "rice, cat food, raw broccoli" meal my friend paid $13 for, I have serious beef with the food at this park as it's easily the worst at any CF property. Well I had one meal plan charge left to use so she suggested we try the new Mac Bowl that opened up this year in Candy Apple Grove. So I decide to get some, not as a full meal but just to sample. This is actually really good! Connor grabbed a fork and tasted a little cocktail weenie and he really liked it, but in a mix of white American, gouda, and buffalo sauces it's the bomb! I didn't have it at Winterfest last year and I regret it, they should make this a year round thing at KI, maybe replace Jukebox with it.

    After I finished the sausages and what noodles I wanted...Krystal asks me "you gonna finish that," grabs a fork, and proceeds to chow down on my table scraps! Connor and I just stood there unsure of what to do, not every day this random person you met up with from an online group just eats your leftovers but before we could even process it she tosses it and declares "K I'm done let's do Boo Blasters!"

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    Their Boo Blasters I think beats ours for best facade. KI's you walk across a small moat and into a castle facade, here it's like a southern plantation style house with a swampy yard you cross through. Perfect for a park in its region, only complaint was that it was a bit overgrown so photographing the building was hard. But the ride itself was solid! You can see your laser so that makes it easy to shoot, I was able to just hold the trigger down, keep the laser on, and just shine it around until it hit the target. Connor and Krystal didn't figure this trick out so I managed to walk away with a score of 1230, my highest ever on a Boo Blasters! Inside it's pretty standard though, same exact props Kings Island has.

    We went to Avalanche next and it was great as usual. But getting off, a lady stopped me and asks me, "excuse me, sir, can I ask you a question since you have the shirt?" Now I wore a Mystic Timbers shirt with the button-down I have that matches it perfectly. Not to be arrogant, not to show off, just because I like Mystic Timbers back at home so going to ride the other coaster in the Timbers brand I thought it would be nice to wear it and sort of bridge the two experiences. This woman wanted to know, "The Mystic Timbers, is it like the Twisted Timbers?" I explain that they're two separate coasters, Mystic Timbers is an all wooden coaster at Kings Island in Ohio where I'm from, Twisted Timbers is the coaster across the park and it's steel track on wooden supports. She asks me, "Kings Island, Kings Dominion, they aren't that different are they?" Her son looks up roller coasters and has apparently been begging to go to Kings Island to ride Mystic. So I tell her that they're similar but different, Kings Island is a bit more sparse in landscape and their rides are different, I prefer Kings Dominion's rides. So she's like, "okay sweet we don't have to go!" I tell her I would recommend it though if she likes KD just because KI is also a great park with rides that Kings Dominion doesn't have.

    So I catch up with Connor and Krystal who are now looking for me and tell them what's up, to which we got a bit of a laugh. So we go to Backlot next and get in line..."excuse me sir, is the Mystic Timbers like the Twisted Timbers?" Connor and Krystal are silently cracking up while I explain this all over again not even ten minutes after it just happened at a different ride. So we rode Backlot and it was fun as usual, so then we head over to Dominator!

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    Batman Knight Flight in action! The third thing here that came from Ohio to Virginia!

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    WE GOT THREE RIDES IN ON IT!!!! Because of KD's reride policy and that storm earlier emptying the park out, this was a ghost town! We got two in the very back and one in the second to back, Connor and I making a point to call it Batman Knight Flight the whole time for spite.

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    Greedy Dick Kinzel mercilessly ripped this machine away from Geauga Lake because it was stealing Millennium Force's thunder, then they threw the paperwork in the lake to hide the evidence! That is FACT!!!! They bought the park while it was failing (which it wasn't actually, CP was in trouble!) and spent 30 million fixing it up with the intent to close it from the start, I know they turned the turnstiles back to make it look like it was going under!

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    Dominator is an incredible machine, I won't deny it. It's one of the best coasters for that exposure sensation I look for in a looper layout, it looks great where it is in the park, and I'd have gladly given KD Firehawk if we got it while they were carving up Geauga Lake. It's still a bit rough, but due to the high heartline of a floorless/standup and the high number of welds in that track design, I feel there's a certain level of rougness in these B&M types that simply can't be avoided. It's just as smooth as the two floorlesses ranked above it (Krypton Coaster and Hydra), but it's nowhere near unbearable.

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    We wanted our last ride to be on Twisted Timbers but it was only 7 so we had time to kill, which lead to us heading over to Eiffel Tower and getting pics!

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    Racer 75!

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    If this trip made me see anything, I have a lot more appreciation for KD's location. A park smack dab in the middle of the woods like this with trees as far as the eye can see...there's something special about it. Maybe it's the views, maybe it's the isolated CP-esque feel of it, but I love it. I know it's at least smack dab outside of Richmond but it feels like a Knoebels-style rural park almost.

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    Twisted Timbers looks like a mess of twisted steel and wood all contorted on the ground from up here! Oh wait...it is. :p

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    Shame the train blurred due to my high zoom, it looks great from up here.

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    Ejector!

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    Tina on one side, Timmy on the other!

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    "We're higher than The Intimidator!" -Kid who was told the height was 270 feet on the way up and then talked about a coaster with the height in its name.

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    Get a webcam on it. Now!

    This is the most entertaining ride to watch from up here. Joe Cool's Driving School is this cute little driving simulator for kids that lets them pretend to drive around a mock street. Well some of the kids kind of knew what they were doing...others not so much. And when you get kids bumping into three car pile ups, running lights, driving in the wrong lane, it gets really ugly really fast and it's hilarious. We got a really good laugh out of this.

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    Enough of Eiffel Tower, time to go close out KD on a high note!

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    The three of us made our way back to Twisted Timbers, or Tina as it's sometimes called (hey, I'll take it over SteVen). Wait didn't look too hateful but we did our tat shopping before getting in line. I bought probably a little too much but hey, I got paid that night!

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    Here we go! Let's close out Kings Dominion on a high note!

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    Sat towards the back again and it blew me away again! Not as violent as it was in the very back but still close enough to secure it a spot near the top of my rankings for good. Those hills are incredible at the start and finish, and everything in between is pretty good too! Personally my only issue with it is lacking a wave turn (could have put it where the cutback was, I'd much rather have that) and obviously lacking the length, drop, and location (though the paranormal orchard theme at the edge of the woods gets it plenty of location points) that Steel Vengeance has. However, Tina is still the perfect baby sister to SteVen and for that reason, she ranks right under him in my final rankings. This machine means business when it dishes out air and throws you around a ton. I know it's probably a lot higher than most think but as always, I stand by my opinion. Keep RMCing smaller coasters and keep doing this, between this and Twisted Cyclone I wouldn't be surprised to see RMC head to Stricker's and turn Teddy Bear into a Skyrush-style GP terrifier if they're going to play like this!

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    KD International Street >>> KI International Street, especially at night!

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    HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! We looked around the shops for a bit and I found this pin and actually laughed out loud! Kings Dominion is savage, if I hadn't already broken the bank at Twist & Shop earlier I'd have bought this too.

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    Well Kings Dominion and Tina, it's been real, but it's sadly time to go. But we had a great time, this is the most fun I've had at this park, and their new addition alone was worth the trip back. Getting to see that construction site with a few metal bars on a wooden truss turn into my number two coaster was really special, Twisted Timbers is a beautiful machine and exactly the coaster the Mid Atlantic needed. Getting to see 305 rocket up in my rankings was great as well, it's always been a coaster I wanted to like so being able to have that much fun on it made me really happy. All in all it was an amazing evening and day, I love this park! Had a much better time than I did when I came with my family in 2010.

    After heading out (and forgetting maps, derp!) Connor and I said goodbye to Krystal and headed to Williamsburg. Drive was nice and pleasant at night, speeding down a rural highway on a warm late summer night with the windows down as the wind dried off my rain-soaked cotton clothes. Finally we arrived at our hotel and elected to stop at Hardee's for a snack. We order, get the dreaded "please pull forward," and sat there watching a fight go down at the McDonald's across the street at 10 pm, making sure to get it all on my Snapchat. Finally I got my chicken, checked us in, headed up to our room, busted out the Angry Orchard, and finally got to chill. We were both in bed kind of late, but that was okay as Busch Gardens didn't open until mid-morning.
     
  8. Zek_Teh_Kek

    Zek_Teh_Kek Well-Known Member

    Likes Received:
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    Best Coaster:
    Steel Vengeance
    Best Park:
    Cedar Point
    Coaster Count:
    72
    Me? I don't know. I gotta start working on it soon!

    BTW Jarrett, nice TR so far (unless this is the end, which I'll doubt)! It's great to hear you loved Twisted Timbers, and I totally agree with the fact that it's a "Smaller version of Steel Vengeance"!
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2018
    EpochEmu likes this.
  9. EpochEmu

    EpochEmu Well-Known Member

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    They did that for me too. Luckily there was no line for me and I could just marathon it in the rain with only a 1 cycle wait.
    I'm just gonna say, Anaconda's not as bad as everyone makes it out to be. Grizzly though... right down there with Kiddy Hawk. Horrible ride. Racer's way better.
     
  10. Jarrett

    Jarrett Most Obnoxious Member 2016 CF Award Winner 2016

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    Best Coaster:
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    Best Park:
    Fiesta Texas
    Coaster Count:
    345
    Nope! Time for park 2, which you'll see today!

    Grizzly doesn't need to be horrible, they just need to swap the trains out with wider ones and fix certain parts of it. It's honestly a great candidate for the GCI treatment.

    -x-

    Day 3

    After waking up at a reasonable hour, Connor and I headed down for a breakfast of biscuits and gravy before heading to park #2 of the trip, the photogenic Busch Gardens Williamsburg! Hotel was about 20 minutes away, sending us through a nicely landscaped highway in the woods before turning us off and BAM!!! The park comes out of nowhere!

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    I went to this park once in 2007 when I was still 13 year-old GP with family. Got four credits there in Griffon (opening year, still have the map somewhere), Alpengeist, Apollo, and Loch Ness. I was still GP though, rents didn't want to do BBW since "we have one like it at home," little salty I never got to ride it despite walking past it. However, I did follow construction for Verbolten when it was built as it looked like an innovative crowd-pleaser, and as a sister coaster to my beloved Cheetah Hunt, it's been high on my radar for a long time.

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    After the long, long trek from pleb parking to the park gate and waiting for them to open up Festa, we got in and headed for the first coaster of the day, new to both of us Tempesto! Knowing lines were going to get awful, we made it a point to get as many rides as possible before it got busy.

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    I might be the only one who's ever said this about this coaster: why the hate? I rode Phobia at Compounce and really liked it, and this felt similar, albeit with a bit more kick. And those comfort collars everyone gripes about violating their safe space? Never had a single problem with it, didn't even notice it when on the ride. Got two in the front and one in the back and all three were great fun. The only complaint I have is the obvious capacity concern, which SeaWorld could have solved by simply putting in a sliding station but they didn't because they're cheap. :p

    No photos but we did Apollo's Chariot next, a B&M hyper I've been itching to rerank since I rode it as an angsty middle schooler. And honestly, it was even weaker than I remembered. It got me out of my seat a bit towards the start of the ride, the setting is nice, but aside from that it does nothing. Also noticed the misshapen NoLimits 1 track shaping towards the end, thought it was kind of amusing.

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    Part of Italy is beautiful, part of it is not. Da Vinci's garden here is great, San Marco is really cute, most of Festa just feels cheap and crammed together.

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    Up next, we left San Marco and crossed the bridge to Oktoberfest for the machine of the hour today! 11 years after I was cheated out of that beautiful dive into the Rhine and 6 after I spent a good part of my senior year stalking this thing online, it was time to finally brave the Black Forest on Verbolten!

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    The queue is incredibly detailed and they clearly wanted to go all out with it. It really looks like a period tourist center packed with Easter eggs out the nose. However, this room in particular felt like a bit of an enclosed space and being slightly claustrophobic, it bothered me a bit. Though they did an incredible job in both themed rooms in line, I think this is supposed to be Gunther's office.

    Side note: Top left of this photo you can see there's a hornets' nest as a prop perched on top of that suitcase, and that caught my attention. Between how well all the other props are integrated together, the fact that I don't see why on earth it fits the theme, and the fact that a hornets' nest isn't something you expect to be able to just find when planning to make something like this, it stuck out to me like a potential last minute addition that they just came across. Does anybody know the story behind this thing? I assume the park had it in a problematic spot and decided "hey that would look cool in Verbolten's queue" but the one guy I know who worked there didn't know it as anything other than a prop. Anybody know anything about this prop?

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    The station for Verbolten is incredibly detailed, with all kinds of intricate props thrown around. Baggage claim, security cameras (on which you can see Little Red Riding Hood), these weird tanks where Gunther's growing presumably seedlings of the Black Forest foliage, automotive supplies, they clearly pulled out all the stops with the theming here. And all the cool vintage stuff thrown everywhere is in German, it's a 100% authentic experience. It might be the best themed major coaster on the East Coast.

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    Still a better tune up than West Coast Racers.

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    Time to go, she's gassed up and ready to fahrt all the way through the Black Forest!

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    My major concern with this ride was the constant comment that it has a rattle. I've heard everything from "it'll annoy you the whole ride" to "just a minor vibration like the wheels have flat spots," and honestly I felt like a rattle was the biggest thing that could keep me from enjoying it, and given how I've not ridden a Zierer ESC before, I had no idea what to expect. Well it eases us off that dispatch track under that overpass, and I instantly notice it isn't even remotely close to problematic. You notice it, but it's not painful by any means. So you go through this little S-curve, turn, hear that ominous whistling wind, face that big Black Forest show building and that big imposing bridge facade (which they did an impeccable job keeping well out of sight), and she punches it!

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    That blast into the Black Forest is way more powerful than I was expecting for a Backlot-style family launcher and gets you a pop of airtime as you blast full speed through those beautiful blacklight leaves. From there there's a really violent dive down that makes it clear that the coaster's taking you in a much different direction than Newton's first law wanted to, ripping you to the side and out of your seat. From there it heads into this beautiful yet intense helix around a flashing moon prop placed in the center, not a positives guy but that's a pretty gnarly helix for a family coaster. From there it rises into an MCBR where you find which story you get, and this time Connor and I got the Black Forest spirit, whispering with a ghostly voice amid other sound effects. Next up there's another pretty violent dive followed by a rise into the ride's drop track. Sadly the light illuminating the creepy face at the end of the drop track was gone, but the suspense was still plenty there. You can feel the train engage the hardware, but the drop still comes as a complete surprise despite both Connor and I knowing about it. From there there's another very abrupt launch up a large inclined S-bend into that dilapidated bridge, which gives you an incredible view of the river, forest, and Festa poking out of the trees before the drop. The drop isn't intense by any means but skimming the water like that at the bottom and then blitzing full speed back to the station around those corners is incredible. Very short ride, low force magnitude, it's an all speed all the time coaster and it does it extremely well. I actually liked it better than Cheetah Hunt (totally didn't expect to), it ended up as my second favorite on the trip, and a ride I ended up having a ton of respect for!

    Soapbox moment: THIS is an innovative ride paying homage to an outdated one done right. It's not trying to be Big Bad Wolf, it's its own thing, but it takes the elements of Big Bad Wolf that stood the test of time and keeps them. That river dive finale was, even after all these years, the perfect way to end the ride so they kept it, reusing the footers to save on cost but still dishing out an incredible ride. Plus all the theming that pays homage to it is a great added bonus. And with a theme that takes the age old German fairy tales surrounding the Black Forest and combining them with the modern cars and autobahn (just as creative but in a different way), it's the perfect old meets new ride in spirit.

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    Went back for another leisurely cruise and man was it worth it! Got storm that time, rode in the front and got even more kick than the first!

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    Um, you sure that's structurally sound?

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    Trust me, I'm an engineer, just get me some cinderblocks and a beer, we gucci!


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    You are beautiful, Oktoberfest!

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    Next up was an invert you hardly hear about but still has quite the kick, big bad Alpengeist! This coaster was one of my favorites when I was 13 and my dad's overall favorite here, and given that I like inverts, I was totally down to ride it again! It also boasts my favorite theme of any invert.

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    And it's still a great ride! A bit rough around the edges, a bit floaty for such an old B&M, but the visuals that come with this beautiful setting combined with the exposed nature of an invert is awesome. Plus the footchopper snow banks at the end are great. Why hasn't this theme been used more???

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    Connor and I had the meal plan and we used our first charge at the Festhaus next. Needless to say, their Festhaus with its beautiful murals, central stage, and authentic German food crapped all over KI's large event hall with a Panda Express and LaRosa's food court. This is a smoked sausage, knockwurst, bratwurst, kartaffle potatoes, red cabbage with apples, saurkraut, pop, and Oreo cake...and we get to do this every 90 minutes! The food was amazing but the highlight was probably the potatoes and knockwurst.

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    Next up was a totally different part of the world that's covered in snow and ice like Germany's mountains and has a state that speaks France's language, so it's European right? I'm a massive fan of Canadian culture so it made me happy to see this, but in a European-themed excursion park as one of two halves of something that's supposed to represent France (we'll get to that in a bit, I've got a lot to say on how they represented a large part of my family's culture), it doesn't fit.

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    Up next was the park's newest coaster, family GCI and 2017 rival to Mystic Timbers, InvadR! Had probably the worst wait for anything other than Verbolten of the day and I foolishly locked my phone up by accident, so I had to deal with the wait like it was 2002.

    So issue with the theming on this: This little "Vikings raid a small Canadian settlement and are fought off by fur trappers" storyline they've got going is pure bologna. It can't even be classified as historical fiction because it's that historically inaccurate. So we have Vikings, they stopped being a thing around 1200. Bjarni Herjolfsson, the first European to see North America, did so in 986 AD, and in 1000 AD, Lief Erikson (who grew up listening to the tales of Bjarni Herjolfsson discovering a new continent) retraced the voyage and set up a Norse settlement in Canada. However, this settlement failed to serve as a permanent presence and around 1400 was abandoned. It wasn't until 1600 that Quebec was founded and these French-Canadian fur trappers became a thing. Viking raids predate it by 400 years, Norse presence in North America predates it by 200. Now when being creative, if you can't go accurate, go big. They pulled a SeaWorld San Antonio on this, the queue looks like some guy's backyard BBQ deck, and aside from a battering ram (littered with arrows, Canadian fur trappers almost certainly would have had gunpowder by then), a few station props, and the trains, there's virtually no theming here, like on par with Seaworld San Antonio. I get that they wanted to get Scandinavia in the park somehow, but why couldn't they just do it right? If they don't want to add a whole country, just theme this to a Norse journey to the new world? They could have had a much better product just doing that.

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    Okay, going from history class to STEM class now! The ride's actually pretty good, Connor and I sat up front and found it took some of those turns and climbs with gusto. As far as family coasters go it's a clear step down from Verbolten, but it feels like a mini Mystic Timbers in a sense. Not quite as low to the ground but it plays with the valley in which it's built considerably. I also appreciate that they were willing to innovate enough to allow this thing to even be built, given how the lack of a wooden coaster has been an issue for them for a long time due to the noise restrictions. It's a very low end family coaster so not at all the best ride in the park, but certainly not the worst. It's a family floater machine that's everything I like in a coaster toned down.

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    It's like as much effort went into this prop as the actual coaster and they just kind of winged the rest of it. Now would it have been that much harder to just swap this with a longship on a dry dock and theme it to something even remotely more historically accurate? Or maybe just come clean and say, "sorry guys, got drunk playing Civilization VI and it got way out of hand and this happened."

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    Next up was the country where both my maternal grandparents, uncle, and mother hail from, la belle France! Sent this picture to my grandmother and she didn't see what was supposed to be so French about it bar the dormer window and shutters. Germany and Italy get all this beautiful landscaping and I felt France was very...concrete in comparison. Not very colorful, lacking vibrancy, and simple elegance is kind of a part of French culture, but I really feel they missed the mark accurately getting this. It didn't feel at all like France actually felt when I was a kid. Not to mention Germany and Italy both got two separate areas (Festa and San Marco, Oktoberfest and Rhinefield) and they couldn't even come up with enough French stuff to give them a second area so they randomly brought another French-speaking country into it. Their coasters are themed to a situation that isn't even remotely historically accurate and a mythical creature that has no significance in French culture at all. If it were up to me, I'd have done a City of Lights/Parisian area that featured typical gross stereotypical French stuff (Eiffel Tower, pink everything, poodles, ritzy restaurants, perfume) and another midway themed to the countryside that features stuff that's still French but not necessarily exclusive to Paris (cheese, Tour de France, chateaux, champagne). The gift shop there is very nice and made me really excited but that was about it for cultural accuracy.

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    Cedar Point called, they want their B&M back! Next up was the minimally themed parking lot dive coaster, Griffon. As a kid this thing scared the absolute crap out of me, I was terrified to ride it, but it quickly showed me it's not as scary as it looks. Now as an enthusiast, I think they're the most gimmicky ways to spend your money on a coaster in the industry.

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    And it doesn't deserve the bad rap I've been giving it for 11 years either. It's still the weakest of the dive coasters, yes, but it's not a total snoozer. The first thing I totally failed to give it credit for is the view, being able to see the entire park, the bay, and the brewery from up there. Dive is a standard dive coaster drop, had a bit of a rattle, there were more positives than I remember, but really the only spectacular moments were the second Immelmann and the hop into the splashdown, as with most dive coasters the second half is better than the first.

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    After leaving my family's country, we went to Connor's! He's part Irish so he was really looking forward to Killarney, a small area in which they went all out with the theming.

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    Ireland was home to BGW's New For 2018 attraction, Battle for Eire. A replacement for the Cork Screw Hill/Europe in the Air motion theater, Battle for Eire is a themed multisensory virtual reality experience incorporating VR headsets, audio, and motion seating to deliver a high tech innovative experience, with focus on the ability to apply VR to the amusement industry in a practical manner. So not a coaster but still an innovative ride I wanted to try out, and given how much I love VR, I was stoked.

    So you go in and get this kinky-looking headware referred to as the Emerald mask to wear through the whole queue line, which looks a bit goofy but serves a great purpose. After sitting through a preshow and safety demonstration, you're taken to the theater where you buckle in and put on the actual headset, referred to as the magic lens. See those black dots on either side of my eyes and on my forehead? Those are magnets, once you're strapped in and given the go ahead you can pick up the headset and it just magnetically clips right on! It's easier than removing a pair of safety glasses! As for the ride itself, whoever did it clearly did Iron Dragon VR. Giant dragon snapping at you in 3D, flying around a castle on coastal mountains in the twilight, it's extremely similar to Iron Dragon VR. What took me by surprise is near the end, there's this cyclops character that has this object called the Heart of Eire that you're trying to get back, and you see a laser pop out of your headset and are told to "focus all your love of Ireland on the Heart of Eire," which eventually kills him and he drops the Heart of Eire and the dragon flies you to put it back, typical Iron Dragon. All in all, they did a great job and it made me really sad Kings Island ripped the moving seats out of our Action Theater because it would have been a great cheap ride for us to get in some form.

    So after this we checked out Ireland for a bit as we did France, used our dining plans on baked potatoes the size of my foot (sadly forgot to take a pic because it was impressive)

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    Theming-wise, Ireland and Scotland are totally different, but management-wise, they're actually the same area. Like Rhinefield and Oktoberfest make up one area (distinguished by shirt color), Ireland and Scotland make up another. Sadly however, Scotland's easily the worst themed country in the park. Aside from Loch Ness, the Clydesdales, a skyride station, and one gift shop with bagpipes going in the background. This could have been a lot better than it was and I'd love to see this as the next area to get a facelift, get a big flat there. It's on the side of a pretty sharp hill but I'm sure something could be done.

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    And we have a birthday over here! Loch Ness Monster is now in its 40th year of operation! The oldest coaster in the park, I did ride it as a kid but had very little memory other than the loops being smooth. Connor and I rode in the back and got a very good ride on it, it's definitely jerky around some of those transitions but it's at the level where it gives the Arrow character rather than ruins the ride, the rest was really thrilling for a coaster of its tech level. That triple helix was great too, that tunnel smelled and sounded exactly like some dirty sea monster's lair.

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    I have no idea but I strangely missed my Great Dane seeing these guys...

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    After this, photo ops got Connor and I to decide to brave the wait for Skyride, which was awful considering the missing train. Gave us a great view of this brilliant machine going up!

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    Unofficially the best photo on the trip. This ended up a bit blurry because I took it from Facebook and touched it up on my phone when I saw it was getting a bunch of likes but here you have two B&Ms and Mach Tower!

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    I like how there are so many levels to this park with its location. Like there's stuff going on both at the tops of hills and down by the water.

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    Best part of the ride!

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    Headed back through France, sent this picture to my mom and grandma as a joke, and continued on to the use of the meal plan!

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    After seeing the wait for the frites in France, we decided to just Festhaus it again because it was so good. This time they had Black Forest cake out so I had to try it, given I do make it sometimes to go with the jagerschnitzel I learned to cook way back when. And yes, that is a Budweiser! Beer and sausages go really well together!

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    With me now nice and buzzed and Verbolten sadly rocking a 40 minute wait, we decided to do Mach Tower. This Moser Rides product had all kinds of construction problems and didn't open until like September if I'm correct, as the first part of a two year facelift to Oktoberfest (the second being Verbolten). But I knew it was a gimmicky take on the drop tower concept, complete with audio and vibrating seats. So Connor and I boarded it and I loved the view from the top! This is the best spot to look around in the park but it doesn't last long, because after that music cuts out and the ride op messes with you on the mic you're hurling back towards that beautiful landscaping accelerating at 10 m/s^2! (Yes I know, grader just mark it wrong and move on). New favorite drop tower here strictly for that reason! Not even a drop tower guy to begin with but this was a lot of fun, and I understand exactly why it wasn't some kind of big break for Moser still.

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    Verboaten

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    Went back to Italy for a bit to hang out, Tempesto had a nasty wait that clearly wasn't moving, so we rode Apollo and got pretty much the same okay experience as we did before. As a matter of fact, all of Italy was pretty slammed. But after two ride waits and some shopping/looking around, our meal plan minutes were ticking away fast!

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    BOOM. Take THAT Olive Garden! And take your nasty breadsticks with you! This was a great place to sit down and grab a meal!

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    Only meal plan I actually ate in its entirety because it was so small in comparison, but here it is! Pita sandwich, pita chips, and some kind of really good Italian beer. I regret not getting any pictures inside but Marco Polo Marketplace is one of the coolest park restaurants ever. It's food court style and the different counters represent foods from the different lands where Marco Polo traveled. Menus were projected onto parchment props and on the sides of the counters there were scrolls onto which various scenes were projected depicting his journey. The pita was part of the Middle Eastern counter so they had palm trees and the like projected, props on shelves nearby were clearly Turkish/Arabian/Eastern Mediterranean, the Asian counter where Connor went had Chinese props and served stir fry, you get the gist.

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    And what's right across the bridge? ;)

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    I spent way too much money drinking today but I decided I only live once and grabbed yet another beer for the wait! By the time we made it to the station, it was fair to say I was feeling it. Drinking Game: Take a sip every time Gerta says something cringey.

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    OH MY GOD!!!! Braving the Black Forest with alcohol involved might have been my greatest decision of my coastering career! That was amazing! On a coaster that fast-paced it's even harder to prepare for what's coming up next, take away that vital ability to see the track in front of you that comes with the show building and you have hands down the best booze cred ever.

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    Hate how this shot came out but we took another spin on Alpengeist ever...and I can't believe this beautiful building is a coaster station.

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    One of the most photogenic inverts ever!

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    And the ride's great too! It's a standard invert made great by its theme and location. It was clearly the Banshee of its time and while I do have Banshee ranked three spots ahead of it, this felt like a milder, slightly rougher version of it, and any comparison to that thing is certainly a compliment!

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    Swung by France next to try and use our meal plans only for both of their places to close on us. Did get one more lap on Griffon though!

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    Just gotta get in line for Verbolten, bummer!

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    Love watching people come into the brakes from the queue for this one! You can look at the train and see people smiling, freaking out, it's like all that kinetic energy gets converted into emotional energy when the train stops.

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    Easily the best job theming any car-themed ride vehicles I've seen. They look exactly like the old school German sports cars I'd see back when my father was into showing his Porsches.

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    And with one last dispatch, our last ride of the night had begun!

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    I feel this photo does a pretty good job getting across how this ride feels at dusk. You can still see where you're going outside, but not by much, and the forest around you is pitch black. It's sort of strangely magical in a way, a coaster with that kind of pacing just ripping through a dark creepy forest. And as I've said time and time again, I love this coaster and it's even better as the sun goes down! Shame we didn't get a night ride due to 8 pm close but this ride was still very memorable.

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    Connor and I missed this footbridge during operating hours so the local we had been talking to in line took us here under Nessie, gone back to her nest for the night.

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    Such a simple idea yet it's so beautiful to look at and rides so well. Surprised Arrow only did it twice and one got ripped down, I'd love to see this make a comeback. S&S with their Steel Curtain ride system maybe? Because this is stunning...

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    I totally missed this during the day since it's kind of off the beaten path but here's Nessie's historical marker, something to show any naysayers that say "____ is just a fad/gimmick that'll die," this is one of a few coasters that started it all for Arrow's amazing legacy and they changed this industry forever. Maybe New Texas Giant or Outlaw Run will get one someday? ;)

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    What a day! Having the meal plan was great, the park was drop dead gorgeous, the coasters were fun, and Verbolten tied it all together! So glad I finally made it back here after all these years, I'm already in talks with my parents to maybe take them back for Christmas Town or something. There are a few additions I could see making the park even better (more in Scotland, something a bit more culturally relevant in France, other stuff I outlined) but all in all this place is really special, and one of my favorite parks still after all these years for a reason. It deserves all the praise it gets and then some, and I can tell they're going in the direction that does them justice. Getting ready to go forum stalking again for Project Madrid, let's hope I don't take another 6 years to get it. :p

    Don't worry, TR isn't over just yet! Still gotta show you all the cool stuff I got, our interesting lunch stop going home, and my crazy homecoming when I got home!
     
    Sanchezmran and Matt N like this.
  11. Matt N

    Matt N Well-Known Member

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    Best Coaster:
    Mako
    Best Park:
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    Coaster Count:
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    Great report Jarrett! BGW looks like my kind of park, so it's one of my most anticipated non-Florida American parks!
     
  12. Yunho Kim

    Yunho Kim Member

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    Best Coaster:
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    Best Park:
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    Coaster Count:
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    Thinking my home park has Griffon clone.
    Same layout similar height and same Parking Lot coaster with the drop of lake view.
    But elaborately themed and 8 across.
    "드라켄"
     

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