Coaster Crazy, or: Woodpecker's trip to America, part 2

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Sora
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Coaster Crazy, or: Woodpecker's trip to America, part 2

Post by Sora » Sun Dec 15, 2013 4:50 am

The next morning, after a fantastic breakfast cooked by Nick's mum, Jim, Nick, Kat and myself headed off to King's Island. As we approached, the Eiffel Tower was first on the horizon followed by Diamondback and then, as we pulled into the car park, Invertigo and this insane drop ride which scared me just looking at the thing. It's ironic because when I worked as a ride attendant at a theme park, one of the rides I worked on was a drop tower and I'd never turn down an offer to ride. This one, however, was three times the height. Jim was keen to do it that day; I was not. After Nick and Kat and Jim got their season passes we headed through the park turnstiles. I'll be honest: having seen the original first-hand I was surprised that Kings Island's Eiffel Tower isn't full size, but not to worry, we weren't there for the Eiffel Tower. We headed off across the park and with almost no queue for Beast, you can guess what my first wooden coaster was going to be, and because of that I'll do a full review of it.

Most of The Beast is hidden in the woods. When you arrive at the start of the queue line which, even if all the extensions open, seems shockingly short for a world-famous coaster, the ACE memorial plaque is on your left. I had a quick read and took a pic, then headed through the zigzags before the station. There really isn't much to see of the track itself - just the front of the station, the rollout, and the first lift hill. Compared with all the glamour of a lot of the more modern rides where trains go past every few minutes, the whole thing is incredibly understated. The station itself has the biggest fan I've ever seen in the back of it, to keep things cool. The brakerun and final hill are visible through the back of the station. There are three signs over the platform which say, "Ignore the screams in the woods, everything is fine!" Unlike the coasters I've been on in England, there is a massive batching area between the queue's entrance to the station and the airgates. In England, you'll get a ramp down and then you immediately have to pick a gate to stand behind. Welcome to America where everything is huge. The PTC train train comes in, and Kat and I get into the second from back row. We pull down our lapbars. Mine goes all the way down and still leaves room for my legs. Stapling wasn't going to be an issue for me on this ride. The train departs and we round the bend and head up the lift. You can feel the train shaking under your feet and I asked Kat whether this was rough for a wooden coaster. She said it's neither rough nor smooth. Great. I hope the padding is adequate. We crest the lift, I raise my hands and "Geronimo!" down we plunge. It doesn't seem that fast as we get to the bottom of the drop until we enter the tunnel. The noise is ear-shattering and suddenly it seems as if I'm riding on the back of a rampaging bull. The train bounces over hill after hill and throws me left and right at lightning speed - everything is a blur. Totally unprepared I scream like a little girl. "This is the fastest turn on the ride" says Kat casually as we plunge down into the valley. "AAAAAAAAAA!!!" We engage the second lift hill and I begin to wonder whether the second half, with only a helix, could possibly be as good as the start. The ramp down is a gradual accelleration as the track starts to bank to the left. On reaching the tunnelled helix, we are slammed to the side of the car. The forces let up briefly at the top before piling on again for the second round. Pulling out of the helix there is a nice final drop and then a rise into the brakes. I was blown away by this coaster. Despite the slowdown in the brake shed, a slight disappointment even on my first ride, The Beast really delivered, and it's been a while since a coaster, in Kat's words, made me scream "like a hyena". It was waaay more intense than I expected.

Next up was Diamondback. The restraints are very comfy and leave you feeling very free and exposed, yet safe...sort of. I held onto the bar for the whole of my first ride, and good thing too because there is no shortage of airtime. It's also the only ride where I will not raise my hands at the top of the lift because there is airtime on the lift crest. There are some nice forces on the helix and the splashdown is a fun touch. As we walked off the ride Kat said, "Hey, we didn't say Kings Island had no airtime!"

I'm going to summarise the rest of the rides because I can't remember the sequence very well anymore and it was spread over a day and a half anyway. We had lunch at Skyline Chilli across the road from the park where it is significantly cheaper. Yum! Back in the park we hit the rest of the rides. Windseeker had me grabbing onto the bars with sweaty palms. Flight Deck has to be the most underrated coaster in the park. It was a walk on. We crested the lift and rounded the brief 180 before the main drop. You have about 10 seconds to think, "This isn't so bad..." and then the train dives all the way to the bottom of the valley and curves to the left. The car swings left and right all over the place and it is way more forceful than it looks. We finally reached the brakes with the car still swinging after the train had stopped. WOW! Why isn't this ride more popular? Vortex is a lot of fun. The loops are powerful, as is the curve into the midcourse. Flying Ace Aerial Chase is a charming kiddie version of Flight Deck. Woodstock Express (AKA Beastie) was one of my favourites at Kings Island. It's not intense but it is quirky (the queue line is triangular!) and has a couple of spots of airtime. The trim brake just before the final drop is unnecessary - seriously, it's a children's ride! They don't belong on children's rides. Ok, they don't belong on adult rides either, but you know what I mean! :lol: Flight of Fear is great - the operator's console is COOL. Firehawk - fun and not as rough as it could have been, but the restraints are tighter when you get off. The lift hill is painfully loud. The racer wasn't racing. Instead we rode the blue side the first day and the red side the second. The back curve accellerates with a nice bit of lateral force and some good airtime on the hills. It's also beautiful to look at. We rode Invertigo with Tom Young who happened to be at the park at the time - my first boomerang. Adventure Express -- what a great mine train! Definitely the best I've been on so far. Be careful with the lapbars if it's your first time - they are lighter than the ones on any other ride at the park and you can easily staple yourself if you're not careful as they go down further than the other rides as well. I pushed mine down all the way by accident, but luckily there was still an inch of room to allow for airtime :) Munjo also turned up to share a few rides with us. And finally...yes, we did ride the drop tower.I was bricking it all through the queue line and all the way to the top. It was only when the catch let go that suddenly all my angst disappeared and I threw my hands in the air to enjoy the drop. Wish I'd done it on day one! Anyway, we had to leave for Holiday World as that evening was the start of HoliWood Nights...
Last edited by Sora on Wed Dec 18, 2013 3:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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CptBeeble
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Re: Coaster Crazy, or: Woodpecker's trip to America, part 2

Post by CptBeeble » Sun Dec 15, 2013 7:17 am

Nice report, and I like your writing style.

I'm seriously stoked for the next installment... if you liked Beast that much, I cannot wait to hear what you thought of the one-two-three punch of the woodies at Holiday World!

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Paul Drabek
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Re: Coaster Crazy, or: Woodpecker's trip to America, part 2

Post by Paul Drabek » Sun Dec 15, 2013 8:34 pm

Great TR Woodpecker.
Life is short....have fun!

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munjo
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Re: Coaster Crazy, or: Woodpecker's trip to America, part 2

Post by munjo » Sun Dec 15, 2013 10:00 pm

No mention of meeting me @ KI. :(

Sora
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Re: Coaster Crazy, or: Woodpecker's trip to America, part 2

Post by Sora » Tue Dec 17, 2013 5:02 am

munjo wrote:No mention of meeting me @ KI. :(
OOPS! So I did. Sorry! Fixed now.

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