Kentucky Kingdom sneak preview

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User avatarCptBeeble
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Kentucky Kingdom sneak preview

Postby CptBeeble » Mon May 19, 2014 8:31 pm

ACE Spring Con included a pit stop at the new Kentucky Kingdom for a few hours.
Unfortunately, Amazon did a corporate buyout of the park that same day and there were about 20,000 people there. We noticed a looooooooooong line for Lightning Run, but then noticed a big sign letting people know that they'd need an ACE badge to ride between 1-3pm. Nice!

The entrance to the park is all clean now.

This (and everything else) looked nicer than when SF had the park
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Still, there are some eyesores. I'm glad they left them uncovered (along with the still-dead watersides, T2, and Twisted Twins) to remind everyone that they aren't yet finished. "It's a work in progress" would be the theme of the afternoon.

Pay no attention to the skank pond
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They have a HUGE new drop slide with a trap door start. I can only imagine the wedgies you'll get. It was COLD this weekend, though, so not many folks braved the water park portion.

Ed Hart recommends that women wear one-piece suits for this
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There are new water park slides everywhere. They looked really good, but lonely in the cool weather.

Ooo, shiny!
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Looking across the wave pool, I spotted my old friend Thunder Run

Yo, Thundy!
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It's running really, really well now. There's still a bit of rattle, but it's not rough. The airtime delivers like it did opening season. It's a great little woody and a good fit for the park. Locals and other former visitors will be happy to see it in good shape again.

There's a new coaster now, too... next post.

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Re: Kentucky Kingdom sneak preview

Postby CptBeeble » Mon May 19, 2014 9:07 pm

Yes, there's another coaster at Kentucky Kingdom, and I'm not talking about the Roller Skater...

What the hell is the ride op doing? Did she have a leg cramp?
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Lightning Run is the first full-sized coaster from Chance and they really needed a breakout hit to give them a foothold in the business. They're mostly known for portable carnival rides, train rides, and Ferris wheels. This ride could begin a new division for them, or end it abruptly.

It certainly looks good from the queue!

The color looks great against the green grass and trees
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Getting up to the station, though, I see bizarre-looking restraints.
They don't look comfortable at all...
The woman in blue had to do the walk of shame.
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There are C-shaped shin guards, a seat belt, and the ops have to push the bar WAAAAAY down to get an OK from the control panel. It was difficult to breathe in the station. This need to staple left more than a few people doing the walk of shame after finding out they can't ride. There's no test seat down front, either, and the queue was well over 2hrs. I felt sorry for them. I should also mention that because of this, dispatch times were horrifically slow. Like 4-10min between each train. Hopefully, some tweaks and some experience on the part of the crew will help with that, but on this sneak preview day, it was pretty painful to watch.
WTF grab bars
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Viewed from the front, the restraints don't look too bad except for that grab bar(?) in front. I have no idea what it was for. It didn't touch anything, it wasn't solid enough to provide a grab bar to hold onto, and the left side bracket allowed the thing to wobble... but only the left side. I have no idea. No matter, I was planning to have hands up anyway.
Once we got stapled in, one of the guys from Chance came over. The media was swarming the station as this was the first trainload of ACErs and the Chance guy said, "we want to interview you when you get off" (referring to John Gerard and myself, both in the back row) because you're in the sweet seats. I said that I only chose the back because the line for the front was so long due to expected airtime... and he said, "NO, you want the back. Really." Hey, dude designed it, I suppose he knows his stuff. Excitement builds even more now.

Up the hill and the front cars begin to pull us over. I'm wishing the lap bar wasn't crushing me so tightly. Picking up speed, over the top... holy mother of God, OMG OMG OMG that is INSANE. I'm suddenly not even aware of the stapling. That drop, while not very tall, is WICKED in the back seat. I look at the approaching curve at the bottom and think, "here's the big test of their track layout..." and it's just beautiful. It's banked such that there are some laterals, but not uncomfortably so. It's perfect. Up and to the left into the first camel back hill.
I think half those hands are up due to negative Gs ripping them off that little grab bar
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Somebody at Chance has ridden El Toro. Airtime in every seat, but the back is especially good because you get it all the way over AND down the other side with a really nice yank. Well, it WOULD be airtime if you weren't stapled in so tightly, but I'm absolutely serious when I say that I didn't mind it at all. The Gs are so strong that you still FEEL like you're airborne and in fact, you become well aware that if those lap bars ever fail, it's unlikely that seat belt is going to do you much good. Cut you in half maybe, but probably not hold you in the car!

This is the part without airtime
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An over banked turn follows, but it's not like the Intamin or B&M turns you're used to. This one is wicked fast, over and done before you even saw it coming. That's the thing about this ride... everything just comes at you so quickly, you have no time at all to recover between elements.

More of the layout
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Coming out of the left-hand over bank, there's a right-hand banked turn and another airtime-filled hill right into a left-hand banked 3/4 turn will humps and a beautiful head chopper drop under the previous airtime hill. A right-hand 180 threads the over banked turn and into a small hill with a tad of reverse banking at the top. It's weird, almost like Chance said, "yeah, we can do that too, but chose not to take it all the way". Whatever the reason, it's quirky and weird and fun. I liked it.

Then it drops to the ground into some El Toro-like zig zag track and that sets you up for three of the most violent (yet comfortable) bunny hops on earth. Again, stapled down like crazy, but it doesn't matter. You believe you get airtime, somehow. I can imagine that if the bar wasn't already tight on your thighs, you'd have some pretty serious bruises in short order from slamming the bar so many times with such force.

We hit the brakes with everyone cheering and clapping and laughing. The best way I can describe it is El Toro and New Texas Giant had a kid and he's in his raucous teen years. There are traits of both coasters here, just crammed into a package half the size and just as intense.

If you like your coasters to knock your socks off, disorient you, throw extreme forces at you, then run you back to the station before you've even had time to figure out "dafuq was THAT?" then you're going to freaking LOVE this ride. I did. It's slotted at #3 on my steel list right now, just ahead of NTGiant. It's my #1 steelie in the US.

User avatarPaul Drabek
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Re: Kentucky Kingdom sneak preview

Postby Paul Drabek » Mon May 19, 2014 9:56 pm

Awesome TR Jim. I wish I could have been there. Maybe next year wherever it is.

User avatarCptBeeble
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Re: Kentucky Kingdom sneak preview

Postby CptBeeble » Mon May 19, 2014 10:28 pm

This just in: the purple train has just finished testing and the two-train blocking system has passed. As of a few minutes ago, Lightning Run is scheduled to run two trains for opening weekend.

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Re: Kentucky Kingdom sneak preview

Postby bratman » Tue May 20, 2014 4:57 am

That was one bloody incredible coaster. Not a fan of the restraints - the shin guards killed me - but wow what a punch that ride had. A winner.

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Re: Kentucky Kingdom sneak preview

Postby CptBeeble » Tue May 20, 2014 6:32 am

I didn't notice the shin guards, honestly... but then I didn't have any trouble on OutRun, either.
I was chatting up Anne from the company who did the control systems for the ride last night. I'll have to ask her if the "safe" threshold on those restraints is adjustable so it can allow more people to ride (and to keep them from having to crush my bladder with the bar in the station).

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Re: Kentucky Kingdom sneak preview

Postby Raptor29 » Wed May 21, 2014 4:51 pm

Wow! That looks awesome!
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User avatarGump
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Re: Kentucky Kingdom sneak preview

Postby Gump » Thu May 22, 2014 8:13 pm

I'm super excited to have this in my backyard.

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Re: Kentucky Kingdom sneak preview

Postby » Wed May 28, 2014 11:02 am

Gump wrote:I'm super excited to have this in my backyard.

It's defintely a fun ride, and honestly, one reason why I'd go back to that park again. It'd be awesome if the c clamp didn't have a spike to crotch you when they slam it down, but the ride was worth it. Just a great ride. I'd need to ride it a couple more times for ranking purposes, but on first ride in the back it was intense, insane, and like Jim said, weirdly enough, once you are moving, you forget about the lapbars and shins. They were a softer type material ala what Intamin and Vekoma now uses. Think nerf with just a little more rigidity.

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