Sean: Summer is almost here and that means theme-park season has begun! We have made quite some trips around the globe already this year, but there is no better time than Spring to explore some of the United States’ best parks. In this Cabin Crew Coaster Kings report, I’ll be sharing my first time experience at Kings Island. Enjoy!
– Over the years, many of our images have popped up on other sites and forums, awesome that our coverage spreads, not so awesome that not everyone mentioned where they got the images from. We are totally fine with our audience using our images, BUT ONLY IF credit is given to cabincrewcoasterkings.com. Thank you! –
The park has several cute Paramount touches and has a wonderful layout, there is a small plot in the middle of the park where the best of the three Backlot Stunt Coasters is located. All of its effects still work and the ride is isolated enough to not be dwarfed by coasters towering overhead (unlike Canada’s Wonderland…).
In efforts to be strategic with our time, as we were not sure what crowds would look like, we started our day at the X-Base section of the park. Home to Flight of Fear and Firehawk. Both of which were big surprises to me. Firehawk, though a Vekoma, is buttersmooth, quite intense and offers a very fun alternative experience to B&M Flying Coasters. I would choose Firehawk over the B&M Superman Ultimate Flight clones any day. Flight of Fear was also a hit with me, the queue is awesome, ride was surprisingly smooth, and the effects were well-maintained. It is probably a surprise to many, but this little “area 51” inspired themed section of the park was my favorite!
While we are on the topic of favorites, my favorite coaster at the park was the beautiful classic Arrow looper… Vortex! <3 More on that in a little bit.
Next up the coaster that I was disappointed with most… Diamonback. Great hyper, great setting, and awesome layout. But it was rough! The last cars have an insane rattle/vibration due to the water splashdown effect being attached to the car, and it is a headache inducing experience. Too bad as this could have been one of my favorite hypers…
Luckily I really enjoyed The Beast! I feared that it was too over-hyped, and that I would be really disappointed. To be fair my first ride on it in the morning wasn’t nearly as good as my ride on it later in the afternoon. I truly enjoyed the lengthy journey through the landscape. The helix is a bit less exciting for me, but it jams through that helix with so much speed that it sure was a wild experience.
The park’s classic Arrow log flume was completely refurbished by Hopkins, and though small, is a complete soaker. We got off the ride drenched, so badly we left the park to get changed and dry ourselves off. Luckily the park was not that busy and we did not waste any time!
When we came back into the park we rode Stinge… err Invertigo! This Vekoma inverted boomerang is running insanely smooth and is as intense as a batman clone, this park is quickly shaping up to be my favorite place for solid Arrows and Vekomas, just how I like it!
Right near Invertigo we find the park’s star B&M Inverted Coaster, Banshee. Banshee is a fan favorite, and is fast, tall, and very smooth. Unfortunately I was not the biggest fan. I gave it a couple rides, back and front. And though the ride is fast and smooth, the only part that stood out for me was the barrel roll at the end. The rest of the ride is so smooth and so over-engineered (including two vertical loops, two dive loops) that the ride just felt like it was constantly doing the same thing. Large, but not surprising at any point. Nonetheless a good ride.
For those that have caught on to my Arrow and Vekoma love, it should be no surprise that I thought the suspended coaster sharing land with Banshee was amazing.
Though short (and quite a walk from the nearest midway), Bat is a high-speed suspended coaster with a lovely color scheme to pay homage to the original Bat. The ride ran smooth and its serene setting removed from the rest of the park really offered a great experience.
I prefer Bat over Vortex at Canada’s Wonderland. Though both have the same layout, the Bat makes its way through a forest, which adds a bit more excitement than the lake and grass field that occupy Vortex.
By the amount of pictures this report contains, you can easily guess that Alex’s favorite ride at Kings Island is Bat!
Time to say goodbye to this Arrow…
And say hello to the next! Adventure Express! Located on a hilly terrain Adventure Express‘ first lift hill isn’t till mid way through the ride. The layout is lengthy, features several tunnels and effects along with great use of terrain. Another highlight at the park I made sure to get several rerides on! In a park with a lineup as stellar as Kings Island it’s easy to forget a ride like Adventure Express exists. I highly advice to try and get a ride in on this Arrow mine train! It’s certainly one of the better ones!
Something we are really getting into lately is checking out foods or snacks that are specific per park, Kings Island doesn’t sell Boysenberry Soft Serve like Knott’s Berry Farm… but… they have a signature Blue Soft Serve, which is blueberry flavored. They also offered it as part of a red cream soda float, which of course we had to get! We highly recommend you give this snack a try. We’re addicted.
For a second let’s talk about the park’s new-for-2017 coaster, Mystic Timbers. A GCI coaster that uses a narrow plot to offer a new wooden coaster experience. Though very smooth and fun, it did not pack the punch that GCI’s like Gold Striker and Thunderhead pack. Mystic Timbers is very much an out-and-back kind of coaster with turns at small angles, and unfortunately that means it fails to deliver with wild transitions that rides like these rely on. There is some airtime, but not enough to make up for its losses. I enjoyed the shed, but really it is a glorified brakerun to hide the fact that this coaster stacks trains. Good ride, but not great. I certainly prefer California’s Great America’s Gold Striker a whole lot.
Here’s a view of Racer, which was only operating the red side during our visit. Unfortunately it was running quite rough so we decided to skip a second ride on it, hoping to catch it racing later this year! In the back we have the X-base with Firehawk and Flight of Fear, both of which we rerode. The new music and lights added to the Flight of Fear show building were great!
The park’s two famous big classics stand together so peacefully. The park lacks any sort of Vortex merchandise, but they sold awesome Beast hoodies, which of course I had to get one of. The Beast, I have concluded, is not overrated, nor is it underrated. Its popularity is deserved and its classic status is important to the park’s line up, everyone should ride it.
In the background we find Bat. This picture nicely illustrates how hidden and far removed it is. Right next to Bat is the Great Wolf Lodge, a place we plan on staying soon to enjoy our day at Kings Island and our night in the indoor water park.
As a big Viper (Six Flags Magic Mountain) fan, I feel the need to compare it to Vortex. Vortex offers a completely alternative experience, and is a close second for me. Thanks to Kings Island for running Vortex with 3 trains all day, even though it was a walk-on.
Vortex features six inversions rather than Viper‘s seven, but Vortex manages to throw in some unique elements that Viper does not have. Vortex features a straight-down drop and a turn around before even hitting the first inversion, for example.
Vortex lacks a high speed turn that Viper features, or highly elevated loops. But Vortex features a faster batwing and an awesome finale upward helix. Both are amazing rides, though I still prefer Viper just a bit.
On our way out of the park we passed by Diamondback. There is no denying that the splashdown looks spectacular, I hope they either manage to fix the rattle or eventually install an artificial splash like on Shambhala at PortAventura World.
Kings Island you were awesome. Operations were perfect. The park was not busy yet everything ran at full capacity with an amazing staff and it allowed for us to ride all coasters, some flat rides, and a whole lot of reriding.
Thanks for checking out this Kings Island report! We have lots of parks and trips on the horizon, make sure to check back for awesome content! Check out our HangTime opening report here!
Check out some of our other European park visits such as: