Oct. 6, 2007

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  My friend Doug, his friend Tracie and I went to Kings Island for the first time each of us had been in years. Experiencing it as a Cedar Fair park was interesting, and it was fun seeing all the old Paramount things that remain.

    It was Halloween Haunt, so the park was open until 1 a.m. We got there a little after 1 p.m., so 12 hours at the park was fine. It was fairly crowded but not too bad. Doug and I got in with our MaxxPasses, which was the first time all season I'd used it at another park.

    Our first ride was Grand Carousel. That was fun. Up next was Italian Job: Stunt Track, which was a new coaster for me. The line wasn't long, and we got to the back car in maybe five minutes. The cars are really cool, and the theming on the ride is great. The cars are Mini Coopers, and you drive through Los Angeles dodging police cars and a helicopter. It has two launches, the first of which goes into a triple helix. There are good G's there. It's a pretty short ride, but it's really fun. It ends with a fake water splash after bursting through a sign. There are some brakes right after the water splash, but they appear to only be there because the main brake run is immediately after a turn.

    The Beast was next. I used to love this ride, but it's just not doing much for me anymore. The line was short enough that we nearly got up to the station before stopping. We rode in the back, which is the only place I'll ride on Beast. While climbing the lift hill, we noticed a lot of wasps at the top. It was really odd. Why would there be wasps at the top of the lift hill?

    This ride has been so tamed. I got a night ride in 2004, the last time I was here, but I only needed one ride this time. It uses the terrain really well, and the amount of trees surrounding it is great, but it's got far too many magnetic brakes. They take away speed quickly and powerfully, which I don't like. I'm sure the ride would really tear through the woods without them, though I did enjoy the last turn before the hill prior to the second lift hill. It hugs the ground and speeds along, so it really feels like the fastest part of the ride. The tunnels are cool too.

    There were more wasps at the top of the second lift hill. What is this about? The helix was great as always, but it didn't save this ride for me. Especially after finally riding Voyage this year. As we exited, I saw some rails from Vortex sitting next to it. Weird.

    We went to Vortex, which I really like. It's probably the best coaster at the park. I like seeing the old Bat footers. While in line for this, we saw a brake for The Beast sitting off to the side just like the Vortex rails. There are seat belts on the harnesses like on Corkscrew at Cedar Point, only they're the opposite way. The buckle is attached to the harness.

    There were wasps at the top of this lift hill too. We rode near the front. The first drop is fun, and there are high G-forces at the bottom of the drop. The two loops made me start to black out. I really enjoy the turn before the block brake because it's taken so quickly. The corkscrews are really high off the ground. This ride has some good terrain. The helix at the end pulls some good forces.

    We walked by Flight of Fear to ride Firehawk. Firehawk had the longest line of the day, about 45 minutes. The line has some shade areas in it, but I really liked that the park put plastic cups and water coolers in line. It was fairly hot out, so this is a great idea.

    I rode Firehawk when it was X-Flight. I think it's in a better location now. The trees surrounding it add a little bit. Only one station was running, so that's why capacity was low. I like Firehawk. It's the only flying coaster I've been on, and the G-forces are a really weird sensation because you're lying down. We rode in the fifth of six rows. Kings Island changed the way the seats raise and lower. Instead of using the bar in the middle of the car, that was removed and replaced with a mechanism in the station that controls the seat position.

    The loop is the best part of this ride. The twist off the first drop is pretty cool too, but the sensation of facing straight down as you exit the loop rules. I like the amount of flying time on this ride. You're only on your back for a little bit. The two twists at the end of the ride are fun, though it might be better if they were heartlined. I really enjoy the helix finale. It looks like it goes really slowly through it as you watch, but it's got some pretty high G's.

    We were hungry, so we went to Festhaus. I got a burger, fries and drink, which was $13. Ouch. It was good, though the bun had been sitting under a heating lamp for a while, so it was a little dry.

    We went to Scooby Doo and the Haunted Castle. My gun was either broken or I just sucked at shooting because I got a terrible score. I can do pretty well at these, as I did on Gobbler Getaway at Holiday World, but I sucked on this one. It's fun regardless. I like these rides, and the cars rotate so you can aim at different things a little better.

    It was time to ride more coasters, so we went to Fairly Odd Coaster, but it was closed. The Nickelodeon section of the park closes at 6 for Haunt. We decided to go to Face/Off, but the Eiffel Tower was on the way, so we went to that. This is a must-visit during any trip to Kings Island. The view is outstanding. We stayed up there for about 10 minutes. I took pictures of Italian Job, Racer, Firehawk and other rides. I also got one straight down.

    We left and headed toward Face/Off. The fountains down International Street are great, so I took a picture as the sun set. Face/Off is an OK ride. It rattles around even when it's not in the cobra roll. We decided to face each other, and we sat in the second and third cars. It has high forces exiting the loop in the second trip. There were no wasps at the top of the lift. The midways started to fill with fog for Haunt, and it looked really cool from the top of the lifts.

    Drop Zone was right next door, so we went to that. We only had to wait maybe four cycles before we got on. I really like it because it's tall and fast. It's so fast, you beat the wind the car makes on the way down. You hit the brakes, then you're hit with this gust of wind. Drop Zone is the best large drop ride I've been on.

    Doug wanted to ride Son of Beast. It's absolutely my least favorite coaster, so I decided to skip it even with the new trains. Actually, especially because of the new trains. Gerstlauers don't track well, and the restraints are a mess, so I felt better just skipping it entirely. Tracie didn't want to ride either. We waited in line with Doug, and we decided to try to wait in the cage for kids in the station. We walked through the car and went into the cage. The ride ops didn't care. That was funny. Doug sat in the shortest line, which was the third or fourth car. As his train came back to the station, I asked a ride op to take a picture of us in the cage. I am ridiculous.  Doug said it was fairly smooth, but I still refused to ride.

    We went to Adventure Express next, which is an excellent mine train. It was completely dark now, so I knew this would be out of control. After a short wait, we got in the next to last car. The ride drops out of the station and follows the terrain for a while as it picks up speed before the first lift hill. It twists and turns and goes through tunnels. It's got great theming, and it's wild at night because you have no idea where you're going. I was taken by surprise at a few of the turns because there is no light at all in some parts of the ride. The last lift hill is cool because of the theming and big stone men pounding their fists, but it's lackluster because it just takes you to a brake run before the station.

    Racer was next. We decided to go backward and ride in the back car. I rode in the very back seat, which would be the front if we were facing forward. Racer's a really good coaster. The view backward up the lift hill was neat, and I could really see the amount of fog filling the midways. The first two hills on Racer are cool, but the best one is right before the turnaround. It's tiny, and you're thrown out of your seat. We raced the other side, but we were slightly ahead of them on the lift hill. The return hops into the brake run are fun. I like Racer. We only rode backward.

We went to Flight of Fear next. The sign out front is of Fort Kinzel, which I got a kick out of. This ride's line is deceiving. There are a few queues outside, but inside there's an hourlong queue. I was expecting it to be full since the park was becoming crowded, but it wasn't. We walked straight into the UFO and into the station. The other queues weren't full. We waited maybe 15 minutes and got in the second car. This ride's got cameras on it. There are two devices per row, but one of them is infrared lights so you show up on the camera because it's an indoor coaster.

    Flight of Fear is a cool ride. I like the sidewinder element. We came to a near complete stop in the block brake, which I didn't like. I've ridden this without the trims on, and the second half is absolutely crazy. You still pick up some good speed into the corkscrew, but it's not as fast as it really can be. I do enjoy that it only has lap bars because those old restraints were terrible.

    We were done riding coasters, and it was time for Haunt. Every midway had fog in it, which impressed me. I thought only a few areas would be foggy.

    We started at The Worksite, which is themed to road construction. It was OK. People hide behind barrels and jump at you with shovels. I didn't get scared.

    Red Beard's Revenge was next. The line wasn't too long. It took maybe 10 minutes to get through the line. This haunted house starts with an outside section but ends up inside. People hide in boxes and inside walls and pop out and scare you. Only one guy scared me, but that was because it becomes a little predictable, and you know where people will be hiding. One guy holding a large metal spoon stood in a room and just banged it on a metal box. That was odd.

    There's a cool room where there are heads hanging from the ceiling. As you work your way through them, someone pops out and scares you. That was near the end. The guy who scared me was just around a corner when I thought we'd be exiting. This one was all right.

    We walked by Tombstone Terror-tory, which had a long line. I wanted to do that, but Doug wanted to get a night ride on Beast. Tracie and I went to the walk-through, and Doug went to Beast. We planned to meet up afterward. We waited about 20 minutes before boarding the train. I liked this one a lot. Someone tells the back story of a gold prospector who went mad and killed a bunch of people. The train stops in the middle of the woods, and it lets you off. You walk around to an area where the person tells you not to touch the actors. Tracie was so jumpy, she got scared by a guy in jeans and a T-shirt. He was just standing there waiting for someone.

    I really enjoyed this one. It's long, you walk through the woods, and people are everywhere. They do get a little predictable, so I didn't get scared except maybe once or twice. There are boxes all over the place, so you know people are hiding there. The best part is a small hall you walk through. It's got curtains on the side, and it's foggy, so it's hard to see. A person standing off to the side of it yells, and that scared me. There's a lot more walking to do, but it becomes the same thing: boxes, people behind boxes and some fog. There are people walking around who distract you by asking about their children or something. That's cool because someone hops out as you're paying attention to them.

    Doug was in line for Beast, so we decided to head to some other Haunt things. We went to The Cemetery, which was the former Paramount Story. This area was insanely foggy. The midway was hard to walk through because it was so foggy. This one was OK. There are lots of tombstones you have to walk around. One person scared me pretty well. I was walking and reading tombstones, and she came running screaming down a hill. That was good. It's a bit long and doesn't seem to have too many people in it, though.

    We went to Cornstalkers next. There was no line, so we walked right in. The midway is surrounded by cornstalks, and people hide in them. They wear clothes that blends in with the cornstalks, so you really have no idea where they are. I got scared a few times in this. I liked it.

    We went to Death Row, which is over by Flight of Fear. This was the most disorienting thing ever. It's nothing but tall fences you have to walk through, mirrors, fog and strobe lights. I got so lost and confused. People hide behind the chain-link fences and jump out at you. One guy had a teddy bear, and he said he killed his girlfriend with it or something. The actors are covered in blood and gore, and each person seems to have a backstory about why they're in jail. It was so disorienting, I got confused and started trying to follow the exit signs. But one took me the wrong way, and a guy came out and told me I was going the wrong way. Crazy. I even had a guy follow me and tell me I was going to slow.

    I finally found the exit. That was ridiculous. Tracie came out screaming a few minutes after I did. There were some prisoners walking around outside saying things. I really liked this one. Each prisoner has a story, and it's so insanely disorienting.

    Doug called. He said Beast went down, so he didn't get his night ride. He went to Vortex for his last ride of the night, so we met him there. The park was closed, so we headed to stores to buy souvenirs. The midways were still shrouded in fog, and it even made its way to the parking lot.

   Kings Island is a fun park, and the Halloween Haunt was amazing. I had a great time.

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