Aug. 21, 2010


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    I got to Kings Island shortly after opening and parked my car in the huge parking lot. I bought my ticket online a few days before and saved $20. Great deal! I entered the park and met up with my friend Bryan, and we headed toward Flight of Fear. He said it's good to hit early because the line gets pretty huge.

    We got to Flight of Fear, and the line was outside. But it wasn't bad. It just went straight into the station without going through any switchbacks. We waited a couple of trains and sat near the back. The video devices were removed, and the on-ride photo is back. I guess the videos weren't too popular. I enjoy this ride. The only real downside is the block brake. It really, really grabs hold. Poltergeist at Six Flags Fiesta Texas is way better just because it doesn't have brakes. But the ending is all right. Lots of turns, some decent G's, and the corkscrew is fun with just the lap bars.

    Then we went to the reason I had to visit this park: Diamondback. I had yet to ride this B&M hypercoaster, and I was looking forward to it. We didn't wait long before getting in the back car in the inside seats. The first drop is big and steep and loaded with airtime. So is the second drop. And it goes even faster at the bottom of the second drop because it's in a ravine. The next hill has more air, and the hammerhead is quick and good. The next hill has a trim brake on it, and I'd be upset about it if it really hurt the ride, but it doesn't. In fact, I see why the brake is there. The airtime's really intense, and it would be completely insane without a little bit of speed trimmed. The turn into the brakes is fast and curves up to the left. The block brake bites a little bit of speed, but there's still airtime dropping out of it and in the next two bunny hops. Then there's a slightly forceful helix, a pop of air and the water splash. The train enters the magnetic brakes and turns around into the station.

    Amazing. Diamondback is probably my second-favorite B&M coaster, behind Raptor. The airtime is insane on every single hill, and it's perfectly smooth throughout. It uses the terrain really well and is loaded with some good drops. I love the train style too. Being that open helps the ride a lot. Diamondback was my 194th coaster. 10/10.

    We circled around to the front of the park and went to Drop Tower. We waited five or six cycles. It doesn't have a terribly high capacity, mostly because it's so tall and takes awhile to get to the top. But it wasn't a terribly long wait. This is my favorite drop tower simply because it's really tall. It gives such a long time of free fall. I enjoy falling and falling and falling and just waiting to hit the brakes. More parks need something like this. It's just so simple.

    We were hungry, so we went to Skyline Chili on International Street. I got two-way chili with cheese, and Bryan got two coney dogs and fries. Since visiting this park a few years ago and trying Skyline, I've made it a necessary stop each time I go. This food is delicious.

    We went to Diamondback again. It started to rain while we were in line, and the ride was shut down. Plenty of people left, but we stuck it out. Bryan had a radar on his phone and saw that the rain would soon pass. After a couple of test cycles, it opened. Earlier, we tried the single-rider line, but it was long, and its capacity didn't seem too good. Maybe Diamondback isn't the best for a single-rider line because each row is really two across.

    We went to the very back seat this time -- the outside seats. I sat on the right side. Now these seats are open! There's practically room to lay down. The ride felt better in the outside seat too. When we hit the water splash, I reached my right arm back and got completely soaked from my fingertips to my armpit. I'm not sure why I did that, but it was fun.

    Then we went to a ride I try to ride every time I visit, Adventure Express. We had to wait awhile as the ride hosts took several times spraying, wiping down and hosing off the seats in the first car. Someone apparently got a good bunch of vomit there. How does this mine train make someone sick? I enjoy this coaster. It's got lots of tunnels, turns and changes of direction, and it weaves around the side of a hill pretty well. The only downside is the great build-up in the lift hill tunnel with the drumming statues and loud noise only to turn and enter a brake run and then the station.

    We went to Racer and hopped on the blue side. Once we got on the train, it started raining. By the time we exited the station, it was coming down harder. Lift hill, harder; bunny hops, even harder. The rain seemed to come down harder the farther we got on the ride. We were covering our faces and making upset noises along most of the ride. Aside from the rain, it was running pretty well. Actually, by covering my face, it made it better because I couldn't see what was going on, so the airtime hills took me by surprise. The ride seems to have been recently tracked and is running smooth.

    It was still raining, and my glasses were covered in water. We went around to the entrance again and waited in the covered area until the rain stopped. Both Bryan and I were soaked. The rain eventually stopped, and we walked over to check out some weird inflatable balls that float on water. We went to the viewing platform and noticed that there are good views of Racer there, so we stood by and waited for Racer to restart. We snapped a few photos.

    Then we went to the Eiffel Tower. We stood up there awhile and took pictures around the park. This is easily the best observation tower I've been on. There are great views of everything. The overview of Diamondback is awesome.

    I wanted to ride Flight Deck, the Arrow suspended coaster, and Bryan stayed behind to get pictures of Delirium. After my ride, which was fun because the kid next to me had never ridden before, we met up again and went to Beast. The line was maybe 20 minutes long, and we went to the middle seat in the back car. The lift hill is extremely slow, much slower than Silver Bullet at Frontier City, until a train clears a block. Then it speeds up to normal.

    Beast used to be my favorite wooden coaster, but it has since dropped way down on my list for a number of reasons. I had ridden it with the skid brakes, and it was fantastic. The magnetic brakes really take a lot of speed away quickly, so they hurt the ride. It also had been getting a bit rougher. Couple that with the number of new and recent rides on CCI and GCI coasters, plus Voyage, Beast just didn't have it anymore.

    This ride was different. Nearly the entire ride was retracked and running smooth and fast. The brakes still grab hard, but it's running well. We didn't bump around much at all except in the turn before the brake shed and the turn exiting the long tunnel. The double helix finale is smooth and speeds through. A lot of much-needed work was done on this coaster, and it showed. Beast may not be my favorite wooden coaster, but it's definitely moving up some spots after that ride. It's too bad we didn't get a night ride.

    We went to Diamondback and rode in the back seat again. I love this coaster. More parks need something like this. And the seats are just the best B&M seats around.

    Then we rode Bench: The Ride and called it a day.

    The park was fairly crowded since we visited on a Saturday, and it was probably the last weekend before a lot of kids went back to school. But it wasn't insane like when I visited in 2002 and was only able to ride six things. This visit went well. I got some rides on a new coaster, and I got to ride some favorites and eat Skyline Chili. I really enjoy Kings Island and look forward to my next visit.

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