Photo Trip Report

April 24, 2016

I got to Kings Dominion about 9:30. The park opened at 10:30. This was my first time visiting. I bought a Cedar Fair Platinum Pass ($209.99), so I didn't pay the parking toll. The pass will get me into Kings Island and Cedar Point, which I'm visiting next month. I processed my pass and waited at an entrance to the left of the main entrance. The gates opened at 10. I wanted to start on Volcano but found out that Dominator was open early, so I went there.

I rode Dominator in 2003 when it was Batman: Knight Flight at Six Flags Worlds of Adventure. It was moved here after Cedar Fair bought that park and subsequently shut down the amusement park side. I waited two trains for the back seat. Dominator has a nice drop, and there's hangtime in the loop. The low turn next is taken quickly. That's followed by a high turn and then the cobra roll. Brake run. There's airtime out of the brakes, then come the interlocking corkscrews. It's a unique layout and is done well. This is probably my third favorite floorless coaster behind Kraken and Superman: Krypton Coaster. That's not to diminish it; it's a superb ride. 8/10.

The rest of the park was now open, so I went to Volcano. I waited two trains for the back seat. It starts with a left turn out of the indoor station to a tunnel inside the mountain. It launches into a big left turn and is launched a second time. The four-car train soars straight up through the opening of the volcano into the sidewinder. What follows is three heartline rolls and some turns left and right. It's a rather uninteresting layout after a great start. After the last roll, there's a large, swooping dive to the right. The train picks up a lot of speed and zooms back into the mountain and into ... the brakes. It's a fun ride, but it ends right when it could get good. 6/10.

Next was the coaster I was really looking forward to, Intimidator 305. It's 305 feet tall, has a 300-foot drop at 85 degrees and goes 90 mph. It's got an imposing structure. This would be my second gigacoaster (Millennium Force was the first).

The line was empty. This whole park was empty today, actually. I waited one train for the back seat. The lift hill is extremely fast. There's nice airtime for a good stretch down the drop. There's a slight bank to the left as the track levels out, then it banks sharply to the right as it takes a ground-level turn at full speed. Next is a hill half the height of the lift, so it's taken incredibly quickly and is loaded with airtime at the peak and exit. The hill levels out into a turn to the left, followed by an airtime hill, then a turn to the left.

Here's where it gets really crazy. After a long left turn, it rapidly banks from left to right. That transition is taken so fast, the company had to add padding to the restraints because they were beating people up. I see how. I felt the blood rush to my head. There's another right turn, then left, then another quick, high-G transition from left to right. Two short airtime hills follow, the first of which is braked on the way up. I'm sure the negative G's would be too much to handle if those brakes weren't there, so they're a welcome relief. Then comes another turn to the right, followed by a third quick transition right then left, a highly banked turn to the left and the brakes.


That is among the most intense coasters I've ever been on. The G-forces at the bottom of the first drop gave me tunnel vision, and the three quick changes in direction are almost too fast to bear. It's an insanely fast coaster and keeps up its speed throughout. It's good, but I see why it was modified. After opening, brakes were added down the first drop because the turn pulled around 6 G's. In the offseason, the turn and entrance to the second hill were modified, and the brakes were removed. It's still wild, but people aren't blacking out on it now. I went around and rode a second time in the back seat. 9/10.

The Arrow looper Anaconda is next door, so I got in line. No wait again. I sat in the middle because I didn't want to get banged around, especially after two rides on Intimidator. It starts with a dive to the right and into a tunnel under the water. A vertical loop is next, followed by a sidewinder. Not bad. It makes a hard right turn in to the brakes, then drops left out of them into a twisted element. The train turns left and right, going up and down. It's taken slowly, so it's not bad, but there is a bit of rattling. The real classic Arrow pain is next: two corkscrews. Arrow figured out that the best way to enter a corkscrew is on banked track. The problem is that bank begins at the lowest part and stays banked while entering, so your head bashes the restraint. Being in the corkscrews themselves isn't bad, but entering them is. The coaster ends with a small drop under the lift hill before turning left to the brakes. 4/10.

I circled around to Backlot Stunt Coaster. I've ridden its clone at Kings Island, so I knew what to expect. It's an enjoyable coaster that launches into a triple helix and has a few turns and hills, then a second launch into an underground portion. The ride ends with a drop above water, a small hill that is heavily braked and then a turn into the brakes. Those brakes in the hill felt much stronger than Kings Island's. I wonder why. 6/10.

Next was Rebel Yell, a John Allen out-and-back woodie. I waited a train for the back seat. This is a fun ride. There's airtime on most of the hills, and it's pretty smooth. The only bumpy spot was the first drop and the bottom of that drop, but it wasn't anything bad. The rest of the ride felt like it had been retracked, so it ran well. Only one side was running. 6/10.

The wild mouse Ricochet was next. I waited a few minutes to board. I was the only person in my car. It's not saying much about getting a solo ride on a coaster with a single four-person car, but it still was kind of amusing. Richochet starts with a drop before going into a series of tight turns. Most of the brakes are open, though they do trim a lot of speed toward the end. That's necessary, though, because one unbanked turn might be painful taken at speed. It's an enjoyable ride. 6/10.

Hurler was closed for the season. I went to Grizzly, a wooden coaster situated in the trees. This is a fun coaster. It's got some airtime and has a nice layout. The lateral G's in the turns are enough to make me happy. 7/10.

I went all the way to the other side of the park and got in line for Avalanche, a multicar bobsled coaster. It's the only one of its kind in the United States. I waited about three trains for the back seat. The seats are low and have a lot of leg room. The restraint is a large bar that sits on your lap. I liked this ride. I love that it's free of fixed rails, so the cars move around a little more. It's smooth and has some nice helixes. 6/10.

I went to Flight of Fear next. It's a coaster in a box. It's the same ride as at Kings Island. It's an indoor launch coaster with four inversions. It has several left turns and finishes with some low turns and a corkscrew. And like the clone at Kings Island, the block brake is on hard. That's so strange. Poltergeist at Six Flags Fiesta Texas doesn't have brakes in that spot, and it runs well. I wonder why these two versions have the brakes. 6/10.

I had ridden all 10 major coasters and been at the park about three hours. So I went to Woodstock Express, the kiddy wooden coaster. I waited two trains for the back seat. It's got buzz bars but also a seat belt. It was surprisingly smooth. It felt like it was new. There are some little spots of airtime. It's well done for a small coaster. 5/10.

I got lunch at Country Kitchen in the Old Virginia section. I got chicken tenders, mashed potatoes, green beans, biscuits and water for $15.15 with my 10 percent season pass discount. It was tasty.

Then I rode Bench: The Ride. I went to the Eiffel Tower and took in the views. The upper level was open. I rode Dominator again. Back seat. I do enjoy the pull down the first drop. Next was Intimidator 305. This time I wanted to ride in the front seat. I only waited two trains (some people let me skip ahead so I could ride with a single rider). It's hard to believe the park was this empty so early in the season.

The front seat is a totally different ride. The wind in my face made my eyes water. I think I hit a bug or two on my face. The airtime isn't as spectacular down the first drop as it is in the back, but the other airtime hills push up and forward, a slightly different sensation than being pulled out in the back. It's also nice to get an unobstructed view. I rode again in the back seat.

I went to Drop Tower next. This ride is 305 feet tall, but unlike its partner at Kings Island, it doesn't rotate. The operators were only filling half the seats, which was strange, but the park wasn't busy enough for the line to get long. I waited two cycles. It's got a nice freefall, but I wish it rotated. That adds a lot to such a tall ride. 6/10.

I rode Carousel next. This Philadelphia Toboggan Co. carousel is 99 years old. Each horse is wooden. What a great history. I rode Dominator and Volcano again. I finished the day with another back-seat ride on Intimidator 305. Intimidator is my favorite ride here; I rode it five times today. It's extremely intense, so I don't know if I could handle many more than that, but it sure is fun.

Kings Dominion is a nice park. It doesn't have as many trees as Busch Gardens. I hope Cedar Fair will plant some more. Midways near Dominator and Backlot Stunt Coaster could desperately use shade, especially on a hot day. I like the collection of coasters - I was able to ride 11 of the 13 (one was closed; one needs a child to ride). I had a good time. 8/10.