Kings Dominion, VA
Total Timber Tour 2 Blog Day 6
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Last night’s drive was through the very scenic mountain ranges of West Virginia and Virginia. Shame it was pitch black and we didn’t get to see any of those views!
So today was a full one from opening to close (10 hours) at Kings Dominion, just north of Richmond Virginia. We’ve been here a few times before.
The reason for adding it to this trip was the opening of its latest headline coaster Intimidator 305. This brand new ride is only one of a handful in the world to break the 300 feet barrier. We’ve been following its construction and opening all winter on the Internet. Expectations were as high as the coaster itself. So how was it? Well, we have a difference of opinion so we’ll give each separately. It’s worth bearing in mind that the park is having teething troubles with the ride and have added trim brakes to kill some speed on the first drop.
During my first ride – all I could think was Rita (Alton Towers) which is a ridiculous comparison. Second ride I thought Maverick (Cedar Point) which is not so ridiculous. Subsequent rides to confirm my thoughts and it is another Maverick – you brace yourself before every transition in preparation for a head / neck / ear bashing. It’s a real shame. Had it had lap bars it could have competed with the best – brakes or no brakes.Adrian
First impressions on seeing it – not as imposing as Millennium Force or Steel Dragon. Fastest non-launched lift hill of any coaster I’ve ridden. First drop was OK but didn’t seem 300 feet and didn’t have that “forever dropping” feeling. Once out of the first turnaround and over the first hill, the remainder of the ride is very tame. The trim brakes have removed airtime from the airtime hills. Whilst a welcome addition to the park it is not our favourite coaster of the trip and doesn’t compare to the likes of Millennium Force. After a few repeat rides people like me (over 6 foot) get sore shoulders because of the restraints.Ian
We were delayed riding Hurler for 5 minutes because a park guest had banged his arm on the side of the train during the ride. What did he expect – IT’S A COASTER! What followed – ride closed. Park medic called. Engineers called to inspect train. Ride re-opened. With so much litigation in the States, it’s easy to see why they are trying to prevent grey/black outs on Intimidator if a banged arm causes this much fuss. In time, the un-braked rides on Intimidator will surely become historic in much the same way as the Rattler at Six Flags Fiesta Texas. It’s also a shame that the years headline act was only running one train all day when other (older) rides were operating with two. Also, last year we rode a smaller version in Japan which had lap bars – and it became the talk of that trip – proof again that bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better.
So now our new Hyper/Semi-hyper/Giga Coaster rating for the week looks like this - Behemoth 1st, Goliath 2nd, Diamond Back 3rd and, surprisingly, Intimidator 305 4th.
What about the rest of the park. With the great weather (Sunny and low 90’s) and next to no guests we had the run of the park all day. Only a couple of rides attracting all the attention, everything else was “walk-on”. Our Platinum Passes got us into the ride area before the public, and we clocked up 7 or 8 goes on Intimidator in the first hour. Rebel Yell (made famous by the film Rollercoaster) wasn’t racing, but was running a whole lot better than our last visit – as was the Hurler. We had planned to have an AERT (Almost Exclusive Ride Time) for the last hour on Grizzly, which has come a tradition for us at this park, but a bit of roughness had set in and we only lasted 30 minutes (this park permits repeat rides if no one is in line). So we finished with a few spins on Volcano The Blast Coaster – by far the best ride in the park. A perfect ending to another perfect day.