Yesterday I spent the day at Kings Island with Michael. It was good father/son bonding time. Especially since he works there currently and I worked there in 80’s.
The weather was perfect, and it was a Tuesday so lines weren’t all that bad. We were only there from 10am to about 5pm but rode nearly everything we wanted to ride.
The morning started with a dash to the new ride ‘Fire Hawk’… We would have been about 30th in line, but my son (did I mention he works at KI) didn’t realize he couldn’t take his man-purse on the ride and we had to go back out and put his man-purse in a locker. This proved to be difficult. The part about putting in your 3 quarters, turning the key and PULLING IT OUT, wasn’t easy for Michael to grasp, but he finally figured it out.
This put us about 120th in line for Fire Hawk, which given the day was no big deal. That was until the dang thing broke down when we were about 20 minutes from getting on. So our first wait in line was well over an hour when it should have been 20 minutes.
From there we headed to Flight of Fear, the indoor ‘Space mountain’ like coaster. Again, lines were reasonable, but again something broke as the line stood still for 30 minutes.
For those of you not familiar with Flight of Fear, they wind you through ‘Hangar 18’ and through a space ship model. The entertainment factor for this ride while in line used to be fairly impressive with lights, some smoke around the thing, monitors everywhere with technicians detecting some paranormal activity. All of this stuff was gone or busted. The monitors were there, some playing the video. No lights, no sound but what really bothered me was simply how filthy the place was. I mean, if they’ve dusted any of the displays stuff in the last 5 years, you couldn’t tell.
So back in the day, when I worked at K.I. Cleanliness was paramount, right behind rider safety. There is no way in hell the management team of the 80’s would have stood for this. Honestly I was hugely disappointed. did it affect the ride? No, but the experience was tarnished quite heavily.
From there we headed to go ‘Sling Shot’ where the put you in a ball, and sling shot you up into the air. Early bird pricing was a mere $5 a ride. But, the ride had just broken a spring. What Michael tells me is a daily event, and the video that records you as you do this is broken (also a daily event).
Again… This wouldn’t happen in the 80’s. But we got our tickets and would come back when it’s working again.
It was time to eat something, so we headed to Oktoberfest, and the fest haus which while it’s still the German Fest Haus, now has a ‘country bar’ theme which makes no sense.
The very best deal in the park… It’s not advertised anywhere that I could find, but if you ask for it they will sell you a wrist band for $9.00 that gets you unlimited 20 oz drinks. Any vendor that sell fountain pop will just hand you what ever you want. With a 20oz costing $3.49, you only need to drink 2.5 to break even. You do have to ask for this though.
After a drink and a couple slices of Larossa’s Pizza we headed over to the
Drop Zone, no wait it’s now ‘Drop Tower’… Which is another thing that bothers the hell out of me. I understand Paramount had a number of ‘themed’ rides based on movies, so for the licensing was no big deal. But when they sold the park and the rides they should have granted some perpetual use for existing rides.
From there we headed to
Top Gun, no wait, it’s now Flight Deck. Again, the pre-ride presentations that used to be there, the Top Gun music, the air craft carrier radio banter, etc, were all missing. The Queue used to wind through the loading deck like you were in an air-craft carrier going up to the top to ride a jet. No more. All gone, and not very exciting. I suspect this ride is on it’s last legs and will be replaced soon.
From Flight Deck we moved on to
Face Off, no wait, it’s now called Invertigo. Again, outside of the actual queue lines, the ride was a mess. Trash, dust, crap everywhere. This ride can be brutal, as your head bangs into the restraints. Not good.
We passed on the ride formerly know as “The Italian job”, now the Backlot Stunt Coaster. (Who the hell thought up these names anyway… That’s pretty weak. The ride only handled like 8 folks at a clip and even though the lines were relatively short, didn’t think it was worth the effort.
We wandered around, and I was mentally comparing what used to be where when I worked there. The lake is gone, that’s where the new coaster is being built. The Antique cars are also gone, that’s where the Stunt coaster and a few other minor things are now located. I’m not sure when they disappeared. We passed on the Vortex, I’ve ridden that in the past enough.
We then hit
Tomb Raider, no wait, that’s now the Crypt… If you haven’t ridden this, it’s well worth it. Again the presentation leading up to the ride was lacking. Skeletons missing parts and pieces, I realize park patrons tear stuff up, but things were obviously missing and vandalized as well as very dirty. Inside the ride is dark, but it appear there are things that you should see. Maybe some lights burned out? I don’t really know.
This ride did really mess with me though, so did Flight of Fear… I don’t know if it was the darkness, but my inner ear was jacked after both of these rides. It didn’t use to be that way. So we slowly wandered back to the Action Zone. Michael wanted to see me fail at the rope ladder. He works games and this is one of the games he takes care of when he’s working. Of course he knew I’d make a fool of myself but that was worth $5 to him.
After that we got our turn a Sling Shot. It was good, well worth $5 but the Sky Flier is much better in my opinion.
A few more drinks and a pretzel later and we decided we’d had enough. Still good value for the price of admission. ($30). But I was disappointed in the overall cleanliness of the park. I hope someone from KI reads this.