This weekend, Justin and I went to King’s Island with my coworker Dennis, his wife (Julie) and their boy (Matthew – 4yrs old). Now, one thing to take into account with me and amusement parks is that I have a huge fear of heights. Even then, it’s not really the heights that get me, it’s the vertigo from the heights. Naturally, one of the biggest goals of this weekend was for me to ride a roller-coaster (or two) – namely, the Diamondback.
We arrived at the park at 10am and were able to park pretty quickly and get in quick as we’d bought our tickets online ahead of time. After we all got in, we met friends of Dennis and Julie who had brought their boy Joey along (14 months old). Julie took the kids and went to the Nickelodeon Universe section of the park while the rest of us went for rides. We started with the Diamondback.
The Diamondback is new at King’s Island for 2009. It peaks at 230 feet tall with a first drop of 215 feet at a 74 degree angle. There are 10 drops with two helixes. The wait for Diamondback wasn’t too bad at about 30 minutes. Once you do finally get to the ride, about the only thing holding you in is a very tight lap bar – no chest restraints. You first climb the 230 foot hill which alone was making me dizzy and I had to close my eyes after Justin made me look around. Then came the first drop. The drop was so steep that I actually was holding onto the bottom of the chair because I felt like I was going to fall out (I wasn’t though). After the first drop the rest is a LOT milder although still scary. I think that I was also scared to the point that I wasn’t even screaming. The ride lasted three minutes although it felt like it was about 30 seconds due to the speed of it (80 miles an hour). After the ride my neck felt a little sore, but I survived. 🙂 Now, that doesn’t mean I’d ever go on it again, but it was OK.
Next up, we went to The Beast. The Beast is the world’s longest-running wooden roller coaster – having been running for more than 30 years. It is impressive, however most of the coaster is in a wooden area making it impossible to actually see most of it. I suppose that this is better as you then can’t get freaked out ahead of time. I was warned that as it was a wooden coaster that it would be a rougher ride. Unlike the Diamondback, the cars of The Beast are standard cars that have seat-belts and a lap bar and sit four people in a small car. The seats are quite small and I was smashed in pretty good. Once it got moving, it first has you go around a small turn then you climb the initial hill. I looked around once but had to close my eyes again as the railings alone scared me – they were very rickety and looked like it was going to fall apart – not very assuring when the entire structure is made from wood as well. The ride was about 4 1/2 minutes long and definitely seemed longer than the last ride. We went through several tunnels and were whipped around many turns. It was definitely rougher, but it was actually fun – after the initial hill was over at least. I would go on this one again I think.
After we got off this, we went and all met up for lunch. I had pizza while Justin had a salad and we shared some chicken strips as well. A tip: If you go, get the large souvenir cup like we did – it’s much more economical in the end. The cup is $9.99 and is 46 ounces but you can get refills all season long for $1.99 ($2.12 including tax) – we refilled it three times throughout the day. Our lunch (including drink) was $32. That’s a bit of money, but the food wasn’t heavy and was actually pretty good so wasn’t too bad at all.
Next, Dennis, Julie, Justin and I went to go on the Firehawk while their friends took both kids around the park. Firehawk had an hour wait although it may have been even a little longer. Firehawk is an interesting ride. When you first get into the seat, you are sitting at a small angle backwards. You have a harness over your chest that covers all of you but then there’s a guard that secures your feet into place as well. Once everyone is secure, all the cars lean completely on their backs and they start moving backwards (face first). Again, I had my eyes closed. The climb up the first hill is very noisy as safety catches were clanking the whole way up. I didn’t actually open my eyes until halfway through but it was obvious when we were all the way up – it got quieter and you could feel pressure against your chest as you were now hanging with your body facing the ground! Immediately after the initial hill it inverted all the cars. Despite it being so scary it also was kind of fun (I’m noticing a theme here). My biggest fear was that the chest restraint would bust open and I’d fly out and get killed – I know, kinda morbid. However, it was fun being whipped around everywhere and the ride ended fairly quickly as it’s a shorter ride.
After we got done, we all met up again and we went through various kid rides. Everyone next went to Boomerang Bay, which is the water-ride section of the park. Their friends and Joey went to the water section while we got on the train and went to its first stop – which was almost by the Diamondback’s entrance. Justin went onto the Wild Thornberry’s log ride with Julie and Matthew. Matthew was very scared, but ended up going. We all then took the train back to the water section and met up again. Matthew went and played in the water while Dennis, Justin and I sat and lounged on the pool chairs by Kookaburra Bay. Eventually everyone wanted to leave so we started back and split into three groups. Dennis and their friends went for round two on the Firehawk, Justin and I went onto a water ride and Julie went to the kids section with the kids.
Justin and I wanted to go onto the White Water Canyon. After making sure that all of our electronics, wallets, etc were in zip-lock bags in our pockets, we started through the line to the ride. Most of the line is actually spent just walked through lots of woods until you finally get to the line of people. Actually waiting in line wasn’t bad – maybe 20 minutes or so. Along the way you can watch people coming to the end – where they were soaking wet. The entrance and exit to the ride is interesting as it’s just a huge rotating platform that grabs the boats securely so that you can get in and out safely. This ride was good as all you needed was a simple seat belt. As it was just Justin and I, we got on with a dad and his daughter. She didn’t want to get wet, but… that’s not how it ended. 🙂 At the first rapids, I got completely soaked. At the second one, Justin got the full blast. While the other rapids were fairly tame, at two points water jets shoot up in the air and soak everyone inside though which pretty much guaranteed the soaking of everyone and everything. A day later my shoes are still water-logged from it. Although a lot tamer than the other rides so far, I enjoyed it and had fun. Next time, I’d definitely go with swimming trunks and less stuff so that I can go on more rides like this.
After we got done, we tried to dry off and then I called Julie so we could meet up. We then went to find one of her friends who was at the park with some students while Dennis and their friends were on the Firehawk. Justin and another salad for dinner while I had more pizza.
Their friends kept the kids while Julie, Dennis, the teacher and kids and I all went to ride another roller coaster. This one was called the Son of Beast. It’s a lot newer than The Beast, but supposedly a lot better. Unlike The Beast, you can’t see any of the ride at all except for the very first hill from the line. The line was an hour for it and lasted just a little shorter than that. While in line I Twittered. I was assured that it goes a little slower and isn’t as rough as The Beast. When we got closer, I started watching the cars as they went over the first hill – which curved into the distance – and you could clearly see the entire structure move a little with the force of the cars. Although scary, it was pointed out that structurally that is necessary so that it can distribute the force of the ride. The worst part of the entire ride was actually just before we were supposed to get on. There was one round of people in front of us when it was announced that due to “minor technical problems” the entire ride was temporarily closed down. Did I jinx that with my Tweet? I think it was an omen that I wasn’t meant to go on that ride – which hey, that’s OK with me! After all the cars were back, people started jumping the track to try to leave because they didn’t give any options to let us leave. Eventually they let everyone pass through an empty car to leave through the exit.
We then all met back up and started to feel a few drops of rain. I got a pop refill, then we decided that we would go into an arcade for a little while and let the crowd thin out before we would try to leave the park – it was about 8:15 by then anyway. Total, Justin and I spent $4 on tokens and played several games. I played a few games of Air Hockey. Justin and I then went around and played various games. First I tried Cyclone, a classic and got only 8 tickets from that. We got little numbers of tickets – 8 or 12 or other little numbers, then I wanted to try Cyclone again. So, I did and this time I got it just right and hit the Jackpot. That was a pretty nice 213 tickets! 🙂 After a little more we stopped and had 303 tickets. For that we didn’t get much as we missed out on cooler things like train whistles. We ended up with two small Disney plushes, a deck of cards (got them for Dad as he likes to collect them), and a little green army guy.
Inside everyone was having fun, but outside things had gotten much worse. The light rain had turned into a full thunderstorm watch and tornado warning for the area. At about 9:10 the rain subsided and we all went outside to try and get further towards the front of the park. We got a little further but where pointed by a security guard to go into another arcade that was designed as a shelter because of the tornado warning. The entire place was packed. I called Mom and got a storm update. At about 9:35 or so the rain again subsided and we rushed back out again and went further. Dennis, Matthew and Justin went to the bathroom while Julie and I headed for the front of the park. We all met on the way but didn’t get further for a while. Hundreds of people were under the main entrance of the park while it was again pouring outside. After about 10 minutes we had to move some because the storm drain that was by us started flooding and bubbling up. When the rain subsidded again, it was agreed that we would all go to the car and get home. At 10pm we finally were all in the car and were leaving the park. Got back to Dennis’ house at midnight and they let us stay overnight.
All in all, despite the massive storm, it was a very good day. Once I get a chance to get the pictures from our camera I’ll add those. The ones above were found on various parts of the Internet.