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AstroDan does the East Coast USA - Park Reports 2013

King's Dominion

So, i'll be honest here. KD was probably the park I was least looking forward to on the trip (Coney Island excepted). This was down to a couple of things, the major attraction 'Intimindator 305' being closed and also reports that the park was fairly bland, and not that well kept.

Upon arriving, our misery and preconceptions were immediately ratified when we saw this wretched sign at the park entrance:

Yes, that's right - the park was claiming that 5 rides, including 3 rollercoasters, were closed. What a start. Is this place THORPE PARK circa 2008?

So, in the end, only Intimidator 305 and The Crypt (same as Talocan at Phantasialand) failed to open (actually, no idea on the Dodgems as I never even saw the damn things) but any park that can even think to put a sign up showing that amount of closures really needs to take a long, hard look at itself.

It probably didn't help on a personal level that I had just come from Busch Gardens Williamsburg, which impressed me immensely.

That said, we had a good day at King's Dominion, in spite of the factors that were conspiring against us. I had an excellent lunch at the Mexican restaurant near the park entrance, for example. But you probably don't care about my Burrito's. So, on to the rides!

Volcano - The Blast Coaster was one of the oddball coasters of the trip that I was looking forward to. It was just... weird. Rather like Euro-Mir is weird. Or X (Thorpe Park) is weird .it launches, yes it's great fun, then it sort of... corners, then does a bit more of a launch, then sort of veers upover and then into the most mundane set of inline twists imaginable. Then it plunges into a tunnel and... stops. All very weird. They even tried to theme it, but it kind of looks a bit rubbish. Not a lot to add, really.


Up next, was a special moment for myself and DanB - Avalanche would give us the complete set of operating Mack Bobsled coasters in the world. Blackpool, Heide-Park, Astérix, Europa-Park and King's Dominion. B&M Floorless coaster, Dominator was pretty good. Quite an intense layout, although it didn't quite live up to Bizarro for me. However, this was one of the parks better rides and certainly one of the better floorless coasters from the Swiss manufacturer. Kind of bizarre for such a major park to only have the one B&M mind you...


Cute kids area in Planet Snoopy, which featured a classic junior wooden coaster, Woodstock Express. All good fun. Flight of Fear, launched Premier indoor coaster was great. Rough 'n' Ready a la Eurosat but with inversions. The middle section wasn't great and neither were the trains, but it was just one of the experiences you cannot help but enjoy and we rode it 3 times in all!

The park is home to three very middle of the road wooden coasters. Goodness knows how they have avoided a decent one for so long. Rebel Yell was probably the better of them, but even then it wasn't anything special. Grizzly was rough and Hurler was just BoobShake all over. Blergh!


Shock Wave was diabolical. The ride is a Togo Stand-Up and looks like it's about to kill at any moment. The trains are hideous. Uncomfortable and a complete farce to dispatch. This ride made its namesake at Drayton Manor look like an outstandingly operated coaster... I really didn't enjoy it at all, although partly the stress was the fear of death after one of these rides killed someone a few years back. Why they have not removed it I have no idea.



A fun ride in the park was Backlot Stunt Coaster the small Premier launched coaster. Surprisingly intense on the first helixes, the ride packed a few punches! Definitely a good ride and something of the scale that many UK parks could look at for a family-thrill ride!


Drop Zone was amazing. Just like the same ride at Heide-Park, the freefall went on and on - I absolutely love to hate these Intamin Gyro Towers - they're MASSIVE and scare me rotten.


Good thing there was one of these at the end of the day before our drive to the hotel:

So all in all, an average theme park which no doubt would have been a lot better with I305, but I just feel it's filled with a lot of filler... very little stood out. So all in all, KD was probably the weakest major park so far and, as it happened, turned out to be the weakest major park of the holiday. Good Riddance, KD!


Yes. Totally forgot about it.

Was ok although not as good as Loch Ness.

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Now. My most wanted trip report - Cedar Point.

Where is it :p

Excellent stuff so far, Dan!! Makes me want to get out there desperately!
I'll get onto CP in the next few days.


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Really enjoying this Dan, thanks!

Like most, I'm looking froward to the next installment from CP! :)
Cedar Point

Finally, I hear many of you say. Yes, the Cedar Point review. To many of you, the big one. And, indeed, this was the park I was looking forward to 2nd most on the whole trip (behind Busch Gardens). That said, even though Cedar Point is well known as being a park full of rollercoasters, I wasn't expecting to like the fabric of the park itself. But, I had an open mind.

We arrived at the Point late one evening, as the park had just closed (it was open from 10am-10pm). We were staying on the peninsula in a room in Hotel Breakers, overlooking Lake Erie. This meant that we could benefit from Early Ride Time and quick(er) access to the park. The hotel was old, there isn't much more to add. Just dated, old and like your nans front room was in 1991. But hey, it was spacious and convenient and not badly priced.

To the park, then - and the new headliner - GateKeeper. First things to note, the track and layout look amazing as they pass over the front of the park, and the whole image of the attraction is very clean cut. Operations on this coaster were amazing - with 3 trains and minimal stacking. Of all the B&M coasters I have been on, I would say only Silver Star gets a higher throughput per hour. The ride itself? Predictably, like a larger Swarm. It was perfectly passable and perfectly pleasant, but didn't really do much that hasn't already been done by Thorpe Park, Six Flags and others.


Moving around the park, Blue Streak was a great wooden coaster for the whole family, with quite a lot of airtime. Underrated, that is for sure and better than Mean Streak, which, at the back of the park, was entirely forgettable, dull and bland - considering the massive heights. Cedar Point needs a killer wooden coaster now to keep up with some of the other parks. B&M Inverted coaster Raptor was incredible. Truly, this layout is one of the best B&M have ever done. Monster, at Walygator, is effectively the same, but Raptor sits in a great park, with 3 trains, great operations and just burns around the park - intense, wild and sensational! Straight into my top 10.

Mantis, the B&M Stand Up coaster was a little on the painful side, although the layout was fairly good. It was nowhere near as good as Green Lantern, however. The restraints led to much ear bashing and some rider discomfort. Millennium Force was much anticipated, although equally I half expected a let down. It was OK. I mean, it was FAST - sure, the height is something else, but when you have been on some real airtime coasters, this one doesn't really have much of it at all (less than even the tamest B&M hyper coasters). It has a lot of speed, but then so do many coasters.

Moving over to Maverick next, the 'ultimate' coaster. It truly is. Epic. After iSpeed in 2012, I knew Maverick would be one to watch and it sure is. The track is so fluid, with quick twists, inversions, a sensational indoor launch, crazy banking and masses of airtime. It really is one wild coaster and now, one of my favourites. With iSpeed, the Intamin Blitz model could well be my favourite, or at least right up there with the B&M Inverted. If you have never been on an Intamin Blitz coaster, then make it a priority NOW. Both Maverick and iSpeed sit in my top 5 and, especially after warming up, are sensational. Mavis <3.


After a wild ride like that, I didn't think much else could top it. And sure enough, within the park, Maverick, for me, at least, edges the party. But others put up a fight. Top Thrill Dragster is an awesome, awesome experience. With 5 trains, dual loading/dual offloading, lap bars and a massive launch and height, the ride pins Kingda Ka to the floor and eats it up. Not in terms of statistics, but for ride enjoyment, TTD is much better. A real adrenalin fest and an amazing view from the top, too! Class!


Gemini is an Arrow Special Coaster Systems (wood/steel hybrid) and was quite enjoyable. Some pops of airtime which surprised me. I have to say though, it takes up a lot of space so I cannot see it lasting much longer, but nevertheless, we had a lot of fun and the racing idea is cool, too. Think of it as a modern Grand National, without quite the history. Magnum XL-200 is the ride to spit out PMBO for breakfast. A cracking ride, bags of airtime and one of the best rides in the park. It's quite astounding how poor PMBO is compared to this. I would possibly rate this above Bizarro and certainly above Apollo's Chariot in terms of a hyper coaster, too - I found it delivered more considering how old it is!

Wicked Twister was another surprise. I really enjoyed it. Fast, quite scary at points and just all round great fun! The constant launching makes for a unique ride, and something so simple too. Cracking!


There were several other rides to note, MaXair, the Huss Giant Frisbee, which was the same as Sledgehammer which I rode at Bobbejaanland in 2011. A good ride, for sure. Corkscrew was rubbish. Old and boring, much similar was Iron Dragon was was worse than Vampire - even though this Arrow Suspended had the old trains. Cedar Creek Mine Ride was also terrible and very uncomfortable to ride. The Arrow Mine Train was another example of this ride type which has, in modern days, been eclipsed by Vekoma.

To sum up, Cedar Point is truly one of the best theme/amusement parks out there. The range of rides, the operations and the facilities push it really high up. Food wasn't too bad, and there were also several shows - including fireworks, during the evening. There's plenty to do for 2-3 days and that is without the water park, beaches and other things in the area. I would recommend it to anybody, and really would like to go back again in 5-10 years. Yee Ha!


Finally got around to reading this thread, cracking stuff Dan :)

I'm sat here, coffee in hand, mouth agape in awe and jealousy to be honest - sounds like it was a truly incredible holiday.