Hello everyone, Andrew here! Recently I had the opportunity to travel along the east coast of the United States and visit a whole multitude of parks; ranging from regional ones such as Six Flags America, to world renowned ones like Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Although I have been to a vast majority of these parks in the past, it’s been a few years since I last gave them a visit. Now that I have returned from my trip, I wanted to share my experience by highlighting the positives and perhaps providing advice about each park. Unfortunately, I won’t be writing reports on my visits to Hersheypark, Six Flags Great Adventure, or Dorney Park. The first two because I have visited them plenty of times before and do not feel I can provide an interesting report, while my visit to Dorney was cut short by inclement weather. With that out of the way, let’s jump right into my visit to Kings Dominion!
Kings Dominion is a park that I have visited a few times over the past few years, so I knew what to expect when walking through the gate. Perhaps the biggest change I noticed was the lack of Volcano’s presence in the park’s skyline. While I do understand why the ride was removed, it’s still left a gap in the lineup that neither of the other launch coasters could satisfy. Besides that, the park was as good as I remembered. Throughout the day I went in with the mindset of doing the rides I want, and to explore more of what the park has to offer. As a result, I did not plan to ride many things, but I still had an enjoyable experience nonetheless. Crowds were also quite minimal, with the longest wait being for Flight of Fear that lasted around 30 minutes or so. Weather was hot but manageable, and I experienced very little operational delays.
Apple Zapple (x1): Formerly known as Ricochet, Apple Zapple was given a makeover in 2018 to complement the Candy Apple Grove area. The ride itself is solid for a wild mouse with strong laterals and smooth dips. Plus the green and brown the ride adorns looks far better than the old yellow and white color scheme.
Avalanche (x1): Avalanche remains the only Mack Bobsled in North America and frankly I understand why. Although not unbearable, the ride experience is definitely not as enjoyable as I remembered. That being said, the ride does offer a few fun elements that were able to put a smile on my face. It provides the park with a solid family thrill attraction that is unique compared to other parks in the area. Perhaps the most interesting part of the ride was not on the ride itself. Since Avalanche was located alongside the now defunct Volcano, it is easy to see the land that the ride once stood on.
Boo Blasters (x3): To escape the heat, I took a few laps on Boo Blasters, a Sally Corporation shooting dark ride. The ride itself is nothing special, but it was a fun break from riding roller coasters all day. I did enjoy the fact that the entire ride consisted of physical set pieces and did not rely on screens. When a target was hit by my blaster, it prompted a prop to react in some way.
Dominator (x1): The world’s longest B&M floorless coaster is definitely one of the rides I look forward to riding when I visit Kings Dominion. Since it was designed for a unique footprint at Geauga Lake, the layout is different from the standard floorless coaster. Although the ride does lack the signature Zero-G Roll and Dive Loop found on most of its sister rides, it makes up for them by including two high speed banked turns. One of which is positioned close to the ground providing an excellent sense of speed. Everything element is solid and there are plenty of forces present throughout. All of these factors together lead to a great ride, and for me it is the best floorless coaster I have done so far.
Drop Tower (x1): Drop Tower has always been a personal favorite of mine due to how satisfying the drop is. Being positioned on the circumference of a massive circular gondola makes the drop feel much more powerful. Is it possible that is all in my head? Perhaps. However no one can deny that the ride provides great views of the park.
Intimidator 305 (x5): For me, Intimidator 305 is one of the best thrill rides in the world. The decision to build a Giga Coaster and keeping the layout low to the ground results in a ride that has incredible pacing and force. After getting the all clear, the cable lift rushes the train to the apex of the 93m (305ft.) hill and down the drop. With all of that speed the turn at the base pulls an insane amount of force, consistently causing my vision to fade to grey. The massive airtime hill restores my vision and the rest of the ride consists of extremely tight and whippy elements that no other ride can compete with. The entire experience is quite simply an overload on the senses and among one of the most intense rides in the world. If there is any reason to visit Kings Dominion, this ride is absolutely worth going for.
Woodstock Express (x1): Despite visiting this park a multitude of times, I never got around to riding this little PTC wooden coaster. The ride itself is nothing special, but in the back row there’s some surprising airtime. Be warned though that the trains are tiny and it was an uncomfortable fit for taller individuals (as expected!).
Twisted Timbers (x1): The newest coaster at Kings Dominion is also one of the best rides on the east coast. Rocky Mountain Construction took the dreadful Hurler and gave it their magic to create an airtime machine. Nearly every element on this ride provides some form of airtime, leading to a very out of control ride experience. My favorite bit is the sequence of elements between the cutback and the outward banked hill. It consists of raw ejector airtime that tries to throw you out of the train. Unfortunately due to down time and other events I only got one ride on it this visit; but it was still really incredible.
Flight of Fear (x1): Flight of Fear is an interesting ride to say the least. It was Premier Rides first coaster and the first ride in the world to utilize LIM technology. Despite being a prototype, the ride runs pretty well. While there was some shaking present, it was never enough to hinder the experience. The layout is surprisingly intense with four good inversions and a bunch of whippy turns all condensed into a small footprint. As for theming, I understand the complaint about the building being too bright, but it was not a deal breaker for me. The queue and station were well done and probably the most well themed attraction at the park. Plus the ride being indoors is a nice way to escape the sun!
Kings Dominion has always been a pleasant experience every time I go, and this time was no exception. The park offered plenty of shade in many areas and a good selection of rides to allow guests to get a birds eye view of all the attractions. Since I was in no hurry that day, I viewed the park from the famous Eiffel Tower, and on Americana, the park’s Ferris wheel. Plus a quick ride on Windseeker was a good way to cool off from the hot temperatures while getting a hint of thrills. The associates I encountered were all nice and performing their jobs excellently. For my meal at the park I ate at Mac Bowl and got the delicious (albeit a little expensive) macaroni and cheese meal. Overall, it was both an enjoyable and relaxing day at the park, and I will gladly look forward to visiting again in the near future.