Having a great time at Kings Dominion

Kings Dominion

International Street

When you enter the park, you immediately find yourself on International Street with the large fountain in front of the Eiffel Tower. To the right and left of the fountain, a number of shops and cafés invite you to take a stroll. All around are the entrances to the individual areas of the theme park. The Eiffel Tower, built by Intamin, towers above everything and offers a marvellous view of the entire park.

Berserker

While the Kings Island theme park has a large pirate boat from Intamin, Kings Dominion goes one step further and transports passengers overhead. Beserker is one of the most powerful looping starships I have ever had the pleasure of riding. It only takes three full swings to reach an upside-down position. What a ride! It’s just a shame that this type of ride has become so rare.

Dominator

The Dominator roller coaster dominates the left-hand side of International Street. The coaster owes its rather unusual track layout to its location at the now closed Geauga Lake theme park, where it was in operation between 2000 and 2007. The coaster has been at Kings Dominion since 2008.

The ride on the Dominator starts with a small drop out of the station. This is followed by an S-curve and a turn before entering the lift hill. Once we reach an exit height of 157ft, a pre-drop is followed by an immediate descent. We pick up speed in a very steep right turn before entering the huge loop. At full throttle, we go through a right turn close to the ground and a big steep turn high above the station to the next element: a cobra roll. We also enter this element with a lot of speed and pressure. A long ramp then leads us into a block brake. After another drop, we enter the interlocking corkscrews, where we’re tossed back and forth nicely. A steep banked turn and a couple of ground hugging banked turns lead us into the brake section of the ride.

Dominator is a very intense coaster. The layout, which is rather untypical for B&M, has a few highlights, including the Cobra Roll, which is really interestingly placed here. Thanks to the quick turnaround I was able to do a few laps on this coaster.

Planet Snoopy

As in Kings Island, the Planet Snoopy children’s area in Kings Dominion is remarkably large. Originally opened as the Happy Land of Hanna-Barbera, this area has been entertaining its target group since the 1970s. Over the course of time, this area was expanded again and again before the children’s channel Nickelodeon claimed large parts of the themed area for itself with Paramount. In the year of the takeover by Cedar Fair, the remaining Hanna-Barbera rides were also remodelled. When the licence agreement with Nickelodeon expired in 2010, the decision was made to use the well-known Peanuts characters, as in the other parks in the group.

Great Pumpkin Coaster

The Great Pumpkin Coaster is located in the centre of the Planet Snoopy themed area. This is a small family roller coaster built by E&F Miler Industries in 1997, which has a fairly compact layout and is only suitable for families with small children. For this reason, and because of the somewhat longer waiting time, I decided not to take a ride.

Woodstock Express

Next door is the Woodstock Express, the smallest of the three wooden roller coasters at Kings Dominion. The ride through the compact layout of the completely blue painted coaster starts after a short right turn with the ascent of the lift hill. Once at the top, it’s straight into the first drop. At around 35 miles per hour, we speed through the first valley before taking a turn. After another descent, we race over a small speed bump before crossing the wooden structure and taking another turn on the other side of the track. It’s all uphill and downhill for a while before we dive into the wooden structure below the first bend and follow its course. Back out in the open, we enter a small dip before reaching the coaster’s braking section where the fun and excitement of the wooden roller coaster comes to an end.

Boo Blasters on Boo Hill

The interactive dark ride Boo Blasters on Boo Hill was originally opened in 2004 under the name Scooby-Doo! and the Haunted Mansion. Back then, the ride in the Mystery Machine still took you through two-dimensional scenes with the characters from the well-known Hanna-Barbera series, in which you could trigger your own effects and unmask the villain at the end. Now there are only ghosts. It’s still very kitschy and nicely done, but unfortunately Boo Blasters on Boo Hill doesn’t capture the spirit of the original attraction, although the queue through the swamp is really well done and gives the ride an eerily beautiful atmosphere.

Jungle X-pedition

The new Jungle Expedition themed area shows just how well Cedar Fair can design its areas if they want to.  The main attraction in this area is the new Tumbili roller coaster – a free spin roller coaster from S&S – which was only doing a few test rides in the afternoon during my visit and was otherwise closed all day.

Reptilian

The Avalanche roller coaster used to run in typical Swiss bobsleigh track style with trains from different nations through a white channel decorated with rubber abrasion. Today, the ride is called Reptilian and the track is bright orange. The trains are now also standardised.

After the lift hill, we slowly pick up speed in a helix. With a little speed, we first go over a long ramp and through a block brake. This is followed by several left and right turns in quick succession. Finally, we race through a downhill helix, which is immediately followed by an uphill helix. After this brilliant finale, we reach the final brake and our fun ride unfortunately comes to an end.

Backlot Stunt Coaster

Passing Arachnidia – an Eli Bridge Scrambler from 1976 – we head to the backlot stunt coaster. Opened as Italian Job: Turbo Coaster in the days of Paramount, the coaster is a special effects coaster from Premier Rides and, as the name suggests, boasts a number of special effects. The compact ride also offers a few other surprises.

The first is right at the beginning of the ride. The launch into the car park, where you then spiral upwards in a tighter and tighter helix, is a brilliant and above all breathtaking start. Never before have I been pressed so hard into my seat. After the 900° helix, there is only a short breather as the descent is immediately steep. In the valley, we take small, gentle bends past police cars, advertising billboards and containers. At the end of the passage we change direction in an Immelmann bend before climbing a hill. After a short right-hand bend, a wide left-hand bend brings us back down into the valley. Shortly after this we come to the big special effects scene. A helicopter is attacked with a lot of noise and a fire effect is triggered, at least in theory. Shortly afterwards we are accelerated through a tunnel. This is followed by a steep turn to the right before changing direction and heading towards the light at the end of the tunnel. We then pass through a dried-up pool of water and after another turn, the end of the ride awaits.

The Backlot Stunt Coaster is a very interesting roller coaster with nice ride elements and a lot of effects that are unfortunately no longer used in the park. The ride is very fast and surprisingly intense due to the start in the triple helix. In any case, the former Blockbuster coaster is great cinema at Kings Dominion!

Anaconda

I love big Arrow looping coasters and was very excited to ride Anaconda after riding Kings Islands Vortex. From the outside at least, the big looping coaster looks very promising.

After climbing the 128-foot lift hill, the ride descends in a long, steep turn. The ride then enters a tunnel just above the water surface. After the very pressurised valley we climb a long ramp followed by a very intense loop. Still at high altitude, we then enter a sidewinder. Then we reach the coaster’s block brake. Now the track gets a bit weird as we make our way through an interestingly curved figure of eight with rather strange transitions. In a long right turn we approach the coaster’s two corkscrews, which are taken very slowly. After a short hill and a left turn we reach the brakes.

Anaconda is a very uneven coaster, where the beginning of the ride is really strong, the middle part is bizarre and the end is a bit too slow. The loop and sidewinder are the highlights of the ride and are great fun. After the block brake the coaster loses some of its momentum. The figure of eight element is a bit strange to ride. The corkscrews are slow and almost uncomfortable. Conclusion: Great start, mediocre finish.

Flight of Fear

In the same year as Kings Island’s Flight of Fear, Kings Dominion opened the same coaster. Both coasters are pioneers in the use of LIM modules on roller coasters. Again, the queue is a good introduction to the space flight that follows.

As at Kings Island, the launch takes place directly from the station. Now at full speed, you immediately enter the powerful Cobra Roll, before hurtling across the floor of the hall after two headstands. After a powerful valley, we immediately enter a sidewinder before cruising through the upper part of the track. After a couple of turns, we are slowed down a little in a block brake before heading into the lower part of the course. In a constant up and down, we spiral further and further down before changing direction after a wide left turn. We now quickly approach the floor of the arena, where we change direction again. After two more steep bends close to the ground, we unexpectedly find ourselves upside down in a corkscrew, whereupon we reach the braking section and shortly afterwards the exit station of the ride.

Flight of Fear is a very solid roller coaster with a really nice track and great scenery. Fortunately, the ride is a lot smoother than the one at Kings Island, which is why I always enjoy getting on this ride.

Intimidator 305

Probably the most spectacular roller coaster at Kings Dominion is Intimidator 305. Built by Intamin, the ride has a drop of 305 feet and sits very close to the ground.

The ride on the Intimidator 305 starts with a very fast lift, where the height of the ride becomes apparent as soon as you pass the nearby Drop Tower. The first steep drop then sends you hurtling at almost 90mph through a relatively tight radius turn, with the view becoming increasingly limited until all you can see is grey. But before our eyes go black, we regain height and immediately race over an airtime hill. Now we take a long left-hand turn close to the ground. After a short straight we continue to the left. This is followed by a series of fast turns. A long right-hander is followed by the second airtime hill of the circuit. Another hill leads us into a right-hander, which quickly turns into another left-hander. Shortly afterwards we enter the braking section of the coaster.

It’s not for nothing that the Intimidator 305 is Intamin’s knock-off machine. Although the first bend was softened after the first season, it still severely restricts your field of vision, but you regain full consciousness before the first crest at the latest. The following bends are taken quickly but very smoothly, although the final bends are somewhat unimpressive. All in all, the Intimidator 305 is a really good roller coaster, which scores points above all for the speed rush created by the close-to-ground layout.

Candy Apple Grove

The Candy Apple Grove is the large midway of Kings Dominion with numerous rides to the right and left of it. Here you will find the classic Dodgem bumper cars, a carousel, the Wave Swinger, the HUSS Troika Mad Apple and the large Ferris wheel Americana.

Delirium

Another highlight in this themed area is the Mondial Revolution Delirium. Compared to the swing ride of the same name in Kings Island, the ride here is much more dynamic, which is also due to the pleasingly faster rotation of the gondola. Unfortunately, the monotonous rotation in only one direction is present here too.

Drop Tower and Windseeker

Together with the Windseeker, the Drop Tower towers above Candy Apple Grove. While the Windseeker allows a wild flight over the area on windless days, the Drop Tower offers a free fall from a height of 83 metres for up to 56 people at a time. As always with Intamin, the drop is very, very good.

Racer 75

When Kings Island opened, the two-lane wooden roller coaster The Racer was the star of the park, being the longest, highest and fastest roller coaster in the world at the time. So it’s no surprise that it was also included in the opening of Kings Dominion, albeit under the name Rebel Yell. With the opening of the Candy Apple Grove themed area, the name was changed to Racer 75.

The ride on the two tracks of Racer 75 starts with the front turn, after which the two tracks meet a few metres down the track and climb the lift hill together. Meanwhile, riders have plenty of time to cheer each other on, which also helps to build team spirit within their own train – after all, everyone wants to win together. As is so often the case, the first train plunges into the abyss while the second has just reached the top. After a steep valley, the track leads over a rather low hill, followed by a bunny hop, before the two trains separate on the next ridge. As one train heads left, the other turns right. With a lot of momentum and airtime, we now head through another valley with a hill, at the end of which the rear turn awaits. While it was easy to follow the other train up to this point, it becomes a little more difficult on the way back to the station. After another descent and a wonderful airtime hill, we reach the section we have already travelled. Parallel to this, we now race over a series of smaller airtime hills before finally disappearing into the support structure of the first drop and even being confronted with a dark tunnel on our way to the braking section. Shortly afterwards we return to the station.

The ride on the Racer 75 scores points mainly for the great view over the park, at least when only one of the two tracks is in operation, as was the case on the day I visited. The ride on the Racing Coaster with its many airtime bumps and out-and-back design is just as much fun, but without the second track something is missing.

Apple Zapple

At the very end of the Candy Apple Groove themed area is the Wild Mouse Apple Zapple. Right at the beginning of the ride, visitors experience a big drop before going through hairpin bends and over hills again towards the end. All in all, a pretty fast-paced family rollercoaster.

Twisted Timbers

The Hurler roller coaster was long regarded as one of the worst wooden roller coasters in the world. The ride through the layout characterised by ground-level turns had no real highlights to offer in addition to the rather poor ride characteristics. In 2018, the roller coaster was converted by RMC into Twisted Timbers.

The ride on Twisted Timbers begins directly with a right-hand turn that takes us up the ride’s lift hill. Once at the top, the ride initially takes a left-hand bend, which then leans more and more to the side and finally turns into a roll. With momentum, we then head through the first valley, over a speed bump and through a steep turn before heading over three airtime hills. A skilful change of direction in a cutback element leads over another series of airtime bumps. Then it’s through another turning curve and another roll. After a Bayernkurve, it’s back to the station via some more airtime bumps. Shortly afterwards, we hit the brakes.

Twisted Timbers is a fantastic roller coaster and finally an RMC with inversions that I could ride all day without any problems. This is mainly due to the fact that the roller coaster here doesn’t race over the numerous airtime hills as aggressively as other comparable rides. Without almost breaking your thighs, the ride is simply more fun. In this respect, Twisted Timbers is currently the best RMC roller coaster I’ve had the chance to ride.

Old Virginia

The Old Virginia themed area is mainly characterised by the two large water rides Shenandoah Lumber Co. and White Water Canyon, which are located right next to each other. Unfortunately, both rides had not yet started their season, so I was unable to test them on the day of my visit.

Grizzly

Located in the woods of the Old Virginia themed area, the Grizzly wooden coaster is hard to spot. After entering the ride through the gift shop, the expedition can begin. We approach the lift hill of the ride in a long left turn. At the top we immediately take the drop and turn left. After a climb, we go through a long left turn. The second drop takes us straight into an airtime hill and shortly after into a tunnel with another airtime hill. We then change direction in a big turn. A hill then takes us next to the track we have already experienced. Here we go over another airtime hill before taking another turn. Finally, a series of airtime hills leads us to the braking section of the ride.

Grizzly is a very good wooden roller coaster. The ride is so out of control that it is hard to believe. Although the ride’s statistics are not that surprising, the layout has a lot to offer. It’s just a very wild roller coaster ride.

Pictures Kings Dominion

Conclusion Kings Dominion

As with its sister park, I really enjoyed my visit to Kings Dominion. Although the park is not quite as big, it also impresses with a really strong portfolio of rides and rollercoasters. Due to the relatively low crowds on the day I visited, I was able to try out all the rides without any difficulty and got through everything relatively quickly. It was just a shame that the new Tumbili rollercoaster had problems on the day I visited. I will definitely be back again at some point.


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Batavia is burning – and you want to go there?

Preface

Well, who would have thought that Batavia would actually burn down one day. Two years after the disaster at Europa Park, we were determined not to miss the new edition of the Piraten in Batavia dark ride, as well as some of the other novelties of the last three years.

The Novelties of Europa Park

Voletarium

The Voletarium in the entrance area of the amusement park marks the beginning of our little round-up. The ride is the first project under the guise of the Adventure Club of Europe, a fictitious adventurer’s club that links the innovations of the last few years a little bit and is therefore also supposed to function as a trademark of Europa Park. As with the new water park Rulantica, this is taken ad absurdum by various novels, making it difficult to follow the plot once again.

Leaving it at the essentials, however, the Voletarium is a so-called Flying Theatre by the company Brogent Technologies. The flight simulator offers a breathtaking, but very family-friendly, flight through Europe. However, not every transition between the individual scenes is successful, nor logically implemented, so that the film comes across as a little weak in comparison to the really well-done film of Fuji Airlines in Japan’s Fuji-Q Highland or that of Sky Voyager in Australia’s Dreamworld.

Nevertheless, the Voletarium’s location enhances the front section of the park. The ride is coherent overall and is ideal as a ride for in-between.

Jim Knopf – Reise durch Lummerland

It’s the same with Jim Knopf – Reise durch Lummerland. In the best Europa Park style, they did not miss the opportunity to integrate another licence into the park – this time one that is mainly known in German-speaking countries. The children’s locomotive Old’99, which previously had a circus theme, was redesigned for this purpose. It’s old decoration found a new home in a small pavilion of the neighbouring marionette boat ride. Accordingly, you now travel with Emma the locomotive through Lummerland, well-known from the book by Michael Ende, which is a really great experience, especially for smaller children.

Snorri Touren

It’s a similar story with the immensely popular dark ride Snorri Touren, which moved into the basement of the Scandinavian themed area when it was rebuilt. On this tour, Snorri – the mascot of the Rulantica water park – leads us through the legendary water world outside the gates of Rust. Thanks to the vivid design and the largely successful media integration, the ride does a lot of things right – only the short slide sequence, in which the car drives onto a moving platform, is reminiscent of early Playstation 2 titles due to its spongy graphics, and thus dulls the actually coherent overall impression immensely.

Madame Freudenreich

Something you can somehow forgive the cute Snorri for, you can’t forgive Madame Freudenreich for the life of her – after all, the Universum der Energie used to be the most coherent dark ride in the entire theme park. Now the ride is no longer even a shadow of its former self, but an attraction you should at best stay away from. Smaller children might still enjoy the Alsatian gugelhupf dinosaur mash, but I can’t think of anyone else who could halfway tolerate this baloney.

Eurosat CanCan Coaster

It’s a good thing that the Green Fairy has moved in directly above it. Since its redesign, the indoor roller coaster Eurosat CanCan Coaster has taken us on a sensory intoxication. Driven by absinthe and the familiar sounds of In A Second Orbit, we climb up the drum lift in familiar fashion before the Galop Infernal kicks in and we basically encounter a brand new roller coaster.

Like in a CanCan, we swing through the curves. Past large black-light backdrops, we race faster and faster through the dome and are even lifted out of our seats a little in between. The fact that the experience is absolutely smooth makes the ride all the better.

Eurosat has always been a good indoor roller coaster. A bit rough on the ride, but quite entertaining. Eurosat CanCan Coaster on the other side is one of the roller coasters of Europe. Perfectly balanced, atmospheric and with a great show value. Everything is just perfect on this ride.

Eurosat Coastiality

But that really only applies to the CanCan Coaster. There is also Eurosat Coastiality. While one side has been able to soar to new heights thanks to its collaboration with the Moulin Rouge Variety Theatre, the other side is betting on a VR experience based on Luc Besson’s Valerian – The City of a Thousand Planets.

In principle, I find VR roller coasters fun and Europa Park has already shown on the Alpenexpress Enzian what you can squeeze out of a roller coaster. Despite the outdated graphics, the first film was a revelation beyond compare. After that, many parks joined the VR trend and there seemed to be no stopping them. Fortunately, as quickly as the trend came, it disappeared again, so it’s a little surprising that Europa Park is the only park in the world that continues to promote the technology. Thanks to the resort’s stand-alone attraction Yullbe, however, this is actively no longer happening in the parks.

Eurosat Coastiality is, at least in theory, an extremely passable upcharge attraction that barely if at all affects the capacity of the Eurosat CanCan Coaster thanks to a separate station, which eliminates one of the main points of criticism of VR roller coasters. However, the ride is strenuous and not very impressive thanks to the outdated graphics. The show value of the roller coaster is completely lost, which is why there is no incentive for a repeat ride.

Piraten in Batavia

Meanwhile, the dark ride Piraten in Batavia, which has undergone a complete makeover thanks to the new construction, offers plenty of reasons to go on a ride. What was previously a long-winded rip-off version of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean is now much more independent thanks to a consistent storyline around the adventurer Bartholomeus van Robbemond and his otter Jopie. The Piraten in Batavia ride is thoroughly entertaining and offers an overall high show value, which is why it should by no means be missed.

Pictures Europa Park

Closing Words

As you can see, Europa Park has been in quite a redesign frenzy in recent years. Some of the projects were long overdue and some of the park’s attractions would actually still like to see such changes. Not every upgrade is a success and not every licence is a plus for the park, but in general the Mack family’s drive is positive. They are trying to show a world-class amusement park to an ever-growing number of visitors, but unfortunately they often forget that great attractions do not need additional media integration.

 

What is your opinion about Eurosat CanCan Coaster, Piraten in Batavia and the other Novelties? Just write them in the comment field below the report or in our social media channels:

 

          


Heide Park (2020)

Heide Park and the Corona measures

You can see that Merlin Entertainments is a little more professional than the medium-sized company nearby. It is therefore less surprising that the Heide Park Resort is also making exemplary progress in its implementation of the Corona measures. The entrance including instructions on how to wear your mask in the park simply works smoothly. In the park itself this is a different game, as many visitors do not want to follow the rules. Masks can be worn at will, often they only cover the mouth and not the nose. Also keeping distance is often an unsolvable task during the course of the day despite existing and clearly visible ground markings. Only in the attractions themselves the rules are respected. This is a pity and only ensures a large number of announcements.

Despite maximum capacity, the Corona measures taken result in longer queues at each attraction. The staff is visibly trying to keep the operation running at its best despite the measures taken. In this respect I would like to thank all the ride ops in the park; you guys are really great!

But as the queues were partly too exhausting for myself, I enjoyed the day with only a few rides. Especially because of that it was a quite relaxed day all in all, where a lot of videos but also some photos were taken.

Pictures Heide Park

 
 

Videos Heide Park

 

Big Loop • Vekoma Looping Coaster • Offride

 


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Limit • Vekoma Suspended Looping Coaster • Offride

 


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Krake • B&M Dive Coaster • Offride

 


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Flug der Dämonen • B&M Wing Coaster • Offride

 


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Desert Race • Intamin Accelerator Coaster • Offride

 


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Indy-Blitz • Zierer Force One • Offride

 


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Panoramabahn • Mack Rides Monorail • Onride

 


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Käptn’s Törn Onride • Mack Rides Round Boat Ride • Onride

 


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